Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

 

After close to a week in Taunton, HB drove us to Wembley in London. We chose to go to Wembley as my aunt lives there and we wanted to visit her. I had also wanted to restock my Asian food supplies; abundant in Wembley! 😀 Funnily enough, I have less than ten pictures of Wembley as we spent most of our time in my aunt’s house before we went out to hit the shops, and I was too gobsmacked by it all till I forgot to take any pictures!

 

I don’t quite remember the area my aunt brought us to in Wembley, but good gosh, it reminded me of Brickfields in KL! Except it was like 5 times bigger or so. There were Indian stores all around, Indian restaurants like the ones in Malaysia, goldsmiths, little shops selling phone cards, grocery stores, beauty salons (they have threading there!!!!) etc. And no, I didn’t go for the threading as I had my eyebrows waxed in Taunton for 5 pounds. 😉 So I was a happy little camper, squealing at every recognizable foodstuff I saw. Baba’s curry powder, Alagappa’s curry powder, frozen roti canai and curry puffs, dried chillies, acar (pickles), MAGGI MEE,  anchovies (IKAN BILIS!!!!!) and also the dried prawns (hae bee). I tell you, they have everything imaginable. I felt like I was transported back home to Malaysia. After getting my fix of Indian spices and what not, I politely asked the ever obliging aunt to bring me to the Chinese Supermarket! 😀

 

And off we went to Hoo Hing. It’s a BIG supermarket that houses every Oriental foodstuff/ingredient imaginable. There were mooncakes at promotional prices, and upon closer inspection, it said “Made in Malaysia” 😉 I toyed with the idea of getting a box, but it was just too heavy and would take up too much space in our luggage. So I sadly put the box back at its spot 😦

 

Hoo Hing had tonnes of stuff, from frozen dim sum to koay teow, chee cheong fun noodle, every sauce imaginable, herbs etc. There were all kinds of Chinese vegetables, kailan, siew pak choy etc. And the crabs!!! The lobsters!! They were humongous! They even had an in-house restaurant, but it was closed that day. So we did the next best thing and tapau-ed food from their deli. Aunt bought some char siew and siew yoke. Slurps 🙂

 

I realized I didn’t take a picture of my loot from Wembley, so I snapped a couple a minute ago 😉

 

The loot

The loot

 

 

My precious foodstuff

My precious foodstuff

 

As you can see, I have both Indian and Chinese foodstuff. Some of the stuff I bought :

 

  • Lingham’s Chilli Sauce
  • Baba’s Fish Curry Powder
  • Fish pickles
  • Star Anise
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Dried Curry Leaves
  • Dried Chillies
  • Ikan bilis (anchovies)
  • Dried shrimp (hae bee)
  • Lotus seeds
  • Dried Chestnuts
  • Angelica roots
  • Dried bean curd
  • Black bean sauce
  • Salted soy beans

 

One important thing that I forgot to buy; BELACAN! 😦

 

It was quite a feat, trying to fit everything into our suitcases. I was most afraid that the bottles would break. Or that the customs would stop us. My fears were not unfounded though, as our handluggage was MANUALLY checked in Frankfurt airport, and we had to go through an unprecedented TWO security (metal detectors etc) checkpoints. So that makes THREE checks. And boy was I a nervous wreck when we reached Bologna airport, as the customs officers were staring intently at all passengers coming through. But thankgoodness we were not stopped. 😀

 

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wembley. Aunt had a spare room, but my other aunt from London was staying over, and hence we didn’t want to trouble her. The Crowne Plaza was really nice, and surprisingly cheaper than it’s more modest Holiday Inn counterpart.

 

Crowne Plaza Wembley

Crowne Plaza Wembley

 

The picture above was taken during our weekend stay in Wembley. The picture below is of Crowne Plaza too, but when we stayed there the night below flying from Heathrow.

 

Crowne Plaza Wembley

Crowne Plaza Wembley

 

I really liked their colour scheme, soothing browns and tasteful accents all around.

 

And here’s a last picture I took in Wembley. This picture was taken from my aunt’s house, and that white thing you see is part of Wembley Stadium.  Really close by isn’t it?

 

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium

 

Had Michael Jackson performed as scheduled for his This Is It tour, I wonder if my aunt would have been able to hear it. 😛

Read Full Post »

Taunton, UK

I’ve decided to write about our trip to UK in several installments, simply because there are too many pictures.

 

My UK posts will therefore be divided into three:

Taunton, Somerset

– Wembley, London

– Cardiff, Wales

 

We landed in Heathrow, and HB drove from Heathrow to Taunton, Somerset, some supposedly 4 hours away. The drive was a looooong one and took much longer than 4 hours as there was HORRENDOUS traffic in between. I thought KL had the worst traffic in the world. Not.

 

Somerset is down south, and is basically the countryside. It was a breath of fresh air to see the fields, cows, sheep and horses. For some strange reason, I find their cows really cute. Furry and healthy and….cute 😛 Especially the black and white ones. I was hoping to spot a cow with a bell around its neck. Didn’t see one 😛

 

View on the way to Taunton

View on the way to Taunton

 

 

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Taunton. It was an alright hotel. The thing I like about travelling is that it opens your eyes to so many things that you take for granted. For instance, in Malaysia, we are used to having a huge buffet spread at hotel breakfasts. But in the UK, all you get is the ubiquitous English Breakfast. I had it for two weeks straight. I can close my eyes and tell you the placement/setting of each item on the buffet table.

 

In correct order:  Classic Sausages, Cumberland Sausages, Black Pudding (!!), Hash Browns, Grilled Mushrooms, Grilled Tomatoes, Baked Beans, Scrambled Eggs. On the chilled section of the buffet, you have the fruit salad, compote, yoghurt, cheeses, tomato juice, cranberry juice. And of course, you also have the toast and cereal.  Got really tired of it in the end. But it was actually quite yummy. It’s just that having the same thing day in and day out makes you a little “jelak”.

 

On the other hand, service by the hotel staff in UK is tonnes better than service you get in Malaysia. The staff greet you with a smile, and are well-trained and knowledgeable.

 

The first night, HB and I both decided we would have INDIAN FOOD 😀 We asked a member of staff at the Front Desk and he gave us a map and even suggested the best Indian restaurant in the area. It was a Sunday and the town was DEAD. There were hardly any people around. We parked the car a distance away, and walked around to find the restaurant. In the end, it got a little too chilly, and we got a little too hungry, and we chose another Indian restaurant. There were quite a number of Indian restaurants and plenty of Chinese Takeaways. No wonder they say that the the national food of the English is Chicken Tikka Masala >_____<

 

So we got into this restaurant, and the HB ordered his favourite Peshwari Naan, and I ordered the Keema Naan to go with my Lamb Vindaloo. I forgot what dish the HB ordered. It was chicken though. Anyway, the Naan wasn’t all that good. Not crispy enough and too oily. But the vindaloo, WOOT, it was HOTTTTTTT. As in super pedas.

 

Pappadums for starters

Pappadums for starters

 

Yes, the Indians don’t normally eat their food this way; pappadums for starters, but it’s actually quite nice to nibble on the pappadums with the condiments while waiting for the mains to arrive. The condiments consisted of mint raita, acar, tomato chutney and chopped onions.

 

And as usual, thats the ONLY picture of the food I captured that night. Hahahhahahaha. 😀 😛 The rest of the food arrived, and the rest is history. Told you I make an awful food blogger 😉

 

Over the next few days while the HB went to work, I traipsed through the housing estate, little lanes and what not, and I was MIGHTY pleased with myself when I found my way to town! On foot! Shops galore! Lol.

 

Outside the hotel - Love the lavender!

Outside the hotel - Love the lavender!

 

And as I walked through the lanes and housing area, I was reminded of the story books I read as a child. Mr.Twiddle, Mr.Meddle, The Magic Faraway Tree.

 

Am pretty sure these are blackberries

Am pretty sure these are blackberries

 

There were berries growing in the bushes, and I was pretty sure they were blackberries. I did not pick them however, coz I know that some berries can be toxic. If you’re not sure, never pick them I say.

 

 

Beefeater Lodge

Beefeater Lodge

 

Quaint little lodge with delicious smells wafting in the air.

 

Someone's garden

Someone's garden

 

I was very cautious about taking pictures in the UK as I didn’t want to risk being sued for some reason or other.

 

Beautiful red flowers

Beautiful red flowers

 

I wonder how much effort the English people put into their gardens. They were really pretty. This one stood out because of its bright red flowers. I was across the road and I stopped to take a quick picture, and scarily enough, someone looked out of the window on the left, directly at me. I half expected a loud yell, and I hastily walked away 😛 *shady eyes*

 

Taunton town itself is a small one. One thing I noticed is that there are MANY young mothers in the UK. I wonder if they are single mums, considering the fact that the UK has the highest number of single mothers in the world. It was a little strange seeing the mums in totally trendy attire, heavy makeup,  walking with a bunch of other young girls. Only difference is that they were pushing a pram with a baby in it.

 

Old Pig Market

Old Pig Market

 

I thought this was pretty funny. Old Pig Market. I wonder whether its a market where they sell old pigs, or whether it is an old market that sells pigs. 😀

 

Church

Church

 

Check out the enforcement officer who was issuing summons to cars parked there.

 

Holly bush

Holly bush

 

 

Holly Berry

Holly Berry

 

Did you know that the Halle Berry Holly Berry (sorry, couldn’t resist that :P) is mildly toxic and would cause vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested by people? Funnily enough, they are vital food for numerous species of birds. That’s why I say, if you don’t know your berries, they can be berry dangerous! 😛 😀

 

And that’s about it for my Taunton installment. I hope I will be able to post the London and Cardiff entries before we move house, else there won’t be any Internet for me. I’m already dreading that.

Read Full Post »

Gosh, I’m up to my ears with so many things! Moving house is no easy feat. Couple that with another new house to deal with, movers, painters, new classes for me and arghh, lack of blogging is what you get. There are days when the HB and I come home so exhausted, we just want to crash. I haven’t even been checking my email regularly lately, and that says a lot for a Netaholic like me.

 

Anyhoo, I figured I would post a sneak preview of the house before my UK entries. There are so many pictures to edit but so little time! And worse still, I may be deprived of my Net connection soon when we move house and disconnect everything. Knowing the Italian system, it may be ages till I get my Net back at the new place. Boo hoo.

 

The lights and kitchen have not been mounted yet although they are ready. I will post a full entry on the totally completed house once they’re all ready. In the meantime, here it is, my current favourite part of the new house, my bathroom! 😀 The glass door to the shower has not been fixed and the walls have not been painted. But I LOVE it already nonetheless.

 

My bathroom

My bathroom

 

Toilet bowl and bidet – Pozzi Ginori

Rain shower – Tender Rain

Shower tap – Grohe

 

I especially love the concealed cistern and the very Zen looking tiles that go well with the mosaic in the shower.

 

Floral tiles to match plain tiles

Floral tiles to match plain tiles

 

And on the floral part of the tiles, we will mount the bathroom cabinet/sink.

 

Can’t wait to see how it looks like once the lights and sink are fixed 😀

Read Full Post »

Back!

I’m back from my little holiday, and boy-oh-boy do I have lots to write about!

 

England and Wales were lovely! I’ve gained TWO Kilos in a span of two weeks from all that eating; English Breakfasts, Indian Food etc. Arghhh! It was a wonderful two weeks, although we had some “incidents” disturbing our sleep, nope, not of the supernatural type, but of the fire-alarm-evacuation type 😀 More on that later.

 

In the meantime, the HB and I are super busy with the house, we should be moving house in two weeks time! We paid a visit to the new place yesterday and *insert bimbotic squeal here* I LOVEEEE the way it looks now, especially the bathrooms. They totally exceeded my expectations. I’m super happy with our choice of tiles and what-not.

 

I have FIVE loads of laundry to do, and surprise, surprise, it’s pouring outside. With weather like this, I might as well be staying in London 😀 😛 Gotta run now, tonnes to wash and pack and clean. Stay tuned for updates!

Read Full Post »