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:
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!