School Holidays Activities

While Alycia hibernates in her bedroom revising for her trial PT3 exam, Drama Queen spent her time baking in the kitchen and Cass did what she loves most ~ burying her face in her novels and making a ‘Massage Coupon Book’ for me¬†ūüíĖ

Other than working out at the gym for 1-2 hours daily and taking short 10-15 minute breaks every hourly, the big girl is cooped up in her room revising. She even stayed home while the rest of the family went out for lunch yesterday. Hope she does well in her coming exams!

Three more days of sleeping in and lolling around in the house and it’s time for the girls to go back to school, to face the toughest part of the school year ~ final exam for Drama Queen and Cass and two major exams for Alycia. And then it’s the school holidays again. I. Can’t. Wait.!!!!

As I am typing this post, It’s 12 noon and there’s nothing much to forage in the pantry but I am SO lazy to drive out to get food for my brood and the queen.¬† It looks like we will just reheat all the frozen food or toast some bread and fry some eggs. I just don’t feel like exposing myself to the hot afternoon sun and haze and shower again. But somehow, I will still need to drive to my favorite bakery to get a loaf of banana olive bread and resume my driver duty later in the day.


The Cookie Monster with 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies which she baked last night. While everyone else were in bed, she continued with moping the kitchen floor and washing up all the baking utensils. That was my condition to her before I bought her all the ingredients ~ MUST wash up, clean up and leave a spanking clean floor free of flour and ants!

My coupons for massages from my baby girl.¬† It’s a good start for her to start earning her pocket money¬†ūü§£

Trip Back To Ipoh (16 – 18 June 2018)

Our stay in Ipoh during the mid-term school holidays this time was a short 3 days 2 nights trip. We couldn’t go back at an earlier date as mum, papa and Roy were still in East Europe. When they returned, it was already the end of the first of two weeks of¬† school holidays. We could only stay in Ipoh for 2 nights as Alycia had a dental appointment for her braces to be fixed.¬† But the 3 days were precious. We had a great time bonding and it was the first time we could celebrate Father’s Day in Ipoh on the actual day with papa and the hubs together. Really wished that we could have arranged for a short trip to somewhere near. My wish and plan now is to organize a holiday together during the year-end school holidays to Langkawi, Thailand or some neighboring states or countries.¬† I’m full of hopes that this holiday will materialize.

On our last night in Ipoh, we had dinner at Tung Koo Teng (Mushroom Hut) food court @ Ipoh Garden. The hubs is happiest when he is back in his hometown digging into all his favorite childhood hawkers fare. Who is not? I’m happiest too when I am back at my parents, being a princess again, for a short few days before my princessy days turn into long Cinderalla days and nights¬†ūü§≠

Our favorite picks:

Curry laksa (SO yums!) and Hong Kong style chee cheong fun:

Ipoh style ‘kai see hor fun’ and popiah:

Chicken and beef satay; grilled curry stingray fish:

Ice kacang and ‘wan tau long’ jelly (aka Aiyu jelly):

Aiyu jelly is rarely seen in the Klang Valley or other parts of Malaysia. It is only in Ipoh that we get to savor our favorite childhood dessert.¬† Writing this post is already making me miss all my favorite food in Ipoh. I can’t wait for the next school holidays for our next trip back to home sweet home¬†‚̧

 

Ipoh Trip ~ 16 June 2018

We were very early for our 8:35 a.m. ETS this time as we didn’t have breakfast at McD or Burger King.¬† I told the hubs that having breakfast at the station was a complete waste of time. I bento-ed fried rice and apples for the girls to eat on the train instead.

My papa and younger brother couldn’t pick us up from the Ipoh train station as papa had inadvertently left both sets of his car keys in his car when he manually locked the car. And the other car had a flat tyre in the morning when papa went to the market¬† to get coconut water for us. He had to change the tyre by the side of the road in the hot sun. Double whammy!

We took a Grab car to my parents ~ with 6 people crammed into the car including the driver and it was only a Proton Preve car.

Lunch was at our favorite kopitiam at the neighborhood.

After lunch, I took Cass to Kinta Cinty to claim her reward. I told before her exam that if her ‘position’ is within 20 in the entire Primary 4 (of 6 classes), she gets her wish of owning any novel that she wants.

Her reward was a Harry Potter book plus bonus of 3 other books on special offer at only RM10 each.

At the Claw Machine at the mall, while observing people play, Cass spotted a young man carrying a backpack and slinging a shoulder bag for his girlfriend.

Cass – mum, I feel REALLY SORRY for the man. Look…

Me – (ROTFL!) then make sure you don’t do that to your boyfriend in future

Cass – hell no. I will never have a boyfriend.

Me – oh really? Let’s see…

Girls Meet New Twin Cousins

Our girls finally met their new twin cousins on 21 December 2017. They were beaming with joy.  So was I.   I have been yearning to cuddle my new niece and nephew since day 1 they were born prematurely at 32 weeks on 1 Sept 2017.

The girls could not resist cuddling and stroking the babies, who are absolutely cuteness overloaded!

Both my sil and myself were on tenterhooks when the girls carried the babies, concerned that they would drop the babies.¬† And this sort of unfortunate accident really happened to my sil’s friend during the baby’s fullmoon party where a friend dropped the baby! Oh. My. Gawd!

The next time we meet the babies will be in another two¬† months, perhaps during CNY. They will be even more responsive by then.¬† We can’t wait to see the babies again.

Singapore Trip – Day 2 (22 Dec 2017)

Today is big brother Raymond’s birthday.¬† We started off our day with breakfast at a nearby market. Food was really not up to we Malaysians’ taste buds.¬† We ordered wanton noodles, prawn noodles, fish ball noodles, economy noodles, coffee and milk tea. Nothing met our expectations, though the queue at most of the stalls were long and we had to spend 15 ~ 30 minutes queuing up to buy food.¬† Thankfully our lunch at Sentosa Resorts World was very satisfactory (at no other than a restaurant offering Malaysian hawkers’ food hehe) and big bro Ray treated us to Japanese for dinner.

After breakfast, we went to Novena church to give thanks and to sneak into the grounds of one of the most expensive and beautiful churches in Singapore.¬† After 33 months and at a whopping cost of $54 million, Novena Church’s redevelopment and extensive overhaul was finally completed. The church opened its doors to the public again on Sept 29 2017.¬† Novena church is one of the most iconic and popular Catholic churches in Singapore.

Clad in granite outside and limestone inside, the church’s sanctuary now features soaring arches, intricate columns, a dome and 18 large stained-glass windows.¬† It is indeed one of the grandest churches that we have been to.

 

 

After Novena, we headed to Sentosa Island’s Resorts World.

 

 

 

I secretly snapped two pix of Sherilyn posing with the birds coz I was too cheapskate to spend over SGD10 for a picture.  I had to remind myself that every dollar spent is RM3 and to spend RM30 for a picture that will eventually end up inside our photo album cupboard, no way am I going to add more junk into that cupboard, ha!

 

Walking to the toilets.¬† ¬†Toilets in Singapore are very clean, unlike the ones back home.¬† Even the loos at the market that we went to are of the standard of shopping mall toilets back home.¬† And I don’t mind paying 10 cents to use it.

We had lunch at Malaysian Food Street @ Resorts World, one of the most popular eateries at Resorts World.

Food was surprisingly not expensive and quality of food is good. The char koay teow and prawn mee tasted exactly like the ones back home.

Malaysian Food Street is created into a unique old-town ambience to flavour the experience of indulging in some of Malaysia’s finest and famous hawker fare. This is one dining destination not to be missed in Sentosa Island.¬† It is fully air-conditioned¬†and designed to evoke the look of streets of Malaysia, with facades of old shop houses and replicas of 1950s coffeeshop. There are a total of 17 stalls which includes legendary Malaysian favourites such as Famous Jalan Alor KL Hokkien Mee, Huen Kee Claypot Rice, Penang Hai Beng Lor Mee etc.

 

 

 

After we got back from Resorts World and with only an hour left before dinner, my childhood best friend, Ju, picked me up from my brother’s apartment. We had drinks at a nearby cafe. It was really nice to meet up with Ju again after donkey years.¬† And thank you once again Ju for spoiling my girls with those gifts. And our favorite potato chips from Japan!

After our sumptuous Japanese dinner, our friendly van driver drove us to Gardens By The Bay.

Entrance fee is only SGD10 per person.

Our favorite spot is the Supertrees. When night falls, this enchanting  vertical gardens come alive with a mesmerising Garden Rhapsody light and sound show.  On the night we were there, there were fake snow flakes too.

There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens.  Too bad it rained half way through our admiration of the trees and we had to miss going up the elevated walkway.   Instead, we ran back to the entrance and got into our waiting van, half drenched in rain water. Bummer!

Tip: do bring along umbrellas during the rainy season.

Our girls against the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands.

 

We Are Back From Singapore

We came back from Singapore late last night after an 11-hour crawl back from Singapore.  We left Singapore at 11:30 a.m., went through the Tuas Checkpoint pretty smoothly without any traffic jam and thought that luck was on our side. But we were so wrong.  A few minutes after we left the Tuas Checkpoint, we saw the longest traffic crawl ahead of us. We were totally unprepared for what was to come.

After over 3 hours stuck at the Causeway, where vehicles were barely moving, we were still not reaching the Malaysian Customs yet. All our bladders were about to explode.  Our very friendly van driver gave us some suggestions on how we could relief ourselves. But could you even pee into a plastic bag?  Or walk to the side of the Causeway and pee near the bushes? NO WAY!

Finally, we decided to get down the vehicle smack-bang in the middle of the highway and walked under the merciless 2 p.m. sun to the Malaysian Customs to use the staff toilet. What a relief it was after holding on for over 2 hours!

Long story short, after 11 hours of bumper to bumper crawl from the Tuas Checkpoint, we finally reached home.  Home sweet home at 10:30 p.m.  We had a lunch break and 2 toilet breaks in between.  Half the journey, almost everyone was in sheer agony of full bladders.

After we were dropped off in KL, my parents, younger brother and hubs had dinner at 11 p.m. before the driver continued the trip back to Ipoh to drop off my parents and brother. They reached Ipoh at 2 a.m. It was the longest ever road trip for all of us.

Much as I would like to write more and post more beautiful pix that we took in Singapore, especially the ones with my new twin niece and nephew, I have to make this post a short one. I have to be up very early tomorrow for Christmas service in church at 8:30 a.m.


Bumper to bumper crawl on both sides of the highway, all the way from Seremban to Singapore and vice versa.

¬†ūüéĄMerry Christmas Everyone!ūüéĄ

Back In KL

Our ETS ride from Ipoh to KL Sentral today was a tad eventful.  A few minutes after the train dropped off passengers at the Sg. Buloh station, the air conditioning and lights in the train were out. Suddenly the train stopped short smack-bang in the middle of no where.  Then an announcement came. The train had run out of power. Great! This has been happening too often. We panicked and hoped that the outage would soon be rectified. Thankfully after a few minutes the train moved again, phew!  However, several minutes later, the air conditioning and lights were out again and the train stopped again!  Thank God the train moved again minutes later.  What a suspense for everyone. It would be torturous to travel on a train without air conditioning with sealed windows and doors when the unforgiving sun is out at full force at 1 p.m.  And this is what my friend had to endure when she traveled from Ipoh to KL Sentral just a few weeks ago.

Thank God we reached KL Sentral station safely.¬† After alighting from the train, another minor glitch greeted me. The escalator to bring us up was under maintenance.¬† Double whammy!¬† I struggled to lug our huge green luggage bag up the long flight of stairs.¬† Cass kept snatching the bag from me to help me carry it but the bag was heavier than her and I stopped her. Thank God again that a samaritan offered to help me carry my luggage bag up. I thanked the boy (I think he’s a college-going boy) profusely.

Moral of the story:  Kindness begets kindness. And pay it forward.

During the previous ETS ride back to KL 2 months ago, I helped a woman in her 60s carry her luggage bag down the train.


Waiting for the hubs to fetch us.

Hubs brought us to Fong Lye @ Jalan Imbi for lunch. The foodie hubs has been craving to eat at Fong Lye since last Sunday. When he asked us to go to¬† Fong Lye for dinner at 8 p.m. last Sunday, I didn’t entertain him as it was already late and the girls and I already had our dinner. Finally he had his craving satisfied today. He even told me the list of dishes that he wanted to order before dropping us at the restaurant while he went to find parking.


Sweet potato porridge; lotus root appetizer


Stir fried long beans; sauteed pork strips with yam and big onions; fried lala with basil


Fried rice with meat floss; tomato omelette


Fried fish; Three-Cup chicken


The damage

As we stepped out of Fong Lye, the foodie hubs said he had craving for pork jerky *eeeeyeeeeerr*!!

And he dragged us to the dried meat shop just a few steps away from Fong Lye and bought a packet of pork jerky.

Dinner tonight is dad’s pork ribs and sand ginger chicken which dad lovingly deep freeze the night before after cooking for us to bring back to KL.

 

Tour Of Gua Tempurung, Gopeng

Today papa drove us to Gua Tempurung, one of the largest limestone caves in Peninsular Malaysia.¬† Ever since the North South Highway was opened over 20 years ago and¬† Gua Tempurung made visible to all who travel on the highway, I’ve been wanting to visit this magnificent cave with a breathtaking view.

We left the house at 9 a.m. for Gopeng.  Our first stop was at the Gopeng food court, situated next to the Gopeng wet market to have breakfast.

Hawkers food in Ipoh and Gopeng are so much more cheaper than in KL.  A plate of standard (with no add-ons) chicken rice, fish ball noodles and curry noodles only cost RM4 in Ipoh and Gopeng while they cost a minimum of RM6 or RM7 in KL.

Alycia who doesn’t like noodles ordered an Indian apam which costs RM1.20 each.¬† The apam tastes like¬† Chinese ‘pak tong koh’ (steamed white sugar rice cake) in the middle while the sides are crispy.¬† All of us pecked on her apam and in less than a minute was done to none. She ordered 2 more pieces later.¬† Love it. Something so simple and affordable can taste so yummy!¬† Real comfort food.

On our way to Gua Tempurung, we dropped by at Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng just to have a look-see at this tourist spot.  Mum who had been here before told us that there is  a buggy to bring visitors up the hills to the tea valley for sight-seeing. But we decided not to do the short tour as our main purpose was to go to Gua Tempurung.

 

We reached Gua Tempurung  at about 10:45 a.m.  Papa bought us the tix for Tour 2 (Top of the World) which would bring us to Platform 5 of the cave. Tix are priced at RM9 for adults, RM4.50 for children aged 6 ~ 12 year old and RM3 for senior citizens aged 60 and above.  The estimated time for this tour is 1 hour 45 minutes from entrance to Top Of The World and return. But we managed to complete it within 1.5 hours.  Without time spent on camwhoring and admiring the caves, it would only take us an hour to go up and down the caves.

So glad that papa (74 this year) and mum (71 this year) managed to climb up the steep steps inside the cave. Some of the steps are very steep and can really exhaust you to the point of gasping for air. Thankfully papa and mum could climb up without any problem, albeit mum had to climb up and down slowly. The steps are quite slippery at certain points where there is water dripping down  the steps.

At the start of the climb inside the cave:

Participants of the wet tour ending their cave exploration at this exit, which is a stream with crystal clear water:

Our 3 hyper girls climbed up so swiftly that I could not keep up with them.

Tell me what this rock formation looks like? A teenage boy ahead of us commented that it looks like a ‘thumbs up’ but I think it looks somewhat similar to a errr, penis. Depending on which angle you look at the rock, it may look like a thumbs up at an angle and another image at other angles.

Platform 2:

By the time we reached Platform 3, all of us were sweating buckets from all the strenuous stairs climbing, though it’s pretty cool inside the cave.

 

Platform 4:

The rock formation here looks spooky. Can you see what I see?!  Staring right at you:

Finally at Platform 5 a.k.a. Top Of The World, all sweaty and sticky and  stone faced:

This locked gate will be unlocked for participants of Tour 3 and Tour 4, which involves an underground river adventure:

Exit from the cave tour and admiring the stream view and crystal clear water with fishes swimming in the water:

Papa could not resist the cool stream water and washed  his face with the water.

Though a short trip, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cave exploration. Our next visit to Gua Tempurung will be to partake in the wet tour, hopefully with the hubs too. That would be really exciting and adventurous. The girls are looking forward to it.

 

Bon Voyage

Despite having a late night yesterday doing last minute shopping at the shopping mall and only hitting the sack way past midnight, I managed to jump out of bed at 4:45 a.m. today.

Alycia and Sherilyn’s flight to Hong Kong was at 10:30 a.m. today.¬† As it’s their first time traveling alone without any accompanying adult, we had to be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure time.¬† Everything went smoothly and we reached the airport at 8:30 a.m.

While the hubs parked his car, I took the luggage bags for cling wrapping. Then did the check-in.

Looking for counter H for Cathay Dragon:

The girls received a special ‘Travel Assistance Request’ pass for airport staff to assist them until they reached the departure gate.¬† I requested for this service via our ticketing agent who is based in Ipoh.¬† I was told by the agent that the request may not be updated at the airport system and this was what happened this morning. Upon showing the check-in staff the confirmation from our ticketing agent, the request was only keyed into the system.

Within an hour, the airport assistant came to bring Alycia and Sherilyn to the departure gate.

We had breakfast at PappaRich before sending the girls off:

 

My ‘precious baby’ will turn 14 in 2 days.¬† She always gets to travel overseas on her birthday!¬† ¬†The char koay teow at this PappaRich outlet is super delish.¬† ¬†And that’s one of the reasons why we have to pay much more at this outlet than at other outlets, I guess.

Seated in front of us was Datuk Jimmy Choo, world renowned shoe-maker.¬† And this paparazzi in me just had to furtively snap a picture of him¬†ūüėĀ

Saying good-bye with big hugs to my two big babies. They don’t seem to miss me much though¬†ūüė•

Other than a 30-minute flight delay, everything went very smoothly for Alycia and Sherilyn today, praise God. I’m very sure the two sisters will have a swell time traveling and bonding together, though I know¬† my audacious and mischievous middle child (she’s got her dad’s DNA for sure) will annoy her po-faced and serious sister¬† to no end. She’s already Whatsapp-ed me a video of her sister sleeping on the MRT and I’ve chided her for being so evil.

Deepavali Holiday (Ipoh – 20 Oct 2017)

Activities on the 3rd day in Ipoh:

Cass helped around the kitchen. She peeled a pile of pink Barlotti beans for making soup…

… and helped her granny¬† bake an Ogura pandan cake.

It was the first time my mum baked Ogura cake in pandan flavor and it did not turn out as well as she had expected it to be like when she baked the original flavor one. Nonetheless, the cake was very, very yummy and cottony soft. The beautiful green color is pure pandan juice, extracted from pandan leaves grown in the garden.

Feeling challenged and determined to bake a perfect Ogura pandan cake for us, my mum¬† got up at 4:30 a.m. today to bake another Ogura pandan cake. That’s truly a labor of love, from the best mum in the world, thanks mummy!

And the cake turned out beautifully this time – no burnt top and no dampness on parts of the cake. She cut the cake into slices and placed them into containers so that we could snack on them in the train.

To beat the 38C heat, we chilled at Ipoh Parade @ Uniqlo and Popular book store:

While waiting for me to shop, Cass worked on her Crossword Puzzle book, her latest obsession.

 

Dad cooked our favorite dishes for dinner:

Braised chicken with homegrown sand ginger, braised pork ribs with wood ear fungus and carrots in claypot…

Pan-fried turmeric fish with curry leaves, ginger and onions and blanched ice-berg lettuce with garlic oil.

Trip Back To Ipoh (18 Oct 2017)

I got up at 4:45 a.m. on a very lovely Wednesday today. We have a mission and that’s to reach the KL Sentral station by 8 a.m. to have breakfast before catching the 8:30 a.m. ETS to Ipoh.

After 2 rounds of laundry and some house chores, I woke the girls up to get them ready.

I could not resist the magnificent colors of sun rise splashed on the sky and snapped a couple of pix. Can you spot the crescent moon and star? The moon and star are aligned beautifully for us today.

 

Thank God we were on time and managed to hop onto the train at 8:28 a.m.  The train departed at 8:30 a.m. on the dot.

We were warmly greeted  by my dearest papa and mummy who were already at the train station half an hour before we arrived.

My papa took us to Thean Chun @ Ipoh Old Town for lunch.¬† This part of Ipoh is the most popular place in Ipoh where tourists and locals flock to savour the best ‘ngar choi kai’ (bean sprout chicken) in the world.¬† Bean sprouts from Ipoh are the crunchiest, freshest, fattest and juiciest in the world.


Beef balls, beef belly with radish, satay, ‘kai si hor fun’, bean sprouts…

 


Wanton mee with chicken fillet (best in the world!) and ‘sui kow’ (meat dumplings).

Beads of sweat were dripping down our head and body while we tucked into our piping hot bowls of ‘kai si hor fun’.¬† The weather today has been scorching hot and the sea of people at the coffee shop and the entire stretch of road made me dizzy. It’s definitely not a good idea to visit this place during public holidays.

After a satisfying and sweaty lunch, we adjourned to Concubine Lane, located just opposite Thean Chun coffee shop. It was our first time visiting this  tourist hot spot.

Concubine Lane on Lorong Panglima is known to locals as ‘Yi Lai Hong’. Rich Chinese tycoons in the past were known to have kept their mistresses on this lane.

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Concubine Lane is a 120-year old lane in Ipoh Old Town. It is part of Ipoh Heritage and one of the icons in Ipoh. Concubine Lane is most vibrant on weekends and public holidays where many pop-up stalls sell souvenirs, candies, desserts, refreshing drinks, toys, handmade crafts, etc.

Below – Drama Queen shopping for souvenirs of cute pencil cases for her school’s upcoming canteen day.

Below – dream come true for Drama Queen and Cass when they came across a stall selling DIY dream catchers.

Below – the ever indulgent koong koong bought these fruit popsicles for his precious grand daughters. At RM8 each, these ice fruit popsicles sure don’t come cheap.

Below – I spotted this concubine wannabe walking down the Concubine Lane.

Below – Cass and Drama Queen checking out drinks packaged in light bulb bottles. And no, I did not succumb to Cass’s plead to me to buy her one bottle to try.

 

Cuti-Cuti Malaysia

This school holidays, we are staying put in KL as it is only a week-long holiday. Plus, Drama Queen has to attend school for the first three days of the holidays to attend UPSR exam preparation classes. ¬†Today I brought the girls to Mid Valley Megamall to chillax. We had a sumptuous dim sum ¬†lunch at Han Room and then did what girls like best – retail therapy ūüėÄ

With our Ringgit shrinking to such a miserable value, I doubt we will be having any overseas holiday this year. ¬†We shall be exploring our very own beautiful country, Malaysia. ¬†There are so many places in Malaysia that we have never been to. We have never visited East Malaysia and even in the capital of Malaysia where we live in, there are so many places of interest that we have not brought the girls to. ¬†KL Tower (at present, the world’s fifth tallest structure), Batu Caves (400 million-year old limestone hill with a 100-year old temple incorporated within it) and Istana Negara are some of the places that I have in mind to bring our girls to.

Revolving Atmosphere 360 restaurant at Menara KL Tower (picture below) is one of the to-visit places in my bucket list. Hailed as one of the tallest freestanding structures in the world, Menara KL plays host to a revolving restaurant,  Atmosphere 360.  You can have a meal or enjoy high tea along with the most spectacular view of the city centre, bar chartering a helicopter (though that would be very costly!).  Boasting a theater, an amphitheater, beautiful cascading pools, a fast food restaurant and souvenir shops, this tower is a definite must-visit sightseeing attraction in Kuala Lumpur.

We could even do a staycation at Best Western PJ Hotel or any hotel in the Klang Valley. I know our girls would love to have a staycation in a luxurious hotel to enjoy the rooms, the swimming pool, the hotel food and the feeling of being on a holiday. We can get the best of our holiday right in the heart of where we stay at a fraction of a cost of an overseas holiday.

For an inexpensive half-day tour, we could do a little jaunt in Batu Caves (picture below).¬†Batu Caves, one of Kuala Lumpur‚Äôs most frequented tourist attractions, is a limestone hill comprising three major caves and a number of smaller ones. Located approximately 11 kilometres to the north of Kuala Lumpur, this 100-year-old temple features idols and statues erected inside the main caves and around it. Incorporated with interior limestone formations said to be around 400 million years old, the temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus. ¬†The last time I visited Batu Caves was exactly 30 years ago! ¬†I was 14 then (Alycia’s age now) and had followed the school on a trip to Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. That trip was my first ever trip with my class and school mates as a teenager and remains as one of my fondest memories up until today.

Another place that I would love to go with our girls is Langkawi Island. The hubs and I went to Langkawi for a holiday 17 years ago (with our buddy, Alan Yun) and fell in love with this island. We vowed to visit there again. Our most memorable experience in Langkawi was a deep sea fishing adventure where we caught a huge rainbow trout and then brought the trout to a restaurant in the Langkawi Yacht Club to have it steamed. The rainbow trout was sinfully fresh and sweet, though I felt really sorry for the trout.¬† One of the island’s highlights that I really want to visit is the Langkawi Sky Bridge (picture below). ¬†It¬†is a 410ft-long curved pedestrian bridge located 2,300 ft above sea level with stunning views.

With so many places to visit in our beautiful country, there is just no necessity to splurge on an overseas holiday in this gloomy economy that we are in now. Here’s a tip for you. To get the best deals on flights and hotels, go to Traveloka Malaysia.

 

New Year’ Eve and Happy 2017

Our New Year’s Eve on 31.12.2016 was a peaceful and quiet one at our cozy home, unlike previous years where we would either be counting down in a hotel or be gallivanting ¬†the streets of Bukit Bintang joining other rowdy revelers. Our girls and I prefer a quiet New Year’s Eve where we could watch fireworks display from KLCC, Mid Valley and other parts of KL at the comforts of our own home in our jammies. ¬†Two families from¬†our usual group of friends had some emergencies at home, thus we didn’t have our usual New Year’s Eve count down. Nonetheless, we had a sumptuous lunch at Overseas Restaurant, Jalan Imbi on that day.

Below – backdrop of KLCC and KL Tower taken just before the fireworks were released at the stroke of midnight.

 happy new year backdrop

On 1.1.2017, we were at the Gardens Mall. Hubs, the mil and the girls watched¬†Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the premium cinema at Gardens while I did what I loved most – retail therapy ūüôā

Below – Cass enthralled by her favorite author, killing time while waiting for the movie to start…

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On 2.1.2017, we hung out with our usual group of buddies. After a light lunch at The School, we adjourned to a Japanese eatery and German pub and snacked on grilled saba and pork knuckles with crackling skin while sipping on beer and sake – chatting and laughing over everything.

new year backdrop/new year for sale/backdrop sale

2.1.2017 marked the end of the girls’ 6 weeks of school holidays. Today we are back to reality, back to structured days and me, I started the first day of ‘work’ feeling zombified and crabby, no thanks to my Aunt Flow. My darn alarm clock died down on me this morning. Thankfully I had my phone alarm as back-up!

 

Hike To The Waterfall @ Ratu Rening

Hiking in the jungle is not the girls’ first. They had tackled Rangitoto Island in New Zealand 2 years ago as well as Stanley Peak and Victoria Peak in Hong Kong last year. But this is by far the toughest ever hike for them at Ratu Rening. ¬†The hike to the waterfall on steep and very muddy terrain (it had rained all night) took us about 2 hours. ¬†The descent was about 1 hour plus. I almost wanted to give up and make a U-turn but our Indon guide had warned us prior to agreeing to the hike that there shan’t be any U-turn. He also asked me several times if I was certain that I wanted to bring Cass along as the hike is not suitable for young kids. So I soldiered on, pushed my boundaries and challenged my stamina despite being breathless each time we climbed up a steep and muddy hill. ¬†There were a total of 7 steep hills to conquer. Flat terrain was easy peasy for me, though muddy. What zapped away all my energy was the steep hills. ¬†We could make a U-turn after reaching a stream about 1km away from our villa. Hubs and I had initially agreed to go back after reaching the stream but when everyone was super enthusiastic to hike for another 1.5 hours to the waterfall, especially Cass, we joined them. ¬†Well, no regrets as the waterfall was a sight to behold. The water was crystal clear and icy cold. ¬†The waterfall area is pristine and unpolluted as I think not many people would want to venture into such a risky hike to the waterfall.

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Below- about half an hour before reaching the waterfall, we had a nerve-racking balancing stunt on some slippery and rickety bamboo ‘bridge’ while holding on to ropes – crawling and climbing down steep steps towards the waterfall. I made sure I was behind Cass screaming to her to hold on tightly to the rope. And I hollered to my man to take a snap shot of this stunt for I know that the snap shots will be priceless and definitely a keep sake for future reminisce. ¬†Am glad he obliged and despite lugging his humongous backpack and mine, he managed to whip out his phone to take a quick snap shot ūüėÄ

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Below – see the man with an orange float across his shoulder? That’s our friendly Indon guide.

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As we got nearer to the waterfall, the sounds of the gushing water got louder and louder… and the descent got tougher and finally, voila, we saw the beautiful waterfall!!

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Below – my tough cili padi with an indefatigable spirit braved ¬†2 hours of tough jungle hike on unforgiving tracks without a single complaint. It’s always been her wish to tackle tough jungle hikes, just like her 2 sisters. Cass missed the 2 jungle hikes that her 2 sisters did in Hong Kong last year. ¬†Her limbs were covered with mozzie bites despite me applying thick layers of mozzie repellent and lemongrass essential oil on them but she had no complaints. She was always ahead of all of us and I think she’s a hero in her own right.

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Crystal clear and unpolluted water – can you spot the fishes in the water?

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Alycia soaking in the sun after a long dip in the icy cool water…

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Picture perfect postcard shot of the waterfall…

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Despite the icy cold water and everyone shivering (it was drizzling lightly), everyone made a dash into the cold water. We brought along snacks and devoured on them like a pack of hungry wolves after our grueling 2 hours hike and long dip in the water.

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My baby girl and I…

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On our hike back to the villa, we had a close encounter with these lovey dovey creatures in the midst of their love session!

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I asked the girls if they would want to go to Ratu Rening  for yet another wilderness adventure stay and do another hike to the waterfall and I got three resounding YES!!  As for me, I still have reservations as my main turn-off is the lack of ensuite facilities in the bedrooms.  Well, I may consider doing this again after a few years when Cass is bigger and I have forgotten about all the inconvenience and creepiness of walking up and down slippery steps in the rain in the forest to use the toilet at ungodly hours.

Check out more updates and pictures of our villa at Ratu Rening Residency in my other blog.

Back To ‘Civilization’!

After a 3-day-2-night stay in the jungle doing ‘camping in style’, I am SO SO glad that we are back home. To civilization! ¬†During our stay in the forest reserve, we were ¬†up close and personal with nature. Though the rustic villa at Ratu Rening was breathtaking, I just could not live comfortably without an ensuite toilet / bathroom in our bedroom. We had to climb up and down stairs and walk briefly (less than a minute) in the forest in the rain to reach our toilet where we would be greeted by a mishmash of jungle insects and creatures (lots of dragon fly, jungle roaches, baby frogs, camouflage insects, ants, lizards, etc) in the toilet when we visited the toilet in the wee hours of the morning *shudder*. ¬† Cass was terrified of using the toilet each time and would stay frozen in a stationery position clutching on to me, lest the jungle insects flew to her direction.

Though the rooms are modern, there are still plenty of jungle insects inside them. Only 2 rooms are 99% enclosed to the top. The other rooms are open, leaving creatures and insects roaming freely into the open rooms! The two most adventurous couples chose the open rooms, sans air-cond. Thankfully it only drizzled on the two nights we stayed there. Had it rained cats and dogs, our friends occupying the open rooms would have been  wet.

I told the girls that they were camping in style in the jungle and that if they had so much complaints with insects and no ensuite bathroom, they have failed miserably and will never have the guts to camp in the jungle in tents sans toilets and bathrooms like how I used to when I was a teenager, where hiking and camping were my forte. ¬†I even did a 1-day solo camp in the deep jungle during a 10-day wilderness adventure camp in Lumut. Yup I was that brave and dirt-resistant but that’s history now.

Our stay at Ratu Rening Residency brought me down memory lane. The loud sounds of insects filling the still of the night as we slept, the walk in the forest to the toilet in chilly air in the wee hours of the morning, the smell of nature, sharing our beds with jungle insects, the hike in muddy terrain to the waterfall, peeing in the wild (haha!), swimming in the waterfall, the BBQ at night, remind me of my camping days in 1987 Р1989. I am in awe that Cass has so much energy to reach the waterfall first and to return to our villa first, along with other kids during the 3-hour hike to and fro the waterfall.  The owner of the villa stated in her website that this place is not suitable for kids below 12 years old. I am so glad that Cass survived living in the wilderness.

That’s the aftermath of our 3-day-2-night forest retreat – loads of wet and muddy clothes and shoes. ¬†I did 5 rounds of laundry today and my house now looks like a make-shift laundry shop.

I can’t wait to plonk myself onto my cosy bed now!

To be continued with more pix of our forest retreat and our challenging 3-hour hike in the jungle to a beautiful waterfall with pristine water and scenery…

Weekend Getaway In A Jungle

In ¬†under an hour’s time, we will be off to Ratu Rening (near Genting Highlands / Batang Kali) for a weekend getaway with our usual group of buddies and their kiddos. Hubs and I have been friends with these group of friends since we were teenagers. Our girls and their kids have been friends since they were infant. Our girls look forward to this ecological retreat in a forest reserve very much. Errr, but not me. I used to be a sucker for the jungle, camping in the wilderness, swimming at the waterfalls, bathing in the streams and rivers but ever since having kids, I have morphed into a clean freak haha! ¬†Well, guess it’s time to un-morph myself back to what I was when I was a kid. Who knows I’ll love the wilderness and adventurous life once again. I’ve stashed away bottles of lemon grass essential oil, tea tree oil, lots of mozzie repellent and band aids in our bags for our jungle adventure! ha ha ha!!