Friday, May 18, 2018

A decade of motherhood

Dear Xav and Vera,

It has since been a decade, I was given the opportunity to play the role of a mum and yes a role which had never cross my mind, a Stay-at-home-mum, until both of you came into my life.

Before I got married to your daddy, all I know how to cook was instant noodles, I did not even know how to cook rice. Meals were conveniently packed from hawkers or lovingly cooked by your late great- grandmother or your por por would just cook a soup and we would have it by just pouring it over the rice. 

I was totally clueless on how to look after little human beings, I did not know I would "survive" for these 10 years, the strength, definately came from you both. To be a Stay-at-home-mum is by choice, I am willing to give up my earning power in exchange of staying home to be with the both of you. I was blessed, your daddy supported my decision fully even though he would prefer me to stay home only after you all start official school. Mummy's thought was, I would love to be with the both of you the moment you were borned, to be there to witness every milestone you unlocked. 

10 years, I learnt to pick up whatever I need to learn. Over the years, I learnt how to cook, to sew ( okay, I still suck at it), to teach ( yes till now I am still trying my best to learn and teach), I even attended parents workshop to try and understand your curriculum so that I can guide you along if necessary, as much as we can, we are still trying to maintain our tuition-free goal.  Everyday, I am learning, learning how to be a better mum. 

I have my own expectations on how you both are going to be taught and brought up because I knew that your grandparents loved both of you dearly and would not bear to punish both of you when it comes to discipline. Hence, I am the disciplinarian at home, always putting up a stern front.

Xav, I will not forget that noon after I picked you from school. We were waiting for the LRT when you posed me a question, which was meant to be a joke with a typical lame answer. I could not hold back and I broke into a laugh.  You said to me " Mummy, finally I see your smile. It is so hard to make you smile."
On the spot, tears were slowly welling up and I was trying to hide my teary eyes from you. I felt like I was too stern and strict with you, it seemed like from your words you have been trying so hard to make me smile. I am sorry that my expectation of you being the older sibling would be much higher as you have to be the role model for Vera to learn from.

Thank you for continuing to love me despite I was a mom-ster most of the time (scolding, nagging, dagger stares). I loved to receive all your hugs and good night kisses at the end of the day and for myself, to be available whenever I am needed for the both of you till the day you no longer needs me. I would still love to carry you as long as I can. You were so happy yesterday when I was able to carry you up with one hand and snap a quick photo and I am sorry that you have to be trained to be independant much earlier than your peers. Do you know that I am actually very proud of you and your independance. Thank you for taking it on with much courage and confidence.


Vera, you have never failed to make us break into a smile or laughs with your dance. You know when to keep quiet when you can sense a storm brewing. You tend to hug my face and lean your face near to mine in the mornings when I wake you. Now, you start showering me with "I love you, mummy" followed by a kiss on my cheeks just so abruptly.

Towards you, I am always having that guilt in me,  the guilt for not giving you enough attention in terms of everything. You do not have the luxury to try out everything just like your brother, infact it is none at all. I do not have enough time to sit down and teach you like the way I did with your brother in his prschool years, I am seriously very guilty of this.

I hope I can help ease you smoothly into the official school in 1.5 years time, this period we will just try our best of what can be done. Learning and attending school should be an enjoyable journey for now and the many years to come. Just be who you are, work on your strength to excel and be your cheerful and happy self always.


For this mother's day, allow me to have my bragging rights but I will only just brag for today. For taking on everything all by myself when it comes to the needs and looking after the both of you without any help from anyone, an expectation I set for myself to be a sahm. The journey has been tiring yet rewarding at the same time.

To all other mums out there, be it you are a sahm (Stay-At-Home-Mum), Ftwm (Full Time Working Mum), PTWM (Part Time Working Mum) or a WFHM (Work From Home Mum), here's wishing all moms out there and myself a Happy Mother's Day. You all have been awesome!

Cheers!

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fresh Farmers 2 [ 小农夫 2 ] - Pulau Ketam

This was a long over-due post like from 1.5 years ago. Better late than never, before I gradually forgot about certain details. So, what are the ways to expose your child to Mother Tongue for improvement. Well, I think most of you would have heard it from your child's Mother Tongue teacher that the child needs constant exposure to the language through speaking, watching and listening to the evening news, singing Chinese songs and the list goes on to whatever works!

I timely remind myself to converse in Mandarin to the kids, whenever possible. To the extend, I forced myself to step out of the comfort zone and communicated to Xav in Mandarin and made him reply to me in the same language. You know something, Chinese readers in my house were quite poor thing, Xav will not touch them unless I picked them up, made him sit down and read it together whenever I have pockets of spare time. Through reading out loud, this gave Xav an opportunity to practise his oracy skills as well as helping him with word recognition.  

Anyway, back to Pulau Ketam if you have read my PART 1. A fellow parent from his school had shared that there was a casting call for Fresh Farmers 2  and they were looking for Mandarin speaking kids. I thought why not, this could probably motivate and encourage Xav to speak more in Mandarin. I grabbed hold of the opportunity and "push" my kantang and make him 讲华语 (Speak in Mandarin).

Photo credit: Toggle 

We were pretty lucky on the day we arrived, we were informed that there will be a low tide from 3pm -4pm just for that day and the best activity is to catch bamboo clams (which is also known as Jackknife clams)! Sounds like an adventure, let's get our feet muddy! 

Bare-footed, geared with a packet of salt, we stepped right into the mixture of soft mud and sand. The boys, from having the fear of getting their feet dirty, tip-toed across the mud, to overcome the fear and stepping right in. The boys were taught how to lure the bamboo clams out from their hiding place. A totally unforgettable experience!





We were taught to spot for location of bamboo clams through keyhole-shaped or gourd-looking shaped holes on the ground. Basically, you can try pouring a small amount of sand into such openings to lure them out. Do observe if the hole which you pour salt on do squirt out small jets of water. In such situation, pull the bamboo clams out quickly when they surface before they burrow themselves into the ground again. 


The boys slowly got the hang of it, though did not managed to catch alot but it was such an awesome experience!


This is Xav's first ever filming experience. Now, he knew that it could be quite a tough job being an artiste, especially for those who needs to act or host. From having to memorise lines to filming under the hot sun for hours, he had a mild taste of it.



The picture below was a scene when he NG for more than 10 times because he could not get the pitch right for Bamboo Clams in Chinese 竹蛏 [zhú chēnɡ].

He repeated the same sentence until I could sensed some frustration in him. Eventually, he managed to pronounce it correctly. We managed to wrap up this segment before the tide came in.


The team of Bamboo Clams catcher

Catch of the day


Part of the filming included a visit to the Kelong as well ! Much excited as this has always been on my to visit list if we have a chance.


The boys had a chance to experience what is the daily routine of a fisherman for that day. They fed the fishes, got on the fishing boat and learnt about what kind of equipment the fishermen used, sorted out the catch of the day by evening time and sent them to weigh before selling them to the fishmongers.




With the very humble, diligent and friendly Ah Ben (Ben Yeo) who had so much chemistry with both kids.



Our segment was wrapped up by the end of  Day 2. You can watch our segment on

https://video.toggle.sg/en/series/fresh-farmers-s2-2/ep4/516315.

The other team was filming the process of making salted fish, went into the mangrove to catch crabs the traditional way and to fish for pufferfish!

The process after the catch, halves the fishes, removed all the entrails, using the coarse salt, layer a coat on the fishes and marinate them for a day. After a day, rinse off the salt and lay them to dry.



After salt rub
Drying out in the sun before they are packed for sale

We read in books that puffer fish will puff up when it felt threatened, we tasted it in form of sashimi, Fugu, when we visited Japan. At Ketam, we had an opportunity to touch one! We felt the tummy and I thought it felt rubbery.

Those look-a-like human teeth ! 
Catch their segment here: https://video.toggle.sg/en/series/fresh-farmers-s2-2/ep9/520581 

The experience and memories from this trip will stay with us for a lifetime. To read more about Pulau Ketam, this is my Pulau Ketam- Part 1. I have even printed out the photos on Canon HD FotoJournal and made into a photobook. I really enjoy the tranquility and simple life on that island, you can consider planning a day trip there just to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

Saturday, April 14, 2018

[Review] FABLife Style - Finely Cup

If you have read the review on the amazing Venna Rice Spa and Belik Portable Wireless Eye Massager from FabLife style. The third product offered to me was FabShape Finely Cup range of lingerie. I turned down Alice (founder of FABlife Style ) , flatly for the review of because my mind was already fixated with this thought "If I have not much boobs to remain with after breastfeeding, even if I were to get a padded push-up bra, there would be nothing there for me to push."

Alice has strong beliefs and she asked me to reconsider about accepting this review as she believed THE RIGHT FIT WILL MAKE A TOTAL DIFFERENCE and in addition, she personally felt that buying brassiere in departmental stores is lacking that sense of personal touch. Hence, she decided to provide personal housecall service to get the lingerie sets sent to the customer's home for fitting and follow up. She had kindly asked me again on her second visit to me, to give a try and here's my review on Finely Cup series C1025 (Curve series lacy / seamless bra without under wire) & C825A (Curve series lacy bra without under wire)

A comfortable bra is necessary to be worn through out the day and to maintain good breast health. If you are aware that if the bra fitting is too tight, it can impaired the lymphatic drainage and blood flow, causing discomfort and chronic inflammation in the long run. One way to see is, if you do observe bra strap or the side panel marks on your body, the fitting of the bra could be too tight. 

If I were given a choice, at the end of the day, I would prefer to go bra-less and not continuing to be strap onto wired bras even if they do help to anchor the breast to the chest as I feel the need to go light


Back to the fitting, right on the spot, I told Alice it was pretty comfy as it was a non-wired bra, I did not felt any discomfort and guess my next feedback? From my earlier reply to her of having nothing to push, I gave a totally contradict feedback from what I initially told her. I told her directly "I loved the push-up effect, I saw the cleavage which was long gone after having breastfed the two kids!" Never before with other lingerie, had given me such effect. (Sorry but there will not be any provocative photos to be shown here) . Finely Cup offers superior breast centralisation, lifts and performs just like any other wired bra, complete with the push up power and support. You have to try it to see it for yourself.

Alice taught and assisted me how to wear it the proper way by pushing the "excess" fats from my back, right under my armpit and the excess went into the cups. Remember, regardless of what kind of lingerie you are wearing, but if you do not wear it properly, you might ended up having "four boobs".
May I add that I have been doing this practice of pushing the "excess fats" into the cups but none had the same effect given by Finely Cup.

The lace added a layer of seduction, I felt more confident and sexy when I wore it. Ask the man who have seen me wore it, he asked if I would be getting more sets of these range if I am planning to get new ones. So I guess, for my future purchase, he would gladly sponspor for all.


And if you are still thinking about if you should get it, I will add one more point to help you decide better. Usually, how do you pack your bras when you are travelling? Buying several bra cases to hold and keep the bras in place so that the cups would not be dented? Or risk that the cups be dented even if you stacked in above your pile of clothes or found some space to place them in ?

I did encounter before that the clothing in the luggage will be shifted and end up the bras got "squashed" and there were dented marks on the cups which took quite sometime to regain back to the normal state, worse would be the dented mark is permanently there and it would look so sore to the eye when worn under a light top. That was definately going to be replaced and disposed off.

During my recent Bangkok Trip, Finely Cup saved me luggage space without having the need to put them into bra cases. All I need to do is to roll them up and tuck them nicely with the rest of the items in the pouch.

Even upon arrival, after being checked in to the luggage for more than 3 hours, when I unrolled the bra, the cups which were made of built-in memory cushion, remained perfect in their normal state. Impressed? Yes, I was. When it comes to travelling, I would prefer to pack in sports bra or tops with removable bra pad than to bring wired bras and in this sense, Finely Cup series was the best to be brought along. I was happy that my the packing looked much neater, with everything nicely packed into the pouch.




Top: C1025 (Curve series lacy / seamless bra without under wire) , Sgd $90
Bottom : C825A (Curve series lacy bra without under wire), Sgd $100 


Shape your bust and prevent breast-related diseases with FABLife's range of full and semi shaping brassiere. Made with no underwire and contains no formaldehyde, experience full comfort, support and contouring without harmful, toxic chemicals. The cup is also sweat absorbant and made breathable with around 160 air holes per cup. Since, this is a non-wired bra, expectant and breastfeeding mums now can also look good and feel good in this range of lingerie sets.

I will just have to say, if you are looking for a comfortable, non wired bra, go give a call and make an appointment with Alice. For your additional information, the price stated is at retail value. There is a pretty attractive discount for members, find out more from Alice if you are keen. You can reach her by dropping her a pm on Fablife.style Facebook page or call her at 97128825. 

Website: https://www.fablife.style/collections/fabshape-achieve-perfect-contours-curves-on-your-body-today

Facebook Page: FABlife Style Always Aspire : Instagram: FabLife Style


Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on : 


Saturday, April 7, 2018

4 Days 3 Nights - Explore Malacca 【马六甲之旅】

Guess what is the nightmare of a blogger apart from losing all the photos due to a lost phone or corrupted memory card ? Mine was on this Malacca post which I spent nights taking time out to type a little by little was suddenly all gone with just an accidental click. This is the second run just to have it all documented for my reference and also I have readers dropping me a note to check what has happened to the post, here you go ladies.

This time, our annual gathering was decided to have it done out of Singapore. Not easy to come to a common date as most are working and had to check and book their leave. I am lucky that I only need to report to my big boss and two small ones at home. As long as boss is around, I can take my leave upon request.

The four families met at Singapore Flyers in the early morning, where our coach departed and brought us straight to where we stayed for the 4 days, Hatten Hotel Melaka. The journey to reach Melaka from Singapore takes about 3-4 hours depending on the traffic condition.


If you are a first timer to Melaka, the location of this hotel was within walking distance to the Tourist spot- Jonker Street. While we were waiting for our rooms to be ready, we proceeded to Alto Sky Lounge for some drinks and snacks. What captured my attention was the overview of the quaint city right from the lounge. For that moment, I just wanted to do nothing but soak in that moment of tranquility, sip and enjoy my drink with a view.







Mandatory Tourist Photo
Before the trip, I marked down a few places which were recommended to go for nice food. For a start, the different addresses made me felt like it's all over the place and seriously, it was more than a decade ago since I last stepped foot in Melaka. But after the first round of eating, I concluded that it was all in the same area. 

If you start your Jonker Street Journey from this point ( take cue from this red building if you are coming from the river).


If you are facing the red building directly, this building itself sells local products and if you love 三叔公 coffee powder, you can get them here. On the right, just walk further down the road, you will see this very prominent Orang Utan House on your left.


and just a few houses down on the right, you will reach this place - 60 East & West Rendezvous. A simple shop which probably might not catch your attention if you would just walk past without knowing what they were selling.


This is where they recommend the best Nonya Dumpling in Malacca if you are a fan of it. I love the flavourful rempah wrapped within the soft glutinous rice. 


You have to at least come and try it if you are in Malacca. Another popular item which you may want to try, their Bak Zhang. according to the boss, it will be sold out pretty fast as they will not prepare as much for sale as compared to Nyonya Zhang. If you are thinking of packing some before you leave the state, it is good to order one day before and collect the next day.



Their cendol is a must to try too, I tried the one from a random coffeeshop, one from Jonker 88. I gave my vote to this. The gula melaka infused in the bowl of shaved ice was heavenly. Totally perfect for the sweltering weather if you need to find a place to rest and grab a dessert.



60 East & West Rendezvous
60, Lorong Hang Jebat, 
75200 Melaka, Malaysia 
Tel: +60 16-634 6283

While we were exploring around Jonker Street, we randomly went into Jonker Walk Satay House to quench our thirst and at the same time, ordered some satay to try. The sticks were disappointing in the taste of the marination. Come by for a drink if you need, as for satay, I would say you can give it a miss. 
她和她的前世情人 

By the evening, the road was closed and the whole stretch of Jonker Street came alive with sprouting stalls by the road. One stretch was selling souvenirs, local snacks, typical pasar malam stuff like tee shirts, accessories etc while the other stretch was mainly on food and beverages. 

The kids had their mini feast buying from stall to stall
Plan your visit to Jonker on a weekend, may be more crowded but I heard the roadside food stalls will only be available on fridays and weekends.


The second day, we started off from the red building again. This time, we took the road on the left, the recommended places were mostly on this stretch. 

One of our famous childhood snack, Mamee, originated from Melaka. The Mamee Jonker House, a place where you can customized your own Mamee.


No doubt, this was a makan trip but I would try to balance up the trip by making sure the kids have some fun too. 

Mamee Monster and my little Mamee Monsters ! 

It is always better to call up before hand to find out if the workshop is available incase you may just make a wasted trip. We did a walk-in after the staff advised us over the phone that no booking was necessary for the time slot we wanted. Note that the workshops are only available on weekends. Apart from Noodle Doodle where you can design your own cup and favour for the instant noodles, go ahead and join in Little Monster Kitchen Workshop too and discover the process from scratch on how this yummy snack was made. 


Concept is similar to the Ramen museum we went in Japan

Getting the cup noodles sealed

The duration of the workshop is 90 mins. I chose to stay with Vera incase she needed any form of assistance. 

Little Monster Kitchen Workshop

My chef in her oversized hat

All ready to make their own Mamee Noodles

The staff was very patient with the kids. The kids had a great time mixing, kneading and cutting the dough using the noodle machine and made them into noodles. 


Loving the sensory experience to bits !
While waiting for the noodles to be ready from the deep frying, kids got to design their Mamee pack. 


Happy Kids with their Mamee Goodies 
No.46 & 48, Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker Street)
75200 Melaka

Opening hours: 
Monday - Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 7pm 
(Closed on Tuesday except for eve of public holidays and public holidays) 

While we were halfway through the workshop, the dads went to queue for food. Ho Kee was just right beside the red building if you go left (same stretch as Mamee Jonker House).

Melaka's iconic chicken rice ball, I read that the best was Chung Wah but that coffee shop was closed when we went. Ho Kee was the nearest to where we were, hence, the men went to queue and got the tables. Be sure to be there early otherwise, be prepared to queue.


The poached chicken were tender and succulent, topped on a generous base of soy sauce 


but their chicken rice balls were disappointing. I found them abit too try and not as fragrant as the ones I tried before. The kids loved it though probably it was just like eating fishballs. I have to stop Vera from overeating. 


Ho Kee Chicken Rice Ball
No. 4, 6 & 8, Jalan Jang Jebat 
75200 Melaka

Operating hours:
9 am to 5.30 pm daily
Tel: 06-238 4751 / 012-623 8431

Next day, we went back to Jonker Street again, to satisfy our bellies again. The Daily Fix Cafe is the one to go with its instagram worthy, charming vintage interior. You have to walk through a souvenir shop (you can find this vintage television set right outside the shop). 


Walk all the way into the shop until you see the entrance of The Daily Fix Cafe.



I read the pancakes were highly recommended and when you have a group of friends who shared the same interest of taking photos of those delectable dishes served. The cafe has an extensive menu for the western food and drinks as well. Highly recommend this place, not to be missed when you are in the city.




This is A MUST try. Their local pandan pancakes, sprinkled with a thin layer of icing sugar and served with a mini bowl of grated coconut infused in gula melaka. My personal preference, I find that this is the best combination among the three. To savour the pandan pancakes alone seemed quite normal but dip it into the grated coconut infused with gula melaka, it made me craving for more.

Local Pandan Pancake, RM 13.90

Salted Egg Yolk Pancake with Vanilla Ice-cream, RM 17.90 


The Daily Fix Cafe
50, Jalan Hang Jebat
75200 Melaka

Do check out their facebook for the latest activity and opening hours.

Jonker 88, famous for their Nyonya Laksa, Baba Laksa as well as Asam Laksa. However, be expected to queue and wait during lunch peak hours especially.


Click to enlarge the menu

The portion for the noodles were pretty big, so if you would like to save some space for later, it was good enough to share among two.

Asam Laksa 

The version of Cendol here was different, I would still prefer the lighter version from the 60 East & West Rendezvous. 

Cendol

Jonker 88 
88 Jalan Hang Jebat
75200 Melaka

We did not plan to drive to anywhere out of the town for meals. For dinner, we chanced upon Cottage Spices, which was a stone's throw away from where we stayed. They serve Nyonya cuisine as well as some homecooked style dishes. Would be advisable to call and reserve a table as the restaurant housed about 10 tables or less on a single storey. By the time we reached, the tables were all taken.




Ayam Buah Keluak

To be honest, I am not a fan of Kuah Beluak for its acquired taste. The boss of the restaurant was pretty surprised when he saw them untouched and told me this dish was the most tedious to prepare. I took some to taste and quite like it But I took more than a nut, having said that, none of the adults who were seated at my table ate this. At the end of it, I almost finished everything.

Asam Pedas

The steamed otak was disappointing though, tasted pretty normal, nothing much to shout about. 

Otak Otak 
Ikan Kukus

The total bill for the 12 of us costs about RM 447. Each person costs around $12 sgd after conversion. You can view the breakdown of what we have ordered below.



Cottage Spices Nyonya Restaurant 
171, Jalan Merdeka, Taman Melaka Raya
75000 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-283 5040 

Another dinner option if you are staying at Hatten or within the vicinity, Dorae Korean BBQ is located diagonally opposite Hatten Hotel. This restaurant is three storey high and you can choose to sit at the tables or on the floor.  


We were given a private room for our group, pretty good idea to contain our noise in one room !



Side dishes 

The friendly staff did the bbq for us. So we were in a way, just wait for food lah. Overall, the food was decent and normal but the friendly service of the staff will be the reason for the next return.


Cheers to an everlasting brotherhood 
Dorae Korean BBQ Restaurant 
Taman Melaka Raya
75000 Melacca, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-2922616

Till our next trip, peeps!

I hope this post has been useful for those of you who are first timer in Melaka and still trying to figure out the head and tails of the above eateries. Remember, it's just going to the right or left. Majority of them are on the left. Happy planning! 


Other Malaysia related post: 
KSL Resort and "Dinosaurs Alive" Water Theme Park
Land of Birds - Angry Bird Theme Park 
Legoland Malaysia 
Pulau Ketam
UK Agro Farm 

If you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on: 

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