Saturday, January 30, 2010

Honestly? Think again..

"That there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every day act of life." - Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flags flying at half mast..

.. and the people of the Johor state will observe 7 days of mourning following the demise of the Sultan of Johor.

Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Iskandar Al-Haj Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail Al-Khalidi
(1932 - 2010)
May Allah bless his soul.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Big Bro's Birthday

Happy Birthday, bro!
Another year older, another year wiser.

The cake and the maker :)
Visual edited and provided by the wife.
I absolutely adore the candle!
When i first saw it, i thought.. "That's just so cute, I have to have that!".

It's not just about the cake, yes?

And this is not an attempt to promote, but my adorable nephew couldn't stop saying YUMM YUMM... (SE)DAPP... MMM... NYUM NYUM NYUM.. through out eating his cake! And i, of course couldn't resist staying glued in front of him, in awe, feeling all touched and amused at the same time and took photos of that sweet moment.

Not sure if he was just trying to pull my leg, but you know what they say about kids,

Tak puas pakai tangan, pakai garpu!
Glad someone enjoyed it :)

[Yesterday, was my late Tok Bak's birthday. He would have been 83. Al-fatihah].

Monday, January 11, 2010

Coach me if i'm wrong..

I'm such a sucker when it comes to versatility (or it's just one of the many justifications that i may have). Well, one thing for sure, i'm a practical gal :P
Often you hear husbands/boyfriends say we women pay so much for our handbags and they end up being underutilised. We ladies however, have our own minds about this :)
But like some of these guys, i'd calculate the "cost per use" (as one of my friend puts it) of the bags i purchased. I don't mean literally but the more expensive they are, the more i should use them (but of course, you shouldn't choose this over style. That's why it's always something classic in my case. See, practical, kan?)
No use to "sayang" materials by just keeping 'em in your storage (i used to be one of them) but then, you don't get to enjoy the stuff you buy and where's the fun in that?
And i'm no celebrity, so who cares if i'm seen with the same bag again and again?

Back to versatlity, when you can use them in so many ways, now that's like buying more than 1, right? How's that for value for money?? :D

In my search for an "affordable" basic black bag because obviously, everybody needs one, i went to have a looksee and found some at Coach.

According to some people, Coach bags are overpriced because you can get them so cheap especially in the States so when it comes to value for money, they aren't worth it. I do agree - to a certain extent.
But, sometimes i'd go against the common perception especially when i see something that i like and when it's within my reach, i say to hell with all that. Heheh.
(Plus, i always buy at discounted price anyways).

Here are some Coach finds that struck my fancy..
The Hailey Crossbody
You can wear them as a shoulder bag/sling.
Simple, practical.

Brooke large tote
(They come in medium size too but i'm a big bag person)
The short straps for hand held/carried on the elbow
And the long one for the shoulders.

Peyton leather drawstring crossbody (in melon)
Handheld/elbow & crossbody
Always a fan of the drawstring bag. And red's my favourite colour.
New arrival (so it will be some time before it goes on a discount..)

Parker small hobo
Parker hobo
Okay, these obviously are not very versatile.
But not bad for a basic black bag.
I don't mind either size.
Fancy the lilac too.. but i have to focus here.. black. Or deep brown. Yes.

Brooke large wristlet
This one, do not exactly falls under the basic black bag category but is quite versatile.
Can be transformed into a small handbag
Small bags don't really work for me but umm, sometimes you need them too..?

[I'm thinking whether to get (whichever one) maybe from Whoosh].

Saturday, January 9, 2010

If only i had known much sooner..

Your Learning Style: Energetic and Inspired

You always find the words to express yourself, and there's hardly a class or subject you don't enjoy.

You Should Study:






Political Science



Then again, i did wanna study art (or anything art related).. but i wasn't feeling the love from the guardians.. :P

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All good things must end.. Au revoir la France!

The last day in Toulouse..

Les Abbatoirs, the contemporary art gallery that we wanted to visit during our Saturday walk and spent some time at our favourite spot at Jardin Raymond V park - by the river after that.
Raouf, the guy at the kebab store gave us our favourite chocolate pie dessert for free!

One of the days i enjoyed the most..

Touring Les Augustine, a fine art museum by myself during the day, went for a stroll with my other half in the evening before having a nice dinner with the people from Airbus.
The museum was an old monastery which probably explains why it was darn eerie when I had lost my way and ended up at the top floor with nothing but a locked huge wooden door. I think it was the fastest I ever ran down down the stairs in my entire life! (i could hardly maintain my cool).
The picture in the far right column (3rd row from the top) is of coffin lids. I was curious as to whether they were hollow but it felt unnerving to look underneath..

Random photos during our stay..

The Capitol hall, which was immensely decorated with hand paintings! (These people really had all the time in the world to have the time to paint the whole walls and huge ceilings..). The place is now mostly used for weddings. I don;t see why it shouldn't.. it's so beautiful! And err, yeah.. $$ not so intact anymore.. did a bit of shopping there.
Another nice day.. (though it wasn't sunny)

A walk to La Garonne River and an antique market we stumbled upon on the way back to the hotel. It was on the first Saturday we came.

That's it for Toulouse.. Till next time. Au revoir la France!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paris in one day (26th-28th January 2009)

Following my friend's message, i took up her offer to show me the city. The city i've always wanted to visit! Oh, the city of LOVVVVVEEE.. The Eiffel.. The Louvre.. i simply couldn't wait!

The Mr. couldn't join us, so he told me to take the opportunity although, he wasn't sure whether to suggest that i should go by myself at the beginning... I thought, this could be the "adventurous trip" i have been looking forward to!

I wanted to take the train to Paris and fly back to Toulouse at first because i was meeting the friend in the evening, so i thought it'd be nice to catch a glimpse of the countryside on the way. But the lady behind the counter said the price for one way was not and i quote, "interesting". The return flight costs the same as a one way ticket! So obviously i took a return flight.

We travelled the typical Malaysians (on a budget) style. Had a heavy breakfast at the hotel room (my friend prepared rice with Berahim's sambal ikan bilis and kari ayam) to prepare ourselves for the long day and set to go! Hehehe..

First stop,
Sacre Coeur (means a "sacred heart" (of Jesus)) at Montmartre (as in the movie, Amelie from Montmartre :)).
A church, situated high up a hill where you can see the breathtaking view of Paris, get your portrait done by the artists and drink french coffee at the cafes. (That would be so lovely in the summer). But the day was cloudy so we couldn't get as much view. They have beautiful paintings selling there too! I was tempted to get one but i'd hate to carry fragile things around. Perhaps i should have afterall.. oh well.

Some shots at Sacre Coeur of
moi et friend, lovely paintings at Montmartre, an artist working on his art and moi et friend having crepes..

Robert the 'tourist guy' was puzzled when my other tourist guide was looking for the place selling crepes and asked whether she's hungry after only the first place we visited in which she replied, "No, but my friend said we have to have the crepes here..".
So we had to have the crepes there.. Haha..
I had the one with nutella. Yummy!
I nearly jumped when that bl**dy "statue" started moving! Didn't know it was a live one!
From Montmartre, we took a bus passing through Moulin Rouge to Trocadero. That's when i met the Eiffel for the first time!! Oh, it was just amazing! I couldn't believe i was actually there. Just seeing the tall, iconic structure with my very own eyes! From that very same spot that the husband and i saw on a photograph at Chateau D'Eau back in Toulouse no less. Took in the view as hard as i possibly can, tried looking for the nicest angle possible for some snapshots (we tried), walked below the tower.. it was surreal.. and took a couple more shots before bidding au revoir to make our way to the sub for our next destination. I wasn't planning on going up the tower, particularly in that cloudy weather.. hopefully there will be a next time. Photos at La Tour Eiffel! I couldn't get enough of it.

I'm in Paris!!
(you can't say you're in Paris until you get to the Eiffel.. :))

Based on my friend's well laid map (which was so cute with the hand drawn monuments and all) Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) was next on our agenda. There was a service going on when we got there and we were not allowed for any photos. My friend got a shot but as we saw the guard heading towards us, we hurried ourselves to the exit!

I learned the differences between a cathedral and a basilica. Apart from it's ecclesiastical differences, (where a basilica refers to a large and important church that has been given special ceremonial rites by the Pope. Whereas a cathedral which may or may not be a basilica, holds the throne of a bishop). From the architectural view, a basilica is built ending in a semicircular structure (an apse) and has a large roofed hall used for transacting business and disposing of legal matters. The cathedral are usually more modest in size. The Notre Dame, is a cathedral.

(I had a minor incident where i realised that i've lost my ring when we were in Notre Dame. But i was lucky to have found it in my bag at the hotel later that night. It must have slipped into the bag when i took out my gloves in the sub. Thank God!).

Next stop, a mecca for art lovers! The Louvre! It was a few minutes train ride from Notre Dame. But our journey took a wee bit longer since we got on the wrong train and had to turn back to get on the right route.. Like most museums, it was closed during the winter (not that we had the time to go in anyways). And i wonder how anyone can possibly tour that museum in one day. Surely one needs more than than a day! Given that it was once a royal palace, it's not that all surprising that the building was amazingly massive. Built over a few major periods, from the middle ages to finally the Grand Louvre it is today (that's over four centuries!). You can actually see the Eiffel tower from the vast complex here too (but there are trees blocking it in the photo below), and a mini
Arc de Triomphe is situated across the museum. What a sight!

From The Louvre complex, we walked across River Siene to Musee D' Orsay, another art museum as one of my tour guides insisted. It holds mostly french artists' works - paintings, sculptures, photographies. There was a very long line to get in! It was once served as a railway station, a mailing centre in World War 2, and a hotel before it was a museum.

We were rushing to get to
Champs Elysees before dark to check out the designer stores, of course. We walked till our feet were sore (especially my friend who was wearing a spanking new boots!). I didn't get anything except a belt for my cousin. Wanted to get a pair of designer pumps that was on sale but decided not to in the end. I was also contemplating on a bag, but couldn't decide on which design to get. So i went on empty handed.. (but with $$ intact. hehe). I was more interested in seeing the real Arc de Triomphe! So sore feet or no sore feet, we walked till the end of Champs Elysees to at least take a photo at the real arch! I didn't get the chance to get a closer look because we already made dinner plans with my guide's local friend. So our Paris tour that day ended with a nice Parisian dinner at a Parisian restaurant at Saint Michel with a (very cute) Parisian named Axle (name has been changed) before heading back to the hotel.

in front of Orsay Museum, River Siene, the Arch of Triumph and with my 2 tour guides at St. Michel (the very cute Parisian took the photo but we were too famished and tired, not until later that we realised we didn't have any photos with him.. also not even a single photo at the restaurant).

It was a lovely (basic) full day tour. Thanks again, guys! I just wished that the day was brighter, and if only we wouldn't have to worry about our belongings too much at all times, and that there were more time to spend, it would have been much nicer ( i wish u were there too, Mr!). But it was still a good one!

I left for Toulouse the next evening - with a big smile :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Manchester-Wrexham, an Intermission (22nd-24th January 2009)

This was a very short trip. We already had tickets (and the itinerary) for London in March before we got to know that he had to go to Toulouse for training in January (see what i mean by coincidental?). So i thought, maybe we could do Spain if we had the time since Barcelona is a mere 2 hour train ride from Toulouse. But my dreams were shattered when he told me that we will still be going to the UK when he gets a few days break from class. Erkk..

The main destination was Wrexham. But the nearest to get to Wrexham is via Manchester. So from Toulouse, we flew EasyJet to London Gatwick, spent the night there, took an early flight to Manchester and boarded the train to Wrexham. Once everything was done in Wrexham, we got back to Manchester for the night and flew back to Toulouse the next afternoon (sempat jugakla singgah H&M kat Market Street skejap.. hehehe). It was one hell of a trip! And may i just say this ----------> TAK FUN LANGSUNG!!! I was bloody freezing and tired (& cranky! It's the weather, right??) and we had to change trains God knows how many times! :'(

What is there in Wrexham, u may ask??








Heaven for Him.

I manage to catch 3 hours of sleep while he shopped.

Catch of the day.. a bag full of goodies (bag included).

But at the end of the day, when i look at that contented face, it made it all worth it. We hugged real tight at the airport for a moment, for the successful and smooth journey just before we leave for Toulouse again.. It's definitely a memorable one! :)

(But please hubs, no more, ok? Sekali cukuplah..)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looking back - Andorra (11th January 2009)

Around the same time last year, i was busy googling for things i could do in Toulouse while my husband's away for training. Apart from day tours (thought i'd get adventurous going on my own), i was ecstatic to find some interesting workshops because we were gonna be there for about 3 weeks. I couldn't possibly be shopping and touring all the time.. So i was looking forward to maybe the glass blowing workshop, or collage making (made of photos taken during our stay) or stained glass painting courses. Well, until i saw how much each course costs.. The 1-3 days course were about 100 Euros EACH! I waved goodbye to all 3 immediately.

I spent the first few days wandering about the stores nearby our hotel and one day, during his break, he called me at the hotel to tell that we are going to Andorra for the weekend ON the company! Ahh.. FREE trip! Yippee! What's more, there will be free trips on every Sunday!! (the next one was to Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel in which we missed the bus. I can't remember the third one because we did our own tour to Manchester/Wrexham). (Baru nak adventurous..) But anyway free trips means more $$ for shopping!! Double yippee!!

The trip took about 2 hours from Toulouse. Andorra or El Pas de la Casa (means "the pass by the house") is a small tax free country located between France and Spain where you can go skiing during winter. A beautiful place, surrounded by white, snowy mountains but tax free as it may be, the perfumes were more or less the price we can get here. Though there was one thing we were very tempted to get (him even more than me -- i have to stress on this :P). It was this beautiful black faced Link Tag for ladies with diamonds that costs RM14k here but was only half the price there! But it's crazy to spend that amount of money for a pair of watch, kan???? 7k? For a pair of watch?? Not now at least (or ever!). The Tags there were cheap alright but sadly, i mean luckily the selection was limited. So the only purchase made was a mock gun by him. Complete with its magazines *eyes rolling*. I was only annoyed because i was afraid people at the airport might think we are terrorists!!! (especially with me donning a headscarf!). And they say women like to buy unnecessary things! Pfft..

Anyways, here are some of our photos taken in Andorra (it's the same snapshots i have on my fb).

Mountainous view en route to Andorra.
And the gun made it safely to our shores. Dismantled, some parts were sent thru cargo with some other stuff.
Snapshots of us.
One before having seafood paella for lunch with Kuben and Captain Lee, who was once their Training Captain.

[I shall post more travel jots since i am in the mood and have some spare time :)]

Friday, January 1, 2010

This 2010

- by UK guerilla artist, Banksy (There is always hope)

I wish for more joy, happiness, love, good health and prosperity.
It should be a good one.
It will be.
I'm counting on it.