Penang, Malaysia: 4 Historical Homes To Visit (and stay in!)

Penang, Malaysia: 4 Historical Homes To Visit (and stay in!)

You guys, I'm chuffed to bits. While looking through my archives for Malaysia-related posts I realised that I've blogged about 9 out of Malaysia's 13 states - no mean feat given that I've been living in London for the past ten years! Add to my 7 Things of 2017 a new resolution: to blog about the remaining 4 states by the end of 2018 - only Perlis, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, and Sarawak left to go! Ambitious much? You know the saying: Penang wasn't built in a day.  I must say that after Kuala Lumpur, Penang is my favourite state. Founded by the British in 1786, its capital Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Chinese clan mansions jostle alongside larger-than-life street art, where the intoxicating aroma of char kuey teow (the best in the country!) rises up to meet the cacophony of Hokkien and English in every accent imaginable, where the relative liberalism of this Northern island state is a breath of fresh air to this wary KL-ite. I hope I'll convince you, dear reader, should you find yourself in Malaysia or even in neighbouring Thailand/Singapore that you find the time for one of my favourite states and visit these 4 Historical Homes in Penang, Malaysia.

January 16, 2017

Penang, Malaysia: 4 Historical Homes To Visit (and stay in!)

You guys, I'm chuffed to bits.  While looking through my archives for Malaysia-related pos...

My Complete Skincare Collection, Day & Night Routine, and more...

My comprehensive skincare collection and day routine, night routine; and weekly routine for getting rid of sebaceous filaments, blackheads, whiteheads etc.

I SAY IT TAKES A VILLAGE-FUL OF PRODUCT TO CULTIVATE GOOD SKIN. least, for an urbanite past the threshold of blissful ignorance ie. a simpler time when one's bleakest hour was Geri leaving the Spice Girls (wow, my age is showing). Fact is, it wasn't just turning 30 that set me off on my very own episode of Hoarders: Skincare Edition but also that I needed a nice new habit ever since I kicked a bad one. Swapping smoking for skincare, I guess you could call it a 'skin-win' situation? Here is my current arsenal; some of it old favourites and others recent additions I've been trying out for just over a month.

What's In My Handbag: Gucci Lilith, London limited edition

What's In My Handbag: Gucci Lilith, London limited edition

We've all established that I don't do things by half. Even the very act of subtlety is an elaborate exercise in measured nonchalance and curated casualness - dressing normcore? Let me just style my hair and put on some red lipstick...yeah, you get the drill. It's not that I'm especially fussy nor high-maintenance *cues shouts of Yes, you are!* but rather, even in my most slovenly state there is somehow still a theatrical air about me. I attribute it to being twice as catty; that is, having both Western and Eastern stars of the feline persuasion, being both a Tiger by the Chinese zodiac and a lion (Leo) by horoscope. When you're born under the two most attention-seeking astrology signs, being a wilting wallflower is not an option - you go big or go home.

Twice the cattiness, twice the tigers - this handbag, a London limited edition of the Gucci Lilith, is only too appropriate. I've been seeking the perfect red handbag to match my favourite lipstick and nail polish, and I had very specific criteria - large enough to fit my Canon 6D yet ornamental enough to pass for a "useless but pretty" purse (that I may carry my camera to dressy events), and of course the design had to be as unique as possible. Gucci knocked it out of the park with this baby - the glossy box calf leather is just the right shade of lacquer red, the embroidered patches are of my favourite city and my spirit animal, plus with only 27 ever made  - "That's 27 too many..." muttered a (male) friend - this limited edition feels all the more special. The perfect present to find underneath my Christmas tree. Throw in a deceptively spacious interior - it fits my DSLR with more than enough room to spare - and I'm in love. Ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies), please meet Lilith...

January 09, 2017

What's In My Handbag: Gucci Lilith, London limited edition

We've all established that I don't do things by half. Even the very act of subtl...

Seven things for 2017

Look, everyone knows that that the road to disappointment is paved with New Year's Resolutions - Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity; oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked - but allow me the beautiful fallacy that is the blank slate we dub "a fresh start & the chance to not eff this one up". In this very spirit of wide-eyed optimism (no doubt partly fueled by hunger pang-hallucinations. Ah, Dry January) I present to you my 
7 THINGS FOR 2017...

January 06, 2017

Seven things for 2017

Look, everyone knows that that the...

Oh, the places I'll go...

Wanderlust wishing, in the spirit of this month's #TRAVELLINKUP

Oh! The places you'll go! 
You'll be on your way up! 
You'll be seeing great sights! 
You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

This is my mantra for 2017: the 'I think it, therefore I will have it' celestial vibrations I send out to the Universe in the form of a positive affirmation which I've dubbed a *drumroll* "Seuss-mic shift". Yeaaaah! High five! No? Okay. Divisive puns and questionable methods of achievement aside, 'tis the season to be dreaming big, and how. As far as ambitions go; I'm a simple soul - all I want in life is to hoard as many beautiful sights, sounds, scents, and memories as I can until I swoon from all the sensory overload and implode with bliss. Like hell I'm going to achieve any of that sitting on my arse and eating Doritos while watching killer reruns of Deal or No Deal? so travel it is. Here are 10 TRAVEL DESTINATIONS - some in the works, some as certain as rain on Bank Holiday weekends, and some carried over from previous Wanderlust Wishlists because hey, life gets in the way. Let the daydreaming begin...


I've been to the Cotswolds once, on a rather elaborate second date. My date had me go to Paddington train station, where the concierge was holding a ticket to Cotswolds for me. Like a scene on a screen, the view from my train window transformed - the landscape changing from the urban jungle of London to the rolling hills of the English countryside and finally, the Cotswolds where my date stood waiting with Jeep and dogs in tow. What followed was a cozy weekend of roaring fires, single malt, and drives down winding country lanes. The Cotswolds will always be in my mind the quintessential charming English village frozen in time. I'm planning to return soon, and this time to get a look in at the gardens of Bourton House and Chastleton House.

Astonishingly for one who professes her problems to be of the #TravelBlogger variety, I have never stepped foot on the continent of Africa. Really, I swear, I'm not lion. I do have a wealth of African jokes though, for example: Q: Why aren't there any gamblers in Africa? A: Because there are too many cheetahs. *puts on sunglasses* YEEEAHHHH!!! I've had a lot of near-misses, like the time I was in the South of Spain and my friends wanted to go to Morocco on a whim but we didn't because I couldn't get a tourist visa on time. This is the year I do THREE things that've sat on my bucket list for far too long: 1) Go to Africa 2) Specifically, go to SOUTH AFRICA and 3) Go on safari. All suggestions, and recommendations welcome! 😉


Even more shocking than my never having been to Africa is that I've never been to Indonesia, despite it being a neighbouring country (I grew up in Malaysia). Or perhaps its precisely for that reason - they say you take for granted what's close to you. Happily, Bali has diversified from its rough n' rowdy reputation and is being increasingly touted as a destination for serenity, natural beauty, and spirituality; which I can definitely get on board with...I'm thinking a lazy weekend in a Balinese villa (with the occasional temple visit) the next time I'm in that side of the world.

The Maldives is like the Valentino Rockstud of travel destinations - saturating social media feeds as every influencer's must-have-accessory. I've got the shoes, and now I've gotta have the blues - that is, that impossibly clear turquoise sea. Making the Indian ocean my living room, dining room (underwater dining at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, anyone?), and garden - swimming with sharks, diving with dolphins, rolling with rays...look, if wanting to hop on the Maldives bandwagon makes me basic, well then slap my arse and call me Felicia.


◈  ◈ 

"If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain." What does one do when one's travel buddy moves to the opposite end of the world? Yeah, I'm looking at you Luxy. See you when I get my passport back! Just as well that Sydney is relatively close to my other home, Malaysia, and besides...


...there are some delicious reasons for me to head to Melbourne too. Of course there's the fact that I have fond memories, having family and friends there, and also a family wedding in April. But those are the least of the delicious reasons - the others being the restaurant scene, the brunch, the coffees, and the company *ahem*


Santorini has been on my radar ever since my best friend had her honeymoon there. White sand beaches, blue domed-buildings, freshly-caught octopus, spectacular sunsets...


...and when idyllic bliss proves to be overwhelming, I'll head to Mount Olympus for the mythologies, the stories of heroes, Gods, and their feats and exploits.


If you don't already know that I've had to miss my family trip to Reykjavik last Christmas and the reason why; then hello, you must be new here. I spent the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016 getting ever so psyched up for Reykjavik - geysers! The Blue Lagoon! The Northern Lights! - only for the crushing realisation that I wouldn't be able to make the trip to dawn on me like the dark cover of an Artic winter. This year, I'm going to get my Canada Goose on over my bikini, stride straight to the geothermal spas, and get resolutely mellow - right after I get use my willpower to summon the aurora borealis.


◈  10 

Another stunning country, another missed opportunity. Just like Reykjavik, Cinque Terre was a travel plan that fell through. My friends from Malaysia meant to converge on last summer but changed their minds, instead we met up in Barcelona. Lesson learnt: travelling in a large group (think over a dozen) is like herding cats ie. unsuccessful, futile, and likely to end in tears. I'll feel no remorse in going solo to Cinque Terre for her terraced vineyards, pastel-coloured villages - this time it'll be only me and just another lemon tree. Besides, I've already got the fragrance and music for it. Bring on La Dolce Vita.


January 03, 2017

Oh, the places I'll go...

10 TRAVEL PLANS AND DREAM DESTINATIONS FOR 2017 Wanderlust wishing, in the spirit o...

One last look at 2016

December 31, 2016

One last look at 2016

Unboxing Day: A Sneak Peek at My Christmas Haul

Look, today I'm not even going to try to English - I know that most of you come, you see the pictures; you conquer or rather, close tab. Besides, I'm knackered. Perhaps it's the exhaustion of hauling ass from dawn to dusk volunteering at the local homeless shelter on Christmas Day. Maybe it's from attempting a 60 person-strong Mannequin Challenge during a boozy Christmas dinner. Possibly from running around London on Boxing Day to make the most of the Pokemon Go Christmas event (plot twist: Niantic makes Santa-hat-wearing-Pikachu the new norm. Trainers who transferred their hatless Pikachu to make room before hoarding festive 'Chus as collectibles weep en masse).

Whatever it is, I've got a cold, which I'm sure is appropriate on some level because 2016 has been a real clustercuss of a year and that bitch just won't quit. Much like my favourite present this Christmas: a very loud, so terrible-it's-amazing Gucci Lilith handbag in a very limited edition - only 27 in the world, and only available in-store so if you fancy one head down to the flagship on Bond Street. I'm rather less taken by the Gucci loafers, but I've included them for posterity anyway before exchanging them for a Harrods Gift Card (see what I swapped them for on my Dayre microblog). 

Fun little stocking stuffers - festive Yankee Candles that smell uncannily like Christmas trees and candy canes, a little Fendi purse, an Anya Hindmarch Rubik's Cube I forgot to actually take a photo of for this post (see, I told you I'm tired) - padded out an otherwise sparse Christmas present haul. You'll have no complain from me otherwise. 

The bird-song outside my window (the poor buggers are confused by the city's light pollution, it's only three in the morn...) is my cue to turn in for the night. I'll do a proper 'What's In My Handbag' post to get you acquainted with Lilith, but for now I leave you with photos of my Christmas present haul, sans witty repertoire because a) I'm tired and ill and b) does anyone actually read this anyway? If you do, comment below: "I am the Loch Ness monster".
How was your Christmas? What did you get up to? Were you naughty or nice? 
What did Santa slip in your stocking, the dirty devil? 

December 27, 2016

Unboxing Day: A Sneak Peek at My Christmas Haul

Look, today I'm not even going to try to English - I know that most of you come,...

Christmas Menu at Pan Chai, Harrods

My family are hard work. Don't get me wrong, I love muh crazy Asian fam and wouldn't swap them for any other brood in the Chinese diaspora world, but let's make no bones about it - they keep me on my toes, in the most literal sense. You may have gandered from Instagram Stories (and if you didn't, you really should keep up) that the pack were in town over the weekend. Disappointed by their lack of aurora borealis sightings in Reykjavik, the fam extended their stopover in London - turning their frowns upside down with a four-day orgy of conspicuous consumerism (because there's no therapy like retail therapy) and seeking a Pan-Asian antidote to their Icelandic smorgasbord of reindeer meatballs. Clearly, 'tis the season to be hunting and gathering because Harrods was full of like-minded shoppers on a mission; nostrils flared and credit cards pointed like a smoking gun, pausing only for nourishment. And what nourishment there was to be had at Pan Chai. On previous occasion I've described their offerings as luxurious Pan-Asian fare for the fast and furious, and it still is, going by their dizzying turnover. But this festive season Pan Chai are bringing to the table a reason to linger - their gorgeous and decadent CHRISTMAS PLATTER.


I whetted my appetite, as one does, with an old favourite the BANZAI platter (lobster tempura, avocado, asparagus, spicy mayonnaise topped with orange and black caviar, unagi sauce) and the SNOW CRAB SALAD (shredded snow crab with avocado, caviar and seaweed salad). 



Selection of 6 pieces sashimi (salmon, fatty tuna, yellow tail) 

Selection of 6 pieces nigiri (tuna, salmon, yellow tail) 

Whole grilled live Canadian lobster with Korean spicy sauce or
 Japanese teriyaki sauce topped with gold leaf 

Alaskan King Crab leg with spicy chilli sauce 

 Skewered yaki scallops with sweetened soy sauce 

A bowl of edamame, delicately steamed and salted, served as a palate cleanser for the CHRISTMAS PLATTER; a cornucopia of delights whose stand-out attractions were the whole GRILLED CANADIAN LOBSTER with Japanese teriyaki sauce topped with gold leaf and the ALASKAN KING CRAB LEG with spicy chilli sauce. As decadent as the crustacean dishes were - as excessive as lobster brushed with gold may seem, in our gilded surroundings of Harrods Food Hall it made perfect sense - the rest of the Christmas Platter was no less rewarding. The SASHIMI selection of SALMON, FATTY TUNA, and YELLOW TAIL was predictably fresh, and YAKI SCALLOPS SKEWERED WITH ASPARAGUS, while deceptively informal-looking, enjoyed the same precision of its more elaborate companions. 

The CHRISTMAS PLATTER is brilliant in its seemingly simple presentation; one begins from the bottom left and eats anti-clockwise - beginning with delicate sashimi then progressing to more complex, intense flavours before ending with rich lobster. Although it was the penultimate dish that made the greatest impression on me; the spicy chilli sauce, so perfectly imbued into the Alaskan King Crab legs reminded me of the similar flavour palate of my maternal grandmother's top secret chilli crab sauce.

All in all; the Christmas Platter is a stunning seasonal addition to Pan Chai's already excellent menu, sure to impress even the most time-starved of shoppers-diners into slowing down. Catch it while you can at Harrods.

*I was invited to review Pan Chai and the meal was complimentary.
December 21, 2016

Christmas Menu at Pan Chai, Harrods

Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL WWW.PANCHAI.COM My family ...