Archive | Food & Drinks RSS feed for this section

2020 – The Year That Was

30 Dec

Well, another year has come and gone, almost. With another day left for 2022, it’s time to reflect on the year that was.

I have seen on the web that touted 2022 as ‘2020 Too’ and not 2022. Get it? A repeat of the year that upended everything. To a certain extent, it was true. But I think the good things that happened far outweighed the unpleasant, at least for me.

The highlight of the year for us was M2’s graduation, and we had the opportunity to travel to Dublin, Ireland, to attend the Commencement Ceremony. During that time, travelers no longer needed to be quarantined upon arrival, so that was good. It added extra days to our plans, and we added London to the itinerary to stretch the holiday.

The downside of such a long holiday was the weather! It was cold to the core, and at times, the numbness from being in the cold made the experience unpleasant. But we took it in stride, and it was indeed a wonderful time.

2022 was somewhat of a year of new beginnings for us. Regrettably, we gave up our office space and officially worked from home. However, it was a good decision and a blessing in disguise. We no longer have to stress over traveling to/from home/office and have more time and flexibility. And as far as work is concerned, well, there have been ups and downs, but we prevailed. Let’s hope the new year will be better.

2022 was also a year of medical concerns. With Covid cases on the uptrend, people I know were positive at an alarming rate. It was only a matter of time before I contracted it. True enough, I tested positive in June and had the most miserable week of my life battling it. I was in no mood to share my episode then and, as time passed, forgot about my ordeal. However, in the aftermath, I notice I frequently experience brain fog and memory loss! Yikes. And I lost distance when golfing. Double yikes!

Sometimes I say it was the booster jab that compromised my health. But then again, I should say the booster jab saved me from complications or worst. So I should be thankful in this sense. My golfing distance has since returned, but my brain fog is still there. Perhaps this is purely due to age instead? I have to monitor further on this.

The year also saw a decline in my miniature crafting. Weirdly, I have so much time, yet no time at all. We played golf often and ate out more, yet no progress for my miniatures. DIY project #25 has stopped for the longest time! Maybe 2023 will see a revival of my interest? We will find out.

So what do I envision for the new year? Well, nothing too extreme, better health would be good, after all, I am a year older. In short, let there be peace, harmony, and good health. Here’s wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year!

A Very Blessed Christmas

26 Dec

This year Christmas is a complete occasion for the family, particularly for us, with M2 having graduated and back from Ireland for good. It was a boisterous get-together, and everyone contributed a dish for our annual Family Christmas Eve dinner.

The cheese platters were so good!

And for a change, everyone participated in after-dinner games. There were non-stop screams of laughter at the performances of each individual during the games. It was wholesome fun and so much love.

I feel very blessed that this Christmas is more meaningful than ever. I hope this festive occasion is just as memorable for everyone. Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and cheers for the New Year!

Extended Holiday

28 Nov

It seems like the holiday is never-ending! It has been extended with a public holiday today. Unexpected but anticipated (because of the General Election results) and appreciated nonetheless.

From Ku De Ta to local delights, we tried everything!
The must-eat dish when in Bali

Bali was fun, and I was doing things, not up my alley, which was nice for a change. I got to know my high school friends better, and we did things together.

Throughout the week, we indulged, ate, drank, laughed, shopped, swam, and luxuriated in our private apartment and villa (we stayed at two different places) together. We also pampered ourselves with not one but two three-and-a-half-hour and four-hour spa sessions.

Our private villa

There was no golf, no playing tourist but merely enjoying the presence of each other and having a good bonding time to catch up. I am thankful that, at this age, I still have such friends. It was as if we were never part despite all these years.

After this trip, we understood each other better, with our friendship forged to a deeper degree. I look forward to the next trip with this bunch of besties.

Last local delight before we left
Goodbye Bali!

A Break Again

21 Nov

Sometimes when we return from a hectic vacation, we need to go off on another one to recover from the trip. And I did just that!

We reached home almost midnight after touching down in KLIA. The eight-hour layover in Doha was too long. And when we got home, everyone was so tired. But I wasn’t jet lagged, or I couldn’t feel it, even though I did not sleep much for the last 20 hours of traveling.

I was like an Energizer bunny, unpacking and clearing stuff away. But on Saturday, I flew off again with my girlfriends to Bali for a break to recuperate from the UK/Ireland trip.

Although Saturday was a big day for Malaysia, being Election Day, I did my part and then left. So this break is a break from writing and sharing and will return to routine after a week.

Almost a Washout

15 Nov

It was a cold and windy morning. The winds howled at 38km, rattling the roof and canopy. It was more comfortable staying warm in bed than going out. But we should not be doing this and waited out the weather a little.

Wet morning and after the rain, visibility was low

When it let up a little, we ran to our car and drove out. Cork feels like Dublin, slow and chilled. We spent the afternoon in the city center, in and out of shops and shopping centers, the city center art gallery, and eateries, to avoid the chill and rain.

Lunch at Fellini’s

Sometimes being out in the cold too long can be tiring. After dinner, we were done being tourists and headed back to the apartment to call it a day.

Moving Around

12 Nov

Car rental in Dublin is so easy, unlike in the US. There is less paperwork required. Our spanking Ironman red hybrid SUV is comfortable, spacious, and easy to handle. With a built-in navigation system, finding our way out of the city was easy. The weather was good, and hubby drove along the non-toll roads toward Galway.

I am Ironman (hahaha) with this car!

When it drizzled, we stopped at a pub for lunch. I think we ordered too much. But then again, with the cold, we were famished. The portions always have a lot of chips (or mash) that we cannot finish, unfortunately, famish or not.

Lunch at this pub

We arrived at Galway by 3.30 pm, and just nice to check into our hotel. After a short rest, we headed into the town center. We were delighted to discover a Christmas fair at Eyre Square with things to see, buy, and food to savor.

Heading towards the Christmas fair

We had a good time browsing despite the large crowd and weather. For a change, dinner was at a tapas bar, with drinks, of course, to celebrate M2’s graduation.

The streets of Galway
We tried the Chimney Cake
Christmas atmosphere at the fair
Satisfying dinner

It was a long day, and we decided to call it a night earlier than usual.

Day Trip to Belfast

10 Nov

We decided to take the train to Belfast for a day trip yesterday. The Weather app showed the temperature to be nine degrees Celsius, but actually, it felt like six degrees! Hmm, how to have more layers when I have five already?

The two-hour journey was pleasant. We had designated seats with our names showing on the little screen above. The landscape was a lovely mix of buildings, farmland, and seascapes. Very picturesque!

Picturesque journey

We arrived in Belfast on time, and when we walked out of the station, the whiff of cold air welcomed us. Brr. We had no choice but to make our way to the city center quickly.

In the spur of the moment, we decided to do the Hop On Hop Off city tour and bought our tickets from the bus conductor. It was an ideal way to cover more sights of the city without walking so much. But we sat in the open area of the double-decker, which made no difference from being exposed to the cold.

The city tour ended after an hour and 20 minutes. Famished, we ate the first thing we saw, Tim Hortons, a Canadian fast food chain.

I think Belfast is too cold for us. We decided to stay indoors, shopping at Primark instead. By four, we were tired and decided to head toward the train station because there was not much else to see. While it was nice to visit a new city, we all concluded Belfast was not quite the city for us.

Around Dublin

9 Nov

Dublin may be a city, but it feels less crowded, and the public tram transport, the Luas, moves slower than the Tube in London. People here walk and do not rush. It was a windy nine-degree morning, and we took the opportunity to walk around the city center yesterday.

I am not ashamed to say I wore five layers! Well, I had to bundle up to stay warm if we were to do Dublin on foot.

We also did the Jameson Distillery tour towards the end of the day. By evening, it was colder, and I sure was glad I had my layers.

Hello Dublin!

8 Nov

It was gloomy when we arrived in Dublin. Our RyanAir flight was delayed a bit due to the weather. But no further delay in clearing immigration and getting the bags. Our prearranged transport was right there waiting for us.

The chatty, friendly driver kept us entertained with his Irish hospitality during the ride. Before we knew it, we were at the doorsteps of our hotel!

This city center hotel is much more comfortable than the one in London. More spacious and thoughtful in terms of essentials like USB ports and plug points at each bedside!

Thoughtful touch at each bedside

After settling down, we went out in search for food and ended up at a pub. I am not a Guinness drinker, so I opted for an Irish lager. I have never had a beer that had such a big beerhead. My Rockshore lager was divine! Our pub grub was very satisfying. Lots of potatoes, which should not be a surprise as Ireland is the land of potatoes!

Our pub grub: seafood chowder, cottage beef pie, braised beef and Galic chicken

It was drizzling but windy, with gusts up to 34km/hour! Our driver had advised us earlier not to bring out the umbrella because I would end up fighting for the umbrella’s life. It was certainly good advice to follow.

Both hubby and I also changed our berets to beanies because the berets will fly off in the wind! So different from London. With rainy, windy, and chilly conditions ahead, our plans may change to suit the weather. We shall see.

A Wet Sunday

7 Nov

The weather ramped up the wet condition on Sunday. Rain was more frequent and heavier! Ugh. So we had to improvise our plans.

We started the day a little later than usual, as the toasty warmth of the bed over the wet conditions outside was much better. But we had to get going; we are not in London to stay in bed!

Royal Borough of Kensington
Breakfast

We walked over to the Royal Borough of Kensington for brunch before making our way to the Diana Memorial. Then it rained.

The Diana Memorial

So we took cover in Fortnum & Mason. And since we were there, we bought tea and more tea! Hehe, why not? When the rain let up a little, we trodded on to Buckingham Palace to do some touristy picture shots.

At the Buckingham Palace

Although the rain derailed our plans, it did not upset us. We walked, we saw, and we discovered new things. My only regret is we missed out on The National Art Gallery. Oh well.

Hyde Park
The Apple Store and around the city