2012-06-30

Get sweaty on weekends

Weekend is here. What you normally do on weekend afternoon?  Some people will just chill at home. Some people will hang out at the mall. Some people will go eat rojak, ice kacang and cendol. Some people will take their beauty nap. Some people will bake in the kitchen. Some people will do house chores.

I, go to gym.

I have changed my exercise routine from weekend morning to weekend afternoon, as always, people are more than machines in the morning.
I can sweat all out in the afternoon, especially in the recent scorching hot weather. I am the queen of the gym as nobody will fight with me for treadmil and step machine. I can fully utilise all the equipments in the gym for the whole 1.5 hours. However, when nobody is around, it is also a challenge on my willpower to work out alone,  as it is kind of boring, I reckon.
I bought these fluorescent green and lavender blue sport wears from MySale. This was my first and also will be my last purchase from this website. These sport wears are from the brand of Marika. I bought it at RM90 per piece. The total was around RM400, including the shipping charge. It took more than a month from the date of order confirmation to reach me. While waiting for the order to arrive, I had lost my patience. I made a few enquiries through the website, and finally I got my order.

Ok folks, happy weekend, don't forget to stay active and do exercise.

2012-06-28

A mix of proud and fear

I wanted to write about this post long ago, but I really have a hard time to write down what in my mind. I am very particular with my daughters' study and academic achievement. Although they have other activities like ping pong, piano, and art, I want them to put their study as the top priority.

Of course, I didn't tell them that they must score 100% in all subjects, I didn't tell them that they must be in position 1. I only told them to study hard before exam, and do the best during the exam and feel no regret after the exam.

If they could score all 100% and be the top, I would even happier. Who would not, right?

April and May didn't fail to make me proud in their mid year examinations. I promised to buy them an Ipad if they were the top (second would get nothing). I changed my  mind and withdrew my promise, as I do not want to put the blame to Ipad when they fail to deliver good result in the year end examination later.  I didn't reward them with Ipad though they have made it , I had rewarded them with the trip to Korea and some other things. We already have a desktop and a laptop at home, they do not get to use it on weekdays, weekends and not even on holidays. I will only grant them the permission to play some online games, when I think they have done enough exercises, school work and practices.

They also spent minimal time on watching TV every day. I allow them to watch TV at the free slot while waiting for me to get ready for the next activity, approximately 20 to 30 minutes on weekdays. I will let them watch TV more on weekends.
In fact, my kids do not have luxury to spend time on Ipad, computer and TV. They have too many activities to attend. I also need to coach them for their singing contest, pertandingan pantun, 讲故事比赛, colouring contest and all other competitions at school.

On the other hand, I do have fear.
what if they can't bear the peer pressure in order to maintain being the top all the time?
what if they lose the interest in all other activities?
what if they get left out in their friends' conversation about the today technology?
what if they don't get the best result that they expect to get? 
what if they start to get so proud and forget about being humble?
Anyway, I know, I will be able to conquer my fear and be there for them no matter what.

2012-06-26

Banana Scones

Frankly, I never tried any scone before until Angeline let me try her Mini Mickey Scone. I like it very much. It was so nice to eat with jam. 

Luckily I tried making my own scones, otherwise I wouldn't know that it wasn't tough to make one. If I can make scones, everyone can. I hope no one objects what I said here. It doesn't need a lot of effort in whisking, kneading or beating. The whole baking process isn't  too time consuming though.
When I put my scones into oven, I whisked up butter and sugar to make cream to sandwish in between my scones later.
I actually moulded my scones into heart and star shapes to please my girls.
Forget to tell you, my scones were banana scones.
 I tasted one bite of my banana scone with cream. Yummy!
I dusted some icing sugar on  2 banana scones for each of my girls to bring to school as snack.

Also thanks to Lena from Frozen Wings, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids for this interesting Bake Along theme, Scones.

Banana Scones (Recipe from Alive and Cooking)

Ingredients

(Makes approx. 10)
3 cups self raising flour
½ cup caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
2 mashed ripe bananas
½ cup milk
½ tsp vanilla essence

Method
Cream together the butter and sugar.
In a separate bowl, mash the banana, stir through the milk and vanilla essence.

Combine both mixtures with a wooden spoon.
Fold through the flour and lightly mix into a dough.
Cut into scones. Bake in a preheated halogen oven at 180C for 10 minutes.

2012-06-22

Shopping loots in South Korea

Korea is a shopper's paradise! Great prices can be found for shoes, clothes, handbags, cosmetic products, skin care products and all kinds of souvenirs. Although department stores and most shops have fixed prices for items, bargaining can usually get a lower price with street vendors and in the major open air markets. However, do not expect the same level of haggling conditions that exist in Thailand. Also, do not forget about Korea's duty-free stores.

I did some survey before I visited South Korea. Things in South Korea were never cheap, especially those made in Korea products. I had told myself to have better "self control" in my retail therapy. It wasn't like my previous trips to Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, things were very much cheaper there, and I could allow myself to shop till I drop.

Nevertheless, I am very satisfied with the money that I have spent there. I have bought quite a number of fondest purchases with very best quality.
The loots for my girls were some cuties socks (each cost only 1000won, RM3) , Crocs shoes (29000won, RM87) ,  Tony Molly lips balm in cherry and peach containers (each cost 5000won, RM15), and a box of Leggenda Chocolate.
These were all my proudest loots. A pink Korean Organic Buckwheat Pillow (25000won, RM75) ,Biocera Washing Ball (125000won, RM375),HappyCall Pan (65000won, RM195),Purple gemstones bracelet from Amethyst (190000won, RM570) and 5 pieces of clothes (total cost 73000won, RM219).
These were my husband's loots. He only spent money in two shops, the Cosmestic Duty Free Shop and the National Ginseng Outlet. I have sensitive skin, whereas my husband has quite good skin. I don't dare to try out any new skin care or make up product, but my husband got hooked by the tour guide's sweet talk. That caused him a damage of RM550 on ODBO skin care range alone. I only wanted Aqua Collagen eye cream and Aqua BB cream from the range. Besides, he also got himself a box of Doctor Ginseng(RM1500), which was only launched 3 months ago. We got some freebies after purchasing from these two shops.
Two posters of Bae Yong Joon for my elder sister. When I asked her what she wanted me to buy for her in Korea, I thought she would ask me to buy her cosmetic, but she asked me to buy her the poster of her idol. tsk.tsk.

These were the souvenirs for relatives, friends and colleagues. Korean snacks and junkfood, Ginseng candies, chocolates and brownies, DOM, purses, stainless steel chopsticks, and handbag.

Though we were poorer now, we never regret in anything we bought in Korea.

Just a reminder to all my readers!
According to Korean beliefs, the rest of the day depends on the first customer of the day. They consider it bad luck if the first customer does not buy anything or in some way disturbs the owner's mood. Being a good "informal ambassador" means trying not to exchange items or haggling excessively during the morning hours.

That's all my Korea tour posts. Saranghaeyo!
Other related post of Korea tour
1.Must drink in Korea
2.Annyeonghaseyo
3.Other than kimchi
4.L*ne Star hotel, Seoul
5.Nami Island, Seoul
6.Kimchi School, Seoul
7.Other places that we visited in Korea

2012-06-21

Other places that we visited in Korea

Before you folks get really bored and stop reading my Korea tour posts, let me do a summary of other places that we visited in Korea.
Woongjin Play Doci is Korea's first and the world's twelfth indoor ski resort, included snow sledding. My girls second most enjoyable place.
 Gyeongbok Palace,  the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
Sarangchae Presidential Museum is a history center that gives visitors a chance to follow in the footsteps of presidents of Korea.
Lotte World, an indoor and outdoor theme park, and a folk museum. This was the place my two girls enjoyed the most.
Dongdaemun which is Korea's representative wholesale and retail shopping mall. ngs. I enjoyed this place the most.
Fruit Ochard Farm allowed us to taste the Korea fresh fruit which the girls experienced plucking the honey dew. The honey dew was really sweet and juicy.
Myeongdong shopping located in the heart of Seoul. You can find Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, SPAO, Forever 21 and many more outlets at this place. This was the shopping place that made our legs so sore working around such a large shopping heaven.
Sinchon shopping, it lined with name brand retailers, second-hand shops, accessory stores and shoe stores. My second most enjoyable place.
Yeoju Premium Outlet. I walked in and out this luxury premium outlet with two empty hands. No, no, my hands were holding April and May,  whom I am not going to trade in with anything.
Digital Pavilion, a overwhelming IT complex where visitors can try hands-on all the new technologies in Korea.

Other than the above, we also visited Mapo Fish Market, National Ginseng Outlet, Amethyst Showroom, Cosmetic Duty Free Shop, and  Grocery Shop nearby Incheon Airport.

After this one, I still have one last post of my shopping loots in Korea, and that's about all. Please bare with me! Kam-sa-ham-ni-da (It means thank you in Korean)

1.Must drink in Korea
2.Annyeonghaseyo
3.Other than kimchi
4.L*ne Star hotel, Seoul
5.Nami Island, Seoul
6.Kimchi School, Seoul

2012-06-20

Kimchi School, Seoul Korea

Other than Nami Island, Kimchi School is also another must-go place in the tour of South Korea.

Day 3, at Kimchi School, we got to experience Kimchi making session, which was taught by a Korean gentlemen in Korean. Our tour guide was standing next to him, helping him to translate his speech into English.
My girls were so excited attending their very first culinary class. After watching the teacher's demonstration on making kimchi, it was our turn putting chili paste in between every piece of cabbages, and then wrapping it around.
These were the outcome of our first Kimchi making. Papa made the nicest kimchi among us, you agree?
After the Kimchi making session, at the same place, we were allowed to wear Hanbok,  for the photographing session.

My two girls had fun experiencing the Korean princess's Traditional Costumes. They also had lots of fun laughing at other tour members trying out Hanbok.
Because most of us do not have that kind of typical Korean's face; small eyes and fair skin, we could look quite awkward when putting on their Traditional Costumes.
This is my most satisfying family portrait in Korean Traditional Costume. All our costumes were chosen and matched by the lady staff there.

None of us brought back the kimchi that we made. We left it there, and it would be packed and given to the nearby orphanage home later.
Other related posts of South Korea tour.
1.Must drink in Korea
2.Annyeonghaseyo
3.Other than kimchi
4.L*ne Star hotel, Seoul
5.Nami Island, Seoul

2012-06-19

Breakfast on Father's Day

Let take a break from my Korea tour and talk about the breakfast on Father's Day. I am a bit concerned of this title may give my readers a wrong perception that would be a very special breakfast. In fact, it was actually quite a special breakfast for my family. Why? It was my first time doing western breakfast, and it was a Sunday morning. We normally sleep in quite late on Sunday morning, and go out to have brunch, or have home cook lunch. Since last Sunday was the Father's Day, I had the mojo to give my husband and my girls a surprise. Somemore the weather was so hot and so hazy, it was a better idea to stay indoor.
Tadaa.. pan fried  sausages and not very smooth heart shape fried egg. Too bad, I didn't have bread, bake beans and veggie to make it more perfect. Luckily, I had a bunch of bananas as the replacement. You may be cooking this or eating this type of breakfast everyday.  Mind you, I did this for the very first time in my life. By the way, I made all these with my HappyCall pan. Now I see the advantage of using HCP was frying 2 eggs and 4 sausages at one time with only a bit of margarine, and I didn't need to wipe the stove and kitchen afterwards. Perhaps, I still didn't do any fancy cooking with my HCP, I didn't find washing it troublesome, except it was a bit heavy to handle. My husband and my girls enjoyed the breakfast, and I shall do this more in future.
As usual, the girls presented their papa with their own hand made Father's Day cards

2012-06-18

Nami Island, Seoul

Day 2 at Seoul, we visited Nami Island. It was after a good rest in the hotel, we took the most amount of pictures at Nami Island.
We needed to take a 20 minutes ferry ride to this beautiful island.  The girls were performing some monkey stunts at the steel bar in the ferry.
This island is named after General Nami and his grave is there. General Nami passed the military service examination at the age of only 17 and was promoted to Minister of National Defense at the age of 27. He was then denounced as a traitor after the king's enthronement, and died young at the age of 28.
People who go there now, don't really care about the history of this island. Instead, this place was actually made well-known by the trails of Winter Sonata. The trails include the positions they stood in the drama, the location of their first kiss, the lover bicycles and lots more.
Korean drama fans sure go berserk whenever they see all these trails. Too bad, I am not a fan of Bae Yong Joon, but my elder sister is a die hard fan of him. So, I took all these picture to make her go crazy.
Then, my girls too started to post like the Bollywood actresses, hugging trees and running around the bushes.
Taking pictures with the pine trees and maple trees. Nami Island is quite big, you can either walk or rent a bicycle to go around this romantic place.
Most main walk ways looks like this. There were a lot of people on that day, it was really hard to not get a picture without a human anywhere in the picture.

Other relate posts of Korea tour.
1.Must drink in Korea
2.Annyeonghaseyo
3.Other than kimchi
4.L*ne Star hotel, Seoul

2012-06-16

L*ne Star Hotel in Seoul

We only stayed in Seoul/ South Korea for four nights. We stayed at Lone Star Hotel.  Before we checked in, the tour guide has told us not to expect the entrance and lobby of the hotel were as beautiful and luxurious as those 5 star hotels in Malaysia, but the inside of the hotel room would be satisfying.

Lone Star Hotel is a small hotel. There is no onsite restaurant as we always had breakfast outside the hotel.  A little corner in the lobby can be found which has complimentary coffee, tea, and beverage. The hotel is also nearby many convenience stores – 7-11, Mini-stop and GS25, restaurants, cafes, shops, drugstores, and  the street is quite happening at night.
To my surprise, I was glad to see everything in my room is so cozy – the bed, the floor area,tv, bath tub Jacuzzi that can fit two persons and bathroom. There is romantic red lamps and red heart wallpaper by the bed. My husband gave me a wink and said, "This is a honeymoon room. It will be nice if only just the two of us.". April was sleeping at the extra bed next to the computer table, and it was separated from the king size bed by a 42 inches LCD TV.
There were also a small fridge, and DVD player including free bottles of water, coffee and tea, and Dove toiletries in the bathroom. My two girls had fun using the automatic toilet seat, and they had more 'poo poo' visits than usual. I like this automatic toilet seat as much as my two girls, as it could keep my buttock warm and comfortable, especially when I went for my midnight peeing.
Each room has a computer with internet connection which you can use for free. I actually used that to read my emails and FB posts while my girls were having fun in the Jacuzzi.  Just that I couldn't spam your blogs with comments, as I had a hard time understanding the google login page which was in Korean.
This picture was taken at the outside of Lone Star Hotel, on the day we checked out. You can see my two girls were feeling sad to leave the hotel.
Unlike the first day, after the overnight flight, they still looked so happy and energetic.

Can you tell I am missing Seoul? I will still be posting more entries with my travel to South Korea. I really hope you will enjoy reading them.

2012-06-15

Other than kimchi

Other than Japan, Korea is the most developed country in Asia. These two countries are always in my wish-to-travel list. Luck was on us when my husband's company chose Seoul, Korea and  Guang Chou, China as this year staff outing itinerary options. Since We have been to Guang Chou, China in 2007 when we visiting Hong Kong, so we decided on Seoul, Korea.

For the past few years, myself, April and May had been tagging along my husband's company staff outing to countries like, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Every country has a unique culture or common heritage, joint experience, and shared learning that produce its culture. I want to thank my husband for giving us a chance to recharge our “batteries” by disconnecting us from our regular life.

Traveling to a more developed country, increases our knowledge and widens our perspective, especially Korea has the best technology in Asia. We were able to view new customs, and different ways of living. It gives us a new perspective about life and especially our life, it can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones. My husband has started to take good care of his skin with the new skin care range that was bought in Korea.

When I travel I usually make it a point to try new food, take lots of picture, and share nice stories to people afterwards. I don't intend to show off and make people jealous. You also need to visit exotic new places and discover what this wonderful world has to offer.

Here I would like to pen down the new food that we got to try in Korea.
Left: BBQ marinated beef (bulgogi) with lots of grass noodles and lemon grass.
Right: Other than kimchi, it is still kimchi.
Halal buffet lunch.
A full-course Korean traditional meal.
Ginseng soup with rice stuffed inside the chicken.
Frankly, I tasted the kimchi on the first day, and I dare not taking it on the second day onwards. My girls were worse, they couldn't even smell the kimchi. We are certainly not a fan of Korean cuisine. You can tell from April's expression when forcing to finish her breakfast.

Basically, Korean food is quite healhty. Every meal also includes plenty of grains, legumes and vegetables, most indispensably in the form of kimchi—robustly flavored, fermented vegetables. Kimchi is actually tastier when putting in soup.

p/s: My tour guide is 41 years old. SK got it right.

2012-06-13

Annyeonghaseyo

If you go Thailand, the first word you must learn in Thai is Sawadee-Ka (female) or Sawadee krup (males) .  If you go Korea, you must learn to say Annyeonghaseyo. It means "Hello".  Easy right? No need to greet people "Good Morning", "Good Afternoon" or "Good Evening". Day and night also, "Annyeonghaseyo".

Frankly I like Korea, this country. When I was there, the weather was around 28C at day,  22C at night. Every day, we went out touring the city at 7am, and we came back to the hotel at 8pm. I didn't feel hot at all, because it was very windy.  Last Thursday I came back to our own country, I stood outside KLIA for only 5 minutes, I immediately felt so sweaty. That time was 10pm, and I could hardly feel the air moving.

Furthermore, the traffic is always smooth in Seoul. Even at busy hours like 6pm and 7pm, the traffic is just slow moving, but not halt completely for more than 10 minutes. The heavy duty road has 6 lanes in one direction, and a special lane for bicycles to show support to the environment. This definitely gives a very good impression to tourists.
Google Image
Needless for me to mention about Korea very advanced technology. 'Made in Korea' product are now conquering the worldwide market, because of its high quality. I could see many are using Sumsung Galaxy Note or  Sumsung Galaxy Tab there.  I am also impressed by the design of HappyCall Pan ,  and thus, carrying one back with me all the way from Korea.
 Summary of Benefits for HappyCall Pan
  • No more oily and messy kitchen!
  • No more smoke and odour!
  • Cleans easily!
  • Cook fast! Far Infrared !
  • Cook healthier food!
  • So Easy to use, instant chef overnight for newbie!
Besides, I also enjoy watching Korean women and men, especially the young generation. They are so particular at their appearance and outfit. I adored their hairstyle, makeup and fashion. When they walk on the street, 80% of them look like K-pop celebrity. They are wearing the fashion of today and styling the latest hairstyle. Korean has good skin. I am not sure it is the magic of BB cream or the power of plastic surgery.  They just look beautiful to me. 
Example 1, my Korean tour guide. He was so well-dressed from day 1 to day 6. Sorry, I only remembered to snap his picture for the last 3 days. Please guess his age and let me know. Because of him, my tour had become more interesting. lol!

Example 2, the car park traffic boy. He was wearing the outfit of the men who work in banks and  corporate offices in our country. 
Google Image
Example 3, the traffic police women. This is a picture that I got from Google Image. The one we saw when our coach passed by, was even prettier than this.