shopping almanac of a stay home mum

Archive for March, 2009


Feet Support

posted by constance

For the past two months, Ah Boy complained of his painful feet. It is not at the arch of his feet nor is he flat-footed. When he was younger, he had a fracture that did not show signs of stress until now, that he is a little overweight, it is taking a toll on him. He can feel a stab between his forth and fifth toe. He complains of these pain if he is on his foot whole day long. As someone who works in the F&B, he cannot avoid but has to be on his feet almost the whole day during peak hours except doing paperwork in the mornings and evenings.

After a trip back to Penang, and seeing how his sis actually got a customized in-sole done for her aching feet, he decided to have one done too. Off we went to the mall on Sunday to check it out. After the consultation, he had his feet scanned by the computer scale and now he just need to wait for the inner support sole that is to be fitted into the insides of his shoe.

I know many a times he had longed to wear the beautifully crafted Dansko shoes and clogs for Chefs. But I hope after months of putting on this inner support sole, it helps to get rid of the stabbing pain on between his third and forth toe.


Penang Has Nasi Kandar

posted by constance

In the mornings while on my Penang vacation, I’d passed by this outlet Mohd Raffe. This shop is where I used to have my weekly Nasi Kandar more than 2 decades ago. I am not sure if this sign had been around since then because I never paid attention but they were certainly one of the best Nasi Kandar I had in my location, at that time.

Nasi Kandar can be found all over in Penang and is an Indian Muslim fare. Something similar to Nasi Padang where you get to choose your dishes on a plate of rice but the way their Fried Chickens and their curries are cooked, there is distinctive in taste and use of spices of course.

Nasi Padang is a Minang cuisine that originates from Sumatra while Nasi Kandar is more distinctively Indian and originates from Penang, Malaysia.

I find the Nasi Kandar milder than the Nasi Padang as usually a meal of Nasi Padang will leave me to search for the best acne treatments online. While I was back in Penang, I noticed that there are now many outlets that are selling Nasi Kandar all over town. Among those, from friends’ recommendations, Kayu Nasi Kandar is one of the good and recommended ones.

Any of you had tried any others?


Penang, As It Is Now.

posted by constance

Nostalgic memories enveloped me as we crossed the Penang Bridge in the wee hours on Tuesday morning. Penang was all quiet. Oh, too quiet. What do you expect.. At 2.00am everyone must be asleep.. It is early in the week. Monday blues, Tuesdays too. I could hear a faint crow as I wind down the window… amazing!

Penangites in the olden days (not sure about now..) used to be among those that slept early. Entertainment in the old days was not like now. Less night spots and the only entertainment we had was more of night clubs, pubs and cinema midnight shows. Boston Pub, Jockey Pub, Cinta Discoteque, Hollywood, Spaniards Inn and even notorious Chu San, they were all familiar names. Oh and those busy Chowrasta area where Penangites go for their Indian fare.

When I was younger, I’d follow my dad to the nearest newspaper vendor at night for his evening papers (Star or Echo). It was usually about after 8pm or so and as my Dad held my hand and we walked to Cantonment Road/Burma Road Junction, many shops were closing for the day. The Tucky coffeeshop that was in front of the news vendor used to sell delicious evening Sar Hor Fan fried by an elderly couple. Now, they are no longer doing the business as my mom said the kids do not wish to pick up these slaving over stoves and cooking skills from their retiring parents. Can’t blame them. Life was simpler then. Now the world is full of paper chase, gourmet coffee, wifi and¬† E-everything.

I took pictures of the provision shops that is still around for the last 40 years? Or more? I’m surprised they are still around..

Many of the shophouses have been sold and resold since I left Penang. There used to be Tip Top and Top Top restaurant and bakery but they are now shops selling Bak Kwa (BBQ Pork Slices) and Nasi Kandar (Indian fare). The clinic that I used to go to, Dr Chan’s clinic is also no longer there. There was also Barkath Store and Baptist Book Store in the same stretch, I don’t see them around. My Alma Mater stood there nearby across the Church of Immaculate Conception. Amazing.

Ban Joo Lee.

This is locally known as ‘Kedai Runcit’ (malay) or ‘Chai Tiam Ma’ (hokkien), which means Provision Shop. As young as 5 or 6, I patronized this shop for my titbits, Pringles Potato Chips (it was only RM$2 for two cans), dad’s cigarettes and my school stationery. The old parents that minded the shop are no longer there. The two sons were already helping out when I was that age and they are still the two main person I could see as we drove past the shop. They all remembered me as Ah Hoon, I am sure they still do because I was such a daily-regular.

Cheow Guan.

This was the place I’d go to for all my bottles of Coke, Sarsi whatever soft drinks I wanted. And mom usually orders with them for our Chinese New Year treats too. We normally get about 6-7 cartons of soft drinks from F&N Orange, Coca-Cola, Sarsi, Ice Cream Soda, Kickapoo, Mirinda, 7-Up, Fanta of all flavours… I miss Fanta..

Barkath Stores

Driving towards the old esplanade, I found another Barkath Store that is in deteriorating condition.

And more shots of other dilapidated buildings below.

Messy junction at Gama (dato kramat/macalister road)

Police Quarters in forlorn state..

Odeon Cinema. Anyone knows if it is still being used as a cinema?

Komtar looks like she is in dire straits…

Penang YMCA -inside a simple cafe that sold wonderful food

Penang Prangin Mall

Prangin area was the place to be in those days… This is where we smelt the smelly Longkang, okay? There was a stretch of Jual-murah shops there too all doing brisk business.

Komtar was just newly built and it was packed with people and many Penangites were here as this is the place to meet. Penang had it’s first MacDonald fast food here. Penang also had it’s first Esprit shop here. We were gasping at how expensive the price was – $80 for tops or dresses..hehehe, yet we still went to buy them like there were no tomorrows!

This was also the place for snooker fans, because there were about as many as 3 snooker centres (big ones that had as many as 40 Snooker tables or so each). Of course I knew cos I helped MOM with her beverage outlet inside Jade Snooker Centre! I swear in my ears, I can still hear the balls hit another at night… Boy!

Going back certainly brings back good times of the old.


I met some bloggers and PGHK members

posted by constance

During the trip to Penang this time, I managed to meet up with few bloggers/PGHK members. The last trip back in June, I only met up with Dragon, Taoju and Arabai Jop. This time, Laksa UK was also back in Penang. It is quite rare for me to meet up PGHK members as most of their gatherings are done during the Chinese New Year and I am usually not going back Penang since we don’t get as much days off compared with Malaysians during festive period.

We reached Penang in the wee hours about 2am on Tue morning (read about the journey home) after the evening drive all the way from Singapore. I only got a few hours of nap because we wanted to do alot of things and also visit some relatives plus family time.

On the following day, I managed to arrange an evening coffee chat with Laksa Sue, Angeleyes, ArabaiJop and their children. It reminded me of those Mommys arranging for playgroup for

Laksa Sue came with her handsome son Ian, Angeleyes with her adorable Darrius and Arabai arrived with her lovely cherubic daughter Jovie. My girls were all crowding around Darrius at first (Ian was downstairs with Mommy ordering drinks). Look at Darrius! He is so cute and adorable.. I was worried he would cry cos my girls were all hovering around him! You see, Lea and Rae loves young young kids and babies and I have to keep reminding my power girls to be gentle with younger kids.

Took some shots before Darrius finally smiles for the camera… hahaha¬† We all shouted for Laksa (instead of Cheese) and very soon Laksa Sue came up with Ian and drinks.

Ian was a little shy.. avoiding eye contacts most of the time.. but he too soon warm up and began playing with active Darrius! Oops a board fell down when Darrius climbed on the seats.. I hope it didn’t hit on his head.. He cried briefly perhaps from the shock and Mommy Angeleyes said from ‘guilt’

Litte Jovie came with Mommy Arabai.. who is really great with a pram, a haversack and little Jovie, she managed to even bring those stuff upstairs where we were sitting! Geng Woman! My girls then shifted their attention on little Jovie.. boy, my girls really love her.. I also dunno why my younger Lea had a pack of that Baby Rice cracker that Arabai brought along for Jovie.. I was too distracted and had so much fun with Laksa, Angeleyes and Arabai.

The following day, I was spending much of my day in Tesco and picking up my Tau Sar Pniah and Mee Koo that I didn’t have time to go with Laksa to meet up Jamie.. I wonder if they did.

Shout for Laksa -Take 1 (Rae left, Lea right, Darrius centre)

Shout for Laksa -Take 2 (Darrius just stared! hehehe)

Shout for Laksa -Take 3 (Darrius looked even more sulky eh? Was worried he was gonna cry ~~)

Shout for Laksa louder (Yes, Darrius finally smiles!)

Ian finally joins in and all said Laksa and Hokkien Mee!!! Then Laksa Sue finally came up with her drinks..

Arabai Jop with Baby Jovie in the picture when she arrived a little later.

I didn’t know that Coffee Bean’s drinks were priced so high in Malaysia.. I bought an Ice blended Coffee and two Ice blended Chocolate and they cost me about RM$35 in total… daylight robbery! I probably pay under $12 for all three in SG!

The next day in the evening, Nancy popped by my house briefly after she attended to her dad. Nancy is a PGHK member and I had not met her in person before but we’ve chatted like old friends on yahoo, msn and skype for the past two years. It was very thoughtful of you Nancy to drop by although you had stuff to do at home. I really appreciate that. Thanks for making time for me. Perhaps when I have a longer vacation in Penang we can arrange to meet up for a meal then.


Lots to Pay

posted by constance

Gosh I have tons of mail waiting to be opened after just a week’s holiday! Not email, but snail mails with envelopes. There are various bills waiting to be paid! I also received my road tax invoice too. Sigh, after a holiday, I’m already poorer and with the road tax means I have to also expect my car insurance anytime soon.

The nearest car agent is now located in Jurong Central. It’s so difficult to find parking there. The last year, I waited for a while. Unpleasant waiting with the car park ticking away. And taking queues again at the insurance office..

A friend asked me to try to try to purchase auto insurance online. It is suppose to be more convenient. I guess that is a good consideration too. Then I can save on petrol, car park and time wasted.


Save the Great Depression

posted by constance

I know many of you probably think that now is the time to save, not spend. But did you know that with the weak economy, we can help to revive it by buying? If we stop buying, it will cause depression to get worst. And there will be more people losing their jobs because of low or no demand for goods. If you really look at stores, many things from food to electrical items are now going on a bigger and better Sale pricing. This is to enable the store owners to clear stocks, cut overhead costs and also prevent cash flow problems. And the prices are getting more attractive too.

As much as I love shopping, I still prefer to shop online. Sometimes you can find great bargains and better prices. And some even offer you FREE SHIPPING. What more can I ask for.


My Pink Bakes

posted by constance

Did any of you see my recent postings at my food blog? Well i’ve been baking all pink the past week! Before long, I will have to rename Fad About Food to Fad About Pink! The latest bake was an Oreo cheesecake and I did a Pink frosting using Pink food colouring and Raspberry Jam! The tangy frosting was really nice and the girls love it!


Just today alone, I went to get Grape flavoured paste as well as Orange ones… I can’t wait to try out the new colours! I still have not tried baking the 9 layer cake yet.. (Kao Chan Kueh). And there are so many things I want to try too. I wonder if this phase will continue till when? Perhaps till I’m broke! Cake ingredients are super expensive. Butter, Whipping Creams and Cheese are all very costly nowadays.

Do you like to cook?


How to measure balding head

posted by constance

I cringe each time I comb my hair after a shampoo. That is because I think my hair is dropping by quite a lot. Although they say long hair tends to look more, it still gives me a phobia that one day I’ll soon be bald.. I have been thinking of getting a haircut. I am not sure if I can squeeze in time this week, otherwise I’ll do it after the holidays. Some tell me its the diet we eat. But I don’t eat such salty foods unlike hubby and I don’t use any msg at home. Whatever reason it may be, I certainly hope there will not be a day where I have to look for hair loss product but if that is something that can help keep our crowning glory intact.. perhaps…

Does your hair drop a lot? What kind of guidelines I wonder? Counting the strands of hair?


Yayy for Night Polyclinics

posted by constance

I passed by the polyclinic the other day. It was brightly lit. At night too. I always thought that polyclinics were only opened during the day but it seemed that in the last few years, some of the polyclinics started to expand medical services to evening too. I thought that is a good idea because polyclinics are more affordable for many compared to private clinics. The polyclinics in Singapore are efficient and the subsidized prices are great. If one need to see a medical specialist, it is advisable to go to the polyclinics for referral because you will get a subsidized price at the medical specialist. Of course it will take you some visits to the poly’s GP first because they need to make sure that the treatments they provide need the specialist treatments first. So with the availability evening consultations, it is now convenient for many to seek any medical treatments from migraines, gastric problems, fever and aches, UTI, vaginal dryness, diarrhoea… just about anything. The fees are merely few dollars or less than $15 including medication.


Frugal Spending

posted by constance

My friend who owns a small shop selling clothes said many shoppers are browsing more instead of buying. Perhaps it is the bleak economy that is putting many off from purchases. The local supermarket also sees many buying no frills or house brands of household and food products.

During this time, I received numerous calls from banks and insurance agents calling to tell me about their products. Of course, I have to thread carefully. Linda, who handles all my other insurance matters called me up the other day. She said that many are buying term life insurance instead or a whole life plan. It costs less than a regular life insurance policy because it builds no cash value. I thought this is useful especially when I have two young kids and life is so unpredictable. Then, again, I have to make sure that the budget of my term life insurance price is within my budget. I have not much confidence in insurance that are tied to some investment but I need to hear what she has to say first. Looking at the investment market, it certainly seems kinda bleak.