Thursday, September 28, 2017


I was in Jakarta for a day trip just last week, and I went batik shopping at the airport!

It was just a day trip for an important meeting, and with all the macet in Jakarta, there wasn't much I could explore in a day. I effectively took the morning flight in, battled the traffic into the city in time for lunch, had my meeting and then rushed back to the airport to catch the last flight out.

Traffic in Jakarta, and the only Shell station I saw during my short day trip.

I was hoping to be able to catch the earlier flight out but I missed it by like 15 mins. Blessing in disguise because then it turned out that I had an hour to spare. Walked around hoping to do some window shopping. The only reason why I stepped foot into the shop was the fact that it sold batik.

Why batik? During my meeting earlier, all of the locals (even the ladies) were wearing batik! With the men it was easy enough to just slip on a piece of batik shirt. But one of the ladies actually had a batik top with laces and all, and a slightly low cut modern collar, and she paired it with a very simple long skirt. Such a classy look! I was impressed at how the Indonesians valued batik as part of their everyday wear. Back home, we only wear batik for formal occasions!

Anyway, I walked into the shop and found some adorable kids batik tops going for about RM50 per piece. I've never seen a child batik top anywhere in Malaysia. I remember we had to get one custom made for Aiden years ago. In the end, I bought matching ones for the kids, one for Hubby and of course, one lovely one for myself. Although hubby said the batik pattern of my chosen batik top was slightly old school, I loveddddd the modern collar and cut. Interesting mix of an oldies print with a modern twist.

These are the child batik tops. They even have matching one for girls!

Anyway, thought I'll share with you my loot. All in a span of one hour. Told you, put me anywhere and I can still find something to buy! Such is the life of a shopaholic. *giggles*

The men range - they came in slim fit options too!

Hubby wanted the one on the extreme left, but they didn't have matching ones for Aiden and Ian (no size), hence I had to choose another blue batik in a similar blue hue for the kids.

Matching for men and woman. Hubby still preferred his initial choice so I didn't get the woman top.

The top that I finally chose. Old school batik print, but I love the quirky collar.

Now it's just a matter of searching for the right occasion to wear it then!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Yes Rice

Last week, Ian finally graduated to rice!

This is a definitely a significant milestone in his life, worthy enough for a blogpost on its own. After months... No scratch that... Years of coaxing and forcing rice down his throat, finally he agreed to have some without a fight. (The rice he had in Disneyland doesn't count because we had a very high leverage in play at that point.)

So he now has at least a meal of rice daily. He started with rice and soup but we're now introducing slight variants such as fried rice and rice with kicap and egg. Baby steps, but we're getting there slowly but surely. Just the other day, we had a full day out and he must have been hungry or something (but egoistic enough not to ask for rice), so he innocently asked, "What about nasi?" *chuckles*

The two boys in Paris, where he had his first rice.

Other than that, a major milestone for him is ... (drum roll please)... He's diaperless!!! For officially a month now. So happy that all those money I used to spend on buying diapers, is going into my handbag fund... NOT!

Also, super proud to record here that he can now sleep on his own effortlessly. No more wails of "But it's scaryyyyy" nor me having to accompany him in the room until he sleeps. It all started because the night before we left for our short holiday in Penang, I threatened the boys that they must all sleep as soon as they hit the bed. If not there would be no holiday the next day. I left them wide awake and they slept on their own. Since that, I haven't had a problem at all. Loving the freedom!!!

Not scared of Captain Jack Sparrow!

He still hates school so I'm scratching my head on this still. By hook or by crook I'm enrolling him into school, but how I get him to stay there is going to be a challenge. I'm already anticipating a challenging first month - he's already freaking out whenever we attempt to leave him for activities independently. Last month he bawled at the IKEA kids play area, forcing us to pull him out. We went to a trampoline park recently and tears started pouring down his cheeks because he thought we were leaving him there. He wailed, "What about you???", as if I was going to dump him and flee the scene! It took him a good ten minutes of crying (while jumping, mind you) until he was convinced that I wasn't going anywhere. *sigh* Wish me luck.

I've started to introduce him to writing alphabets and numbers. Surprisingly he has mastered the grasp of the pencil all on his own. Since he didn't grow up watching Elmo singing ABCs like Aiden (his childhood was watching Aiden watch Minecraft), he still can't sing his ABCs and 123s. Which is quite funny since he recognizes them both very well - a remarkable difference if compared to Aiden at the same age.

Attempting some homework.

Although he was previously bilingual, he is now starting to turn into the next Aiden. Refuses to talk in Malay. *pulls hair in despair* Excellent English vocabulary. He says the darnest things too! He's also picked up my favourite phrase "Hello???", which I usually use on them whenever they are not listening to me. So now whenever I'm concentrating on a TV show and not listening to his happy chatters, he would come up to me and say, "Hello!!!" *chuckles* Serves me right! I've told him that he needs to mind his manners and say, "Excuse me, Mummy", but it's going to take awhile to drum that into his head.

Similar to Aiden at his age, he hates water dripping onto his face. Hates water slides. Hates any water play, period. He absolutely despised the Splash Zone in Golden Sands, preferring to play quietly with his toys in the kiddy pool. Time to enroll him for swimming class!

I guess that's it! Just a few months shy from turning 4, and then he's going to be enrolled into 5 year old reception just the month after. Ah, time flies, Ian! But always have and always will be, my baby.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kids Friendly Activities To Do At Golden Sands Penang

To be perfectly honest, I had initial reservations about this hotel. Our prior trips to Penang had always been with Hard Rock Hotel, so naturally I was hesitant about trying out something new. But then a friend told me that her kids had the time of their lives at Golden Sands. With that in mind, we decided to be slightly adventurous, and booked our stay. Surprisingly, it was cheaper to book online via their official website instead of calling them! (I expected them to offer the same rates.) We went the week after the long Merdeka weekend, so the hotel wasn't particularly crowded.

The day after our reservation, I received an email confirming a complimentary extra bed and a cake for Hubby's birthday. The email also requested for our details, check in time and preferences. I was certainly impressed!

We drove up to Penang early morning after a hearty breakfast. We got in at just before lunch, so we made a pit stop at Warung Kelapa Sawit Juru for our favourite ikan bawal goreng with sambal kicap. *drool* Continued into the island and then directly to the hotel.

As a Golden Circle member (membership is free!) we were invited to check in at the Cool Lounge. The lounge was cool (duh), not just in the temperature sense but also in the facilities provided. Floor to ceiling glass panels, TVs showing Cars 2 and Baymax (I kid you not), computers with complimentary internet access, books and even bean bags! Check in was quick and pleasant, but I was disappointed when they asked for our details again. Why bother emailing when you're not going to have our details on file?

The Cool Lounge.

We dropped Aiden at Kids Club and then explored the grounds of the hotel.

Although the beach was clean, the sand was too rough for my liking.

Lovely weather.

In general, there are three types of rooms; Executive rooms (seaview but on the upper floors), deluxe rooms (exactly the same as executive seaview rooms but on lower floors) superior rooms (garden view but slight bigger in size). We booked the deluxe seaview room. The room size was adequate for our family of four. Furnishings were slightly dated, but they had a built in push-up bed in the room for the kids, which you could just push upwards when not in use if you needed more space.

Size of the push-up bed; slightly tight for two.

No separate shower so you can only shower in the bathtub.

The view from our room balcony.

We had the choice of two locations for breakfast; either at the coffee house, or by the beach. We did both, and enjoyed both spreads greatly. (The latter had slightly less choices, but it wasn't anything glaringly noticeable.) They even had plastic plates and cutleries for the kids, and a mean dessert spread (with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on the side) which was a nice touch.

Breakfast by the beach.

Spoiled for choices.

What a pretty spot for a candlelight dinner for two.

In a nutshell, I was very happy with our stay. The kids had so much to do, and I'm so glad Golden Sands offered so much more than just the swimming pool and the beach. So here's a rundown on what the kids were up to during the weekend:

The swimming pool
The kids swimming pool had a sail on top of it, shielding the pool from the sun. It meant that kids could frolic all day in the water without being burned to the core. Ian was in the water at various times of the day. We also loved the adult lagoon pool, especially because it was heated. We had lunch once by the pool, and the kueyteow goreng was delicious! Reasonable prices too.

The hotel also provided life jackets for toddlers and kids.

Daily activity schedule.

The slides
If you scoffed at the pool, you haven't seen the Splash Zone. We had so much fun running through the jets of cold mist and waiting for the huge bucket of water to tilt and drench us in its downpour. But the best of all were the slides. Aiden and I raced going down on both slides, just to see who would end up at the end first. Ian on the other hand, hated the slides! *chuckles* One thing that I really appreciated, was the presence of lifeguards. They had lifeguards everywhere - at least two at the slides and one at the kids pool. Definitely gave me the confidence to allow Aiden to go on the slides alone while I attended to Ian.

Splash Zone.

Aiden enjoying the cool mist, and then we raced down the slides together.

Adventure Zone
I've never seen such a well equipped indoor play area in any other prior hotels we've visited. This one takes the cake! We paid ~RM26 for Aiden to play for two hours (Ian was free as part of the room package, adults free too).They had two indoor gyms - one separate one for the younger children, and the other more challenging one, which was part of the slides. Three different slides to choose from - and I had the courage to only try two. (I nearly chickened out on the blue slide but the staff at the top literally pushed me over before I could disembark!!! *chuckles*) I suggest you start with the beanbag slides, then gradually work your courage to the next two. The red slide was literally a 180 degree vertical drop. No way in hell for me!

The colourful indoor gym.

Even Hubby took the chance to explore the indoor gym.

Pick your choice of thrills. Hubby gave the red slide a try and he said it felt like a free fall up until the slide 'catches' you just at the end.

The beanbag slides.

Kids Club
If you want some peace of mind and get the kids out of your hair (and for free too!), there are staff facilitated activities all day long at the Kids Club. The activities are catered for kids between 5-12, and we sent Aiden for an afternoon session. In three hours, he managed to do a cake pop decorating session, and even paint a T-shirt (we had to pay for the shirt). Lunch and dinner also provided for free in between sessions!

The schedule of daily activities at Kids Club, and Aiden posing with his painted t-shirt.

Not only can you swing some balls at the driving range, you can also test your child at a proper game of golf without the pressure of another team breathing down your neck to finish the hole. Since the small golf course was mostly deserted, Hubby brought Aiden out for a game of golf! You only need to pay a small sum (RM25?) for the adult and surprisingly they allowed Aiden to play for free. You can play for as long as you want, and there are golf sets you can borrow too. (No gloves for rent so bring your own.) Don't forget to visit the onsight eco centre and their turtle care project just beside the golf course.

The driving range.

Love this shot of the kids - Aiden concentrating to take his shot, and then Ian with his sunglasses, trying to distract his Babang.

Ian trying to get a hole in one (not!) and Aiden retrieving his ball in the sand pit.

Snake show
We were lucky, because the hotel hosts a snake show on Saturday afternoons! We saw a python, a rattlesnake and two cobras! Not only did we witnessed the snake whisperer kissing the cobra, but he actually placed a snake in his mouth too! During the session, they asked for volunteers to touch the snake. I asked Ian if he wanted to, and surprisingly he walked forward! #impressed. Aiden of course lah penakut habis so he walked out with Ian but refused to touch the snake. *giggles*

Aiden gesturing no, while Ian looks up willingly to the snake.

A python around Ian's neck.

Kiss of death.

Aiden is definitely Mummy's boy. Dua dua penakut!

There were plenty of other activities to do on the grounds of the hotel. Other than building sand castles on the beach (no brainer there) we took the opportunity to play beach volleyball (you can borrow the ball from the hotel), football (they have goals on the field beside the golf course), table tennis (three ping pong tables complete with bats and balls) and even chess! We definitely made sure that we tried everything that was offered by the hotel.

Beach volleyball.

Beach play! Independent operators by the beach provide more adventurous activities such as jet ski, parachute sail, banana boats etc.

We played football while still in our swimming gear!

Table tennis.

Aiden versus Ian.

Giant chess.

The verdict? Definitely returning for a repeat visit. Probably when Ian officially turns 5 so I can send them both to Kids Club so that Hubby and I can take some time off for a massage at the Chi Spa. *drool*

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Burger & Lobster, Sky Avenue Genting

I haven't been to Genting for two years! Two whole years! Whilst in the car on our drive up, I googled my last entry on our trip to Genting (read it here) and chuckled at the memories. Ian was such a baby and Aiden was very much a vain boy. *giggles*

On our way up, we had the shock of our lives... the car in front of us skidded, went spinning into the slow lane and slammed sideways into the hard divider. It had rained earlier hence the roads were slightly wet. But everyone was going slow and being extra careful. In fact, the car that skidded and our car were actually at the same speed. A few seconds earlier and it could have very well been us! *shudders*

Anyway, we arrived safely at the Awana Sky Station where GPO is. I won't get into much details about GPO but I was quite disappointed that they didn't have many big brands (Ferragamo, Gucci, Burberry, Polo Kids, Hackett) hence I walked out empty handed. We then took the cable car up to the top. There was a big crowd of Chinese tourists queuing and it literally blocked the entrance to the ticketing kiosk. Lesson learnt; if this happens, use the priority lane to skip the tour queue.

Genting has changed so much since the last time we visited. We were amazed at the new look... so modern and high tech. Such a far cry from the dark and bleak indoor arena with the winding escalators. Our first (and only) destination? Burger and Lobster, of course!

We were shocked at the longggg queue outside B&L. But because I was so adamant that I wanted that for dinner, I persevered. No reservations allowed! Queued up for one hour, I kid you not.

Second lesson for the day. Make sure you bring your Genting Rewards card. Physical card ok. Snapshots of card number etc not accepted. Why? Because they had a different published price for Genting members. Silly me didn't bring mine, hence we had to pay full price.

Similar to the original restaurant in London, the menu is pretty much a single pager so don't expect a cushy big fat menu with lots to choose from. Here's a photo of Ian posing with the prices:

The cheaper prices are for Genting cardholders. 

We ordered the original lobster roll, the original wild life lobster, and durian tempura as dessert. Everything was sooooo good! (Still drooling over the lobsters as I'm typing this.)

Our meal for the night.

Everything came with their signature buttery sauce.

The original lobster roll was packed with lobster meat. Juicy, chunky, tender and fresh lobster meat, mixed with Japanese sauce and squeezed in between a brioche. Effectively a lobster toastie! However since it was the most expensive meal out of our ordered three, I was not impressed by the size. It was a pretty pathetic meal to share. Aiden walloped half in barely three minutes. (While saying "sooo good, sooo good" after every bite - that boy has got expensive taste! *chuckles*)

Original lobster roll, RM153. Check out the size of the roll relative to my hand.

As for the wild life lobster, the table next to ours had The Big Boys, so naturally Aiden wanted the same. We balked at the price; RM400 per kg and the smallest lobster they had was ~1.9kg. Sorry Aiden! *giggles* So we settled with our own lobster, which in fact was a pretty good size already for two. Again, we stuck with the original instead of the chili option. (There's always Fatty Crab in case you're craving for chili!) Sooooo good! We chose the grilled version and took our time savoring every bite.

My half of the lobster. I certainly took my time with this.

The Original wild life lobster, RM168..

The size of the pinchers!

For dessert we chose to have durian tempura. This is really an underrated menu at B&L. The tempura was hot and crunchy, but when you bite in, a healthy dose of creamy durian filling comes oozing out. It felt like I had just died and gone to durian heaven.

Durian Tempura, RM25. Definitely a must try!

Given that they didn't have much choices for non-alcoholic drinks, we ordered a milkshake and a mocktail. Laughed our head off when our mocktail arrived as teh o'ais limau ikat tepi.

Verdict? Definitely an enjoyable dinner, despite the slightly atas prices. Would definitely come back for the durian tempura! But probably not for dinner. Perhaps weekday lunch, just to escape the queue? *still massaging my painful calves*

Thanks B&L for the awesome lobster experience!
Burger & Lobster, Genting

SkyAvenue Level 1 69000 Genting Highlands
T: +60 3 61059186
No reservations allowed. Walk in only.
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