Thursday, April 26, 2012

Candle light dinner at home

I made a surprise candle light dinner for my husband on his birthday last week!

I have been wanting to do a romantic candle light dinner for my husband ever since we first got married, and only managed to do so after 4 years! I only planned the surprise dinner 2 days earlier (what food to serve, the table setting, etc), and only bought all the groceries on that day itself! His birthday falls on last Wednesday and he usually gets back home at around 8pm so I thought it was a perfect timing (I could prepare everything while he's at work without him suspecting anything).

Right after Ayra went to school that day, I quickly got ready and went to Subang Parade with Raina. It was 1pm. I had never went grocery alone with my toddler! But it turned out well. Raina behaved the whole time, sitting nicely and quietly in the trolley. But I was panicking! Dalam otak I kept on budgetting what time I need to start cooking, which dish should I make first, when to start plating, when to set the table, would there be enough time to prepare everything, etc etc. It was my first time doing a surprise birthday dinner for my husband and I was afraid it would turn out not the way I planned. And it was only for my husband! I cannot imagine the stress and panic attack I'd have if I were to serve like, 10 guests or more. Now I know how my mom feels when she's hosting a makan-makan!

Anyway, we arrived home at 3.30pm. I only started preparing the meals at 4pm. I had 3 hours to prepare a 3-course dinner for 2 and a cake. I certainly don't have time for a burnt chicken or any cooking disaster!

I started doing the dessert first because it needs to be chilled before serving. I made Cheesecake In A Glass (Nigella Lawson) because that's my husband's favorite, and because it's super easy and looks so nice. Then I made the appetizer - Shrimp and Avocado salad - except without the avocado. My avocado wasn't riped enough so I had to skip it! Next I made the main course, which is Tarragon Chicken, also Nigella Lawson recipe. It was my first time making this chicken dish and also my first time using tarragon in a dish. And lastly, I made the cake. I didn't make it from scratch tho because of my experience with baking cakes last time so I used a cake mix instead. Wasn't actually planning to make a cake because we already have desserts but Ayra insisted. She kept on saying, "Birthday cake! Candles!". I didn't want to disappoint her. Besides, what's a birthday without a cake, ey?

And then it was 7pm. Yikes!

I was so busy in the kitchen that I wasn't aware of the mess that my girls made in the dining and living room! They scattered clothes on the floor, tissues, took out my cooking utensils, pots and pans and spread Nutella all over their hands, faces and dining table! Nooo!!! I wasted no time cleaning and tidying up everything. I set the table and took the girls upstairs to get ready. No time to shower! I changed into a dress, put on a little makeup, brush my hair a little, sprayed some perfume. I even dressed up my girls in their going-out dresses.

7.40pm. My husband will be back anytime now! I started plating the appetizers. And then I remembered something. Drinks!!! I totally forgot about our drinks! I quickly threw in orange juice, strawberries, lemon juice and some ice cubes in the blender without thinking much. Done. Phew!

And then I heard a car outside. It was him! The house was completely dark except for the lights from the candles on the dining table. We hid behind the wall in the living room and I told my girls to keep quiet and only shout "Surprise, happy birthday!" when daddy opens the door. But I guess kids don't know how a surprise works. As soon as my husband opened the gate, Ayra ran to the sliding door and shouted, "There it is! Surprise! Happy birthday!". Hahaha. Adoiii!

I don't think my husband heard her tho. I grabbed her before she made her way to the door and covered her mouth with my hand but she started to giggle. I told her to wait, but she kept on giggling, and then Raina also giggled and I couldn't help but to join in as well because it was funny! I think my husband heard our giggles. He opened the door and we shouted, "Surprise, happy birthday!". He was all smiles. And then Ayra asked for her birthday present. Hahaha.

Appetizer: Shrimp salad (without avocado).
Tasty and succulent shrimps.

Main course: Tarragon Chicken. 
Absolutely delicious! The best chicken dish I've made so far, I think.

Even my picky eater finished her portion! That is something very rare.

Dessert: Cheesecake In a Glass.
Mmmm! (We both had 2 glasses each).

Orange-strawberry drinks.
Dah buat, lupa nak serve, boleh? ;p

Birthday cake: Devil's Food Cake with homemade chocolate ganache on top
(it's actually a heart-shaped cake but I don't think you can really see it the picture)

Overall, I think it was a success! No cooking disaster, thank God!

Oh here's a birthday card I got for my husband.

Heh heh.

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She slipped off her pink stilettos at 10:30 AM |

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't let a wet diaper disturb your baby's sleep

I love watching my girls sleep. I even have a special folder in my computer just for their sleeping pics. Can you imagine how many sleeping photos of my girls I have in that folder ever since they were born? Hundreds!

Here are some of my favorites.

There's just something so innocent... so angelic.... so peaceful about a sleeping baby - especially your own. When my girls are asleep, I'd go awwhhh, kiss them all over their faces, snap a pic or two (or three), then continue staring at them before I fall asleep. That moment, right there is just perfect. They are perfect, even tho they just scribbled my iPhone with a red crayon earlier. You don't want anything to ruin their sleep, especially a soaking wet diaper. No!

Babies need to sleep well to grow healthy and happy. Wet diaper is one of the main causes of night awakenings. You cannot avoid your baby from wetting her diaper, especially at night, but you can help to prevent wet, leaky diapers from waking her up by choosing the best one.

You know that I only trust MamyPoko brand when it comes to my girls' diapers. Now MamyPoko comes with a new tape diaper - MamyPoko with Stripes Pad.

The new packaging

Here's a comparison of the old (left) and the new (right) MamyPoko M size tape diaper.

Notice the size of the new one is slightly slimmer? It's also thinner compared to the old one but it's actually improved with natural cotton-like breathable cover for better breathability. This helps to release heat and moisture trapped in the diaper quickly to prevent rashes and irritation.

Old (left) vs. new (right) MamyPoko tape diaper.

If you look closely, you'd notice that the new one has stripes in the center. That's the stripes pad sheet. It quickly absorbs and locks urine in for a much faster dryness, because a wet diaper can be very uncomfortable for babies and could wake her up from her peaceful sleep.

When putting on your baby's diaper, make sure to pull the leakage guards upright. Don't pull them outwards because you don't want "anything" inside the diaper to leak! Adjust the tape to fit your baby's body. Here's a tip: if there are red marks around your baby's legs, that means the diaper is too tight. Allow 1-2 finger space around the waist for a comfy fit.

My baby can sleep at night in the new MamyPoko with Stripes Pad diaper for up to 12 hours without leaking - sometimes even more! It keeps her dry and she's able to sleep the whole night through. Makes me haaaaappy!

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She slipped off her pink stilettos at 10:00 AM |

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Splash of Lemon

Cardigans are a woman's wardrobe staple and would make a fab layering piece. Wear it over tank tops, camis, t-shirts, blouses, dresses. Great for lazy days too.

I'm loving my new cardigan from Dorothy Perkins. It's lightweight, fits nicely and doesn't cost a bomb.

Keeping it simple

It comes in a zillion other colors as well - coral, blue, aquanavygreen, orange, red, hot pink, rose, light pinkblack, white and cream! Phew, that's a mouthful!

I mean, have you seen anything in so many colors before? Besides color pencils.

I'm itching to get the blue, coral and aqua ones....


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 1:00 AM |

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Samsung Global Blogger

I remembered the first time I heard of Olympic Games (and actually watched the games) was in 1992, when I was 9 years old. My family lived in the UK at that time and the school I went to organized a lot of activities that were related to the Olympic games. Everyone seemed excited about the game - we learned about Olympic in one of the subjects in school. Heck, we even learned Greek language (or was it the alphabets or something) because the Olympic Games originated there (don't ask me anything in Greek tho - I have totally forgotten about it)!

It was hard not to get involved with the games at that time (and by "involved", I mean, watched the games). My favorite Olympic sports is of course the gymnastics, particularly the Rhythmic Gymnastics. I just love watching how graceful and very flexible the contestants were. And not to mention, their pretty and colorful outfits!

My favorite gymnastics apparatus would be the ribbon. Didn't everyone pretend to be a ribbon-twirling gymnast when they were a kid? I know I did! And I bet my little girl would do the same if she ever watches it.

Anyway, as you all know, the next Olympic Games will be held in London, in just a few months from now. Hmm.... London. I've always loved London. It's one of my favorite cities in the world. I've been there for only a few times in my life and would really love to go there again.

At London Tower Bridge in 1988 (I was 5 years old, the one in red coat)

Trafalgar Square in 1992
(I was 9 years old, the one in green and yellow color-blocked outfit ;p)

MSD London in 2006. The only pic I could find!

Anyway... Samsung is having a contest where you could become a Samsung Global Blogger and get the chance to come to London during the Olympic Games (watch this Jamie Oliver video below).

All you need to do is submit a 30-second video in English of you telling them why you would be great at hunting out the best stories London has to tell during The Olympics. The deadline for the audition videos is 29th April, so if you think you have what it takes to be a Samsung Global Blogger, don't miss it!

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She slipped off her pink stilettos at 6:30 AM |

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Start Them Young



Yesterday after performing my Maghrib prayer, I overheard Ayra reciting doa.

"Rabbana atina fiddunya hasanah. Wafilakhirati hasanah. Waqina azabannar. Ameen. Ya Allah, please forgive my parents and protect them as they take care of me when I was small. Ameen". (She learned that at school).

Oh anakku!


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 2:00 AM |

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grilled Honey Salmon

I owe a few recipes to some of you. I actually find it weird when people ask recipes from me. Coz I am not a good cook! Not really.

I'm an amateur cook (not MasterChef's version of "amateur" tho. If they are amateur, then what am I??) and there are times when my cooking sedap dan menjadi, tapi selalu jugak tak berapa menjadi. I always always have my iPhone (where I saved all the recipes) with me when I'm cooking. I depend a lot on it, especially when I'm cooking something new.

Here is one of my favorite recipes. Grilled Honey Salmon.

I LOVE salmon. Raw, smoked, baked, grilled, poached. Whatever. I don't care just as long as it's salmon. But I like raw and grilled salmon the best. Raw, because I love sushi (with raw salmon). Grilled because I love the crispy salmon skin.

This Grilled Honey Salmon is so flavorful AND SO EASY to make. You could also use the marinade for chicken but I think it tastes better with salmon!

You'll need:

2 salmon fillets
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey

Mix the red chili, garlic, fish sauce, sesame oil and honey in a bowl. Marinate the salmon fillets for at least 30 minutes (I marinated them for an hour).

Heat the grill pan with olive oil over medium heat. Remove salmon from marinade (reserve the marinade) and place it on the pan, skin-side down. Grill for about 8-10 minutes, brushing 1-2 times with the marinade, until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Flip salmon to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes.
Place the grilled salmon on a plate.

I served it with Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice (without the scallions) and steamed broccoli.
I think it was one of the best meals I've ever made!


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 6:00 AM |

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How I celebrated my last 20's birthday

Weekend in Penang. Stayed at The Northam All Suite Hotel. Bubble bath with my girls. Jacuzzi with my husband. Biggg breakfast (it's a once-a-while thing!). Pampering session at the Suite Spa (the masseuse thought I was 24-25.... until she saw my tummy -_-). Late night supper at Nasi Kandaq Beratoq (Nasi Kandar Beratur). Shopping at Gurney Plaza. Strolling along Straits Quay. Ate too many desserts....

It was basically a fun, relaxing weekend.
Well, except for the long car journeys, of course.

p/s: My husband's birthday is next week. Still thinking of how to celebrate his birthday....


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 1:00 AM |

Friday, April 06, 2012

Ayra can read

The first time I heard my 3-year-old read a book, I almost teared up!

"Dat is not my monkey, its feet are to smoof".
(That's not my monkey, its feet are too smooth)

Yes, she can't pronounce some words properly yet, but I was still very impressed!

I hugged her, praised her and asked her to read again and again. She was more than happy to do so. I could tell she was proud of her achievement. Tak sia-sia aku bacakan 20 books almost every day (walau letih and naik muak asyik ulang benda sama)!

Of all the books I bought for my girls, they love this series the most.

Here's a video of Ayra doing some revision - she read her English & Malay books, alif-ba-ta and recited selawat and the first few lines of surah Al-Fatihah (she memorized the whole surah tapi tak nak baca sampai habis. Huhu).

Oh hey, even Raina knows how to "read" too - in her own language! Haha. You might want to turn up the volume to hear what she's reading.

"Qolla qolla qollaaa...".

Priceless :)


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 2:30 AM |

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Peanut Butter & Berry Smoothie

Me, my girls and my sister went to KLCC the other day, and we had a drink (and muffins and cookies) at Bakin' Boys. I tried their Peanut Butter & Strawberry milkshake and man, it was so good. It was actually my sister's but I think I drank most of it. I never thought peanut butter and strawberry would taste so good together! (I don't really like PB&J sandwich, fyi).

My "twin" sister :D

A few days later (which was yesterday), I decided to make that drink because I was craving for it. It doesn't taste exactly like the one I had at Bakin' Boys tho because I added banana and orange juice... and I didn't put ice-cream. But it was still yummy, if I may say so myself. It's a healthier version! A smoothie version.

3/4 cup pure orange juice
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
1 ripe banana
1 tsp smooth peanut butter (the first time I made this, I used 1 tbsp and it was too peanut-buttery. 1 tsp would be enough)
Ice cubes

I use no added sugar peanut butter because that's what I have in my kitchen,
but you can use the normal peanut butter.

Just dump all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses and garnish as desired.


She slipped off her pink stilettos at 1:00 AM |