Spring Is Coming!ūüíÉTime to Learn Photography! ūüď∑

Date of Visit: August 31 2014

“This August has been the wettest and coldest month on record since 1998. ¬†The average¬†temperature is¬†9C (where historically it has been¬†17C)…” ,rattled this off the news I watched last night. ūüėé

Today being the last day of winter and the first time in a long while I see the¬†sun¬†poking out from behind the clouds, I went to Royal Botanical Gardens to do my photography assignment. ¬†Yes, I’ve finally decided to learn photography! ¬†3 hours per Saturday for 5 weeks.¬†¬† I’ve been editing too many crappy pictures from my summer trip –¬†extremely¬†disappointing – ¬†that I¬†reckon I should learn the technical aspects of handling a camera – pronto!

Being a sunny Sunday, there were a lot people armed with huge cameras blasting away. ¬†Weighing in with my¬†share… tulips, tulips and more tulips…

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Grr… is it my camera or my photography skills? ¬†I’m trying to capture the birds, by the way.

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One of our assignment was to bracket the pictures to see the different exposures… Still playing around with my camera and discovering the many hidden functions it has! ¬†Thrills!

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EV+0.0

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EV-0.3

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EV+0.3

Well, let’s see if my photography skills improves! ¬†Meanwhile a toppled tree which I find very artistic -which also reminds me of the upside-down tree in our old architecture faculty building in¬†uni… ¬†Meanwhile, my instagrams¬†ain’t look too shabby¬†– check me out here!

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Dracaena from Canary Islands. It produces resin for violin varnish. This tree is over 100 year old!

Cronuts and Sweet Stuffs @Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  June 5 2014

As far as fads go, cronut is so yesterday, but I finally tried my very first cronut in Kuala Lumpur in Cafe Marco at Shangri-La Hotel (wa..aay back in June!)!

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Cronuts in Cafe Marco, Shangri-La Hotel

Cronut‚ĄĘ is a trademarked creation of Chef Dominique Ansel in New York, described to be a croissant-doughnut hybrid where the pastry is made by frying laminated dough in grape seed oil, which is then sugared, filled, and glazed. ¬†Launched¬†on May 10, 2013, it became the most¬†virally talked about pastry¬†in history – from New York to Hong Kong and to Australia!

As the cute pictogram shows, a Cronut = Croissant + Doughnut. ¬†Translated: Flaky layers of pastries (i.e.croissants) but round in shape with a hole in the middle (i.e doughnuts). ¬†This deep-fried cholesterol clogging villain is named by TIME Magazine as one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2013” in¬†December of 2013!

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Cafe Marco makes¬†different flavours each day. ¬†I tried a couple, but did not really like them. ¬†The cronuts were very¬†greasy, soaking through the layers with oil. ¬†¬†Also, not a good choice for breakfast at all… but hey, at least I’ve ticked cronuts off my list!

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Apple Pie Cronut

There’s also the Cronut Brownie… In fact, let imagination run, many flavours can be concocted! ¬†

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Cronut Brownie

The traditional me still prefer an almond croissant anytime!

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The sugar sculptures for cake-toppers on display are very cute and pretty to look at, but I bet they cost an arm and a leg.

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Up Up Away

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Pinocchio

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Faraway Tree

Week 1‚úď! Diet Treats…

Just a quick¬†update¬†on my Bikini Fitness progress. ¬†I lost 2.3% body fat and dropped 1.3kg in a week! Dieting wasn’t too hard – but the training was… 5 times¬†per week!

My nutritional plan included a variety of meats (kangaroo, steak, pork, chicken and turkey), fishes (salmon and barramundi) and lots of nuts (macadamia, almonds and brazil nuts Рall raw).  And of course, my new BFF is the electronic kitchen scale I use to measure ALL my food!

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Kangaroo meat from Coles Supermarket

Meat and nuts for breakfast?!  Never!  But this is my breakfast!  76g of Kangaroo, 34g Raw Brazil Nuts and 67g Blueberries.

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Sample pic of my brekkie

My snack:  90g Chicken cooked in Coconut oil and 49g Boiled Sweet Potato

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Sample pic of my mid-morning snack

And of course a shedload of vitamins (up to 24 tablets) a day for an even stronger body!

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Vitamins!! ūüí™ ūüí™ūüí™

Let’s see how I measure up next week!

Burrr….gers @Fat Boys, Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: June 6 2014

Everybody loves a burger, right? ¬†Greasy, greasy…totally bad for your heart, but yet so satisfying!

There’s been write-ups in¬†mags of the¬†many new restaurants in Avenue K, so off I went to suss out the place since I was nearby in KLCC. ¬†The last time I was at Avenue K, the place was jacked-up in total shambles, so I was expecting to see a new-look mall. ¬†*Horrors!*¬†ūüėĪ ¬†What lies beneath¬†million-$$¬†apartments are ‘flea-markets’!

Word. ¬†Many restaurants alright, but I am suspicious of East-Meets-West type of innovative cuisines… there’s a couple of South American types of eateries, Japanese fusion, Taiwanese fusion…etc. ¬†Finally settled on an American diner with cartoons on the walls advertising burgers and milkshake, clear and simple.

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Pretty crowded joint

I was surprised to find that pork is served Рgot my thumb-up here Рbecause everybody knows lard and cholesterol go hand-in-hand!

The menu is very comprehensive about the burgers, milkshakes and specials.

Fat Basterd:  Double-patties, bacon, cheddar cheese, fried egg on sesame bun

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Fat Basterd RM29

Bushtucker:  Beef patty, bacon melted cheese, wild arugula on whole wheat bun

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Bushtucker RM20

Perhaps I should have ordered a burger as well. ¬†My pork and beef meatballs were very tough. ¬†I don’t like food drenched in gravy… but the mashed potatoes and coleslaw¬†were pleasing.

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Mighty, Mighty Meatballs RM20

What I liked about the place was the free-flow soda drinks Рand that includes Diet Pepsi!

So, aptly named – ‘Fat Boys’, but I don’t want to be part of the family! ¬†Perhaps,¬†FaceBook Warriors?

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ūüí™ ūüí™ ūüí™

 

A Bite + ‘Gromit Unleashed Hong Kong’ @ Elements Mall, Kowloon Station

Date of Visit:  August 13 2014

Weather in Hong Kong is very, very wet.

Still, I went ahead to meet a¬†friend for drinks at Kowloon Station when the¬†Amber Thunderstorm Alert was issued. ¬†I was on¬†the MTR when I suddenly realised that I had forgotten my umbrella, but its OK, I told myself since the walkways are¬†covered all the way from my place to Kowloon Station. ¬†Oops, what I also forgot was that the restaurant that we are meeting in, is at Civic Square on top of Kowloon Station, and the area is quite exposed… uh-oh!!

Madam S’Ate offers Happy Hour until 7pm on Weekdays (HK$50/ glass of wine). ¬†Perhaps I was not hungry, so¬†I was very undecided. A juicy steak looked enticing but I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal. ¬†Pizzas, pastas… ‘meh’... so I settled for the bar menu. The salted cod croquettes were alright, in fact, pretty good.

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Salt cod croquettes, harissa and yoghurt

However, service was tardy.¬† The waitresses were flirting with a bunch of guys on the other table. ¬†My wine order was mixed up (waitress’s mistake), yet she asked if I would mind taking the wrong order. ¬†Normally I’d won’t mind, but seeing her tardiness,¬†I minded! ¬†ūüėú

We had to stay for an extra couple of hours in the restaurant to wait for the thunder and rain to subside… then I’m off to Elements Mall to see Gromit… and there were a lot of Gromits ¬†decorated in sorts. ¬†I wonder whether¬†Gromit minded?! ¬†Then again, why would he? ¬†He’s dressed up by designers, no?

TAH-DAH!!

And here is the¬†“The Greatest Dog Show on Earth in Asia”¬†unveiled in ELEMENTS.

“The only exhibition of decorated Gromit sculptures in Asia, inspired by a public art trail project named “Gromit Unleashed” that generated massive public attention throughout the UK last year. ¬†At the end of the exhibition, the giant Gromit sculptures will be auctioned in support of Wallace & Gromit‚Äôs Grand Appeal and children‚Äôs art programmes in hospitals across Hong Kong”. ¬†

Phew, with so many public art auctions nowadays… I’m presuming Hong Kong is trying really hard to push to become an¬†art lover’s destination?

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Dreamy Balloon by Veronica Li (vnikali)

I love orchids!

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Orchid Gromit by Philip Treacy

Gromit balancing a ball on his head.

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Gromit’s adventure with his moon by Jimmy Liao

This is fun – Gromit with a fuchsia moustache!

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Beauty Will Save the World by Kim Robinson

And a prickly Godzilla Gromit! ¬†Hey, this reminds me of someone! ūüėĄ

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Gromzilla by Kiyoshi Daniel Kohatsu

Or maybe this one? ¬†ūüėú

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ūüėė

There are still time to catch up with the 60-or-so Gromits in town, before they are auctioned off in September!  Hurry! Hurry!

Why Malaysians Have Zits On Their Faces ūüėú@Mamak, Chatswood

Date of Visit: August 21 2014

When one¬†made the decision to embark on a fitness competition – yeah, I engaged the N√ļmero Uno Fitness Competition Coach in Australia for a 6-weeks foundation prep while I’m back in Sydney for a bikini fitness competition sometime in March or May next year (haven’t decided on the competition yet) – ethnic food DOES NOT sound appetising at all! ūüėį

But since my friend ‘…really, REALLY want nasi lemak (sic)‘ (to quote her) and I’ve not met her for a long time, I gave in… ¬†We met at Mamak Malaysian Cuisine in Chatswood, a suburb in North Sydney.

On the menu… Carbs, carbs and more carbs with loads of sugar to edge off the hot spicy chili…

I couldn’t¬†find anything lesser in carbs (or sugar) ¬†content, so I settled for a half dozen beef satays.

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Beef Satay (A$9 for half-dozen or A$16 for a dozen).

What can I say?? ¬†The satays at Mamak were better than Malaysia Airlines’ – ¬†although a bit tougher! I didn’t try the peanut sauce because I know it is¬†very sweet. I gave to my friend who¬†polished it off – along with the 4 extra serves of sambal with her nasi lemakl! ¬†I can only look on – saying nothing – but totally astonished! Here is a skinny woman who is ALWAYS complaining that she is fat, yet wolfing down calorifically-laden junks – ¬†at the same time explaining that she eats a lot (I can see that). ¬†Still,¬†complaining that she is fat; ¬†in-between mouthfuls, when she is skinny, is totally not on! ¬†ūüė§ ūüė§ ūüė§

Elephant Parade, Pacific Mall, Admiralty

After the 1,600 Pandas departed, the Elephants stampeded¬†into Hong Kong. ¬† Elephant Parade is the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues created by artists and celebrities. ¬†After the exhibition, the statues will be auctioned. ¬†The idea is to use the power of art to¬†bring forth a meanful message of animal conservation and protection. ¬†Individuals can also buy miniature replicas of the elephants whereby 20% of the net profit are donated to The Asian Elephant Foundation.

Since it was Amber Rainstorm today, I was at Pacific Place Mall today to watch a movie.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the elephants dotted around the mall and had a fun time taking pictures.

Hah! ¬†A map of HK, no doubt dedicated to Hiker Dude ūüėú

Pearl of the Orient by Diana Francis

Pearl of the Orient by Diana Francis

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‘Maclehose Trail’, the gruesome 100km Oxfam Trail Walk where some teams managed to finish in 13 hours!

Money makes the world go round, and so the auspicious lucky coin Elephants to reign in good fortune for the Mall

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Lucky Coins by Santi Takaew

And with the mooncake season or mid-autumn festival coming up, an Elephant Mooncake sounds like a good festive creation

Mooncake by Kitipong Tamnonsri

Mooncake by Kitipong Tamnonsri

A statue designed by my favourite designer.

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DVF, Love is Life by Diane von Furstenberg

Hong Kong is a tourist destinations and of course a couple of Elephants decorated with local flavours are a must!  Themes included food and tourist landmarks.

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Yum-Ephant by Diana Francis

We Love Hong Kong by Carsac Limited

We Love Hong Kong by Carsac Limited

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Commandments of God by Prajjwal Choudhury

One of the crowd’s favourite as judged by the number of people taking pictures. ¬†The cutest¬†of ’em all, I reckon! ¬†This is by celebrated local designer Carrie Chau

The Hiding Men and The Elephant by Carrie Chau

The Hiding Men and The Elephant by Carrie Chau

The Hiding Men and The Elephant by Carrie Chau

The Hiding Men and The Elephant by Carrie Chau

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The Hiding Men and The Elephant by Carrie Chau

The exhibition started on August 1 and will continue to September 9 2014.  Do pay the Elephant Parade a visit Рother locations includes CityPlaza in Taikoo Shing and CityGate in Tung Chung.

Tree of Life exclusively designed for Pacific Place by Diana Francis

Tree of Life exclusively designed for Pacific Place by Diana Francis