Category: Uncategorized

What we got up to in Penang

We arrived in Penang at 11am on a Monday morning after approximately 16 hours of travelling, 2 flights and very little sleep. Initially I feared I would crash and burn and have to hit the sack for a couple of hours but both of us were invigorated by finally being there, and the beachy view, so we checked into our (upgraded) room, unpacked, and set off to explore.

Batu Ferringhi beach

Although the majority of attractions in Penang are in the capital, George Town, we wanted to base ourselves by the coast for that all important paddle in the sea, so opted for Batu Ferringhi which is on the North of the island. Batu is little more than one long main street, with a number of hotels to suit all budgets, lots and lots of food establishments, mini markets and tailors shops (tailoring is big in Malaysia, the husband had a fabulous shirt made during our stay).

Batu comes alive early evening when the hawker food centres and nightly market open for business, both of which are a marvel to behold! The market stalls run for approximately 2km along the main street and sell everything from watches to sunglasses to bags, t-shirts, trinkets and trainers (mostly designer copies) and each stall is meticulously set up each and every night and packed away at the end (around midnight). We watched some stall holders wheeling their metal stall around 200 metres down the street, into the path of oncoming traffic, like it was the most normal thing in the world!

There’s not an awful lot to do in Batu Ferringhi, which suited us fine. It’s mainly focussed around eating (yay!) and sightseeing outside of the town. Because Malaysia is a Muslim country alcohol is heavily taxed, and therefore expensive, and there isn’t much of a drinking culture. Many restaurants don’t serve alcohol or, if they do, it will be purely beer. Booze prices are similar to at home, in some cases slightly more expensive, with a small glass of wine at around £5. We bought some drinks from a licensed liquor store and had a couple of nightcaps on our balcony and also spent a couple of evenings in the Hard Rock Café drinking delicious but overpriced cocktails! Hard Rock had a house band who played from 10.30pm each evening and were very good.

One of the things we were really looking forward to was the food, and it didn’t disappoint. There is a proliferation of both Indian and Chinese food in Malaysia, with Malay cuisine being something of a combination of the two, with lots of rice, noodles, fresh seafood and spices. You wouldn’t touch many of the streetfood stalls with a barge pole back at home but somehow, over there, eating from a hut constructed from metal poles with a corrugated iron roof, plastic patio chairs and a bucket at the side of the road for washing up seems perfectly normal! We had no stomach problems at all and ate some absolutely amazing dishes. A personal highlight was an amazing Mee Goreng (noodles cooked with meat and spices) for a ridiculous 80 pence. The husband pushed the boat out that night, his dinner was £1.20! The taste and flavours and freshness were just incredible. Also in Penang are a couple of large hawker centres, where lots of foodstalls are under one roof – all serving different cuisine. Our favourite was Long Island which we went to twice. The process is simple – get a table number and then go to whichever stalls you want, order your food, they will cook it fresh and bring it to your table where you then pay.

Dishes were no more than around £3 each at most, and the husband made the mistake of sending me off to do the ordering with a fistful of ringgits (Malaysian currency). We ended up with easily enough food for 4 people from about 7 different stalls! Examples included 10 sticks of chicken satay for less than £2, national favourite Char Kway Teow, Tom Yum soup, onion roti and chicken samosas. Amazing.

As well as spending time in Batu, we ventured into the capital Georgetown for two full days to soak up the sights and sounds. There’s a lot of building going on in Georgetown, lots of high rise condos and apartments (they have to build upwards due to lack of space on the ground) which sit along heavily adorned temples of such beauty and acres of green forest hills. It’s a really complex landscape with a different view at every turn, architecture influenced by British colonial days and a view across the Malacca Straits to the mainland. It also doesn’t seem to have a centre as such, and isn’t particularly easy to navigate, so a map is a must.

Penang Hill

Technically outside of Georgetown, in the nearby Air Itam neighbourhood, Penang Hill rises 833 metres above the city and is a green and luscious area. Accessed by funicular railway which, at it’s steepest, rises at 50+ percentage, it’s definitely worth a visit. You could spend as little as 10 minutes for the views, up to most of a day exploring the summit of the hill and it’s attractions. We had a wander round, marvelled at the views, had some lunch, had a look round the Hindu temple, and took lots of photos. The funicular is a highlight in itself, and a feat of engineering, imagine building a railway on a hill that steep!

 

Dharmikarama Burmese temple

I was very excited to visit temples in Malaysia, not because I identify with any religion (I don’t) but because the architecture and attention to detail is so stunning. This temple and the Wat Chaiyamangkalaram Thai temple (below) are opposite each other, incongruously positioned on opposite sides of the street in the middle of George Town. At first glance it seems to be a competition between who can bring the most bling, there’s a A LOT of gold leaf, everywhere! The temple itself is very serene and picturesque, with dedicated areas for praying, although non praying people can also enter as long as shoes are removed.

 

 

Wat Chaiyamangkalaram Thai temple

This temple is famous for the reclining Buddha – 33 metres long and the 3rd biggest in the world, but it was closing as we arrived so we only got to peek inside. Again there are multiple buildings, gold leaf and mosaics everywhere. The architecture is incredible – everywhere you look is a stunning building or intricate piece of work. Amazing.

 

Little India

I’m going to be slightly controversial here and say that Little India was a disappointment. Firstly it wasn’t as busy and bustling as we’d hoped, which I think is because we were there in the afternoon and the main food sellers don’t open until early evening, but secondly it wasn’t that Indian, to us! Let me elaborate – I live in Birmingham which has a large Indian and Pakistani community, and there are areas of Birmingham where these communities live closely together and therefore develop their own “Little India” with sari shops, indian restaurants, mosques, and food stalls filling the air with pungent fragrance. So this place wasn’t really any different to anything I’ve experienced at home. If you live in an area or country that doesn’t have an Indian community that you’ve experienced, then you may feel very differently. Whilst there we did have an incredible thali style lunch at a restaurant which came with chicken curry, mutton curry, tandoori fish, basmati rice, pickles and poppadum, and it was spectacular, and I also snapped some pics of the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple but only from the outside as it was closed.

 

Street art in Armenia Street

We struggled to find Armenia Street initially, walking round in a big circle, trying to get in the map (a Friends reference!!) and starting to get ever so slightly narky with each other in the crazy heat of the day. When we did find it we were only there for 15 minutes or so, but it was good to see some of the fun street art which is a renowned tourist attraction in the city. Getting a photo without someone else in it who’s trying to do the same is something of a struggle, but a bit of patience goes a long way.

We also visitied Masjid Kapitan Keling and Kek Lok Si Temple, but I’ll be doing a separate post on both of those.

Would I recommend Penang? Absolutely. The people are incredibly friendly, generous and selfless, keen to tell you about their homeland (as we found with a couple of very chatty taxi drivers), the food is absolutely incredible and very cheap, there’s a good balance of city and beach to suit all interests and the mix of architecture is fascinating.

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New Look sale buys

I may have just bought a new house and committed to all the extra outgoings associated therein, but I still cant resist a sale email. Damn you New Look. Damn you!

Or, if you look at the cuteness I’ve bagged for not much money, bless you New Look. Bless you!

Mustard floral flared sleeve blouse – £6New Look yellow floral top

Pink velvet t-shirt – £6

New Look pink crushed velvet tshirt

Black & white suede touch zebra courts – £8

New Look zebra print shoes

NASA t-shirt – £6

New Look NASA tshirt

Multi hoop earrings – £1.25

New Look silver hoop earrings

Black coated/leather look midi pencil skirt – £10

New Look black coated pencil skirt

Black tulle hanky hem skirt – £10

New Look black tulle skirtI’ll be found wearing all my fancy new clothes in my garden drinking tap water to save money, ha ha!!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Loreal Magic Touch

I’ve had a few silver hairs near my hairline since I was in my mid 20s, and they’ve never really bothered me that much because they’re not noticeable, and anyway, I colour my hair. In the past couple of years that “few” has multiplied to “a few more” and they’ve also sent an invitation to some of their friends in my parting (as wonky and changeable as it is), and although I wouldn’t class myself as “going grey” <<shudder>> there’s no denying that they’re there. And sometimes I just can’t be assed to colour my hair (winter makes me lazy, don’t judge, ‘kay?) but I don’t want them glistening at me through my ebony locks (that sounds super romanticised, for what is actually Bitter Sweet Chocolate from the Schwarzkopf Live range).

Anyway, I spotted Loreal Magic Retouch on special offer in my local Boots, and at £5 (instead of the usual £8.99 price tag) I thought I’d give it a go.

I bought the black shade, because my hair is as near as dammit, certainly more black than brown, and got super excited at the prospect of not having to dye my hair as often (I told you, lazy). Here’s what the blurb says:

The pinpoint micro-diffuser precisely targets greys and the rich colour pigments give you perfectly blended coverage. Our 1st instant root concealer spray, Magic Retouch conceals greys and roots in just one quick spray – when, where and how you need it. 3 seconds to flawless roots!

Perfectly matches and blends with leading shades, even salon colour

From light blonde to black hair

Lasts until washed out

No transfer, lightweight formula

Up to 30 uses

How to use

Shake well before use.

Keep the product upright.

Apply to dry, styled hair.

Hold can approximately 10cm from hair & spray roots in a light stream.

Don’t overspray. A small amount is enough.

Allow to dry before touching your hair.

Oh, and it also says to keep out of the reach of children, but seeing as I don’t know any kids who are suffering the affliction of early aging, that shouldn’t be a problem.

So, the instructions say to hold the bottle 10cms away from your hair and spray, but if you do that at your roots, your face is going to get sprayed too, right? Even with the nozzle, which is supposed to make application more targeted, you still get splodges on your forehead (as ably modelled by myself here in a before and after stylee, you’re welcome).

See the speckles on my forehead on the right? That’s overspray on my forehead, not a batch of freckles.

The colour itself is ok, it certainly blends in well with my (non) natural hair colour although it didn’t give complete coverage. I suppose you could apply more, but it does make your hair feel a bit powdery and claggy, like dry shampoo but obviously you can’t brush it out as you do with dry shampoo because that would defeat the object of the colour molecules. And, despite it’s claims, it doesn’t last until you next wash your hair. After a night in bed mine had completely worn off (although it hadn’t stained the pillow, which is a plus, so not sure where it actually went?!)

To conclude, I’m not overly impressed and I don’t think I would buy it again. I’m just going to have to be less slovenly and start dyeing my bonce more regularly instead!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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It’s been emotional

I’ve been an emotional wreck for the last few days. I don’t know why I’ve been so touchy, but that’s life. Not really the best subject matter on International Happiness Day – sorry!

Be Happy

It started with this story which had me in tears at my desk on Friday, Seriously, it hit me right in the heart and I had to go and shut myself in the toilet for a sob. 7 year old Filip’s Mom died when he was just 2 years old and is buried in Poland. Now Filip is dying from leukaemia, and his wish is to be buried alongside in his Mom so she can look after him in heaven. That poor little boy. His photograph broke me, the story broke me, and his Dad’s crowdfunding efforts to grant his boy’s dying wish broke me. And, no offence to anyone reading this who believes in religion, but stuff like this is further proof to me that God can’t possibly exist, because why would an entity that’s supposed to be good ever ever cause so much pain and suffering for an innocent child?

I never really donate to crowdfunding efforts but I couldn’t not chip into this one. The nice news is that they’ve smashed the initial £6,500 target, so poor little Filip will be reunited with his Mom when the sad time comes.

On the back of that (and crying over it again on Saturday as I was telling my Mom about it) I got all emotional about our impending move. A couple in their late 50s came to view the flat, with a view to just the man buying it. They’ve been together for over 30 years but don’t want to be together any more, even though they’re still great friends. And that made me really sad. People try so hard to find love, and when it comes to an end I think that’s heartbreaking (unless someone cheats in which case it’s bloody good riddance after smashing up their stuff and badmouthing them to anyone that will listen).

Those tears (which came after the viewing was over!) soon developed into a full on blart fest about leaving the flat. We’ve been so very very happy here. We only intended to stay for 5 years but have been here for eleven, and they’re the happiest years of my life. I know it’s only bricks and mortar but I feel content, safe and settled here. And while the new place will be great, it’s still a big wrench to leave our little space in the sky.

Crying about moving on to better things in life, nuts eh?

So, there you have my uplifting take on International Happiness Day – ha! I can’t say I’m any happier today, and I don’t know why! I need a bang to the head!

In spite of all that, I actually had a nice weekend; family time and Indian food for my Mom’s birthday on Friday night, friends time at a gig on Saturday night, and husband time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

What have you been up to?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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The Lent Diaries – What Ellen Wrote

This feels like a bit of a cheat post to me, because I generally write original content (whether its any good or not is a different matter!) But I just have to implore you to read my friend Ellen’s blog, which at the moment is focussing on her experience of giving up sugar and alcohol for Lent.

Lent

This is not for religious reasons; more Ellen being a stubborn so and so, and proving to herself that she can do it. Which I applaud massively. I’d much rather support other people giving things up than do it myself. Things like Stop-tober and Dry-January are bad enough at 30 days, but Lent is a whole 40 days which, if you can’t do the maths, is a whole 9 days – or 1.5 weeks (almost longer).

Anyway, back to Ellen’s diaries. They’re insightful, funny and more funny. I think you’ll enjoy them. Even if you don’t, you’ll be grateful that you didn’t make such a nuts decision! (sorry, Ellen)

Let me know what you think! Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

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Sales shopping for Spring

Because January sales are no longer confined to January, there’s still the opportunity to pick up some sales bargains well into February and even March. Of course, buying jumpers and woolly hats is a bit daft at this point of the year, but the beauty with online sales is that they tend to contain something for all seasons because retailers just list everything they still have in stock.

I had an email from Forever 21 a couple of weeks back declaring that the more you buy, the more you save (shopaholic logic right there!) so I popped over for a look-see.

The premise was that if you buy 2 things you get 20% off the already reduced sale price, 3 things 30% off, 4 things, 40% off, and 5 things gets 50% off. So half price on items that were already, in many cases, half price.

With that in mind I ordered 22 items!

Unfortunately the discount was capped at 50% off, otherwise F21 would have been paying me to buy their clothes (the dream, right there!) and anyway, they weren’t 22 different items; many of them were duplicates but in different sizes (because we all know how crap high street sizes are, right?)

Much of what came was too short or too low cut (the perils of shopping in a store aimed at people almost half your age!) but I ended up with a few nice things that I’m rather chuffed with.

Faux suede hat – £3.99

faux-suede-hat

Burgundy and blue floral dress – £5.49

forever-21-burgundy-dress

Rust frill sleeve maxi – £7.99 (this does actually need a little bit of “refining” around the bust to make it suitable for wearing a bra with, and I fully expect the husband to ask why I’m wearing a nightie)

forever-21-rust-maxi-dress

Black and cream flares – £2.99 (love these)

forever-21-striped-flares

Bargainous!

In a separate order I had already procured these rather fabulous paisley velvet flares, which you my have seen if you follow me on instagram. Not reduced, not for spring but definitely not worth NOT having!

Forever 21 red paisley velvet flares

I’m definitely erring towards more boho / hippy / 70s purchases right now.

What have you been buying or lusting after? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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5 things I’ve done on the “most romantic day of the year”

  1. Woke up alone, because the husband was away overnight with work
  2. Hunted high and low for missing paperwork (losing stuff in your own home is so damn stupid)
  3. Went to the supermarket
  4. Applied for a mortgage online
  5. Measured up our existing lounge compared to our “new” one (fingers crossed!)

But you know what else I’ve done?

  1. Got excited about the husband coming home
  2. Exchanged cards
  3. Drunk pink wine
  4. Kissed like teenagers (sorry!) > (not sorry!!)
  5. Listened to “our song” on repeat (only because Spotify was stuck, no joke!!)

valentines-you-me-we

There’s no right or wrong way to do Valentine’s Day. If you want to be all romantic and hearts and flowers, then that’s lovely. If you see it as “just another day”, that’s fine too. Somewhere in the middle? All power to ya!

Love is love is love. And everyone does love differently. Us? We do love with sarcasm, fun, daftness and the occasional bit of soppiness. I love and adore the husband with everything I have (except maybe shoes) and I have no doubt in my head or heart that he loves and adores me. That’s not being conceited, arrogant or smug. That’s the power of emotion, the power of cuddles that convey feelings, and the power of never going to bed / waking in the night / leaving home without saying I love you.

And maybe the power of wine!

How was your Valentine’s Day? I’d love to know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

 

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Plans for 2017

Just because I don’t make resolutions, doesn’t mean I don’t make plans. The beginning of a New Year yields opportunities such as a whole load of annual leave to book, as well as a summer of fun, and music to enjoy.

Here are my plans (so far) for 2017.

plans-for-2017

Move house
This is a biggy! We’ve lived in our flat for almost 11 years, even though when we moved in the plan was to only stay for 5. We’ve been so incredibly happy and settled there and never both felt like the time was right to move but now we’re both ready to take the next step (although I’m not looking forward to stairs, I love one level living!) We want a garden where we can have friends round for barbecues and have wooden sunloungers with drinks holders, and we want another spare bedroom which I can have as a dressing room and display all my shoes in an MTV cribs style (yet to be agreed with the husband). Unfortunately we have a very small search area and also need a garage (rarity where we live) so we’re going to end up like those annoying couples on Location, Location, Location who are so picky you just want to shout at the TV that they don’t even deserve a home of their own.

Go to Whitby
Part of my birthday present was a weekend in Whitby, at a future date of my choice. Home of Dracula, Whitby has the stunning abbey ruins, a pretty harbour and the super cool Bats & Broomsticks guesthouse, which is where we’ll be staying. Each room is decorated individually and the candle lit breakfast room is in the basement. It has nothing but brilliant reviews so that’s one to look forward to.

Go to Malaysia
This is booked and in the bag – we fly at the end of April. I’ve always wanted to travel East and although Malaysia has never really been on my radar this appeared as a deal that was way too good to turn down. We’re spending 5 nights in Penang and 3 nights in Kuala Lumpur and it’s very exciting because we’ve never done a trip like this before. Oh, and imagine the food!

See Guns n Roses
I don’t actually love Guns n Roses (I find Axl pretty screechy at times tbh) but I do love some of their songs and the husband has a lifelong love of the band so when they announced a tour with 3 of the 5 original members it was a done deal that we would go. Lots of our friends are going too so it will be a cool day and night out at the Olympic stadium, although the ticket cost of £95 is disgusting, especially when you consider that £9.99 of that is a transaction fee. Per ticket. Bullshit.

Change my car
I do a 60 mile round trip to work each day so the miles have quickly clocked up on my car. I think it might be best to change it now before the mileage gets too high and affects the value, although I have no idea what I want instead.

Get back into blogging
The end of last year was not good for me – I (understandably) lost my mojo and blogging took a back seat. But I’m feeling inspired again with lots to talk about and, having blogged more regularly so far in January, it feels good to be productive again.

Start contributing to My Trending Stories
Last autumn I was contacted on Instagram by a representative for My Trending Stories, inviting me to become a contributor. I’ve seen some people suggesting that the website is trying to piggy back on successful bloggers, but I’m just an iddy biddy blogger with a small audience, so they’re certainly not taking advantage of me! Anyway, it was a compliment to be invited and it’s another outlet to share my thoughts and interact with other people so why not?

I’ve seen lots of resolutions around people eating more healthily, going to the gym, etc but it would be pointless me including them in my plans, because it would be an out and out lie! I can only be who I am, unfortunately!

Have you made any resolutions or plans? Leave me your links in the comments box!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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5 things I have been genuinely baffled by this week

There’s a lot of crazy, stupid, daft and inexplicable stuff that goes on in the world – stuff that genuinely makes you think “huh?” But there seems to be more of it around lately than ever, like there’s a big full moon sending everyone a little crazy!

the-world-is-a-little-bonkers

Here are 5 things that have made me despair this week.

US politics
Wow. What a mess. What a huge, great big, bloody mess. A playground hotbed of name calling, he said she said, finger pointing awfulness. Where’s the coverage of actual policies? The only thing I’ve picked up from the media is Trump’s racist xenophobia and plans to persecute non Americans based on the behaviour of a minority. I couldn’t tell you what Clinton stands for or what she’s lobbying about – everything seems to be geared towards the personal behaviour of both nominees. Which, by the way, is appalling. Of all the intelligent, knowledgeable and clued up people in the US, how the hell did the Presidential race come down to these two? More importantly, how in anyone’s mind, ever, is Donald Trump a good bet for becoming the leader of the free world? He’s a misogynistic bully with an overinflated ego, a lack of morals and a questionable understanding of being a human being. Plus his hair is beyond a joke!

New Royal yacht
The news that UK parliament were debating between building a new Royal yacht or recommissioning Royal Britannia made me want to laugh and cry in equal measures. Either option seems pretty bloody unnecessary to me when you look at the cost of it and the bigger picture. Our economy is in a post Brexit mess and the powers that be want to spend £100 million on a fancy boat? Do me a favour! How about spending on the NHS, to make up for all the fabled EU costs that the Brexiters lied about during their campaign? Apparently Britannia helped to secure £3 billion in trade deals in her lifetime and so a new yacht will boost our economy. How??? I call bullshit.

Killer clowns

This is both stupid and dangerous. Anyone who thinks it’s just a bit of fun needs to look up the definition in the dictionary. It’s only a matter of time before it escalates – someone will have a heart attack through shock. The worst thing is, if a person did genuinely get scared and run over a clown with their car, or hit them with a bottle, they’d be the ones in the wrong. A criminal record in response to a bit of “fun”? Childline has reported 120 calls in a week from kids who are scared they’re going to see a clown in their daily life. Nothing fun about terrorising children.

Honey G
How is this silly bint still in X Factor? More importantly, who’s voting to keep her and why are even the judges coming round to her? It makes a mockery of the show and a mockery of real talent. Great singers got sent home so she could have a place. It’s laughable.

Ross is the favourite Friend
I find this one possibly more crazy than the rest of them put together. In a vote on who is the favourite character in Friends, Ross came out on top? What? He’s the most annoying! From his over gelled hair to his gormless face to his “we were on a break” excuse. No. Just no. Chandler was robbed (although I’d have settled for Joey in first place too).

Any craziness that you’re struggling with right now? Things you can’t quite get your head around? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Botox for balls? (Twit of the Day!)

The beauty of the internet is that you find out about things you would never usually come across in everyday life.

Similarly, the horror of the internet is… Yep, you get the drill.

People, I give you…SCROTOX.

Literally botox for bollocks. What the actual living, chuffing hell?

wrinkly-nuts

Who does this? Who thought of this? Who would pay £2,800 for this?

Find out more, including the supposed benefits here.

Now, I’m no expert (after all, the husband might be reading), but aren’t balls supposed to be wrinkly and a bit sweaty?

Haven’t men (and women) managed for years without sticking needles in their plums? Aren’t good hygiene and clean pants enough to keep the downstairs region fresh? Do balls need to look bigger? Does it make a difference? I’ve never judged a man on the size of his knackers.

(also, how many more words for testicles can I fit into this post????)

Scrotox givers and receivers doctors and patients – Twit(s) of the Day!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

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