Friday, January 31, 2014

Thanks For Lunch Treat @ Soy, Ibn Battuta Mall

if you ever wanna eat at ‘soy’ chinese restaurant, the best branch would be at ibn battuta mall, simply because of the ambiance – it’s located at the CHINA court! I mean, what better way to enjoy oriental dishes than at a section of the mall with a CHINESE theme?

(ibn battuta mall has sections named after countries – china court, india court, egypt court and few more – representing the travels of the great explorer ibn battuta)



thanks so much for the delicious treat abg kama azlan & kak mas, our lovely buddies from abu dhabi – great company, good food, delightful conversations and lots of laugh! thanks for thinking of us when it comes to lunchin and munchin!




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I want one of these. cute square thingys to put sauce, dips and condiments




I’m not a fan of spicy tomyam, so this one I like – which means it’s NOT that spicy. so for those who love their tomyam to be authentically super spicy, please make a personal request to the chef. heheh. I enjoy slurping this ‘tomyam prawn’ because it has enough spices and taste to make it delicious, and less-spicy enough to make in tolerable!



this dish is surprisingly good. I’ve only eaten sweet spicy fish, so this was a nice surprise. ‘sweet spicy hong kong chilli prawn’ is NOT that spicy for this malay (try la sambal udang melayu style baru tau spicy tak spicy!) but being a non-fan of spicy dishes, I love it. the use of lots of capsicum gives it an additional taste that I like, and the texture of the prawn is nice and tender.




the star of the table was this magnificent dish of ‘black pepper crab’. aku ni pemalas nak kopek-kopek so I let the boys have their fun scouting for crab flesh in the middle of the thick peppery gravy. us ladies just wait by the side for our knight in shining armor to drop pinch of crab flesh on our plate. thanks guys! this dish is alright!



mix green veggies – fresh veggies, crunchy and tasty. a simple dish that satisfies!



for the kids – ‘crispy honey chicken’, which sounds promising but fail to impress. the chicken is too dry despite coated with liquid. had it been bigger pieces, this would have been a better dish.



girl talk over two plates of delights. blueberry cheesecake and a very questionable chocolate cake. I say ‘questionable’ because the chocolate cake has got this weird after-taste that’s similar to a soap bubble. like, seriously. what WAS that? we didn’t even finish the chocolate cake. (nways, got a girl-crush on kak mas. she’s so cantik! she reminds me of my lovely auntyna. kan? kan?)



the blueberry cheesecake, however, is a winner. deliciously smooth and creamy. yum!



here’s kazim sharing a plate of chocolate cake with uncle kama azlan. this was BEFORE we realize that the weird soap-bubble taste was not a figment of our imagination. kih kih.


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thanks again abg kama azlan & kak mas, for the treat at ‘soy’ ibn battuta mall! always entertaining when hanging out with you guys. the next time you’re in dubai, you know who to buzz – especially to keep you guys company la for lunch, dinner or supper!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Movie Review : The Lego Movie, Rush, August-Osage County & Her

an entire awesome animated movie made of lego called – duuh – ‘the lego movie’, ‘rush’ an adrenalin-rush drama about two formula 1 race car drivers in the 70s, the intense drama of a dysfunctional family in ‘august-osage county’, and an original love story of the hi-tech era in ‘her’.

today I want keropok ikan and sos linggam while watching movies. make it happen.


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call it a shameless extended advertisement of the already extremely popular LEGO brand, but this movie is simply – AWESOME. yah, admit it – you’re hooked on that song too. because everything is awesome in ‘the lego movie’! everything is awesome!

the first few minutes were awkward for me because it reminds me of the countless lego homemade videos my boys watch on youtube. by the time the character emmet say ‘good morrrrning city!’ it was all jaw-dropping visuals from then on. EVERYTHING was lego. bubbles in the shower. smoke from the cars. dust in the desert. awesome.

as fans of lego, my boys were ecstatic of course; but the lego movie is totally enjoyable for the parents too – the one-liners are so funny; and mr. khairul and I had fun trying to recognize the famous voices as the characters. (we did not read ANY review or promo on this movie before watching so we didn’t know channing tatum was superman!) we totally got morgan freeman the moment he started speaking; liam neeson was a close second, and after awhile we figured out president business was will ferrell. awesome.

the lego movie has a predictable yet smart storyline, which is totally forgivable with all the hilarious lines and cool characters! watch it in 3D. so enjoyable. so awesome.

everything is awesome!



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never have I thought that a movie about race cars would be so interesting for me. I totally LOVE this movie. ‘rush’ is set in 1970’s glory days of formula 1 racing, a film based on a true story of a sporting rivalry between two great race car drivers; james hunt and niki lauda – and that fateful incident that change both of their lives.

it goes beyond racing; it’s about calculating risks or thread on despite it, how we deal with losing and winning, how we face adversity and rise against it – it’s about how we live life.

james hunt lives carefree, because he knows he’s good no matter what; and what good is all those awards and recognition if he didn’t have a little fun? meanwhile niki lauda lives carefully, even when he’s in a profession where everytime he goes to work, it could be his last. these two racecar drivers have different personalities but one thing is the same – their passion for speed. 

hemsworth (you know him as thor!) is such a hunk, and it helps that he’s also talented in bringing james hunt to life so well in this movie. bruhl plays niki lauda (you remember him from inglorious basterds) deserves the award accolades he has received for this character – he was so convincing as niki lauda that I became so engrossed in the movie, and in his life.

this movie was premiered in front of an audience of current formula 1 racecar drivers, the managers and people in the field – with standing ovation and applause. even the real niki lauda approved of this movie and quoted as saying it’s ‘almost entirely accurate’.

personally I just love the heart of the movie; what goes between the lines in sports, rather than just for medals and trophies. the close-up shots of the speeding cars and rolling tyres are just amazing. you don’t need to be a formula 1 fan to enjoy this movie. you just need to see it. the sporting rivalry that is legendary.



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watching ‘august: osage county’ I’m thinking, this could easily be JUST another drama about a dysfunctional family with all sorts of repressed anger, mother-father issue, scandals unearthed and secrets untold. something we have seen in countless soaps and made-for-tv movies. or daniel steele’s books. haha.

but the script was fantastic (it’s based on a play) and of course, presented by a powerful cast of oscar-winning actors – mainly the amazing meryl streep and julia roberts. the rest of the cast is just wonderfully dysfunctional too.

mom has cancer, dad just killed himself. so the daughters all came back to their hometown to nurse dear old mom. one has serious marital problems with a defiant teenage daughter; one brings home her man-of-the-week, and another one who stays with the mom has a secret affair. in the course of few days, all hell broke loose.

if you don’t like drama, you might find it boring – mr. khairul said, “banyak bercakap je!” haha because the speeches tell stories. the lines spoken tell us the history, the love, the hatred; future and past.

all I’m saying is, only a group of talented actors such as this assemble can keep your attention long enough to feel the lines and enjoy the movie. I did. especially that dinner table scene. 



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‘her’ is an original, but not totally far from reality. a love story that goes beyond physical attraction. a love that some of us has experienced through chat rooms – not having met, not knowing what the person looks like – but found yourself falling in love with this person that you’ve been chatting with. loving the things they say, the way they say it, falling in love with their hopes and dreams, their likes and dislikes. falling in love with who they are rather than what they look like.

it’s the future, and  it’s near. everyone is talking to themselves on the street – checking their schedule, answering emails, all using their personalized operating system. just imagine SIRI, on a larger, more brilliantly personalized scale – who can talk and have feelings and thoughts like an actual human being – not just when asked, or not just to reply ‘there are 5 mcdonalds in your area, 2 are fairly close to you” – but talking to you like your personal secretary.

and one man found his operating system strangely engaging, charming and ‘beautiful’, and falls in love with HER. joaquin phoenix plays the sweet, shy, romantic guy and scarlett johansson is the voice of HER. amazing that great actors can have such powerful chemistry without even being in same room physically.

HER reminds us the importance of connection – that all everybody wants is to connect – to someone they are most comfortable with. and even when it’s a mere machine; an operating system that cannot run away and leave – when there’s a connection, there can also be detachment.

a must-see.



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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

‘Oxford Reading Tree Day’ : Kahfi’s Fun at the Beach

it’s literary week at the boys’ school – first there was the ‘character day parade’, and the day after, kahfi’s batch had their ‘oxford reading tree day’ where the kids enact their favorite scene from the oxford reading tree books.



kahfi my beach boy!


kahfi was given written instructions to come to school wearing a floral shirt, shorts, sunglasses, a hat and slippers. and the girls come in their summer dresses. super cute!




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there was a mock beach outside in the school yard, complete with a tent, picnic mat, huge umbrellas and few large tyres in the ground, with beach sand put in the hole. what a fantastic idea for the kids to have ‘fun at the beach’ without leaving the school!



this is the shell station I presumed. there were a lot of shells here that kids can dig up and the teacher asked the kids to count them, add or subtract using the shells. kids have fun AND learn too.




there’s even a tent put up!





I appreciate the school’s effort to make learning more interesting and fun with these activities. the mock beach idea is great! the kids can explore many stations that has been set up, and they get to enjoy beach activities like collecting seashells, play pretend with the picnic basket full of fruits and veggies; in a safe environment, along with their friends and teachers.

at kahfi’s age, kids need a lot of simulations to learn better, and be more interested in learning – not just for the sake of learning, but experiencing new things; or same things in new ways. an outdoor activity in school like this will certainly boost their interest. well done, school.

I look forward for more fun activities like this!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

‘Character Day Parade’ 2014 : The Amazing Spideys

khaleef had his first ‘character day parade’ in 2011, and he came as a dashing king. fast-forward to 2014, it’s kahfi’s turn to experience his first ‘character day parade’, and he insisted on wearing his spiderman hoodie and nothing else. no princely crown, no buzz lightyear, no other costume.

he wants to be spiderman.

elder brother khaleef followed suit, and came as spiderman too. if only I had the make-up for a face-mask. that would be super awesome.

(click here to see what khaleef looks like wearing a crown as king khaleef!)




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if you don’t see any other pictures of khaleef, it’s because I’ve decided to spend more time in kahfi’s class and joined their activities – after all, it’s kahfi’s first. his classmates were all SO adorable! there’s supergirl, a monkey, red riding hood, winnie the pooh and lots of princesses in pink tutus.



here I was about to do a story-telling session with kahfi’s class. since my costume was ‘princess elsa’ in frozen (ok, fine I didn’t have an actual COSTUME, I just had a pair of gloves! duuh...the gloves that else wore? haha) so for my storytelling, I just told them the tale of ‘king midas and his magic touch’. hey I didn’t know that I was supposed to tell a story! so that’s the one that came to me on top of my head haha. hope they enjoyed it!



this girl is a cutie. they were holding hands the whole time. hihi. my kahfi & laera. sigh. I remember when khaleef was this age, he had a crush too. also filipino. haha. sama taste je dua beradik ni. dah besa sok jangan berebut gopren sudah!



the girls are too adorable!



these are some of the interesting ones I’ve managed to capture. kings and queens, pirates, cowboys, lots of snow whites, batman and barney; and even mike wazowski!



the amazing spideys!



kazim is going through the spongebob-phase right now so he was ecstatic to see a life-size spongebob!



that’s kahfi getting up close and personal with spongebob! I applaud the school’s effort to cheer up the kids by hiring these famous characters – spongebob, barney, bugs bunny, hello kitty and the whole disney gang – mickey, minnie, donald, pluto and goofy!



kahfi with bugs bunny and donald duck!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Potluck Picnic @ Mushrif Park With Biker Buddies

winter in dubai is the best time of the year to pack your barbeque equipment, food and drinks, take your rolled up mat and head on to the nearest park. it’s picnic time!

last few weeks we had a delicious barbeque potluck with mr. khairul’s biker buddies and family at mushrif park. did you see a bunch of tough guys wearing black vest munchin bbq chicken in the field? that’s us!




we’ve been to mushrif park only once before in our 6 years here in dubai, because the park is the furthest from our home. also, the last time we went, we had the barbeque at the sandy area, where there are a lot of thorns. the boys left with so many stuck to their slippers!

(click here to read about our ‘thorny’ tasty experience in mushrif park last year.)




did you know that mushrif park is also a large protected park with indigenous ‘GHAF’ trees?

the ghaf tree has long been embedded in UAE culture and tradition, and now feared to be endangered. efforts have been taken to preserve the trees – especially in mushrif park. sheikh zayed, the founder of UAE even passed a law forbidding the cutting of ghaf trees.

the ghaf tree; also known as the ‘umbrella tree’, or ‘the tree of the dunes’, is said to be one of the sources of nutrition and medication in the desert. – from my 1st posting about mushrif park.



however, this time, the guys pick the green part of mushrif park, and we had a lovely time sitting cross-legged on the mat spread across the soft green grass. that’s zira in red, mimi in black, zuraidah holding baby zayed and me in blue. no thorns here, and the kids had a great time running around throwing frisbee, kicking football and blowing bubbles across the green field.



the guys had the *honor* to cook our chicken. bbq style!



that’s bro helmey scooping up my fried bihun. such tasty delights that day! nanti aku cerita. from zuraidah’s nasi lemak to zira’s pulut panggang and wak’s curry – alhamdulillah!




yeyem, khaleef, adrin & dani


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deliciously tasty bbq chicken. well-seasoned, marinated nicely. juicy tender flesh especially devoured straight from the bbq pit. well done! sedap aku makan dengan nasik lemak zuraidah kih kih.



what I brought to the picnic table – fried bihun and chicken-mushroom puff. hope it’s good enough for everyone’s tummy! subuh-subuh aku goreng ok!



zuraidah’s nasi lemak. fragrant rice, tasty spicy sambal and crunchy ikan bilis – what’s not to like? a classic malaysian breakfast lah! walaupun ade insiden telur separuh masak tu, nasik lemak ko tetap sedap, zuraidah kih kih!



collaboration of two cewah! it’s chicken curry by wak, and roti jala by zira. roti jala is basically pancake made to to look like a net. delicious. ini dish yang aku tunggu-tunggu. lenkali masak pulut kuning ye zira. hihi.



love this! thanks bro helmey for bringing your kuah rojak and tossing and twisting it in the cut-up fresh fruits and cucumber. so tasty, so zingy. memang aku tambah banyak kali haha.



opps, I don’t know who brought the spaghetti, but when it comes to pasta, my boys are huge fans. thanks! ade something yang budak-budak suka makan!



zira’s kuih lapis. sedap, lembut, yummy, so soft! and not too sweet. just nice. terernya dia buat!


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making new friends : khaleef, kahfi & adrin



adrin was so shy and was practically glued to his dad. but thanks to my genius plan haha I brought along tons of bubble bottles and gave every kid one. baru la nak start kawan-kawan. hihi. bubble-blowing brought them together! oh, and of course – when there’s a playground nearby, the kids go nuts together!




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pack up! ok now can we plan a desert camping trip next?

check out these postings too!

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