Month: August 2017

A perfect summer’s day

Hey! I’m back from my week in Greece, more on that later in another post. It was so nice to land on Sunday afternoon and be met by warm sunny weather, rather than the usual shock to the system when you’ve been in warmer climes. Even better was having an extra day off in the form of Bank Holiday Monday to soften the blow of being home, and yesterday was gorgeously warm and sunny in Birmingham. Yesterday was everything that every weekend was supposed to be in summertime, but has mainly failed miserably due to our rubbish British weather.

I had a lazy start to the day, a leisurely walk to the shops for breakfast supplies, and ate a sausage and mushroom sandwich. Then I pottered around in my garden, trimming bushes and hedges, pruning my overgrown climbing roses, watering all my plants that were thirsty after a week with no love or rain, and repotting rose bushes and french lavender to give them more space to grow.

It’s been so long since I’ve been able to spend any length of time out there because of the rain and general non-summeriness. I’ve probably not had a proper potter since the beginning of July. I was in my element; it’s exactly how I hoped to be spending my summer days. In truth I’d written off any chance of it happening as summer draws to a close (boooooo) but it was great to have a last hurrah.

Sunglasses in the garden

I’ve loved populating my green space with pretty stuff. These ornamental ladders came via a well timed trip to HomeSense, after I’d spotted similar on Pinterest.

Ornamental ladders

I’ve stacked them with pretty lanterns and solar lights from Poundland; they have such lovely garden bits and pieces.

Garden ornaments

These lightbulb shape multi-coloured solar lights were last year’s Poundland, from the Charlie Dimmock garden range (there’s also a blue and yellow one hidden from view)

Solar lightbulbs

These are my favourite garden ornaments though; Easter Island head planters from B&Q with blue grass “hair”. We call them Bert and Ernie (Bert is on the left with the emo sweepy hair and Ernie has the big forehead!)


In the evening we ate Chinese takeaway in the last of the sun and then watched the last two episodes of Game of Thrones season 7, catching up on the one we missed last week while we were away, and yesterday’s season finale. No spoilers, but I was slightly disappointed; previous seasons have led to big expectations!

How was your bank holiday?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

A visit to Batu Caves, Malaysia (aka the day I got punched by a monkey)

About a 45 minute train journey from Kuala Lumpur is the town of Batu, home to the Batu Caves. Have to admit I wasn’t even aware of them until Hannah International blogged about them, but they were immediately on our list of things to see whilst in Malaysia.

Train and Metro travel in KL was very straightforward, clean, reliable and cheap – we could probably learn something from them here in the UK! So we bought our tickets, hopped onboard, and headed off to Batu.

There’s no way to miss the site of the caves when you leave the train, because pretty much everyone is going the same way, and you can see them from the train station anyway.

The site comprises of 3 cave temples. We started in the Ramayana Cave, which was only consecrated as recently as November 2001. Passing a 50ft tall statue of Hanuham, inside the cave is very picturesque, with paintings and fairy lights that depict the story of Rama.

A short walk from the Ramayana cave is the main Temple Cave, which is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. The limestone forming the caves is said to be around 400 million years old, but the main cave (the Temple Cave) has only been a dedicated temple and place of worship since 1890 when a consecrated statue of Sri Murugan Swarmi was erected. The current statue stands at 140ft high, and is the world’s tallest Murugan statue; costing 24 million rupees (approx. £300,000) and being made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint (thanks Wikipedia!)

There’s currently a lot of construction work happening, both in the prayer area outside of the cave, and in the cave itself, so there was a lot of scaffolding and abandoned piles of bricks (it would seem that the Malaysian approach to health and safety is very different to Western cultures!)

There are 272 steps up to the Temple Cave, and we felt every single one! There are macaque monkeys everywhere; climbing the vertical face of the limestone, climbing the stairs, and sitting on pillars almost like statues. They’re very tame and have obviously learnt to scavenge food from tourists over the years. They can be seen picking up empty food wrappers and eating from them, as well as accepting food from visitors.

Inside the first cave are Hindu shrines, and yet more steps leading through to the cathedral cave which has an opening to the sky. Inside is very damp and dank, again with questionable building work going on.

The trouble with 272 steps to the top is…you guessed it…the same amount to come back down. Ouch!

Batu Caves looking down

It was well worth the visit, obviously not from a religious point of view (for us) but the colours and the imagery and the natural caves were incredible.

So, now you’ve got this far, I suppose you want to know about the monkey incident I referred to in the post title? Go on then…

I was taking some pics of the macaque monkeys, which as I mentioned were very tame and seemingly fairly placid. So the husband asked if I wanted to be in a photograph with one of them. I thought it would make a fun pic if I leaned towards it, as if I was blowing it a kiss. Monkey had other ideas – he screeched and lashed out at me, properly boshed me one and scratched my cheek! Luckily for me (!!!) the husband managed to catch the aftermath on his camera. Thanks husband!

Batu Caves monkey punch

Look at the venom on that primates face!

You can read my previous Malaysia trip posts here, here, here, here, here and here.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Friday Feeling [15] – a distraction from the horrors of real life

I could post today about the horrors in Barcelona. But what would I say? I would say that the world can be a horrible place. I would say that terrorists are evil people with a strange comprehension of what is right and wrong. I would say that I can’t imagine how the families of those innocent people caught up in a religious and political war must feel, and how they will ever put themselves back together. I would say that it’s scary how places many of us may have visited, or wanted to visit, are being targeted by these inhuman scum; that it could have been any of us caught up in another senseless tragedy.

But most of us already know those things. And saying them again doesn’t change it. We can only keep good people in our hearts and hope for better days ahead.

In the meantime, have a chortle at my favourite panda video. Because I truly believe that it’s impossible to be truly sad whilst watching pandas being…well…pandas!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

New stuff from Peacocks

I’m sharing my new purchases with you because in a world full of shit, racism, hatred and crap, we still want to look pretty, am I right?!

Look at these beauts from the underrated High Street hero that is Peacocks!

£35 reduced to £15 (would you look at that back detail)

£12 with a 20% off discount code

Peacocks pink ditsy print teadress

Liked it so much, I bought it in a different colour too!

Peacocks burgundy ditsy print teadress

I saw this maxi short dress one on someone I follow on instagram, can’t recall who, but it’s a thing of beauty (£20, with a discount code)

Peacocks floral maxi shirt dress

Oh, and this rather pretty flower headband, because why not? (£2.50 in the sale)

Peacocks floral headband

Have you bought anything nice lately? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

When you’re not even surprised anymore…

Donald Trump. Wow. But is it really wow? Or is it just that he’s so low, so disgusting as a human, so unsuitable as a president that nothing surprises me anymore?

ICYMI: In response to clashes between white supremacists and non racist normal good human beings, Trump has said there were bad people on both sides. That’s right, he’s refusing to condemn the alt-right for their behaviour or actions.

Probably because he needs their vote, and he not so secretly thinks like them too.

It’s too awful to comprehend that the leader of the most powerful country in the world isn’t denouncing out and out racism. He’s basically opening the floodgates for groups with this despicable mindset to freely spout their vitriol without recrimination.

Side note, I also read that there are plans in Texas to introduce what’s being called a “rape tax”. Basically, standard healthcare costs won’t cover abortions, even in cases of rape, so women need to add an additional monthly cost to cover that eventuality. Yup, that’s right, the boneheads that run the state of Texas want women to futureproof themselves from the possibility of having to have a rapist’s baby by paying monthly for the privilege.

You couldn’t write this shit.

So, how is Donald Trump still in power? I’ve asked it before, but I’ll ask it again. When is someone going to realise that he’s breaking America apart, putting divisions in place that will take years to reverse and having a potentially damaging effect on the rest of the world too?

I’ll leave you with a joke, sourced from Twitter. It’s funny, in a really painful way.

Twitter Donald Trump joke

Thanks, as always for reading! x

Friday Feeling [14] – Cycling Without Age

It’s a sad fact that as people get older and less mobile, they’re less likely to get out and about; especially if their family isn’t around or they’ve had to move to a residential home.

Cycling Without Age – a volunteer staffed initiative based in Falkirk – aims to change that. Young, fit and healthy volunteers are taking elderly people out on 3 seater rickshaw style bicycles around the local area and countryside.

How amazing is that?

Look at their faces!

Cycling without age Falkirk

You can read more about it, including a link to the BBC 3 Amazing Humans film that was made about it here.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

5 things I discovered last week

Life’s an education, as the saying goes (unless I just made that up?) and last week was no exception! I made new discoveries, refound old discoveries and created a new and tasty drink!

  • Aidan Gillan who plays Littlefinger in Game of Thrones was also in Queer as Folk (I used to love that show…)
  • Cherry lambrini adds a whole new dimension to Pimms (don’t judge me, this was the result of a Good Housekeeping article although they suggested cherry juice rather than alcoholic cherry wine, but still)
  • My stripy jeans still fit me, and are perfectly acceptable work attire (benefits of a casual office)
  • The Bob Marley song “Don’t Worry” is actually called 3 Little Birds (this one blew my mind a little)

Bob Marley 3 Little Birds quote

  • The Money Pit still makes me laugh like a drain, especially this scene – Tom Hanks does comedy so brilliantly!

Tom Hanks The Money Pit

What did you discover or rediscover recently?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

What we got up to in Kuala Lumpur – part 2

As well as generally walking around the city, eating from random food stalls under bridges and getting a bit lost on the metro, here’s what else we got up to during our time in Kuala Lumpur.

Little India

Like GeorgeTown in Penang, Kuala Lumpur has a Little India region in the Brickfields area of the city. The first time we visited was at night time, in search of curry, and also expecting street food stalls. The area was strangely deserted, which we thought odd, but on the plus side we found a great restaurant where the husband had what he declared to be one of the best vindaloos he’s ever had. We headed back there during the daytime, again looking for the elusive food stalls, but a combination of tiredness and lots of rain put paid to any major exploring of the area.

Inside the PETRONAS Towers

The first thing we were struck by was the high level of security – bags have to be scanned through an airport style scanner and large bags checked in to a cloakroom. Everyone has to go through an airport style body scan and there are only a certain amount of people (probably about 40) in each group, which is colour coded. You have to stay within your group at all times so the visit is more regimented than at KL Tower but it does make for a better flow and quicker exit! First stop is the skybridge.

Entrance to the Sky Bridge Petronas Towers

Interesting fact – the bridge is not securely connected to either of the towers! Because of the height of the buildings and the need for them to have a degree of movement in strong winds there is leeway for the bridge to move in and out of the towers at the point where it connects them, which sounds more alarming than it actually is! Also, the bridge is 2 stories high – one used for tourists and the other used for people who work in the offices to move from one tower to the other. Next stop is the viewing platform, which is as high as you can go in the building, but this was a bit of an anti climax after the open air views from the KL Tower, because the top of the PETRONAS Tower is enclosed by glass and has lots of steel structural supports on the outside. We were glad we went up but, for us, the towers were far more impressive from the outside than the inside.

ChinaTown – Jalan Petaling

This again was an evening visit and by now the husband was all walked out, Chinese fooded out and shopped out, so our visit was fairly brief. We bought a few bits in the market and had food at a street restaurant but I chose well and he didn’t and the experience wasn’t that great so we didn’t hang around very long.

Thean Hou temple

This was our last stop during our 3 days in KL and the rain was absolutely torrential. It’s outside of the centre and not easily reachable by public transport, so we took a cab up into the hills and were dropped off at an eyeball pleasing site of reds and golds and beautiful lanterns.

Unfortunately there are areas of the temple which aren’t undercover and had become slightly flooded and the rain was bouncing off the floor so we couldn’t explore the gardens properly but it was such a beautiful, peaceful and serene place. I loved the strings of lanterns and can only imagine how beautiful it is at night when it’s all lit up. The temple hosts weddings regularly and is also a mecca for the city during Chinese religious festivals.

Read Part 1 of my Kuala Lumpur trip here.

Would I recommend Kuala Lumpur? Absolutely! It’s a fascinating city of old and new, many districts and religions and foods and we had a great time. As part of a 2 centre holiday though, like ours, I’d recommend hitting KL first and then Penang. We found that the fast pace of city life after our 5 days in chilled out Batu Ferringhi was quite exhausting and because everything in Penang was so fantastic, we compared KL to it sometimes unfavourably, which is totally unfair. Perhaps, also, just 3 days wasn’t long enough to do everything at our own pace rather than cramming it all in, and it meant that we had to crack on and see stuff even in the rain because we didn’t have time to waste waiting for it to dry up!

Read about the first part of our Malaysia visit, to Penang here, here and here.

Have you ever been to Kuala Lumpur? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x