Art of OLDTOWN

When I was in Florence last month, I discovered the marvelous works of street painters who created chalk drawings on the street. I’m not talking about hopscotch kind of drawing (please); I’m talking about hugeee portrait paintings! So cool, my jaw almost dropped when I first saw it.

 

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I’m not sure if we have this kind of street art in Malaysia, but I do know we have wall arts! The latest wall art I know is the one in Old Town Ipoh.

OLDTOWN White Coffee has teamed up with Ernest Zacharevic, a renowned Lithuanian artist to create the ‘Art of OLDTOWN’ as a celebration of the heritage and history shared between Ipoh, Old Town and OLDTOWN White Coffee. OLDTOWN is the leading white coffee manufacturer in Malaysia and in conjunction with this collaboration, Zacharevic will use his unique artistic creativity to paint 7 murals to celebrate Ipoh, Old Town, the birthplace of white coffee.

 

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Zacharevic drew inspiration of each art piece from the elements from the birthplace of white coffee, OLDTOWN and their shared origins. And he has a month to complete everything!

Here are some of his amazing artwork so far…

 

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IMG_0068It’s a painting of a little girl

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IMG_0009A hummingbird! This mural is located at Jalan Panglima in Ipoh by the way.

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10257735_270097083114328_2282238288845418087_oOh wow this one is hee-ugee! Uncle with coffee. Notice the vintage OLDTOWN White coffee cup?

Now this one is my favorite.

29826_268304379960265_6411141178712024375_nThat air kopi bungkus looked so real, doesn’t it? It looks as if somebody just left the drink there.

The other 3 murals have yet to be discovered. If you would like to witness and be part of this ‘Art of OLDTOWN’ journey, you can visit OLDTOWN’s official Facebook page at facebook.com/OldTownWhiteCoffeeMalaysia. This project started on 26th May 2014 and will end on the 26th June 2014.



Europe Trip Part 2: Florence

(Read Part 1: Rome post here).

So our next trip was to Florence.

We took a train from Rome, and the journey took about an hour+. It was almost 6pm when we arrived Florence and most shops were closed, so no shopping that day. We spent the rest of the day checking out the city.

 

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Being in Florence is like stepping back in time. Compared to Rome, I would say Florence is more picturesque and full of arts (and not as busy as Rome). I love it! Glad we spent the longest time here (5 days). There were sculptures and architectures everywhere; it was so beautiful.

Some even say that Florence is like an “open air museum”. I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

IMG_2692This is Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s city hall. Our apartment is just about 10 minutes walk from here.

 

 

IMG_2706Nude men guarding the entrance of the city hall

 

 

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I cannot imagine if we brought our girls here. They would probably say, “Eee malu la!” when they see the nude men sculptures and then they would probably ask, “What is that?” at you-know-what. Haha.

 

IMG_2705Loggia dei Lanzi, which houses a number of statues

 

 

IMG_2700There are a lot of ways to get around the city if you’re tired of walking – you can rent a bike, vespa, car, horse carriage (that counts too, right?) and even Segway. How cool is that?

 

 

IMG_2760Ponte Vecchio – Medieval stone arch bridge over the Arno River

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IMG_2756Lots of small shops around here, selling jewelries, arts and souvenir stuff

 

 

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IMG_2776Found a nice cafe to have breakfast

 

IMG_2793Chocolate crepe and hot chocolate with whipped cream. The hot chocolate was thick and kinda bitter for my liking (I think they used dark chocolate)

 

 

IMG_2796We also had this cannoli. Was supposed to wait 2 minutes before eating it, but I took a bite right away. Well I didn’t know! Isn’t the filling supposed to be soft and creamy? This one is like frozen cream. Brain freeze kejap.

 

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IMG_2808Hubby and I just love to feast our eyes at all the pizzerias and gelaterias that we found bersepah along the streets. One thing I like about Italy is that their pizzas and pastas are mostly vegetarian. They sure love their tomatoes and cheese!

 

IMG_2820Just had to take a peek. Everything looks yummy!

 

IMG_2715This is Santa Maria del Fiore, or simply known as Duomo – one of the largest cathedrals in the world

 

 

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IMG_2717Just look at the details. Such an amazing work of art. Took 140 years to build this!

 

 

IMG_2720 The exterior is covered in a decorative mix of green, pink and white marbles. And the 13 statues…. Hubs mentioned those were the 12 disciples and Jesus or something.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetInside the Duomo

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IMG_2884This is the biggest artwork in the cathedral – a painting about the Last Judgement

IMG_2847Saw this horsey outside of Duomo and I just had to take a pic

 

 

 

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IMG_2970Had lunch at this fancy place, Caffe Gilli. I had been wanting to eat ravioli ever since we first arrived in Italy and finally found one! Their spinach and cheese ravioli was delicious (hubby had risotto, which was also yummy).

IMG_2854My sister told me that the best gelato she had ever had in Italy is at Eataly and so we went to hunt it for our dessert

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThey don’t have a lot of flavor choices tho (only about 5, I think). We tried chocolate and pistachio. Sedappp! Tasted like real pistachio.

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IMG_2812The Italian Wheels. You can rent a vespa or Fiat 500 for a guided group tour through the Tuscan countryside. If we weren’t on a personal shopper mission here, we would have definitely joined this tour!

IMG_3004Saw one of the cars outside, and couldn’t resist a pic. Then one of the guys saw us and was so cool to offer taking our pics. He even told us to get inside the car.

IMG_3008Aihh bestnya kalau dapat jalan-jalan around Tuscany in this!

 

 

IMG_3148San Lorenzo market. Was fun walking through the market. There were shops selling souvenirs, scarves, leather bags, jackets and belts all Italian-made. I even bought a few Pucci inspired silk scarves here.

 

IMG_3263Art is everywhere in Florence – even on the streets!

IMG_3215Just WOW.

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 IMG_3030“Can we just go over there?” *points to Chanel*

 

 

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Oh hey, there’s Salvatore Ferragamo Museum! (the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was… Damon Salvatore! Heee)

 

 

 

IMG_2699And there’s Gucci Museum too

 

IMG_3022My husband searched for “best gelato in Florence” on Google and found 3 places. We tried all 3 but this is the best!

IMG_3014There were soooo many gelato flavours to choose from – I think about 30 flavours! Rambang mata aku. They have unique flavours like chocolate pistachio chili, ricotta cheese and strawberry pie that tasted like real pie.

IMG_3020I tried coconut with nuts gelato and hubby tried hazelut chocolate. Seriously the best gelato ever!! You really have to try their gelato if you’re in Florence. Wajib! (we actually ate there 3 times!)

IMG_3079My husband also searched for “best pizza in Florence” and found Gusta Pizzza. As you can see, they used wood-fired stone oven to bake their pizza.

IMG_3087Best pizza in Florence. The tomatoes are sweet and juicy, the cheese is so creamy and the pizza bread is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Another must-go place in Florence!

 

IMG_3099Another gelato, this time from Gelateria la Carraia (also Googled by hubby). Mine was white chocolate with pistachio. Bit sweet but overall not bad

 

 

IMG_3011Told my sister and BIL about this nice cafe with open windows that we saw and decided to have our breakfast there the next morning

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IMG_3144Meet the friendly owner of this cafe, who is also the barista, Signori Francesco. Apparently, he won World Barista Championship 3 times so he knows his coffee very well.

IMG_3132My husband and BIL tried his “unbelievable coffees” – Esmerelda Geisha and Nekisse (such pretty names for coffee!) and explained to us about the origin, how to drink it (you are not supposed to drink it with sugar and milk to heighten the taste) and how to make it. I even recorded a video of how he made the coffees and shared it on my Instagram. I’m not a fan of coffee but this was surely interesting!

IMG_3139Everyone else ordered coffee, so I felt obliged to order one for myself. I chose something mild – cafe latte. Not bad and I can totally taste the difference of Italian coffee, but I still prefer te

IMG_3172And the shopping mission continues… again

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IMG_3208Next on my must-eat-Italian dish is gnocchi. Had this yummy tomato and mozzarella cheese gnocchi at Caffe Concerto Paszkowski (sister’s treat)

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IMG_3275Oh hi, here’s another gelato from Grom. You can never have too much gelato when you’re in Italy, ok? :D

IMG_3291Every corner in Florence is a work of art. I can’t stop snapping pictures!

IMG_3338Sat down at a cafe with Duomo at the back. Sigh… so picturesque

IMG_3326The barista commented “Very English!” when I ordered tea. I supposed not a lot of people drink tea in Italy? Hehe

IMG_3361There are a few designer outlets in Florence, but my sister said the best is The Mall.

IMG_3358They even provide direct bus from the centre of Florence to The Mall outlet (journey took about 45 minutes)

IMG_3365Hee-ugeee Gucci outlet

IMG_3360Lots of luxury brands here – Dior, Emilio Pucci, Burberry, Tods, Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, Fendi, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Lanvin, Ferragamo, just to name a few.

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IMG_3400Had lunch at the restaurant inside The Mall outlet. This is my sister’s salmon and spinach ravioli. Sedap oih

IMG_3401And this is my cheesy gnocchi with pesto. Sedap jugak. Semua la sedap :P

We also took a taxi to Prada Space outlet, which is located about 30 minutes from The Mall. It’s kind of like a factory (I think?) so imagine how big the place is! Of course it also mean more selections for Prada and Miu Miu bags, shoes, shirts, sunnies and other accessories.

IMG_3438Done shopping at Prada. Now where’s the taxi?

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IMG_3456Had our last meal in Florence at this one restaurant, overlooking Duomo

IMG_3463Hawaiian pizza (without the ham) and mushroom pizza (Pizza Hut lagi sedap).

Right after dinner, we went to Gelateria dei Neri again for our last gelato in Florence. My sister and BIL even said that was the best gelato they’ve ever tasted. I’ve lost count how many times we had gelato in Florence alone. Must be… 12 times, I think? Haha. We just had to have at least 2 gelato every day. Bak kata suami, “bila lagi nak makan?”. LOL :P

And that’s the end of our stay in Florence.

Stay tuned for the last part of our Europe trip!



A Tiger Balm patch a day keeps the mosquitoes away

Ughh, I just hate mosquitoes. Especially when those bloodsuckers did this to my kids!

 

Sekali gigit sampai 4! And that’s not including the bites on their legs >__<

 

It’s very upsetting seeing my girls scratching their arms and legs and mengadu gatal. Usually they would scratch until they bleed and then it will leave unsightly scars. But it’s not just the scars that bothered me. I’m worried about Aedes and dengue, nauzubillah!

I am very positive that my kids didn’t get these bites at home because our house is mosquito-free. I can bet on that. I noticed they would only get those mosquito bites (or “mosquitorosis”, as Ayra calls it)  when they’re outside or at other people’s house, especially those with lots of plants and just won’t shut their windows even at night. Sigh… what am I to do. I mean, as a guest, I can’t just simply tell “Excuse me, could you close all the windows? Mosquitoes are getting in and they are feasting on my kids”. And I surely can’t tell my kids to stop playing and not go near the trees!

 

 

 

 

I actually want them to enjoy the outdoors whenever possible because my girls spend most of their time indoors. But can’t do that with a peace of mind, not with mosquitoes around.

What I usually do when we’re going out is slather insect repellent oil on their bodies and make sure they wear long pants and cardigan over their tops. But c’mon, this is Malaysia. Nobody, especially kids, can stand wearing cardigans for hours on a hot sunny day! And the insect repellent oil thingy only lasts for a couple of hours so it’s a bit of a hassle because I have to re-apply 3-4 times a day (I usually forgot to re-apply them).

Then I found out about this mosquito repellent patch by Tiger Balm. It’s a round patch with a unique formulation to repel mosquitoes and insects effectively, using natural active ingredients. It contains no DEET so it’s safe for children and even babies too.

There’s also mosquito repellent spray which comes in a small handy bottle. You can spray it directly onto skin or clothes, or both.

 

Each box comes in 10 individually-sealed patches like this so you can bring it everywhere with you. I have a few in my purse!

 

The patch has a sticky back so all you need to do is just peel the protective film and stick it on your child’s clothes. You only need 1 patch for your child (and 2 for adult). I think it’s a genius! Just remember not to stick it directly onto skin.

 

The patch has a strong scent but in a good way – it smells pretty much like the Tiger Balm ointment, which I really like. Didn’t bother my kids at all too. They even thought it was fun wearing sticker on their clothes! They call it “the mosquito sticker”. Hehe. Don’t worry, the patch is easy to remove and won’t leave any sticky residue on your clothes. You just have to remember to remove it before putting the clothes in the washing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing I like about this patch is that it lasts long. At the end of the day, I could still smell the ointment scent whenever I go near my kids, which must mean they are still repelling those damn mosquitoes. At least I can have a peace of mind and not be so worried about those bloodsuckers like I used to!



Beat Menstrual Pain with Yoga

I still remember the day when I just got back from my recent Europe trip. Felt good to be home and meet my girls whom I missed so much… but man, I had never felt so exhausted – all that walking around 3 cities (everyday, from morning till late night) and the 15-hour flight!

My neck and back felt like they were tied in knots and my legs were mildly swollen from sitting too long in the cramped airplane seat.

And to make it worse, I was having period pain.

I wanted to go for a massage so badly, but I remembered I had a yoga class with Whisper so I thought, “ok yoga first, then go for massage”.

So off I went to the yoga class, still jet-lagged and aching.

The yoga class was held at mYoga in Plaza Damas. As I walked inside, I was greeted by them and a few came up to say hi. And then we were all led upstairs to a big room with mirrored wall.

 

Nice meeting you pretty ladies! I felt a bit gloomy in my dark outfit >_<

All set on the yoga mat. Let’s do this!

The yoga instructor introduced herself and then explained how yoga can help ease menstrual pain. Talk about perfect timing!

Just so you know, this is not my first time doing yoga. But it was my first time in months! Hehe. I forgot how good it felt to stretch. I felt like all of my muscles were loosened and relaxed.

Yoga also focuses a lot on deep breathing and this actually helps boost circulation because it increases oxygen flow to tissues and alleviate discomfort induced by cramps.

 

 

Ok, deep breath….

 

I could do this…but it only lasted a nanosecond! :P

Now that’s more like it

With my blog reader who won the quiz, Suhaila. Thanks for joining me doing yoga! (Mawar, where were you?!)

Even tho it was just a one-hour yoga class, doing simple yoga poses, I was sweating buckets like I just ran a marathon. And surprisingly, my body felt a lot better that I forgot about going for a massage – seriously! All that twisting and bending and stretching must have restored my muscles or something. And my period pain… Wait, what period pain? For a moment, I even forgot I was having period, thanks to Whisper Cottony Clean Long/Heavy Flow pad. It’s comfy and gentle enough to your skin as it’s made of soft cotton top sheet. The blue lock core helps to absorb even large amount of menses and locks it away from the surface so you won’t feel so “leaky”, if you know what I mean.

We even got a goodie bag filled with different types of Whisper pads to suit our needs – Cottony Clean range (superior protection and soft to the skin) and Ultra range (high-absorbency).

Thank you Nuffnang and Whisper for this opportunity. At least now I know how to make period pain more bearable!



Europe Trip Part 1: Rome

Hi guys! Soooo sorry for my lack of updates. I know I’ve been neglecting my blog lately but I promise it’s not because I’m lazy.

Umm ok… maybe just a bit, but that’s because I’m always super tired and my brain can’t think of anything else but my bed after a physically-and-mentally exhausting day at home (SAHM is no joke people, but I love it – except the cleaning part).

Ok enough with the excuses, now let’s talk about something more exciting. My Europe trip! :D

My husband and I went to Europe earlier this month with my sister, her hubby and their baby. My sister actually asked me a favor to help with her personal shopper business and I was like, YES OF COURSE NO PROBLEM! I mean, shopping and Europe? Those are like two of my favorite things in the world! (ok, it was actually pretty challenging as we had no experience being a personal shopper; I cannot imagine if it were just me and my husband)!

We were a little worried at first tho because we had to leave the girls and the longest we’ve ever been away from them was 2 days. And this time, we were going to be away for 10 days!

We told ourselves that we will FaceTime with the girls everyday (we didn’t, because of the time difference and because our schedule was pretty hectic everyday and come night time, we were both bone-weary from all the walking and shopping). We also told them that we will buy Frozen toys (didn’t manage to get Elsa tho) and that they will stay with their Atok and Wan (my parents) while we were away. They were excited! In fact, they were so excited that they couldn’t wait for us to go! Haha. Ayra even helped me choose and pack my clothes for the trip. Sigh, I missed her already.

Anyway, I’m going to split my blog posts into 3 for each city that we went to because there are so many pictures, you’d pengsan if I just blog everything in one post. Hehe.

This post is all about Rome because that was our first stop. We only stayed there for 2 days but we managed to squeeze in some sightseeing to a few famous places including the Colosseum, Victor Emmanuel Monument, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum and Spanish Steps, despite having only a few hours a day for that (we were personal shoppers, remember? So during boutique business hours, 9am-6pm everyday was allocated just for shopping).

 

In front of the apartment where we stayed

The weather was sunny and beautiful, around 18°C. It was just nice – not too cold, not too hot.

You know, I used to love traveling during autumn or winter season (because I get to dress up in coats and knee-high boots hehe) but spring is actually just as fun and beautiful (ok, any season in Europe is fun and beautiful to me, period).

 

 

 

My task was really simple. I was told to snap as many photos of bags and shoes as possible. I love this job, thank you sis! Haha (and yes, all photos were taken using the awesome iPhone 5S camera *ehem* #iphonefanforever)

We passed a million gelato shops while walking around the city and whenever my husband saw one he’d say “Macam menarik”. Itu jela ayat dia kalau nampak makanan LOL. BIL already told us about this best gelato shop in Florence but my husband couldn’t resist trying one in Rome. Layankan saja.

Hazelnut and chocolate gelato. Nothing to shout about.

Done shopping for the day, time for some sightseeing! The first place we went to was the Victor Emmanuel Monument.

Apparently, you have to pay 50 euros each if you want to take a photo with these guys. I probably wouldn’t mind paying for that amount if they would at least let us wear their costumes.

In front of Capitoline Museum

Piazza del Campidoglio

 

Oh well, at least this guy didn’t charge me anything :P

 

(I’m not sure if I get all the names of the places right so do correct me if I’m wrong)

 

 

Roman Forum. The view is breathtaking, this picture doesn’t do it justice!

I’m sure you all know what this is. The Colosseum.

Saw a lot of these beautiful Venetian masks at almost every souvenir shop

Trevi Fountain

Had dinner at a restaurant somewhere near our apartment (all vegetarian and alcohol-free, don’t worry)

Day 2. My husband and I went out at 8am and we had to walk a bit to find some place to have breakfast as the cafe near our apartment wasn’t opened yet (no, I didn’t ride the bike).

We walked till we reached Pantheon. Hubby was excited and he began explaining about some light or something and I went like, “Oh umm, interesting. Now take my pic”. Hehe

And then we saw a cafe so we decided to have breakfast there.

It was such a beautiful morning. We just sat there for awhile, talking, enjoying the view and the weather while sipping cappuccino (I had tea) and people-watching. If only we could do this everyday…

We still had time before the boutiques were open so we decided to go inside the Pantheon.

And hubs started his history lecture again. “Biggest dome blabla…Roman Gods blabla… Can you imagine how they built this? Amazing gila blabla…”.
Ooookayy.

History session’s up, now it’s time to shop (for others)!

These paper bags weighed tonsssss and each of us had to carry them from one boutique to another for hours.
Kau ingat senang jadi personal shopper? Haha rasakan! :P

And finally, a picture with my sister at The Spanish Steps (she couldn’t be bothered to take loads of pics like her jakun sis because she goes to Europe a few times a year :P)

After shopping, we packed our bags and headed to the train station to Florence.

Ahh… I love Florence. My new favorite city. Will update about that soon!