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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Annular Solar Eclipse / Boxing Day, 26 December 2019

It was a very hot and humid morning today and I was sweating buckets while having lunch with Cass at a kopitiam. During my drive back home after lunch (around 1:30 p.m.), I noticed that the sky suddenly turned gloomy, as if a big blanket was put around the sun partially. We could still see the sun rays but it was eerily gloomy / dark; a color rarely seen in the sky. I commented to Cass that the sky looked very different today - sunny yet dark, all of sudden.  I didn't know that today is the annular eclipse and it would start from 11:20 a.m. through 3:15 p.m.

Minutes later, I received a Whatsapp message from Sherilyn with a picture of a crescent ring. Sherilyn and Alycia were out at Bangsar Shopping Center with the mil and visiting aunt and cousin from Hong Kong.  She had taken a picture of the annular solar eclipse using my old Huawei phone and she begged me to take out the DSLR camera to snap a picture of the eclipse. But the sun wasn't visible at my end and it was cloudy.  She rushed home and managed to snap a picture of the sun using the DSLR camera filtered by a film.

What is a Solar Eclipse?
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun's, blocking most of the Sun's light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring of fire - picture below). An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region of the Earth thousands of kilometres wide. The annularity is visible in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

Photo below was taken by Sherilyn, at a mall:

Photo below was taken by my friend in Singapore:

Did you manage to witness this rare phenomenon today? The last time it occurred was on 22 August 1998 and the next annular solar eclipse in Malaysia will be in 4163 days on Wednesday, 05/21/2031.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Saturday, 21 December 2019

My parents from Ipoh are in KL to celebrate the birthdays of my niece Raelyne and big brother Raymond on 21 and 22 December respectively.  While my brother and family from Singapore were traveling to KL from Desaru after their beach holiday, we had an eating marathon from morning through evening. However, part way through eating, something bad happened.

Hubs' mobile phone rang. I heard him saying calmly saying "Ok, I will come and pick you up, are the kids OK? Which part of Nilai are you at?  So the ambulance is coming to pick you all up to the hospital, etc etc"  I had a bad feeling that it's my brother on the phone and indeed it was.  Everyone lost their appetite after that fateful phone call.  We hurriedly finished off our dinner, rushed home, hubs took a quick shower and together with Roy my younger brother, they drove to Nilai Specialist Centre to assist my brother and his family.  Hubs only got home at 1:30 a.m. after bringing my brother to the Nilai police station and dropped him off at the hotel.

We were all worried sick after the accident but after hubs Whatsapped me a video of the 2-year old twins, Raelyne, my brother and my SIL, we felt relieved that everyone was alright except for my SIL who had a cut on her eyebrow. I'm not going into the specifics of the accident to dampen the holiday mood, so I'll jump right into the food 😅

Our first stop was at Blonde @ Republik, Bukit Damansara for breakfast.

Opened in September 2019, Blonde is playfully dubbed by some foodies as “the hottest chick in town.  You'll expect long queues on weekends and if you drop by without reservation, you'll most likely be politely told that the place is fully booked and you'll need to wait for at least an hour for a table. It seems the crowd is initially drawn by the chic style of the restaurant but soon make repeat visits for the food. Offering a contemporary take on international cuisine, the food presentation is just as pretty as the setting.  Food tastes 5-star and the price is 5-star too!  Our bill for only 4 items ordered came up to over RM200.

Outside Blonde. I had to bribe this rascal for a photo of herself, specifically with "you have to give me a nice smile!" 😕

Feeling like his tummy was still empty, we segued a few doors away into Tasty Chapathi for some really delish North Indian cuisine. The first time I tasted the food at Tasty Chapathi was exactly a year ago, when my childhood friend, Jenn came back from Seattle and we had our gathering there.

We had something healthy as appetizer - mash of chickpeas with low fat yoghurt, spices and mint puree:

Toothsome Sangam Platter (meat platter) and mutton masala:

Curry naan, garlic naan and chapathi with dipping sauces of Palak Paneer (mint with Indian cottage cheese) and butter chicken:

Dessert of Ladoo and Patisa, which are too sweet for my liking:

The adults loved the Punjabi tea with cow's milk (LOVE the taste of cardamon in the tea) and Masala tea while the kids had mango lassi:

Priced reasonably, Tasty Chapathi is one Indian restaurant that we'll revisit again and again for our fix of North Indian cuisine.

Dinner was at Restaurant Sai Kee @ Jalan Syed Putra:

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ipoh Trip (8 - 11 December 2019)

We made a trip back to my beautiful hometown of Ipoh without the hubs this school holidays. He's been too bogged down with work and had to be around to ensure that all his functions run glitch-free. Sometimes without the boss around, the staff tend to snafu things up. In the food catering industry, once a function is screwed up, it's hard to gain the confidence of the client again.  Imagine your event being screwed up by your caterer. How do you like it? Would you call him again for future events? Most likely no.  And this is why we can hardly go on holidays with the hubs as he can never leave his business behind. We were actually planning a short holiday to Penang or Pangkor Island but had to cancel the plan due to hubby's work commitments.   So it was just me, the girls and the mil, by ETS (Electric Train Service) from KL Sentral to Ipoh.

We've not traveled by ETS to Ipoh for almost a year and thus, have not eaten at McDonalds @ Sentral for this long too and I didn't know that orders are now done on a touch-screen computer outside the restaurant. You then get a number and collect your order at the counter when it's your turn.  We took the 9 a.m. ETS and the girls had their brekkie of McD in the train.

Upon arrival at Ipoh, papa was there to fetch us. The 5 of us had to squeeze into his car (6 plus papa). We had our lunch at the Stadium Food Court, my favorite food court in Ipoh where I can find almost all my favorite Ipoh hawkers food here.

The next day was the mil's 74th birthday and papa treated everyone to a sumptuous dinner at Kok Thai Restaurant and bought a cempedak cake from JJ Swissroll, which is the mil's all-time favorite cake.

I wanted to sleep in the next day and mom baked some very yummy low-carb gluten-free bread for us for breakfast. The only time that I can wake up without an alarm clock without an iota of worry of having to do house chores is when I'm back home, where I'll be treated like a princess 💓

We spent the entire afternoon at the shopping mall. We had our first lunch at Sushi King, a restaurant that the hubs wouldn't bring us to back in KL, but the food was so unsatisfactory that we left after just a few plates of sushi taken from the conveyor belt. We walked round and round the mall trying to find something nice to eat and finally settled for Secret Recipe - again another restaurant that hubs wouldn't bring us to back in KL 😆

After lunch, we watched Jumanji, a movie that we thoroughly enjoyed. I watched the first Jumanji over 2 decades ago, starring Robin Williams, who'd passed on several years ago.

Can't believe how much grown up and lady-like my fashionista drama queen is. She's always been one very fashion-savvy girl, always dressed up like a peacock and accessorised like a Christmas tree since she was a toddler.

After Jumanji, we shopped for X'mas presents, courtesy of mom. Alycia and Cass both wanted jigsaw puzzles whilst Sherilyn chose novels.

A trip to the mall will never be complete for Cass without a few tries at the claw machine at the arcade.  This time I spent more than RM10 for 2 bouncy balls and rubber ducky. Seriously, these would have just cost a few Ringgit from a toy shop but Cass says she loves the adrenaline rush when she tries clawing a toy out of the water.

When we got out from the mall, we saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky!

We had the smoothest tau fu far from papa's favorite roadside stall. The girls love tau fu far and so do I but I've been avoiding soy products (estrogen) ever since my gynae detected a fibroid in my uterus, which was removed via laproscopic surgery two years ago.

Cass had a RM13 only hair cut at Orchid Salon, a no-frills hair salon at Kg Simee, a salon which the girls normally have their hair cut since they were a year old.

Our dinner on our last night in Ipoh was Ngar Choi Kai (bean sprouts with chicken) at Bercham.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Alycia's 16th Birthday, 5 December 2019

My 'precious baby' is 16 today!

16 years ago today was the happiest day of my life and I still remember very vividly every detail that transpired on that day. Thank God we chose that day to bring her into this world via elective C-section as she'd already pooped in utero.  Alycia is the baby that hubs and I wanted really badly and went through great pains to get. And today she turns 16. Though it's been 16 long years already, we will never forget what we went through to get her and the immense joy she's brought us and our families the moment she came into this world.

We spent the entire day celebrating Alycia's sweet 16th birthday at Lot 10 and Pavillion today.  I brought the girls to The Tokyo Restaurant (TTR) to sample the launch of something incredibly yummy – the marriage of Crème De La Crème’s artisanal, beautifully-crafted ice creams with TTR’s famed 6th Avenue Cheesecake (burnt cheesecake).  This marriage has created the ultimate dessert infused with the best of two worlds. And  I was invited to sample this divinely delish ice-cream and burnt cheesecake.

Before the event, we had lunch at the Lot 10 Hutong food court, which is one of the best food courts in KL and possibly in Malaysia.  Let me just tell you a little about Hutong Food Court, an award-winning non-Halal food court, to benefit those in search of the best of the best hawkers fare in Malaysia:

Lot 10 Hutong is a Malaysia's first and only heritage destination that pays tribute to one of the best loved national treasures - good food and the art of local cuisines.

A gourmet heritage village, Lot 10 Hutong offers more than 30 of the country's best eateries that have survived the 2nd and 3rd generations. Each is hand-picked from the best of the best, distinguished by its all-time favourite signature dish.

Kong Tai Singapore Prawn Mee. Campbell Mini Popiah. Ho Weng Kee Wanton Mee. Soong Kee Beef Noodles. Hainan Chicken Rice and Kim Lian Kee Hokkien Mee are among some these national food treasures at Lot 10 Hutong.   And now, Ipohmalis / Ipohites can get their favorite childhood biscuits from Ching Han Guan at Hutong Lot 10.

Sherilyn had Soong Kee beef noodles while Alycia and Sherilyn had Porco Macau pork chop rice and noodles. Me? I only have to tax a spoonful or two from each of the girls and I'm good 😁  I LOVE Porco Macau's pork chop as the rice / noodles / bun come with a very generous portion of pork chop, fried to a tee - juicy, tender and porkalicious succulent.  The curry broth that comes with the pork chop rice is absolutely flavorful and not spicy, thus perfect for me.  We ordered the set meal (RM15.90 and RM17.90 respectively) which comes with a big mug of iced milk tea and a packet of tissue papers. Hands down a bang for your buck with delish food at Porco Macau.  We enjoyed our food thoroughly in a clean air-conditioned food court. 

After lunch, we went shopping for boba tea. Each time we're at a shopping mall, a new brand of bubble tea seems to pops out.  The girls have tried almost most of the boba tea brands except for this Machi Machi (which we've never heard of before and just popped out near Lot 10), housed in a cute little shop.  Sherilyn pulled me in. We were too blinded by Machi Machi that we did not even notice that our favorite Tealive is just right opposite. 

And the verdict? We'll stick to Tealive, any time - cost wise and taste wise.

The girls enjoying their free flow of mocktail @ The Tokyo Restaurant before digging into Crème De La Crème’s just launched ice-cream flavors: Tokyo La Crème and Burnt Caramel Cheesecake.

After sampling decadent ice-creams and burnt cheesecake at TTR, we shopped at H&M before walking over to Pavillion before hubs came to join us for dinner.  The birthday girl who's still not over her K-pop fever yet chose Korean for dinner.

Pavillion's Christmas decor this year is Star Wars themed, so fans of Star Wars, you know where to go for camwhoring! And try to go at night as the lights are fascinating and Insta-worthy.

We were dog-tired after being out shopping and walking for almost 8 hours from noon to night. But before hubs rushed off to his client's function, we did the cake-cutting thingy at home.

And finally, what motivates me the most after shopping or walking the entire day is checking my Oppo phone's step tracker at the end of the day. Today we chalked up to over 10,103 steps equivalent to 6.8km and just 2 days ago, we managed 13,331 steps when we went shopping at Mid Valley Megamall and Gardens Mall 💪😝  Though I don't exercise much per se during the school holidays, we still walk a lot.  And on days when we are home bound and pretty sedentary, we go to the gym in the late evening.