Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate yoghurt cake

Saw a recipe online. Went to Village Grocer Mont Kiara and bought ingredients. Tried. Tested. Success. Not too sweet yet chocolate-y. First attempt was good. Not too hard to do!

6 Tablespoons butter at room temp.
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) container vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cocoa
3-4 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla


In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together yogurt, water, and vanilla. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter. Add the yogurt mixture, and add the remaining flour.
Mix until just combined. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.
Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa, water, and vanilla until smooth. Pour over cooled cake.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Posting this to help out ...

A 12 year old boy Nayati Moodiar was kidnapped outside Mont Kiara International School today April 27th. It seems he was abducted by two men of Indian origin as he was walking to the school. (black proton gen2 WNH1356) If any expats see him or have any other information that might help find him please contact Andy Davison at 012 305 9492 or the school 03-20938604. Please call only with genuine leads not with questions about the event. You can also e-mail me at




iBU Committee Members

on behalf of

ibu Family Resource Group

78 Jln Sri Hartamas 18

Taman Sri Hartamas

50480 Kuala Lumpur

Tel/Fax: 03 6211 0666

Email :




Sunday, April 22, 2012

Antipodean KL Branch, spacious and great for toddlers

The second branch of Antipodean is certainly more family-friendly because of the sheer space it has at the Menara Tan and Tan building at Tun Razak. On a Sunday late lunch, there was a smaller crowd (compared to the packed Bangsar branch). Families with young kids will feel more relaxed and plus they have a kids' corner with a DVD player and tv. There were ample toys and the show playing that time was Smurfs.

Even the waiters were friendly and said hi to my daughter. Guess because there is less people than Bangsar, the staff were able to interact with customers. Our first lunch trial didn't disappoint. Daddy took chickpea salad which was tasty and I had a beef burger with cheese. Also tried the fish cake salmon and their apple pie.

Overall, a nice place for Sunday late lunch with great tasting coffee.

Parking was easy on a Sunday. We parked right outside for free. Guess it might be trickier on weekdays when the office building is packed.

Location can be found here

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beautify your home with plants

For those looking for plants, orchids and other planting accessories (and necessities), you can try this huge place at Petaling Jaya which houses a lot of different small nurseries. I went there to buy organic soil, pots, orchid, and other flowering plants. Price seem reasonable and if you are an expat like me you may run into some communication problems as some of them employ non-English speaking Malaysians. Though that didn't stop me from spending an hour (and money!) at that place.

Hope this helps those with a green thumb. Good luck!

As for the picture with the painting (I was painting at my balcony one sunny day) just zero in your attention on the plants and flowers beside me. I bought that hanging rectangle pot there too. It was so hard to find it in malls (like Ace Hardware didn't have it).

Jalan PJU1/23 Petaling Jaya Selangor

Decimal Degrees (WGS84)
Latitude Longitude
3.130213 101.601341
Degrees, Minutes & Seconds
Latitude Longitude
N3 07 48 E101 36 04
Latitude Longitude
N 3 07.813 E 101 36.080

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Like Mom Cafe at Plaza Damas

I have been long looking for a child-friendly cafe around KL and finally found one today! Apart from my usual suspects (marmalade and antipodean, we are there too often!), we found a new place called Like Mom at Plaza Damas.

Not only were they child-friendly, they even served free milk and bunny cookie to my daughter! After we ordered their popular coffee called Iced Latte and Dutch coffee, they served free freshly baked cake ... Talk about great customer service!!!

I love this place and will surely bring my other expat friends here for a relaxing afternoon coffee.

The Dutch coffee is served on your specially chosen cup which is kind of chic!!!

I enjoyed the iced latte and especially enjoyed seeing my daughter drinking milk from the cute teddy bear cup. This made me happy!

A great find here in plaza damas which is a hidden gem.

Like Mom Cafe is run by friendly Koreans.

E-0-5 tkt G Plaza Damas, Jalan Hartamas 1

To find easier, get out from the top floor of Hartamas shopping centre (near the Starbucks exit) then you are faced with the road. Cross the road and then first corner after passing th Indian mamak place turn left and you will find easily. You will see a little water fountain after crossing the road that is where u turn left.

Enjoy this little gem of a discovery !!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boracay 2012 Update

Sharing a more comprehensive update on Boracay... since I am writing an article for the Bonda magazine, I decided to update the same details here in my blog to give others a better indication of costs.

Vacation in Paradise: Boracay, Philippines

A lot of people are afraid to go to the Philippines because of the different bad news, which they have heard over the years. Both my expatriate and Malaysian friends often tell me that they have heard of Boracay, yet only a handful have actually been there. They always mention that they have heard of its unrivaled beauty yet they are unclear of how to get there and if it is safe to go. Let me share with you in a moment why this place is a must-visit in this lifetime, and of course, how in the world will you get there.

I grew up in the Philippines, hence back in the year 2000 onwards, when I started earning my own money, I was frequenting Boracay, almost twice in a year. Back then, we had to take smaller planes and the number of resorts was probably one-third of what they have today.

March to April is the peak season for the locals (Filipinos) that would flock to the beautiful island mostly because of the Holy Week. Another peak period is Christmas time.

Last March 2012, I went to revisit the Philippines with hubby and my 2-year old daughter. We had engagements to attend to in Manila, so we planned ahead when we booked our Boracay flights and accommodations. The key to getting good prices in most cases is to book early. We booked our Manila to KL flights since January 2012, and we also booked our Boracay flights shortly after. My recommendation to families departing from Kuala Lumpur is to take Cebu Pacific flights. This is the low-cost carrier equivalent to Air Asia, except this is for the Philippines. The flight from KL to Manila takes about 3.5 hours. You will land in the airport called NAIA 3. Within the same airport, one will not need to transfer via car to move from International to Domestic. Instead, the transfer is just by foot. The tricky part is how to time your flights, because if you take a connecting flight and one of it is delayed, you are in trouble. That is where the travel insurance option becomes handy (when you are buying the ticket online, the option is available). For us, we have family in Manila, so we usually take a flight KL-Manila and spend some time there before flying off to Boracay. For tourist, you may want to just wait at the airport. Honestly, take the advice from someone who grew up in Manila, there is not much to see there… except for people who really want to shop or eat at good restaurants (in Makati). Otherwise, save all that vacation days and spend it in Boracay!

Once you are in Manila, the flight to Boracay is just an hour. Be careful to note that there are usually 2 kinds of flight to Boracay. One is to Caticlan while the other is to Kalibo. You will want to take the CATICLAN flight because this means the plane lands closer to the beautiful Boracay island and that also means shorter travel time. Basically after a plane ride, you will need a short and transfer which takes 5-minutes and then you are at the port already. From the port you take a boat transfer which takes about 20-25 minutes, then another land transfer to the hotel of your choice.  Last March, we took the 6:30am flight from Manila so by 8am we were practically ready to have our breakfast on the island!
By now you are probably wondering why you should bother with all that travel just to get to Boracay? In all my travels to many beaches in the world, I have yet to find the perfect combination which Boracay offers: super fine white sand on the beach (so fine that you can walk barefoot at noon without getting burned), super clear waters where you practically see the fishes and clearly see your own pedicure), so clean that there are no rocky stuff to avoid nor corals that will harm your feet, and the beautiful sunshine that cooks up the right temperature for a cool dip – not too cold and not too warm. My travel to many parts of Thailand have proven that the water sometimes gets too “warm” because of the sun, while the sand in Indonesia never satisfies my high-standards for sand quality.  And this is simply because I grew up in the Philippines!

The island provides of all kinds of accommodation and cuisine. It is even complete with its own D’Mall, where you can find all sorts of things like souvenirs, ATM’s, alcohol, gourmet cheese shop, Havaianas flip-flop store, mini grocery, and more!

I always convey this to friends: whether you are alone, with your loved one, with kids or big families, just the girlfriends nor with guy buddies, Boracay has something to offer each and every one. Whether you are young or old, on a budget or on a splurge-spree, low or high standards, there is a perfect place for you in Boracay.

There are many activities like jet-ski, banana boat and my favorite of all, which one has to experience, is the sunset sailing with the traditional boats called “paraw”. It has no engine and solely relying on the wind. It gives you are beautiful view of Boracay and its unbeatable sunset. A boat ride could cost you different amount, of course depending on how good you negotiate and with whom you book your activity. I spoke to the men offering the service directly and you will usually find them on the beach offering their services. Wait, I mean, they will in fact probably find you first and come to offer you their services. We paid PHP800 for the sunset cruise. Someone else tried to rip me off at PHP1,600 for one ride. Imagine that! The PHP800 gave us an hour sailing which usually should start around 5pm. The sunset in the Philippines is much earlier than in KL. The exchange rate for Philippines Peso from Ringgit is PHP14=RM1. Yes, that means your Ringgit is worth more money when travelling to the Philippines!

For our accommodation, well, I have stayed in at least a dozen different hotels in the past. Until today, the range of accommodation is still increasing! After much research online, I opted of a new place, which is a boutique hotel that opened not too long ago. It is called Astoria Hotel in Station 1. The Boracay island is roughly split into 3 large areas called Stations. Station 1 is where the upscale and exclusive resorts are (and the beaches are wider and more scenic). In Station 2, you are closer to the action, where the access to D’Mall, other restaurants and activities will be easier. Many options for hotel, food, and other things. While Station 3 is known to be the cheaper end of the island where you will find the market and lower cost accommodation. You can choose to book straight with the resort’s website, or do like us, we booked Astoria via AsiaRooms.Com.

Based on my experience, I would recommend hotels like: Astoria (for the boutique experience and newer feel), Discovery Shores (for the higher budget individuals who want a superb swimming pool and beautiful rooms, some have a private Jacuzzi), Seawind (for those who prefer a rustic yet luxurious stay), Tides (station 2, easy access, ultra-hip place for the younger crowd), and if you are really looking for exclusivity and privacy then go for Shangri-la (though it will be hard for you to access the other places as you need to travel by car).

Food is easy to find, and they even have their own Starbucks Boracay already (which totally surprised me on my last visit).  One thing you must indulge on when in Boracay is the mango shake. The mangoes in the Philippines are the best in the world! Try the mango shake (mixed with a bit of milk), everyone will surely love it! There are tons of other shakes like the Mango-Banana and other concoctions, which will leave you a lasting impression of the tropical island life.

Judging from the number of tourists I saw, the popularity is growing! It seems to have picked up compared to my last 2010 visit.

It is not a cheap holiday, as noted by an expat friend of mine. It is because of the flight you need to take from KL to Manila then another flight getting to Caticalan Boracay. However if you plan ahead, it can be affordable and definitely will be a superb getaway for the family. I would tend to say for a family of 3 people (parents with 1 child), you will need to budget about RM1,500 for the KL-Manila flights for all 3 pax (if you book on the sale period),  the another RM1,200 for the Manila to Boracay flights for all three of you. Accommodation will be about RM500-1000 per night for the hotel stay, depending on the hotel type. Food can be cheap or pricey also depending on where you eat. We did an adventurous meal at Station 3 where they call the market “Talipapa”. That is where you can buy live seafood like lobsters, squid, fishes, and crabs. Then the surrounding restaurants can cook it for you with respective charges and you can choose from a diverse range of sauces and cooking styles. In our experience, there were 4 adults together, we had excessive seafood of all above-mentioned, and it costs us about  RM250- which is a reasonable price for such a feast!

Useful websites:

For flights, take Cebu Pacific
For hotel stay, you can safely book through AsiaRooms

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Short Vacation @ Penang with Toddler

After living in KL for a few years, we have not taken the time to revisit Penang with our little one ... Until this weekend.

I remember our first trip to Penang in 2007 when hubby and myself didn't know where to go for good food. We followed a magazine guide which pointed us to weird places and I didn't want to do that again. Fast forward after many years in KL, we have gained new friends and knowledge on where to go. I returned to Penang a few times mostly for work, which means local colleagues did the leading to small corner restaurants that had the best char kway teow and etc food in Penang. Honestly I cannot keep up with all those places they introduced and can't remember where they are.

This March 2012, we stayed at Hard Rock Hotel Penang at their lagoon room, which proved to be worthy of our time and effort driving. Surprisingly the charm of being able to jump into the pool straight from our room appealed to the whole family. We arrived late evening on a Friday night. Come morning, I was pleasantly surprised with the beach & pool view from our room. I highly recommend the rooms 101 to 104 for privacy, quiet and great views.

The highlight for my little one was the water slide and water sprays at their children's pool. She had a grand time there. Plus she also enjoyed splashing away at the balcony of our room.

It was a 4-hour drive from our Mont Kiara home in KL. the only part which was traffic was when we reached Penang bridge entering Penang itself.

My local friends brought us out to dinner, which was a relief because we didn't want to eat all our meals at Hard Rock hotel. Dinner adventure included places like Northam Beach Cafe (lots of locals and different booths) and we also went to Tsunami seafood cafe one evening. Other meals were lunch at the Pizzeria at Hard Rock poolside and another at a Japanese restaurant called Edo Ichi (on out back to KL).

The beach of Penang wasn't that great (as expected). The huge pool was the highlight of our 2-nights stay.

For a short fix out of KL, this is one of the places to consider. The only downside is the traffic inside Penang itself, which reminded me of Manila's traffic.
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