Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Chronic Bitchface

via pinterest 

After years of having to endure being told by well-meaning, irritating strangers to 'SMILE' and 'CHEER UP' I have now discovered I suffer from a this common yet little-understood, incurable condition. 

Yes, I too suffer from Chronic Bitchface. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Bits of my Weekend:

Nothing like frozen yoghurt to bring out the childhood innocence in all of us  {Tutti Frutti Parlour}

Watermelon & Feta Cheese salad with lashings of mint, pine nuts and a drizzle of chilli oil - {Summer in a bowl!}

Ain't she precious !?

Love how this Arm chandelier has a romantic, vintage feel without looking dated. 

Yummy roasted pork belly bites !!! 
This weekend I felt the much-needed rest, creativity and inspiration drain back into me.  I don't know exactly what caused it as there has been so much change in my life, but everything feels like it's settling into a good place, and that feels amazing. I may be a few bucks shorter, but necessary resourcefulness and the time to reflect on it makes it all worth it.

                                                     Hope you had a great weekend peeps!!! 

Friday, 26 August 2011

What should I wear?

Before you start thinking: ‘Another fashion blog of some chic showing us what she’s wearing,’ NO.

I have not run out of ideas. Yet.

As an attempt to update some wardrobe basics and steer the focus away from food for a change (even for a moment) here is my latest buy or should I say steal in Malaysia.

Versatile and hitting three of this season’s trends – sheer, burgundy, and can be worn as a maxi or higher as a midi, this is probably the best ten quid I’ve spent since I’ve arrived!

I’ve been on the hunt for a similar, cheaper version of this skirt ever since I stumbled upon it earlier this summer. 

I think I know what I'll be writing for my next article at MWW.....

What do you think will be the biggest trend for fall? 

Red sheer skirt - Miss Selfridge (£10)
Accessories strappy sandals - thrift store in London (£5)
Black sleeveless top - KL shopping outlet (£1.20)
Sea-green nail polish - (£1)
Accessories red drop earrings - (£9)

Total cost of look: (£26.20)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The original Fatty Crab

I have honestly forgotten the taste of REAL crab. Before this Monday that is. Unless you want to be set back a couple hundred bucks, ‘Crab’ for me on the menu usually means surimi – the imitation, processed kind.

So you can imagine my excitement to try the kind which certainly did not need any plastic wrapping at the infamous ‘Fatty Crab’ restaurant in Petaling Jaya. So good that a chef from New York got so inspired he decided to open up three chains under the same name on the Upper West Side? – I must try this!

Known for its no-frill service and great food, some friends recommended we go there for dinner. I was told both the seafood and the chicken wings were the main attraction here, which left me feeling a little sceptical – soon to be proven wrong!

A huge line outside the restaurant; several matrons seating the hungry customers; satay skewers while you wait – this must be good, I thought. Cue my ants-in-my-pants dance.

A series of tummy rumbling later, we were seated at one of the orange plastic tables. For sides we ordered prawns in garlic sauce and fried rice. What really had our taste buds going was the chilli crab! Living up to its reputation, the crab arrived at our table in a delightfully tangy, sticky, spicy sauce sprinkled with chopped scallions and accompanied with  pieces of toast for dipping.

The chicken wings were surprisingly good too! Battered but not greasy, crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, they almost stole the crab’s spotlight.

My verdict is : the toast would be just toast, the fried rice just rice,  the crab just crab, and the chicken wings just your average poultry if it weren’t for the delicious sauce – oh, it goes a long way in remembering how good the sauce is, over and over again.

Finger Lickin' Good !!!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Road trip to Melaka

My earliest memory of Melaka, was five years ago coming with my parents and thinking how much it sounded like the Greek (swear) word ‘Malaka.’

(As you do when you visit one of the most cultural and historical towns in the country.)

You know it used to be a Dutch settlement when you see a windmill in the town square!
I decided to refresh my memory and add some culture into an otherwise typical ‘Partaaayyy!’ weekend with a much needed road trip with friends!

Melaka, a colonial hot potato which bounced from Malay to Portuguese to Dutch hands, is one of the top tourist destinations when visiting Malaysia.

Interestingly, at first glance the town looks distinctly Chinese rather than European. You then soon discover a much more complex past, with the oldest functioning mosque in Malaysia to the oldest traditional Catholic Church in Malaysia as well as the oldest traditional Chinese temple in Malaysia. A few blocks further? The oldest Dutch building in the entire East!!! We learnt that the street which they are all located in is even called ‘Harmony street’ – because the three different houses of worship live happily side by side!

No wonder Malaysia is often marketed as ‘Asia’s cultural melting pot!’ It's even been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

We did many touristy things like:

Take cheesy photos like this:

Hold 12 foot long pythons around our neck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ophidiophobes look away!

Take a beautifully decorated trishaw ride which played Michael Jackson hits as the lovely driver / tour guide took us around the town for just RM10 (£2) each!

Visit museums and historical sites like this:

St. Paul's Church renamed by the Dutch 

Go on a night river boat ride. Unfortunately we were too pooped out to fully enjoy the experience. One thing that did strike me as odd were the towering large hotels disproportionately located just by the river distracting it from its beauty!

Also, what’s up with the Disneyland-style Ferris wheel? Poor tourist development I suppose.

The main attraction had to be Jonker street – for both the shopping and food!
Filled with old shophouses and quaint little shops you can get real bargains here! Cute handmade T-shirts and jewellery and Birkenstock sandals for 5 pounds!!! Of course, they were sold out in my size… :'( 

We hopped from food stall to stall munching on goodies like radish cake which tasted like a potato-ey kind of omelette; cendol – a sweet dessert with ice, coconut milk, palm sugar and green jelly: 

Last but not least, the famous Durian puffs!


Durian, the so called ‘King of Fruits’ is a proud symbol of Malaya. Looks like an overgrown Jackfruit on the outside, has an avocado-like seed on the inside and smells? Well, like sweet blue cheese is probably the nicest way of putting it. Needless to say, it’s an acquired taste. Personally I love the stuff and couldn’t get enough of the puffs!

People even travel all the way to Melaka to get their hands on these famous treats!

At the end of the day, five sweaty, full, happy bunnies made their way back to KL for the hour and half long journey… How did we try to stay awake?

A pop song sing-a-long of course!

Hey, it is Asia.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mission to the backend of nowhere

As an intern, although we get paid a small salary at the end, we don’t get paid travel expenses. Unluckily for me since I am one of the few people who doesn’t drive in KL. So, you know you’re in for a mission when the magazine does offer you money for a (work-related) journey.  

I was pushed out of the door with an IKEA bag bursting with shoes and clothes in one hand, folder in another, and two fully charged mobile phones. (One lesson a week on the many perils which come with not charging your phone is enough, thank you very much.)

Almost always I get sent to fancy shopping malls downtown as I try to keep my cool around Mr. Pucci and Ms. Chanel, grateful that Malaysia's retail industry hasn't met poor old Mrs. Primark yet. 

Sometimes, like this time, you get sent to dodgy areas of town, or should I say village, where even the cab drivers refuse to go. 

As I emerged from the taxi I could see why. I managed to stay awake through the one hour drive to Pavilion shopping centre, to another hour and thirty minute drive to Bangsar village. Police sirens echoed down the street and I could smell rotten fish.


I could see the headlines now:

“Foreign female intern with nice shoes murdered in Petaling Jaya.”
Whenever in such situations, and I have had my fair share in the past, I attempted my best angry ‘don’t mess with me’ expression, to deter any potential attackers. And I’ve been getting really good at it.

I quickly hurried down the street, trying desperately to find the third store to return the loaned items.  I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to find a pair of polka dotted shoes so badly. Thankfully, I managed to get what I wanted, didn’t find any trouble with the oh so friendly shopkeepers and headed out the door… into the pouring rain. Sign.

Eventually, one relatively short taxi ride later, since the kind man knew a shorter route to the photographer's studio and avoided the traffic jam, one wrong turn on my way back home and 2 hours later, I WAS HOME. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without getting mugged, attacked or knifed for my shoes.


Now if only I could manage carrying all those shopping bags and still look like a breath of fresh air: 


Friday, 19 August 2011


So, having survived my first week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, here are some insider tips and new found knowledge:

1. You're more likely to find a needle through a haystack than getting a cab during peak hours. However, you instantly regret it once you sit through the 2 and a half hour traffic jams! They don't call it 'Rush Hour' for nothing...

2. Every nation has their own favourite past-time. The Brazilians have football. The British enjoy drinking... For the Malaysians, it's eating. Anywhere, Any time and almost never at home. Here, they don't ask "How are you?" but "Have you eaten?"

Not that I'm complaining:

'Volcano' sushi rolls - an explosion in your mouth!

Chicken skewers with Satay sauce  

3. You can bribe/haggle you're way out of virtually anything. From cab fares, shopping trips to the market to passing your driving test, people here will turn a blind eye to pretty much anything with the right amount of Ringgit. What illegal U-turn, officer? 

4. On a further note from point 3: if you look like a foreigner, they'll treat you like one. Hence, the quoted 'tourist price' if they can away with it. No matter what you do, you always end up spending more when you're on holiday and some how, someone convinces you to fork out an extra RM250 for 'special hair treatment.' Which is 40 quid. I say enjoy it - along with market capitalism.

5. If you look white, mixed, or anything NOT local, prepare to get stared at. No, you don't have a third eye. Although there are many foreign students and expatriates,  a lot of people here are just naturally intrigued and curious.

6. Do you want to engage with the locals and leave your anticeptic double plastic-wrapped lifestyle behind? You can kiss toilet paper bye bye. Malaysians, or should I say Asians in general, don't believe paper is.... sufficient... Many toilets here, and I DO MEAN PUBLIC TOILETS, do not have toilet roll. But just a hose like thing to *khm* wash yourself. Because squatting over a pit toilet is more sanitary. Needless to say, I carry a pack of tissues with me every where I go.

7.  Due to the fact that most hereditary rulers lived a pampered and polygamous lifestyle, you will find a lot of Malaysians today are related to each other in some way, making even some of them royalty.

8. People here are so n-synced with the latest technology, you get iPads at your saloon!

9. Everyone here speaks English !!!

10. Everyone should be an intrepid adventurer ! Need I say more?

Guess what !?

The suspense is over. My patience, hard work, prayers, crossed fingers & toes have finally paid off! My application for an internship with ANY magazine in KL has been accepted ! The best part, it's actually with a magazine I've heard of  (Gasp!)

Woooohooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :)))) Yippeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!Ohh yeahhh 

I think that pretty much sums up how I'm feeling. 

If you're wondering what happened with my initial Marie Claire magazine plans: 

1) *slap on the back* for following my blog ! 
2) Those *@!!%$ declined my application. Yes. After all that. 

S'all good. I can't wait to start and get used to all those amazing things interns get to do. Morning coffee runs anyone ? 

On that note, here is a droplet of wisdom to leave you with : 

Monday, 15 August 2011

NuSkin:Fountain of Youth ?

In the ‘60s it was Fast Food. The ‘70s, fast cars and Rock n’ Roll. The 1980s saw a rise in mortgages. Through the 1990s, the minivan became a symbol for the ‘family on the go,’ creating the household nickname ‘soccer mums’ of such mothers driving their children to music lessons and football practice.  

Today, 50 is the new 30.

Yes, these Baby Boomers do not want to grow old. It is because of this that for the first time in history, the entire Baby Boom generation is impacting a single market at the same time!

Why am I suddenly blabbing on about anti-aging talk in the midst of my exotic, South Eastern adventures?

It wasn’t until coming to Malaysia that I realized just how HUGE the anti-aging and wellness industry is.

Remember how I said how my uncle didn’t look one day older than the last time I saw him, FIVE years ago?

Trying to keep my mind off the ‘maybe my internship application got lost in the mail’ worries, my uncle took me into his office in KL and the world of NuSkin.

NuSkin Enterprises is an American multi-level marketing company found my Blake Roney in 1984 as Nu Skin International.

Relying on a basic ‘diagnosis instead of remedy’ methodology and promising 'all of the good and none of the bad,' the company focuses specifically on anti-aging. It offers over 100 name sake personal care products, cleansers, cosmetics, hair care items and even nutritional supplements.  Taking the spotlight, however, is the Nu Skin ageLOC Galvanic Spa treatment.

With Nu Skin Galvanic Spa treatment, users would have to pay just $7 each time! The best part ? All from the comfort of their own home or workplace !

A patented device with self-adjusting galvanic currents, the company argues this gives it perfect advantage to take over the Booming Anti-aging market… with no competition.

Sound too good to be true?                                                                             
Still skeptical? This can only mean one thing - you haven't tried the product yourself. Take a look at this user's experience: 

The results speak for themselves. 

What's more interesting is its compensation plan. With a 25 year track record, operating in 48 countries, and With just Google surpassing it as the company to create the most millionaires, more and more people all around the world are jumping on this band wagon.

But is it profitable to quit your day job, you ask ?  The line has already attracted hundreds of thousands of customers and potential distributors - celebrity boosters like Nicole Kidman, Simon Cowell, Christie Brinkley, and Brad Pitt can't get enough of the stuff. 

In a promotional video, the company speaks of The Dream. Complete with yachts, ski slopes, luxury cars with even a 'NUSKIN' number plate, have we really found the fountain of youth? And, so to speak, drink from it too???

The business concept works like this:

Every customer is encouraged to become a distributor. As a distributor for the company, you can choose to simply sell the various products for commissions, or you can recruit others to the program and build a downline. 

When you build a downline, you earn a percentage of what they sell as well. To be an independent distributor of Nu Skin, you must commit to purchasing at least a minimum monthly package from the company, called your 'Personal Sales volume.' 

Now, can your success as a distributor can ever be secured? No. But then again, you may say, which business does?! 

As with any MLM company, the first batch of marketers always have the upper hand. Following that, it's all down to personal branding and lead generation, as with any successful business. 

Gone are the days of making a names list and contacting everyone over and over till they jump on board. Leveraging the internet, other businesses, social media; there are ways to make it work. 

Hmm.. News of the World scandal, youth unemployment, job market instability, if this journalism thing doesn't work. . . . . 

What are your views on MLM? 

Friday, 12 August 2011

Malaysia - Day three

My aunt's husband touched down from a business trip in Singapore and so we went out, naturally, for food.

This time, we tried Indian. How cool is it that the food is served on banana leaves instead of plates!

Washing down all that spicy-ness with some ice cold coconut juice ! 
Me and Chit - Yi - seventh sister from my mum's side 
 What's even more awesome is the price to eat out. We ate our little hearts out and the bill came out to RM 70. That's approximately, £4.00 each ! And that's considered to be quite expensive by local standards I was told... 

At night, we went to China Town off Petaling Street in KL. 

Very different from the one I'm used to seeing in London. More authentic, I must say but that's an understatement. 

We had supper at a steam boat hawker style restaurant - where each table has a built in simmering metal pot of stock in the centre and your meats, fish, vegetables are cooked at the table. Like a Chinese fondue. 

We then walked around the bustling promenade of food and clothing markets, where you could buy anything from a quite convincing fake Chloe bag, to cute doctor fish spas and everything in between.

Would you believe these hairy little bad boys are fruits ? 

Wikipedia: Rambutan is a medium sized tropical tree in the family  Sapindaceae, and the fruit of this tree. It is closely related to several other tropical fruits like Lychee, Longan and Mamoncillo. It can be peeled open with a fingernail. 

Finger licking good ! 

Hairy on the outside, sweet and gummy on the inside... there's a pun in here somewhere.... 

KL: So good, It's been abbreviated?

Before you can say 'jetlag' I was up on my feet the next morning with tired eyes, one messed up body -clock but nevertheless, one hopeful heart. Today is my interview with Marie Claire magazine. 

We stopped at what the locals call a mamak - an authentic Malaysian roadside food stall, for breakfast. And we're not talking about cereal or toast, but a full blown cooked meal of : 

Roti - a thin doughy like pancake which reminded me of the Naan bread. This was served with lentil or chicken curry. Oh, and a cup of sweetened soya milk. Did I mention it was 9am ?

I was too nervous to eat anyway so I just hurried to the building which was next door and greeted the Features editor and the Senior Projects Manager. 

I left the building thinking it went quite well as they gave me the positive yet ambiguous signals.

Tried not to think about it too much, and met my relatives for lunch. Yes, meals are not served three times a day here, but anywhere, any time.

Got to try a buffet of different delicacies but two of my personal favourites:  kuei (gluten rice cakes) and teh tarik (sweetened tea, served hot or cold.) If you like sweet English tea, You'll love this. 

Sweet, soft, and fluffy, meet the Pandan Chiffon Cake with coconut jam filling. Although I had tasted versions of the cake in London's China town, nothing beats the real thing. Don't be put off by the colour, the greenness is due to the Pandan leaves extract which gives it an amazing, inexplicable smell of the tropics. 

In the evening, we went to KLCC shopping mall which is adjacent to the famous Petronas Twin towers. KL is absolutely Filled with shopping malls !!! From Chloe, to Kate Spade, to Hermes to local names like Farah Khan and Jimmy Choo, KL is really becoming a shopping haven for foreigners and locals alike. 

me and the Petronas twins 

Welcome to Malaysia, truly Asia.

Firstly, for those of you who are just stumbling, Googling or digging your way through this blog for the first time, welcome. It's great to know people are still trying to find their way here.

Secondly, I'd like to apologize for not having posted in a while and leaving you stranded with me in Malaysia (although it's not a bad place to be stranded.)

In celebration of my uncle's wedding next month, I thought why not check out if they have any decent English magazine publications for me to gain some experience? Turns out they do! Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, the list goes on..

So been given the opportunity (and scheduled interview date) little ambitious me trekked half way across the world to gain some 'work experience' that I probably would have dreamed of at this stage in its European counterparts. That's what us graduates (or soon-to-be) are having to do people! 

Managing to survive the 15 hour flight from London (!!!) with one private full body scan/search- a hopeful backpacker on her way to Bali, an overly-talkative passenger, a little turbulence, and one unhappy toddler, I arrived at KL International Airport.

The line at the immigration was long and windy. More so, since I had to queue up twice - typical of me to not notice the 'Fill out custom's declaration form' to then be asked by the lady at the immigration desk :
"Where is Cyprus?"

"Near Greece. In Europe?"

"Never heard of it."


Where is my luggage? The question every traveller does Not want to ever ask.

Luckily, the airport staff were friendly and helpful to point me in the right direction to then FINALLY exit and meet with my Uncle whom I haven't seen since I was a wee 14 year old!

Boy, Asians DO NOT age. More of that later on.

An awkward hug and relatively quiet and rainy (Yes, coming from London RAINY) drive back to the city, he took me to have lunch. Stepping out of the car, with umbrella in tow of course, I was greeted with ridiculous humidity and a pungent smell. Yes, KL more or less smells like a burp. I got over that quickly enough to enjoy my first meal at one of the best Fish head noodle restaurants in town. Lucky for me, I've never been a picky eater, so I chowed that like a pro. Not bad, not bad at all.

Coming back to my aunt's flat or should I say penthouse compared to the pigeon-hole of my London apartment, I was confronted with this view:

And I thought to myself , I could really, really get used to it here.

But for now?