Monday, May 20, 2019

Travel Hacks with Children and Where to Buy Them

Travelling with young children can be a very stressful experience. Thank goodness now there are many websites which share some travel hacks. After travelling a couple of times with 4 children (age 8/5/3/20 months), I now can add in two particular travel hacks which is very helpful (at least for me), and most importantly, very affordable!

1. GET A FOLDABLE STOOL

I usually have a stool in our bathroom, kids can stand on it while they brush their teeth, or I use it as support while I shower my younger children. I realised hotels or serviced apartments, while they do provide a sofa, arm chair or chairs, these are not practical if you need to sit down while showering your child or if they are not tall enough to reach for the sink. 

Enter the foldable stool.



It is flat, easy to pack, lightweight, and relatively sturdy.


Having the stool makes showering kids task a breeze without aching your back.


Plus you don't have to carry your child while they are brushing their teeth or washing their hands.

I got mine from Mr DIY for less than RM10. There are a few types, pricing depending on the size.





2. GET A PORTABLE DISH DRYING RACK

This comes in very handy when you have bottles and cutlery to wash and wondering where you should dry them. Hotels may have a tray but that is about it. Some service apartments provide a dish rack but some don't.

Check this foldable portable dish rack from Daiso.

When folded, it is easy to pack into your luggage. When opened up, it can be adjusted to two settings, one flat and one with the sides slanted up for drying dishes. 


It is compact enough for cutlery, milk bottles and small containers. Plus it is definitely more hygenic than putting it on the tray or table or towel.


You can get this from Daiso for less than RM6. If you need more space, why not buy two?

Hope my sharing of these two hacks will be helpful to you. Happy travelling!


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

1 Utama's Chinese New Year Decoration 2019

I was fortunate to be able to travel back to KL to attend a friend's wedding dinner. We made a short shopping trip (haha) to my favourite mall 1 Utama, also just in time to check out its Chinese New Year decoration.

This year's theme is titled "Splendidferous New Year" and their decoration centred around spring flowers, paper fans and cute piggy displays.


From 1st floor, the display on the Oval is bright and festive, thanks to the colourful floor decoration which matches the round paper fans on display. I love the hanging baskets tanglung that were filled with flowers, hanging over one side of the Oval. 


As I went over to LG, one can see the towering display of gold geometric nuggets and pots, the large and beautiful flowers, huge banner with the paper fans. I did not get to see last year's Christmas theme in person, but based on the Facebook photos, I suspect the geometric blocks were recycled from the Christmas theme, this time sprayed with gold colour. If it is really reused design, good on 1 Utama for maximising the use of these festive decorations!


Have you met the three little pigs? They are named 新 (New), 春(Spring) and 福 (Prosperity) respectively. 


I am always a fan of huge blooms, and this one won hands down. The flowers are lit up in the middle section by round bulbs, very creative!



After admiring the main display at the Oval, I walked towards the Old Wing and Centre Court. The long and narrow pathway along Uniqlo did not mean it was left empty and bare. Instead, the hanging tanglung baskets hung over the pathway, while Chinese style round table and stools are placed along that pathway. There were also tall structures decorated with peonies and cherry blossoms. 


The centre court has been transformed into a vibrant marketplace! I love to see the stalls so colourful and matching to the theme. 


Probably not related to the 1 Utama decoration, but this window display in one of the watch shop in Old Wing caught my eye. So elegant and pretty!


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Brick-tacular Holidays Winter Wonderland 2018 at Legoland Malaysia

My last posting for this Legoland event was during 2016. We gave this a miss in 2017 as we did not renew the annual pass, plus baby J was not even 6 months old yet, making it a challenge to visit Legoland with 4 young children in tow. 

Now that baby J is 1 year old plus, we renewed our annual pass and once again, able to visit Legoland during its Brick-tacular Holidays event. This time around, we met up with one of D's best friends who just finished her school term.

First thing I noticed, Santa Claus and his sleigh was missing at the entrance! So now do we take our photoshoot?? The signage indicated that Winter Wonderland is located at Lego City, similar to previous years. 



One of the first attractions right opposite the BIG shop, before the entrance signage was the snow house. There was a long queue in front of what looked like an igloo. We wondered what was inside, so we also queued up.  


Turns out inside was just a throne made of (fake) ice blocks, Lego Penguin Man and Yeti. It was more of a photo opportunity more than anything else. 


Next, we entered Lego City area where the section is decorated in line with the Christmas theme. There stood the Duplo Christmas Tree in its usual spot, next to it is the open stage.


Something new this year - well, at least for me - was the Santa's Grotto, located next to Market Restaurant. In order to meet Santa, the children had to write a message to Santa, and post it into the postbox located outside. 



The girls got to writing their own message. Here is D's message to Santa Claus 😁 :


After posting the postcard, writing their names on the 'Nice List', the door opened, and inside is Santa Claus waiting to give the good kids a welcome hug and photo opportunity!




We proceeded to have lunch at Market Restaurant, before we continue with the Christmas activities inside Legoland. So happened the Christmas Dance perfomance was about to take place at the Christmas stage, so we headed over there first. 


After the performance was over, we headed over to Miniland to take part in 'Spot the Naughty Elves' activity. We need to locate 10 Naughty elves within Miniland and write down their respective names. It was quite funny to see an elf in each of the Miniland site, it looked so out of place hahaha!


After the girls completed their activity, we headed back to BIG shop to redeem our prize, which was the DUPLO commemorative block. 

It started raining very heavily during the later part of the evening, we hid inside the shop until it subsided. Unfortunately it was still raining when the Christmas Tree light up took place, we could only take a photo of it without the crowd. Felt like the Christmas Tree was very lonely without its spectators LOL. 



I remember that I commented during this year's Halloween event that Legoland was pretty stingy with the DUPLO Commemorative brick. This time around it was different : The girls got their bricks when they took part in the Christmas performance; when they completed the Miniland activity; when they completed building the LEGO snowman (while waiting for the rain to subside). It was a nice bright pink printed brick, and we were given 6 in total. Mummy can keep one and the kids play with the rest. I can say this is my favourite brick to date.


Wishing all of my readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Visit to JARO (Johore Area Rehabilitation Organization)

My first encounter with JARO (Johore Area Rehabilitation Organization) was 3 years ago, when they set up a small booth next to Starbucks at AEON Bukit Indah. Not many people paid attention to this stall, but what caught my eye was the beautiful baskets for sale. We didn't need any baskets then, but I purchased two sets of Batu Seremban from them. I told myself to visit this place one day, and finally I did - 3 years later.

About JARO (from JARO website

The Johore Area Rehabilitation Organization (JARO) is a registered charity which manages 3 sheltered workshops catering to the rehabilitation requirements of the physically and mentally challenged. It aims to start a new lease of life for people to create a sense of independence and to reposition themselves with dignity in the mainstream of society. This positive attitude that JARO instills in them enables them to live a normal working life with pride and confidence.

It was founded in 1952 by Dr. Beryl Wilberforce – Smith as a rehabilitation centre in the Johor Bahru General Hospital for cured TB patients to teach them some trades and handicrafts. That centre gradually became a self -sustaining charity known as the Johore Anti TB Rehabilitation Organisation. Three sheltered workshops for basketry, bookbinding and tailoring were set up. As TB slowly faded from the scene, the existing organization was revamped into a rehabilitation center for the physically-and mentally-challenged for these people had need which were not catered to. Despite being renamed the Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation, the acronym of JARO was retained.

I had been following their Facebook Page for quite sometime while their official website was under construction. Recently their revamped website is up, so is their Facebook Shop. I saw those baskets again. And more baskets. And more items from their basketry range. That prompted me to drop by their centre to check out their wares.


Upon arriving, I found that the centre is undergoing some expansion and renovation, but their shop is still open. In fact, I initially parked at the wrong place, so I passed by the workshop area where I could see the staff busy at work. Later I reparked my car in front of their centre entrance.

I was first greeted by the products from their basketry and hard cane range. Each item is skillfully handmade by a JARO staff, and I feel the price is very reasonable for a handmade product.



I was very tempted to buy the children table and chair set. I can imagine my kids playing or do drawing together in the playroom or at one corner of the family hall.


They even had miniature furniture meant for dollhouse. How cute is that? 


In case you are wondering about the dollhouse furniture, yes - they do have a kampung dollhouse for sale as well!



The inner section of the shop consisted of items from their book binding and sewing workshop. The notebooks were beautifully bounded with wallpaper covers. There were also photo frames and tissue boxes, guests books with kain songket hardcovers. 




There were many types of bags for sale at the sewing section - clutches, sling bags, tote bags, recycle bags, pouches and purses. There were soft toys as well but I forgot to take photos of them. 


All of JARO products came with this tag.


I purchased a fruit basket (as the existing one was not big enough to put all the fruits in), some pouches as gifts, the hard cane baby chair as a gift for Tiram House at Bukit Tiram. I personally love the baby chair and I hope the chair will serve its good purpose there. 

My other purchase was this baby booster seat made of rattan. It is very solid and my children were comfortable sitting on it. It costs RM30, and I believe this will be put to very good use in my house. 



FYI - JARO accepts both cash and credit card payments.

I am sure there are cheaper versions of these products out in the market. I chose to support JARO as I know I am helping the respective crafts person by supporting their products. Rattan products are also known to be durable so (hopefully) what I bought will last a long time.

You may like and follow JARO's Facebook page below :




JARO Address: No. 18 Jalan Sungai Chat, Sri Gelam, 80100 Johor Bahru, Johor.
Tel : 07-224 5632

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Harvest Time at Medini Edible Park

On the 11th of September 2018, I brought along the children and Okasan to Medini Edible Park to participate in their park tour, radish harvesting and leaf art activity. This was also organised by mummy Jac (Thank you again Jac!) 




About Medini Edible Park 
A five acre edible landscape and platform for cultivating community around current ideas of sustainable living. The edible landscape is presented in various formats - gardens with inspirational design, educational workshops that encourage growing sustainable food at home and an urban farm that encourages support of local produce and sustainable farming. The park will be a hub for community to develop around new ideas of waste management, green energy, sustainable living, local produce and farm to table

{Source : Facebook}


It was another cloudy day, and I was worried if it would rain while we were there. Thankfully the weather was just nice, no sun but no rain as well. The crowd, though smaller than Kampung Sungai Melayu trip, was still quite huge. Our tour guide, Mr Akata is the main caretaker of Edible Park. He first gave us a brief tour around the park. We were introduced to many varities of vegetables and herbs such as petai cina, jambu air, roselle, basil, eggplant, long beans among others.


Then the first highlight for the children – white radish harvesting. There were a few rows of white radish ready to be harvested inside the greenhouse. The children excitedly rushed over to pull out as many white radish as they can, though I saw some parents keep telling them don’t pull all! Why? Because we need to pay for the harvest by weight LOL. I was surprised how easy was it to pull out the radish, perhaps in my mind you need to use a shovel and to loosen the soil before pulling it out. I let my children to pull out one or two carrots in person. J and R really had no idea what we going on, they were just following instructions LOL.


D, on the other hand was clearly the city girl. She kept on complaining about the insects, the stuffy greenhouse, the muddy tracks. She did manage to pull out one radish without hesitation after watching what her younger siblings did. Later, she also harvested some lettuce leaves with her friend.


Once the harvesting activity is done, we proceeded back to the café area to have the vegetables weighed accordingly. While waiting for Mr Akata to proceed with the 2nd activity, leaf art, the kids were happily wandering around the café area, while the adults enjoyed a glass of cold naturally brewed tea.


For leaf art, Mr Akata first demonstrated how to make glue from tapioca starch. All you need is tapioca starch and hot water. Mix together until it forms a whitish sticky glue. Let it cool and you are set to go! It can be kept in a jar for future use, just don't make it too thick.


After the demonstration, the children are sent to pick and collect any leaves and flowers from around the park to make their leaf art. They then need to arrange their design on a eco-friendly disposable plate, and lastly, apply the glue onto the leaves and flowers to make their own design.


My younger two kids were supposed to take part in leaf art as well, but they found more fun to be pluck leaves or flowers and playing with gravel. It is a safe place for them to roam around and play, and I could not be any happier seeing them having so much fun.


Here is the final masterpiece from D :


As for our harvest for the day, we brought it home and cooked white radish ABC soup. It was super delicious! Probably from our first ever farm to table experience 😁



FYI - There are many activities organised by Medini Green Parks, most of them are free of charge. You may like their Facebook page to get updates about their events. I strongly recommend this place for children, and nature lovers too.