Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our lazy weekend

Sometimes the best weekends are the ones we spend doing nothing in particular. Even lazing around doing chores, going to weddings and buying essentials can be an activity-filled weekend. Okay..okay.. it has been a while since I have had a weekend of doing nothing, so last weekend we all took a step back to savour the little things in life.
The early bird stacks the newspapers
Off to a wedding ..or two
Visit from "wa" Atie (my cousin)
Shoppingin our pyjamas
Oh no! It's Monday

Often times I wonder, with all the stress of trying to get so many things done, if I don't spend enough time just marvelling at the little things. Because in the end, when everything else turns to dust, these are the memories that will linger.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Worst Case by James Patterson

Basic Plot

There's a psychopath on the loose and he's targetting children of the elite. Young socialites and heirs are kidnapped in broad daylight but no ransom demands are issued. Instead they fight to survive by answering questions that never crossed their minds. Detective Michael Bennet and FBI abduction specialist Agent Emily Parker race against time to stop the worst kind of madman, the one with an agenda.

What I liked about this book

The plot was a nice twist into the abyss that is a psychopath's mind. The pace was quite good and there was good build-up of intensity and urgency. The main characters are identifiable and likable, the villain is a good mixture of loony and understandable.

What I disliked about this book

In some ways it was too predicatable and neat lacking the depth of truly awesome thrillers. Some of the sub-plots were dismissable and instead of adding dimension proved merely to be a distraction.

A quote I liked from the book

"How much stress can people take before their heads actually explode?"

Overall, a good read.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Basic Plot

Charlie St Cloud was a typical teenager loved by one and all, especially his half-brother Sam. One fateful tragedy later, his whole world was catapulted upside-down. With his brother dead, his future lost, he takes refuge as a groundskeeper at the local cemetery. Bound by a promise, Charlie uses his amazing gift to make up for his mistakes. Charlie sees, talks to and plays with Sam every day. Until one day, Tess walks into their lives and their world begins to change again.

What I liked about the book

It was a sweet book. The characters are likable. A bit like a scoop of ice-cream on a hot day. Plus it was turned into a movie starring Zac Efron.

What I disliked about the book

Not, exactly disliked, more to the fact that it was maybe too 'lightweight' for me. The plot was a bit predictable and everything was neatly wrapped up.

A quote I liked from the book

trust your heart 
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love though the stars walk backward) - Cummings

Overall a good light read. 

Rating: 3/5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cousins and chicken

Exhausted after chasing all the chicken
We went back to Kelantan for my niece's Akikah last weekend. The kids had a great time chasing chicken and eating them ..hehe. So did I!

Funny how going round in a circle endlessly is also fun
Hamzah still working on his "PEACE" sign
With our second cousins Mawaddah & Ali
New BFFs
I love going back to Kelantan. It's my kampung. I love the long road trip because although tiring, it makes the whole "balik kampung" experience more authentic. I wish my children will also feel this joy whenever they come back and visit me later when they are all grown up. The Balik Kampung magic should never fade from our hearts. It keeps us young.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson

Basic plot

Mikael Blomkovist, a financial journalist convicted of libel finds himself roped into solving the mystery of Harriet Vanger, a member of one of Sweden's wealthiest families, disappearence. The fourty year old clues have gone ice cold but with the help of a young pierced and tattooed hacker/PI, Lisbeth Sander, they uncover more than they bargain for. True evil.

What I liked about this book

The ultimate 'closed room' mystery. A good read for all "whodunnit" buffs out there. The character development was very good and the plot itself quite compelling. Plus a chilling voyeuristic view into the mind of a psychopath. 

What I disliked about the book

Given the immense hype of this book, I had monumental expectations. Some parts were actually a struggle to get through due to the amount of detail that had to be assimilated (4 generations of an industrial family, the workings of the Swedish justice system and financial market). Additionally, I found the aging protagonist's inability to "keep it in his pants" and propensity to stand around in his birthday suit, a bit too much for my vivid imagination (maybe if he was younger..hehe). 

All in all a good book if you stick with it.

A quote I liked from this book
People always have secrets. It's just a matter of finding out what they are.

Rating: 3.5

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Queen's Sorrow by Suzannah Dunn

Basic Plot 

Mary Tudor, previously disinherited daughter of the infamous King Henry VIII finally ascends the throne of England only to find that ruling a kingdom and its people is not a simple matter of faith. Married to Phillip of Spain who does not love her and struggling to stamp out the religious strayings of her people, her desperation to rule and produce an heir results in unspeakable horrors. Raphael, the Spanish sundial-maker, a stranger in a hostile land bears witness to this historical tragedy.

What I liked about the book

At least now I know where the term 'Bloody Mary' came from. The book gives a detailed account of the events that occured during Mary Tudor's reign, and provides a good insight into the religious upheaval of the time. The author invokes such graphic images of horror as to how Mary punished the "heretics", people who claimed that the Bible can be read in English, priests who would not denounce their wife and children and basically any person who was a threat to Catholic England. It was an interesting read.

What I disliked about the book

At times the pace was a bit slow and since the story was told from Raphael's point of view, it was more focused on HIS past and HIS difficulties. 

A quote I liked from the book

"If faith unravels, then there is no faith and we're all lost."

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thanks for the memories by Cecilia Ahern

Basic plot

After a devastating tragedy, Joyce Conway struggles to make sense of her life. Especially since strange things start happening. She can speak Italian and Latin and suddenly becomes an expert on architecture. She also dreams about a life that is definitely not her own. Justin Hitchcock only donated blood to get a date with a cute doctor. What's the point of saving some-one's life anonymously anyway? Somehow their paths manage to cross as weirder and weirder circumstances develop.

What I liked about this book

Even though the premise and plot was predictable, the book kept me hooked with all the 'adventures' the main character had to go through to be together. It was such a funny book, with charming wit and hilarious situations that are very refreshing for a chick-lit. My favourite character was definitely Joyce's dad.

What I disliked about the book

Not much. Except maybe the fact that it will never happen in real life..hehe.

A quote I liked from the book

Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim. Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.

Rating: 4.5/5 

Friday, October 22, 2010

A & W 7 wonders ice cream

Shar's favourite fast food

Ok ok I was suckered in by the radio commercial! The A&W 7 wonders waffle sounded really nice. Vanilla ice-cream, pineapple, longan, jackfruit, cherry, orange and pandan kaya on a waffle. Sad to say that, it wasn't as good as it sounded. The fruit combination was a bit off and the kaya 'sauce' was too thick, thus the waffle kinda became a bit dry (except when it became soggy with the melted ice cream). We all agreed that the regular waffle with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce is much better.

Dr Mali concentrating on her food
Looks ok
Zil helping me eat it

PS: Sorry folks am swamped with so many things out of my control right now.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Basic plot 

Ronnie (short for Veronica), a typical 17 year old teenager from New York has to spend the entire summer with her estranged father and 10 year old brother Jonah. She's mortified! What can the sleepy Wrightsville Beach North Carolina offer her? Almost immediately, she falls in with the wrong crowd and yet a chance encounter with Will, a beach volleyball playing "pretty" boy, sparks an unexpected summer romance. But things are not all as they seem, when the heartbreaking truth changes not only the summer but the rest of her life.

What I liked about this book

Like all of Nicholas Sparks' books, it was a pleasant and easy read. I finished it in around four hours (not continuously but half an hour here, fifteen minutes there etc). The characters were likable, the romance was sweet and the "big secret" was sad (although somewhat predictable). All in all a good recipe for a relaxing book.

What I disliked about this book

To be honest, the book was probably too young for me (gosh, I'm old). I understand why the movie adaptation stars Miley Cyrus, because the storyline is perfect for teenagers. It didn't have the same depth as some of his other books and the "love story" wasn't an epic one. 

A quote I liked from this book

"Mom says it's because she has PMS" - Jonah 10 yrs old
"Do you even know what that means?" -Steve (his dad)
"I'm not a little kid anymore. It means pissed-at-men syndrome."

Rating: 3.5/5 (A relaxing, sweet romantic book)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Introducing.. the NEW Wondergirl

At the UKM KL Raya function
It's been a bit bland with just the 4 of us me, Shar, Zil and Maz but finally we got a new member! Hehe. She's a dentist and is also pursuing her Masters in pharmacology. She's also our new roomate. So we have had fun getting to know her and taking her to all our favourite places. So far she's adjusting well to our crazy ways. Another plus, she's an avid reader like me so it's great having someone to discuss books with.

Zil 'chupping' our chairs

Alot of food!

So, introducing the new UKM Wondergirl.... *Drumroll please* ..............Dr Mali!

Dr Mali, Shar and Zil    


Monday, October 11, 2010

Stream vs Lorry

Stream vs Lorry
The lorry ran away
Was alone in the car 
Shaken but I'm okay

Stream vs Lorry 
What can I say
Except I will miss you
While you're away

Stream vs Lorry
Am thankful and come what may 
Though bad things happen
I get to live another day


Check out my latest post for MBP "Sorry, thank you"

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Street Philosopher by Matthew Plampin

Basic plot 

An art critic turned war correspondent for the London Courier, Kitson, witnessed unspeakable horrors in the Crimean war both on and off the battlefields. Years later, he yearns only for normality and becomes a 'street philosopher', reporting on gossip and the frivilous activities of the Manchaster elite. However, his dreadful past catches up with him and he is thrown once more into a dark abyss of revenge, murder, lust and avarice.

What I liked about the book

The author's research was impressive as he vividly paints the scenes of both the Crimea and Manchaster in the late 1800s. His writing style was very descriptive and I found the need to look up several new words to add to my vocabulary. The plot was interesting and eventhough the book jumps forward and backwards between 2 major events, this did not result in any confusion. Character development was also very good as each person in the book is very well established.

What I disliked about the book

The pace. As with most historical fictions, the story unfolded at somewhat too leisurely pace for me (especially given that I can only read a few chapters a day).

A quote I liked from the book

For what is art after all, he reasoned, but so many objects- objects that men will kill to possess?

Rating: 3/5


Alhamdulillah, this little personal blog reached has reached yet another milestone. The 300 follower mark. Thank you to all visitors,  readers, and followers for your continued support. I'm sorry that I can't hold a contest or giveaway to show my appreciation at the moment as I am currently swamped with my day job (blogging is stil just a hobby), maybe InsyaAllah one day when things are less hectic.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Secret Recipe @ Wangsa Walk

Yes! We do live in Wangsa Walk. Hehe. Kidding. We had to make another trip to pick up a pair of sunglasses this time. This time we stopped off at an old favourite haunt that we haven't visited in a while. Secret Recipe.

Shar had her usual Tom Yam but Zil and I decided to brave the Chicken Cordon Bleu. Why brave? We had a bad experience once at another Secret Recipe where the chicken was undercooked. But the Cordon Bleu on a total stranger's plate (who was sitting next to us) looked too delicious to resist.

We also ordered 1 slice of the new Banana Cheese Cake and Choc Cheez cake. The 2 cheese cake lovers loved it. I am still trying to like cheese cake as a species of food.

The Chicken Cordon Bleu was good. Nice and crispy coating, well cooked chicken, loads of gooey melted cheese. I just wish that it was accompanied with some nice mushroom sauce. It seems that Secret Recipe has a "no sauce upon request" policy.

Ate so much (I didn't take a pic of the ice cream dessert..hehe). See you later Wangsa Walk.


Alhamdulillah, just noticed (was so busy that I realized a couple of days late) that I won the RM10 prize for My Raya Moments Contest by Eyriqazz for this entry, since it was the 10th entry. Hopefully will get to win one of the Grand Prizes too. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Popeye's Louisiana Fried Chicken @ Wangsa Walk

We went o pick up the specs that the girls had ordered the week before. Despite Shar's pleads to eat at A&W, we ended up at Popeye's Lousiana Fried Chicken. Although obviously it was a fast food franchise much like other fried chicken franchises, I wanted to try it since I saw an episode on the asian Food Channel touting the superb flavours of Lousiana style fried chicken.

We ordered 2 chicken meals and 2 maxi meals and 1 large cajun fries. The chicken meal was like the equivalent of a KFC snack plate, with coleslaw and mashed potato plus a biscuit. The maxi meal had 1 piece chicken, 1 tender (a breaded piece of chicken meat) and 1 fish fillet. The fries were like the A&W curly fries (minus the curls). Overall it was quite good. The mashed potato gravy was really nice (tasted like a really good chicken chop gravy) and the coleslaw tasted a bit like the Kenny Roger's coleslaw. The fries were really good and the 'large' portion was very generous. The chicken was a little bit disappointing as I expected more flavour. It was just regular fried chicken (slightly on the dry side). I guess that's fast food for you.

Wonder where the REAL Luisiana fried chicken is? Probably in Louisiana..hehe.


Yeay! Aini has finished reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Read her review at Hidayah's Book Club now. Want to borrow it next? ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

More than a pinch of salt

We arrived late for the department's Hari Raya Gathering and were 'banished' to the other side of the room. But Zil and I still managed to secure a table to put our food on. Yeay! Without the other UKM Wondergirls around, it was a bit quiet. 

(Standing)- Me, Zil, Shazlan, En. Imran, Safaa, Nizar  (Sitting)- Dr Azman, Prof Kamsiah

There was quite a spread laid out, lontong, rendang ayam, nasi impit, kuah kacang, emang and mee kari. The lontong and rendang were actually very good. The kuah kacang was a bit on the salty side. But the 'winner' was definitely the mee kari. I think the delivery van must have collided with salt truck on the way to UKM and managed to dump at least 3kg of salt into the curry. It was practically inedible. Thank goodness I'm not a huge mee kari fan (I stuck to having 2 plates of lontong and rendang.. hehe).

Zil smiling before she had the mee kari

Dessert was ice cream and local fruits. Thanks to the contribution of the postgraduates and our (Zil and I) expedition to Chow Kit that morning. We wanted to buy chocolate sauce for the ice cream, but it seems that UO doesn't sell them. Like the salesgirl (when I asked if they sold any) said "Kalau nak akak pergi Sogo lah." Hello? If I had the time to go to Sogo, don't you think that I would? 

We started the ice cream sensation

We left the lunch heavier with our tummies full of food and our hearts a little sad for the newest developments here. Hopefully, the department can survive its newest test. TOP SECRET. (Sometimes I feel like I'm studying in a Malay drama set instead of a university)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why are there no tables?

Questions about the lack of tables never stopped.
Last Sunday, our masjid (mosque) held it's Hari Raya 'open house'. Since the kids and I haven't had the opportunity to go to many open houses this year it was a nice little outing for them.

Unsure how to balance.

The masjid is just across our main road, so my mom and I decided to walk there. There were many people there and a few stalls (bazaar-like) prepared by the organizing committee. There was sate, nasi impit and kuah kacang, mee and meehoon sup, and lontong. The food was actually quite good. 

Chair = table too

Eating on plastic chairs with no tables was quite an experience while trying to juggle 3 small kids with different appetites but somehow my mom and I managed it. Of course their Raya clothes became casualties and we were probably the only people who managed to get the kuah kacang all over one of the chairs. 


It was hot and a bit tiring but everyone left happy and full.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Smashin' Ayam Penyet at Wangsa Walk

Waiting for chicken!

It's true! I must be one of the very few people who still has not tasted Ayam Penyet (translated on the menu as smashed chicken..hmm). It's just that I had a bad experience with Indonesian food once so I was less than enthusiastic to try again. However, my curiosity got the better of me, so we decided to stop off for lunch at Ayam Penyet @ Wangsa Walk.

Look here!

We ordered 2 sets of Ayam Penyet, Sup ekor and Ikan Assam Pedas.

Love the chicken..but not the other stuff

First of all the ayam is not "penyet" at all. It's just fried chicken. I loved the flavour. A little hint of spice but not overpowering and fried just right. Wish we had ordered more. The accompanying sambal was very hot and a bit sour but complimented the chicken very well.

Water with meat

Initially we had ordered the sup ekor and ikan assam pedas because we noted that the ayam penyet set did not come with any gravy. Eating dry rice isn't something that we enjoy so that was why we ordered the extras. BAD BAD BAD choice. The sup ekor was just a watery tasteless soup with little portions and the fish was a bland but overpoweringly hot gravy with very tough and totally unfresh peice of 'togkol' fish (or was it 'tenggiri' it so tough I couldn't even tell the difference).

The drinks look nice.. pity they weren't

Since the food was hot, you would think that the drinks would be refreshing and soothing to our palates. Unfortunately, they were not. My watermelon snow juice tasted strangely of honeydew essence and was so diabetic inducingly sweet that despite my tongue being on fire I could not force in more than 2 sips. I drank an astonishingly expensive (RM 0.70) glass of sky juice instead. The girls' drinks were not really any better with the milo ais being the only decent one. 

All in all, the Ayam Penyet itself was good but everything else was not. Next time, I'm just going to order the chicken and drink plain water.


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