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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cuti-cuti Malaysia @Penang

In my previous life, I never would have thought that I would take time off work to go spend time with friends and build relationships.  Since I quit my old job in 2012, my priorities has been more about people.  So it was a chance in a lifetime to jump in on 2 old friends' vacation plans to Penang, bunk in with them at some heritage hotel and just enjoy time together doing touristy things.  It was an amazing 2 days 1 night.

It started with a cheap flight on Malindo air from Subang to Penang (RM59 one way), and then head straight to Armenian street where all the food and street arts are.  Thereafter, it was Penang local food, ice-cream on a hot afternoon, henna tattoo on our legs, dine by the sea at Padang Kota Lama, coffee in a street cafe - so much food and  fun.  One of the best memories of a local holiday.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Guardian Angels Security Guards

A note of gratitude to thank my Guardian Angels who sent the carpark security to help me change apunctured tire.  They discovered it and waited for me to come get my car at the end of the work day.
I told them I didn't have the car jack but they insisted on getting help for me.  Then, looking at the spare tyre, I realized I did have the jack.

So, within 20mins and after much sweating, my punctured tyre was replaced by the spare, which enabled me to drive to a tire shop and got everything repaired and replaced in 5 minutes!  I am touched by the guard's kindness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Of Chicken Pox and Harry Potter Books

During the 1-week school holiday in September, Wei caught chicken pox.  The water-filled vesicles started on Wednesday and we thought nothing of it, and on Thursday morning it got worse.  It turned out that he had a break-through infection despite being vaccinated as a baby.
In order to speed up his recovery, we took him to a doctor who prescribed an antiviral (acyclovir) and some calamine lotion for the each.  But Wei was still suffering and I was frantic with getting him to recover quickly. And here I share what I did and Wei recovered by Tuesday (with all vesicles dried up).
1. Acyclovir - this must be started when the first vesicles appear, do not wait to see a doctor.  Tablets, taken 5 times a day.
2. Calamine lotion - actually, quite useless but better than nothing
3. Buy KMnO4, potassium permanganate from pharmacy.  Mix purple crystals in water and use a brush to brush on the vesicles.  This is an antiseptic, which some people says will dry up the vesicles faster.
4. Young coconut water, drink as much as he wants. 2 coconuts a day should be enough.  Buy local fresh coconut, not the processed ones from Thailand that are already cut and refrigerated because those may contain additives.  Available usually at pasar malam.
5.  If you believe in Chinese medicine, go to a Chinese medical hall and ask for chicken pox medicine.  In my case, the taukeh prescribed 2 packs of "lin yung" to be taken over 2 days.  Here you have to check if the herbs are of animal or plant origin.
6. Buy cheap tea-leaves (available at provision shops, lok-poh tea, RM6 per packet) and boil as bath water, to ease the itch.

During the entire episode, we quarantined Wei in his room, and used Dettol disinfectant spray on the door-knobs, table, chair etc etc.  We also washed hands often to prevent spreading the virus to our other children. One good thing that came out of this was that Wei was very bored, and he started reading books.

Our Harry Potter series have been sitting on our bookshelves for a long, long time, and finally Wei picked up the first book to read.  He finished the 2nd book, and then he couldn't continue.  I had forgotten that somehow I missed buying the 3rd book.

So I hunt around for a bargain, and found somebody who wants to barter-trade it.  Seller would not sell it and asked if I have any books for exchange.  Wow, this was unusual....  Anyway, I did have some books which I didn't want to keep in my collection and listed them out, and thankfully, she wanted 1 of them.  So voila!  I got our book yesterday.
The book I got on barter trade
So now, I told Wei I am reading this first, before he gets his hands on it.  That's OK because he is reading The Hobbit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

NST-RHB Spell-It-Right Challenge 2014

It was an amazing experience today being there to support my daughter for her spelling competition.  She made it to the top 100 of KL in the NST/RHB Spell-It-Right 2014.
When she went on stage, my heart was pounding.  My hands were shaking and I couldn't take her picture properly.  And I was not even on stage.  So much for encouraging her and telling her to be brave.  Although she didn't make it to the finals, all in all it was good experience for both Mother and Daughter.  I hope she will get another chance next year.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Broga Hill

I have always wanted to make a trip there ever since I heard about it.  Touted as the Scotland of Malaysia, Broga Hill boasts of grassy highlands and breathtaking views.
So, with a group of colleagues, we woke up at 3.45am today, and took a drive to Semenyih.
While I only expected a mildly challenging rainforest trail, it turned out to be quite steep and promotes real cardiovascular heart thumping during the steady climb.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Birthday Joy 2014

A fun filled day that started from surprise celebrations in the office, then moving on to Afternoon Tea with hubby at Carcosa Sri Negara, and finally a simple birthday cake cutting with family at home.
Surprise decorations in Office

Carnations decoration at Carcosa Sri Negara

Afternoon Tea selections

Ice cream cake at home

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Advent of Online Shopping

Lately I have become more and more comfortable with online shopping due to the convenience and the variety of choices available.
My earliest experience was from ebay to buy some books, and then groupon to buy the most unusual stuff. But now I have moved to buy clothes, sports equipment, mobile phone and accessories, and even an LCD TV from online stores.
The advantage is I get to compare prices for the same standard items.  I am most impressed by the TV delivery, ordered on Friday morning, delivered on Saturday morning.  (lazada.com.my).

One thing I learnt when buying things online is that it is better to order standard items.  And check the sizes carefully, measure and visualize.  For other items, it is better to have a cash-on-delivery option so that you can view and see the goods first, unless the items are of low value.  This is very true for clothes, I would probably not buy online anymore unless the prices are so irresistible.

Every time a package comes, I would be so excited.  Like the song that goes: "brown paper packages tied up with strings".  Love the brown packages and crisp sound of paper!  Feels like getting a gift, even though you know that you bought it for yourself.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Where to repair Luggage Bags in KL?

I have a Pierre Cardin luggage bag on which the handle was broken.  And my mom has a California Pak that was perfectly new and good, except for a faulty handle that wouldn't go up or down.  Stuck.
As I felt it would be a waste to just get new luggage bags, I decided to hunt for a place to repair.
There is a famous one at IPC, which repairs shoes and luggage bags, but being located in Damansara, you can guess that the price would not be surprisingly low.
Anyway, I looked on the web and found that customers were raving about this place.

 City Luggage, No. 39, Jln Jejaka 7, Taman Maluri Kuala Lumpur.

They were raving about the good and professional repair works at reasonable prices.  I sent my luggages there due to the good reviews.

And I was not disappointed, within a month, they repaired my 2 cabin bags and 1 backpack.
They couldn't get the same colour material as my maroon backpack. But this is good enough.
I am satisfied with the repair works.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cash-back for Selling Phone

My faithful phone
A note of gratitude that while I upgraded my phone to Mi3, my previous phone was put up for sale yesterday as a 2nd-hand item and it was quickly sold today, at the reasonable price that I asked for.  The quick sale meant I would not have worry that phones will continue to depreciate with time as new technology comes along.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cherating Getaway

Cherating Beach

In a practically last-minute plan for a weekend getaway, I made a late booking to Cherating, Pahang.  J wanted to take the kids for a beach holiday and he insisted on the East Coast because the beach and sea are better when facing the South China Sea.
Most of the accommodation were fully booked due to the school holidays, however we tried several websites and were lucky enough to get the last family suite at Holiday Villa Cherating.
While it is rated a 4-star hotel, we noted that the TripAdvisor reviews were 6.6/10.
Anyway because of the last minute arrangement we didn't have much choice.
After I made the booking through the Agoda website, I was quite disappointed to note that having paid a high room rate it didn't include breakfasts for the 2-nights' stay.
I checked the school holiday promotion on the Holiday Villa own website and noted that the rate was about the same as I paid, and that included breakfasts.
So, I called up the reception and asked if I could make a special requests to the HV GM, who always seem to be very attentive in replying customers' review, to get complimentary breakfasts for the family suite.  After putting my request in writing, the GM replied the day after, giving a simple "OK!"
Wow that was very generous of him.  We got 4 complimentary breakfasts per night.

1 of the 2 bedrooms in Family Suite
Upon arrival, the kids were excited to see the family suite that we have booked.  Although it was old, the furnishings were adequate and functional.  We are thankful for everything that went well - hot showers, cool, quiet aircond, quiet surroundings especially the bedrooms.

The family living hall contained old pieces of furniture, however was fully functional with a day-bed cum sofa, 2 armchairs and a square dining table.

And the beach lived up to our expectations.  Soft, golden sand and warm, warm sea.  Perfect for swimming. And immediately melting the stress from living in the big city!

Father and kids finally coming up after being yelled at many, many times as the noon sun beats down

This was a dream getaway with lots of time for leisure, driving around to enjoy all the tourist-recommended food near Balok, Chukai and in Kuantan town itself.  Time to relax, unwind, enjoy a book.  Memorable!
My must-haves in the shade

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My new Mi3 phone

Catching on the hype of new, inexpensive phones from China, I am intrigued by Xiaomi.  So when Xiaomi Malaysia launched its Mi3 phone for online sale in Malaysia, I was one of them who waited at my computer on 20 May 2014, at 12pm, to try to get one.
And I did!
Images from http://www.mi.com/my/

What's so good about this phone?  The uninspiring answer: cheap!
The in-a-nutshell answer is: this is an Apple-like phone on an android platform (advantage: no iTunes!) with a super-fast Snapdragon 800 processor.  In summary, great value for money.  Now it becomes more inspiring, right?

The best part is also I did not have to wait very long.  It arrived on Saturday, 24 May 2014 by Fedex.

After the phone arrived, I searched for a phone case and screen protector for it.  I did not manage to order from the official website because in the web sale, I had to be quick, otherwise I would not have a chance to get a phone.   And it is great that there are now many Malaysian websites offering these phone cases for sale.  Phone case ordered on Monday, and received on Saturday.  The one I ordered comes with a free phone protector too.  Wonderful!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Reupholstery of my Ikea Ektorp Sofa

My Ikea Ektorp 3-seater sofa was really old and in poor condition. Not only was the red sofa cover faded and torn in some parts, the cushions were also losing firmness and sliding down here and there no matter how much one tried to pat the cushions.
If you think this sofa condition is bad, mine was worse!  Sample picture

My actual sofa, where the cushions were sliding out of place

So I had 2 options to consider:
1. Change the entire sofa
2. Buy the slipcover and change the cover (bare minimum to do because the cover was getting torn)

At first, I was unhappy even if I opted to buy the slipcover.  Because of the poor condition of the back cushions, a new cover will not help.  Then I started looking on websites on furniture repair.  I learnt that there are services which help to repair sofas, which claimed to be much cheaper than buying even a used sofa.
Suddenly, an idea came to me.  Why not, put additional polyester cotton into the cushions to make them more full?  Another idea then came, and it was the right timing.  I was going to replace my old pillows with new ones for CNY 2014.  Why not put the old pillow fillings into the cushions?

And so, began my project of reupholstering my own sofa.  First, of course, I had to buy the cover from Ikea.
Ektorp 3-seat covers range from RM299 to RM799 depending on the type and colour.  So, on a budget, I only had 2 choices to choose from: Blekinge white or Tygelsjö beige.  Beige is the no-brainer colour as it would go with most furnishings.

The 2nd step is to empty my 2 pillow fillings and put into the 3 back cushions.  This took a long time as I had to carefully slit open the cushion inner cover (made of non-woven material) and fill the cushions especially at the sunken corners.  Then I had to sew back the openings and even mend some places that were torn. I spent the better half of the day doing this carefully.

And here is the result:  Improved condition of the back cushions and a brand new cover for the new year!
Ok, I should have ironed the sofa cover first