Saturday, 28 March 2020

Monthly Goals Review: March

1. Be comfortable on my own
I've recently started this list of free things I could do at home instead of spending money outside. I think I'm pretty good for this :P I'm also getting rather comfortable during this MCO - so comfortable to the extend I started forcing myself to join online social events so I won't face a reverse culture shock after this MCO ends.

2. Long term planning my wardrobe
Trying this thing where I will wear a clothing article I have not worn before on a day of a week! So far I've been sticking to my LTP shopping list...except for a t-shirt I bought from Oxwhite cause it was on sale...#impulse

Also, trying to make a list of my closet essential. It is a #WIP that will take some time :)

3. Create experience for myself and others
Now that I am working a 9-6 job, admittedly, weekends are more precious to me now.

What I'll do instead is to be intentional with sustaining relationships.
- remember people's birthday and wish them a happy birthday during their birthday
- acknowledging people's messages

4. Save double of what I've saved last year
I've started to set up sinking funds to anticipate my upcoming insurance and road tax renewal in June!

Rather than "saving whatever I've left" and fork out a huge sum of money, leaving a dent on my savings on a certain month, I'll plan ahead and put money aside every month so that I won't have a shock :)

Here's a helpful video to help you set up your sinking fund!

5. Read at least two books per month
I'm a little slow this month compared to last month as life & work got in the way. Books I've read this month:
- ROAR by Cecilia Ahern
- The New Plant Parent by Darryl Cheng (Check out his Instagram, @houseplantjournal)
- Urban Jungle: Living & Styling with plants (Not sure if this can be counted - more like a coffee table book)
- Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

Would like to update this goal to read at least one fiction and one non-fiction, just to challenge myself, starting next month :)

6. Doing a monthly review of my goals
On it :)

7. Do a monthly/weekly review of my spendings
This month's spending has been rather plant-centric, and the spending stopped right when our country went into Movement Control Order (because I have no other avenue to buy things, other than online shopping)

- Sanseveria Starfish (RM28.40, including the two small pots I purchased to house the two babies) and a Hoya Keri (RM10)
- Footsies from Muji (RM32.90)
I have six pairs of footsies from Uniqlo prior to this purchase, but because I do my laundry on a 1.5 weekly basis, there are days where I find myself not having a clean pair of footsies to wear. I've only gotten the habit to wear footsies this year, and I definitely feel that its benefits justified my spendings - I can keep my shoes clean, and free from odour. My feet are protected from Blisters too :)
 - Pot RM10
- Pot RM6
- Pot...RM4.60
- Soil (RM10) 
- T-shirt and innerwear from Oxwhite (RM46.90)
Because it was on sale...quality was absolutely superb though. Got to learn how to fight temptations! 
- Beer (RM10.40)
I got bored during MCO....

Overall, am quite satisfied with my spending this month!

8. Learn the art of note-taking
I'm starting to incorporate some Bujo technic with the Cornell method - it's still a #WIP!

9. Cook a new dish each week`
Week 1
I was away in Johor so it was cheat week!

Week 2: Bacon pizza
Week 3: Bacon and Egg pizza & banana bread

Week 4: Bacon & Egg pizza again..
Would like to add in more variety of food I cook next month...

10. Write more at least 100 words per day (not including what I write at work)
It's a hit and miss - sometimes I get writer's block for days and I do not write even a single word in a day :( But I'm trying to be consistent, incorporating new words/phrases/things I've learnt into my blog posts

New Goals
11. Log down news article I've read and jot down my thoughts about it, ie reading with purpose
I read a lot of articles in a day - thought it'd be helpful for me to comprehend and understand better what I've read by logging it down :)

Here's an article about reading with purpose.

Just realized that this might be the reason why our government introduced Nilam program in school... (it's a program where students are required to log down the books they've read, providing basic details about the book and a short summary)

12. Keep a daily log of how I spend my time
And observe my pattern on how I spend time. Inspired by this article on Harvard Business Review.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Free things I could do at home instead of going out & spending money

Inspired by Suraya from Ringgit Oh Ringgit and it is also part of my resolution to try to enjoy staying home more :). I started compiling this list at the start of this year and it now comes in handy during this period of MCO (Movement Control Order). It's been helpful for me and I hope it'll be helpful for you too! :)

1. Read
Especially those books I've bought a while ago and have not touch it!

2. Clean my room/house/car!
Wipe up that dusty shelf. Declutter. Throw away expired/empty bottles of makeup. Wash that tote bag. Or that rucksack. Or that curtain.

And this is the best time to get into that neglected crevice in your car!

3. List things to sell on Carousell
Kill two birds with one stone by reducing your clutter and possibly make some money out of it!

4. Giveaway things at Buy Nothing Group
One man's trash is another man's treasure!

5. Upcycle things I already have
I save ideas on my Pinterest accounts and revisit them when opportunities arise :)

6. Execute DIY Projects
On my list right now:
- Coconut flower pot (I have a coconut tree outside my house)
- Wired headband (even though I don't really wear hair accessories...would really love to try this DIY project out!)
- Make more pen holders/whatever holders using empty glass bottles
Tried making a macrame hanging planter spare nursery pot lying around so I used a plastic container...which I poked holes at the bottom

7. Write blog posts
I have so many drafts sitting in my draft folder. I would love to write about places I've traveled to, food places I've tried and love and perhaps about my gardening experiences!

8. Learn how to apply eyeliner
My biggest fear in makeup is to apply eyeliner. Practice makes perfect!

9. Clean my white shirts
Try out all the home remedy/life hacks using baking soda, perhaps it can give a new life to my white shirts which ages quickly! Click on the above link to find out how!

10. Sort out my scrapbook/photo album
Notes and cards from various friends and family and photos...they're all locked up in a box now...waiting to be sorted out.

11. Gardening - Propagating my plants, pruning leaves, pulling out weeds
Admittedly, propagating will lead to me buying more flower pots so not sure if this should be on the list...
Sooner or later these babies need new pots...

12. Collecting inspiration for future home
I've been doing it on Pinterest :p It motivates me and reminds me not to spend unnecessarily!

13. Rearrange furniture
Give your room a fresh change! Sometimes the way you arrange your books on the bookshelf can really change the way your room looks!

14. Make lists! (Other than DIY projects)
It can be anything. For me, I would want to make/update lists for the following:
- List of DIY/upcycling projects (for item 5 & 6 above!)
- Checklist of documents needed to obtain my LHDN pin
- Checklist of things you've been putting off but need to do (for my case...obtaining LHDN pin ahem)
- Checklist of things to take note of while purchasing my first property
- List of books to read (Here's mine on Goodreads!)
- List of good food in different areas (so that you can easily share with friends, and to solve your problem of makan apa? makan mana?)
- List of blog posts I want to write
- List of things that require cleaning (to aid #2)
- List of things to do when I'm down
- List of lists I want to make (lol)
- List of clothes I have not worn

The list goes on and on :) I find having a list as a reference point helpful. Whenever an idea sparks, I'd quickly put it on my list. And whenever the stipulated situation arises, I'd just look back at the list :)

This is my favourite thing to do among all these. However, all talk and no action leads to nowhere :p remember to execute some items on your list (if it requires actions!)

15. Create trackers
I love data and Excel. I love tracking things because the results usually will surprise you! Here are some of the tracker I'd like to create/update:
- Investment tracker (I have an Excel file tracking all investment I have made)
- Time tracker
- Plant growth tracker
- Mealtime tracker (always interested to see how this will correlate to my daily performance!)

16. Cook/Bake something with ingredients you already have
my mum's attempt on this

17. Look through my closet, and mix and match clothes differently
I'm the type who always goes back to the same few looks, mixing and matching the same old clothes. With free time on hand, I'd like to try out different combination of clothes, colour and texture :P

18. Fix things
It could be as simple as sewing back that loose button on your shirt.

19. Learn something
You can take up a free online course, or if you prefer something short term, go on Youtube. There are countless possibilities. Learn how to use certain functions on Excel, learn how to edit photos, learn how to bake a cake, learn how to propagate a's amazing that we live in an era now where information is on your fingertip - so go out there and learn something!

20. Carry out important errands you were supposed to do but just never had the time/was never aware of 
Eg: Check for expiring licenses/credit cards/Passport etc
And make a checklist of what to prepare for the renewal of the following items!

Eg: Update your details on your banks/insurances company website
These are little things you're meant to do but often put off (admittedly, I put it off all the time too!). It'll save you a lot of hassle in the future, say one day you apply for another credit card from your bank but they mailed it to your old billing address because you just forgot to update it.

I hope this list would be helpful for you, or perhaps inspired to start something :P What's on your list?

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Things I will not buy anymore

Country is under Movement Control Order (MCO), everyone is urged to stay home. With lots of time at home in hand, it is time to declutter! When I was younger, I loved buying stuff. I always thought by owning something, I could be happier. This slowly changed as I grew older but it was too late by then - stuff has been accumulating and I already have a mountain load of stuff...but still, better late than never! I now hold on to the "less is better" principal - less things = less decluttering + less dust = happy!

Whenever I perform my yearly decluttering session, I reflected a lot about my purchase and hence, it got me inspired to write this post! Buying less means producing less waste, and saving more (if you don't spend the money elsewhere). By putting down my thoughts into this post, I'd be more self-conscious, and hopefully also inspires you to do the same, and make more conscious purchase of what you really need :P Here is a list of items I will not buy any more!

1. Soft toys
When I was younger, I was a huge sucker for soft toys. I hug them to sleep, they were all over my shelves. My heart melts at the sight of them.

Being the youngest in the family, including amongst my extended family, I grew up very fortunate to be constantly showered by gifts. My close friends and family, knowing how much I love soft toys, bought me soft toys for every special occasion like my birthdays. Or as souvenirs when they travel overseas. The number of soft toys increased perpetually with my age...

As I grew older, like any other toy, I eventually grew out of it. Yet, I have been holding on to all my soft toys because of the sentimental values they hold. And occasionally, I still receive soft toys as gifts, which I find rather sweet but often conflicted and troubled inside...because I have no space to keep them. And soft toys unfortunately, accumulate dusts. Lots of dust

Being someone who is extremely sentimental, it was hard for me to give my soft toys away - I declutter my stuff about once a year and every time I declutter, I try to pack away some soft toys that are beyond keeping condition. My effort to try to reduce the number of soft toys usually ends up in vain - my heart can't bear to give them away so most of the time, only one or two get packed away out of my....god knows how many collections whenever I declutter. I was running out of space and it made cleaning hard because of the dust accumulation.

Until today (21 March 2020), I've finally chosen a few (ok fine, it's still more than 10, but less than 15) to keep and packed away the rest.

A rather worn-out toy puppy, given to me by my late grandfather 20+ years ago. Hurts a little to chuck it away but looking at the condition...
It hurts a lot to give these away - I know Marie Kondo says to keep things that "sparks joy" but if I really do follow her method, I'll probably be still keeping 90% of my things.

So to save myself from future heartache, I've decided to not get a soft toy anymore. I love them dearly, but I have no space for more. Thank you all for your kind gifts though.

I hope all my soft toys will find new homes that love them!

PSA to my loved ones reading this, please don't get me any more soft toys! <3

PS soft toy manufacturer, you spark a lot of joy to people. Just's so heartbreaking to dispose of a soft toy :'(

2. Notebooks

I'm not picky with the types of notebook I use. And I enjoy taking down notes on devices more. You get free notebooks easily too, from banks, insurance companies etc. When I was teaching in school, I often receive notebooks as gift from students too.

I have plenty of unused or half-used notebooks sitting around my house now. Will only buy one if and only if I've used up all the notebooks at home.

3. Hair accessories (other than my telephone cord hair tie!)
How often do you see me wearing hair accessories? I've always preferred to let my hair be as it is. Sometimes, I'd find hair accessories that catch my eye in bazaar or boutique. So here's a personal reminder to not buy them.

4. Accessories (necklace, rings etc)
Same as (3) above. I don't really wear accessories. And I'm glad I don't wear earrings :P

5. Pen holders
Because you can easily use a pretty can or box (or you could DIY and jazz up a box) as a pen holder!
Using a tea leaves tin from Harrods as my pen holder!

6. Hats and caps
I just don't wear them. And if I do want to wear family has a stash of free caps/caps we bought during our travel which I could use

Because there are so many things that can be used as a bookmark!

8. Knick-knacks/Decorations
I used to love collecting knick-knacks when I travel, as a little memento of places I've been before. It's a habit I've gotten from my mum - she loves buying little decoration pieces and collecting magnet.

However, I feel like once these items are placed aside it's forgotten. And it starts collecting dust.

Unless it's something functional (ie a flower pot where I can put my flowers, a clock), I'd get it.

9. Postcards
Similar to (8), I used to collect postcards as memento. Now, I have a huge stack of them sitting in a box, collecting dust.

10. Tote bag
I always feel tempted to buy those pretty tote bags featured in shops and social media. But house is sprawling with tote bags, gotten for free from events like marathon, buying a product and so on. It isn't going green if you continue to purchase tote bag and not use the ones you already have because it isn't "fashionable".
Jia and one of her free tote bag from Amazin' Graze 

You don't need another tote bag, Jia Qi. You have a lot of functional tote bag.

11. Exercise top
Whenever I go for a jog at my neighbourhood park or go climbing at the climbing gym, I always envy those who are donned in stylish & fitting exercise clothes.

Me? I often wear marathon tees. Or free cotton tees I've gotten from joining events.

Yes, I am tempted to get myself some stylish exercise clothing. But will getting a new set of clothes improve my performance? I don't do sports competitively, so getting that spanky new exercise top really wouldn't affect me...

12. Marathon
Okay, this isn't an item. But this falls under this list because when you join a marathon, you are essentially buying a marathon t-shirt and medal.

I used to be active in marathons and hence, I have too many marathon tees to count.

I've recently just gotten rid of my marathon medals too. Yes, it's nice to take a photo and upload it onto social media after your run. But what's after that? What purpose does the medal serve? Maybe to some, it is a precious proof that one has achieved something. But to's a dust collector. How I wish if I could join a run while opting out for the medal! :(


Things I try not to buy...but probably will. Sometimes.

1. Books
I loveeee physical books. But like soft toys, books take up a lot of space and collect dust. I've been switching to reading e-books online using Scribd, but essentially, I find more joy in reading a physical book.

I think twice, no thrice, no maybe quadruple times before I make a book purchase. I'm more inclined to make a book purchase if the author is Malaysian, just to show support to our local writers.

2. Clothes
If you've been following my monthly goals reflection post, you'd noticed that I changed my goal from "not buying any clothes at all" to "long-term planning my wardrobe and only buying clothes that are on my shopping list".

Like most girls out there...I have a lot of clothes. I enjoy dressing up for different occasions and styling my looks. I want to dress better. However, one doesn't have to buy a lot of clothes to achieve this. I just need to be very mindful of what I want to buy and plan it properly...and have a lot of discipline.

3. Photos
Printed photos are great. They brighten up my day and reminds me of good times. But what do we do with them afterward...? When you replace your photo on the desk with some other photo...what do you do with the original photo? Keep it aside and never look at them for 20+ years?

Is it socially acceptable to throw away photos...? What do we do with them really?

This has been an ongoing debate in my head for years. I've always been trying to NOT print photos because of the above conflict. Most of the time, photos are kept in albums, and never look at for years. *dust collector trigger*. But they do look nice as decoration...

Hence, this ongoing conflict. Right now I have no firm stance on this...

Shall update this list as time past! I wonder if one day, plants and pots will be on this list too?

What's on your list of things not to buy? :)

Note: this list serves as a personal reference to remind me not to make unnecessary purchases, and hopefully inspire you to do the same! However, what works for me might not work for you. And similarly, what works for you might not work for me. So 

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Yew Swee - my favourite curry laksa place!

If you ask me what's my favourite curry laksa place in Malaysia, it'd definitely be in Yew Swee at Taman Abad, Johor.
Located at Taman Abad, which is just about 10 minutes drive from CIQ, Yew Swee is well-known kopitiam among the locals & also Singaporeans for its curry laksa.
Besides curry laksa, they also serve clear soup noodles, dry dark sauce noodles, lor mee and mein hoon kuih.
I find that the prices for Yew Swee is a little high for Johor (I typically pay RM4-6 for a bowl of noodle in Johor) - a small bowl of curry laksa costs RM8, and the medium and large costs RM9 and RM10 respectively. Despite so, I feel that the price is justified by the quality and quantity of ingredients served though!
Curry Laksa (Small) RM8
Another big plus point of Yew Swee to me is the ability to customize your noodles. You might argue that almost all curry laksa places allow customers to customize their noodles but...
A small bowl of laksa was definitely more than enough for me - look at how generous the toppings are! Fishball, fired tofu skin, tofu, cockles, bean sprout...simmering in a rich curry laksa broth with a strong hint of coconut milk. Simply divine. The laksa here is more towards the lemak-y side (read: rich in coconut milk!), I tend to steer clear from food that is rich in coconut milk but Yew Swee curry laksa is a huge exception!

You can adjust the spiciness level by adding lime and sambal paste which is provided on each table.
Also, don't forget to give their cucur udang (prawn fritters) a try! It usually gets sold out pretty early, so do go there before 11am to get your hands on them!

Yew Swee
64, Jalan Harimau Tarum,
Taman Century,
80300 Johor Bahru, Johor

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Curiousity Iron River, Chan Sow Lin - A hidden ruin bar (sort of) in the city (Non-Halal)

"A ruin bar in KL?"

was my initial reaction when I stumbled upon photos of Curiousity Iron River on social media.
The back entrance of curiousity iron river
The courtyard 
PS: I don't think this place is a ruin bar, just that the photos of it reminded me of the ruin bars I visited a while ago in Budapest. 

This place certainly got me curious - A quick search on Google revealed that this little gem is located right at the fringe of KL, (unexpectedly) at Chan Sow Lin Jalan Sungai Besi! Wait, what about the river? Well if you translate "iron river' into BM...there you have it. Sungai Besi.

It's hard for me to imagine such a beautiful place exists in that area, as I've always associated Chan Sow Lin with...wanton mee (A few famous wanton mee stores over there - Hung Kee, Sg Besi Wanton mee, to name a few), graveyards and car/motorcycle workshops.

I decided to try to dig deeper to find out more about this place but to no avail - this place seems to be so discreet, there are not many reviews or posts about it online.

Curiosity got to me - and thanks to a couple of friends, I managed to check this place out on a weekday night after work. 
This place has two entrances - the back entrance and the front entrance. Google map led me to the back entrance which was located at a back alley. I parked my car next to an apartment block and factory at the end of the back alley - parking spots were aplenty after working hours. The back alley looked clean and unassuming. I had many doubts while walking down the back alley.

Am I at the right place? Does this place even exist? What if...this is just someone's Instagram creation and this place doesn't even exist? What curiosity killed the cat.

And my doubt dissipated as soon as I came across the back entrance, as seen on social media! This place does exist!
Step into the yellow arch and you'll feel as though you have been momentarily transported to another realm.
Clusters of mismatched furniture amidst green welcomed me as I set foot on the red-bricked floor. There was too much for me to take in. It was a windy and quaint evening, the rustling of the leaves momentarily took me away from KL, temporarily forgetting that I am just a couple of streets away from the busy rush hours. 
Beware though, as there tends to be a lot of mosquitoes in the evening! 

There is a little gate on the right side of a building that leads to a..
Wine cellar? With drum sets stowed on the antique sewing machine and table fan on the old cupboard..
And a random barber chair at the side. Could this place get more random?
If you think all these are unique, wait till you walk along this marbled path into their indoor dining area (yes, there's more!) - I'll let the photos do the talking.

Once again, it's as if I was brought over to another realm. The outdoor area and indoor area both give out a unique and different vibe. "Grandma's house on steroid" is how I would describe the indoor area. My eyes can't help but be dazzled by all the eclectic decorations and furniture fixing in this space. You'll definitely recognize some of the antique furniture and fittings from your grandparents' house or an old traditional kopitiam...but this place took it to another level.

There are plenty of big tables that are able to fit big groups, which makes this place an ideal spot for a group gathering.
But wait, there's more. Customers may take the steep wooden stairs (see what I meant by grandparents' house?) up to the second floor..
Which is seemingly a second-hand vintage furniture haven. Old sofa set, island bar, bar stool, coffee table, chest of name it.
Walk along the wooden floorboard to that little small room on the left
And you'll find a flush toilet awkwardly placed in a room filled with Cheong Sam. 

Now I know where to get random furniture fittings! (If I ever want some!)

The ambiance was definitely lovely, and one couldn't help but allow their eyes to wonder around. It took me a while to settle down, as my eyes were too busy taking in the surroundings!

Now let's move on to the other main highlight of a restaurant, the food.

Curiousity Iron River serves a selection of local and western food, and a basic selection of alcohol drinks. Prices are definitely on the steeper side, but not as steep as I initially feared (I thought everything would be above RM50). After all, you are essentially paying for the ambiance as well. Here's what we had that night:
Kampung Fried Rice with Pork Satay RM22
It was tad spicy so steer clear if you're someone who can't take spicy food! The fried rice was OK, not mind-blowingly great but it wasn't bad.
Meatball Bolognese RM22
Pasta tossed in classic bolognese sauce, served with pork meatball. Another simple dish, but I was happy with their pasta to meat ratio!
Sambal Petai Pizza RM38
Sambal, petai, squid, cheese on a pizza crust? What?
The pizza was definitely the highlight of the night. Iw was an odd combo, but everything surprisingly went really well together. Beware though, this is a fairly spicy pizza! Spicier than the fried rice we ordered!
I am usually wary of seafood on pizza - because most places tend to overcook it, resulting in a rubbery texture. Glad to say that the pizza here was done right! The squid was nice and tender, not rubbery as I feared.

As the sun sets, the atmosphere outside changes too.

If you're looking for a place that offers a different ambiance and atmosphere, I'd recommend paying Curiousity Iron River a visit. And if you're up for something different, do try out their Sambal Petai pizza :D

Curiousity Iron River
138, Jalan Sungai Besi,
Chan Sow Lin,
57100 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur


Business Hours:
10am-10pm daily
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