Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My 2017-2018 : IKEA Tebrau, Paradigm Mall, Nerf Battle Games, Five Stones, New School and A Home Revamp

Goodness gracious, I've been hiding. My transition into 2018 was meh. Some ups, a bit of down.

IKEA - ups

Ikea finally comes to Johor Bahru!! I took leave and brought mummy dearest to the opening day. No, we did not queue for hours to get the goodie bag filled with freebies. We saw the queue and walked over to AEON Tebrau for brunch and when we went back, the queue was gone! But we still needed to queue to get into the store, which was bearable.




 Inside the showroom. There were many people, but I didn't feel like uncomfortably crowded. I think there are more path space compared to other IKEAs.

We got this free limited edition bag at the entrance.


Cashiers.

This is something I see for the first time in IKEA. An auto cash payment machine where you insert notes and coins and get changed the same way.

From its opening until now, I've been there four times. Not gonna stop! Heheh.

PARADIGM MALL - ups

The latest and largest mall in Johor Bahru. I will not elaborate but I do want to recommend the non-halal section at Village Grocer. The husband's uni-mate is the owner of a chain store offering premium good high quality pork and he opened a branch here. You can also dine in and enjoy their selection of Iberico pork chops, gourmet sausage set, salads, pizzas and pastas. Of course not forgetting, bacon and ham!


 Their menu.




Not sure if it's new air-conditioning, but it was so cold in the mall! I was shivering after walking around for an hour. I don't do well in cold environment, so I didn't really explore the mall fully. But I know there are a few of the common shops there, like Padini, Popular, Daiso, Komonoya, Cotton On, H&M and Uniqlo. And the first Home Pro and Typo in JB! Now, Darren will remind me to wear a jacket when we go to Paradigm Mall.


DOMESTIC TRAINING -ups and downs

My helper's annual (2017) trip back to the Philippines was a little dramatic. I had booked her usual flight but due to her sister's critical condition back home, she requested to go back earlier. So the initial 15th Dec departure was brought forward to 25th Nov. I kept the duration same, which means her flight back to Malaysia was brought forward too. Then on the day before her scheduled flight back here, she sends a FB message to say that she can't come back to due to the heavy rainfall that made the road difficult to pass, and that her sister was begging her to stay for one last Christmas together. Sad. So, OK fine. Since I couldn't amend her flight anymore because it was less than 48 hours, I booked a new one-way ticket. 30th Dec I said. She asked for 'first week of January 2018'. No, 30th Dec I said. She asked for January again. NO I said. In the end, she agreed.

This is always the debatable topic of domestic helpers. They sacrifice their years to serve their employer's family while leaving their own back home, sending back their salary month after month. Because she has been serving us for years, I give her what she needs. But at times, I must say that they are sometimes stretching their demands. So far, I'm OK with granting her the annual trip home, usually 2.5 weeks with paid leave, flight and a month bonus. By contract, it is supposed to be one trip per 2 year contract. And the one that peeves me sometimes is her endless request for advance salary. I try to control that now because she still has no savings!

So this time when she was away, I trained the boys to settle the men's laundry. I'd settle my own laundry during the weekend and do the ironings. Daniel's daily task was to collect the dirty laundry from all the baskets and wash it in the washing machine, with the appropriate amount of detergent powder and the wash mode. His other task is cooking rice in the evening. Darren's daily task was collecting the dried clothes, folding them, and putting them back in the respective wardrobe. He has learnt to differentiate between his papa and his gong-gong's underwear, and between papa and gor-gor's T-shirt.. hahaha. Proud of them.

I must say, this daily task they did made a significant difference to me and I really appreciate it.

NERF BATTLE - ups

Brought the boys to some good 'ol Nerf battle fun with their uncle ( my cousin ) at the ATV Park, UTM.

Their 'Uncle Ivan' prepping his weapon. He modifies his Nerf guns! Wow, hardcore.

The battleground.

The organizer brings a big box of bullets.

Getting ready!

Briefing by the organizer, affectionately called Uncle Bob (the guy on the extreme right).

The whole session lasted about 4 hours with breaks in between.

If you're interested, join the Facebook page Braveheart (JBNC) War Games where Uncle Bob will post details of latest events. The game are held in different locations depending on availability I guess. This time it was at ATV Park, UTM. The previous one was at Hutan Bandar I heard. So, keep a lookout on their FB page.

FEVER - downs

Right after the game, Darren came down with a fever. Then it was my turn. Then Daniel. THEN the husband. One after the other, just days apart. Unlike other fevers I've experienced, this one was weird! First, it hits you and you're groggy the ENTIRE day, so you practically sleep the whole day. Then you get the tired the next day. For me, what followed was a week-long melancholic feeling, like depression. I just felt meh/blah/sad and I didn't care about making myself happy. So Christmas and New Year went by like there was no hope and renewal. Sigh.

Thankfully, my state of hopelessness improved when I started doing the things I enjoy. Darren convinced me to go to IKEA to buy the popular POANG children's armchair. And I also started another batch of Five Stones project from fabric scraps.

This guy is determined to get what he wants.


Just completed! So this was my craft project that transitioned me into a happier 2018.



DANIEL STARTS SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION - ups

Another milestone! My firstborn. His feet is bigger than mine now.


MUMMY DEAREST'S HOME MAKEOVER - ups

Just a revamp. New curtains, replaced her bedroom old carpet to laminate flooring, new aircon and fans, and awaiting IKEA storage racks to be back in stock. Also, I cleared a lot of her hoarded stuff!

Before..

After!

 Old curtains out..

New curtains in! Daniel was a great help.

 Signing off...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pulau Rawa Nov 2017 - A Little Anniversary Getaway

I have to say, this is by far, the bestest vacation I had. Although this was my third time to Rawa Island, there were new things we enjoyed there. Darren snorkelled for the first time, the super slide was in operation this time, the weather was bright and sunny despite the gloomy forecast, and we explored areas we never did the last time. So many reasons to feel grateful for.

7th Nov marked our 13th Year Anniversary this year and we were supposed to go on this trip the weekend before it. But apparently, Children's Day celebration in school seemed more important to the boys. And it would be Daniel's last Children's Day in primary school and he said he was going to receive some prize on that day. The Children's Day celebration was announced one day AFTER I booked and paid for the package in full. The dilemma!! So I quickly requested for a postponement and luckily the room was still available for the following weekend.

And then for a week before the big trip, guess what I was obsessed with? The weather! Due to the pre-monsoon season, I would check the weather forecast every hour and get stressed! I'm such a big worrier. Everyday, I saw the little grey cloud and thunderstorm icon and my heart sank deeper and deeper. Thankfully, it was bright and sunny at the island. Phew! It only rained on Saturday around 4pm.

So without further ado, picture bombs!

Journey to Mersing Jetty
We started our drive at about 6.30am from home.
A bit of fog in a couple of areas.

Then this sight warmed my heart.

Yay, blue skies!


The Rawa Island Resort Office at Mersing was very easy to find. Upon arrival, we parked our car at the private bay for RM18 per night. 

The Rawa Island Resort Office.

Lounge area while waiting for the boat. Guests were informed to arrive here 30min before boat departure which is scheduled at 9am, 10.30 am and 12 noon. We chose the 9am boat.

Boarding the speedboat.

Slightly bumpy for a while but it was quite fun. The boat ride took 25min.

And we arrived at the Rawa Island jetty. Bright and sunny as I prayed for! I was so so thankful!
My boy said "I can't believe we're here!"

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with a cool refreshing Welcome Drink. That was the start of the tropical island holiday mood!

Before I blast all the beach photos, here are the room and amenities of the resort first.

Our Hillside Deluxe room with two comfy double beds. Very simple and basic setup with aircon, water heater and daily change of towels and drinking water. No TV, no wifi. These will be at the resort main area. Arrgh, forgotten to take a picture of our cute little patio of the chalet. It was so cozy.

Aww...

Brotherly love and excitement... AWWW...

Snooker and foosball tables on the second floor of the resort clubhouse.

Sea sport rental centre and Gift Shop.

Scooters for free use around the island. 


 The one and only restaurant.  Meals are included in the package. Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here buffet style. And it was good every time! It is even catered perfectly for kids because pasta, nuggets and fries are available everyday.


The buffet area.
On Saturday nights, BBQ beef steaks, lamp chops, grilled prawns and chicken satay are served. 

 The chefs BBQ-ing.

One of my dinner.

The TV area.

Reading corner.

Kid's Room if you need a little quiet space.

And one of our favourite hangout place after meals. We'd sit here and enjoy our drinks and the view.

OK, here goes awesomeness!

One of the first view when we arrive. It just makes you want to jump in right away! Which is what we did after checking into our room. 

The super slide.




Now, the beach. It's not a very long stretch as you can easily stroll from one end to the other within 10-15 minutes. But it is a beautiful stretch.






Cute chalets of Alang Rawa at the other end.

Probably worth mentioning is the debris from the sea washing out towards the beach and settling on the shore. But I was impressed how fast the workers swept the shoreline and got rid of the debris within an hour or so. And the beach was back to pristine. There was also small pebbles and dead coral pieces along the shoreline. It was kinda like walking on Legos..hahaha. I think this is common during pre-monsoon season. I remember it was spotless the last time we went. 


Action! The fun begins.

You could easily snorkel and see fishes near the shore itself, mostly under the jetty. And that dark area marks the corals, so you could also easily swim over from the shore too. 





The other end where Alang Rawa is.




One of the reasons this trip is memorable. It was Darren's first snorkelling experience!
Initially, he just used his goggles and a mouthpiece to try near the shore. After he got the hang of it, he asked for a life vest like Daniel's. After setting him up, off he went! So all four of us snorkelled together at the coral area. And he actually kept going further and deeper until I called him back. Haha! One of our sweetest memory.





The coral area view from the jetty. So clear.



This was also our first time taking the Island Walk. We started the trail from the Frangipani Villas and just followed the path.

And soon came to this new bar overlooking the sea. Those tropical island music was playing, so you can imagine the 'feel'... really gives you the holiday mood!

This paktor platform is next to that bar where you can walk over and enjoy the view.

One of the most picturesque sight along the way. Really felt like I was in some Scandinavian coastal path!




One of the many peacocks inhabiting the island. They roam freely and fly to rooftops. 


The albino peacock still around!

A lot of slopes to walk!

The stairs to the peak that we almost missed.




And the view!!



The boys complained about the climb which was admittedly quite perilous and exhausting. We were bitten by a lot of mosquitoes too. But the view was breathtaking.

The following day after a tip from the resort staff, we ventured behind the Orca Scuba centre that we passed by during our Island Walk.





Another platform to view the sunrise and sunset.





Looking at crabs.

That's about it for our little island adventure!




Till we meet again!

Darren said "Let's come to Rawa Island every year from now on"
I'll drink to that!