Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Love.



Sometimes love is not just romantic dinner and bouquets of roses. It's not just grand romantic gestures

I'm a very picky drinker. I don't drink unless I absolutely have to. And even then, I only drink chilled drink.

My husband meanwhile, doesn't really favor chilled drink. He likes his drink either hot, or in the case of plain water, luke warm.

I never really gave this a thought, but, the cold water bottle in the fridge is always filled. So, one day, I caught my husband filling the bottle and I asked him about it.

"Sayang, why do you always keep the water bottle full? It's not like u like your drink cold"

And his answer melted my heart.

"Well, YOU can only drink chilled water. So, I have to do this to make sure you get your share of liquid in your system, so that you don't get dehydrated and fall sick".

He  never complains about it, or even say anything  while doing it. He just keeps filling the water bottle day in day out quietly, even though he doesn't have to. For me. I think I really really got lucky with this one. I'm spoiled. :)

Sometimes love is just that simple selfless act you do for others.

Like walking barefoot from the car because you gave your shoes to your wife because her feet hurt from wearing heels (my husband did this)

Like making your husband's favorite food.

Like making sure you buy that pastry you know your mom likes so much before going to see her.

Like sewing your brother's favorite sport jersey when it ripped.

Like being there for your friends when they need you.

And sometimes, it's just quietly filling up that cold water bottle so that your wife can drink from it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 11 - LDN 02

Since this was the last day of the trip, we decided to take it easy. We've been running around the whole trip that our kneecaps started making squeaking sounds that sound unmistakably like "stop.walking.now" with every step we took.



So in the morning, we took a cab to the Natural History Museum, because that was one of our favorite spot from the last time we were in London. We hoped that THIS TIME we could see the whole place (the last time we were there we could only visit half of the place), so with renewed enthusiasm, we marched into the building. But, because the place is SOOO big, we ended up seeing only half of the exhibiton. Again.







If you ever visit London, and do not know what to do while there, I highly recommend this place. The displays are amazing, it's full of knowledge, and there's no admission fee (at least the last time I was there). There was also an ice skating ring just outside the building during winter. So, that's at least a day's worth of trip.

Once we were done with the museum, we decided to get some lunch. We foolishly hoped that the marvelous fish and chips stand we found 4 years ago near the museum still stands, but unfortunately, it was replaced by a cheese fries stand. The cheese fries were pretty good too though.



After that, the parentals wanted to visit this factory outlet just outside London, and asked us whether we wanted to come. But thankfully, none of us kids (kids la sangat...padahal dah tua bangka) wanted to go, so the parentals gave us some money for lunch and cab (they didn't want us to get into the underground), and left us to do what we wanted.

After my parents left for the factory outlet, we looked through our still-valid London Pass for places all 3 of us wanted to visit. My sister has been nagging about wanting to go ice skating, and we found a place in the London Pass with an ice skating ring and a bowling alley (which my brother loves), which coincidentally was located really close to Noodle Oodle, so we decided that that was where we wanted to go.



I have had my ice skating training since I was in elementary school, so I had no problem at all but it was hilarious watching my sister and my brother wobble about in their skates, and falling down countless times.
After they decided that they were covered in enough bruises and ice, we walked to Noodle Oodle to get some lunch, and walked back to the ice skating place for a round (or two) in bowling. Now, this was something I really suck at. I'm really bad with hand-eye coordination, so naturally I got my ass kicked by my brother in bowling. I couldn't even throw the ball straight to make contact with the pins, let alone getting a strike. I sucked so baaad at this game.




Having lost my dignity to my younger siblings, we got a cab to Oxford street to meet our parents because, surprise, surprise, they wanted to get another round of shopping done. I don't even... nevermind. It turned out to be a fruitful shopping trip for me too though. I went to Boots and stocked up on my liptint (because they don't sell those in Malaysia). I bought about 10 of them because it was on sale (score!). And then I went to Primark and almost went crazy because everything was on Christmas sale!! It was pure lady-frenzy in there. It was buzzing, the air was thick with adrenaline. People don't even bother with changing rooms anymore, they just grab whatever they wanted to try on, and stand in front a mirror and strip. Frenzy I tell you.




How I managed to walk away with only 2 dresses I don't even know. I somehow obtained the self control of a Buddhist monk probably.

After that shopping frenzy, we met up with my mom's former student who's currently studying in UEL, and had dinner with her in Tuk Din (yes, we only ate in either Noodle Oodle or Tuk Din in London. We need our riceeee!), before going back to our hotel, and packed our luggage.




In the morning, we lugged our (many, many) luggage in the airport transfer, drove to Heathrow and said goodbye to London. :)






And that, dear readers, (FINALLY) brings us to the end of my Europe travelogue. See you in my Japan - Tokyo trip post next!

Till then!
Lots of  XOs



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 10 - Walking around LDN

Madre had bought the London Pass for all of us (details here), and we decided that we wanted to visit the attractions listed on there on the 10th day of the visit.

The way that the London Pass works is that we pay a certain amount of money for the pass, and we get to visit whatever tourist attraction listed in the pass for free within 3 days (those were the pass we bought). The pass included various tourist attractions you can visit, however, since the pass we bought can only be used for 3 days, we were very selective of where we wanted to go.

So, in the morning, after breakfast, we set out to walk around Hyde Park to get to the Royal Palace. We visited the Palace the last time we were in London, but the novelty just never wears off. It took us about half an hour to walk across the Hyde Park, which I imagine was no easy feat for the parentals, but because it was soooo beautiful around that time of year, it was worth the muscle strain afterwards.







Hyde Park was bursting with the vibrant hues of gold, and red, and orange leaves, and the crisp autumn air carried with it that chilly lovely smell of winter. My sister chased around squirrels, and attempted to feed it. It was a lovely walk on its own even without the prospect of visiting the Royal Palace.



Once we got to the Royal Palace, we took pictures around the square while waiting for the change of guards. Being obsessed with statues, and due to the fact that the square is swarming with it, I naturally enjoyed the whole process.




I was too busy trying to get a good picture of the statues (did I do a good job?), that I almost missed the changing of guards at the palace. But here, I got a bit of it. Say hello to the royal horses' butts.



The London Pass included London Bridge experience, so we decided to get there. It's on the opposite road of where London Dungeon is located, so it's pretty easy to spot.

What London Bridge Experience is, is just an elaborate haunted hause. So my brother, being a chicken that he is, decided to sit this one out, and my dad had to accompany him outside. So that leaves us 3 delicate, women to go into the unknown ourselves. Teruk betul.



We showed our London passes, and we were good to go. Didn't even have to get tickets or anything like that. Once inside, we were seated in a narrow room, with dim lighting and eerie music, facing each other, forming 2 lines. Each line consists of about 8 people. And we had to grab on to the shoulder of whoever is in front of us to get into the haunted house. It was good for what it was, although the person behind me almost strangled me out of fear (she kept on violently pulling the collar of my coat whenever some "ghost" chased after her). But I wouldn't go back a second time. I guess it just wasn't my thing.

After that we grabbed a quick lunch on the street, on our way to the next London Pass destination; Shakespeare's Globe Theater. We came across a fish and chips selling van, and decided to just get that for lunch and eat it by the roadside. Rasa urban sangat uols.




Once we were done with lunch, we walked to the theater because it was really nearby.

I really enjoyed it, because I'm an artsy snob. They displayed costume and props of the plays that Shakespeare wrote, and at the end of it, there was a tour that you can join, where you get to enter the old theater that was built for Shakespeare himself, an listen as the guide explains the details of the structure, and the history of the plays. I absolutely loved it. BUTTTTT. My family isn't exactly the artsy kind, so like a budak sekolah serong, we (my father made us) ditched the tour halfway. We sneaked around like thieves, and giggled like mad once we were out of that place. The artsy snob inside of me wept with sorrow.







By this time, it's just a little after noon, we decided to pay Madame Tussauds a visit because "we better do something fun, and not go to a snoozefest like that theater place just now" T_T. Madame Tussaud's unfortunately wasn't included in the London Pass, so we had to buy the tickets in. 





At the end of the tour, we notice that there was a new addition to the attraction from the last time we were there (to be fair, the last time we were in London was in 2006, so of course there's bound to be new attractions lol). The wax display was pretty much the same, but the latest addition was awesome! We weren't allowed to take pictures within the attraction so I'm straining my brain the hardest I can to remember it. It was a 3d movie thing with chair that moves, and that water spray thing. I'm doing a really bad job explaining it. I know. Sorryyyy! It was a year plus ago! Anyway, it's awesome, you should check it out.

After Madame Taussauds, the next thing on the London pass that my family wanted to visit was the London Zoo. Yes. The zoo. I don't even... but in all fairness the zoo was really well-kept, and the animals were all adorable and were in great condition. So I didn't have much to complain about.






After the zoo, we decided to give the London's Eye and Big Ben a visit. And since it was misty and hella cold, we didn't stay long there. After about half an hour of shivering our behinds off, we headed straight to dinner.




Having had Tuk Din the day before, there was no way that we'd go back to cold sandwiches again. Being well-prepared, yours truly had researched halal food in London before even being there. So with "halal food" list in my hand, we headed to Noodle Oodle, halal chinese food about 15 minutes away from our hotel in Oxford street. Check their menu out  here!

Having been deprived of asian food for a week, again, absolute silence fell during dinner. The food was, needless to say, excellent! I still have withdrawals sometime from their salted egg chicken wings!

Right after dinner, being happily full with chinese food, an exhausted for being out the whole day we headed back to our hotel, and slept soundly until the next morning.

See you again in "Day 11"!

Xs and Os

I'm back (yet again)

Hellooo everybody!

I just got back from Japan. It was one of the best trip I've ever been to.

But before writing about that, I owe you guys (and myself..well, more myself than you guys) the complete euro travelogue entries.

And the following Japan - Tokyo trip.

And maybe Jogja trip.

And maybe Gili, Lombok trip.

And THEN hopefully (although I don't really trust myself to be able to keep up with all the blogpost I promised to write), I can write about my Japan - Osaka and Kyoto trip.

Alright then, I'll get right on that Euro travelogue entries.

Till then!

Cheerio!
Xs and Os


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hello again!

Hello again dear readers!

I know, I know. I once again managed to abandon my travelogue, I'm really sorry about that! But so much has been going on. Yes - it took me 3 months to settle down, with a laptop in front of me, and the luxury of time to be writing in here again.

Just a little update of what's been going on.
I finally finished writing my thesis, and I turned it in some time in November (yay). It was soooo exhilarating to finally be able to hold the (heavy) hard copy, hard covered thesis, that you have worked on for 2 years, and handing it in to the faculty. Now all I have to do is wait for the VIVA and insyaAllah with minor adjustments hopefully, graduate.

RIGHT after that, I got married in December. :) Alhamdulillah, everything went well, even with the complications of being from 2 different countries, and some other matters that I'd prefer not to write in here, we were safely wed. I couldn't be happier to be married to my best friend of 8 years! It has been a smooth sail so far, and I'm performing my responsibility as a good wife the best I can (sebab VIVA tak buat lagi, so I am now a housewife. lol).  It was sooo hectic because being busy with my thesis, and conference, and publishing (oh, I gave a speech in an international conference, and published an article in a journal btw), I put everything off till the last second. So right after my thesis submission, all hell broke loose. LOL.

And then after the wedding, there was the settling down in Kajang for a while, because our Apartment can only be ready mid-January. It was another kind of hectic. Kajang is SOOOO far from everything. It takes about an hour to get to the city, so everything was time consuming. 

Then mid-january we moved in to our apartment, and went to the gorgeous Gili Island for about a week for what you can say as our first round of honeymoon (we're planning on going off again some time soon. hehehe). Then comes the settling down in our new apartment. We had to move everything from Kajang to Damansara, and buy all the necessities bit by bit to be able to function.

Then in February, we had to go to Kota Kinabalu, for another reception, because my (ahem here comes the word for the first time in this blog) husband's father lives there, and all his friends and relatives couldn't make it to our KL receptions. so we spent a week in Sabah for that.

Now I'm finally back, and settled in, with a stable internet connection (we just had it installed 3 days go) and A LOT of time to write, so, you'll definitely be hearing from me more (if you choose to, that is).

Well, that is all for now. See you in my next post!

Xs and Os
 . 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 9 - Warner Bros Studios - The Making of Harry Potter

This is an entry that I was most excited to write about!! As some of you may know I'm a Harry Potter freak (yes, at my ripe age, still loving Harry Potter, always), so, being able to see the props that was used in the movie sent me over the moon!

We left our hotel around 7.30 a.m, took a cab (I was travelling with my parents, so they decided that splurging on cabs was a better option than losing their legs from walking too much) to the bus stop to take a bus that will eventually take us straight to the WB studios. We had quite a trouble locating the the exact location of the stop, luckily, the kind hearted cab driver, called WB studios for us, asking them the exact location of the stop, and made sure we got on the right bus. He's so kind I was about to burst into tears.

If you visit London, and decide to give this place a visit (which I highly recommend), I suggest that you do what we did, and purchase a package tour, which includes both the transportation and entrance ticket to the studio. The slight drawback to it is that you can only have a limited amount of time in the studio, because the bus arrives and leaves at a certain time. But being tourists, renting  a car or getting a cab there was way more of a hassle (and not to mention expensive for us. So this was the most affordable and convenient way.


The S Stop on Dorset square, where busses going to the WB studios stop.

If you ever plan on going to WB studios from London, look for this building, the S stop is located right across it.

We pre-purchased the tickets online (you can do so here and get more information of the attraction here), and once the bus arrived, we showed the proof of payment (which was sent to us via email once we've completed the transaction) to the bus conductor, and he gave us the tickets in return.  I could hardly contain my excitement having those tickets in my hands.

Yayyyyyy!! 

The bus ride took quite a while, about 1 and a half hour, since the studio was located far from London. But it was all worth it once we arrived there. We booked the 10 am tour (the first tour was at 9 am), so, when we got there the place was still quite deserted!

Oh hai.
We waited around in the reception area for a little bit, waiting for the tour to start, so we took pictures. The reception area alone was sooooo awesome. I was so excited I almost  wet my pants.

Honeydukes you guyssss!



Oh well, hello. If it isn't the flying ford anglia in the background.
After waiting for about 15 minutes berlegar legar in the waiting area, it was anounced that we can finally line up to get into the studio. The area where we lined up was also awesome. Banyak HP related things along the line.

The Dursleys family potrait.

The bedroom under the stairs.
After waiting for another 10minutes (and jumping up and down in excitement all the while), we finally get to see the Hogwarts main entrance and enter the great hall!!!! I will let the pictures speak for itself from here on.

Piertotum Locomotor! Hogwarts is threatened! Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school!
Gryffindor and Slytherin gargoyles
The boys' dormitories
Revolving staircase, a.k.a entrance to the principle's office
Potions class in the dungeon



Diagon Alley!


Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

Hogwarts model

With Hogwarts' architect

The thing with The Making Of Harry Potter is though, once you have exited the exhibition area, you can't re-enter it. So you have to make sure that you were really done with it, that you have had enough of it before you get out. However, we purchased a 2-way bus ticket, our bus would be leaving at 1.30, we had no choice but to be done with it (to make some time for shopping. har har). Once we were done with the first part of the exhibition area, we felt a little bit hungry, so we decided to have some lunch. We had the usual sandwiches and crisps, and washed it down with, to my delight, Butterbeers!

Butterbeer stand!


Yummy butterbeer!

After lunch, on to the next exhibition area we went.



The Riddles' tomb

Choosing my wand - or rather, letting the wand choose me


Hogwarts bridge


After we made sure that we were done with the exhibition spaces, well, we weren't actually done, but we had to get going if we wanted to make time for shopping, we headed straight to the souvenir shop, which of course, sent me to a fresh round of frenzy.

There were so many things I have always wished I had, but I couldn't have, because it is hard to obtain in Malaysia. They sold a wide range of HP merchandise from chocolate frogs, to wands, robes and brooms. It was amazing.

It was so hard for me to decide what I actually wanted to buy, but in the end I settled for the Hallows: The resurrection stone in the form of Gaunt's ring, and the Elder Wand. Would've bought the invisibility cloak too, but they didn't have it. lol. I managed to sneak in time turner and hallow keychain into my mother's cart too. My brother and sister who isn't even a HP fan, bought both bought the Hogwarts robe. I was pretty envious of that. Haish.



Ressurection Stone!

Time Turner!

The Elder Wand

Harry's wand in the form of a pen.

Grindelwald's sign aka The Hallows

Didn't buy this one in UK but, a shout out to my golden snitch necklace! LOL



We spent a loooong time in the souvenir shop. In fact, I advice that if you're planning to buy the same tour package that we did, make sure that you put aside plenty of time for shopping. You really wouldn't want to miss it.

We barely made it to the bus home. hahahaha. The journey back also took about one and a half hour. And although we had crisps and sandwiches, we were absolutely famished by the time we got back to London. So we decided to find a halal Thai restaurant we can have early dinner in (I made sure to google Halal places to eat in London before hand because I have had it with cold sandwiches and crisps). However, because it was only 4 pm, it was still closed. So we decided to just head back to the hotel, and have hot tea to fill our stomach before we can make dinner reservations.

Looking at the list of restaurants I have picked, we decided to call Tuk Din to make a reservation for 5. We hailed 2 cabs, at around 7.30 to get to Tuk Din, and I'm telling you, after a week of sandwiches and the odd cakes and muffins, the first taste of Malay food tasted like a piece of heaven! Everybody went absolutely quiet during the meal, and savored the feast we had before our eyes. It was pure bliss.





After the hearty dinner and a long day, we felt all warm and sleepy, so we decided to call it a day, and head back to the hotel to get some rest, ready for the adventure the next day.

Till the next entry!

XOs

Pages - Menu