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Merry Christmas!

Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year. Although I don’t celebrate it religiously, I just like the cheer and excitement that comes with the season – the beautiful Christmas decorations, the splendid feasts and festive dishes, the gifts and the gatherings.

The pandemic has certainly put a damper on things, as many people are unable to celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones due to safety/health concerns, work, or travel restrictions. I had been looking forward to my first proper Christmas with N, but since he’s still stuck in the Philippines, we have no choice but to be patient and hope things get better soon. The important thing is that we’re both healthy and safe.

While I wasn’t able to celebrate Christmas with the husband, I still got a bit of low-key celebrating in with a couple of friends. So here’s what I’ve been up to!

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I met up with some ex-colleagues for Christmas brunch, and bought them some pampering items from The Body Shop as gifts.

My office used to have a tradition where we’d all go for a Christmas dinner – usually a buffet at a hotel – where we’d eat and exchange gifts. It’s true what they say about not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone – I never realised how much I’ve come to enjoy them. It feels a little weird that the company started off with 11 people this year… and now I’m left all by my lonesome. 😦

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More gifts, but for a different group of friends.
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Also took the chance to grab some pampering masks: ChrisZen was having a sale – only RM1 per mask!
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Also, finally managed to clear out the office a couple of days before Christmas. My ex-colleague was supposed to help before he left, but he dropped the ball so I was left to do all of it alone lol.

The main problem was the boxes of electronics and files I had to ship to our main office in Singapore. There were two huge Apple monitors, and I couldn’t find boxes that were big enough to fit them (lesson learned: NEVER throw away your original box). Custom-made boxes are expensive, and it would take time to make them to the required specifications.

In the end, my ex-designer was a lifesaver – she came to the office with two of her friends who do prop-making on the side. They basically cut and put together smaller boxes to make a big one so that the monitors would fit. They also helped to dismantle the wooden cupboard and shelves we had in the office, so I didn’t need to get a lorry service to cart them away. Thanks guys!

I still had to throw a lot of stuff away; 10 boxes of keychains, luggage tags, old magazines, cardboard boxes and stuff. I’m not young anymore so it was torture lugging all the stuff to the big dumpster outside the mall, four floors below. A good workout but my back was killing me for days after lol.

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Rewarded myself for all that hard work @KFry, 1Utama
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Met up with a high school friend, G, who’s back from Ipoh for the holidays. She has three adorable cats. They’re triplets, so they have the same orange and white pattern.

Cats are like people and have unique personalities: which is the case with these three. The oldest, Big Bean, is friendly, playful and affectionate; she loves pets and rubbing on your legs. The middle child, Zhong Fen (Mandarin for ‘centre parting’ – because she has a pattern in the middle of her forehead) is quiet, haughty and antisocial: she shot me a distrustful look when I put out my hand for her to sniff, then promptly turned around and showed me her butt. She also dislikes being manhandled, and protested loudly when my friend’s son tried to hug her.

The youngest, Small Bean, is calm and cool, and likes to observe. The first thing she did after being let out from her cage was jump on top of the fridge, so that she’d have a good view of the surroundings.

I think G’s doing an excellent job with her cats, despite being a first-time owner. They’re all fat, fluffy and clean.

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Zhong Fen
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“Gib pets”: Big Bean
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Christmas Day was spent playing with my DIY candle kit, which I ordered from Lazada. Now, I’m not very good with arts and crafts (or anything that requires working with my hands lol). But the process was actually fairly simple, and I’m happy with the result. Will detail this in a separate post! 🙂

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And finally, I met up with another friend, H, for lunch. It was good to catch up and walk around the mall. Felt almost normal again. The mall was surprisingly empty (we went to Sunway Velocity) – a far cry from how Pavilion KL was over the weekend. The crowd there was crazy. I think people aren’t even worrying about the pandemic anymore. You can’t blame the government when they announce 2,000+ cases if you’re not even practicing social distancing.

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H said: “You’ll probably laugh when you unwrap my present”. Sure enough, I did. It was just really funny that she gift wrapped the Super Rings But it was this simple gift and gesture that, to use the old-fashioned idiom, warmed the cockles of my heart.

So that was my Christmas! I initially wanted to bring a little festive cheer to the house by suggesting we get each other gifts, but was promptly shot down by the Moo. Not giving up though… there’s always next year.

How did you celebrate Christmas? 🙂

Yohoho!

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Experience A Hong Kong Christmas, No Matter Where You Are in The World

A couple of weeks ago, the highly anticipated Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble (initially set for November 22) was shelved after a surge of cases in the region – much to the disappointment of many. Some hotels and shopping centres, had, in fact, tailored special holiday experiences – ready to welcome their first leisure travellers after over a year of travel restrictions. 

While that obviously hasn’t worked out, that doesn’t mean Christmas has to be canceled. Hong Kong retailers, businesses and artists alike have banded together to bring an immersive and innovative festive season to people all over the world – using the power of technology.

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of Hong Kong’s festive Central Business District 

Hong Kong’s Christmas celebrations are widely considered to be some of the best in the region, with vibrant Christmas markets, stunning displays, fun activities and more. The Hong Kong WinterFest, an annual fixture organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, has been a major tourist draw each year – and although visitors might not be able to attend physically this year, they can still expect a veritable wonderland through their screens. 

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Go on a tour of Christmas Town – a snow-kissed virtual CBD based on Hong Kong’s very own Central Business District – which ‘starts’ off at Statue Square, a historic public space in the heart of Central. From there, visitors are free to choose their own adventure: you can learn how to make festive DIY crafts such as aromatic wreaths, ornaments, pop-up holiday cards or candle holders via video tutorials, download holiday-themed Whatsapp stickers designed by famous Hong Kong illustrator like Din Dong, Dustykid and Messy Deck, or tune in to beautiful Christmas carols. If you prefer to just soak in the sights of the CBD’s iconic skyscrapers (which will be all decked out for the holidays), a towering tree and festive Christmas lodges, let Uncle Siu – a popular English educator known for his charming voice – lead you through the innovative 360-degree experience, and make fun, interactive stops along the way. 

The virtual tour of Christmas Town is part of the 2020 Hong Kong Winterfest, which will run until 3 January 2021. 

The world’s first “AI Butterflies Illuminating Interactive Art”

Enter a playground of light at Lee Tung Avenue in Wan Chai, where a seven-metre-tall, stained-glass butterfly and over 350 little LED butterflies have taken up residence. Dubbed “Butterflies of Hope,” it is the world’s first AI-powered butterfly art installation,  created to inspire, uplift and remind visitors of the hope, love, beauty and positivity we have in this world.

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If you are in Hong Kong, afternoon is the best time to visit, as the glass installation refracts natural light onto the ground, painting the boulevard in a myriad of colours. Evenings are a magical affair, with a music-and-light symphony that sees the butterflies taking flight as they ‘dance’ to the sound of music using artificial intelligence.

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The Lee Tung Avenue atrium is also home to a stunning, 12-metre-tall Christmas tree, with some powerful special effects. Combining touchless interactive technology and a special shadow projection technique, the tree projects butterflies onto the clothes of visitors – a feat of art and technology. 

Enjoy the festivities at Lee Tung Avenue until 10 January 2021.

Get lost in the Asia debut of Globoscope, a light showcase from France

K11 MUSEA, a new cultural-retail destination and arts hub on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, has turned up the Christmas spirit this year with A Very MUSEA Christmas Village. The village spreads joy and wonderment with a roster of artistic cultural experiences, including the Asia debut of Globoscope.

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Globoscope debuts in Asia at K11 Musea

Created by Collectif Coin, a renowned French art lab, the site-specific immersive light show stretches across the Bohemian Garden, a roof-top open space. A 20-minute private experience can be reserved to enjoy the surreal, sensory light exhibit with family or friends. It’s a sight to behold: Glowing spheres dance and swirl in choreographed light movements, while the dramatic Hong Kong skyline shines in the distance.

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Adding to the festive vibes is K11 MUSEA’s gorgeous Christmas Forest, featuring glistening golden trees in the mall’s atrium. Also not to be missed is a special Santa Muse Parade and a Christmas Market.

Experience A Very MUSEA Christmas Village through 3 January 2021. 

“Christmas Every Day” goes high tech with virtual Santa Meet & Greets

For the past 50 years, Harbour City has marked the holiday seasons with larger-than-life Christmas installations and festive surprises. This year is no different: it’s “Christmas Every Day” celebration once again promises unforgettable holiday memories, complemented by a roster of online experiences. 

Harbour City_Online Santa Meet & Greet-medium

Take a virtual tour of the incredible decorations throughout the mall and “check-in” on social media or share your Christmas wish list with Santa during a virtual Meet & Greet. For the little ones, Harbour City has created an interactive online colouring game, where children can dress up their “Monster Friends” – adorable 3D cartoon characters illustrated by Dutch artist Eva Cremers – and then watch their masterpiece come to life!

The holiday extravaganza continues in person. At the “Christmas Lighting Garden” on the Ocean Terminal Deck, you can wade through a sea of illuminated LED clovers and dandelions and enjoy the “Christmas Lighting & Music Show” every evening with the stunning Hong Kong skyline as a backdrop.

Enjoy Harbour City’s “Christmas Every Day” online and offline experiences until 3 January 2021.

*Photos courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

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Review: The Body Shop Christmas Scents 2020

Hey guys! There’s just a few more days to Christmas, and we all know what that means – Christmas promos!

Many shops, especially beauty and body care brands, are having sales and festive-season only collections. As someone with a weakness for body care products, it’s hard for me to resist the beautiful, sparkly displays and gift packages. And so it is that I finally succumbed … and got myself some treats from The Body Shop.

I like The Body Shop because they carry a wide range of really nice scents. While I only buy from them once or twice a year, I’m always satisfied with the products and customer service.

This year’s festive range is decidedly Christmas-y, and features three exclusive scents: Warm Vanilla, Winter Jasmine and Festive Berry, available across a range of items such as their body yogurt, body butter, hand and nail cream, and shower gel.

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The shop was running a promo through its social media app, whereby any purchase would be entitled to a free body scrub, so I got the cheapest available item (30ml hand cream – RM25 /discounted RM22.50) and had it shipped to my house. It arrived after 4 working days.

Vanilla is one of my favourite scents, but the Warm Vanilla was a tad disappointing for me. It’s sweet and very strong, and it reminds me of cake. No doubt some people will like this, but it just smells very artificial to me.

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The free 50ml Festive Berry body scrub that came with my hand cream is touted to help exfoliate and refine the skin. I have used it a couple of times in the shower, and it’s pretty good. The consistency is like strawberry jam, and it smells like that too, what with the berry and sugar crystal blend.

You can get the small tub as part of The Body Shop’s festive gift box (RM139), but if you want to purchase the scrub on its own, it’s only available in 250ml jars at RM113.

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My favourite of the lot has to be the Winter Jasmine Body Butter, which coincidentally was the most expensive item I got (RM84, 20% discount for The Body Shop members). It was worth the splurge, though.

The butter is creamy and luxurious, and it looked so smooth and luscious when I first opened the tub I almost felt like it was a shame to use any lol. The floral scent is sweet and relaxing – it reminds me of aromatherapy oils and spa fragrances that they use at massage parlours to help you relax. The skin feels soft and hydrated after application, and you get the smell of jasmine just wafting off of you : best to apply before sleeping !

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If you’re looking to gift, The Body Shop has a variety of items catering to different budgets, all in beautiful packaging. If I had the money, I’d buy them all lol.

But perhaps someone wants to get me something for Christmas? 🙂

Shop online at www.thebodyshop.com.my.

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How To Be A Cheapskate: Christmas Edition

When I was younger, I used to scoff at people who’d go out of their way to get free samples.

“There’s shower gel at home, why on earth would anyone want to take that tiny little bottle that will probably only last for one use?” was basically my attitude to people who took amenities from the hotel after a stay. Spoken like a true spoilt brat lol.

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But as with everything in life, change is the only constant – and now that I’m at that age where the burger boy actually calls me ‘kak‘ instead of ‘cik‘, I can finally understand why.

I come from a middle class family, and growing up, I knew my parents weren’t rich so I’ve never asked for anything. But at the same time, I’ve never wanted for anything – I’ve always had quality clothes to wear, good food to eat, all the books I could ever read. I had a Digivice, a Walkman, a vid game console, and in my teens – a mobile phone – which was more than what most kids my age (at that time anyway) could say they had.

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After coming out to work, though, I’ve come to realise the value of money. Now if I wanted something, I had to work for it. And as you get older and have more commitments (family, household, etc.) you realise that every little thing adds up t – and if you can get something that would help you save, no matter how small, you’d jump on it in a flash.

2020 has, all in all, been a pretty shitty year for a lot of people. I count myself luckier than most (Haven’t been laid off. Yet.) but I’ve also been more cautious in spending.

Since it’s the festive season, though, I wanted to give myself a little treat after a long year of ‘fasting’. So I devised… a little plan.

THE PLAN

The ‘plan’ was actually accidental.

I’m not a girly girl, and I rarely buy makeup / clothes / accessories / bags. My only weakness is body products and fragrances. I love candles, scents, shower gels, lotions, face masks… that sort of thing. Because of this, I follow a lot of brands on social media like The Body Shop, Lush, L’Occitane, etc. It so happened that while scrolling through my feed recently, I happened across an online event by The Body Shop, which promised a free jute bag: all I had to do was RSVP to the event, take a screenshot to confirm that I was ‘going’, and redeem the bag when I next visit any of their physical stores.

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Who can resist a scented vanilla candle and a nice diffuser? Photo for illus only don’t actually put candles on your bed, folks. Via Pexels

So … you know how ad targeting works on the Internet ? Once you’ve clicked on one thing, the system records this ‘interest’ and will recommend (read: bombard) you with related ads. I was suddenly getting dozens of body/ beauty product ads – most of which were offering promos/sales for Christmas. Some were even gamifying their campaigns, to make them more fun and interactive.

With this in mind, I started looking up different brands, to see if I could get a similar ‘deal’ as the one from The Body Shop. My goal was to look for giveaways with no minimum purchase – so I could get stuff for free, with no strings attached.

My second goal was to look for brands that were all under one roof, so I wouldn’t have to go to and fro and waste gas money. Since 1 Utama Shopping Centre is close to my work place, and they have dozens of beauty brands, I used the place as a ‘benchmark’ for my search: by looking up all the possible beauty brands available in the mall’s directory. Yes I know I have too much time on my hands lol.

The first one I found was Kiehl’s. They had made this nice little interactive game, where players had to complete a few in-game tasks like answering questions about their product and playing some mini games, which would then entitle them to free samples. The next was L’Occitane, which had a similar campaign – register, play some games, get samples.

CASHING IN

I went to the office on Sunday to get some packing done, so I dropped by the mall. My first stop was L’Occitane. It was actually pretty fuss-free. I showed my screenshot of the voucher code from their mini game to their staff, and they gave me a packet containing the promised 12 sachets of hair and face care samples. They also invited me inside for a look, although I’m pretty sure they knew I wasn’t there to buy stuff lol. Gotta commend L’Occitane staff though. You know how some staff members treat you dismissively coz they know you’re just there for free samples? None of that here: service was still impeccable.

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will the day come where I’m so rich I can buy stuff without looking at the price tag? We may never know
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Next, Kiehl’s. I’ve never even set foot in a Kiehl’s store before because I know I could never afford their items lol. Still, the brand has a good reputation and it seems like their marketing campaign worked well – because there was a long line of customers waiting to go into the shop. I had nothing better to do so I spent 40 minutes lining up lol. Ask a 20-year-old-me and I’d probably tell you you’re dumb to spend that kinda time for free samples. but like I said, people change.

Again, the staff at Kiehl’s was very profesional – she even explained to me what each sachet is for and how to use them.

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Last but not least, The Body Shop. Unfortunately the 1U outlet had run out of jute bags. I got this from IOI MALLwhile I was out running errands.

WAS IT WORTH IT?

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This might seem funny but I did feel a sense of accomplishment at getting all these samples. While I doubt I’d see much effect from one use, it’s still nice to get what is essentially a treat, and would have cost money to buy under normal circumstances.

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Also, I managed to do a fair bit of Christmas shopping (gifts for friends) while I was at the mall. If it had been solely to get samples, I think I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to do so.

And that is How to be A Cheapskate: Christmas Edition! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it ! And if you have any tips on saving during the festive season, I’d be delighted to hear about it in the comments below.

Seasons Greetings, and have a good one!

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website. Contrary to popular belief, I do not make big moolah from writing – and this will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!

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The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia Presents Alice In Wonderland-Themed Treats This Festive Season

Holiday season is just around the corner, and after a year filled with challenges, I think we’re all in need of some festive cheer. To spark some holiday joy, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ® is presenting an array of whimsical Alice in Wonderland inspired treats, which are a feast for the eyes as much as they are delicious to eat.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

For an unforgettable Christmas party with friends and family, the Winter Wonderland (RM250 for 3kg) makes a wonderful centre piece for any gathering, with its intricate, handcrafted gingerbread detail and delicate frosting on a base of chocolate fudge. Complete the setting with Hatter’s Winter Log (RM 13.95 per slice, RM139.90 for a whole cake), a delightful dessert featuring luscious chocolate mousse and ganache; Cheshire’s Cherry Bundt (RM 8.90 per slice, RM52.00 for a loaf), stuffed with cherries, lemon and butter cream; or Stollen of Hearts (RM 6.90 per slice, RM48.00 for a loaf) with its hearty mix of Swiss dark chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts. Of course, a visit to Wonderland would not be complete without The Red Queen (RM12.95 each), a luscious pastry filled with caramel, coffee and chocolate mousse concealed under a rich red crust of almond chocolate.

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The Red Queen and Minted Ever After cupcakes (left); Hatter’s Winter Log

There’s more for the sweet-toothed dessert lover: choose from an assortment of cakes such as Minted Ever After (RM 7.90 per cupcake, RM 50 per petite cake, RM139.90 for a whole cake), a decadent concoction of dark chocolate and mint topped with cream, fresh redcurrants and rosemary, and Velveteen’s Wish (RM 12.95 per slice, RM129.30 for a whole cake), a red velvet cake topped with crunchy cookie bits and cheese mousse.

Alice's Tea Party
Alice’s Tea Party

For a bit of everything, go for Alice’s Tea Party (RM109 for 20 pieces), a selection of bite-sized treats of Hatter’s Winter Log, Jolly Breadman, Tweedle Tart and Minted Ever After. Top-up as needed with Jolly Breadman (RM7.90 per piece) or Once Upon A Door butter cookies (RM9.90 per piece).

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CF & TL is known for its delectable beverages, and there’s no shortage of exclusive specials to try this season. Indulge in a Chocolate Cookie – a combination of premium espresso and decadent chocolate cookie notes – available in several varieties: the Chocolate Cookie Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18), Pure Chocolate Cookie Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18) or hot / iced Chocolate Cookie Latte (small RM16, regular RM17.50).

Cheshire's Cherry Bundt - whole (bg 1)
Cherry Bundt (whole)

Making a comeback for a limited time only is the ever-popular Double Chocolate Peppermint beverages, available as Double Chocolate Peppermint Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18), Pure Double Chocolate Peppermint Ice Blended® drink (small RM16.50, regular RM18), hot / iced Double Chocolate Peppermint Latte (small RM16, regular RM17.50) and Peppermint Nitro Latte (RM15.95 at selected stores). Best of all, kids get to enjoy their own coffee-free version, as a hot / iced Double Chocolate Cocoa (small RM16, regular RM17.50) and tea lovers can enjoy the hot Peppermint Tea (RM9.60/cup or RM12.50/pot). While you’re sipping on your holiday beverage, upgrade to a complete meal by trying out the brand’s new Black Pepper Chicken Sandwich (RM19.80).

Stollen of Hearts (loaf & slice)
Stollen of Hearts

Even if you’re not dining in, there are plenty of new retail items to celebrate the season on-the-go, or in the comfort of one’s own home. Take your pick from dark-roasted Holiday Blend (RM55 /12oz), Peppermint Tea in a green tea blend (RM45/tin), Limited Edition 8oz Powders in French Deluxe Vanilla Powder, Peppermint Chocolate Powder and Hazelnut  Powder (RM40/tin). Also available are new designs for the Hydro Flask Series (RM205 each) and Frost Tumbler Series (RM128-138).  They also make for great gifts.

Jolly Breadman & Once Upon A Door [cookies]

In line with the season of giving, CB&TL’s popular Gift Tags return with new designs, with proceeds going towards the Caring Cup initiative. This year, the beneficiary is the Assunta Integrated Social Services programme by ASSUNTA Hospital, to help raise funds for equipment upgrades and essential supplies for their new mobile clinic. With the added support, they will continue to provide much-needed medical and healthcare assistance to marginalised groups.

For more info, visit http://www.coffeebean.com.my.

*Photos courtesy of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia.

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Starbucks Malaysia Reimagines Raya with New Offerings

We’re just a few weeks shy of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. This year’s celebrations will be a little subdued due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Starbucks Malaysia is keen to inject some colour into the festivities – through several exciting new Raya beverage and merchandise offerings.

IftarTogetherCombo

I’m sure everyone is missing Air Jagung, which is a must-have at Ramadan bazaars. Taking inspiration from this popular drink, Starbucks has come up with the new Caramel Sweet corn Frappucino – beautifully crafted with premium sweet corn sauce, luscious milk and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, topped with green tea whipped cream. You’ll feel as if you’re at the heart of the warm, bustling Ramadan markets again!

Starbucks® Chewy Kurma Cookies

Dates are another commonplace during the Ramadan and festive season, and the delectable Chewy Kurma Cookies, a combination of rolled oats, dates and hints of cinnamon, can be enjoyed with close family members at home, or delivered to relatives and friends.

Grab app or Foodpanda app customers can order both items at a special price and have them delivered to your preferred address. Alternatively, order the Starbucks Iftar Together Combo set, where you can get two Grande-sized handcrafted beverages and one slice of cake for only RM29.90.

Aside from its usual beverages, cakes and pastries, Starbucks Malaysia is also offering merchandise through the mobile apps, which can be an option for many if they feel like doing their Raya gifting this season remotely. The brand’s beautifully designed Raya Cups and matching Cup Sleeves for this year are created locally by the Starbucks team in Malaysia and make for wonderful gifts.  The designs combine the very traditions of Malaysian batik with The Fanous, the decorative lanterns that has since become synonymous to Ramadan and Aidilfitri. These lanterns are also significant during these uncertain times as a beacon of hope, and as a light that will keep shining despite the circumstances.

Ramadhan-RM50

The local team has also designed a one-of-a-kind Aidilfitri 2020 Starbucks Card. The card’s main feature is its Malaysian Batik pattern with an intricate floral design, and pigments of various shades of green that have been coloured in by hand. The card this year is also unique as it is made from paper, which makes them a more sustainable option. With a minimum activation of RM50, this card is perfect to share with a loved one.

The Iftar Combo Set is available at all stores from 12 May onwards. The Caramel Sweet Corn Frappuccino, Chewy Kurma Cookies and the Aidilfitri 2020 Starbucks Card is already available in all stores nationwide, while stocks last.

For more information, visit the Starbucks Malaysia website at www.starbucks.com.my

Holiday Cooking with Chef Zam & Philips

Christmas is just around the corner, and for those celebrating the festive season, there will be a rush to put up decorations, bake cookies and shop for presents. Then there is the Christmas feast to look forward to – for everyone else except the poor people who have to prepare it, of course. 🙂

Anyway, H & I got to attend a media cookout with Philips Malaysia and celebrity Chef Zam at his international cooking school, Silverspoon Academy. Now, if you know me, you’ll know that I’ve always been more of a nerd than a household wizard. I suck at handywork, I suck at cooking, I suck at all those detailing thingies like sewing and crotcheting. So you can guess how hilarious it was at the cookout… it was a miracle I didn’t accidentally stab anyone in the foot with a falling knife. 

Chef Zam was friendly and patient with us, even though it must have been a nightmare for him, watching us cut vegetables in uneven sizes, boiling things too early, mixing ingredients that shouldn’t go together, etc. If it weren’t for the convenience of the Philips appliances, things would have gone way worse! 😛

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They split the media group into two teams, and we had to prepare three dishes. The first was Roast Chicken with Vegetables. Luckily for us, the chicken had been cleaned thoroughly by the staff : all we had to do was bathe it in olive oil and season well with rosemary and pepper, before stuffing it with more herbs, onions and lemon; then popping it into the Philips Airfryer (which can comfortably hold a 1.4kg bird).

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In a separate fryer, we put in carrots and potatoes (leave the peel on!). No oil or anything extra was necessary except a bit of seasoning.

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While waiting for the chicken to roast, we started preparing for our next dish: the Penne with Savoury Ratatouille. For the veggie stew, we had to have loads of veggies: capsicums, zucchini and tomatoes.

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One of the most amazing appliances was the Philips Noodle Maker. Seriously, I’ve never used anything more convenient – all you have to do is measure out flour, water and egg, place it in the maker and it will churn out pasta for you. Wow. Even kitchen noobs like me can do it. 

The maker also comes with different molds, so you can make all sorts of shapes, like spaghetti, angel hair, penne, and more.

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We couldn’t end without a dessert, so it was Coffee Bread & Butter Pudding. This was one of the easiest dishes to make, as we simply had to blend milk, coffee powder, cream cheese, whipping cream and tear white bread pieces to soak in the mix, before pouring them into the bowl and putting it in the Airfryer. Yes, apparently the Airfryer is not only good for roasting,baking, grilling and frying. You can bake desserts in it too. 🙂

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The ratatouille was done, so we stirred in the penne. Hot and ready to serve 🙂

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The chicken was also done. Decorated it with the roasted veggies and bathed it in its own juices.

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Finally, plated and garnished the penne with some grated cheese.

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Tada! A feast fit for a king.. prepared by a couple of noobs, with lots of help from the cooking academy staff lol. Sure looked good, but how was the taste like?

Let’s just say we didn’t mess it up. haha

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I had expected the roast chicken to be dry, but it wasn’t. It was juicy, with a perfectly golden brown colouring. The meat was tender and the roast vegetables were very flavourful. As good a roast chicken as was prepared with a conventional oven.

The penne had an al-dente texture, but I think we didn’t put it enough salt into the ratatouille. Other than that, it was good. The bread and butter pudding turned out nice with a strong flavour of coffee and milk, and was warm, fluffy and bouncy to the bite.

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Chef Zam with ‘our’ dishes. Honestly, we wouldn’t have made it that well if it weren’t for his help and the guidance from the cooking school staff! … it also made me realise that many Gen-Y girls my age do not know how to cook to save their lives lol.

The event was a lot of fun and we got to eat our tasty dishes afterwards. I’d say the Airfryer is super convenient, but it’s also rather pricey at Rm999. If you’re someone who likes to cook for the fam but is always on the go, this is the perfect thing to get for Christmas because it’s so convenient, even noobs like me can make a somewhat decent meal.

More details at http://www.philips.com.my