Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Travels: Sydney - Cheese at The Hunter

july 29, 08 tuesday
When the conversation of going back to Sydney popped up sometime back, husband J mentioned Hunter Valley. Beautiful vineyards with a variety of cheese. Hold up! Did somebody mentioned cheese? A variety of cheese?? CHEESE!! Do you not know what a cheese whore I've become? So from that day on, all I ever want to go is Hunter Valley, which I affectionately called "Cheese Country" (which in actual fact, The Hunter is more know as 'Wine Country'). I told J, he can go do whatever, but we must go to Cheese Country. When I got to father in-law's place, the entire family knew of our plans to go to The Hunter, it was amusing!!

So off we went. After days of sleeping in (Damn! That electric blanket!!), J and I finally drove to The Hunter in our rented car. It took forever to get out of Sydney but when we finally hit the highway to The Hunter, I was enjoying the drive. Since it is winter, the vineyards were all closed for the season, so I didn't get to see the beautiful landscape. Oh! Well! The whole entire trip really was for me to devour in cheese. So nothing else really mattered.

We got there at almost 3pm, and the wine tour was closed. Who cares! I want the cheese! Where's the darn cheese?? And there it was.... Like the doors of heaven opened....Stacks and stacks of cheese. Glorious cheese! I was amazed at the variety, I want them all!! I was like a kid in a candy store!!

Snacks of the Gods...
There was a tasting counter and I practically had a little of everything, until my taste buds were confused!! They all tasted so darn good! How do you choose?! And then, as if my question was answered, we saw some of the more popular cheese with some crackers and raisins, neatly packed. I got so excited, grabbed one, paid and we sat down to feed my nagging taste buds.
Beautiful food: crackers, raisins with (l-r) the yummiest feta, brie, gorgeous Irish cheddar and my favourite-blue cheese.

The aftermath!

When we got back to Marrickville, it was already dark (and cold!). But I was a happy puppy. I burped and farted cheese all the way, and into the night! I have never tasted cheese that good. And as I am writing this, I wish I could have some more of that gorgeous dairy snack food. I'm already salivating! How did I turn into such a cheese whore, I blame J. If I ever get fat, you know it's all down to the cheese-y factor!!

Viva la-cheese!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beauty Binge: Concealers pt. 2

july 28, 08 monday
Continue.. (warning again: pictures in bad quality. Sorry!)

Mineral makeup concealers: Simply Naturale Multi-Tasking Concealer & Everyday Minerals Concealer in Sunlight
Mineral Makeup usually come in powder form and it takes getting used to. These 2 concealers do quite a decent job at covering my dark circles. I would normally buff in the smaller pot - Everyday Minerals Concealer in before layering it with the Multi-tasking concealer by Simply Naturale. They give a natural finish. I also use the Multi-tasking concealer for blemishes and other imperfections on the face. Sometimes, I don't even use foundation, the concealers' all I need.

Bobbi Brown Moisturizing Cream Compact Foundation in 3 Beige (sample size)
I got this when I bought BB brushes and thought with the size and the colour, it would make a great concealer. It does!! The colour is yellow-based, which is great for dark circles and it is quite easy to blend. Only thing is that is settles into the rack of my lines/wrinkles!! For some reason, this is hidden away in my many makeup bags and so is always forgotten. So I hardly use this one, but maybe today, I will!!

YSL Touche Elclat in #2 and Loreal Touche Magique Illuminating pens in shades 3 & 4

These are not concealers per se, but they do a good job at hiding shadows and the like. But if you use illuminating pens to conceal, you need to blend, blend, blend! Or else, it can look quite mask-y. I like to take these when I travel because they don't take up too much space. I use them as concealers sometimes as they are very easy to blend. The Loreal Touche Magique pens have been discontinued. I remember the pharmacies selling shades 3 & 4, but I saw shades 1 & 2 at the Low Cost departure terminal a couple of years ago. Should I have bought the lighter shades because 3 & 4 don't look too much different from each other. Oh! Well! And of course the YSL Touche Eclat...I think shade 2 is too light for me, but it does a good job at highlighting. However at RM100+ a pop, I don't think I will be revisiting the YSL booth after this dries out...

More Beauty Binge reports coming up. But first, must update my recent trip to Sydney and upload pictures!

Hang on!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beauty Binge: Concealers pt. 1

july 27, 08 sunday
I am aware of the many beauty blogs in cyberspace, many of which I have visited. Although one of my passion is makeup and beauty, I will not turn this into another beauty blog. But I will share some of the makeup in my stash every once in awhile.

Lately, my 'flavour of the month' is splurging on makeup. My recent trip to Sydney has sparked my obsession with drugstore brands, particularly those not available in Malaysia. I don't confess being a high-end brand snob, because, really, I'm not. But the drugstore brands available here are not too impressive. We are flooded with Korean and Japanese brands, and honestly, to me, they seemed of poor quality, when we all know there are many drugstore brands that can rival even the most expensive in the beauty market.

One of my must-have makeup product is concealer, and as I age, this item is indispensable. For a long time, I have woken up at 4.30am for my radio show. With that crazy schedule came horrendous dark eye circles. Even with 8 hours sleep. From young, I've always had dark circles and eye bags. They are built-in almost. No matter how many different eye creams/gels I have used. So the best remedy is a concealer. Finding a good one that works is another challenge altogether. Like everything else, concealers are trial and error.

(Please excuse the bad pictures - I suck at taking pictures!)

Loreal True Match Concealer
So far, my favourite. I've almost used up one tube (which is very rare for me to finish up a makeup item!), and bought another tube of the same shade N3-4, which is more of a neutral colour. On me, it looks a tad bit light, but not enough to make me look like a raccoon. The texture is very blendable, doesn't quite last throughout the day, but the coverage is natural enough. A few days ago, I saw another shade which got me excited. I quickly bought W6-7-8, a slightly darker colour with warmer yellow undertones. This shade seemed to fit me better, but really, I can't tell much difference between the two.

MAC Studio Finish SPF35 Concealer in NC42
I've tried different MAC concealers before this one, and this is the only one which is taking forever to finish! The consistency is thick yet creamy and the coverage is opaque, does quite a good job at covering up dark circles, even bad ones like mine. But after sometime, it cakes and settles into the cracks of your fine lines and/or wrinkles!! Great for nighttime, but keep a light hand during the day. Good thing about MAC products, they come in an array of shades.

Napoleon concealer
This is an Australian product, created by Aussie celebrity makeup artist, Napoleon Perdis. This concealer is thinner and creamer then the MAC (above), and comes in 4 shades only: light,amber,medium and dark. I didn't get to test the product in the store, so I grabbed the medium shade. In the pan, it looked just about right. But when I used it on my dark circles, it was quite light that I had to do some serious blending! It doesn't really cover very dark circles, and doesn't really last that long. One pan cost AU$28, which isn't bad, considering it is a cult favourite, especially among Aussie makeup artists. And we all know how ridiculously expensive makeup is in Oz!

To be continued...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Travels: Sydney by car

july 17, 08 thursday
We wanted to go to Hunter Valley ("The Hunter") today, but got up late (9:30am!!). Damn! That electric blanket!! So when we finally got our asses out of bed and showered, we head out to find a car we can rent. Got a Hyundai Accent (pretty basic car) for AUD45 a day with AU$200 as down payment. We were going to hire for 2 days. As we were trying to find our way out, husband J suggested that we go to The Hunter tomorrow.

So we stopped by for a Turkish breakfast. I had 'mehlemi', spinach with eggs cracked over it, and Turkish breads....it was beauuuutiful!! J decided to go for the sickly sweet pancake (huge!) with honey and bananas.

Going Turkish: mehlemi

Husband J's choice: pancakes!!
Met up with Woody, J's childhood good friend in Eastwood. Chatted for a bit, as they do here in OZ, at the Eastwood pub, which looked more like a restaurant! J took a nostalgic drive around Eastwood, and showed me places where he used to play at.
Driving in Sydney is a tad bit intimidating. I refused to drive! So J did the driving! We agreed how small the lanes are in Sydney! But I love the way everyone stopped at zebra crossings here..I wish we do that in KL. That was one thing I wasn't sure of driving in Sydney. I am such a KL driver - selfish and aggressive. Don't know how that would work here in Sydney. I'd run people down!!
But I am so proud of J. Not too long ago, he didn't drive. And today, he's driving me around...in Sydney!!
We're going to the Hunter tomorrow. Looking forward to the 3-hour drive!

Travels: Sydney on Wednesday

july 17, 08 thursday
Today, husband J and I thought we'd get some shopping out of the way. Since the Pope will be in town, we didn't want to have to wrestle through the massive crowd in the city.

We started the day off at a nice little cafe just down the street. One thing I love about Sydney is the small cafes and their awesome coffee. Breakfast was good, albeit a bit late (We slept in!Damn! That electric blanket!).

We had to find our way to the Metro (a local shopping centre) so that husband J could renew his driver's license. We took a cab down to the city centre and went to the shops carrying J's sizes. This was his once-a-year shopping spree, that poor fellow!! But he got his jeans, and 3 pairs of footwear, which included slippers. I've been harassing him to go buy slippers, but every time he came back from Sydney, it was more casual shoes. So I am glad this time he bought slippers!! You need slippers in KL mate!!

All this time, the weather is gorgeous, not too hot, not too cold. I was walking around in my t-shirt top and lugging my winter jacket around. It was a beautiful day! We ended up having lunch at 4pm at the harbour, and was once again amused at the 'pilgrims' running around singing and taking pictures at the harbour.

At 5pm, it was getting dark and cold, so we quickly took a train back to Marrickville, getting off at the Sydenham station. I love taking the train, although it was packed to the brim! The whole train-taking idea is so metro!! I felt like it was New York or London....But yeah, it is Sydney... I love the idea of hopping on and off a train coming back from work... I wish I could figure out which line goes to which station goes to which suburb goes to which part of the city...

Travels: G'day Sydney!

july 17, 08 thursday
This blog is a little overdue, because we arrived in Sydney on Tuesday morning i.e 2 days ago. Just have not had a chance to update as I had plan before I left KL. Of course, we were on an 8-hour flight and had little to no sleep might have something to do with it as well.

Before we left, husband J's twin Ant warned us that winter in Sydney that week was freezing. So imagine our surprise when we got in at about 8-ish in the a.m, and the weather was nice! It was about 20 degrees, no wind and sunny! With my sister's winter jacket, I felt a little overdressed!

We grabbed a cab to father in-law's place in Eastwood, and was taken aback at having to pay AUD113.80 for the trip! Also I might add our visit coincided with the Pope's visit to Australia, in conjunction with World Youth Day (WYD), so we were quite amused seeing over enthusiastic catholic 'pilgrims' at the airport. They were waving flags, dancing, singing....Jeez!

We got to father in-law's place and it was good seeing the old man again. He looked well. The last time I saw him was at our wedding, and he looked frighteningly frail. He's moving on with age I guess, but this time, he actually looked like he has more colour to his face! We chatted, caught up with family goss and the like, before brother in-law David and pregnant wife Sue dropped by! I haven't seen them in 3 years! We had lunch, chatted some more, oldest brother Paul popped by for a bit. Chatted some more and pretty much crashed when everyone left.

Ant and girlfriend Nat came by later that evening to pick us up, as we are staying with them for the week. We stopped by at a pub near by and had pub grub. I just chowed down a small pizza, I wasn't very hungry anyway as I kind of pigged out at the Golden lounge in KLIA and on the plane. Typical of me! I was fading away as well. The journey finally caught up with me. As the 3 Aussies were catching up on local stuff, the conversation sounded like it was in a tunnel. You know how that is when your really tired. And I was very tired! When we finally made a move, I swear I was already in dreamland.

We arrived at this quaint little house in Marrickville, the inner west of Sydney. It's about 10 minutes away from the airport and about 15 minutes from the city centre (CBD). The temperature dropped at night, to about 9 degrees. And mind you, Aussie homes have no central heating. Ant and Nat have a small portable heater which they use for the living room, but our room (and everywhere else)has no heating. However, Nat has this awesome electric duvet (or "duner" in Australia), and the minute I got under it, I didn't want to come out! It was thick and oh-so-warm! And so I did, under the electric blanket I went, and before I knew it..


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Travels: Sydney, here we come!

july 13, 08 sunday
It's been a long awaited journey for me and especially husband J. I've not seen some of my in-laws since the wedding! So this trip has been long overdue. Husband J and I had plans many many times to go back, but always got sidetracked to Cambodia or Phuket. So, this time, at the height of winter (!!!), we've decided to visit our family in Sydney. We leave tomorrow evening for the 8-hour flight.

Yes, Sydney at this time, is in winter, when the rest of the world is enjoying summer. I can never get my head around it, having 'grown up' with the idea of winter in December, NOT July. But oh! well! I married an Aussie, so (almost) everything is a learning curve for me. I'm all packed and ready to rumble. This is the first time I've packed so little clothes. But yet, my suitcase is full to the brim. I know, I know, I usually over packed. But this time, I doubt I've over done it. The jumpers are eating up space and I've decided to hand carry my winter jacket. Imagine if I had that in the luggage too!! I'm not too thrilled going to Sydney in winter. I know some Malaysians love winter, so they can show off wearing stylish jackets and boots. I am at my worst during winters. I am the sloppiest when it's cold! No boots. No long stylish jackets. Just normal ankle high boots, and huuuuge jackets and jumpers, courtesy from my college days some 15 years ago! All my winter stuff are so out of date, but who cares??

Husband J looks excited. He's seeing his family again. And for all the grief I give him about meeting new people and not enough sightseeing, I am happy to see him excited. We'll be staying with his twin and girlfriend this time around. So this will be a good reunion I hope.

So off we go to (freezing) Sydney!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


july 10, 08 thursday
If there was one word I can delete from my long name, it's 'binti'. I mean, what the hell's a binti?? It's just eating up space, and making my already long name, longer. Plus, it doesn't make any sense. The fact I deliberately omit binti from my name has now caused a cheque to be returned. Returned cheques mean no money.


I did an event for a health company on my last day at work last month, and was issued a cheque for the amount agreed. Happily, I deposited the cheque, only to find a letter from the bank weeks later that it was rejected. A few calls to the bank later, I found out that the problem was the darn word 'binti'. I gave the clients my name without the binti. Yes, how stupid can I be, right? It's part of my name I never use. And so, the cheque was returned. Go figure. Just because of one word - binti. It is appalling how rigid our banking system is. OK, I get it, that it's for security reasons. But really, wasn't my IC number enough? Or my account number?? Now I have to get the client to issue me another cheque. And I pray to God that won't be an issue!

I learned not too long ago that you don't need to add the word 'bin' or 'binti' to your child's name anymore. Thank God! Because I can't imagine to have it as my kid's name together with husband J's last name. It will just sound odd! And too long!! Plus, I just don't like that word. I hope that option to leave out bin or binti is true. We need not be so rigid! There must be options!!

It's 2008 after all! Not 1908!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Use your own toilet, Mok!

july 9, 08 wednesday
Nothing ever happens when your at home, not working. All my friends are working, and my life these days revolves around tidying up the lawn, the malls (occasionally!), the gym, the husband and the cats.

Ahh...the cats. Raisa and Mok. The 'kids' in my life. These days, I find myself picking up after Raisa's poo and wiping her pee, and persuading Mok to get out of the bathroom so Raisa can eat, drink, poo and pee. Also trying to suss out Mok's peculiar behaviour lately and his love for the bathroom. Yeah, I know. My life these days is so exciting! Which explains the lack of updates lately. And also this story to follow.

I went off the gym as usual this afternoon, and received a phone call from my best friend Liza for coffee after gym. Since I am leaving for Sydney next week, I thought yeah, why not and catch up on gossips and such. After all, the girl is single, and her life seems much more interesting than mine these days. So we were at Starbucks, as usual, chatting away. Went home to find my beloved Mok sitting on the bed. Now, let me take you back a bit. Before I left for the gym, Mok was on the bed. Frolicking. Loving me. Both fans were on, and I left them on when I went to the gym. I was being thoughtful. I love the bit fat hairy Mok, so I thought I'd leave the fans on so he wouldn't feel hot and restless. I wanted him to be comfortable. Yes, I am a nice owner. Heck, I am a great owner!

So what did I get in return after all that? I got home with Mok in the dark, still on my bed. And he was being surprisingly loving. Too loving. I mean, naturally he is a loving cat, but tonight, he was a bit too loved up. I didn't suspect anything, indulged in him a bit before going about my business.

Then I sat on my side of the bed. Hello? What's this wet patch? What is this big wet patch??! MOK!!!!!!! You peed on my bed??? Why?? It's not that you can't jump down from the bed! And the blinking room door was open too!!

I peeled off the sheets and dumped them and the duvet in the washing machine. Grabbed the Dettol spray, Febreze and the hair dryer. Used them on the big wet patch. There was still slight pee odor and a big yellow stain on the mattress. Now I am just letting the area to dry. I'm pretty sure there will be no odor, but still....I have to sleep on Mok's pee, or the stain. Same difference.

So for the time being, until I can trust Mok again, he is forbidden to be in the room.


Friday, July 4, 2008

The gym

july 4, 08 friday
I had a few new plans when I just resigned. One of them was to go to the gym more often. More like everyday. So far, have not done everyday, but have done 4 times a week. Which is a good start, no? Furthermore, I now have an iPod. That keeps me going for at least an hour.

So on Tuesday, which is not a regular gym day, I had my gym bag packed and was ready to go. Grabbed my iPod and off I went. In the car, I decided to put the iPod on, just to listen to a song. (Dangerous, I know. Got a third degree from husband J when he found out!) Anyway, I switched it on, pressed play. Nothing. Pressed play again. Nothing. Switched off and on again. Nothing. Oi!! What is going on?? What is this shitty luck I have with this iPod?? I was contemplating whether or not I should continue driving to the gym. I can't go without my iPod! Just like I can't workout without trainer Ela, pre-iPod days! sigh. So what's a girl to do?? Turn back, of course! I was still gung-ho about going to the gym that evening. So I thought, maybe the battery's dead. Go home, charge it (I was convinced it wouldn't take long to charge), and head out to the gym. It was still early, after all. I'd be done before traffic starts.

So I got home, switched on my laptop, and plugged in my iPod. Ahh!! The light on the iPod is orange. According to the instruction book, orange means charging. OK, I wait. 15 minutes later, it was still charging. Half hour later, still charging. An hour later, the light's still orange! I realised this was going to take awhile, like charging the phone, I guess. So I decided to cancel gym that day!!

Here I am on a Friday, which I earlier decided to hit the gym in the morning, because I suddenly turn lazy on Fridays. I'm looking at the time, looks like it'll be another no-show at the gym! Even with the iPod working! Oh! Well! I was good this week though, turning up the required 3 times a week with trainer Ela. Maybe, this week, I chill for a bit. And start self training on non-Ela days next week...


We'll see how it goes...