Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cochine

So last week, we went for dinner at this place called Cochine on Heritage Row in Kuala Lumpur.

(I was a little nervous as Zach was coming too and it was a work dinner. I had nothing to worry about as he was so well-behaved. WAY beyond my expectations. I guess we prepped him enough! It made the dinner most enjoyable. This is him telling us the story about how he fed the koi in the fish pond on the ground floor.)

Cochine's physical presentation is a little ambiguous. It occupies the first floor of a 'heritage' building and a separate bar/club occupies the ground floor. The junction between the two is oddly mediated by a fish pond. Cochine's decoration is heavily Cambodian with pseudo-artifacts on the walls. It was a pity that they gutted out the building with no interpretation whatsoever of its original spatial planning. Other than its exterior, the building had no memory. Sad and a sure missed opportunity. Nonetheless, it was tastefully done and the table was beautifully dressed.


We were left guessing as to the type of food they served until we were given the menu. Cochine serves IndoChinese food ranging from Laotion, Thai to Vietnamese. Oh!

Foreground: Bo Luc Lac (a Vietnamese beef dish which Khoa thought was very good)
Background: Laotion seafood curry (which I thought was average)

I'm not a great foodie (don't get me wrong, I enjoy my food but I don't think my tastebuds are trained enough to comment) but I thought the food was okay. The deep fried soft shell crabs could have been a little crispier. The food waned in comparison to where my dad took us out to dinner two nights ago at Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant, on Jalan Permai, off Jalan Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur. (I was too busy savouring the food and forgot to take photos but don't despair, we're headed there again soon. But if you can't wait, you can read more about a foodie's experience on a blog called Very SEDAP. 'Sedap' means delicious in Malaysian)

Would I go back again? For the atmosphere but not the food.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Extraordinary Mondays -- Saffron Craig

Everyone is in the Christmas giving mood!

Saffron Craig, well known for her hand printed fabrics, wants to give one of her fat quarters to you! Yes, that's right!

FREE!!

A SAFFRON CRAIG FAT QUARTER!!

All you need to do is check out her website and sign up for her newsletter.

I promise that you will love her prints. If you want unique and bold prints, Saffron is your girl! Just check out her current fabric prints for Christmas decorations.


I can't wait to get my fat quarter! I am currently drooling over these:




Saturday, December 6, 2008

Yummy chocolate cake!

Khoa celebrated his birthday on Wednesday and since he had to go to a work dinner that night, we decided that Zach and I would tag along as blow-ins. We went to this place called Cochine in what is now known as Heritage Row in Kuala Lumpur. Read more about the dinner here.

When we got back to the hotel room, we were met with this:


What a lovely surprise! The hotel management had given Khoa a cake!

We had some in the morning and it was indeed a superb chocolate cake! The texture was perfect. Not too moist and not too dry. The chocolate wasn't overly bittersweet and the fudge was just perfect. Yes, I risked the migraine and had quite a few bites. Well, it was after all Khoa's birthday cake and I had to taste it to tell you how yummy it was!

Zach went a little loopy after all that chocolate cake!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Furoshiki - the no-sew bag

Remember a few posts ago, I mentioned that I was trying to make the impossible happen in regards to Christmas presents?

Well, I didn't really succeed. I did however achieve quite a few but I will have to post them after I have given them away so as to not wreck the surprise!

Making those origami Christmas ornaments have gotten me into an origami craze. I've since dug up my very very old origami book that I've had since I was a child, bought a new book which has dinosaur patterns to fold for Zach and have discovered something else which is so cool, I wanted to share it with you.

It's called Furoshiki, broadly translated from Japanese as "wrapping cloth". Check out this website for some general history. The video below provides you with wonderful instructions to make three variations of bags. These bags are perfect for those who want a no-sew alternative!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

roti and dahl

My facebook status currently reads: Adelyn is enjoying the simplicity of roti and dahl curry.

I am in food heaven, also known as hot humid Malaysia.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Extraordinary mondays - and the winner is...

Nat!! Congratulations, Nat. You are now the proud owner of one of my very first Christmas origami tree decorations plus a kit to make your very own. And on your personal request, it also comes with a morning/evening with me in the new year!

Look out for it in the mail, Nat!

To all those who participated, thank you! Your support meant a lot.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Extraordinary Mondays - Origami adventures


I have been experimenting with some origami patterns lately for Christmas decorations and scoured the net for inspiration. I came across the prettiest origami creation I have ever seen! It's by an origami creator named Herman van Goubergen. The creation is made up of 12 units which are called "curlers". Don't you think they would make the most beautiful Christmas tree decorations?

Below is a fantastic video made by barbabellaatje that teaches you how to make it step by step:



And in the Christmas spirit of giving, I am giving away one of these origami pieces plus a kit to make one yourself. Just drop me a comment or an email and I will randomly pick the winner this time next week.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I can explain...

...the silence. I have been busy working away on my Christmas to do list and that list includes some cool surprises for readers of this blog. WATCH THIS SPACE!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Unconditional love

Amelia absolutely adores her brother. Her eyes light up whenever she catches sight of him and always turns to the sound of his voice. She kicks and squeals with delight whenever he plays with her and particularly loves playing "catch" with him (although it is probably adding to my neck issues as I lower her down to his level and chase after him).

About two weekends ago, on a Saturday morning, the light that was coming into our living room was perfect for photos so I was frantically taking photos of the kids when Zach jumped onto the sofa where I had placed Amelia and hugged her. She turned around and planted a kiss on his cheek! Moments like that don't come along very often at her age and more still when I am poised, ready with a camera.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Extraordinary Mondays - Christmas presents

I have been battling an inner battle for a while now. I think my body side is losing. This is the battle: Do I make Christmas presents this year?

I have a number of items I have in mind to make. Things such as little ornaments for my colleagues, decorated canvas photograph frames for my sister, a photo box for my mom with photographs of her grandkids and the list goes on.

I have a less than a month before I leave for home and the longer I fight this battle, the shorter I have time for make these things. This is compounded by the fact that I only have about 2 hours of kid-free time during nights to work on these. That means that if my calculations are right, I have about 56 hours in total.

And here I am dreaming up sewing patterns for Amelia because I have some cloth leftover from making her mat on the weekend.

Can I make the extraordinary happen? I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Klean Kanteen review


My order of Klean Kanteen bottles must have arrived more than a month and a half ago. I spent a long time considering coloured bottles for the kids but I figured that they will see the most wear and the colour coating would scratch.

Zach loves his bottle with its sport spout and as a result of that is drinking a whole lot more fluid. (I am working hard at trying to get him to drink plain water but that is such a battle.) I particularly love that the spout gets popped up when you open the cover. His bottle is already showing wear with bumps.

Mine lives in my handbag and goes wherever I go and although the stainless steel cap makes such a clinking noise opening and closing, I am completely plastic free. The water doesn't have any metallic taste. Amelia hasn't got to use hers yet. I have yet to buy the white Avent spout for babies +6 months.

I have two gripes: 1. The bottle cap with the green Avent spout does not have a cover. 2. The bottles are made in China.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

of quietness and beauty

I've been told that the photos I take have a certain quietness about them.

I'm not quite sure.

I think that I miss the bigger picture with much of my photography. I realised when I came back from Geraldton and Greenough that I was so caught up with the details that I had hardly any overall pictures of places I visited. Shame.

I think for that reason, of being overly engaged by the details, that maybe I omit the 'noise' of the scene.

Here's a random collection of photos taken recently. I would really love to know what you think. Drop me a line.

Location: Claisebrook, East Perth


Location: Somewhere between Perth and Meekatharra


Location: Playground at Rob Evans Senior Citizens Centre, East Perth


Location: Sheep shed, Glengarry



note: for parity, these were all taken with my iPhone. No fancy camera work. No graphic manipulation.

Friday, October 24, 2008

As promised...

...photos of my trip to Geraldton and Greenough.

The HMAS Sydney Memorial on Mount Scott, Geraldton. The story behind the seagulls in the sculpture is that during the last strains of the Last Post during the dedication of the site for the memorial, a large flock of seagulls flew overhead.


We visited Glengarry. Part of this estate is the house in which Edith Cowan was born. (Edith Cowan is featured on the Australian $50 bill) The mud brick house has just been recently been re-roofed. I have a fascination with old stove ovens. I do so love them very much. I wish I had an old style stove oven in my kitchen.

In its hey-day, Glengarry was world renown for breeding studs. This is the stables and that circular space is where they broke the horses.


The interior of that circular space.

The shearing sheds at Glengarry are still in use. The shiny floor boards inpregnated and preserved by lanolin.

Greenough is famous for its tress that grow bowed to the ground. This one was at Central Greenough at the Greenough Hamlet.

Greenough school, in the Greenough Hamlet. The interior was recreated with desks and chairs of the era complete with holes for inkwells and names scratched into the timber surface.

Of all the wonderful buildings I visited during my trip, it is this image that I take with me:

The serenity. The green of the grass, the blue of the sky and the fields dotted with hay bales.






Sunday, October 19, 2008

The textures of Geraldton and Greenough

Oh, I long for the wind swept, rolling hills of Greenough with its trees growing bowed to the ground and its wind turbines, majestic and steadfast.

And for Geraldton, a far cousin of my little humble hometown, Port Dickson.

Being in Geraldton really made me miss the place I grew up in. I had some time to myself one of those days in Geraldton so I went walking on the beach. The lapping waves, the smell of the ocean and the feel of the sand between my toes reminded me of "home" home. Perth's beaches don't bring such memories of home. Maybe because it is open seas. In Geraldton, the calm of the bay is very similar to the calm of the straits.

I am SO looking forward to spending some time on the beach when I am back in PD in December.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've just returned from...

...Geraldton and have loads to share but haven't got the energy to as I've been out of the office and work is piled high.

I promise to share photos and stories soon.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Extraordinary Mondays - The Perth Royal Show


We go to the Perth Royal Show every year without fail, at least once. This year was the first year that Zach altered the way we experienced the show. We took a horse drawn coach ride, a camel ride, spent lots of time looking at the animals. It was also his first year experiencing kiddy rides. Oh, how he loved the teacup ride!


One of the mandatory stops every year is the Super Doughnuts store. Pierce, a really good friend of ours, co-owns the store with his brothers. It is the only doughnut store on the showgrounds that makes doughnuts fresh. If you haven't tasted one of their freshly made doughnuts, you haven't tasted a good doughnut yet. Check them out next year at the show. They are located immediately on the left if you enter through the railway station gates.

Can't wait till next year, I wonder if Zach will be up to the kiddy Purple Dragon Roller Coaster ride?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Oh, for the love of our children...

...we go to such great lengths:

1. After much trial and error, we have found one of the sources that have contributed to Amelia's eczema: her formula. We have changed to Nestle's Nan Gold HA and her cheeks cleared out 90% overnight!! It no longer weeps clear fluids. No more inflammation. Still a little rashy but nothing like before.

2. We have a great big 8-foot trampoline complete with its enclosure sitting in our living room. After initially hating the idea of the trampoline in the house, I really like it. Zach gets to play in it rain or shine, morning or night. Who says trampolines are outdoor play equipment?

3. After much searching and researching, I have ordered and am eagerly waiting on the arrival of three Klean Kanteens. One for Amelia, one for Zach and one for me! Klean Kanteens are stainless steel containers with BPA-free tops. I ordered a stainless steel top for myself to be completely plastic free. The little ones come with a top that fits an Avent sippy spout. I'll tell you how they fair.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Queen of the Murchison

I must admit I was apprehensive about the trip to Cue. It was a work trip, essentially a site visit. However, prior to the trip, I had not been to the Australian Outback and didn't know what to expect from the local shire and the people I would be meeting to discuss the proposed works in Cue.

Don't get me wrong, I was excited.

The plane trip up to Meekatharra was on the smallest plane I have ever been on. It was almost surreal. It was a turboprop that carried approximately only 20 passengers, all window seats! It was so tiny, I could reach out and rest my hand on the shoulder of the guy across the aisle from me! The flight was interesting to say the least with the stormy conditions in Perth as we took off.

Landing in Meekatharra was as if we had traveled to a different country. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! The drive down to Cue was even better. What a beautiful, vast landscape! The salt lakes, the big skies, the red earth. Simply amazing.

We went straight to work in Cue and walked down its main street, Austin Street. Oh, what a gorgeous selection of buildings literally out in the middle of nowhere!

Police station and post office


Former Bank of New South Wales


However, my favourite was not one of the state registered heritage places but rather this collection of shops, formerly a lounge and parlour. I found them simply delightful, with the dark timber joinery and the leadlights still with its original shop signage. I could just imagine the comings and goings in its hay day!

Some other eccentricities that enamoured me to the little town:



We managed to finish what we had to do on the first day so we were free to roam the countryside and we did just that literally. We visited the former Great Fingall Mine Office which sits precariously on the edge of a mine pit.

Former Great Fingall Mine Office

We went searching for a house that the CEO of the shire had mentioned but couldn't find it. We also went treasure hunting in the dump site of Cue. I found a part of a rusted tobacco tin with WD & HO Wills on it. Personal significance here as I was involved in the refurbishment of the WD & HO Wills warehouse in Perth. Some other treasures found by my companions included a glass bottle that used to hold nugget polish and a really old Penfolds wine bottle, empty of course.
Broken pieces of crucibles and test tubes used in the gold industry found in dump site.



When it was time to leave for Perth, I was reluctant as there was still so much to explore! So much more beautiful landscapes to capture. I came away with such a love for the outback. I wanna go back!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Extraordinary Mondays - with red earth flowing through my veins


With no better words to describe how I feel after my trip to Cue (I hardly spent any time at Meekatharra at all), I will borrow Dorothea Mackellar's words written in 1904, as corny as it may sound.


My Country

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm heading off to...

...Meekatharra and Cue tomorrow. It'll be my first experience of red earth and propeller planes.

I'll be taking lots of pictures to share.

For those who aren't familiar, here's an interactive satellite map from Google Maps Australia: (pan down to see Perth)


View Larger Map

I'll be staying in Meekatharra but spending much of my time in Cue which is an hour's drive kinda south of Meekatharra. Cue, known as the "Queen of the Murchison", is a little town with a collection of beautiful buildings as it was once a gracious and wealthy gold mining town.

I'm excited!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The weekend of firsts

Zach went to bed without his usual bottle tonight but instead sat at the dinner table and drank his milk from a mug! His "big boy" mug. He was so chuffed at himself throughout the whole milk drinking session, saying, "I'm a big boy drinking from big boy mug."

Amelia had her first drink of partially hydrolysed formula from a glass bottle today. She didn't make any fuss with the change. The partially hydrolysed formula is in hopes that it might alleviate the problem with Amelia's cheeks. Who knows? Hydrocort is no long term solution.

You might have guessed that we are moving towards eliminating our use of plastics especially polycarbonate for the kids. This explains the drinking from a ceramic mug and a glass bottle.

The next step in this process is to change our thermos. Haven't done enough research to find which one is BPA free. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Perth Upmarket!!

I braved the grey skies this afternoon to go to the Perth Upmarket at the Perth Town Hall. I parked my car and walked a short distance hoping that it wouldn't rain on me. As I turned the corner, I was surprised by the crowd overflowing from the Perth Town Hall. I guess I wasn't expecting a crowd. Actually, truth be told, I didn't know what to expect. It was kinda encouraging to see such a large crowd coming out to support original handmade crafts.

And what a lovely venue! The upstairs hall was magnificent!

I picked up a dress for Amelia, a pair of earrings for myself AND a whole load of inspiration!! I'm ready to attack that shopping bag of goodies I bought so many moons ago now. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sometimes, you chance upon...

...a scene that captivates you. Holds your gaze and imagination.

I had such a scene this week when I was on site somewhere in Busselton, wandering through buildings of a disused timber mill. Beautiful!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Introducing...

...my new header! Thanks so much Alina and Sean! I feel like I have had a protracted period of blondness when the answer had always been there before my eyes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

the anticipated unveiling...

...of my new header.

Actually, I can't seem to get the resolution right. Help, anyone? Sean? Alina?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pigeonhole and Perth Upmarket

Last week, I think I overspent on myself! After reading about this little shop on Karen Cheng's blog, I had to check it out myself. So I ventured into the city to Bon Marche Arcade and walked to the end of it. The smells and sights reminded me of the smaller aisles at Sungai Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur.

Pigeonhole is a little eclectic oozing loads of cool. Johann definitely has a certain style and taste. A little off mainstream and a little retro. I now have two new favourite lines of clothing: sü and piccinini.

Now, the best thing about my visit was that Johann was having a spring sale to make way for new stock. There are pieces for as cheap as $10 and almost everything is 50%. It's only for the first two weeks of spring so if last week was the first week, there is only 7 days left of this amazing sale!

If I have pricked your interest, check out the pigeonhole blog and facebook page.

Pigeonhole
Shop 16,
Bon Marché Arcade
80 Barrack Street,
Perth 6000
Phone: 9221 9837


And to continue on this line of thought, Perth is going to have a sudden influx of crafties! Perth Upmarket's market day is on next Sunday (14 September). I'll be there to mainly get inspired and grab some handmade goodies. So, if you live in Perth and like all things handmade and original, be sure to get to Perth Town Hall between noon and 5pm next Sunday.

I'll be looking forward to browse the wares by:













I'll be there! If you miss this one, you'll have to wait till December.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Never underestimate your two-year-old

On Saturday, we spent an afternoon with some really good friends. Zach was quite taken by the toys at their place, in particular a guitar.


When it was time to go, he wanted to take the guitar home. The following is the conversation he had with his dad:

Khoa: Zach, can we have a conversation?
Zach: NO!
Khoa: Zach...
(Zach obediently walks over to his dad)
Khoa: Son, listen. This guitar belongs to Dylan. Dylan was kind enough to let you play with it. Now, if Dylan came over to our house and you let Dylan play with your dinosaurs and Dylan wanted to take them home to his house, how would you feel?
(Zach paused in deep thought. Then without a word, walked over to Dylan and gave the guitar back and said, "Thank you" and hugged him.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sleep training part II

So I hear you asking how is the sleep training going? Well, I think it is going very well. The training is almost done now. The only problem is that the trainee is me!

I gave up fighting as it became too difficult a battle and it would ruin what little time I had with Zach after work. I figured that I might as well enjoy the time I have with him instead of insisting that he went to bed on his own. The time is precious and I shouldn't waste it.

So, now at about 8:30pm, we whisper our way into bed as Amelia is already asleep. He has his last cup of milk, say our little prayer and we go to sleep. Well, I turn my back to him and go to sleep while he continues to whisper stories and songs behind me. By the time I wake again at about 11:30, he is asleep and I have had my little late night nap. A nap that allows me to stay up for about an hour to do stuff around the house, spend time with Khoa and have my daily dose of net time.

It is working very well for us and I like the fact that there is no crying involved. I feel very strongly that when it comes to parenting if it feels right for you and it doesn't harm the child, it is right.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

continuing on this memory lane...

...is another one of my rediscoveries: Bic Runga's Sway.



I find her music honest and raw. I remember distinctly the first time I heard this song. It stopped me in my tracks. It was something about the lyrics and something about the guitar and something about her voice. I wanted to run up to someone, anyone, and beg them to stay because I needed them. The yearning was overflowing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rediscovering...

... songs that speak to me and in all too many ways is telling of my age!

Of late, we have been listening to 720 ABC Perth in the car. A radio channel on the AM frequency with a lot of meat in terms of content and information. It doesn't broadcast tunes and the mindless drone that other more main stream radio stations play which is oh so refreshing since lately, the music quality of R&B (which comprises about 80% of the music played) just doesn't cut it for me.

Anyway, I've been rediscovering songs of my younger days and strangely are still timeless and relevant. Like this one by Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill, and John Farnham's The Voice. AND one of my all time favourites, Sarah MacLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy:

Extraordinary Mondays - Stairporn

A friend sent me this link and my immediate reaction when it loaded on to my screen was to scream with glee!

An entire website dedicated to the element I love most about architecture: STAIRS!!


Photo taken from Apartment Therapy
Stairs by London-based Levitate Architects

Go ahead, I dare you not to be inspired.

Friday, August 22, 2008

early beginnings...

... of a potential?

"Mickey Mouse Shoes" by Zachary

"Mummy Pterodactyl*" by Zachary

* I'll explain later.
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