Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!


We are indeed sad souls.... Not invited for any Halloween Parties.

No Trick or Treat for the kids.

So what do we do?? We went to Ritz Carlton for a buffet dinner. We were done is less than an hour....

I told H that if it's just us (with no friends whatsoever) we should NOT go for buffets anymore.....seems like we just eat and go, like eating Char Kway Teow in a coffee shop only. H was like "Full already. Go home and sleep lah. What for stay here? Do what?"
That's true lah.
Another reason we shouldn't go for buffets anymore... we don't eat as much as before. Old already. Can't eat that much. Not worth it. (Yes. Yes. This is KIASU talk. Must eat 'kau-kau'!!)

Plus these days, I prefer my Chinese COMFORT foods.... my noodles, porridge etc as compared to roasts and steaks. Think my boys did eat "enough" to match the price (boys still half-price) but don't think I did....so RUGI lah. Hahhahaha.

So better just stick to my chinese roast pork and duck place next time.

Part-time Job for a Mom?

If you are a stay-at-home mom, and you are thinking of working part-time.... A job that allows you to earn some money, help others, is fullfilling, and have prospects. What would that be?
Medical Assistants.
What do Medical Assistants do?
Medical Assistants perform both administrative and clinical tasks to keep the medical offices and clinics running smoothly. They are also involved in helping patients feel at ease. Many Medical Assistants work part-time, which is ideal for a mom.
To start, all you need is to obtain a medical assisting certification, which is easily achievable through a ten-month ONLINE program. So what are you waiting for?

Medical Travel...

Did you know that thousands of people travel OUTSIDE of their country of residence for medical diagnosis and treatment?
Why?
Well, there are many reasons...ranging from competitive costs to superior care, to medical advancement etc. Medical travel is now a worldwide trend. Europeans travelling to Asia for plastic and other surgeries, Americans getting spine surgery Mexico packages, Asians travelling to Australia or the US, and the list goes on....

Signs of Adulthood...

What do you think is the first visible sign of adulthood?
Acne, of course!
At 12 years of age, my S1's face is starting to be filled-up with acne of all shapes and sizes. Some are quite gross, I have to say! though I've bought him some oil-control facial cleansers, I don't know if he actually used them....as he thinks acne is a mark of adulthood!
Or maybe the cleansers are not sufficient. Perhaps I have to get some natural acne treatments as well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where Can???

Sure cannot lah... How to really NOT care about the monsters?
All talk only. At the end, also sure give in.
How not to? When the younger one has a 3 day/2 night Residential?
I had to make sure he has got all the necessary stuff, and most importantly, I had to make sure the school nurse gets his asthma meds. Cannot exactly NOT give them the meds, right?
So what do I do?
Trot all the way to school early Wednesday morning lah!!
Talk about being TOUGH... All bluff people one.

Yeah. Yeah. My S2 going on a Residential.... Not roughing it out. No Sireeeeeee.
The kids will all be staying in a 5 * Hotel. Yup! You heard me right!
Apparently, the food on this trip is so good that one of the teachers put on 2 kilos whenever she goes on this trip....which takes place annually for the Year 5s.
With S2 away, house is especially quiet.....

Later..

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leave them....

....to their own devises???

Sure won't work. Sure will be haywire.

Being a mom...how to NOT care???

Aduh!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tiles, tiles and more tiles!

Do you know how many types of tiles are used in your home?
I counted at least five different types in mine.
- White marble tiles in the living and dining area.
- Black granite tiles in the kitchen.
- Heavy duty natural stone tiles in the pool area.
- Ceramic and porcelain tiles in the bathrooms.
The bedrooms are covered with wood-parquet....which is also a type of tile, isn't it?
Looks like every single part of my house is covered with one type of tile or other.....certainly surrounded by tiles, tiles and more tiles!

I didn't know!

Honest!
I didn't know such a thing as a walk in bath exists.
Did you?
Well, if you are ignorant like I am, this is how it looks like ----->



I know that many people get rid of their conventional bath tubs when they start having problems climbing over the sides. They compromised the luxury of a warm bath with quick showers. Now with this type of walk in baths, there's no need to compromise. Isn't it great?

A better kitchen....

Okay. I am not really complaining about my kitchen. But I think a few additions would really make it better. Firstly, a larder would be nice. No more opened jars, bottles and what-nots messing up the counter-tops. A granite-topped island would be a great convenience for my baking venture. At the moment, I have to move stuff out onto the dining table. Quite a hassle...I must say! And to clean up all the baking mess, a pull-out spray kitchen faucet would certainly come in handy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hand me a NOOSE....

.....so that I can HANG myself!

Remember the 2-week no nagging/scolding/screaming rules?
Well, I sucked in sticking to it.
How to?
When you have kids that just refuse to listen. Refuse to just do what they are told?

BUT I am determined to stick to it now. How? When I failed miserably before?
Well, by NOT CARING.
It's only when you care, then you get upset, angry, sad, etc etc....
If you don't care, no feelings, emotions will ever be hurt.
Yes. I am hurt. So very hurt.
I feel that I really failed as a mother.
So.... I'm NOT going be one.
I will leave H to do whatever parenting he wants to do.
I will just go about my own business.

NO more waking them up in the morning. They can rely on their alarm clocks or whatever. I don't need to have angry grumpy faces greeting me in the morning for disturbing their slumber.

NO more sitting with them at breakfast. They can eat their breakfast. Don't eat their breakfast. I don't care. They can be hungry. Have gastric. No energy. No concentration. I don't care.

NO more reminding them if they did their homework or packed their bags. They can get punished by their teachers. They can do badly at school. I don't care. As H puts it. If they fail miserably in their studies, and fail to get into universities; we will save soooooooooo much money for our holidays around the world! Wooooo-Hooooo!!

NO more pushing them to go for Mandarin. If they feel they can excel in this world with just a singular language...then so be it.

NO more reminding them to go for music classes....nor to practise at home. No other skills?
No problemo.

NO more reminding them to go for swimming classes. Swimming is a life-skill...and I'm sure they are both proficient enough to save themselves if need be. Just thought that continuing this activitiy would improve their fitness levels, and build muscle mass. But heck! What adolescent want to have a BOD like a GREEK GOD, right? I'm sure they would be happy with skinny puny wimpy bodies....

NO more asking them to eat their vegetables nor vitamins or whatever. Who needs vegetables, right?

I could go ON and ON like an EverReady battery....but I think I will just stop now.

NO more CARING!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shouting and Nagging???

Remember my previous post about my boys??
Well. I donno how to describe BEYOND FED-UP.

This morning, I reminded S1 about his Saxophone lesson today. And he is to re-check the time so that he won't miss it. He thanked me for reminding him.
And guess what?
He did NOT bring his saxophone to school. So obviously did NOT go for the lesson.
When I queried him about it. He gave some stupid excuse about having some exam blah blah blah.
Stupid excuses to cover up his irresponsibilities.

Yesterday. I reminded S2 to pack his swimming gear for today. And asked him again this morning if he has packed his swimming gear. Answer was YES.
When he came home in the afternoon, I asked him if he went swimming today. He answered Yes. When I asked a few more questions. He was like err. ahh. I knew that he lied.
Then comes stupid excuses about NOT able to find goggles. No swimming cap blah blah blah.

What's with them?
I am really sooooooooooooooooo fed-up. I complained to H about HIS boys.
And he did give the boys an earful. Obviously -
Nudging gently doesn't work.
Nagging doesn't work.
Scolding doesn't work.
Screaming doesnt work.
So what works???

I don't know....
BUT I've been told to BACK-OFF by H for two weeks.
No Nagging.
No Scolding.
No Screaming.
Just tell ONCE and then leave it at that. Don't react. Just observe.
For two whole weeks.

Not only that. He told the boys that they could watch TV, Play games. Do whatever they want.
And what do I do?
Observe their level of responsibility.
Homework done?
Bags packed?
Things put away?

I really don't know how this works. But H is adamant that I do this. He says ALL my old ways obviously do NOT work. He said that I NAGGED too much and NOBODY pays attention to NAGGING... Sure I will be IGNORED. So NO NAGGING ever!

I am having problems coming to grips with this "arrangement". Well, they seem to be "behaving"so far this evening... as in doing what they are told. But that could be because H is the one that is doing the telling. But what happens when he travels for work?
H says I shouldn't REACT even if they do not do as they are told. Just observe....
Very very difficult to do.......

Wish me LUCK that I stay sane for the next two weeks....

Fried Foods....

My whole family just loves Fried Foods. I know. It's pretty fattening. My boys are fine, and still as skinny as ever.... as they are so active and can burn the extra calories off pretty easily.But what about me? I am not as active nor do I go to the gym often enough. So I try to limit the amount of fried foods in my house. Alternatively, I could indulge and then turn to diet pills for rescue!

Different This Year

How many of you out there is like me?
Hands Up.
Like me in what way? - I hear you ask.
Like me as in buying Christmas cards after Christmas when it is ON SALE.....and I keep them for a whole year till the NEXT Christmas.
Terrible. I know.
BUT this year, I am going to be DIFFERENT!
I will get personalized holiday photo cards specially made. It'll be a nice touch...and it won't be a year old!
Hahaha

Inventory of Belongings

Being an expat family, we move every few years from one country to another. With every move, there would be the usual packing and listing of our belongings. It's easy with the larger items such as furniture and appliances. But items like books, CDs and DVDs are a little bit more difficult to itemize. I was wondering if I could get a handheld barcode scanner to do the job. All my books, CDs, DVDs listed in a proper format. That would be great. Don't you think?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fuming Mad!

Fed-UP!
With whom?
My boys. Who else??
How do you get them to listen?????
I am just so tired of repeating myself. I am like a BROKEN RECORD that is going on and on and on. Everyday, there would be something that I need to reprimand over. As it is now, both of them are "GROUNDED", i.e. no TV nor computer...till end of this month.
Problem is that the school homework assignments require the use of the internet. Obviously I would have to give them access to the computer.
And what do I see when I do a spot check?
Behind the "homework" page, would be the online games page or email or facebook or whatever nonsense.

Permission is to be sought before the computer can be used. But no prizes for guessing whether they ask for permission prior to computer usage. I just don't understand. Is it so difficult to just ask?????
And I really hate it when they download all sorts of nonsense onto the computer...to the extend that it fouls out certain applications. S2 usually is the culprit. So much so that I had to bring the old DELL to be re-formatted as the whole hard drive was a real MESS!

And you know what? When I went to get something from my study room at 11-ish PM last night, I saw the computer was on. And what was on it? S2's Facebook page. I thought "Eh. The boys forgot to turn the computer off"...and then at the corner of my eye, I saw S2 trying a getaway or whatever he was doing. He actually sneaked out of his room to go on the computer.
No. 1 - He is supposed to be in bed....I tucked him into bed at 8.30 PM
No. 2 - He is NOT allowed the computer!
You say lah. ANGRY or not??

I hate doing it...but it seems that it is the only way. WATCH them like a HAWK!

When will we get a new car?

I don't know if I mentioned this before, .... that our car is leased on an annual basis. Therefore, we have an option to change at the end of each leasing period. Well, the time is now, but we are still waiting for a new car from the leasing company. I do not know what is taking them so long to execute the change. It's not that we are demanding a hard-to-get model nor state-of-the-art car accessories. We are not even demanding a brand new car. Just one that is newer than what we currently have. And one that doesn't have funny noises coming out of the engine. It's not too much to ask. Is it?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Six Nights in London...

I need to post about our trip here, otherwise by the time I do my scrapbooking pages, I would have forgotten everything and don't know how to do the journalling.

We arrived at London Stansted on Tuesday, 22nd September half an hour earlier than scheduled. As a result, we had to wait quite a while for our pre-booked taxi that we got from here. It is definitely cheaper than getting the Stansted Express. Not only that, it is so much more convenient as the train goes to Liverpool Street, and we would have to catch the tube to where we were staying. With the taxi, it drops us right in front of the doorstep of our serviced apartment. Booked into So Quartier at Kilburn Park via laterooms.com. It's quite a good rate at GBP 100/night for a serviced one-bedroom apartment. Boys slept on the sofabed out in the living room. Though located in Zone 2, we didn't spend that much extra as compared if we were to stay in a Zone 1 place. H and I each had Oyster Cards, and S1's off-peak travelcard was only GBP 1/- per day for all zones. S2 is free.

Now....let me see where we went.

Wednesday, 23rd - We went to the Tower of London. A guided tour by the Beefeaters is included in the ticket price. And whilst he was talking about Guy Fawkes, Ann Boleyn, Henry the VIII.... my smart alec S2 interrupted him and completed the sentence for him. Aiyo..... We later told him that people generally HATE smart alecs. Then H added "when dad was your age, I would drag the smart alecs to one corner and beat them up!" hahahahahhaha

The White Tower (I think) at The Tower of London


Then we crossed the Tower Bridge, towards London Dungeons. I have to say the London Dungeons is quite crap lah. If it weren't because we had to walk from one area to another, I'm sure I would have dozed-off!

Tower Bridge

Thursday, 24th - Boys started off the morning terrorizing the pigeons at Green Park. We then went to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben etc. We bought sandwiches and such and had brunch in St.James Park. Really nice and pleasant....sitting down and gazing at the greens and the birds and ducks. Boys? They had a blast here at St.James Park. Terrorizing the pigeons and the squirrels! I was wondering if the 'Against Cruelty to Animals' people were gonna come after us.

Ready. Get Set. Go!

Then it was time for Changing of the Guards. Whilst waiting, my S2 was whiney as ever....as it was quite warm. H asked if S2 is made of wax and is melting in the sun???

How often do you get such BLUE skies in London?

Crowds waiting for Changing of the Guards


We had pre-booked tickets to visit the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. The State Rooms were indeed grand. Can't take photos inside though... Only in the Gardens. We had some scones etc at the Palace's Cafe.

Buckingham Palace - The Rear

After the Palace Tour, off we went to BV at Sloan Street to get my birthday present from H. I seriously didn't want it....but he insisted. He had wanted to buy the bag for me since last year. But I kept insisting NO. Will post a pic later lah. And while we were there, my S1 had to go do his BIG BUSINESS. Aiyo....As it was a staff toilet, the salesguy had to literally WAIT outside the toilet for my S1 to finish with his poo. Yucks!

Friday, 25th - Think we visited the British Museum today... Not sure if the boys actually enjoyed themselves or not. But I did learn a little bit more about the Greeks at the free museum tour. The British Museum had so many statues that were taken from the Parthenon.When we were in Athens two years back, I remember the Acropolis Museum wanting the British Museum to return the artefacts....

And then to Covent Garden Market... Boys enjoyed themselves watching the different buskers. As usual, my S2 was picked by one of the magicians to do "magic". S2 was supposed to make some paper disappear, and while he wasn't looking, the guy threw the paper away (which everyone saw). But when S2 realised that the paper was gone, you could see a real surprised look....as if he believed the paper miraculously disappeared. The guy said " I love kids. They are so stupid". I have to say it was rather funny. As mentioned here, celebrated my birthday with dinner at Halepi with my sister G and her fiance.

Saturday, 26th - Had bought a REDUCED loaf of bread from Tescos so that boys could feed the ducks and swans over at Kensington Gardens. Warned them to feed far faaaaaaar away from me as I don't want the birds etc to come after me.

Boys running away from the birds...as they weren't fast enough with the feed
We then met with SH at Royal China for lunch. Her little one was not feeling well, so WK stayed at home and she drove down to London with her older one. After lunch, the boys wanted to go to the park to feed the ducks again. NO reduced bread. I was adamant at NOT paying full price for a loaf of bread meant for ducks ok!!!!! BUT H....as usual, spoiling the kids whenever.... bought a loaf of bread at GBP 1.09! This is really expensive for a loaf of bread. Even at UK standards! Even M&S bread is less than a pound at full price!!!!! Bleah...
As I was dishing out each piece of bread to the boys, I of course ngam-ngam-cham-cham. Bread is soooo soft, and I had to eat a bit of it. SH finds that amusing. But the bread is fresh what!
Princess of Wales Playground was the next stop. And what do you know??? My S2 gets himself "missing" inside. We couldn't find him. I knew he was in there somewhere (gated and fenced)....but not knowing where he was was not a pleasant feeling. Got so fed-up and dragged him out when we finally found him. Said our goodbyes with SH and then off to Oxford Circus as our musical Sister Act was to be at the London Paladium. Since there, thought...bring the boys to Hamleys. Soooo crowded. Told the boys to stay close. And what do you know? Just go in NOT even 2 minutes. I couldn't see the boys liow. I waited at the entrance/exit and H went round to look for them. Boy! Was I p!ssed with them. I was so mad that I told H to bring them back to the apartment, and I went off shopping on Oxford Street myself!
And what do you know? He took them back into Hamleys...and bought them each a weird looking frisbee. I wouldn't have bought the frisbee...cost over 10 quid EACH! Bought Two some more! Gila!
Really spoil them too much lah!!!!!!
Anyway, Sister Act was pretty good. Would be better if it had the main songs from the movie. Remember the one "Nothing you could do, could tear me away from My God. My God. " Well, it all consisted of new songs. I kept waiting and waiting for the familiar songs....thinking maybe Finale. But still tadaa. But boys enjoyed the show tremendously. Had made them watch the movie version in the morning (G brought the dvd to us on Friday) so that would at least know the storyline.

Sunday, 27th - G and R had volunteered to take the boys out to the museums. So met them at South Ken station. H and I hung out with them at the Natural History Museum for awhile, and then lunch at the pub before splitting.
Some Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum



Whilst H and I went shopping (not that we bought alot), G and R took the boys to the Science Museum. and then to the park. When I texted her later inquiring on their whereabouts, this was her reply "At the Thames, drowing your boys". I'm sure the boys must have somewhat drove them up the wall. Hahhaha. Anyway, we met them at the park again before heading off to dinner at Khans....where we met with my old friend D and his wife.

Monday, 28th - Decided to take the boys to Trafalgar Square for a look-see since they like to terrorize the pigeons so much. But to my surprise, the square is all cleaned up. You don't see big flocks like years ago.

Trafalgar Square

Also attempted to go to the Central Perk Cafe again. It is a 'pop-up' cafe to commemerate the 15th Anniversary of FRIENDS. It is only opened for two weeks, and is located near Carnaby Street. H took the boys there on Saturday, but the queue was too long. Thus didn't go in. So figured as this is a Monday, we might get a chance on entering. But no such luck. Queue was still way too long.

Central Perk


We went to Harrods for tea...which was really yummy. But expensive lor. Took boys to have a look at the pets department. Then the topic of US having a pet came up again. H wants one. But I seriously don't fancy a dog IN the house. Hair on my carpets. On my Sofa. And me being the cleaner running after the dog. Noooooooo Way! The pet accessories at Harrods are even nicer than people things...and even more expensive. I saw some dog cookies that cost more than the ones selling in the foodhall downstairs ok! Some people have too much money!

Anyway, we met D for drinks again in the afternoon, and chatted till about 7 pm! Boys were glued to their online games over at Whiteleys so was not complaining. In fact, they wanted to stay longer.

We only checked out of our apartment at 9 PM....paid an additional half-day so that we could at least have a shower before our flight out of Stansted at 1.30 AM on Tuesday, 29th.

Six nights in London was definitely enough. I seriously don't know what else to do in London if we were staying more days. In the morning, H and I were asking each other "where to go ah??". If we took trips outside of london, then perhaps more days needed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Four Nights in Rome

We arrived in Rome Ciampino at 9-ish am on Friday, 18th September 2009. We had a pre-booked limo from here. I would recommend them. We paid EUR 44 for a Mercedes E220 from Ciampino to the city center, which is cheaper than many other company's saloon (charges from EUR 60). It's only slightly more expensive than taking the buses/metro combo. Plus soooooo much more convenient. No need to LUG your luggage around....especially when you have loads and travelling with kids. We could load 2 large suitcases and 3 trolley hand-luggage in the boot of the car. 

We stayed in an apartment near the Colosseum (about 700 m) which was pretty convenient...especially the washer/dryer. Yes. I did washing!  There were restaurants and supermarket nearby for our meals. Yes. We cooked. Metro station about 500 m away if we wanna go further afield. Apparently, this area is NOT very desirable....Only found that out after we came back. But we all thought the area looked pretty decent. Didn't see any vagrants nor beggars....but lots of nuns though. Maybe that's why we could get a 2-bedroom apartment for EUR 110 a night? 

The weather in Rome was HOT. Hot as in T-shirts and shorts-type. H did give me a heads-up on the weather. Whilst I did pack T-shirts and shorts for the boys, I didn't do the same for myself. I thought I could tolerate the heat in my jeans and short-sleeved tops. Boy! Was I wrong. Soooooo hot. 

First place we visited was of course Colosseum....since it is so near. H and S2 actually went there 3 times! Once was to get the NIGHT view. But we only went INSIDE once. We bought Roma Passes (EUR 23 each. No discounts for kids) for all four of us. It allows FREE visit to the first two museums/archaeological site, discounts for subsequent sites and 3 days of transport within Rome. 

As the entry tickets to Colosseum is one of the most expensive, we used our Roma Passes here. The key advantage of having the pass is NOT having to queue at the normal ticket queue. We could just breeze past the loooooooooooooong line, swipe our passes and through the turnstiles. Speaking of queues, I HIGHLY recommend buying your Vatican Museum tickets ONLINE. The queues to enter the Vatican Museum is really really really crazily long. No joke. Thank goodness that we did buy our tickets online. It's a little bit more expensive but certainly worth it. When we were there, the queue to enter was literally snaking round the walls towards the entrance to St. Peters. It IS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG. That day, it was also drizzling. So can you imagine if you have to queue in the rain? Again, we bypassed the queue to a separate line into the Vatican Museums. I'm sure it would be at least TWO hours if we were to join the regular queue!!!

Anyway, here are some photos...

Colosseum

Our Shadows on the cobblestones by The Colosseum
(Nice? I am of course the one with the BIG handbag)

The Hole on the Roof of the Pantheon at Piazza Rotunda

Trevi Fountain @ Night

As you know, Angels & Demons (the movie) was just released NOT too long ago. Naturally, I wanted to go round to the places featured in the movie. Think we covered most of the sites except the Santa Maria Vittoria.  We did go to Piazza del Popolo...but didn't go into the Santa Maria del Popolo church to view the Chigi Chapel. The boys were all kinda restless by then...including the BIG boy, and was like going "Hurry UP lah!".  Even when we went to Piazza Navona,  H was like "Hurry Up. Nothing to see here!"Aduh!
We did manage to cover most key attractions in Rome including the Palatine Hill, Foro Romano, Spanish Steps, the "Wedding Cake" and those you see here. 


St. Peter's Square and Basilica

We did go down to the grottos where the popes were buried. Though I am not a Christian, somehow when we were standing in front of Pope John Paul II's crypt, with the very sad touching music, I started to tear. Anyway, we were at the Vatican City on a Sunday. Initially, we wanted to wait for the current Pope to come out and bless the people. But found out that he doesn't really "come out" and it's all done via video camera and giant screens. Thus, decided not to wait and give it a miss. When I was last in the Vatican City with H (many many years ago), Pope John Paul II did come out and blessed the crowd at the square. You could see him at the window...tiny but at least in real flesh. 

We headed out to Castel Sant Angelo. We used our Roma Passes here again. As this is not that popular, there weren't separate queues. Queues weren't long when we went. 

Castel Sant Angelo

The view at the top of the Castel is pretty good. Can see quite far afield. There's a bar/restaurant with great views. Naturally, we sat and had drinks. The boys had a field day here. Whilst H and I were enjoying our Frascati, the boys were doing their own exploring.... so much so that they became our "guides" to show us the frescos. They even guided an old English Couple up to the Fresco rooms when they couldn't find their way. 

We went to the Vatican Museums on Monday, 21st. And eventhough it was a Monday, queues were looooooooooooooong. With H, he was just interested to go and see ONE particular painting in the Sistene Chapel. So once we entered, we were like chasing train to reach the Sistene Chapel. Think we were like a tornado whirring through the halls of the Vatican Museum..... whizzing past the Rafael rooms even! We weren't allowed to take photographs in the Sistene Chapel....think the flash might spoil the frescos?
We really spent very little time in the Vatican Museum. I told H that if I had queued like everybody else, I would INSIST that we stay inside the Museum for at least 5 hours. Don't care whether I am admiring the masterpieces or sleeping in there.

Beautiful Ceilings in The Vatican Museum

Spiral Staircase at the Vatican Museum

H bought a book at the museum library that illustrates and explains the paintings in the Sistene Chapel. Only when we got home, he started reading it and then remarked "Aiya. Miss this one. Miss that one. Aiya....". Aiya here. Aiya there. Also too late liow...

Four nights is indeed enough for us. Again, we took a limo from the same company to the airport for our flight back to London. Will write about London in a separate post.

What I intend to wear....

Remember I posted about the GALA that I have to attend?

Well, today is Wednesday and I went back to buy the sparkly bag that I saw the other day.
Guess what??????
Its GONE!!!!!!!!!
ARGGGGGHHHHHH!!!


What to do????
Had to buy something else lah. Something that is NOT my first choice but "passable".
The others that I've seen were either worse-looking or waaaaaaaay too expensive.
This one was at 50% sale - USD 125 AFTER discount.
I don't know if I am still living in the DARK AGES or what.....as these days I ALWAYS get STICKER SHOCK everywhere I go!

Anyway, here is the bag with the dress that I am going to wear.

Bag is seen with my Sparkly Shoes and HairClip.

So...what do you think? Ok or not???
Not okay also MUST be okay lah. No time to search for alternative....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spoilt Kids!

It is only 12 days since we got home from our European vacation.
And you know what?
My kids are already inquiring about their NEXT vacation. And I think I heard my little one mention the United States. He thinks money grows on trees?
But knowing my H....he probably would bring them there. He just spoils them too much.
I supposed if the trip does happen, it'll probably be California and Las Vegas. Contrary to what many people may think, Vegas does have quite a lot of attractions catering to kids. I'll just have to get a family vegas vacation package that will make both the adults and kids happy.

Very Gross!

I have to post this... but it is kinda GILI!!!!!

Last Friday, after driving (golf) and lunch with my girlfriend; I had some time to kill before H comes over to pick me up from the mall. So... off I went to the shop to have an hour of foot reflexology. And with foot massages, I tend to doze-off. Then I sort of awaken but still eyes closed, I could feel the stupid guy's crotch rubbing on my foot! GILI or not??? Even as I am typing this out, I am "ta-lann-chann"-ing.
YUCKY! I didn't dare to open my eyes. Didn't know how to confront the idiot.
I contemplated on faking a sleep spasm with a strong jerk of my feet to kick him away. Also thought of pinching him with my toes (as my sisters always say my toe pinch is murderous!) but in the end I didn't. When I awoke, as in eyes WIDE OPEN, he stopped. I tell you ah...these people so GATAL lah. Like that also nice meh?
Some more my feet are NOT exactly the nicest of feet. Remember my "tai-koh-kar"??
They haven't totally healed.

When I saw H, I told him about it...and that I contemplated of pinching him.
And he was like "Yeah. Yeah. Why didn't you pinch him with your killer toes?"

Aiyerrr... feel so GILI... Yucks! This memory still gives me nightmares!!!
And worse...I suddenly remembered that when I was at college, similar thing happened to me. But that time, was my hand. Eeeeek!
I was on the tube going to college, one hand was holding the bar and the other was by my side. Tube was kinda full, and the idiot kept pressing his crotch on the back of my hand. Of course, I quickly moved it up and help the bar also lah....
I remembered that I tried telling my friend, KL about it during lectures. As she wanted to confirm what I was telling her and the lecturer was talking, she sketched a picture of p#n!s . I tell you... I burst out laughing so loudly in the middle of lecture.
When I told my aunt (Ah Kor), she said "Why didn't you turn your hand and squash it?"
Hahhahahahahah

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lots Happening...

Been really busy the last few days.


For one, I've been baking cupcakes. Go here, here, here and here.


Secondly, I had to go and inspect my teak furniture (dining table, S1's bed and chest of drawers). Ordered these about a month ago, and they were supposedly ready before the Raya holidays. When I went to inspect them then, they were not up to standard. Told them to re-do/correct them before I would accept the goods. With this recent inspection, I gave them the go-ahead to deliver yesterday.

With the impending delivery, I had to go out and hunt for a new mattress for S1. Had to decide whether to get a local brand or an imported one. At the end, I bought him a Slumberland...which was also delivered yesterday (Saturday). This morning, he said that he didn't sleep well as the mattress was too hard. He is just too used to the lousy cheapo foam Ikea mattress which didn't give him any support whatsoever.

And with the deliveries, there was a lot of re-arranging of furniture. I moved my existing dining table up to the study room....and now I have a "new" study table. The "old" study table moved down to the terrace. S1's old bed moved to the Study to be a pseudo-daybed (have to go out to buy some giant cushions to make it more daybed-like next week). S2's old bed out to the spare maid's room. Will post some pictures of the new additions later.


Been training the new maid (Yes. I have a live-in now. My part-timer) our regular recipes, routines, laundry etc etc... Hate it when they don't ask and proceed to do their way. And then end up with more chaos as we cannot find stuff!


Then there's my regular stuff like my painting class, scrapbooking group, gym visits, golf-driving....coupled with grocery shopping which I have to do more regular as I do not want to stuff the fridge with the recent frequent power cuts. It seems that a main transformer was burnt down while we were away, and the cuts will continue until they have it fixed. This is indeed a real bummer.


And then on Friday, H tells me that I have a Gala Dinner to attend. When?
Next Friday....the 16th!
I do NOT have anything to wear!!! Especially to a Gala. What do people wear to these things?
Dress code is Formal.
And ONE week left to prepare.
Bleah...
I've decided to just wear what I wore to my sister V's wedding last December. I will team it with a sparkly pair of shoes and bag....which I do not have. So off I went to look for them. Only managed to get a pair of shoes that was on SALE. As for the bag, looked at quite a few. The Rodo (Italian brand?) was like USD 1,000/- after sale. Then went to look at Gucci. Waliow! USD 2000/- for something that I would probably use once every FIVE years! No way that I was gonna get that!!
The cheap sparkly bags that cost around USD 30 - 50 just didn't look nice. Did see one.....which I thought was alright...but still cost about USD 110/-. Didn't get it yet. I will look around for a few more days... By Wednesday, if still can't find anything, will get that one lor...

Oktoberfest...

Eventhough we are 6000 miles away from Germany, the main social function in the month of October is still Oktoberfest. H's company had a number of tables at this function for some staff and customers, and I tagged along.

It's quite fun with singing and dancing...and lots of Heineken!


The ballroom is decorated like a tent
This is the band...
There was a lot of food....Halal and Non-Halal. Naturally, both H and I were only drawn to the Pork Knuckle, Pork Belly and myriad type of Sausages.

Some of the Yummy Pork Sausages
(There were more!!! I just didn't take the pics...)

We each got a MUG as door gifts, which we then use to FILL UP with Heineken.
This is what the night got to.... H jumping up on the table (on the right)dancing the night away. Unfortunately, it wasn't me (thank goodness) on the table dancing with him. It was a dude.... Hahhahahah

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Foods We Eat...

The main thing that one does during their holidays is of course EAT!
Since we were in two different cities, will post them in two different sections.

ROME
I have to say that the restaurant service in Rome is not that good. Or maybe I am just too used to the attentive staff of the restaurants here in Jakarta. And the funny thing about Rome is that you are charged a different price when you sit-down to dine. For example, there was this cafe which charges EUR 3 for a takeaway granita. And once you sit-down, the price shoots up to EUR 5. Gila!

We had quite a number of dinners inside our rented apartment...which was kinda nice. I would really recommend staying in an apartment when travelling with kids. It's so much more convenient. I could still feed the boys breakfast whilst still in my PJs! Hahahhaahah...
The supermarket nearby had roasted pork (Italian "Siew Yoke" as my sons put it) which was really yummy. Crispy skin and with layers of fat in between the meat! Heaven! We loved this so much that we had this two days in a row. We actually wanted to eat more of this on our last night, but it was sold out! The Parma Ham was also sooooo good. And the creamy fresh milk! The milk was really really good.....even the boys could tell the difference. They were kinda disappointed with the English milk when we were in London. :-D

There was this Cafe by the Vatican City that I felt was really really CUT-THROAT. All we had was 2 sandwiches, a plate of sausages, a bottle of Fanta and a cup of fruit salad. The bill came up to EUR 49!!!!! Really want to cut the tourists' throats! I forgot to jot down the name of this Cafe. Otherwise sure I will tell people NOT to go there!!!

Other restaurants that we patronised were not so terrible. We went to Galilei which was behind our apartment block.
We had Parma Ham, Spagetti Bolognese, Sausages, Aubergine Parmigiana and a big bottle of water....and the price was EUR 37. Compare this with the GILA Cafe above.

We basically ate in restaurants that are convenient to wherever we were....There were only a few that we selected specifically.

One was Armando Al Panthoen, which is located near the Pantheon. It is listed in TimeOut's Critic's Choice.
Can't remember exactly what we had. Think there was a Seafood Risotto, Spagetti Carbonara, Ravioli, A half-bottle of wine.... The food is okay lah. I think the Italian Food at Portovenere at the Ritz Carlton here in better.

The second place was..... San Crispino. It was touted as the BEST gelato in Rome, and some say Italy!
So of course must go and SAVOUR this gelato. It is located near the Trevi Fountain. It's NOT cheap. EUR 3 for a single-scoop cup. And it's not even full....as the base of the cup is slighly raised from the bottom! But what to do? The gelato is indeed pretty good. After tasting this, boys refused to EAT any other gelato....and we did go back another day. Talk about being spoilt!
(When you first enter, you probably go "Eh? Italian gelato or Indian??" as the staff's all Indian.hahahaahh)

Also, went to Caffe Greco, which is located on Via Condotti. Went there because it was in my DK Guide Book. Opened in 1760 by a Greek, and has been visited by Keats, Byron, Casanova, mad King Ludwig of Bavaria etc.
What's my verdict? Very expensive for so-so coffee! Even S1 said the coffee was not so nice. I had a hot latte, S1 had a cold latte (big boy already mah!) and S2 had a fresh orange juice....and the bill was EUR 23! EUR 7 for each coffee, and S2's orange juice was EUR 9! And that fella just gulped it down in like 5 seconds!!!!!!! Oh well....

LONDON
We had a couple of meals at our serviced apartment. Shepard's Pie, Cumberland Pie, Sandwiches, Pates etc. ...but not as often as I would like. I was looking forward to eating M&S's Chicken Kiev, and perhaps some big fat English sausages, but didn't managed to.

We had quite alot of sandwiches. H absolutely loves the Bacon & Egg sandwiches. I actually like BLT (bacon, lettuce & tomato). We had them in the park a few times. Lovely jubbly. How I miss that!

As you know, we went to Halepi over at Baywater for my birthday. My sister, G and her fiance R joined us. So it was Taramasalata, Hoummos, Lamb Souvla etc etc... with Chianti.

This trip, seems like eating alot of pies. I had pies for lunch both at Porters @ Covent Garden, and another pub (cannot remember name) @ South Ken.
But I have to say that the pies were pretty good at both places. (Except for S2's Shepard Pie at Porters. Don't know why it was soooo sour. Used too much vinegar. But couldn't really complain as it was free for kids)

And of course we had scones and cream! So yummilicious and absolutely FATTENING! At Harrods, we had a tier of scones and various other items - both sweet and savoury. Boys cleared the plate clean!
And then more sweet-things at the Cafe at Buckingham Palace. Yeah. Now I can say that I had tea (err..actually a latte) at the Queen's Residence!!!
Met my old friend D and his wife for an Indian dinner on Sunday night at Khans @ Baywater. Again, G and R joined us. We then had drinks at Whiteleys. You must be wondering how come my boys allowed us the time for drinks... Well, there was an internet kiosk at Whiteleys. Gave them 2 quid each to play their online games which accorded us 2 hours of chatting. :-)

Other places that we ate... some odd Japanese/fusion restaurant near Oxford Circus. Simply ate there because we needed to be quick in order to catch the 'Sister Act' musical.

And being the Chinese woman that I am...of course must go and eat CHINESE food. Went to meet my old friend SH (who drove down all the way from Oxford with her older son) at Royal China for dim sum; to Crispy Duck for crispy aromatic duck and crispy beef (I know. Very angmoh food. But suddenly reminiscent about student days) and to this other Chinese restaurant for KwayTeow and Noodles....
Okay lah. Brain not working already....

Bad Bad Scones!

Actually...I love SCONES! But they are kinda bad. Okay. Not exactly the scones....but the CREAM. Nothing beats a good scone with really THICK and fattening CREAM! So sinful but oh soooooooooo very yummy! Don't you agree? I had helpings and helpings of scones with thick rich clotted cream during my recent trip to London. The sad thing is that I've also put on a few kilos after this trip. Looks like I need to pop those weight loss pills to get back into my pre-vacation shape! (As if I had one before!?!?!)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Air Asia X to London Stansted

"So. How was Air Asia?"

This is the most frequent question that I received after my recent holiday. So, I guessed it is appropriate for me to have an entire post dedicated to Air Asia X!

Well, unless you are the few lucky ones who travel on business class on MAS or SIA normally; Air Asia X is really NO different.

I didn't take notice (blurr blurr), but H said that the seats are definitely bigger than the regular Air Asia seats., ie. comparable to the economy seats on SIA or MAS. The seats here are in a 2-4-2 configuration. If there's any indication to you, I actually fell asleep before the plane took off from Stansted Airport. Slept through take-off, and when I woke, there was only another 5 hours of flight time left. Errr...but I supposed pigs can sleep in cramped places too.

The only difference is that you need to purchase their comfort kit, food/drinks and rent their entertainment system....and of course for the check-in baggage and other extras, if required. We brought our own comfort kit, i.e. pillows and blanket and our own entertainment system (PSP, DS, iTouch, DVD player...) but did rent ONE entertainment unit at RM 30/- for the entire flight. The movies available were not extensive but satisfactory.

If you can get the Promo Rates on Air Asia X, it's definitely worth it. We paid RM 5,400/- for the four of us. KUL-STN return. This includes 4 x 15 kg bags, 4 x pre-booked seats, 4 x Meals.
Compare this with the RM 16,500/- on MAS for the same travel period.
Alot of difference, huh??
Errr...but our flights from CGK to KUL return on Air Asia were NOT cheap though. Cost us over RM 2,000 return for the four of us! What to do? Hari Raya period....
But overall, still cheaper. For the same period, fares from CGK to London on SIA would have cost about USD 5,000/-.

The only drawback is that the flight departure from Stansted is at 1.30 AM....and by the time we get to the airport for check-in, all the shops are already closed. So abit of a bore there.

Will I take Air Asia X again?
OF COURSE!

And did you know that they will be flying to San Fransisco soon?
To Oakland Airport....so.... USA...Here I come on Air Asia X!!!!

And since we are on the topic of budget airlines, might as well talk about Ryan Air. We flew Ryan Air from Stansted to Rome Ciampino. GBP 400 for the four of us. This includes 3 check-in bags. So again, cheaper than the normal airlines. Didn't pay for pre-book seats... It was free seating. Luckily, the toilets onboard are still FREE!
Drawback?
Had to walk out onto the tarmac to the planes. Thank goodness that it wasn't raining!
And Ciampino is a small boring airport (and I mean reeeeeaaaaaally boring). But who cares when you can fly cheap?

Coffee and Donuts!

Did you know that Coffee and Donuts really go well together?
Donuts are nice. Coffee is nice. But together....KAPOW!!!!
They are like MAGIC!
Actually, I do have two donuts in my fridge at this very moment.
Really tempting to sneak down to have a late night snack. If only I have a Nespresso machine to make me a nice cup of brew to go with my donuts.....

"Nothing like home"....

....that was what H said when he plonked himself on the sofa in-front of the telly last night.

Well, after two whole weeks away in Europe, I have to say that it was rather nice to be back home. Back to my own stuff, my own bathroom, my own bed etc etc.

The only bummer is the JET-LAG!
Went to bed about 11.30 pm last night. Woke up soooooo many times. And when I thought that I have woken up one too many times, I decided to look at the time. *Gulp* Only 1.30 AM. I thought it was already 4 AM or thereabouts. H was also up. We ended up watching telly till about 2-ish 3 AM. And what do you know....S1 was also up. He went to bed about 9 PM and woke up at about 1.30 AM too. As for S2, that fella did not go to bed even after I've tucked him in. He stayed up to read until about 3 AM!!
Regardless, I still woke them up at 6.00 AM for school the next morning. They told me that they DID fell asleep in class. Hahahahaha
Let them rest another day at home? No way jose! ....as they've already missed ONE whole week of school!

As for Me? I must be the luckiest ....as H puts it. At the airport yesterday, he told the boys "your mom is the luckiest amongst the four of us. She's going back to ALL the things she likes to do...her painting, her spas, her coffees and teas with her friends. Us? I have to go to work tomorrow. You boys got to go to school..." Heeee heee..
Indeed, after I put them on the school bus this morning, I crawled back to bed for some zzzzzz.
And boy! Did I really ZZzzZzzzZZZZ!!
I only woke up at 1.00 PM!!!!!
And even then, it wasn't because I've had enough sleep. It was because my air-con went off due to a scheduled power cut!!!
Talk about being Miss Piggy!!!!