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Saturday, October 12, 2013

SSPN Dividend Rates

The table below is the dividend rates for Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Negara (SSPN) account. I opened an SSPN account in 2011 and the rates I have calculated are based on the dividend I received in my account statement.  That being said, please don't come asking me what were the rates before the year 2011 as I DO NOT know.

I made my calculation using simple arithmetic calculation based on the following formula. If I have the wrong formulation, please let me know and I shall correct it. I am after all not a very huge fan of numbers

Dividend Rates

To my knowledge, I have not come across the publication of the dividend rates in the SSPN or PTPTN official website. Thus I do not know if there is any difference in dividend rates based on the account balance. We do all know that most banks provide difference interest rates for different account balance and/or account types at the end of each calendar month. Does this apply to SSPN or not, I do not know this either.


YearDividend Rates
20110.83%
20122.05%

By looking at the table above, it is quite obvious that saving with SSPN is not really a good choice as at the moment most banks offer higher interest rates for school going children. In addition to that, some banks offer cash incentive for account holders who score A(s) in their standard 6 UPSR examination. The only reason I open an SSPN account for my daughter is the tax relief I get. Otherwise, I think it would be a better decision to save with a bank.

For those of you who are interested to know the subsequent years of dividend rates, you can check back this blog post next year. I will update this particular page annually. HOWEVER, please know that SSPN IS an extended arm of the government body hence their rapidity in tabulating the dividend for all members is just... typical government pace. So even though the dividend are given out on January 1 (as per statement) but the updates will not occur until March or April. In simple words, "If you want to know 2013 dividend rates, come back in April 2014 onwards, comprendre?"

Monday, September 30, 2013

Big Bad Wolf Annual S-A-L-E 2013

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 6-15 Dec 2013
I missed out on their sale December last year because I only knew about it the last minute. And being an Apache Helicopter Mother, there is no way I would allow some random homo sapien to take care of my child. I would have been an active blogger if I could get someone to babysit for a few hours a day. But it will not happen... At least for now.

Planning to get one of those cuddly cloth books for my little one

Anyway, this year's annual mega sale is in The Mines. I am still scratching my head on how to get there. Malaysian public transport is really pathetic and Malaysian taxis are blood sucking leaches though good ones are as rare as unicorns. It just ponders me, developers seems to have not understood the meaning of public transportation. Its like the last thing in their mind!

Right: Keepsakes for the little fingers and little toes

By the way, back in April, I got really really lucky to be given a preview pass. This means I will be shopping there a day earlier (5th December 2013)! Yes, lucky me! I have to thank The Big Bad Wolf for their gracious pass. Gracias señor Black Paw! I can vouch to you that no book sale is as cheap as theirs! Another reason I support The Big Bad Wolf very much is that their presence has made other book stores constantly slash their price. Which only means without the Big Bad Wolf, we'd be paying for books at ridiculous prices all year long!

Big Bad Wolf in Penang April 2013

Now I am not sure if they are going to give out anymore passes but there is no harm stalking their Facebook page for chances to win. But even if you don't get these passes its okay; you still have 9 days of burring into every book. Well, below are the books that I've bought when the Big Bad Wolf came to Penang in April this year. I foresee that I may burn a big whole in my Fossil wristlet. By the way, did I mention that this year their sales is going to be 230 hours of non-stop sale? 

Apparently MIECC is across Serdang KTM station, you can walk

For those of you who are in Penang and wish to attend this event, I recon you consider taking a flight. A check with Air Asia for the first week of December PEN-KL (LCCT) is MYR35.50 per person while Fireflyz PEN-SBZ (Subang Airport) is MYR35.00 per person. Technically it's better than taking a bus. But then you'll face the headache of dragging your books, bags and bum between the airport and MIECC.

Big Bad Wolf Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/bbwbooks
Big Bad Wolf website - http://www.bigbadwolfbooks.com
Directions to MIECC - http://miecc.mines.com.my/aboutus_location.asp
Fireflyz website - http://www.fireflyz.com.my
Air Asia website -  http://www.airasia.com/my/en/home.page

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TheLilacBox Perks: Crabtree & Evelyn

I am no Scrooge. I am an opportunist. ~ Waileng (Me)

There are great benefits on being TheLilacBox fan, even though you did not subscribe to their premium product filled beauty box. As for myself, I only subscribe to two boxes but get equal opportunity for conditional freebies and to join contests as any other loyal fans.

My purchase from Crabtree & Evelyn
Anyway, last August the good guys at TheLilacBox posted a surprise voucher for Crabtree & Evelyn via their Facebook page. The voucher entitles one to a sample of lotions and a bar of soap with any purchase (see what I mean with conditional freebie). Unfortunately this voucher expired on the 31st of August 2013. Yes, a big boo-hoo-hoo because it is now near end September! My apologies for this post to be publish rather late. But there is no need to fret as this Lilac Surprise (as they call it) is not a one off case; there will be many more offers like this with other premium brands. And do not discount the possibly of another Crabtree & Evelyn voucher in future. If you fancy the particular brand you see is being posted on TheLilacBox Facebook page, just print the voucher and follow the instructions for redemption. If you are not to be fond of that particular brand, no harm done.

Crabtree & Evelyn Citron Crème & Honey MYR35
Now back to voucher redemption. I have become aware that most (if not all) beauty counters in Malaysia will require you to purchase a large quantity of products (usually by the worth of hundreds if not thousands of Ringgit) before they grudgingly part some minuscule amount of samples. And because of this, I have boycott some brands as their sales staff turn out to be overzealously hard selling! It truly annoys me that these samples are intended for customers and prospective ones; yet the sales assistant horde them like Gollum and his precious little ring!

This is where vouchers like this one courtesy of TheLilacBox comes into play. It sort of becomes my Gandalf staff to dispel the Gollum syndrome. I bought a small tube of lip butter in citron crème and honey worth MYR35 and received 3 sachets of lotion and a bar of soap for free! Though I must add that the employees at Crabtree & Evelyn Queensbay Mall branch were not as Gollumish as I anticipated; they attended to me well mannered equal to the other customers before me who bought a whole lot more than I did!

Crabtree & Evelyn - the conditional freebies!
Even though this company is originally American, their products are very much inspired from across the Atlantic. Crabtree & Evelyn body lotion are all relatively mild yet every bit smelling like an English garden; unlike some brands of lotion or perfume that can be “in your face” noxious to your nostrils. Of the 3 sample lotion I received I love the smell of the Tarocco Orange body lotion in all probability due to my liking toward citrus. In addition to that, I now am inclined to add this product into my shopping list. Still I shall hold back my purse and wait for a good offer where I can get a chunk load of free samples with my intended purchase…

To learn more about TheLilacBox you can visit their website http://www.thelilacbox.com/ and follow on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thelilacbox for more goodies

Monday, September 23, 2013

A VERY Early Christmas Present

I know it is only mid September; but there are shop up and about settings up Christmas decoration already. My Christmas present arrived late August, which may sound very early, yet so late – four years late to be exact. Confused?

Math Magic Board game my Magic Gamewerks
Way back in Christmas 2009, I blogged about Math Magic being on my Christmas wish list; a board game that looks like scrabble except the alphabets are replace with numbers. The tile is triangular quartered with numerals in each quarter. The color code on each quarter represents a mathematical operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Players are required to match color for color and the sum of the matching pieces becomes the score. Naturally, the player with the highest score is the ultimate winner. But as you can guess, I had a hard time finding this board game. Trust me when I say no departmental store OR supermarket sells this game.

Fast forward to July 2013 and in popped a notification on my blog dashboard of a comment to that particular blog post. It was from Jimmy Yeoh, the creator of the game. While I did not have the opportunity to talk to him in person, he was generous enough to give me a lengthy explanation via email. Stories on the sequence of events that led to this game going MIA. Suffice to say, I learned a lot in one email. How the departmental store industry actually works (I only had a vague, myth-filled idea previously) and the not-so-complicated network mentality of the Malay$ian Mini$try of Education.

Mathematical operations are all based on memory, but not all of us are born to be copier machines. I know of a few Mensa members and one of them (he was my classmate) told me bluntly that his success in school was merely because his ability to cramp textbooks into his brains faster and for a longer period compared to other average student like me. It’s just a nice way for him to say that I have lousy memory. Which I won’t deny as throughout my schooling days (aged 7-18) I have been to 3 different primary schools and 3 different secondary schools and TODAY I remember NONE of the school songs!
Math Magic board game by Magic Gamewerks
Honestly, I feel that this board game is a rare gem. It is very educational particularly for school going children. It is a fun way to learn math without the stress of facing your mathematics teacher giving her rendition of multiplication table sung in the tune of some wailing French opera. I reckoned that parents with home schooled children will also enjoy this board game to their daily activities.

For those of you who are interested in owning this board game, you don’t have to be like me and wait for 4 years. Jimmy finally has his own Facebook page (Magic Gamewerks) or you can contact him via email (jimagic46@yahoo.com) to purchase.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Illustrations, Pictures and the Real McCoy

Real hat, image of a hat and illustration of a hat
One of my hubby’s kin is a kindergarten teacher. At the end of every school term, she’ll give my daughter some coloring workbooks which she got free from the distributor. This person (let’s call her Madam O for now) is rather generous when it comes to my daughter. Now I don’t talk to Madam O directly, unless it’s Hobson’s choice. I’ve offended her far too many times that I’ve almost used up my entire stash of get-out-of-jail-free-cards. You see, if you irritate Madam O; she will unforgiving send you straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred. But despite her extreme emotional hyper-sensitivity, Madam O can sometimes be nice like summer sunshine.

Now back to workbooks. Those workbooks given to my daughter are all illustrations of day to day objects. While some illustrations are pretty much straight forward, others can be quite confusing particularly for a two year old. I’ve watched numerous times how Madam O used these workbooks to teach my daughter new words. More often than not, my daughter ends up forgetting the name of the object after every two pages or so. Simply put, Madam O taught my daughter the using the conventional method of memorize and regurgitate. It was very obvious my daughter was struggling to grasp what Madam O was trying to teach her and my little baby vents her frustration with high pitch baby shriek.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t stop Madam O? Please reread paragraph one above. Madam O is an obstinate and selfish woman. Instead of offending her (yet again) with my observation, might as well share it mothers out there who would appreciate. But I won’t blame Madam O entirely as that was how she was taught in school and also how she was trained.

I’ve noticed my daughter loves hands on approach. She learns faster and remembers better. It was apparent during our trip to Perth last year at Caversham Wildlife Park where we all saw, touched and pet kangaroo and koala for the first time. Till this day, my daughter remembered how these two marsupials looked like and correctly identifies images, illustrations and even stuffed toys versions. But if we follow the current school system of teaching solely with illustration as opposed to images or real objects, I am almost certain I will end up having a very frustrated and clueless child!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[Reading] No Bed of Roses: The Rose Chan Story

Book cover: No Bed of Roses: The Rose Chan Story
I actually have two titles in my hand last month and coincidentally BOTH (yes, emphasis on b-o-t-h) books were erotica in genre. This book is about the legendary Rose Chan, Asia’s undisputed Striptease Queen. If you bravely stand in a crowd of youngsters born post 1980, and casually mention her name I bet no one would bat an eyelid or even turn their heads. But if that same crowd is pre-1980s babies, I can assure you a simple whisper of her name will make heads turn.  Because that was exactly what happened to ME at the bookstore!

This book was launched end July 2013 and sold in bookstores for MYR49.90. A few weekends ago, my regular bookstore had 15% discount slapped on the covers and I took the opportunity to grab a copy. Now the name Rose Chan was no alien to me, I’ve heard her name being mentioned numerous times. And it seems to me that her saying name is a forbidden as You-Know-Who (Lord Voldemort the baddie in Harry Potter series).

Anyway, I was at the bookstore and looking high and low as the bookstore was in utter mess due to a new batch of books that has just arrived. The store supervisor was running her fingers on her clip board when I interrupted her sheepishly asking for the biography on Rose Chan. She was totally clueless on who the Flower of Malaya was, because her expression was exactly like clueless minion (from Despicable Me movie). I had a tough time recalling the exact title or the author’s name. As the only think I know about that book (then) was “it’s a biography of Rose Chan, full stop”.

About two arm lengths away from me was a senior man (50 year old uncle I guess) who overheard me whisper the striptease goddess name and his head twisted around like an owl to my direction! I don’t know whose face bore closer resemblance to the winter Hokkaido monkey in a hot spring, his or mine. I do really wonder, such a name that could make old heads turn with a murmur.

I then quietly tailgate the supervisor into the biography section while she bombarded me with more questions about the book. The supervisor must have thought of me being queer as I fumbled in my explanation before I spotted the sepia mix cover sitting on the top shelf right on my eye level. I thanked her and apologized again for dragging her away from her duties, then headed straight to the payment counter with my eyes glued on the casher and nowhere else!

As I’ve mentioned I knew the name Rose Chan since a kid even though her demise in Penang on 26th of May in the year 1987 would mean I was still a diaper wearing toddler. But her life always intrigued me. I’ve heard my parents mention her when I was growing up and the newspapers printing articles of her. So this book does set some insight to who what where when and how this Soochow born dancer stole her name. Yes, apparently she stole a girl’s English name, who stole her fiancé.

Overall, I find this book a good read because it is about someone I know only by name and nothing more. It would however be a headache for those who are not well verse with a multiple mix of languages like Malay, Hokkien and Cantonese. Although some of the words do come with an English translation in brackets, I find it quite a task to grasp her heavily Chinese accent of Ingris

Monday, September 16, 2013

[Reading] Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

Image source: Fanpop.com

Thank you Jamie (TheThirtySomething) for sending me this digital copy of Fifty Shades!
I find that I’ve achieved quite an accomplishment last month alone with four books to fill up my hours as I struggle to eradicate my obsessed addiction on online games. And if I may I add, I have very much to thank this trilogy.

Honestly, I am really glad I got a digital copy of these books rather than paper back. I cannot imagine the embarrassment I have to endure while flipping this “mummy porn” while I wait for dear husband to finish his work. Or the stares and ogle I get for just holding these books in my hand! Might as well hold a mod-con copy of Playboy magazine into a clutch bag or messenger bag; or just wear a dress with montages of the Penthouse magazine covers? On second thought, I highly doubt anyone living within 50km radius of Province Wellesley would even know the existence of this title let alone the contents!

While critics were rather harsh on E.L. James’s style of writing, I find it very much a pleasant read. I loved it so much so that I ended up reading this book TWICE back to back! Contrary to what most of you may think, it was not the kinkery fuckery that made me read it for the second time, it’s the plot that I find appealing (to me at least). After all, who wouldn’t love a dashing young bachelor with an earning that would rival Donald Trump? Though I cringe at the thought of Christian Grey with chest hair! Ah yes, I am one of those who would get instant heart palpitation over Vin Diesel's chest at any given day.

But I guess the most eye rolling moment for all Fifty Shades fans is the announcement of the lead actor and actresses for this movie. Well, James was involved in the selection of the lead characters so we just have to trust her decision and hope for the best. As much as there is so much hype leading up to the production of a movie based on this novel, I am not one of them who look forward in watching this movie. The last two movie adaptations that I have watch and read the book was Marley and P.S. I Love you. And BOTH movies turn out to be spectacularly HORRIBLE and LAME! I won’t dwell on the details but when I read the books I cried buckets but didn’t even shed a tear in both movies.

After reading the first book I found myself puzzling on how an erotic book like this can find its way onto the shelves of Malaysia bookstore? I mean soft porn magazines are illegal; movies that are vulgar and contain nudity are either cut or banned all together. Yet a book that sends your brain cells into a frenzy of imagination goes scot free! I guess it is a good thing that this book is not banned as I find it rather entertaining. Perhaps in the near future we can see a spin off on Christian Grey – the younger days. Just like The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to Sex and the City.
Image source: Caraloren.com

Anyway a word of advice for those who have yet to buy and read Fifty Shades of Grey, please buy all three books! The first book ends in a cliffhanger and no one likes to be left high and dry… Forgive the pun. Secondly, you may or may not have kinkey feelings toward almost every single object on earth.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Online Shop Review: B&H Photo & Electronics Corp

Disclaimer: The reviews on the online shop are my personal experience while purchasing products/services. I do not get paid by the reviewed shop. I am not responsible for any loss, damage or loss of profits that may result from reading my review. In particular, I am unable to accept any responsibility or liability in the unlikely event of a dispute between vendor and purchaser. It is your (the reader's) responsibility alone to check the vendor's credibility, quality of merchandise and method of payment.

Name: B & H Photo and Electronics Corp. (USA)
URL: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
First Purchase: August 6, 2013

B&H Building in New York City
{Image Source: B&H}

I own a Panasonic GF1 camera and the biggest set back when using this camera happens outdoors. With the tropical afternoon sun, it is difficult for me to view from the LCD screen. To save time and hassle, I tend to take my pictures in a darker shade (under expose) then push the pictures to my hubby and have him "fix" my pictures on his computer. I guess it has happen one too many times my annoyance has begun to creep under his skin when suddenly one fine August morning, he told me he got me a view finder.

What I was looking for: External live view finder for Panasonic GF1
This particular view finder is actually available in Malaysia, HOWEVER the price for this little electronic add-on would cost me about MYR800 (approx USD245). So my hubby took on the effort to keep an eye out for this view finder and the moment he spots a sale, its click click click!
To our surprise, B&H was selling this view finder for only USD119.95 (approx MYR395) excluding shipping. Shipping this view finder from New York to Penang would cost me an additional USD50.03 (approx MYR160) via UPS.
UPS tracking: From New York to Penang
So with payment made, I sat in front of my computer and started "stalking" UPS website to see where my view finder went. It is quite fun to watch my electronic view finder move from New York to Germany, China and then wiggle its way to Penang. I must add that this view finder of mine as been to places I have not!
Package arrived via UPS
The last known location was August 9th which was a Friday. I thought it would arrive at our doorstep on Monday morning but nothing happened. Tuesday came and went without a sound and I began to feel anxious. By Wednesday afternoon, hubby received a call stating that his view finder is been withheld by customs and we are liable for tax. Hubby had to fork out MYR80.06 for government tax and service charge for UPS.Bottom line we paid MYR635.06 to have this view finder shipped in from the USA; which IS still cheaper than buying from local shops.

A large shipping box for a very small product
Will I buy from B& H again? If it is cheaper than what Malaysian stores are selling, then my answer is YES!
Electronic view finder with casing

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Best Buy World Malaysia Purchase: CK One 200ml EDT Spray

This is my most recent purchase from Best Buy World Malaysia. However if you go to Best Buy World Malaysia website at the moment, this perfume is currently unavailable. Probably I was the one who bought their last unit.

CK One 200ml bottle with pump
Anyway, for MYR190 for a 200ml bottle is considered reasonable especially in Malaysia where perfumes are sold at sky rocket prices. Yes, I know AMAZON and E-Bay is offering at much lower prices. But by the time I order and have it shipped here, the perfume will most likely get intercepted by Malaysian customs; I am pretty confident that I may end up paying more than MYR190!

I didn’t know that CK One was launched in 1994 until I did some research. And if you’re wondering if THIS bottle of perfume that I have has been kept since its’ launch, then you are mistaken. Based on the batch code on the bottle and the box (2306), this particular bottle was produced in 2nd November 2012. With 36 months of shelf life, this would mean I have a little over 2 years to empty this bottle before I embark on the next bottle of fragrance. After all, my last large sized of perfume bottle was also bought from Best Buy World Malaysia W-A-Y back in 2010!

CK One: Batch code on the box matches the bottle (2306)
Smell wise, I do love it very much. It is supposed to be a unisex fragrance but I feel it lean towards a feminine fragrance; like fresh fun and sporty girly kind of way. It has a citrus top note with musk base. If you spray too much of this fragrance, it will smell like an overbearing cologne! Probably it is why this 200ml bottle comes with an optional spray pump. A little sprit goes a long way. And just in case you are wondering how big this CK One 200ml bottle is, here I have a miniature CK One and the colossal bottle for comparison! Honestly speaking, I find the price of MYR190 for a 200ml branded fragrance is a real steal.


If you interested to embark on your first online shopping experience with Best Buy World Malaysia, do note that all new customers who sign up with Best Buy World Malaysia will be given 500 points (equivalent to MYR5 of shopping credit). What’s more, if you shop on your birthday month don’t forget to type “ baby” (i.e. January Baby if you are born in January) in the remarks box during check out to get 200 points. That’s not all. As an added bonus, every now and then Best Buy Word Malaysia will have double point promotion. Normal day to day purchase every one ringgit spent is equivalent to one point; however during double point promotion period every one ringgit spent is equivalent to two points. You can also earn points by writing a product review at their website. Each approved review will be given 100 points. And there is good news for bloggers too. Each product review on your blog linked to Best Buy World Malaysia entitles you to 500 points! Points earned can be converted to store credit with the conversion rate of one point equals MYR0.01. For more details, head on to Best Buy World Malaysia now!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lu Bu Tin, Er Mess, Lu Ee Vooi Ton

I know the title sounds Chinese pin yin. But that's how you pronounce Louboutin, Hermes and Louis Vuitton. Thou I consider myself a reasonably knowledge fashionista, some names can really get you tongue tied.

Anyway, enjoy this little video while I am off trying to get sober over my online game addiction. Yes, I'm hooked to online games yet again!
Video source: Max Law - Menswear fashion blogger

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Newbie's Cooking Quest

Have you ever have to drive someone to a destination you are not familiar with and depend 100% on the instructions of that person with you? All this while I thought directing the driver from point A to point B should be an easy task, but it's not. A CLOSE relative of my husband (and may I please reemphasis on the word CLOSE) was giving my dear husband directions to a friends home and nearly caused a ten car pile up at one of the busiest junctions of Bukit Mertajam, Penang. If you think I'm exaggerating, try decipher the meaning of "U-Turn to the left" and please keep in mind that Malaysian roads are left-hand traffic.

Mille crêpe in the making
Giving directions is very much the same as writing recipes. Any mistakes in instructions would bring you far away from your destination. While there is a reverse gear in driving, you can't undo what's overcooked. A kitchen novice like myself would very much love to follow instruction step by step, word for word with little or no improvisation. It really is a daunting task for an inexperience person like myself to check if my batter has too much or too little flour.

The beautiful Ochi-san greets you at the beginning of all her videos
Ochikeron is a Japanese blogger who dishes out recipes for people like me. She's the owner of the blog Create Eat Happy and she has her own YouTube Page where you can follow her recipes step by step. When I say step by step, I really do mean the Malay colloquial phase of "ikut bulat bulat" which directly translates as "follow round round". So as long as you do follow her instructions accordingly, you'll do no wrong. Another reason to why I love learning recipes from her is that I do no need blenders or electric whisks (which I do not have). I know that these are essentials when it comes to baking, but I do not bake very often so it's rather pointless for me to buy one and have it to collect more dust to my already dusty shelves.


So for those of you who are looking for recipes or cooking instructions that are straight forward and simple to understand, do check her out. Above is the video for the mille crêpe that I successfully made. One more thing, she speaks Spanish too~!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Online Shop Review: Duchess Couture

Disclaimer: The reviews on the online shop are my personal experience while purchasing products/services. I do not get paid by the reviewed shop. I am not responsible for any loss, damage or loss of profits that may result from reading my review. In particular, I am unable to accept any responsibility or liability in the unlikely event of a dispute between vendor and purchaser. It is your (the reader's) responsibility alone to check the vendor's credibility, quality of merchandise and method of payment.
Online Shop name: Duchess Couture

Owner Name: Siti Aszawani Ahmad

Facebook URL:
 http://www.facebook.com/duchess.couture.5
First Purchase: 19 June 2013

Some of the miniature perfumes sold by Duchess Couture
Image Source: Duchess Couture
Online shopping isn’t exactly a bed of roses; particularly when dealing with individuals rather than company. There are always uncertainties and unexpected outcome that makes us wary and careful. I was looking for a new set of perfume since I am just about to finish my current bottle of Burberry Brit Sheer when I chance upon this individual who sells cosmetics and perfumes. Instead of operating a blog shop, Siti Aszawani, owner of Duchess Couture operates from her Facebook page.

Poslaju parcel from Duchess Couture: Don't you just love receiving things?
Facebook business is currently a growing trend especially with new members each day; versus blog platforms (ie Blogger, Wordpress) whereby you’ll only chance upon the page via search engines or rigorous promotion via forums or other bloggers. As a relative of mine puts it “Facebook is like a fridge; almost every household has one. You open the door, look what is inside and close the door.” So imagine yourself opening the fridge to find something new inside… Bet you’ll go “ooo…” or “ahhh” right?

What I ordered: Calvin Klein miniature perfume
So when you buy from an individual rather than business, you’ll surely question about authenticity. On the other hand, there are businesses that carry counterfeit products. I have my fare share of doubt, but I guess the bottom line is; are you willing to take the gamble? Price wise, Duchess Couture offers are cheaper than over the counter (which usually are the most expensive), some reputable online shops and even Malaysian airport (KLIA). I may not be a frequent flyer but I have travel enough to know that Malaysian airport is tax free but NOT profit free. The products sold at KLIA may be cheaper than shopping malls but not as cheap as what other airports have to offer.

Blunder #1: I ordered perfume but skincare was sent to me instead
My purchase from Duchess Couture is a CK box set (MYR170) and a Burberry Brit miniature (MYR35), totaling MYR205 (postage included). Truth be told, I didn’t get my items immediately. There was a mix up when someone else’s SK-II arrived at my doorstep and my perfume went to someone else. Bewildered and a little disappointed, I called back to get everything back into order; which Duchess Couture reimbursed me for sending the SK-II back to her. After nearly three weeks of delay, I finally receive my parcel yesterday afternoon (3 July, 2013) but it wasn’t exactly what I ordered either. While the CK box set arrived accordingly, my Burberry Brit was (intentionally or otherwise) hippidy popedy poof-ed into Burberry Brit Sheer instead!

Comparison : Burberry Brit Sheer (left in 100ml) Burberry Brit (right in 50ml)
Now for those of you who wonder what the difference between the two bottles of Burberry; I have the two to show physical comparison. Apart from the color (one pink and one white), there is a difference in the fragrance too. Unfortunately, I am not good at describing perfume smell and it is quite sad that computers cannot display smell or I could have just spray my monitor and you can scratch the screen and sniff on the image. Anyway of the two bottles, I like Brit more hence my order for the mini just to match with the dried up 50ml bottle I purchased years ago.

Comparison: Burberry Brit Sheer miniature (left; 4.5ml) full size (right, 100ml)
Blunder #2: Received a mini Brit Sheer instead of mini Brit
So what is my verdict? Will I buy from Duchess Couture again? To be honest, I still feel a little bitter as my Burberry Brit turned out to be Burberry Brit Sheer. While Duchess Couture did apologize (and I accepted), she sounded reluctant to exchange for me by claiming the Burberry Brit is sold out. I mean, this whole mess would not have happened if she was extra vigilant when packing orders, no? In the first mix up, Duchess Couture DID reimburse me when I sent back the SK-II products. However replacing my order without notice? Okay, so say she didn’t noticed that I asked for Brit and not Brit Sheer, but isn’t it her responsibility to double check the order? Excuse me, but this is a PURCHASE and not a free gift redemption program. She did give me two free items, a tiny notepad and a 2.5ml sample bottle of sunblock by Chanel. But will these two freebies justify the unexpected amendment; something which I paid for? I don’t think so.

Duchess Couture: Freebie #1 and Freebie #2

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rumor Rumor: Future 3rd in line a Queen?

Lunar conceiving chart

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a child any time now. While Mr. And Mrs. Cambridge do not know the gender of their unborn child, the general public would sure love a little game of speculation and if you have an extra penny, betting on either gender gives you a 50% chance of either winning or loosing.

2 years ago, I shared on my blog on the legendary "gender selection chart" passed along within the Chinese community and now view by everyone across the globe. While it may ring true for some but not for others. Personally, I find it hard to believe despite the fact that mine turned out correct. It's not scientific at all, so I find it quite hard to swallow.

Anyway, I shall put this chart to the test to guess the future third in line to the British throne. Whether you choose to believe in this chart or not is entirely up to you.

Profile - Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Image Source: Daily Mail UK
Name: Catherine Elizabeth, Duchess of Cambridge
Date of Birth: 9 January 1982
Age (as of 2012): 30 years
Lunar age (as of 2012): 32 years
Estimate delivery date: mid July 2013
Speculated conceive date: (minus 40 weeks) September 2012

Now based on the calendar, if the Duchess conceive anytime between May 2012 and Dec 2012 it would be all pink right across. Meaning girl. If you are wondering why her age last year is stated as 32 instead of 30, the Chinese community counts the gestational period in the womb as 1 year and if you are born before Chinese New Year (a.k.a Spring festival) you add extra 1 year. In the case of the Duchess who was born on January 9, 1982 she is considered born in the year of the Rooster because the year of the Dog only began on January 25, 1982.

HOWEVER, there is another profile worthy of highlighting - Diana, Princess of Wales and the birth of her two sons - William and Harry.

Profile - Diana, Princess of Wales


Young Prince William and Prince Harry with their late Mother, Diana Princess of Wales
Image Source: Google
Name: Diana, Princess of Wales
Date of Birth:  1 July 1961
Age (as of 1981): 20 years old (22 as of 1983)
Lunar age (as of 1981): 21 years old (23 as of 1983)
Elder son William, Duke of Cambridge date of birth: 21 June 1982
Younger son Prince Harry of Wales: 15 September 1984

Based on the chart, at age 21 it is all pink throughout the entire calendar year. Which would mean when Prince William was conceived sometime in August (plus minus a little), we would be expecting a baby princess but it isn't the case.

On the other hand, it did ring true for Prince Harry who was conceived in December '83 when the late Princess of Wales was 23 years of age. The equivalent to the 11th lunar month which is blue in color!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Montagne Jeunesse - Mountain of Youth

I’ve been a huge fan of mud masque since I was a teenager. Back then my only source of beauty knowledge came from my mother’s mouth and product knowledge is from her dressing table. Even though she has dry skin and mine oily, she’ll go out the extra mile to get something suitable to control my then-volcano-raged face. So one day, mom came back with a big tub of mud masque from her regular supplier (she was in the beauty industry) and that was when I started to love my weekly sessions of home facials. Even during exam week, you will catch me with a mud masque on and the occasional mud stains on my textbooks.
Montagne Jeunesse free trail pack
Montagne Jeunesse Malaysia was posting out free trail pack via their Facebook page and I received mine last week. Of the huge variety of masques they hold, I got the Aloe Vera & Willow Blemish Mud Masque. But it puzzles me that in their ingredient list witch hazel sits near the top of the list (3rd) way ahead of willow (9th) and aloe vera (14th) itself; so shouldn’t this masque be called Witch Hazel Blemish Mud Masque instead? But what’s in a name? A rose by any other is still a rose, no? More importantly, I get a deeply cleansed face after each use is all that matters, right?
Montague Jeunesse: Blemish Mud in 5gm (0.18oz)
Now this mud masque is a little off white in color; nowhere near green like the model on the pack cover. For those of you who also received this 5gram (0.18oz) free trial pack, you will notice it is not enough to give your face a nice thick layer like what you see on the pack cover. However, I have a small trick up my sleeve to spread this thick paste evenly on my face. Just add a few drops of filtered water (or if you have facial toner you can use that too) to dilute the mud a little for easy spreading.
After using this trial pack, there were no pimple outbreaks over the next few days. So that’s a good sign for me, meaning I am not allergic to any of their ingredients (you can read them at the bottom of this post). I just love the immediate feeling after rinsing my face; soft and smooth. In the past, I have used a poor quality mud masque and the product agitated my T-zone it went into sebum overdrive. Thus, I ended up having a face like I have just washed it with oil. So when the inside of their information card said “a mini sachet – guaranteed to leave your skin wanting more”. I felt how true those words were; I would really love to have another (and possibly many more) session with this mud masque!
Yours Truly in a patchy mud mask
Montagne Jeunesse is sold in Watsons for MYR5.90 each. Anyone eager to try Montagne Jeunesse range of masques, you can buy them from Watsons and Georgetown pharmacy. Once you have tried their masque, go to Montagne Jeunesse Malaysia Facebook page and let them know how much you love their masque and you stand a chance to win a goodie bag filled with masques. You can also stalk Montagne Jeunesse Malaysia Facebook page for the latest promotion and free masque redemption offers.
Short fun facts about Montagne Jeunesse:
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  • Established in 1985 by vegetarian Mr. Gregory Butcher in UK (this is why I used the word “masque” rather than the US version of “mask”)

  • Founding member of Cosmetics Industry Coalition for Animal Welfare (CICAW), so their products are NEVER tested on animals.

  • Montagne Jeunesse’s products are BUAV (Britsh Union for the Abolition of Vivisection; an animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of animal experiments), Choose Cruelty Free, PeTA and vegetarian approved.
 Like their masques? Tell them! Don't tell me!
Ingredients List: Aqua (Purified water), Kaolin (Natural clay), Hamamelis virginiana (Distilled Witch Hazel), Glycerin (Plant origin). Illite (Mediterranean clay), Bentonite (Natural clay), Magnesium aluminum silicate (Natural clay), Sea salt (Dead Sea salt), Salix nigra (Willow) bark extract, Glucose (sugar), Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil, Xantan gum (Natural thickener), allantoin, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera) leaf juice, Camellia sinensis (Green tea) leaf extract, Panax ginseng root extract, Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose) flower extract, Citric acid, Lactoperoxidase (Milk origin), Glucose oxidase (sugar origin), Liminene(naturally found in essential oils).
Montagne Jeunesse Malaysia Facebook page – click here.
Watson branches – click here.

Georgetown pharmacy branches – click here.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hemp twined bottles

Hemp twined empty bottle (close up)
Wrapping up a glass bottle with rope, hemp or even regular yarn has been a regular feature in many art deco shops. But the price tag is scary enough to make you drop the bottle – intentionally or otherwise. However I reckoned that a twined bottle need not be THAT expensive thanks to wallet friendly stores like Mr. DIY and Daiso.
3 Hemp twined empty bottles

Thanks to Jamie (thethirtysomething) for giving me an “Aha” moment, I waltz into the nearest Mr. DIY store and grabbed a ball of hemp. Paying MYR1.20 for a 50gram hemp ball is sure worth it. But instead of using a glue gun as she did, I opted for something less painful – bond glue. Texture wise, is like your regular stationary glue, but this one is rather heavy duty. Color wise, it is white as opposed to regular transparent glue. And it stays true to its words of being suitable for industrial use; once dried this one’s got the hemp stuck to the bottle.
King's Bond Glue - works better than hot glue gun

Using a normal paint brush, I brush the glue on an empty Prego bottle and just start twining from the bottle neck all the way to the base. Work is a lot easier without the hazards of a glue gun particularly when you have a two year old sitting right next to you wanting to twine a bottle of her own. In a way it is safe to work around children because worst case scenario would most likely be nothing more but a spilled bottle of glue and glued fingers or unraveled ball of hemp that could be traced from the living room all the way to the kitchen. With a single ball of hemp I managed to twine a Prego bottle, small mead bottle and Pei Pa Koa (cough syrup) bottle, not bad huh?
Tulip shaped magazine cut out

When using glass bottles as decorations, I think it is good to have them twined. If the bottle falls on the floor, the hemp can act as a little damper or at least hold the pieces together in the event it breaks. You’ll never know which itchy-fied child would have his/her sudden urge to knock it off the shelf or if you have a large in-house dog (like Dalmatian) with lethal tail that can easily swish and flick almost anything and everything off a coffee table! When Oddball was alive, mom was forced to hide away all her precious decorations because of the k-9’s wagging tail which can be quite a painful swing especially if she gives you the excited tail wag!

Aeon Bandar Perda Funland - Free indoor playground

Playgrounds are like little kids heaven. But being in Malaysia, most of these playgrounds are outdoors. If the haze does not put you off, the hot sun would be stinging enough to make you want to curl indoors. The amount of UVA and UVB is bad enough to make you look like a roasted lobster in 30 seconds.
Aeon Funland: Entrance
As you all know from the previous post, there was a drift event in Aeon Bandar Perda car park. While my little one wanted to see the cars go "vroom vroom", I wasn't so keen. The weather was hot enough to cook almost anything; with my oily t-zone, I would be staring at a deep fried nose, chin and forehead within minutes! So, my little princess and I spent our day two days inside Aeon Bandar Perda Shopping Mall.
Aeon Funland: Overview
This particular Aeon branch is a small building. It takes only a few minutes to get from one end to the other end of the building and by half a days walk, you'll manage to memorize each shop by heart. Standard to all Aeon floor plan, the supermarket is usually on one end of the building, making the crowd to only concentrate on one part of the building. So how do you make people walk to the other end? Have a free indoor playground. Did I mention that entrance is FREE?
Aeon Funland: Which way to the Garden and Candy store?
Like any playground, they have a slide, see-saw, tunnel and a little hut. Not a lot compared to the play land right opposite. But that one needs entrance fees (MYR1, about USD0.32) - though I like free because, free is more fun right? Even though the official rule says for kids aged below 12, I think it would be best to limit for those below aged 7 (pre-schoolers). There was a parent who left her son and daughter (about 8-10 years old) and both of them behaved like monkeys! There were little children all over and they couldn't careless if they knock onto them or hit them (accidentally or otherwise). Good thing they know how to steer clear of my daughter or I'll give them a good public spanking~!
Aeon Funland: Tiger Tunnel
While observing my little one playing and interacting with random kids, it makes me appreciate shopping malls who provide free playground and kiddie toilets. Yes, Aeon is the only mall in Malaysia to have a child toilet - toilet seat small enough for those aged 2-6. My little one isn't the only person who gets excited to use the loo; even I find it adorable. Even though their supermarket products aren't the cheapest (compared to Tesco) but I love how they design their shopping mall to be family orientated.
Aeon Funland: Colorful Fence
On a side note, while some parents may find the necessity to send their child to a kindergarten as opposed to home school, only and just only because of the so-called lack of social skills. I find that my daughter can achieve her social interaction skills right here in an indoor playground. She gets to meet all kinds of people; some friendlier than others and some are a little more outspoken. And I'm not sure if those parents have noticed (or not) that kindergarten seems to have one dominant race or worse case only one particular race. But the very fact that we live in a multiracial country, shouldn't schools reflect society? If the schools are type cast, I'm not surprised that children grow up sticking only to their skin color and their knowledge of other people's race or religion are merely words described by the teacher. And God forbid if that teacher is a racist...
Aeon Funland: Toy Clock
Looking at how our local education system is going, I really am tempted to home school my child...