Travel year of 2016

2016 has been a meaningful year as I have ticked off a lot of my to-travel countries.

  • Hong Kong and Japan in March
  • A spontaneous weekend getaway to Seoul, Korea in June
  • Spent a week in New Zealand in November

Every time after work or during weekend, I told myself that I should dedicate some time in writing an after thought of my trips but I never did. The pictures that I took were incredible (I cherished them a lot) and the journey which I have been were something that I think is worth sharing. Posting itinerary would take me quite a while (with pictures) and since it is almost the end of 2016, I will just do a quick summary of my perspective of travelling.

What kind of traveler are you?

  • I post photos as I go in Facebook (private) + Instagram (public)
    • I find that posting photos and writing them down/describing instantly gives you the best posting as you have a fresh memory of what you eat, do and even checking-in to the location is easier. It doesn’t take long which you can do it on a train trip, or after a meal or during shopping.
  • I eat what the locals eat
    • In my Hong Kong trip, that’s how we eat. We went to a very old bakery to get the best egg-tart, we went to a very classic cafe to have Bo-Lo-Bao (Pineapple Bun), we had wonton noodle soup and their claypot rice which are all packed with the locals
  • I don’t waste time resting
    • I find that this is ironic. We travel to relax but we don’t actually stay idle during our travel not especially when we have flew so many hours to the destination. We set out early from our accommodation, plan ahead of what to do and fill up what to do/where to go if there is an empty slot. This includes travel to somewhere just for the food.
  • I do my research + booking diligently
    • I preferred someone to do the research with me, to discuss and plan because it is a very exciting moment, the anticipation of what we will see/do is just very satisfying. The fact that you understand the destination you’re going makes you feel less stressful when you’re there and the fact that you’re prepared makes everything go smoother than a person who doesn’t. I don’t like the feeling of relying someone to do all the work and I just sit back follow. I like participating in the journey that I have signed up for.
  • I seek information from the locals
    • That’s something that I have learned from foreign language country Japan and Korea. You will need the locals – it can be the people from information centre, the taxi driver, the passer-by, the shop keeper, the hotel staff etc. We have came across people who are mostly friendly. That taught me to approach someone whenever in need (finding direction, recommendation of eatery). Japanese are happy to help even with the language barrier. Some Koreans don’t especially the younger generation but the taxi driver whom we met are so honest (We were heading to a shrine near Gwanjang Market and we thought it is not a walk-able distance so we hail a taxi but the driver told us how to walk there and it was very near)
  • Spontaneous change of plan is unavoidable
    • I suppose some things just don’t go according to plan. As our Seoul trip is so short, we tried to squeeze in as much places as possible but somehow 24 hrs a day is not enough. This means you will need to adjust the itinerary for the next day to accommodate what you have missed yesterday (if only that place is a must go for you). Sometimes we can’t do everything but we tried to be optimistic when it comes to travel.

What makes a good travel?

  • Good companion
    • In my recent New Zealand trip, I went with my boyfriend alongside with his two good High school friends who have became a couple. They are such easy going and fun to hang out people which makes the trip so memorable whenever I look at the pictures
  • Good food
    • This is important but depending on the destination. New Zealand wasn’t the foodie country compared to Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. I would try not to describe this in detailed. Hong Kong is all about the classic dishes which I have already known as a Chinese and treats which I have loved. Japan is about the freshness of the ingredients, the quality of how it is made and exceptional presentation. Korea is mostly complex, quirky, comforting food which emphasize on strong flavours.
  • Good activities
    • I must include my skydiving, horse-riding experience in New Zealand but to be honest walking around the city, exploring the mysterious shrines, visiting the tranquil temples were all considered my kind of activities. As long as your time is well-spent during travel and as long as you felt that you discover more charm about the destination, I think the travel experience is already worthwhile.

I know nobody in this world doesn’t like to travel but everyone has their way of travelling and people who has the mutual interest and personality that comes together will have a blast of their time. Feel free to comment, tell me where you have been and what sort of travel person you are?

23th Birthday

How things have changed

I haven’t actually devoted time in this blog but because yesterday was my 23th birthday. I thought I will give myself an opportunity to reflect how everything has changed since the last two years. After I have graduated, I have step into the work force. I failed along the way, attempted to be motivated in my first job and determined to please everyone that has set expectation on me. It was definitely worth it as I have gained a lot through the ups and downs. I am now in the field of digital marketing and have been working on WordPress for most of the projects, sometimes Magento, Sitecore, Umbraco, Moz SEO etc. It is a learning curve that will be so memorable and useful in my career path.In hoping that I will also become a more confident, skilled, discipline, sociable and approachable person.

Despite that I haven’t obtain much knowledge on marketing for my degree, my bosses and colleague are always there to guide me on whether they are relating to business/marketing or technical stuff. I have came to know the way to handle website development projects, tackle client’s requests and ensure quality assurance of the work. Boss has also brought me along to meet clients despite knowing that English is my second language. Thinking back when i first started, i continuously blamed my stupidity for asking all the simple questions, how I am not attention to details and screw up even when writing an email and especially sending monthly newsletter. I would rather be stupid than pretending to be smart. I would rather be slow than attempting to make mistakes for my speediness. Hence I would just ask, double check and confirm just to make sure a smooth work flow for everyone. As my boss says: “it is okay to admit your mistake, everyone make mistake; but of course not to make the same mistake ten times.” In short, there are plenty of rooms for improvement as an amateur.

What is missing?

  1. Spending with my family and friends. Working from 9 – 6 on weekdays has lead me to understand how is like to be in a working class. You basically come home from work, shower and have dinner. BOOOM! it’s 8pm. I am an early riser so sleeping early is inevitable. The time difference here with Malaysia is 2-3 hours. This makes chatting and interacting with my family and friends more difficult and lesser.
  2. Being able to go on holiday. “Welcome to the world of working” where there is something call annual leave and no such thing as semester break and summer break. I might need some time to get used to this.

How was my birthday ?

Let me start with the pre-celebration which I had Yum cha with my two aunts and grandparents. In the afternoon I was  a couch potato, watching a Korean series . For dinner, we had Thai takeway which was very appetizing. The meals may be simple to some others, but I am a happy girl.

The 7th day of March

On 7/3, my boyfriend organized a dinner with me. I don’t know where it will be but since it is my birthday, i will dress nice. Birthday passed by very quickly as I was at work. My boss bought me a chocolate cake, how nice is that! Of course I will still need to focus at work, no excuse!

cake

Chef’s Seasonal Tasting at Aria

Surprise! It was in a two hatted restaurant – Aria which is near to the Opera House. Lovely view to start of and the rest of the experience was top notch as well. When we stepped into the restaurant and seated. Shortly, we are being served with the amuse-bouche. It was kingfish tartare with tomato and capsicum juice. A very refreshing one to start off the meal.

We decided to go for the Chef’s Tasting Menu which consists of 7 courses. That went from 7.30 – 10.30pm. We savour the bread before commencing the 7 courses.

Rye bread with seaweed butter and cultured butter with sea salt

Salad of autumn fruit with pickled cucumber, caper leaves and salty ice plant

  • We love the combination of this “salad” particularly the salty ice plant

Saikou salmon with apple, dill and horseradish

  • This is probably our favourite dish as the salmon just melts in our mouth

Champagne lobster with sweetcorn congee and wakame

  • We could not resist the corn congee with the juicy lobster

John Dory with fennel, salted grapes and verjuice

  • The fish was fresh but overall the dish doesn’t stand out

Twice cooked veal brisket with shiitake mushroom and bonito tea

  • Love how the mushroom and bonito tea infused with the brisket sauce

Cowra lamb loin and neck with harissa, pine nuts and samphire

  • We love the lamb – not our favourite but the lamb loin was yumm

Warm caramelised pineapple with lime and rosemary sorbet and poached meringue

  • Birthday girl gets the candle and a sour refreshing dessert to end the course dinner

Selection of house made petits fours with peppermint tea for me and cappuccino for my bf

  • White chocolate and Vanilla Macaron – this was not that special
  • Chocolate earl grey truffle – the truffle was excellent as it is not too sweet and the size was just right for us (well, it is ‘petit’ after all…)
  • Passionfruit meringue tart – this was well made

The Finale

A gift from my boyfriend who obviously has spent a lot on my birthday. I have not really celebrated my birthday with him for the past two years. This year was exceptional. Thank you so much.

p/s: Did i forget to mention that i will be going to Japan very soon as a way to treat myself for my birthday? Hopefully I am able to write about the trip on this blog in another month. Stay tuned.

Macquarie shopping centre’s new transformation

The first time i stepped into Macquarie shopping centre in 2012, I don’t enjoy the shopping experience compared to chatswood and the city. There is a lack of fashion brands (high end or low end) and the food choices are not abundant. The geographical arrangement of the shops are very confusing as well. Despite that, I still go there for ice-skating, frozen yoghurt or when i feel the need to go window shopping somewhere apart from the city. The city gets a bit boring sometimes.

Studying in Macquarie University, i feel proud that our Macquarie shopping centre has transformed to a new look just recently. It has become the most large format international high street fashion brands of any Australian shopping centre. It always happen. The school, college and university always has something better to offer when I am leaving. It feel sad but definitely is convenient for people living nearby, especially students: they will just flock to the centre for window shopping or genuine shopping. Spending money even before you earn money is like a sin but you still do it.

RetailerAnnouncement_2014

Apart from that, the local departmental stores: Myers and David Jones are part of the glamorous two-floor fashion galleria. This galleria’s main attractions are definitely the four international high street stores: Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and Gap. Just yesterday H&M has its grand opening which attracted students, working women and others who live in the Northern region.

Macquarie Centre is featuring around 100 specialty fashion and beauty stores. The list includes luxury Australian designers Scanlan Theodore, Zimmermann, Alice McCall, Gorman, Willow and Sass & Bide. Walking along the galleria, you can feel the oomph of the retailers. Even the lounge chairs, the ceilings and lighting are sophisticated. In December, an American fashion chain will be one of the featured participanting stores: Forever 21. There is also a Victorian Secret store coming soon.

forever21-logo

The brand new-look Macquarie Centre will have a separate dining and cafe precinct: so you still get your old food court and with several new restaurants and eateries. In July, there is a fresh food market precinct featuring new Coles and Aldi supermarkets alongside with the refurbished Woolworths. I bet Macquarie centre is the only shopping centre with all the major supermarkets, plus an Asian grocery store and Daiso. There is a range of market-style eateries such as Costi’s Seafood Market, Inlakesh Living Foods and F & L Gourmet. Macquarie centre has fitness first, JB-Hifi, strike (bowling & laser tag) and rebel as well. I think you can pretty much get anything in Macquarie centre.

Now the question is why did H&M and Uniqlo chose Macquarie centre? Why not the city? I know the city has a Uniqlo pop-up store in Pitt st. Still, I wonder why…Is it because of the rent? Is it because Macq centre offer much more than Westfield? Is it because of a pre-investment? meaning they want to test Sydney’s market and response towards these brands before deciding to expand. In any ways as a Malaysian, I always wonder why Australia is always the slowest and the latest country to receive all these fashion labels and blockbuster movies. Is it something to do with the country’s policy or just coincidence that all these international brands decided to target Asian countries before going to Australia/New Zealand? Australians complaint about it, yet the foreign brands are not proactive in featuring their stores in Australia. It might also relate to Australian economical growth (I’m not an expertise but it might be as Australia is still consider as an expensive place to live in, not to mention doing your business here).

This might be a useful chart.

This might be a useful chart.

Anyways, I just got back from Macuarie centre (it’s a friday so no class for me, yayy!!) I bought a denim cropped legging pants from Uniqlo ($19 opening special). They have various colours to offer but this one got my attention. I always love legging pants because it is easy to wear, comfy, casual looking and perfect for spring/summer. The last legging pants I got is from Bossini Malaysia ranging at the same price or slightly cheaper, the brand is from Hong kong.

I wish to window shop longer but the queue of the fitting room is just crazy in H&M. Uniqlo is not too bad and is the second most crowded stores. I did not even bother going into Gap. I did window shop in Zara and found a couple pricey outfit. I might go next week again when there is less crowd (well, that’s what I hope for). But then, the price might be different than this week.

10723167_908544089174342_1585134484_n

Here’s my lovely new Uniqlo denim cropped legging pants (slightly boyfriend jeans look)

Product review: Guardian Baby Milk Lotion

Recently, I fell in love with a product that I never thought it would be that great. Someone gave it to me as a gift: Guardian Baby Milk Lotion. Thank you 🙂

I love the after effect of the lotion. I applied it on my legs and arms after shower. The next day, my skin is so smooth. It felt almost like the skin we see in skincare advertisement. Guardian pharmacy is not available in Australia, even though there is a similar name of another pharmacy. I am pretty sure that because the bottle read: “Made in Malaysia”. It is available in the Guardian online store as well (check the link below)

https://online.guardian.com.my/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?q=baby+milk+lotion

Besides that, the lotion does not give you any greasy feeling. Previously I have tried Nivea body lotion. It does legitimate its function for dry skin and moisture but it is oil-based. My skin becomes overly moisture and i can feel a layer of unnecessary grease. In other words when I go out and the weather gets too hot, the greasiness becomes more apparent. It is not too bad but I would still prefer a lotion that gives me a milky texture yet not too ‘buttery’

10733670_908089945886423_213688366_n

Pareben-free & Ph balanced, dermatological tested (mild formula) Triple moisturizing with oat milk, aloe-vera and olive oil

The lotion’s price shocked me even more. I have used expensive brands before but it’s just amazing cheap brand does good to the skin as well. It is only rm6.71 after discount ($2??!!) You must be thinking that I’m crazy and that’s absurd. Anyways, I don’t care whether it is a renown high end brand that costs you $200 or a low end that is below $10. As long as I can afford and my skin feels good then why not?

10718965_908089955886422_1739049654_n

Proudly made in Malaysia. 100% money guarantee. Ingredients: Kernel extract, aloe leaf juice, alcohol, fruit oil, sodium hydroxide, oatmeal extract, glucose, chamomile (my fav!) So there’s a mixture of chemical and natural ingredients.

10723090_908089859219765_391500249_n

Just like typical lotion: white creamy texture that gives you baby skin (how sweet!)

If you have any favourite body lotion (high end or low end) feel free to leave comment below as recommendation. Do you agree that high end brand does better to our skin or sometimes affordable products are good as well?

The Messy World

When we look at our world, it is getting more complicated and everything just seems so ‘messy’.

On the surface it seems coordinated, everyone following rules and regulations while some others going against it.

We do come to an age of progression where everything is about comfort in life and convenience in doing things.

People work because life is not about sitting there doing nothing.

It is meant to be fully utilized and enjoy until the day you die with no regrets.

My point of a messy world is that our mind is corrupted with future and seeking for the best in life. Yet the life we live in is so messy itself that people are blinded and soon assimilated in such a lifestyle.

Nothing is wrong with a messy world where everyone is being self-centered and immersed in a world of technology (using their phone and not communicating with people around you physically).

Nothing is wrong with a messy world where the rich is getting richer while the poor is getting poorer.

Nothing is wrong with a messy world where more homeless people on the streets are youngsters.

Nothing is wrong with a messy world where people is crazy about body image, gym fitness and diet.

In life, you were given choices and doing the right thing is almost impossible.

Messy world that you live in means that as soon as you have decided to do something, you will end up being at fault on the other side. It means you will miss out something when you gain something. Messy as much as you can think it can be, your decision is not always right. The point when you think everything is going well, the next minute something collapse. The point when you think everything is hopeless, you get something out of the blue moon. Therefore, it is messy.

Your mind is messy because the anxiousness and the negativity that corrupted your mind. You are taken over by fear and inhibits you from moving forward. Everything becomes messy. Your world becomes messy. The people around you are seen messy as well. Your mind is messy when you think of all the unnecessary, when you still think of the past during sleep, when you still think of things that you shouldn’t stress about, when you are not concentrating what is important to you.

The news report about the world being messy. Everyone hates messy but they are curious and want to know more about the “messiness”. It does not affect us yet we tell people that we are concern as humanity driven us being compassionate and empathetic. Our messy world is not just the division of countries and regions but different ethnicity, race and family. It is messy in a positive way where variation of life comes together in unity (well, that’s what people hope for or some people) In negative way where racism, riot and binary ideas are developed.

Messy world because everyone has their individual rights and opinions: what is important to them and what is right/wrong to them. There is ambivalence in perception and viewpoints towards different matters in life. The world is messy because you as individual encounter people coming in and out of your life, despite your unwillingness: people who cherish the relationship will stay while others move on with their own life with a broken heart or a cruel heart.

You think the messy world will stop? It evolves and this is just a quarter part of the messy world. .

Malaysia Festival 2014 (Sydney) Chinese Fan dance video

Recently in September, I joined Chinese Fan dance performance for Malaysia Festival in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. The festival is hosted by student organizations of universities in Sydney. I was really intrigued by all the practices with my dancing mates for the past few weeks. We were all amateurs apart from our choreographer. She’s amazing and has put in a lot of effort in teaching u, correcting us and perfecting us. Even though, there are still flaws: I felt that everyone did their best, very team-spirit and have fun (that’s what matters the most). During that day, we performed twice. The video is 8 minutes long of two performances. Anyways, enjoy if you happened to stumbled into my blog. Cheers 🙂