Thursday, April 27, 2006

Weird things & Nice things! is a must-visit website. They've have very nice gift ideas and collectibles you won't find in our local mall. From unique monopoly sets, quirky cookie cutters to flip-flop fly swatters! I bet Kung-kung can make me one of those with cheap Japanese slippers.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Back From Bali

We had 4 days to explore Bali and do all the tourisy things people do. The weather was unpredictable, it rained in the evenings and it was generally hot in the afternoons. So you're either drenched in rain or in sweat. Discovery Kartika is the hotel we stayed in Kuta, a five star hotel with no bathtub! To Nigel's utmost dismay. But service is overall excellent! We actually felt safe in this district, security is at a maximum - they do check your bags when you enter established malls and hotels. (No, you won't find a chinese suicide bomber, here! WE LOVE OUR PORK!!)

That's mom and Nigel on the first day. The baby stroller has come a long way and after this trip I admit it's gone out of alignment and is rather rickety. We arrived at around 3pm and had a short stroll of Kuta street.

2nd Day - Ubud

Woke up early and booked ourselves a driver for the whole day for only rp300,000 (that's a whole wad of money, but in actual fact only costed us less than RM150 for the whole day).

First stop was at one of those many art galleries you'll find in Ubud. Here, you'll just do a quick round at the gallery and pretend to be interested in their paintings. Nothing interesting as they're quite commercial. Nigel however is interested to paint with the artist.

Pasar Ubud was our next stop. With the rain, the roads are just mucky and the market was not quite a good place to be after rain. Still - Mom bought a couple of bags for her friends. Will be posting our buys next time. Things here are at Rock bottom prices, that is if you know how to HAGGLE.
We got sandals and a toy clown for less than RM15 each.

Nigel is asleep here. We had to try their local Warung and Warung Murni is one of the oldest restaurants in Ubud with an incredible view of the forest with a running river below. The warung is 4-storeys and is tiered along the banks of a small river.

The view from the 2nd tier of the warung. Beautiful setting and relaxing atmosphere. Lot's of antiques and carvings from all over Asia.

The food is excellent too, pricey but worth the experience. Mom and I shared Bali's famous Bebek Bertutu, which means smoked wild duck in herbs and a frog leg stir-fry dish. Nigel had the grilled chicken fillet with potatoes and bacon bits. As passion fruit is found in abundance here (so is avocado) we had each a passion fruit cocktail. The whole entire meal costs around RM150.oo. Our driver friend (Pak Ketut) also ate with us, he ordered the humble Balinese Fried Rice.

Nigel finally awoke to a sumptious meal!

Omigosh! I totally forgot about our last stop at Tanah Lot. It's 13 km from Tabanan in the village of Beraban. When the tide is low you can actually walk to the temple. It looks like a floating temple when the tide is high. There are many caves under the temple and apparently peaceful snakes live within these eerie walls.

It's located 16 kilometers west of International Airport Ngurah Rai, or a 20 minutes drive through Sunset Road. Coming in from Java Island through Gilimanuk, and arriving at the Kediri intersection, at the Wisnu Murthi statue, turn right. In front of the Kediri police Station, turn left, and keep following this smooth road. In less than 10 minutes you will be there. Admission is Rp 1,000.- per person.
Of course we stayed away from the temple, extremely scary looking structure but people still throng to go inside to see sea snakes and whatever that lurkes inside the cave. We were more interested in the adjacent market which offers more BAGS!

Dinner was at the Hotel's beachfront. It was a barbecue dinner with a special Kecak performance. Nigel can demonstrate the dance quite funnily. It tells a legendary story and it took almost 1 hour to complete. Shooosh! Well, the dinner was around rp 129,000. That's around RM60 for quite a good spread and a 1-hour traditional dance-show. They serve pork and more pork at every meal. Our favourite is the crispy bacon at the breakfast buffet! The Balinese do love pork!

Day 3 - Bedugul

We hired the driver for one more day and this time he gave us a discount. rp250,000.
On our way, we stopped at Mengwi...

In the town of Mengwi is the great royal temple of Pura Taman Ayun. Built in the 17th century, the temple served as the family temple of the Mengwi dynasty, whose kingdom survived until the late 1800s. The temple is famous for its exquisite wooden merus, or pagoda-like shrines.

At the temple gates, only worshippers are allowed in and there is a notice that says if you are menstruating or bleeding from cuts you are strictly prohibited from entering. It's quite eerie inside.

Taman Ayun. Located in Mengwi and was the area of royal temple which is built in the year 1634, the temple consists of a forecourt, a central court and a spacious inner court. A lake of lotus surrounds the area of the temple, about 300 meters in the side of Mengwi Palace.

Mom insisted that I take this picture of her with the Rusa parasite plant above her. The rich soil of this volcanic island has given Bali an incredible display of flora. Everything here is the colour of dark green, lush and are all fruitful trees. Even moss looks attractive here. The artisans actually leave their carvings outside to attain the aged look.

A small village in the
central highlands east of Gunung Batur, as near to paradise as you can get. Good road to get there. At 2500 m above sea level, Bedugal is even higher than Kintamani. Lake Bratan fills the crater of G. Bratan. Children fish for minnows, and canoes cross the lake carrying firewood to villages on the far side. Take lakeside walks through pine forests with shrines along the shore. Chilly swimming. On a small promotory above the lake is peaceful Uludanu temple. Just below Bedugal is the market of Bukit Mungsu; sells live and stuffed birds (parrots and cuckoos), wild orchids, vegetables, pomegranates, corn-on-thecob. Many species of orchids are seen in the area of Lila Graha.

A view of a resort on the hills on our way up to Lake Bratan. The view is breathtaking and the rice terraces chart the hills around us.

The weather today was moody, so we managed to just stand on a floating wooden pier and just look out to the lake and hillsides before it poured - like a waterfall! Sorry no pictures here, Meow will kill me if I took his camera out in this weather.

We got back in time to scale Legian street. The wholesalers and manufacturers of Bali is situated here. I bought some nice souvenirs and headed back to the hotel to one of the best Italian dinners ever!

Nigel had his usual Fettucini Carbonara, I ordered the Lamb cutlet with mashed potato and capers, Mom had this incredible ravioli stuffed with wild mushrooms and macadamia nut. So, good the price didn't matter. They even have home-made ice-cream RM8 bucks a scoop!
I think the whole meal was around rp350,000. That's around RM150!

4th Day - Kuta Street and HOME!

After spending our morning exploring the rest of Kuta street and buying some souvenirs from Hard Rock Cafe, we packed to check-out by 2pm. Left the luggage at the lobby and headed to the swimming pool for the whole afternoon. Mom tried the traditional massage at 4pm and left us all alone at the pool.

As you can see, Nigel had the pool all to himself. A fresh coconut was just too irrisistable (even at rp30,000, that's RM15), so with the rest of my foreign currency we ended our trip with one good drink! Look at the presentation, balinese people are very articulate in their presentation of food, clothing and appearances. There is a passion in everything they do. They'll go the extra mile, just to make you smile.

Hey, sounds like a good tagline for Bali!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Malay Quote that cracked me up!

(Bagai beruk kena belacan) - Like a monkey who eats belacaan (a Malay traditional foodstuff; chilli paste which is pungent and spicy ala chili con carne). This means that a person is in a state of panic or hyperactivity, as a monkey would be shouting and screaming after eating said food.

Hahahahah! I can't stop laughing after reading this Malay proverb!

This site is really for Justin for his Bahasa Malaysia homework.

Good luck Justin!

Nigel's Artwork

Taught him to paint and he loves the idea of playing with goooey paints. Thanks to Auntie Josie's Christmas present, the tubs of finger paints have been really enjoyable. Good stuff!

Put on the floor to dry, dollops of paint have been pressed together and a wonderful motif appears. Voila! Art without even using his wee fingers.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Columbine Aquilegia

Fantasy-like. I fell in love with this purple bloom I found while browsing through the image banks for pictures of gardens for a project. I even found this fantastic idea for a garden. Grace, you've got to take some photos of your organic garden for my blog! Maybe add in some shots of your bugs as well?

Cheongsam Card for Allison

Especially for Allison from Singapore. The cheongsam card can be made in 5 easy steps. Hope the instructions will be of help. Have fun and God bless!

I think I'll email the instructions to you. It's kinda hard to post such a hi-res pic here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What is a dragon fruit?

Nope, it's not a mystical fruit from China. It's actually fruit from a cactus plant from Vietnam related to epiphyllum. Orhid cactuses with huge and incredibly beautiful flowers. Originaly from Central America, this thornless fruit has black seeds all over that looks like a kiwi fruit but the fruit is white or in a striking magenta colour. Nigel loves this fruit and he thinks its absolutely crazy in colour. It's pretty expensive, costing around RM3 and above for one little fruit. I still like our local Ciku fruit which my cousin Shanon thinks it really tastes like Caramel! Hmmmmm.......

My favourite things

Here's some of the soaps I have made in the previous year.
Thanks to Grace (my cousin) who brought the soap base from US and lugging the kilos for me!
Great feedbacks from family and friends who have used it, I think it's the quality of the base that makes it a great soap. Will be making somemore next week, going to Bali first for a holiday with Nigel and Mom!

I have also posted my two favourite bags I got from Bali in my last trip there and one from the Island Shop. ALL FOR LESS THAN RM18!!!

Any special orders? We're going next Monday for 4 days and Bali has got loads of these bags!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stan, The MAN.

Yep, that's right. He's the man. Have not found a recent photo of my husband. He's extremely camera shy and I think he said, "Don't put me in your Blog!". So, here's a couple of nice shots of him and Nigel without his permission.

This was taken when we went to Singapore for the weekend with grandma! He's one and a half years old and he's got that beatle hairstyle. Daddy's his personal hairstylist. I must say, my husband does a great job cutting his hair.

Anyway, Stan and his badminton buddies won a trophy playing in a local badminton tournament. It was two Sundays of extreme badmintonship. And they won RM200 as prize money, which they all spent for lunch! Each got a plastic medal and a cup to share.

We also visited the Singapore zoo and here's Stan holding on to an eager horse rider. Nigel is actually having a conversation with this horse.
I think this is the reason why he loves horses.

Horseriding in Penang can be costly. His two rounds around the beach costed RM45, but his picture here...priceless.

Look at him enjoy the scenery.

Nigel and Me

Imagine waking up at 5am to catch the 6am tour bus from Paiha to Cape Reinga. I still cannot pronouce that dang word! Here we are, all gloomy and sleepy and ready to fall asleep again on the tour!

Inbetween naps, we had a great time exploring the Northern island of New Zealand.

The family having a lunch break. Nigel is eating is veggies. What a view to accompany steak and home made sausages!

At Cape Reinga, at last! At the tip of the world, where the pacific ocean and the tasman sea meet. Even Nigel said, "Beautiful, see the sparkle on the water!".

Our Holiday in Auckland

Last year we went to New Zealand to attend my little sister's wedding. All the preparation took a whole year, we had to get her dress done here in Kuala Lumpur. For around RM2k the tailor did a fantastic job of a mermaid cut and embelished wedding dress. Nigel got his tux for half price, guess not many people would want their child to suffer in this hot tropical weather. New Zealand was a perfect venue for this type of attire. Here, you'll see him dressed up and on top of his Fav Uncle Meow's shoulders, by the way is also a clown by profession. The wedding venue was held at a vineyard in Matakana and was our first overseas wedding experience. The setting was just perfect, we have never seen so much rolling hills, sheep, greenery and blue skies before! Hmmm, City living is so busy and hectic, we are glad to be here.

That's my little sis, the newly wed are Meli and Richard Brown. A gorgeous couple!

My aunt baked the cake and we sort of decorated it with lilies and some beautiful lush greens from her garden. Beautiful flowers took our breath away, again, we've never seen an orange tree full of fruits, roses the size of Nigel's head and hedges that grow so ever neatly until we came to Auckland. It's really breathtaking and we'll be looking forward to our next visit, ehem... when a new member of the Brown family arrives!

Yeah, Po-poh will be esctatic!

Meet Nigel Ng

He's my three year old and the reason why I'm totally domesticated! Now at home, I do all the crazy stuff a full time mom does and all the crazy crafts you can think of. From soapmaking, scrapbooking to bag making, I love them all! So, if you're reading this and wish to share your passion...bring it on!

First day Blogging

Got hooked to blogging and just have this mad desire to join the crafters online. Will be posting crazy things here.