Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Good Virtues

Slightly late joining the bandwagon, but better late than never!

I first heard about Good Virtues Co. through a friend. She confessed that she bought it due to the very attractive packaging, but after using it for several months, she now swears by their face moisturizer and hair shampoo. Initially I wanted to try it out by buying it through her, but she told me that it was probably much faster for me to purchase it directly from Jaya Grocer, as they carried the basic range.

Alas, I completely forgot about the product until I received some samples in Aiden's graduation goody bag. Since I needed a small bottle of body wash for my business trip, I immediately grabbed the sample bottle and chucked it in my luggage.

I was extremely pleased upon using it for the first time. The smell was absolutely wonderful, and best of all, the smell remained on my skin even after stepping out of the shower. I couldn't really pinpoint what exactly it was, but thanks to Google, I discovered that the very unique smell probably came from their main ingredient - black seed oil, also known as Habbatus Sauda.

The smell was pretty damn amazing that after returning from my business trip, I went directly to Jaya Grocer and bought the biggest bottle I could find!

Other than the fact that Good Virtues Co products are Halal, free from Parabens, not tested on animals and all that jazz, I was even more impressed that the range is made in Malaysia! *proud smile* I love supporting local products!

I have yet to try out anything other than their body wash, but I was so attracted to the cute packaging that I bought their hair conditioner too. (I was nearly out of conditioner anyway.) I've never seen that much effort put into any other similar product packaging, so kudos to the creative entrepreneurs.

Pretty colours, cute packaging plus a catchy name to boot. 

If you've tried Good Virtues Co and have a product recommendation to make, do share. I'm not adventurous enough to try their facial products just yet, so a testimonial or two would probably help me change my mind.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Slow Work Week

Since I went gallivanting across Europe just a few weeks ago, it didn't feel right to apply for end year leave, especially for something that I do not celebrate (Christmas). Hence I am currently the last lady standing, holding the fort till everyone returns from their well deserved break.

Being the only one left at work, I am also responsible for keeping a watchful eye on progress at site. Despite it being a slow work week, it sucks (excuse my language) to have to be on standby at site. I've been spending the past few days in JB, waiting to attend site inspections that keeps getting postponed and having lavish sashimi dinners courtesy of the company credit card at Kampachi, JPO. (Can't really complain on the latter!)

Sashimi for me, myself and I.

Managed to bring the family over during the Christmas break. I promised the boss that I would be on standby and within driving distance, therefore we chose to go to Universal Studios Singapore! Our second trip there, and it really deserves a blogpost on its own.

Until the next blogpost, here's a picture of my daily outfit between hotel to site. OOTD lah konon. Who says you can't rock coveralls with a decent pair of flats and a cute sling bag (plus a very heavy laptop bag)?

Here's hoping that those long hours in coveralls will help me pay off those Gucci flats and Prada bag. *sigh* Once a shopaholic, always a shopaholic! How lah, to quit my job like this!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Obsession or Depression?

Have you ever been in this situation; you saw something you liked, but it wasn't available in your size or choice of colour, or simply did not meet your spending expenditure for the month? Well I have... And I would mope around until I either succumb to the temptation, or manage to talk myself out of it (the latter rarely happens). Or, if it didn't come in my size/colour or was sold out, I would drive around to every single shop that carried the same thing until I found it. I would be so totally consumed and obsessed at the task at hand, that nothing else mattered. (Here are some real life examples: I drove to 7 Mr DIY's to get matching colour pouches for Aiden's birthday. I drove to multiple grocery shops including 3 Tesco Extras to get a Star Wars lunch box which came free with every purchase of a particular cereal. I called ahead and went to every single Isetan departmental store to hunt for the size of a top that I really wanted.)

The sense of triumph that came with every accomplished mission, is amazing! But, did you know that compulsive spending is a sign of mental illness? Depression runs in my family, therefore sometimes when I put this much dedication in something, I always wonder. Is this the illness talking or issit just pure drive and dedication? I guess there is always a fine line between good and evil. *sigh*

Well, here's my most recent obsession - completing my Shell Lego collection. *smacks forehead* Back in 2012, I made the silly mistake of taking it so lightly... at the end of the campaign I had to join a longggggg queue at the lobby of Shell House to get my hand on the missing cars from my collection. To date, I am still looking for the 2012 collector's case! (Anyone wants to sell???)

My incomplete set.

This time, I made sure I got my hands on every single Lego car as soon as it was released. While I was away, I even left some money with a friend so that she could buy it on my behalf. As soon as I arrived in sunny ol' Malaysia, it was a day before the final release - the limited edition Shell tanker. But, guess what? Jet lag got the best of me and I overslept; by the time I got to the station it was completely sold out!!! *cries*

Since then, I have traversed through multiple Shell stations, on the hunt for the elusive Shell Lego tanker. I've also been contemplating bidding on a the tanker online. (Have you seen the price of the tanker on the online websites??!!) Well, just my luck, the office recently had an internal contest. Take a creative photo of any of the Shell Lego models. Best picture wins the full Shell Lego collection and the collector case, including the over glorified Shell tanker! Poor Hubby was subjected to several nights of being my designated photographer.

Borrowed a neighbour's Shell Lego tanker, just to lepas geram!

To enter the competition, I have to publish my photo online with the hashtag #ReadySetBuild and set my FB/IG to public. Hence, my IG is now open to public so feel free to add me! *chuckles* Anyway, here are some of my entries for the competition:

Alhamdulillah, my drive and dedication paid off. I was just announced as one of the winners for the last week of the contest! *yeayyyyyy*

The picture that I least expected to win, proved me wrong!!!

So I'm a happy girl today! Totally made my day. Shell Lego tanker, I am soooo ready to receive you! I promise, I will give you a happy home. *chuckles

So now that that obsession is over, it's probably time to dwell on my next obsession. Now... how do I get my hands on that 2012 Shell Lego collector case.......... hmmmmmm......

Aiden accompanied me on a late night impromptu visit to the office, and insisted on a photo with this chap in the lobby.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

464 Emails and Counting...

Today marks my first day back in the office. A few of my colleagues jokingly asked, "Why are you back?" (as they were expecting me to continue my break with the impending Christmas holidays). I simply shrugged and answered, "I didn't want to, until I realized I had to pay my credit card bills!" *chuckles*

It is definitely good to be back. I turned on the video as soon as we pulled up to the house gate. My maid opened the door with Ian in her arms. And that grin he gave us... It was so contagious! He was super excited, started pointing to Lightning McQueen on his shirt, to the garden, to something in the horizon... His mouth was chattering baby talk non stop. I took him in my arms, gave him a few sloppy kisses then put him down. He started pulling me towards the door, then he pulled on my shoes to force me to take them off. I took off my shoes... And he started tugging on my socks!!! It was so adorable and funny. I took my socks off and walked in. But instead of walking in, he slipped his feet into his Crocs and pulled my hand towards the garden. He wanted to play a game of ball! *grins*

Aiden on the other hand arrived a few minutes later. He had slept at my in-laws and was holding a week's worth of arts and crafts activities in a box. Barely gave me a once over (jual mahal la konon) and walked in to put the box down. But when I pulled him and engulfed him in a bigggggg hug, he finally succumbed and baru nak tunjuk manja. Hahaha!

Anyway, I'm still sorting out through all the dirty clothes, the souvenirs, the chocolates and of course, the work emails. So give me some time to get myself on track before I start blogging religiously again.

I'll end with a picture of one of the perfume sets that I purchased at the CDG airport departure terminal. Excellent Christmas sales; not only were the perfume sets on 20% off, they even engraved my name on my favourite perfume! I even managed a last minute shopping spree before we left for good - a Laduree macaron keychain which I've been eyeing for a longgggg time.

Till next time, thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another Short Update, Florence to Paris!

Drafting this in a ~2 hour flight from Florence to Paris. Our flight was to leave at 7am sharp hence we've been awake since 430am to make it to the airport in good time. *sleepy* The line at the Air France counter was extremely long, and I was nervous and fidgety during the entire wait. Why nervous? We were slightly above the 20kg baggage limit on both of our check-in luggages, and I really didn't fancy having to repack or dump stuff at the counter.

Alhamdulillah, the lady barely blinked an eye at our luggage weight (I later found out that the absolute max was 23kg anyway), and even offered to put our hand carry in the check in for free. When we declined (takut woooo check in bag Chanel and Dior!), she insisted on weighing our handcarry and even asked us to place our bag in the handcarry dimension checker. We were 1kg over the handcarry limit but she let us off. *pheww*

Anyway, that is over and done with. We are currently on the last leg of our 10th anniversary honeymoon. We leave Paris for KL tomorrow! *sob sob* So here's a short recap of Florence before our trip ends for good!

I really can't find a word for Florence. If Venice was romantic and Rome was historical, well Florence is erm erm a shopaholic's dream? Ok the Florence marble duomo is beautiful and the view of the city from atop Piazzale Michelangelo was magnificent. But the thing that excited me most about Florence was the outlet shopping! *giggles*

We took the first bus in the morning to The Mall. There was already a long line in front of the Prada store. Once you enter, you will be given a number. Browse around for whatever interests you then simply ask the SA to scan the item you want to your number. My tip, book your items, exit the store and visit other brands, then come back and buy it after you are really satisfied that there isn't anything else that can replace your earlier choice. Because Prada is so big that sometimes it can be slightly overwhelming. They hold your items for about two hours anyway, so you've got plenty of time to decide on your purchase.

My damage? Two Prada bags, one Prada wallet, one Dior shopping tote, two Ferragamo heels and one Gucci flats. #imsobroke #hellomeemaggi

On our second day in Florence, we made a trip to visit Pisa. Took a train there, and as we were walking towards the train platform, a 'friendly' Italian lady asked whether we had validated our tickets. Failure to validate could cost us a fine of €50 per ticket. She helped us validate our tickets and even showed us to our seats. Andddddd as expected, she wanted to be paid for her 'services'. Uuurrgghh!!! We gave her some money but she simply refused to leave until we gave her more. She kept saying that she saved us from having to pay a 'fine'. (Takde conductor check pun during the trip pegi and balik!) She finally left after we gave her a few additional 10 euros. *shakes head* Lesson learnt!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was... really senget!!! When I saw it, I marveled at how it can still stay vertical, and how people dared to climb up! The fact that the tower is still standing, is a result of either genius engineering or pure sheer luck. The one classic photo you must take whenever you are in Pisa is a photo of yourself trying to push the tower straight. Expect a couple of jokers in the area to slap your hand 'hi-5' style when you are doing this pose! *chuckles*

Anyway, that's all for now. Plane is landing in Paris soon. We're staying right smack beside the Eiffel Tower so hopefully our hotel room gives us a good view. Tomorrow we're taking the morning flight back to KL; wish us luck with the VAT claims! Can't wait to meet the kids; Aiden is already counting the days till we get back. Ian on the other hand, (whenever he agrees to talk on the phone) will only manage a "Heyooo, Babaiiiiii". *rindu*

Till next time, Ciao!

With love from Florence,

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Super Short Update, Venice to Rome!

Hello! I'm stuck in another train from Rome to Florence. This train is less than 2 hours long, therefore this post will definitely be shorter than the previous one I wrote, enroute to Rome.

There is only one word for Venice - romantic! The canals, the piazzas, the arts... I can't exactly pinpoint what exactly it is, but it is breathtakingly beautiful. Everyone travels either by walking or by boats; water taxis, water buses, gondolas, speedboats etc.

A gondola ride is not cheap. But if you've already spent a bomb flying to Italy, you might as well spend a bomb on a gondola ride too. Gondoliers have to be licensed and prices start at €80 for half hour - a round trip from the Grand Canal through a smaller canal and then back. We decided to 'upgrade' our ride to a package that went through smaller, quieter canals... And it was incredibly romantic. It was so quiet, the only sound you could hear was the gondola oars passing through the water. *sigh* Oh, and our gondolier sang too!

Other than that, Venice is interesting to explore as well. Hubby is a great navigator hence we threw the map away and simply walked around. There was always an interesting shop or two on each street turn we made. Our feet ached like mad every night, but we found so many great souvenirs along the way that made it all worth it. We also made a special morning trip to the Rialto market plus we had our first Italian gelato and aglio olio too!

Rome on the other hand, is all about the rich history. We took a guided walking tour to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It was certainly worth every penny! Our guide was very enthusiastic and had a wealth of knowledge about the Roman Empire. Using visuals from books and even her iPad, she helped us visualize how the original structures used to look like. Frankly, without her, the ruins would be, well... to put it mildly, just a pile of rocks!

The Trevi Fountain was extremely impressive to my eyes. I've seen the Trevi Fountain in the Lizzie McGuire movie - but I never expected the fountain to be that ginormous! As soon as I saw it, I was speechless in awe. The view at night was especially stunning and simply magnificent.

That's all for now. Can't wait to explore Florence. Looking forward to some shopping at The Mall too. Outlet shopping for Prada, Dior, Ferragamo and Bottega... It's like a shopaholic's dream come true! Wish me luck with the shopping!

Till next time, Ciao!

With love from Rome,

Friday, December 4, 2015

Short Update, Swiss to Italy!

Currently stuck on a 4-hour train from Venice to Rome. Since the train has WiFi for a charge of only €1cent, here I am!

Since we left Paris, we did two days in Swiss including one day in Jungfraujoch - the top of Europe, a short 5 hour stopover in Milan and then three days in beautiful Venice.

Swiss was absolutely breathtaking. Beautiful mountain alps and pine trees covered in snow, quaint wooden cottages with fresh logs outside and smoke puffing out of their chimneys, yummy hot chocolate, and best of all - everyone speaks English and are oh so friendly!

I can gladly attest to their kind souls, as Hubby and I made the silly mistake of going on the wrong train on our way to Milan. The train was supposed to leave at 805am. At 802am, a train pulled up to the station so we hurriedly boarded the train as we only had 3 minutes before the train left. Well the train left at 804am, to make way for the 805am train. We were on the wrong train!!!

Due to our silly mistake, we subsequently missed all our connecting trains. Gambled our luck and boarded the train ticketless all the way to the Swiss-Italy border. Each train we went on, we looked for the ticket controller and explained to him our predicament. Each time we were allowed to stay on free! Only at the last station, since it was going to cross a country border, the ticket controller sold to us half price supplementary tickets. To the Swiss, we are forever in debt!

Arrived in Milan an hour later than planned. Good thing we had planned for a six hour stopover anyway, so we could still catch up with our train to Venice. In Milan, we made a quick trip to the Duomo and had a very satisfying lunch at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Our first pizza and pasta in Italy!

It was almost dark when we arrived in Venice. But contrary to Interlaken which closes down sharp at 630pm, the Venice streets were abuzz with activity! Night markets and pretty shops with plenty of small lanes to explore and discover.

I'll save the Venice story for another post (whenever I get WiFi!) but I'll end with a photo of Venice at dawn. Subuh di Venice:

Till next time, Ciao!

With love from Venice,

Monday, November 30, 2015

Best Birthday Present Ever...

My maiden purchase at 31, Rue Cambon. The Chanel mothership! And a picture at the iconic Mademoiselle Coco Chanel staircase. Happy birthday to me *smiles*

Oh, waking up on your birthday to a view of the Swiss mountains is not too shabby either. Until I find the time to blog again (or a decent WiFi connection), Ciao!!!

With love from Switzerland,

Officially a Terrible Two!

The terrible two grin...

Happy birthday Ian! Yes, yes we're probably a day late but due to the time zone difference, we're technically still wishing you on the 29th of November. #sorrybaby

Mummy and Daddy miss you and Abang Aiden terribly. We hope both of you are behaving, eating and sleeping well. Love you, baby!

XOXO with love from Switzerland,
Mummy & Daddy

P.S: Happy birthday to me too! Oh, and my dad too! Three generations share the same birthdate, isn't that such a rare coincidence?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

One Day Away From Turning Two!

This is a scheduled post. When you read this post, Hubby and I are probably gazing lovingly into each other's eyes at the top of Eiffel Tower. Notttttt!!! *wishful thinking* Okay we'll probably be doing some PDA but I'll keep it hush hush. *giggles*

So you're probably thinking... "What??? She didn't stay around for Ian's birthday and went for a holiday with her husband without the kids?" Well, in case you forgot, it is also my birthday. Plus our 10th wedding anniversary. Also, the choice of dates wasn't our preference. Unfortunately if we were to leave any later, we would only depart for home a week before Christmas, and you know how crazy ticket prices are as people scramble to get home to their loved ones for the holidays. 

Anyway, it is a day away from Ian's birthday... and I have definitely been procrastinating his milestone reviews. So here goes... Ian at 19 months up until 23 months old!

Ian at 19 Months
Loves to point out animals. Knows how to say "irddddd" while pointing to the birds in the garden. Sometimes he even roars at them as if to shoo them away. In fact he even roars at cats. In the early month, everything moving was called a "bird" but by the end of the month he could actually differentiate between a bird and a cat. Hence 4th word bird and 5th word cat! Also, after the Friso Yes Experiment, I have been quite open about Ian touching cats. So here's Ian hugging a cat:

Check out Ian's confident face, hugging the poor cat!

Knows how to shake his head "No". For instance, if we ask "Susu?" He would then shake his head. Doesn't know how to nod his head yet though! That would be super helpful!

Since Aiden likes to put his colour changer cars in the fridge (for them to change colour), in the spirit of monkey see monkey do, Ian once opened the fridge and placed his toy car in there too! He also loves to play with a set of magnetic hot wheel cars, and he likes to zoom them on the TV panel. Once, he cleverly stuck them to the staircase gate! #suchaboy

Kissing spiderman!

Understand the word duduk (at the dining table) and when we say "Read doa" he would put both palms out and then wipe his palms to his face. Once, the maid handed him a freshly fried nugget. It was slightly warm and he said "ottttt" (hot) and passed it back to the maid. Hence 6th word - hot!

Fights with his brother! Knows how to stand up for his right too! It seems that my second born is very strong minded. He doesn't mind screaming out and pulling his toy away from Aiden. Poor Aiden always have to give in. I feel sorry for Aiden sometimes.

But they are still the best of friends!

Whenever Hubby comes home, he would pick up Hubby's shoes off the floor, carry it to the store, open the store door and deposit it inside. So helpful! Ian is also tall enough to open the front door and master bedroom door so we have to latch the upper lock to ensure he doesn't open it and run out!

Other oh-so-random things: Sprouted his first molar. Loves it when we play with his ear. Once he even fell asleep! Whenever he hears an airplane roaring in the sky, he would enthusiastically point it out. In a phase of walking on tiptoes. So weird! And last but not least, knows how to play Flappy Bird on my iPhone! *chuckles*

Ian at 20 Months
When prompted "Daaaa diiii", he would imitate it quite clearly. But when prompted "Maaa miiii", he would laugh hysterically instead. I got quite upset that he managed to say Daddy first before Mummy, but that all flew out the window when on the 10th of August he magically said "Maaaammmm meeehhhhh" (say this with an American accent please!) However, he only says this whenever he is in distress such as when a Lego piece comes apart, or the Elmo song he's watching on YouTube is interrupted by an advert. But still, it is so satisfying to be wanted! Now it's Daddy's turn to be jealous!

Started detesting food. Really hates eating. He literally survived (and still is surviving) on milk nowadays. Turning into quite the picky eater too. He'll still eat nuggets, churros and such, but he has a bad habit of eating a bite, putting it down and taking another one. However, if I'm preparing food in the dry kitchen and it happens to be something he wants to try, he would say "Nak!!" And would promptly sit on the kitchen floor! Like dan dan tuh nak makan type of reaction. Happens especially when I take out chocolates from the fridge! *giggles*

Chocoholic! Enjoying the chocolate fountain at Pullman Bangsar.

You know that whole thing about playing with his ear to get him to sleep? Well it doesn't work all the time anymore! Sometimes, Whenever we try it out he would push our finger away in irritation.

Other oh-so-random things: Found his shrieking voice. A lot of high pitch squeals were heard this month. Two molars on top and one left below. Lower right molar came out at the end of the month too!

At the end of the month, we transitioned Aiden and Ian together on the same bed (a queen mattress on the floor by our bed). However, the past few mornings after that, I discovered either Ian on our bed (he climbed up) or me on his bed (he cried during the night and I climbed down to comfort him). And it seems like dia tak lena tido and is always whimpering in his sleep. *sigh* Any ideas how to solve this?

Doctor Ian and his morning mata sepet face.

Ian at 21 Months
Knows how to show excitement... For instance if I place a plate of food in front of him or open a new toy, or even when watching an action movie (like an explosion or something) he would make a surprised excited sound like "huhhhh!!!" (Gasp!)

Knows how to call for us. He would wave his fingers (just his fingers, not the hand) and if we do not follow he would walk up, pull your hand/shirt/pants and drag you with him. If you give him your hand, he would grasp it hard and pull you towards wherever he wants to go. Usually he wants us to change the TV channel, open the fridge door (for UHT milk) or sometimes just to teman him duduk in front of the TV.

I finally figured out the whole "Nak" business. If he says "nak" and I point to something he doesn't want, he would shake his head (no) or say "No". When I finally point to the thing that he wants, he would say "yeayyy". Hence cheering is code for "Yes"!

This month, Ian figured out how to demand for the phone. Because he now knows how to turn on YouTube, scroll and 'choose' a video to his liking. So now I have to resort to hiding my phone or resort to berebut with him. Tried hiding the YouTube app icon in a folder, but somehow he would figure it out. And the thing is, he doesn't just settle for one video. He would literally YouTube surf, jumping from one video to another sometimes without even waiting for the one he chose to load. Once, he actually used up all of my 2GB data in just one night!!!

*sigh* Mummy needs a new data plan...

Such a picky eater!!! Ohemgeeee... he refuses any rice or Cerelac. Barely eats anything nowadays and practically surviving on milk, fries and Oreos. *shakes head in dismay*

Ian had a slight boo boo on his arm the other day. When I first saw the boo boo, I exclaimed "Ian, what happened???" And since then, every time I ask "What happened?" He would twist his arm to show his boo boo. And he would insist on showing everyone his boo boo too!

Ian at 22 Months
This month, I am more confident in letting him climb the stairs unsupervised. Previously there was always an adult right behind him, getting ready to play catch just in case he falls.

He can finally sleep with his Abang now! All I need to do is lie in the middle of my two boys, wait for them to sleep then jump into my own bed. Well of course there are days when Ian would cry. And he is still as buas as ever, so poor Aiden is now bearing the kicks at the shins and legs on the face kinda moves. However something new to note is he still wants someone to play with his ears to sleep, and he will actually lift your hand to his ears to indicate he wants it; and sometimes he even moves your hand to the other ear if he feels that that ear has had enough! Anddddd he still insists on putting his foot or his hand under my top to sleep. It has become a bad habit! *uuurrrggghhh*

Same sleeping pattern. And the next minute, he's already on the opposite of his Abang.

He is adding more words to his vocabulary this month! He loves imitating our words and can clearly say "Mami" and "Dedd di". Whenever we ask "Where is... *insert person or toy or whatever here*?", he would whip his head around and point to the correct person/thing and enthusiastically say "There!" Sometimes if Hubby is not around and I ask "Where is Daddy?", he'll answer "Werkk" (work). *too cute*

Once I called out to him, "Ian!". Imagine my surprise when he looked up and answered "Whaaaaatttt?" *giggles* Aiden certainly taught him well in that department! He can sort of say his own name as well. It's not very clear but more of an "Eehhh-yeannnn".

Other oh-so-random things: Loves to build towers using Lego Duplo and will request for everyone to look at his creation and give him some applause. Knows which one is our car. Whenever we go out and we walk back to the car, he would enthusiastically point it out.

Ian at 23 Months
This month he is communicating more. Adding more one-syllable words to his vocab. Such as ball, dog etc. If he wants something and we pass it to him, he says "You" (thank you). Oh so polite! *giggles*

Tons of funny expressions too. Sometimes if he sees something catastrophic on TV, he would say "Oh noooo" (such a drama king). Once his shoe fell off his foot and he exclaimed "Oh man!!!" *chuckles* Loves handling the camera too. Whenever he gets his hand on my phone or my camera, he would immediately put it to his eyes and say "Cheese!!!" Enjoys turning on my camera and taking selfies too!

"Cheese, Ian!"

Knows who everyone is. Whenever we ask where is Kakak, Abang, Mummy, Daddy or even the TV, he is able to point it out correctly. If we ask "Where is Ian?", he would eagerly point to himself. If Hubby is at work and we ask where Daddy is, he would turn his palms out and ask, "Where?" He can also identify basic body parts. When we ask "Where is your nose?", he can do so correctly. He can also correctly identify his eyes and mouth, but sometimes he mixes up hair and hand.

Knows the farewell rituals. When prompted, he would salam, say bye and give two flying kisses. Must always be two. Never one. He also knows how to inform whenever he does number two! We usually call it poopoo but he pronounces it as "baabook". He would come up to either the maid or me and say "Baabook" while pointing to his backside.

Cries whenever we leave the house. If he happens to wake up early and Aiden is leaving for school in the van, he would bawl his eyes out. Poor maid would always have to sorok him upstairs or at the back kitchen if we have to leave the house without him.

Other oh-so-random things: Loves singing. Favourite songs are Frozen's "Let It Go" and Tayo the Bus' "Hey Tayo". Loves dancing to Hi-5 and humming to Pororo too. Still enjoys walking on tiptoes sometimes. More and more teeth sprouting out that I can't keep track anymore!

And that brings us to the end of his 23rd month. One more day to hitting the Terrible Twos! *chuckles* We love you, Ian!

Friday, November 27, 2015

It Has Been 7 Years Since Our Last Honeymoon...

... and now we are finally on our way for our very first honeymoon, post having kids!!!

Of course, it wasn't exactly an easy decision to leave the kids at home. So to avoid feeling guilty, I came up with the idea of giving them one present per day. Wrapped them all up with kertas kajang (plus some love notes!) and labeled it according to the date to be opened. I had a whole system okay; alternating between toys and books throughout the whole period.

Love packages.

After we had done all the packing and labeling, we called Aiden out and showed him his stash of presents. Ohhhh he got so excited! Hilang terus sedih Mummy and Daddy nak pegi. We then asked him, "How do you feel about Mummy and Daddy leaving?" He cheekily responded, "Excited!!!" *face palm*

Oh well, at least the plan worked.

Wish us a safe journey to our destination, and back. InsyaAllah *smiles*

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy 34th Birthday Dear Hubby!

One more sleep before we leave, and I just realized that I completely forgot to blog about Hubby's birthday. Hubby has been particularly busy at the office, especially since he needed to close out a bulk of his work before the holiday. On the other hand, I was completely swamped with Aiden's graduation, my cousin's wedding and of course, my own work.

To be honest, I didn't put much effort in his birthday this year. I even provided a disclaimer; for him to redeem his birthday present when we go on our holiday. I only remembered to get him a cake as I was picking up Salted Caramel cupcakes from One Serambi cafe, who was sponsoring those cupcakes for the graduation bake sale. Since the Salted Caramel cupcakes were sooooo good, I decided to buy a whole cake for him!

Salted caramel cake from One Serambi Cafe. It was soooo good!

Next, a card! Can you believe I had to resort to a Mydin bought card for him this year? Best part... the card was in Malay. And you know how jiwang Malay cards are!!! Let me give you a taste of it:

Hubby actually forced me to read this card out loud to him, dengan penuh perasaan! *giggles*

We celebrated his birthday at my in-laws. Of course, Aiden and Ian insisted on sharing the limelight. Oh, and the cake was soooooo good, that my in-laws requested that we leave half of the cake for them to consume separately. Seriously, if there is one cake that you must try in your lifetime, it will be the One Serambi Salted Caramel cake. It is to die for!!!

Happy 34th birthday, Daddy!

Ian was already putting his hand inside his mouth, anticipating the delicious cake!

The next day (his actual birth date), hubby pulled another late night at the office, so I decided to tapau his favourite Ayers Rock steak for dinner. Plus a slice of Nutella Cheese Tart courtesy of the bake sale, sponsored by Tryst cafe (Hideout's sister cafe) in Shah Alam.

My first time tapau-ing steak home. Definitely not as good as eating in at the restaurant.

A slice of cake for his actual birthdate. 

Happy 34th birthday Hubby. You are one year away from being labelled mid-thirties! With much love, from your wife and kids.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Aiden's Graduation Dinner

Two more sleeps before we leave for our 10th anniversary trip. But I simply must recap Aiden's graduation before we leave. So here goes!

Unlike most other kindergartens, Aiden's kindergarten does not conduct their graduation after the concert. It is done in a separate formal black tie sit down dinner, just for the six year olds and their parents. And unlike any other dinners, this dinner is hosted by the Parents Support Group also known as the Graduation Dinner committee.

When I received the call from the principal, inviting me to join the committee, I said yes without much hesitation. Maybe because I did not expect it to be much work. Perhaps some meetings and minor organization. I even dragged Dayang into the whole thing. Little did I know that we were going to be solely responsible for the dinner. The school handles the logistics (event run, performance, dinner and venue) but everything extra has to be by the committee.

To start, we had plenty of ideas, but zero money to work with. Hence we ran a sponsorship drive. Dayang and I drafted a sponsorship appeal letter and the school made sure it was circulated to all the graduating students. The following week, I met with the rest of the committee for the first time. It was also the day we received our first sponsorship cheque. We were delirious with happiness! Soon, some parents started approaching us to sponsor baked goods, so I hatched the idea of running a bake sale. We circulated pre-order forms and ran the sale for 4 days. I met with so many enthusiastic parents then - some wanted to buy cupcakes for their child's entire class, some gave contributions without even a cupcake in return. You can read more about the bake sale preparation here. Alhamdulillah, it was a major success!

With the money in hand, we started working on mementos for graduating class. First priority was the year book. I mean, do you still remember your kindergarten friends? Well with the yearbook, you now can! Other than that, the budget went to personalized souvenirs, table mementos, hall decorations and clown entertainment.

Money well spent - yearbook, personalized tumbler and personalized (kids' handwriting) ceramic coinbox.

We also approached corporations and community establishments for sponsorship in kind. I personally approached Hilton, Jumpstreet, Beebop Circus, with positive results. Other than that, we got Legoland, JKids, Good Virtue, Lam Soon and Young Scientist to sponsor vouchers and products for our goody bags and lucky draws.

The day before the graduation dinner, the committee got to work packing the goody bags. I had to leave midway to fulfill a facial appointment that I had pre-booked. But I barely slept a wink during the facial. I was stressing about... giving a speech. Yup! As chairman of the committee, I had to also give a speech; to thank the teachers, parents and sponsors who had a hand in making the night a success.

Goody bag packing! Check out the mountain of boxes!!!

A sample of the kids' goody bags.

Goodies in the adult goody bag. Can you spot the Lingam chili sauce? :P

82 goody bags - siappppp. And the checklist, handwritten on a box flap. *chuckles*

Can you spot Aiden's handwritten name (in orange) and his future dream job?

We finished packing the goody bags way past 8pm. I rushed home, continued baking for my cousin's wedding (told you it was a chaotic week) then started working on my speech well past midnight. The next day, woke up bright and early to head to the graduation venue for hall decorations. Rushed to the wedding venue to setup the dessert table. Rushed home (why am I always rushing!!) for a quick shower then headed to a friend's house for makeup. Picked up Hubby and Aiden and went to OU to do my hair. Arrived at the Royal Club with just a few minutes to spare. And then suddenly we were ushered in, and tadaaaa it was time for my speech. (The entire day was such a rush that I didn't even have time to panic!)

The graduation committee.

Thank you sponsors!

Theme for the night was Hollywood - hence the walk of fame idea; laminated handprints that was placed alongside the red carpet.

Table mementos - programme book, personalized bookmark and a short bio about each child. 

It was certainly an honour and a privilege to stand on stage and give a speech on behalf of the committee.  

Giving away a lucky draw item to a lucky parent.

After the speech and the lucky draw were done, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the night. The awesome teachers really went all out with the beautiful hall decorations and performances.

The kids' performances kicked off with the valedictorian giving a speech (yes, valedictorian)! There were at least 5 performances by the kids, and a couple additional others courtesy of talented teachers and parents. Throughout the night, Aiden was involved in the angklung musical performance and choral speaking ("My mummy makes yummy macaroni! Mmmmm!"). In between performances, parents were free to walk around and mingle. All the attendees were definitely dressed to kill, so almost everyone would readily pose for pictures.

Hot mummies!

Aiden and the angklung gang.

They played 3 songs that night.

Choral speaking. Certainly brings back memories of school!

That expression!

After all the performances were done, it was time for the graduation ceremony. The kids were all dressed up in red graduation robes, complete with mortar and even a white rose for Mummy! They lined up on the red carpet according to class, and as a surprise, one parent was invited to stand alongside their child and escort them to the stage.

The perks of being named with the letter A - first in class therefore best photo opportunity! Posing with Aiden's class teacher.

Receiving his scroll from the principal.

Congratulations Periwinkle grads!

Mummies posing with their white roses, while waiting for the graduation ceremony to end.

After the graduation ceremony ended, we were given another surprise. All of the kids, in their graduation robes, held a lighted star and walked into the hall. They started singing Wiz Khalifa's See You Again. It was such a touching performance.

See you again, friends!

After the dinner ended, Aiden was finally released to us!

This was an idea I found off Pinterest. Sourced for the smiley face 'head' and balloon 'body', and then all I had to do was show the Pinterest picture to the school and then tadaaaaaa, it materialized! So much respect for the Real Kids teachers!

Group selfie! (Kesiannnn Ian kat rumah!)

The Real Kids gang.

Plus spouses and kiddos.

Kecik kecik pun dah pandai selfie guna monopod!

Aiden was sooooo happy when he opened the goody bag and found a Captain America Lego pack. He excitedly exclaimed, "Mummy, now I can complete my Avengers collection!" (Apparently Captain America was the last one missing to complete the collection.)

Last year's committee chairman, who is also a very talented baker; showing off her fondant cake creation.

Us with the school management team; the backbone of the graduation dinner.

The boys couldn't resist a photo with Sanjeev, the school guard. Sorry boys, you've got a longggg way to go for those biceps.

Last parent to leave - as I had to dismantle the hall decorations and balloon standee.

Way past midnight - Aiden and Danya with Teacher Michelle, the school principal.

Well done Aiden! You did very well in your performances and your graduation ceremony. I hope the effort I put into the graduation dinner made it into a memorable evening for you and your friends. I'll end with an excerpt of my speech:

As the saying goes, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Congratulations Real Kids Class of 2015. I wish all the graduating students the best of luck in their new year at their new school. Thank you.
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