Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Melbourne - Dinner at Southbank & Yarra River Night Scene

September 1, 2013 
Melbourne CBD

Southbank is the area of Melbourne along the southern bank of the Yarra River. The big accounting firms, Crown Casino and many cafes, shops and restaurants are located here. We took a leisurely stroll around this area, had dinner and walked back to our hotel at night. The weather was just perfect for a night stroll, not too chilly for our hoodies and light jackets.

Yarra River in the evening, on the left is Southbank


Southbank - Crown Casino at the back

There is a line of columns that blow out fire from the top one-by-one at random intervals. When I stood close to the column I could smell the kerosene and feel the hot air blowing from it... perfect for the cold weather. This picture is so funny... looks like someone set his hair on fire!



Along the Crown promenade there is some artificial grass, we sat down there for a while and looked at the lights on the Yarra River till it turned dark.


 
For dinner we popped into one of the many restaurants lining the promenade. It was also Father's Day in Australia and they were giving a free Corona to dads at the table. We ordered red wine, a selection of cured meats (sausages, bacon, kangaroo jamon!!, cheese) for our appetizer and steak! Yum!


After that we strolled a bit more taking in the beautiful night scene at Yarra River, drank some hot chocolate at the Lindt shop, and walked back to our hotel.

Yarra River night scene
Flinder's Station all lighted up at night

So this post concludes my series around Melbourne CBD. On to the Great Ocean Road next!

Our hotel:
Ibis Budget Melbourne CBD
97-103 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

+61 3 9642 0064

Monday, July 21, 2014

Melbourne - Queen Victoria Market

September 1, 2013 
Melbourne CBD


After sightseeing around the Melbourne CBD, we went to Queen Victoria Market to do some souvenir shopping and lunch. Near QVM we saw this really tall copper statue which looked amazing at first sight, but looked super geli when we took a nearer glance. :-P

I think my gay friends would love a miniature of this

Queen Victoria Market - The market is a must-visit Melbourne tourist destination, offering a variety of produce - seafood, fruits and vegetables, gourmet and deli foods, as well as souvenirs, art and crafts.

The souvenirs here are pretty cheap, we got some keychains, magnets, stuffed toys from here... but didn't dare to buy too many cos we would still be traveling around. Many of the stall owners are actually not local, there was this souvenir stall playing Indonesian music from the radio, at first I thought they were Malay and I said I was from Malaysia, then the owner said they're actually from Indonesia... but they gave us a discount for the things we bought anyway, probably knowing our currency exchange rate. :-P 

Queen Victoria Market




Souvenirs
Taking a break after souvenir shopping

There were also a lot of food stalls at QVM! We bought freshly cooked mussels in white wine sauce, strawberries, fruits etc to fill our stomach.


For lunch, don't go too late as the QVM lunch shops close around 2pm. We had the quintessential fish & chips, mom was craving for Malaysian food so I think she ordered curry mee or zhap fan, and we bought freshly shucked oysters from the seafood section! There was also an interesting selection of gourmet food at the deli section like cured meat and cheese with holes in it... too bad we didn't try them.

Fish & chips

Freshly shucked oysters
Deli selling sausages, ham and bacon

Friday, July 18, 2014

#PrayforMH17

Just wanna say a bit about today. 

Woke up this morning to use the bathroom at 6.45am. Then checked my handphone and saw a series of notifications from Flipboard about Malaysian Airlines plane crash in Ukraine. Yes, Flipboard, not Facebook... and yes, MH17 not MH370... I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was fully awake... but as I flipped through the news the headlines still wouldn't go away. My hubby shifted on his side with sleepy eyes and as I told him the terrible news his eyes grew big right away and he woke up. 

Truly tragic, and what are the odds of this bad fate befalling Malaysian Airlines twice, just a few months apart? Truly sad... and I believe in what my friend said, at this moment there is nothing we can do, just #prayformh17 . Prayer is powerful in times of tragedy, and I hope that God will comfort those under his care, the souls of the innocent deceased and friends and family of MH317.

Melbourne - Fitzroy Gardens & Captain Cook's Cottage

September 1, 2013 
Melbourne CBD 

It is easy being a tourist in this well-planned and picturesque city. We took the free Melbourne city circle tram and hopped-on-and-off at destinations we wanted to visit. One of our stops was at Spring Street. We got off at the Parliament Building, visited the Old Treasury Building and walked to Fitzroy Gardens. There is a beautiful little flower conservatory inside the Fitzroy Gardens, also FOC.

We walked to this picturesque little cottage on the edge of the gardens and found out that it is Captain Cook's Cottage. Actually the cottage belongs to Captain Cook's parents to be exact, and it was actually built in England and shipped over to Australia to be re-constructed piece-by-piece. Again, the entrance ticket was too pricey... so we just skipped going in and took some pictures from outside. Really wonder what the interior looks like!!

Cook's Cottage

Love the creepers growing on the brick wall... with some trimming it could look like a heart-shape!

Post my *love*
Big tree beside Cook's Cottage

Fitzroy Gardens is really a lovely, open green space for the whole family to spend time together... even a family of geese! This cute little family was walking around the gardens, the parents so protective of their young. We actually stalked them around until they jumped into the pond one-by-one and swam away... hehe.
 
Lovely family of geese
Lovely family of geese

Breakfast in Melbourne

September 1, 2013 
Melbourne CBD


Me with the bright orange Vespa

Wonder whether I'll be able to finish blogging about my travels before baby comes... by that time I'll be too busy/tired to do anything at all. :-P

Resuming my post about Melbourne. In the morning, we decided to take a stroll around Melbourne CBD to see the architecture and also to get a feel of the city. I wish we had more leisure time strolling around, exploring the shops one-by-one, and really take some days to live like a true Melburnian.

Alley with nice shops
"Breakfast Alley", graffiti and the "soup kitchen"

I think one of the key points to Melbourne life is its dining, after all, isn't Melbourne known as the food capital of Australia? After wandering around near Federation Square area searching for some place to ease our hunger, we chanced upon this alley that looked like Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. To put it in local terms it looked like those hawker stalls in Penang where the locals congregate for breakfast... but of course in a more atas and clean manner. I think another key point in Melbourne is its artsy side, we saw the back lanes filled with street art and graffiti and a guy strumming on his guitar (early in the morning)!

Posters for the Australian Federal Election, 2013

We were in Australia during the midst of the Australian Federal Elections. Saw some pop art illustrations in the alley calling people to vote, but the comic ironically says that "vote whichever side also the same"... so... should people still vote or not? :-P Leonard also commented on the lack of party flags and posters hanging around the city... I think so far we only saw one line of party flags while we were there. So different compared to the elections here where the party flags and propaganda were strewn haphazardly all around Penang... :-S

Our breakfast

We were salivating at the big breakfast (egg Benedict, bacon, bagel, coffee) being served in the alleyway. However since everything is sooo expensive and we were only on our 1st day there, being cheapo, of course we prefer to spend our money elsewhere... *haha, next time*... that being said, actually there are a few quality breakfast spots serving the same type of food in Penang also but we have never bothered to wake up early in the morning to try them... :-P

So in the end we went to have our breakfast at fast-food Pie Face *look at those smiley pies!*... cutesy but the taste so-so... but it's a chain shop only found in Australia so quite an "authentic" experience also... Also discovered the existence of "flat white" and "long black" coffee in Australia... next time should really take our time to savour the food and good coffee in Melbourne!

After eating at Pie Face we went back to the breakfast alley cos I was intrigued by the huge soup pots in the "soup kitchen" (a shop... not for the homeless mind you...). Bought some soups to takeaway and Leonard, being the friendly guy that he is, stroke up a conversation with the soup-seller, a Middle-Eastern guy (forgot which country he is from). The guy asked where we were from and when we said Malaysia, he said that he had been to Malaysia twice and asked why were we in Melbourne for vacation for Melbourne is such a boring place compared to Kuala Lumpur! =_=||| Well... to each his own is what I can say... hahaha...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Making use of our final few weekends before total loss of freedom after baby comes~~ OMG! Went to watch our first IMAX 3D movie "Transformers" at Gurney Paragon. Since IMAX Gurney Paragon is new, the tickets are still on promotion price at RM19 each, quite a good deal, considering it was our first experience. :-)

Transformers at Gurney Paragon
Us with Optimus Prime & Bumblebee
Well, the movie was not too bad, although they could have made it shorter by cutting some parts at the Texas barn and the KSI storyline. The Hong Kong parts totally rocked!~

That is me at 34 weeks of pregnancy. Do I look very pregnant? I think not... I keep on waiting for my tummy to get bigger but it's still like this 斯文 little baby bump.

During our last checkup at 33 weeks, our doctor cautioned that my blood pressure was getting high. I was worried and asked whether there was anything I could do... cut salt, exercise more? But doctor said that this is gestational high blood pressure, not the same as hypertension in old people. Gestational hypertension is related to baby being smaller size. Baby is only 1.44kg at 33 weeks while doctor said that the ideal weight should be around 2kg. Doctor cautioned that if my blood pressure got any higher later, as soon as baby reaches 2kg I might have to induce the baby out to avoid any complications during childbirth. 

Hmm... still cannot understand why I'm having gestational hypertension. I'm not fat, I only gained a total of 5kg throughout my pregnancy, I'd been eating at home a lot and most importantly I'd been swimming regularly a few days every week. Well, nevermind, I think the most important thing to do for now is to continue having a positive mindset and have faith in God and my baby! I believe my baby will grow bigger. Also, started drinking some Anmum milk powder and stopped my swimming for at least 2 weeks. 

Baby, jia you~~!!!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Week 30, 3rd Trimester

May 31, 2014 

Baby is now the size of a large cabbage! Mommy so far has gained 3.5kg, I'm thinking 1.5kg for baby, 1kg for water, 1kg for placenta... so I'm guessing mommy's real body weight hasn't gained much this far. :P

 

We could see our daughter sleeping soundly in the womb! Leo proclaims that her eyes look like his, her nose looks like mine, and her lips, opening slightly when asleep, look exactly like mine! ♥ I feel that creation is so wonderful... baby is able to open her mouth even though all the fluid is surrounding her... it's amazing.

Also, baby is being very cooperative, doctor informed us that baby has already turned head-down, so that increases our chances of having a natural birth. I'm happy to hear that!

Posting a couple of pictures I took during Week 28... when my baby bump started getting visible. 

 

"Happiness is on the way" -- I copied this phrase from some pregnancy photo inspirations because I feel that it has a double meaning for us -- our baby's name also means "happiness". ♥

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A Day at Balik Pulau

Went to Balik Pulau for durian with a couple of friends last Saturday afternoon. The sky was so blue, a rarity, reminded us of the blue skies in the USA.

Blue skies near Regency Heights #nofilter

The durian tycoon fetched the durians in the back of his motorcycle basket for us to enjoy the view from Bukit Genting while savouring the fruit.

View from Bukit Genting
It had been more than 10 years since I ate durian. Like, seriously. I do like the sweet, creamy taste but I really can't stand its after-smell especially when burping. So I just refrained to take any durian for the past 10 years and just remembered its taste in my heart. 

But now when I'm pregnant, I have this sudden craving to eat durian again. But too much durian during pregnancy is not good. Luckily my self-control is still very good, I ate like only 5 ulas out of the 5 durians. The first one, kucing tidur, was sweet and creamy, just like the durians I used to eat when I was young at my grandfather's kampung house. I don't quite like the bitter and pungent ones.  

Durians: kucing tidur, D11, D15, red prawn

There are some chalets up on Bukit Genting, to our surprise. But they look kinda dilapidated and unsafe, perched dangerously at the edge, wonder whether anybody actually checks and maintains them. 

When we were about to leave the place, we saw this peacock pecking furiously on our carplate! Apparently it saw its own reflection from the side of the car and flew into a jealous rage or something and started attacking the car. Haha so cute and stupid. The durian tycoon told us to buy 4D that day but we forgot about it after going downhill. Luckily the number never came out if not we would be seriously depressed.

Peacock peck-pecking at our carplate
At the end of the day, I burped a lot and was instantly reminded again why I avoided durians at all cost in the first place.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Week 28, 3rd Trimester - Stuff for Baby Pt. 1

Time flies... so soon I've stepped into the third trimester of carrying my baby. Can't believe that in just 10+ weeks we'll be receiving our first little baby... can't wait to cradle her in my arms and show her everything about life... but at the same time, also dreading the challenges and big changes in lifestyle that come along with parenthood...

My hubby's "nesting phase" started earlier than me... around when we first found out the gender of our child. This "nesting instinct" is something parents get when their baby is soon to arrive, e.g. cleaning the house, organizing stuff; basically getting the nest ready for their precious little one. He already cleared out a special wardrobe space for our little one. As for me, I have my mind set on a couple of little projects, but never got around to starting them yet... arghhh lazy :P

But cleaning/organizing aside, clicking the "pay" button on baby-stuff websites or swiping the credit card is a much easier thing to do! :P In recent weeks we already bought some big stuff for baby, and plan to shop for the little stuff during the coming baby fairs...

Here are some of the things we bought:

1) Graco LiteRider Travel System

LiteRider®, Stroller, the top rated SnugRide® Infant Car Seat, and stay-in-car base. - See more at: http://www.gracobaby.com/products/pages/productdetails.aspx?productid=1759753#sthash.v3phflOV.nwzynDlB.dpuf
This 3-pc system comes with a stroller, infant car seat and a "docking system" which can be strapped into the car. This system is around RM100 more expensive than sold in the USA, but worth it rather than going through the hassle of asking someone else to lug it back.

Graco LiteRider Travel System


2) Play gym

This pink item was on sale in Jusco. When we bought this we ran into a couple of friends who are also parents. They told us, not every baby likes to be inside a play gym. Well nevermind, it's just a place where baby can lie while the grown-ups watch TV.

Simple Dimple Play Gym
And papa has already taken to it already... X_X

Oh, and to add some symptoms of the 3rd trimester before I forget. Other than having very bad acid reflux after meals, recently I woke up two nights with very bad cramps on my right leg and right side of my abdomen. The first night it was bad, but I managed to massage myself back to sleep without waking my hubby. The second night it happened the tummy cramp was so bad until I was shouting in pain... luckily it subsided after hubby helped to massage me. Nowadays before I go to sleep hubby will put a hot pack on my right side to relax the muscles. He is a very good hubby indeed. :-)