Last day on Star Cruises Libra

We had actually booked Krabi tour package for my PIL. Due to the violent storm, strong wind and heavy rain, the cruises captain decided to cancel all the tours in Krabi. All passengers were remained in the ship until the cruises crew distributed new navigator on  updated schedule.
Luckily, the cruises crew is well-trained and experienced. They came out with unplanned games and programs to keep all passengers entertained. My girls were having fun in the games, they even took part in the ping pong competition.

We were too free when the pool and jacuzzi were now back to the public. We had to create some fun by mimicking our dear blogger friend, SK doing his signature pose in most of his solo travel pictures. Look at the picture, April and May got it almost right, and my hands and legs coordination was totally disaster. T___T

JAM (Jin, April and May) were doing the comedy version of Titanic pose. Muahahaha!

Again, April and May were doing Uncle SK's pose. You can see they had so much fun doing the pose. Thank to you, SK!

We also joined the Gala Dinner. We booked Ocean Palace, the Chinese cuisine. We got to take picture with the Captain and cruises crew while walking red carpet . All the crew were so well-dressed on that evening, as it was the farewell dinner to all of us. They would invite the passengers to dance with them in their Stardust Lounge. We were also given a glass of free beers/wines/fruit punch/soft drinks while enjoying "simply the best" show.

I want to praise the crew whom we met on the cruises. They were so friendly, helpful and warm to everyone. I managed to take pictures with some of them before we left the ship.

We didn't spend much in our cruises trip, because we didn't take the Phuket tour package and the Krabi tour was cancelled. We only spent on 2 bottles of wines and 3 copies of photos which were taken by the professional when we boarded the ship and with the Captain. The total damage is RM 300.

Other than the fun, the joy, the memories, and perhaps the fat, we also brought back some souvenirs which were given by Star Cruises during the couple games and children games.

We miss our cruises trip so much, JAMY (Jin, April, May and Yannie) wish that we can go on cruises again in future.

Thank you Anay, TM (Twilight Man) for the heads up that he gave to me on his recent cruises trip. 


Super Star Cruises Libra 2014 - Part 2

Day 2, Starcruises Libra sailed to Phuket, Thailand. Due to the bad weather, many passengers suffered from sea sick, including my MIL.

We didn't follow any tour when ship parked at Phuket port. We let MIL rest in the cabin until she felt much better to join us for a walk at the market just outside the ship.
Yours truly posing with the gorgeous Libra.

That is a must to snap many pictures at the top desk.
Yours truly posing in new swimwear before having the courage to dip inside the very cold pool water.

Look at us, we had the whole pool to ourselves. We were like swimming in our own ship.

*Fantasy mode on* This is my private ship, if you happen to see anyone in the background. That is my cruises crew.

We swam from end to end in the pool. I allowed the coldness of water to burn some calories of what I ate in the breakfast buffet and lunch buffet.

Again, we had the whole jacuzzi hot tubs to ourselves. Shiokalingam!

There are two jacuzzi, one with warm water  at body temperature and another one with water that is hotter.

That is all for my part 2, it showed how we fully utilized the whole pool and jacuzzi to ourselves. We enjoyed swimming in the pool and soaking in  the jacuzzi very much, especially when everyone was out for Phuket tour. This privacy didn't last long, the crowd returned at dinner.

I will conclude my whole cruises trip in Part 3. Thanks for reading. 


Starcruises Libra 2014 - Part 1

On September school break, we went for my long awaiting cruises trips from Penang to Phuket and Krabi. We had actually thought of going on cruises a few years ago. Finally, we materialized a travel wish this year. Happy!
We drove to Penang Port at noon. Other than our small family of 4, this time we took my parents in law along for the cruises.
Once boarding Starcruises Libra, a trio group band consists of a singer and 2 guitarists welcomed us with many lovely English songs at lobby. Sometimes, there was a pianist playing us nice and soothing music that would make us forget about the nausea when seasick.
We checked in to our cabins at desk 7. 3 cabins for 6 of us. April and May didn't find their room small but rather cute. lol!
We had some light refreshment and a quick shower before heading to the emergency drill at desk 6.
The cruises Entertainment and Event manager gave us information on the subsequent programs, that would happen on next two days, it covered Phuket and Krabi tours .
There was a welcome BBQ party for all of us at the pool side. Oh boy! It was just day 1 and we were served with lots of food that as tasty as it was from heaven. I like fruit and dessert the most. Slurp!
Later in the evening, it was show time. The show includes magic shows, acrobatic displays and fascinating dances and songs. April and May liked the magic show very much, We later signed them up for the magic class. The magic class was taught by the magician (in the picture above) . He and his wife are from California, USA. They were here with the cruises since January this year. 

Tell you what, every night there was also supper served to us before we wanted to call it a day.
Therefore, I woke up the next day, the first place I visited was the gym. I still ran my 9km for an hour there because I wanted to bring back only the beautiful memory and not the fat. Though I had the whole gym to myself, I didn't really like it as the room temperature was too cold for me to sweat all out ( I had actually set the air-con temperature to the highest).

Please stay tuned for the part 2, you would think that I had boarded my private ship. 


Cakes that I bake with sponge mix

I get to know Pettina sponge mix from Angeline's  blog. I saw her and Hayley steaming some beautiful cupcakes. So, I bought Pettina sponge mix to replace the normal self-raising flour in my recent baking.

Baked Marble cake with Pettina sponge mix. 
You can see from the picture that I didn't successful in making the nice marble swirl. Anyway, the marble cake turned out to be fluffy and soft.

Original recipe is from here.

Oven: Preheat oven for 15 minutes before baking

The Recipe:

250g sponge cake mix flour
4 eggs
4 tbsp water
4 tbsp melted butter/corn oil

1. Put sponge cake mix flour and eggs into a mixing bowl. 
2. Use low speed to mix into smooth batter. 
3. Increase to high speed and beat batter until white and creamy. 
4. Add water and continue to beat until light and fluffy. 
5. To Test, use mixture to drip into a "O" shape and it can keep the shape for 10 seconds. 
6. Use a plastic spatula and mix in the melted butter in ONE DIRECTION until well-combined.DONT over-mix the mixture . If mixture starts to break up and turns watery, it means air bubbles have broken up and the cake texture will be coarse and hard. 
7. Pour the mixture into a lined and greased baking tin, bake in a pre-heated oven at 180degC for 30 to35 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. 
8. Remove and leave to cool.

Baked Zebra cake with Pettina sponge mix. 
I tried to make pandan and coffee zebra stripes this time. I think pandan and coffee would make a good combination and give better aroma.

Ingredients :( A )
200g butter
210g eggs (about 4)
250g sponge mix
5g salt
125ml milk
(B)7g instant coffee 3 in 1 
     1 tbs of pandan 

1. Beat butter and sugar till white and fluffy.
2. Add in egg one at a time and beat till well combined after each addition.
3. Fold in sifted flour and salt, alternate with milk until well mixed.
4. Separate batter into two portions. In one portion of the batter, add in the coffee powder and another one add in pandan and mix well.
5. Put 3 tbsp of pandan batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Put 3 tbsp of coffee batter in the center of the pandan batter. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself. Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters, repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.
6. Bake at pre-heated oven at 160 degree for 40 - 45 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Steamed cupcakes with Pettina Sponge Mix 
Just add in 300ml water into 500g Pettina sponge mix. Put in cocoa powder with a small portion of batter. Make marble swirl on top of the cupcakes and steam for 15 minutes.  You can view the step by step instructions from here. These were not tasted as yummy as I expected, may be because it is less sugar, egg less and oil-free.

Steamed pumpkin cupcakes with Pettina Sponge Mix
I love these steamed pumpkin cupcakes the most. I find it more flavorful than the plain steamed cupcakes. Everything with pumpkins and sweet potatoes are my type of recipes.

(A) Starter
50g sponge mix
50ml water
1 teaspoon instead yeast

50ml water
90g palm sugar (gula melaka)
320g  sponge mix
200g pumpkin puree (steamed and mashed)
100ml coconut milk
1 egg

Pumpkin seeds (optional)

1. Mix all the starter ingredients and set aside for ½ hour to rest.
2. Prepare palm sugar syrup by adding diced palm sugar into water. Bring to simmer till all sugar melt. Strain and leave to cool. 
3. In a mixer, put in cool palm sugar syrup, pumpkin puree, coconut milk and egg. Mix till well combine. Set aside.
4. In a big bowl, sift in all-purpose flour and double action baking powder. Make a well in the center.
5. Pour in palm sugar mixture from step 3 together with starter. Fold till well incorporated.
6. Pour batter into lined paper cups till 90% full. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
7. Bring water to rapid boil. Place the proof batter cups into steamer and steam at high heat for 15 minutes. 


Attending colleague's wedding dinner

23 August, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married in France. I was invited to attend my colleague's wedding too. Wedding dinner was held at Hotel Flemington.

Before the dinner was served, we must take many pictures together.

These are all the ladies in IT department. Hayley had resigned and she is now a Tao Keh Soh of her beauty products online store.

I took April with me that evening as she was the only person left at home. My husband was at work and May went to tuition.

In case you miss Ah Hua a.k.a Yvonne. She is doing good and getting prettier everyday. I don't know when she will get back her blogging mojo and reveal her secrets of staying so well-preserved and slim.

Ever since moving to new office, I miss all Angeline's bakes. I am envy those who is still in the same office with her. She is the most generous person that she would bring all her baking and cooking to the office after trying out new recipes. What a great loss for not able to taste all those yummy bakes  of Angeline.

Hayley is the most convincing lady boss of  her beauty products online store. By looking at her, you will place order automatically from what she is using on her head to her toes. So far, I have bought eye masks and Miracle Aloe Vera gel from her. After reading her review posts, more to buy!

Lastly, a portrait of yours truly in yellow jumpsuit. Picture was taken by April. Till then, you have a nice day. 


Get a book from NoQ Store

I would like to thank NoQ Store for the offer of writing a review of the book that I just got recently for my princesses. Besides my blog readers can have a discount of 15% shopping for books at NoQ Store, an the e-commerce arm of Times Publishing, one of the most reputable names in printing, publishing, distribution and retail in the Asia Pacific.

I spent a good time browsing through NoQ Store in order to utilize the sponsored voucher. I intended to get a book that my two princesses would love to read. The navigation of the website is so user friendly, and it is so easy for me to locate books from different category. The price of books is cheap, some books is at 50% discount, and it provides Free Shipping with minimum spend of RM 120. Books will be delivered within 7-14 working days after order is placed.

Guess what I got from NoQ Store? 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Last Straw as I myself enjoy reading Wimpy Kid. The hand-written text makes it so nice to read. Many times, I chuckle to myself while reading through this humorous comic.

I am proud to say that my two princesses love reading books more than playing toys. I am so glad to know http://www.noqstore.asia/ now, and it saves my time of  travelling, searching and queuing up to pay at elsewhere.

Readers' Benefits
All my readers will be entitled to an exclusive 15% discount on all purchases at NoQ Store when using code YAN at checkout. Discount code is valid from 11 August - 31 December 2014.

If you are worrying of payment, it accepts numerous payment modes which include credit cards, paypal and eNets, and the payment is secured. With a database of more than 14 million titles, spanning across genres like Children's, Educational, Parenting, Fiction, Cookbooks and many, many more, you will sure be able to find some fantastic reads for your little ones!


Homemade snowskin mooncakes

Since last year, I have bookmarked this recipe. I manage to accomplish my last year wish this mooncake festival. To my surprise, my two princesses enjoy making these snowskin mooncakes very much.  I prepare all the ingredients like the ready mixed koh flour with icing sugar, shortening and ice water. I knead half of the flour with pandan and half of the flour with pink colouring. I used pandan filling for pink dough and red bean filling for pandan dough.  My two princesses helped me to wrap the filling inside the dough. I would say that they have done a pretty good job in shaping the mooncakes. They have so much fun playing with this edible dough. 
The first batch wasn’t really looked good.

They showed some improvement on the second batch. 

Although all the ingredients were actually bought from store, they tasted yummy too. May be because we homemade these ourselves. Perhaps next year I should try to bake mooncakes.   

Happy Mid Autumn, folks.

Colourful Snowskin Mooncakes 彩色冰皮月饼(recipe source: adapted the basic recipe from Sonia,with changes)*makes 8pcs (for one colour)
38g Koh hun (cooked glutinous rice flour) 糕粉
38g Icing sugar糖粉
13g Shortening白油
45g Iced Cold water冷水
White lotus paste filing
1.   Weigh lotus paste of 20g each. Shape into rounds and set aside.
2.   Sieve koh fun and icing sugar into a big bowl. Rub in the shortening and add in iced water, mix to form a dough. Remove and roll into a long strip. Scale at 15g each and roll into rounds. Flatten and wrap in lotus paste balls. 
3.   Place the dough into a mooncake mould. Press firmly, dislodge imprinted mooncake from mould.