I Plant A Tree in Ulu Segama, Sabah!

sabah islands

This is what people usually think about when they think of Sabah! Azure waters for diving, white beaches for sunbathing…

mt kinabalu

…and of course Mt. Kinabalu! I climbed to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu in 2005. It’s a beautiful place and the trek towards the summit is filled with all sorts of flora and fauna.

mt kinabalu peak

However, all this is only possible through conservation and keeping nature pristine. Sabah is doing a lot towards eco-tourism and a lot of their recent efforts is helping environmental causes e.g. banning the trade of shark’s fin.

plant tree

I’m all for doing something for Mother Nature! I’ve been involved in tree planting campaigns before and I think it’s a wonderful way to give back to the Earth!

Every tree planted will help contribute to the environment by reducing greenhouse gases and producing more oxygen and that’s always a good thing in our fast expanding industrial modernization efforts.

senq plant tree

That’s what Sabah has to offer – lots of nature – and senQ Digital Station is doing a wonderful thing to keep it that way via their I Plant A Tree campaign.

Basically, senQ Digital Station is going to plant a tree to help conserve the environment in their brand new Eco campaign. For every pair inverter air-conditioners sold at any Senheng or senQ Digital station all over Malaysia, one tree will be planted in North Ulu Segama, Sabah!

I think that’s a wonderful thing to do since each tree will help offset our carbon emissions.

facebook contest

To top it off, senQ Digital Station is running a Facebook contest where you can win a trip to Ulu Segama, Sabah to actually plant a tree with your own hands! I can’t tell you how fulfilling that is! :)

The Facebook contest is very fair too:

i plant tree

That’s all you need for a chance to win! It’s *not* another popularity contest so you don’t have to ask for “Likes”. All you need to do is to share that I Plant A Tree poster five (5) times throughout the contest period and you’ll get a chance to win that trip! The winners will be chosen randomly so everyone has an equal chance of winning.

6 winners will be selected from all the people who have met the contest requirements (sharing the poster 5 times) and the winners will experience an amazing vacation package to Ulu Segama in Sabah in the final phase of the I Plant A Tree campaign with other invited guests.

facebook plant tree

I’ve already shared the poster on my timeline.

plant trees

Go do your part by sharing the I Plant A Tree poster on your Facebook timeline now and you could win the trip to Sabah to do it for real! :D

Summer truffles, our own garden and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches!

tuber aestivum

This is what I got my better half for our anniversary! It’s summer truffles or Tuber aestivum. It’s not as good as white truffles or black truffles but it’s something I can afford without breaking the bank – a small chunk of Perigord black truffle the size of a snail can cost RM 2,000 – if you can find it!

white truffle aroma

I’ve never found truffles for sale here. I’ve seen olive oil infused with white truffle flavor (which usually costs around RM 100 for 200 ml) but that’s a very different thing. White truffle flavor isn’t white truffle, it’s synthetic, but it’ll make a good condiment (some people call it the mediocre chef’s crutch ;)). It tastes good and that’s what you get when you order thick cut truffle fries.

black truffle aroma

But there are actually no real truffles inside that bottle of olive oil. It’s just chemicals for flavor. One step up would be the 1% truffle oil infusions where you do get a few small shavings of truffles (equivalent to 5% fresh truffle) but is also rounded up with artificial truffle flavor and aroma.

truffle oil

This would usually set you back around RM 200 or so for a 200 ml bottle. I wanted to get this one actually since it has that distinctive truffle aroma I wanted my dear to taste.

However, I saw real summer truffles from Italy! It’s just 35 grams (50 grams if you include the water) and it comes in a tiny bottle that I thought would be perfect for a present!

summer truffles

I’ve wanted to get her some truffles since she’s never had them before. This is just about what I can afford right about now and I thought it’s nice to get real truffles for that price!

herb garden

My dear got me this! It’s a living garden – or rather a herb garden that she made and stuck with all sorts of notes. I love it!

(and also a toothbrush and hand washing liquid – she has a very practical side that I love)

I’ve been taking care of it ever since! I water it a little every day and give it some sun (recently started putting it outside at night so it’ll get some dew too). I thought it’s a perfect present, she’s always so thoughtful. We can now harvest our own herbs from our own garden! :D

pandora autumn 2013

I also got her a Pandora charm from the new Autumn 2013 collection.

pandora charm

I thought this one was quite relevant and she said something that I felt quite happy about – the charm bracelet has our own story! I’m glad she liked it.

food processor

I also made dinner for her (more about that soon). It was a working day so I had to rush here and there, running about like a madman trying to get everything I needed.

cookie ice cream

It was a very nice anniversary that we rounded up with a nice chocolate chip cookie sandwich filled with ice cream from Good Humor.

hb ling 7th

I’m glad to have her in my life, it has brightened it much and I’m all the better for that! <3 pandora 2013

I love you dear! *hugs my dear*

Old is gold? Not(e) in this case.

alienware

I’ve always wanted an faster notebook. I use my notebook for gaming as well as work so it’s an essential piece of equipment for me. As someone wise quipped – There’s no such thing as being too rich, too thin, or too fast. ;)

club med bali

I went on a trip to Club Med Bali recently and a friend on the flight had a very slim notebook. It’s ultra portable and light – I can hold it for hours with one hand and feel no strain at all. My old notebook on the other hand weighs over 2 kgs and is so big that there’s hardly enough space for it on the tray in the airplane!

It makes me really want to get a new ultralight notebook just so I:

a) Don’t exceed the 7kg carry-on baggage limit
b) Won’t get hernia from pulling it out of my laptop bag

It’s not only bulky and space consuming but it goes through the battery like a hot knife though butter. I can barely get 2 hours worth of work done before I get a low battery warning while the new notebooks out in the market can run for 3 times as long, giving you much more time to work.

I’m rather excited at the new touch screen notebooks too – it’s like a notebook and tablet combined into one…literally. Most of the new models are detachable, so you can use it like a tablet outside and a notebook when you have more space in the office or at home.

mobile lifestyle

Convertible Ultrabook = yum!

It’s the best of both worlds PLUS you can have a touch screen to play with. My niece can’t even play with my notebook coz she expects the screen to be interactive while it’s actually an old conventional LCD screen.

You can always get a lot of work done faster by having a faster notebook – you’ll be surprised at how much time you can save from something like booting up your notebook. If you’re using an old clunker that takes 5 minutes to go to the Start screen from the time you pressed the power button each day…

…you’re wasting 2 1/2 hours a month!

Imagine what you can do with that time – catch a full length movie, have a nice full-course dinner, do chores around the house, and even drive to the beach at Goldcoast Sepang *and* back!

motherboard

I’ll like to do a PC Refresh on my home box too but in that I’ll use the best of the best and it’ll likely end up more than the notebook with dual graphic cards and the fastest Intel desktop chip – the Intel Core Extreme i7-3970X which goes up to 4.00 Ghz with Turbo Boost and has 15 MB of cache! That’s tech-speak for the fastest processor in the world right now! :D

Why is fast important?

Well, you get to use the extra time you’ll have spent watching loading screens to do something productive instead of sitting there and twiddling your thumbs.

silvermont

I’ve seen new tablets coming out that has ever faster web browsing, email, HDR photos and videos, and YouTube and Facebook activity – basically everything you’ll use a tablet for. Going back to time, if you take an average of 3 seconds to load each of the applications above and you open each an average of 10 times a day, that’s 750 seconds or…

12 1/2 minutes a day!

You can get a lot of things done in that time.

intel fact sheet

The idea here is to make your device work hard so you don’t have to!

Refreshing your PC also allows you to stay up to date in the fast paced IT environment today and have longer battery life with smarter multitasking with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology.

Time also translates to cost – I don’t even know how to update my blog if I’m still using the first PC I had – the 486DX2-66Mhz. ;)

vespa contest

You can buy a PC today and win a Vespa! Whenever you buy a PC powered by Intel Core processor, you stand a chance to win a Vespa LX 150 worth RM 12,000 till 31st December 2013! It’s soooo cool to be riding in a Vespa, just like Roman Holiday, the movie that made the scooter famous! Hope on over to Intel Generation Today to find out more about the contest!

Interesting fact: The makers of Vespa used to make fighter planes in World War II. Due to the restrictions in manufacturing aircraft after the war (Italy was with the Axis powers) they made scooters instead and the Vespa was born!

BISON Savanna Launch – Drive Beyond Borders

lion dance

Every good launch needs a lion dance.

Check out the awesome lion dance video above! I filmed that at the flagship showroom opening and official launch of BISON Savanna. I arrived quite early and caught sight of the lion dance troupe preparing to do their thing so I followed them into the garage.

bison lion dance

This is the new flagship showroom of BISON and the lion dance troupe was at the back – doing a private ceremonial dance before the event started.

ribbon cutting

BISON Savanna was officially launched at the Angka-Tan Motor Sdn Bhd flagship showroom at Jalan 225, Petaling Jaya on the 11th September 2013. The showroom itself is the first dedicated BISON showroom in Malaysia and has a layout of 12,000 square feet.

bison showroom

The BISON Savanna is quite an interesting pickup – it’s manufactured by the Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. – which is one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in China (which usually means the world as well). The China market for commercial vehicles is huge!

bison atm gift exchange

The collaboration between Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. and ATM brings the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer to Malaysia (ATM is a subsidiary of Warisan TC Holdings Berhad) and Angka-Tan Motor Sdn Bhd will be the sole distributor of their vehicles.

bison savanna launch

Official BISON Savanna unveiling in Malaysia!

drive beyond borders

The BISON Savanna in particular is a highly anticipated vehicle in the powerful pickup truck segment. It’s packed with well-known and proven components so don’t let the Made in China label fool you.

bison

There’s a robust ISF 2.8 diesel engine designed by Cummins Engine Co. Ltd (US) and manufactured by Foton Cummins, 5-speed manual GETRAG transmission, DANA USA rear axles and BorgWarner USA 4WD transfer case with a BOSCH common rail system fuel system inside the BISON Savanna.

foton bison engine

That’s an impressive list of proven and reliable systems.

bison savanna interior

I took a look under the hood and inside the car and there’s also anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), dual air bags, and electronic tire pressure monitoring system – the last of which is usually only available in premium brands.

ride

The pickup truck has changed a lot since the last several decades and has a lot of features you’ll expect in a car like air bags and EBD/ABS. I see a lot of people from Sarawak (where I come from) using pickups as a primary vehicle instead of a car. This is from the evolution of the pickup from bare bones practicality to luxury and comfort sedan-like interiors.

lion dance orange

There’s on-board audio entertainment systems with USB, AUX, CD player and 4 speakers, power windows, overhead lighting and storage and a sporty and adjustable three-spoke steering wheel like you’ll see in a car.

Bonus video: Watch the lion dance troupe pass an orange during the BISON Savanna launch!

bison savanna dual cab

I can see why a lot of people from my hometown uses pickups like this as a primary family vehicle. I would too, considering it has sedan features in a 4WD and double cab format with 210 mm of ground clearance!

bison savanna

Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd is less known here but they’re actually one of the most successful commercial vehicle brands in the largest market right now – China. They also got into an international joint venture last year that created Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd.

bison showroom opening

I really liked the BISON Savanna. The ISF 2.8 diesel engine is turbocharged and it’s very competitively priced at RM 71,888 for the 4×2 Double Cab and RM 79,888 for the 4×4 Double Cab variant (prices are OTR). The best news for people in East Malaysia is that since this is from ATM, there will be 27 designated locations nationwide under the Tan Chong Express Auto Service (TCEAS) network so you’ll have 24-hour break-down service.

Get more details!

How to French Cut a whole chicken into a crown of breast (step-by-step with photos)

whole chicken

This is the first time I’ve ever cut up a whole chicken. I usually just specify the part(s) that I want from the butcher and he does the rest of the work. However, this time I needed a very specific cut – a beautiful French Cut crown of breast with the skin intact.

free range chicken

I actually saw this in a MasterClass episode and wanted to replicate the dish. It’s not a live chicken of course but it has everything still intact – head, innards etc – it hasn’t even been disemboweled. I bought this for RM 24.60 – it’s a free range chicken that goes for RM 18 / kg.

removing organs

The first step is to cut off the head, ass (Bishop’s nose) and feet so you have more room to work with.

giblets

Then, you’ll have to take the organs out of the body cavity of the chicken – just put your hand down the cloaca (chicken don’t have an anal cavity) and pull out everything you can feel. It’s connected so it’s not that hard – everything from the heart to the liver can be just extracted by just pushing your entire fist in and pulling hard to get the giblets.

pulling giblets

Think of it as the opposite of stuffing a turkey. smirk

cutting whole chicken

I put everything I’ve cut up or removed on a dinner plate for future use.

removing wishbone

The next thing is to remove the wishbone from the chicken. It’s located somewhere in the neck – there’s a small bone that can be cut out and discarded so the crown of breast will be perfect.

cutting legs

I wanted that particular cut to be heavy on the skin so that it’ll be moist so I made the incisions on the skin very close to where the drumstick ends.

crown breast skin

The next step is to twist the entire chicken leg to the opposite direction (to where the chicken would naturally stand if it’s alive) and cut out the leg at the thigh from the oyster that surround the bone.

removing legs

This will allow the skin from the thigh part to cover the entire breast.

french cut chicken

Next, I sliced off the wings and did a French style cut that exposes the bone of the mini drumstick on the wing. You don’t have to do this but it looks pretty. I didn’t do a very good job at it though since it was my first time – I cut it too high up on the joint.

removing carcass

The last bit that needs to be done is to chop off the rest of the carcass. Save this for stock!

breast crown

You’ll have a nice crown of breast with quite a lot of skin on – just the cut I wanted to have for an awesome dish I made over the weekend!

cut hand

I learned a lot about dressing chickens while doing this (and cut my hands several times too) and I’ll just buy whole undressed chickens from now on…

french cut

…so I can get the exact cut that I want! :)

Mid-Autumn 2013 Mooncake Roundup: Beverage flavored, Disney and Musang King mooncakes!

2013 mooncakes

Yup, it’s the annual Mid-Autumn Mooncake Roundup! Oh wait, I don’t think I ever had one. Haha! I believe one of my first mooncake posts was in 2004 – a review on a rather nice licensed S.H.E. limited edition mooncake set. I’ve also made my own mooncakes before.

There’s three batches of mooncakes I got from 3 different manufacturers this year – most of them *new flavors* for 2013:

tai thong mooncake

1. Tai Thong

This is the first mooncake I ate this year. My girlfriend bought it and gave to me coz she knows I love durian mooncakes!

Snow Skin Durian Coulis (RM 18)

durian mooncake

We absolutely adored this mooncake. The durian flesh is unnamed, probably D24 but it’s really good. The skin balances really well with the flesh too so it’s the durian mooncake benchmark for this year!

tai thong durian

We also wanted to get the Imperial Musang King Royale for RM 78 / 2 pieces but it was sold out!

moon cakes

The 2013 new mooncake flavors:

Sweet Paradise (RM 16.50)

This is a snow skin mooncake from the new flavors under Tai Thong’s moooncake offerings for 2013. They’re having a lot of drink and dessert inspired mooncakes and this is a coffee and custard coffering.

Pineapple Sesame Crunch (RM 16.50)

new mooncakes 2013

We didn’t really like this snow skin mooncake – the pineapple “egg yolk” is alright but the sesame doesn’t really go well with it.

Low Sugar White Lotus Single Yolk x 3 (RM 16.50)

A low sugar variant (very popular these few years for the health conscious) of an old classic!

Assorted Fruits, Nuts with Chicken Bits (RM 16.50)

This used to be made with lard but a lot of mooncake manufacturers now use chicken to comply with the halal certification (okay for Muslims to consume) which is a shame as this is one of the real original mooncakes and I really doubt Muslims are a huge target market in mooncakes – not enough to make a difference anyway.

Teh Tarik Delight (RM 16.50)

It’s the national drink of Malaysia – now in mooncakes. I bought one for us and one of my future-in laws. It was a bit of a letdown though – it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it would be and the pulled milk tea flavor is sadly missing.

The good thing about the Tai Thong mooncakes is that we got not only 30% off but also 2 free mooncakes (for every 4 purchased in a box set)

tai thong mooncakes

The free mooncakes are:

Limau Manis (RM 16.50)

This is translated as “sweet lime” and it’s a baked mooncake. It continues the trend for beverage inspired mooncake (it’s a common drink here) and actually has a sweet lime filling and an asam jeruk (salted dried plum, or known in the states as crack seed) filling as the “egg yolk”. I think this isn’t doing well, which is why it’s the designated giveaway mooncake on purchase.

free mooncakes

White Mocha Delight (RM 16.50)

This is another beverage inspired mooncake in the conventional baked format. It has a chocolate and coffee layer but nothing really pops from this. Tai Thong gives out Limau Manis mooncakes for free as default on purchase of every box of 4 but I asked if I can change and the guy there said that this is the only other option he can give out. You can’t change to other similar priced mooncakes and you have to ask to get the White Mocha Delight so I guess these two aren’t exactly flying off the shelves. smirk

2. GODIVA Mid-Autumn 2013 Mooncake Collection

godiva mooncakes

This is a limited edition I got for my better half which cost me RM 159. It’s the most expensive mooncake I ever bought but well worth it. We ate it on the night itself and the entire GODIVA 2013 Mid-Autumn Limited Edition mooncakes was reviewed on a previous post.

3. The Baker’s Cottage

mooncakes discount

We were just getting some bread one day and saw a huge queue of people buying mooncakes. We didn’t get any that day but there was a Musang King durian mooncake that we had our eye on. I swung over on the afternoon of Mid-Autumn festival and saw that they had a 40% discount across the board!

ultimate musang king

Ultimate Musang King (RM 26.80)

disney mooncakes

This was slightly disappointing…at first. It’s a Disney mooncake with Mickey Mouse stamped on it. We both looked apprehensively at the filling since it doesn’t have the same “real durian flesh” groove going for it. However, after a couple of bites, it turned out that it was really good in its own way too! I’ll say it’ll give Tai Thong’s Snow Skin Durian Coulis a good run for it’s money. Note the difference between the fillings though – this doesn’t have an interior “egg yolk” of real durian flesh:

musang king mooncake

The Bakington version is made with Musang King durians, which explains the price premium. It’s a licensed Disney product too.

Cheesy Choc-Oreo (RM 16.10)

oreo mooncake

I know that my dear loves Oreo (have bought chocolate covered Oreos for her before) and this mooncake seems very promising. It’s a baked mooncake and it’s good but it’s nothing to write home about. It’s just passable but not really breaking any new ground. It does have real Oreo cookies inside though.

Supreme Manju (RM 16.50)

supreme manju 2013

This outstanding mooncake is what the both of us liked the most this year! It was heavily promoted by The Baker’s Cottage – there’s a huge poster saying something along the lines of “2013 new flavor” and so I decided to get one of it to check out.

supreme manju mooncake

It’s bubble wrapped and treated with a lot of respect. This one is baked in-house unlike the licensed Disney mooncakes…and it’s delicious!

The Supreme Manju truly lives up to its name (which I take to mean “supreme satisfaction”) – it’s a Cantonese style Shanghai mooncake with flaky pastry and a toasted pecan nut on top. There’s just something about the combination of the style of the mooncake (always loved Shanghai style pastry over baked or snow skin mooncakes) with the salted egg yolk, mung bean and lotus seed paste combined with maple and custard.

supreme manju

It just works! We just opened it last night (as in Saturday night) and we both loved it! It’s not only cheaper than Tai Thong’s offerings but it’s a new flavor that is so edible, so delicious that my dearest told me it makes you want to have another bite just after finishing one. I agree, the flavor profile is amazing and I wish I had gotten more of this flagship bakery mooncake. It get the title of Best of 2013 from us! :)

Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Limited Edition Mooncake Collection

Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Collection

I saw the Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Limited Edition Collection last week at the Suria KLCC shop in Malaysia. I was quite intrigued and thought it would make a lovely gift for my girlfriend. There’s a box that cost RM 463 (I think) and I figured it’ll be worth it since it’s premium chocolate mooncakes and you only get it once a year.

Godiva 2013 Full Moon Indulgence

This is the poster I saw – Full Moon Indulgence.

Godiva 2013 Mooncakes Limited Edition

However, when I came back just 24 hours later, the box set was sold out! This really is a limited edition run. There’s a RM 249 box set but I didn’t quite like that since it has the regular GODIVA range of chocolates inside.

Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Limited Edition

Thus, I bought the GODIVA 2013 Mid-Autumn Festival Limited Edition box that was in the poster – it’s RM 159 for one large chocolate mooncake and 8 mini chocolate mooncakes.

Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Price

That’s the most expensive box of mooncakes I’ve ever purchased! It’s worth it though coz it’s for my better half. :)

There are two types of large chocolate mooncakes – this Belgium purveyor of fine chocolates produced a dark chocolate version and a milk chocolate version. The RM 159 box only has the dark chocolate version but there are 8 mini-mooncakes called Pepite Mooncake Chocolates that gives you a taste of the entire range of the Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Festival collection!

Godiva 2013 Mooncakes

The 3 different flavored chocolate mooncakes are:

White Chocolate Mooncake: Strawberry-Pomegranate Crunchy

This is a white chocolate mooncake with a filling of crispy strawberry crunch and pomegranate chocolate ganache. I liked this one the most – the white chocolate exterior tastes sweet and the strawberries inside has bits of fruit still on it!

Milk Chocolate Mooncake: Apricot-Peach Crunchy

The milk chocolate exterior is made with Ghana milk cocoa, Turkish hazelnut and Louisiana walnut. The two different nuts makes up the two layers inside the chocolate mooncake and the two different fruits makes it taste like a nectarine dipped chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Mooncake: Mango-Passion Fruit Crunch

This is 64% Peruvian dark chocolate as the exterior with soy beans in Hawaiian almond paste and caramel hazelnut to balance the bitter dark chocolate. I like the mango and passion fruit inside too! This is also available in the large size that we’re going to eat tonight!

I think you can buy the large chocolate mooncakes individually for about RM 80 (calculating back from the box price) but I got the 9 piece Mid-Autumn Gift Box since I wanted to try all three flavors and the large mooncakes are only available in dark and milk chocolate.

godiva 2013 collection us

It’s the most expensive mooncake I’ve ever bought but I think it’s also the most unique one! We’ve had the Pepite Mooncake Chocolates (one of each flavor) and we’re saving the big one for tonight. The 9-piece Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Festival Collection has one large dark chocolate mooncake and 8 pepeite mooncake chocolates (2 of white chocolate, 3 each of white and dark chocolate).

Godiva 2013 Mid-Autumn Mooncake

The box looks good too – it’s packed in a full moon configuration! :)

Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival with the Future In-Laws

hb ling ethel

This photo was taken by the little one!

mooncake festival 2013

We just celebrated the Mid-Autumn festival last night! Yup, it’s several days early but that was the date it was decided on since Monday is a public holiday and everyone could make it. I was pleased to be invited by my better half’s parents to come over for dinner.

mooncakes in laws

I bought some mooncakes to bring along as a gift. I spotted a teh tarik (pulled milk tea) version which I wanted them to try while my dear chose more conventional ones like white lotus and assorted nuts with chicken bits. The Imperial Musang King Royale (RM 78 / 2 pcs) has long been sold out.

mid autumn dinner 2013

It’s good to have a home cooked meal while celebrating the mooncake festival in a home setting. My family is partly in Sibu and partly in Singapore so I don’t get that myself.

dragon lantern

There were also a lot of kids playing lanterns – I remember this vividly from my childhood and both of us lit some as well. Haha!

mooncakes 2013

There’s a lot of weird and wonderful lanterns now – the little one got an Angry Birds version while the big one got a rather unwieldy and large dragon, which burned on one side after a while.

mooncake family 2013

It was a good night spent with the future in-laws. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2013! :)

Highlights of our Langkawi trip: A foul madame, Underwater World and chocolates

ladies indoor pool

This is not the strangest thing we’ve seen on this trip. It’s also not related to the titled foul madames. The resort we stayed in actually has an indoor covered swimming pool just for the ladies!

jellyfish

If you’re wondering what’s going on inside and whether it requires an adult ID for entry…wonder no longer. The answer is nothing much and no. It’s just a feature to attract Arabic and other Middle Eastern families due to their Muslim religion. You can’t very well swim in a burka. It doesn’t exactly cut through the water like Ian Thorpe’s drag resistant and aerodynamic bodyskin swimming rig.

ritter sport

On to other matters, we also went chocolate shopping! We must have bought hundreds of dollars worth of imported, duty free confectionery.

ritter sport choc

I ate frozen Ritter SPORT for two weeks straight coz it’s 3 for RM 11.30.

ritter loacker limited edition

They also had this limited edition exclusive where they collaborated with Loacker (most famous for their wafer coated chocolates) for a Ritter-Loacker exclusive! It’s a Ritter SPORT that has a Loacker wafer inside and comes in two flavors – Strawberry & Vanilla-Wafer and Raspberry & Cranberry Yoghurt.

cognac chocolates

I thought it was okay, my better half loved it though and I must admit, it’s a pretty cool temporary partnership. It’s kinda like how Mars and Pods work but it’s for a limited time only.

liquer chocolates

On to other things, I saw the usual array of liquor chocolates and bought an Anthon Berg limited edition. This time they did a cocktail series! They usually do a standard array of liqueur chocolates with fillings made with Jack Daniels, Otard, Famous Grouse, Canadian Club etc and I don’t get overly excited with them.

chocolate cocktails

The Anthon Berg limited edition cocktails series doesn’t have branded liqueur inside but cocktails! It still uses the same hollow chocolate bottle with liquer inside though – I thought a cocktail glass would be cool. Flavors are Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri. Not too bad but GOLDKENN Remy Martin cognac sticks are much better (although more expensive).

underwater world

We also went to Underwater World coz the kids wanted to go. There’s all sorts of underwater creatures kept in captivity from pink flamingos…

pink flamingos

…to penguins.

penguins

It reminded us of our first holiday together at Phillip Island in Melbourne. We went to the Penguin Parade and we tried to do a similar pose here. Haha!

us penguins

Langkawi’s Underwater World is getting a little run down and there’s not much for returning (or first time) visitors to see but it’s worth a trip if you have little kids.

huge fish

Hell, I even bought a ridiculously priced photo of us that we halfheartedly posed for (my better half told me not to get it coz it’s expensive) at the entrance coz I wanted a memento with my dear and the kids at the last minute. I did the same for our Sunway Lagoon trip. I guess I’m becoming one of those schmucks who goes for these things nowadays. smirk

foul madames

I bet you’re really wondering about that foul madame at this point now.

ful medames

It’s not a person, it’s a dish from Egypt that you can make yourself at the breakfast buffet. It’s the resorts policy to attract visitors from that region at work again. Ful medames is described as “cooked and mashed fava beans in olive oil”.

langkawi photo

That’s the last of Langkawi, till our next trip, here’s the aforementioned photo of us! :D

Watching movies at home…with a pint of ice cream!

ice cream pint

Me and my girlfriend watch a lot of movies at home. It’s nice to be able to eat whatever you want instead of crappy concession stand food. We also eat a lot of ice cream so that has become a weekly tradition – snuggling up in bed with blankets and a pint of ice cream.

Bliss!

concession stand food

It also has a lot of practical upsides – we can pause the movie whenever we want to go to the toilet or keep an eye out on whatever’s cooking on the stove. Another common reason to pause a movie midway is to put the ice cream back in the freezer and take a different flavored pint out. Haha!

You just can’t do that in cinemas.

Of course, cinemas are great for big budget releases that you want to watch in IMAX but those are few and far in between. The last summer action flick we watched was Star Trek Into Darkness. We haven’t been to a theatre since!

escape

I speak of this coz there’s an awesome new entertainment portal out, aptly called ESCAPE. It not only offers the latest Hollywood movies but also a whole online library full of Korean, Hindi, Indonesian and local releases. I checked it out and it’s become our favorite way to enjoy movies at home – all from just RM 0.80 per hour!

rent iron man 3

Even blockbusters like Iron Man 3 (with a production budget of USD 200 million) is there for your viewing pleasure at any time for just RM 9.

That’s less than a movie ticket (for one) and you can enjoy it with as many people as you can.

the little nyonya

ESCAPE not only offers movies though – there’s TV series like The Little Nyonya, live events, live news and even concerts!

featured movies

The method of browsing is very intuitive too – it’s sorted by genre so you can find the movie that you like easily. There’s also comments (and related titles) on the bottom so you can see what the movie is all about before watching it.

movie chat

However, the *best* thing about ESCAPE is that you can view it across multiple platforms! There’s a lot of times when we couldn’t finish watching a movie coz one of us is sleepy. Now, you can start watching a movie on your home computer or laptop and continue the next day on your tablet or cell phone! The app is a free download to boot!

kl gangster exclusive

That’s right – ESCAPE is compatible with Windows, iOS, Android and MacOS! There’s none of that clicking-to-guess-where-we-left-off nonsense either – the Pause & Play feature automatically saves where you last paused your selected movie and you can continue watching the same movie seamlessly…even on *another* device!

Yup, that’s Pause & Play – now you never have to miss your favorite show or guess which scene you last watched!

featured

I find this to be absolutely perfect for my needs as we usually watch our movies late at night with thick blankets around us on the bed while eating ice cream. However, if you prefer watching it on a bigger screen, you can always use the HDMI or A/V output on your notebook to connect to a large screen LCD TV!

No long lines at the cinema. No one telling you you can’t eat the food you want while you watch a movie. You can wear whatever you want. The world of entertainment in your hands sounds right!

I think it’s an awesome trend – I can select whatever movie I want to watch from a massive online library and it automatically gets deducted from my Celcom account. Escape is exclusively for Celcom subscribers so check it out at www.ESCnow.com!

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