Monday, June 25, 2012

Broke but Happy :)

We just paid for our kitchen about two weeks back (and yea we were like clowns paying with three different credit cards at the IKEA cashier) and there is literally a super big hole in our saving account now! Worst, we still have a looooooooong list of stuff to buy for our little house before we can finally call it a comfy house of our own.
The list goes like this...
1) Sofa set
2) Built-in wardrobe
3) Shoe cabinet

1) Master bedroom's bed+mattress
2) Master bedroom's make-up table
3) TV
4) TV table
5) Dining table set
6) Refrigerator
7) Kitchen work table
8) Curtain(s)
9) Chair(s) for entrance (so that we can sit and wear shoes)
10) Aluminum gate for front entrance gate
11) Steel window gate
12) Lights
13) Glass display cabinet
14) Coffee table
15) Sliding door for kitchen entrance
16) Sliding door for back toilet
17) Cupboard for keeping of documents, books and etc
The list is already minus the smaller appliances which are cheaper. We have already gotten some quotations for those that we know we want them or we know are necessary to buy. Hahaha, even those not really necessary...
*finger points finger~~~* It is seriously tempting!!! Even though I don't always drink coffee but this machine makes things so much more easier whenever I have sudden crave for coffee! True or not???

So because we are almost broke and still have a whole list of stuff to buy, we always remind ourselves to not overspend.
Here are our plans to save more money...
1) Eat more at food courts in stead of restaurants (we still enjoy nice restaurant food once or twice a week though... :p)
2) Spend less on snacks and drinks, only eat proper meals.
3) No shopping for clothes and shoes (oh gosh you don't know how I suffer from this man, looking at those 'SALES' words all over the place... Hence I succumbed to temptation and bought a skirt and a pair of sandal over the weekend! LOL!)
4) Watch movies at home in stead of in the cinema (well, nowadays either we spend time fixing the house or go out to buy or survey for stuff for the house so we have yet to find time to really go watch movie anywayz), I actually hope to catch up with some latest movies though...
5) Read free magazines at the bookstore in stead of buying them home (kiamsiap to the max~).
6) When kitchen is done, eat at home more.
7) Redeem appliances with credit cards or membership cards points or utilise cash vouchers to buy small appliances.
8) Beg for help! So yea, money and gift cards aside, you can also provide me with contacts to cheap places to buy stuff for the house! 

Staying in a partially done house, which is without a sofa at the moment, I'm very much eager to get everything in the house done so that it can be a real functional house! But until we can afford them all, we will do things one by one, step by step and enjoy the process as it is. So although we are spending very wisely nowadays because of the house, I trust that we are happy going through the process of creating our dream lovely home for ourselves! :)

Stay tuned for more updates peeps~!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Must Go-s in Western Australia

Western Australia is HUGE. So huge that I have not even venture into the entire state during my two-year study life there and my few trips back, including my recent one. In fact, the recent one was the one that I really went real far and that really isn't even half of the state yet!
There are some places down south that I've been to a few times but still I insisted we must go again and I would recommend you to go if you are going to WA for holiday.
1) The gorgeous Albany Wind Farm
The Albany Wind Farm totally took my breath away when I first visited the place few years back. The huge generators seriously amazed me loads! I heard Europe has more of these things but hey since I can only afford Australia, these generators and those gorgeous scenery are enough to make my jaw drop!
Now this place has also become extra unforgettable since Deardo proposed to me there! :)

2) Valley of the Giants (Tree Top Walk)
That was also my third visit and I still love that place a lot! I've been to similar one in Kota Kinabalu but honestly, that one is zero compared to the Valley of the Giants! This place is huge where you can first take a walk on top of the jungle (note: you cannot be afraid of height to walk that hanging bridge) and then finish with another walk where you can see HUGE and old tingle trees which will surely make you go wah~wah~wah~!

3) Pentland Alpaca Stud & Animal Farm
Second time there and I still think this is the best place to be near to Australian animals such as Koalas and Kangaroos. With a minimal entrance fee, you get a pack of food to feed the animals in a little farm which looks more like a private farm like those with a family house at the side.
And they have the cutest Alpacas and baby Kangaroos!!!

Of course, there are a few places that were new to me and I must share with you the wonderful experience!
1) Wave Rock
Located about 400km east of Perth, this hidden gem is another example of amazing naturally made tourist spot. A look at the photos already amazed you but hey when you are there in person you just can't believe your eyes how can such odd-looking yet beautiful thing stuck in the middle of no where?
Downside is, there are nothing much to see along the way to Wave Rock. So it's really a long journey without any stop-over to see other stuff. But to Deardo and I, the long drive was tiring but worth every km of it!!! :)

2) Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
This is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia, according to the lighthouse tour leader. Of course the lighthouse is amazing BUT what amazed us more is the fact that right over there you could see the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean clashes with each other! I mean, you can literally see the two waves hit into each other! How often can you find such thing???

3) The Pinnacles
Only about two hours drive from Perth, I have no idea why I've never been there last time when I was studying in Perth while I've been to Lancelin, the town not too far away from The Pinnacles.
The Pinnacles may sound like oh, just some rocks but honestly, you gotta be there at least once to feel it for yourself! It's a HUGE HUGE HUGE desert with these rocks standing like nobody's business and apparently scientists still couldn't find the exact answer to why are these rocks all over the place just like that. Some tall and thin, some fat and short, they might look 'just rocks' if I give you a few pieces of them. But hey it's whole loads of them all over the desert!!! That place was to me, truly unforgettable!!!

Even before I went to Perth for my study, people have warned me about how boring Perth can be but until today I can tell you it is seriously not as bad as I've expected. Perth city today has even grows into a busier city with a lot of new stuff installed. Big screen TVs in the middle of the city (just like Fed Square in Melbourne city), loads of new buildings with the most obvious sport arena and they are damn modern-looking okay! I can also see more and more shops and cafes opening up, some till late night now! And plus those places around WA are just too good to be missed! Oh yea, check out Albany man, that is simply a dream place for me to be in when I retire one day! Ha!
So seriously, I'm sick of people complaining that Perth is boring! Go experience it and you will know why I said so! And Tourism Australia can now think of how much to pay me for this blog post! *wink~~*

Check out more of my Perth trip's photos here... Album 1, Album 2, Album 3, Album 4

Friday, June 15, 2012

Authentic HK Cuisine @ Joy Garden, Northbridge, Perth

After my cousin Sin Fei brought us to a new restaurant in Northbridge for Dim Sum on our first day in Perth, Deardo and I felt like there is something missing from the Dim Sum we ate. Perhaps it was because it wasn't my first choice? Few years ago when I was still in Perth, I spent some of my weekend mornings having Dim Sum with my friends and housemates and my favourite place for Dim Sum, recommended by some of my friends from Hong Kong was Joy Garden Restaurant, which fortunately, still surviving. *yay~~*
Spot the Leng Lui!
Joy Garden opens at 9.30am nowadays, which is much earlier than the 11am when I was studying in Perth few years back. Dim Sums are served until 3pm and they do dinner too at night with fresh seafood such as huge snow crabs and fresh lobsters.
Let me show you how our Dim Sum breaky looked like...
Yummy Siu Mai!
Har Gao with fresh prawns. Not a fan of the skin though.
Ooooh... My favourite! Ngau Pak Yip!
Very nice Pork Ribs!
Salad Prawns.
How I missed this Deep Fried Octopus with Salt and Chili!
Getting real excited for breakfast!
There is a reason why I went all the way to Australia for Dim Sum! Because they are nicer than those in KL! I'm freaking serious!!! Trust me, their seafood are damn fresh, the pork ribs are tender and yummy, and you don't get certain stuff in restaurants in KL. For instance, the beef tripe (Ngau Pak Yip) are everywhere in Chinese restaurants in Perth! But I tell you, the one at Joy Garden is really really to-die-for! Very crunchy and it doesn't have the fishy smell you thought you would get in a beef innards. And the Deep Fried Octopus with Salt and Chili! Why KL's Dim Sum restaurants no have? WHY??? I'm not particularly a fan of the Deep Fried Salad Prawn because the skins are too thick but then the prawns are still damn fresh!
Sai Mai Lou!!!
I don't normally take dessert after Dim Sum in KL but in Perth I will demand for my Sai Mai Lou! Chilled coconut milk with pieces of fresh fruits! Aahhh... Tastes like heaven man! And I don't even like coconut milk in the first place!
We paid around AUD40 for the Dim Sum breaky and without converting to RM, I think it is quite cheap to have Dim Sum there, in a proper restaurant, not random kopitiam!

Before we went to the restaurant for Dim Sum, we actually went there for dinner two nights before for dinner when I was already craving for Asian food after some days out of Perth city, surviving on western food and instant noodles. We went a little crazy ordering four dishes, already knowing that the portion won't be small!
Free soup, the Hong Kies call them 'Lai Tong'!
Damn this Garlic and Butter Prawns look so nice!
Sambal Kangkong... I think we were missing home already! :p
Black Pepper Beef!
Claypot Eggplant.
Well luckily the food didn't disappoint us! Love the garlic butter prawns where the prawns were lightly flavoured and were so fresh and crunchy! The Kangkong was fresh but the sambal still can't beat what we have in Malaysia and the Black Pepper Beef might be Deardo's favourite with the tender beef giving you such a joy when chewing them! The only one I thought was a little letdown was the Claypot Eggplants, which lacks the scent of some salted fish or dried shrimps.
Deardo was so happy he decided to become the sexy ambassador for Joy Garden Restaurant! LOL!
Oh hell yea we spent AUD90 plus for that dinner, which means RM300 for that freaking dinner~! But I think we were both very happy with the meal. Deardo especially still always talks about the yummy prawns and beef he had at Joy Garden! Yes, they are so unforgettable! :)
Too bad we didn't try the lobster because of budget concern but we saw a lot of customers having lobsters when we were there! Bet they are yummy too!
So anywayz, if you ask me where to have nice Hong Kong style Chinese food in Perth, this is where I'll recommend!

Joy Garden Restaurant
65 Francis St
Northbridge 6003 WA
Tel: +618-9227 8638

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Long Wait Ends

Since leaving home for my studies till now, I've been nomad for more than a decade, moving from one house to another in KL and of course in Perth too.
I must admit I'm not an easy housemate or roommate to deal with most of the time because I'm a very light sleeper who can't take noise or light when I'm sleeping. When I was studying in KL I used to have roommates who have a reversed sleeping timing so they would wake up midnight and start taking shower, chatting with each other before deciding to go leave me in peace and have their meal at the nearest mamak when I'm sleeping in the bloody same room! Then when I was in Perth, I used to have stupid Aussie guys who would get themselves drunk almost every night and would be home to try their very best to destroy all furnitures available at home.
In Perth these Aussie guys also love to cook but never washed their dishes and would leave everything rotten and stinky. I couldn't help but punished them by throwing those dishes straight right into the rubbish bin. And don't even mention how they made some racist statement too on my face. Urggghhh... Seriously made me hate Aussie guys for a long while!
Aussie guys whom I had a love and hate relationship with. LOL! 
Of course the most recent one was the experience with Ken the kid and the conman Daniel a.k.a Jerry Tang (and god knows if he has change his name again for his house rental business' sake?) which ended up in a very interesting way...
It is just me? Or you guys also have difficult experiences dealing with your housemates, roommates and landlords? 
Ultimately, the best way to get out of all these nonsenses is to get yourself a house and I'm really glad that Deardo is one fiancee who is good in planning for our future and had decided that we would buy a condo unit for ourselves. It wasn't easy though dealing with the entire name-changing process and a very calculative ex-owner of the house but finally after about a year time, we can call ourselves owner and resident of the house! Yay~! :D
The house is small but comfy and enough for the both of us once we really settled down. We are slowly changing stuff in the house. I said 'slowly' because we do not have that much of money to make such a big make-over to the house yet. And we are doing a lot of things on our own, with the biggest challenge being repainting the entire house. I will share more of our experience in fixing the house in the near future as we progress so at the meantime you can think of what you can give me as house-warming gifts! Ha! But then again... I'm damn anal about what to buy and put in the house to match the theme, so if you are really planning to give me anything, money should be the best gift so that I can buy the furniture or appliances that I love. Hehehe... Thanks in advanced yea! :)

These ugly-looking dining table and chairs always make me wonder what on earth was the ex-owner thinking when he bought this set of stuff? I mean, yellow chairs, seriously?
Kitchen cabinet is the first one to be fixed and I'm so excited to get it done soon!!! Can't wait to use my lovely kitchen to do more cooking experiments!!! Behold people! :p
The stupid-looking coffee colour and maroon red sofa is now gone. We sent it off for charity! Ha!
Seriously, I can't wait to invite my friends and relatives to my house for a little party where I would cook up some nice food with my new kitchen (which by the way, not done yet)!!! But that really has to wait till the house is nicely done! So stay tuned, guys! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Food & Wine @ Brookwood Estate, Margaret River, WA

There are simply too many vineyards in Western Australia, especially along the way between Margaret River and Perth city. I've been to quite a lot of them when I was studying in Perth but I have zero memory of the names of the vineyards. Thanks to Deardo, who did some research earlier and found Brookwood Estate interesting. It has not only the usual free wine-tasting, but also a small restaurant serving food, which we thought would be perfect for lunch before heading back to the city.
Simple but classy and comfy.
I've been to many vineyards before but Brookwood looks a little different mainly because it has a HUGE piece of land with not only grapes all over, but also horses and a little lake/pond. To cut it short, it has quite a breath-taking scenery.
Gorgeous view of the vineyard.
We were welcomed by a lady who helped us ordered our lunch first, before passing us to another lady who then let us try more than 10 types of wines they have. Their wines ranges from AUD20-AUD25, which is quite cheap, even if you convert them all back to Ringgit Malaysia! We bought three bottles of wine there and my favourite would be the Bubbles, which is more like a champagne. Sweet and nice! :)
Acting like we know a lot about wine!
After that, we went back to the restaurant in front for our lunch. Now here comes another plus point. We were sitting right behind the vineyard, which means we had the entire vineyard right in front of our eyes as we enjoyed our lunch. How awesome is that? It was really sunny yet not too hot since it was near beginning of winter already, so we enjoyed the weather so much sitting outside the restaurant.
That was when we thought: Ahhhh... This is what you call life man!!!
We had Seafood Platter for two at AUD63. We thought it was going to come in one big plate or something but they actually made it into two plates. The platter has fries, calamari, deep fried fish strips, fresh prawns, octopus with some pickled vege, smoked Pamberton trout pate, bread and some salad. I know it is supposed to be a 'seafood' platter, but my favourite thing in the dish is the salad! With some greens, thin pear slices, roasted sunflower seeds and Danish Feta Cheese, the salad is simply unforgettable! Love the dressing and those pear and sunflower seeds! I don't think I've ever liked a salad so much! Ha! And the pate, which is a Pamberton (another town near Margaret River) produced, was seriously yummy!!! How I wish I could buy that home!!!
Our delicious lunch. Yumzzz...
We are truly satisfied with the lunch, and the entire experience at Brookwood Estate. The owner, Trevor actually came and talked to us and told us if we are happy with the food please help to promote it and here am I, telling you if you are looking for a nice vineyard at Margaret River with nice wine, nice food and nice view... Brookwood Estate might be the right place to be! Deardo and I really did enjoy the entire experience there! :)
They have quite a cool website, do check them out here!

Brookwood Estate
Lot 10 Treeton Rd;
Cowaramup, Western Australia 6284
Tel: +61- 89-755-5604

Monday, June 4, 2012

Award-winning Pizzas @ Little Caesars, Perth

We've had some nice foods in Perth during our one-week trip there. Some were just what I've missed so much while the others were totally new to us. Because there were just too many of them, I chose to only share those worthy a mention here. Let's start with Little Caesars, a restaurant I've only been once during my two years study life in Perth.
Opened by an Italian named Theo Kalogeracos, Little Caesars is not an ordinary instant pizza shops you can find in Perth. The pizzas have been winning awards over the past few years. Some of them mentioned in their website are:
2010 World Champion Pizza Maker – Las Vegas Pizza Show
2006 Las Vegas Italian Chef Wars Winner
2004 Member of Dairy Farmers Team Oz that won the Americas Plate
2003 Australian Winner of Dairy Farmers Best of the Best
Their Hall of Fame and Menu.
Yeap, that's why they are already calling themselves 'World's Best Pizzas' and Theo actually already published a book sharing his pizza recipes. Compared to many years ago, Little Caesars now have three outlets in Perth and Deardo and I went to the one at Leederville, which is the one nearest to the city.
When we arrived at about 7ish at night the shop was already filled with people and we had to wait for a table (note: they DO NOT take reservations). It was a shame that it was only two of us cos we can't order more flavours to try! They just have too many choices! From western, to Japanese to red curry chicken, etc! They also have a full menu of dessert pizza! How cool, right?
People enjoying their pizzas on a Friday night at the happening Leederville.
Deardo and I picked a large pizza in which we can have two flavours in one pizza. We chose to have half BBQ and half Sub-Marine.
Oh man, this photo is making me salivate like crazy... :S
Honestly I do prefer the BBQ more than the Sub-Marine. The bacon, shaved ham and chicken were all perfectly cooked till some were a little crispy! And the generous amount of Mozzarella Cheese just made the pizza dangerously delicious! That doesn't mean the Sub-Marine was bad, it was just not as good as the BBQ. I appreciate the fact that they actually used some REAL seafood in stead of crab sticks. With whole loads of prawns, smoked oysters, squids and anchovies, I have no complain about the pizza. Only thing I'm not too used too was probably the pickled anchovies, still prefer our own ikan bilis! :p
Us enjoying the pizza and we were damn glad we actually went to Little Caesars!
It was definitely the best pizza I've ever tried in my life, so far! I think one of the reasons the pizza is so nice is because they are not stingy with their ingredients! And the crust was just nice, not too thick yet not too thin. And their service? Even with the fact that you might need to wait for a table, the food was served real fast, like less than 20 minutes? Plus, if you don't convert, the price is quite reasonable~! We got ours at AUD22!
Surely one of the few nice things to eat in Perth. So do check it out if you happen to visit Perth! They have outlets in Leederville, Mundaring and Hillarys. Check out their website for more info! :)

More photos of our Perth Trip: Album 1, Album 2, Album 3 and Album 4.