Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Norwex Hype

I admit. I am such a sucker

I saw some friends posting about this magical cleaning cloth and thought to myself, "I shall give it a go too". I just wanted to know what it is all about. I guess it is the FOMO (fear of missing out) in me.

I ended up purchasing almost RM400 worth of cleaning cloth. Mind you, I have a maid (who has been with me for almost 5 years) and I hardly do any cleaning myself. Why do I even need to spend on a cleaning cloth? This almost RM400 only got me less than 5-6 items. Hence that's why people call this "kain from kayangan".

I laughed at myself when it arrived because it is the last thing I would usually buy. I laughed at myself because it is too funny for me to process the logic behind this purchase but like I said, FOMO got the best of me (and my credit card).

I have no self control at all, do I? I need to also put a disclaimer before I continue with this post. First of all, I hardly ever clean because my maid does all that. My house is usually pretty clean and we have been using ordinary cloth that probably cost RM15 for a pack of 5 or something like that. (When I say "we", I mean my maid. I dont clean much!)Secondly, because of that, I am in no position to compare but just for fun, I'm going to do it anyway. Let's put it this way, if you give me 2 pieces of cloth side by side, I probably wouldnt be able to tell you the difference. I guess I am that hopeless.

I tried the Norwex makeup removal cloth set and to me, it is such a waste of money. The cloth is small and it is supposed to remove your makeup without using any cleanser. If I had used an ordinary cloth and use water, I am sure the results would be the same too. Did the Norwex cloth do what it is supposed to do? Yes, it does. However, you will get the same result (makeup free skin) with oil cleanser and a regular cloth. Yes it is soft but my muslin cloth that I purchase from Mothercare to wipe my face is just as effective and a lot cheaper. My conclusion for this is, use an oil cleanser instead. Skin feels much cleaner and it removes makeup very easily. I dont think I can go on life using just cloth and water to remove makeup and impurities in my face. I dont think it is clean enough despite what they say. 

I also purchase the cloth to clean the bathroom. For the first time, I actually spent quite some time cleaning my bathroom that one day. Yes my bathroom mirror looked cleaner and yes it does get the job done. However, I still feel like I can achieve the same result using a regular cloth that is probably 10x cheaper. With the Norwex cloth, I still had to scrub things off. I am sure if I were to take the regular cloth, I would be scrubbing the same. 

My conclusion is, buy it if you must but dont expect magic. It does work and it can do the job but so does the other cloth in the market at a fraction of its price. Will I be spending more on Norwex? Perhaps yes. But maybe I shouldnt. 

Online Vs Traditional School

It is no competition. Traditional school is of course better in every possible way. Let's be clear of that.

Since March 2020, we have been on online school. Some days are great but some days I wonder if we should even bother attending them. Most of the time, I just wish and pray it would end and my kids can go back to physical school. They miss their friends.

Back in March, after being in lockdown for a while and not having any interactions with their friends and teachers, they were both very excited to see them online. I remember the first week of online class. No one was actually learning anything as they were just excited to see their friends and not focusing at all. Teachers also struggled to keep the class quiet before they discovered how to mute everyone.It was a learning process for all. It is not easy for everyone involved and certainly not an ideal environment. 

Parents are struggling to find a spot for the kids to do the class. Imagine having more than 1 kid. It is so hard to walk around the house when class is in session too. We have to mind our conversations because the other side could be listening and it can be distracting. I've heard so many parents talking in the background many times. I've even heard them shouting and screaming to their staff too(they were working from home). There's also connectivity problems here and there that parents need to be on top of because I can promise you there will be at least once when they cant connect due to poor wifi. We have to be on standby. My new job this year is IT Support. Gosh I hate this title so much!

Kids are struggling because online classes can get really boring sometimes. It is not the same as being in school. Getting the help from teachers is harder to do online than offline. Distractions at home too when the fridge(and snakcs) are just a feet away. They're constantly snacking throughout class and it is not so simple to just stop them from getting drinks during class. 

Teachers are struggling too. It is so much easier to manage a class on site than online. You dont know who is paying attention and who just doze off when you're online. Bless them. They do try and I do feel for the teachers. It is really not easy. They also miss the kids a lot. Most teachers will tell you that they prefer traditional school too.

On top of everything else..... we pay school fees to have our kids in school and getting all the benefits of being there. Some schools dont offer much discount. Parents are paying more to keep their kids home. Yes, their safety is number 1 in everything but we cant discount the fact that we are paying for something we are not getting 100%. 

I wish schools would be more understanding to the fact that online class is not for everyone. Some parents requested to pull their kids out of school (and not attend online class at all) but this is not allowed by most schools. The standard withdrawal procedure would apply in such cases but we are living in Covid time here. Shouldnt they take this into consideration too? Most schools are money making machine and fortunately for them, despite this pandemic they are still making money. I dont think this is fair.

For me, I am grateful that we have an option to send our kids to online school because most arent so lucky. Government school kids dont really have this option and some dont even have electronic devices to support online lessons. So yes, I am grateful that we still have this option BUT I feel the pain in the pocket having to pay so much for something that shouldnt necessarily cost this much. We dont have that option to just opt out at this point but if we did, maybe I might just opt for that. My kids wont miss much academically if I take them out of school completely. I'm not worried about that. For me, the social aspect of school is important too. But like I said, the policy and procedures that we have to follow is such, we cant do that.

I miss seeing my kids playing with their friends in person. They interact and play with their friends online daily but it isnt the same. I miss sending them off to school and listening to their stories when I pick them up. I miss seeing them do stuff other than being on their devices all day every day. 

Covid, please go away!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2020 in review

Just like that, 2020 is almost coming to an end. I cannot believe December is coming to an end and soon, we will be welcoming a brand new year. 2021.

I feel quite sad that we didnt get to do much this year. Felt like we were waiting for 2020 for ages and was so hopeful that it was going to turn out to be so great but in the end, it was such a let down. 

We started our year really well. Back in January 2020, we welcomed the new year in Bangkok and had an amazing time with the family. My kids also had a really nice time with their cousins there. Although there were reports of Covid-19, it wasnt really a big deal back then. We had no clue what was coming. We travelled to Desaru and Singapore too in January. At that time, Covid-19 stories were already detected in Singapore and Johor. We were worried but still, we didnt know how serious it was going to get. I remember Singapore malls were quieter than usual and some people were already wearing masks. At that time, we were still walking around Singapore without masks on. I dont know how to do that anymore. How much things have changed since then.

In February 2020 we were busy preparing for our Mekah trip. It was a journey to remember for me and it was truly one of the most humbling experience of my life. I was blown away by that trip and enjoyed every bit of it. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps and I cant wait to go back there. While we were in Mekah, the pandemic started getting more serious. Arab Saudi decided to suspend all entry for pilgrims visiting the holy sites while we were there. Some of them were already in Jeddah airport and was asked to return. How lucky were we that we arrived only a few days before that happened. I believe, we were really the chosen ones to be there. MasyaAllah. 25 February 2020 is also an important date for me because it was the first time I wore the hijab (to the airport for my Umrah) and I have not taken it off since. I would like to keep and remember this date as the date of my hijrah.

We arrived in KL in March and we had plans to travel to Paris and London during the easter break in April. It was supposed to be amazing to celebrate my mil turning 80. But Malaysia went into lockdown in March just 2 weeks after we arrived back from Mekkah. All the plans we had for this amazing 2020 went down the drain. March 2020 was the first time we had to be in proper lockdown. Police and army seen everywhere even in malls. Going to the supermarket to get groceries was like going to war. It was terrifying. An experience we will never forget.

April was a sad month for me as it was my first experience with death of a close family member. In my 40 years of age I've been blessed to have all my family members with me. I have never experienced real grieve till I was 40(turning 41). You would think that one will be more mature and strong at 40 when dealing with grieve and death but trust me, it is just as hard if not harder. I cried and cried lots that month. I lost the most amazing person in my life. I lost my dear grandma. Someone so dear to me. My biggest fear finally came true that month. It was painful but I am happy that I was there and I got to say my goodbye despite being in lockdown. Al-fatihah Tokmi. You will always have a special place in my heart and I will continue to pray for you till the day we reunite again, InsyaAllah.

Ramadhan this year was probably one of the best Ramadhan for me because I felt like I've done more ibadah than I ever did. I tried to do my terawikh every night and read the Quran more than I ever did. I got myself a digital Quran too and that helped me a lot in my reading. 

In May we celebrated Raya in the new normal. It was a quiet one. In a way it was ok because we were all still grieving. It was our first raya without my grandma. It was hard. For the first time, kids didnt get to celebrate with their cousins. Raya felt like just another day. I didnt even get new raya outfits for the family. For the first time, we didnt have colour coordinated raya outfits, which is a shame because that has been a tradition for many years. The Raya mood was gone.

June, July and August is always a busy month for us because it is our birthday months. One after another. It was pretty low-key but memorable nonetheless. The kids had some friends over for their birthdays and that itself was a nice time for the kids as they haven't seen their friends in months. 

August this year was also a huge milestone for my kids as they moved to a new school. We were very excited and really enjoying the new school very much but our excitement was short-lived because the government announced another lockdown after the Sabah elections. I was so pissed that they had to go back to online classes only just a month after being in the new school. Such a bummer that was.

September went by so fast too. I turned 41! *cries* Alhamdulillah for all the blessings in my life. Although I always have to order my own birthday cake every year (rolls eyes) but I am happy that I am surrounded by good wonderful people in my life especially my husband and family. I celebrated my birthday with people dearest to me and I couldnt ask for more.

On the 2nd of October, my birthday gift arrived. Yay!!! I've been waiting for you for months. 

I also finally got to see my brother and his family. They moved to London for a year (to do his Masters) and we've missed them so much. They're now back in KL for good and I finally got to meet my new baby nephew. Baby Yusof is just too adorable for words. I love that boy so much.

November went by really quickly too. We were going about our usual routine most of the time. I wondered many times if this semi-lockdown will ever end as cases kept rising. I couldnt celebrate my mom's birthday but we spent some time with her at my brother's place and that was fun seeing my nephews and mom. A friend of mine invited me for lunch one day at her new place and that was a lot of fun too seeing everyone to catch up. Small gatherings with dearest friends and family always puts me in a good mood. Something we took for granted pre Covid days. Now that we dont get to do it much, each time we meet we treasure those moments a lot more.

December felt long somehow. The kids ended their online classes for this academic year and we are hopeful that school will reopen in January. Hopefully they will be able to return back to campus again. We had a short break to Legoland this month which was nice too. For the first time ever, theme park was empty and for the first time, we didnt have to queue to get on the rollercoaster, which was a lot of fun for the kids. 

Despite this challenging year, I think we've all done pretty well this year. We all had our ups and downs. Some can be testing to the core but alhamdulillah, we made it! Let's pray for a better year in 2021. 

Happy New Year everyone. May Allah protect us all and bless us abundantly always. 

Croisserie Artisan Bakery, Damansara Heights

We've been coming here for breakfast and their pastry for the past few years. It is located on Jalan Medan Setia 2 in Damansara Heights and few doors away from another popular restaurant HuckleBerry and Gravy Baby. We used to come here almost everyday for breakfast after dropping off the kids to school but since we moved, we dont come here so often anymore. But whenever we miss it, we would drop by. It is recently renovated and since the renovation, it has been busier than ever! Business must be good for them as there is always a long queue outside this little cafe.

I'm not big on bakery but I do love it here. We love their plain croissant and absolutely love the one with ham and cheese too. It is really good. 

Other than their croissant, I also love their beef bacon Quiche. I also love their Pain Au Chocolat. I love their sugar donuts too. For someone who is not big on bakeries, I seem to love a lot of their stuff, dont I?

They have a huge selection and so far, everything on their menu is really good. 

I love their latte although it is more on the bitter side. I've tried their hot chocolate and it is really good and rich too. It does reminds me of the hot chocolate in Paris. 

Everything is good about this place EXCEPT for 3 things. 

1. It is difficult to find parking around the area. You may have to make a few rounds before you can find parking. An alternative is to park at the underground area at Republik which is about 3 minutes walk to Croisserie. 

2. It is pretty expensive. I guess they use really premium ingredients. But ya, it is not cheap. 

3. It is always full. You may need to queue up. They have limited seating areas too. I dont think you can make reservation so if you want to go, please go early. 

Other than that, this is definitely our favourite bakery in town!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

RGB @ The Beanhive Jalan Damai


My favourite thing to do in the morning is my breakfast with my other half. We have our favourite places to go and as usual, (IF Only is one of them) and we always order the same thing every time. This morning, we decided to explore this other cafe near our house. 

When we reached the cafe, to be honest we were skeptical. It doesnt look pretty. Should we go in or just go back to If Only? But I insisted we check it out as the reviews arent too bad. It is located on Jalan Damai. Jalan Damai is an old area in KL city where you find big old houses. Some of these bungalows we turned into restaurants and there was a spa too that I used to go to once upon a time ago. But I heard the residents werent too happy about it and these restaurants shut down. We havent been to this side of town for quite a few years and I was pleasantly surprise to find this hidden cafe on Jalan Damai. 

My first impression was "They must have good coffee here". Not knowing that RGB stands for Rather Good Beans. duhh! They have quite a lot of stuff on their menu. They have pizza, spaghetti and Big Breakfast. I guess you can say there's something for everyone. I might just bring my kids here someday. 

We ordered a Latte and a Picolo and they were both very good I must say. It was very very good. We also ordered their Big Breakfast to share.

When it came, I wasnt all that impressed. I guess the presentation could be better. The sunny side up eggs looked like something my 10 year old could make. But overall, it tasted pretty good. I particularly enjoy the beans because it had chickpeas in it. It was quite nice. 

Plenty of seating area inside or outside the restaurant. We were there in the morning and there werent too many people but by the time we left, the parking area was full. I'm glad I discovered this quiet and hidden little cafe. I'm not sure if I will come back for the food but I will come back for the latte for sure!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Adopt a Butterfly

A friend of mine posted about adopting a butterfly once and I was intrigued. I've always wanted my kids to learn and see the whole process but somehow didnt know where to get it from. I contacted the Butterfly Reptile and ordered the Pupa Set for my kids. 

This package is awesome because it comes with everything you need. I got 2 sets of this for each child. My daughter wasnt all interested in the beginning but when the package arrived (about 5 days later), she was excited!

The packaging was also very pretty and each set comes with a handwritten note from the Butterfly Guardians which had their mobile number in case you need to Whatsapp them for advice or if you have any questions. 

This is how the Pupa looks like. My son's pupa is green and my daugther's is brown. My son named his "Bob" and my daughter named hers "HC" for Hot Choc. I gave her the idea. I'm always naming our pets after drinks. (Our cat is called Pepsi and our rabbits is Latte). I think it is so cute. 

All we needed to do is to spray the inside of the jar with water daily. Every day, we see something happening to the Pupa. After 2 days, my daughter's pupa became a beautiful butterfly. It wasnt moving much and we were worried to let it go so I texted our Butterfly Guardian and they said it is ready to leave. Bob became a butterfly 5 days later. It was so active and immediately we knew he was ready to leave. I love the experience and kids loved it too. I might just adopt a few more.

This is Hot Chocolate before it left us

Goodbye little butterfly........ now fly away

Sunday, December 13, 2020

If Only

 If only Covid-19 didnt happen, life would be a lot different wouldnt it?

Can you believe 2020 is almost over. I know I keep saying this but it's because I just cannot believe just how fast time flies.

In 2020, I discovered this little cafe in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Regal House in Taman U-Thant to be exact. It is just next to the US embassy and facing Jalan Tun Razak. So happy I found this cafe because it is one

of my favourite places to go for breakfast and with no traffic (during CMCO), it only takes me 7 minutes to get there from my house.

The cafe is really pretty. I love everything about it. Parking is easy too and there are plenty around the cafe BUT, it does get really busy especially for breakfast on the weekends. One time I got there at 10.30am and I saw a long queue and I had to detour somewhere else. If you're going to go, best to make reservations. Unless you are there early at 9am (like me!)

What's nice on the menu? Honestly, I dont know because I always order the same thing but I absolutely love their big breakfast. The best part about their Big Breakfast is the Avocado. This is coming from someone who doesnt eat Avocado - ever! I dont know what is so nice about it, but it just goes so well with everything on that plate. We usually share this as I dont think 1 person can finish such a big portion.

I also love their Latte. It is just how I like it. Other than the Big Breakfast and the latte, I've also tried their fresh juices and cold pressed juices. They're nice too. I also tried their Spaghetti. It was yummy.

If you're in Ampang or KL city and looking for a nice place to chill, do drop by If Only. You wont regret it! But dont forget to make reservations. They have pretty nice dinner menu too. 

If only I found this place sooner.....

But better late than never.