Monday, 31 December 2007


I'm melted! It's so freaking hot today! It's 1823 and temperature is 40.3 degrees according to The Age weather report. It's the warmest day I experience since I arrive in Melbourne on 2nd April 2006. Summer really started in Melbourne.
We went to grab an early dinner an hour ago and felt like I'm in a oven being baked when I walk out of the house.Now even with the air-condition on full blast, I'm still feeling slightly warm with just a thin layer of singlet on and him naked(top only). How are we going to survive the New Year countdown let alone the rest of the summer???

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a day to shop in Melbourne. Myer start trading at 0600 in the morning. David Jones at 0700 and all other major shop at 0800.

Hubby and me were at Melbourne Center before 0800 on Boxing Day. He just knocked off from work at 0730 and suggested to head straight to the city to do our shopping. Planning to finish by noon and head back home for his precious sleep. It wasn't a bad idea for me as long as he is able to take it.

1st stop: Sportcraft at Melbourne Center. We were their 1st customer and Hubby bought a pair of casual pants at $70(one and only one) and me a scarf at $19.

2nd stop: Country Road but it wasn't open yet so went to Myer. At Myer Mens Department, he bought 2 long sleeve shirt from Country Road. Usual price $140 each but selling at $90. We had a further 20% discount because we are Country Road member which also mean the shirt only cost us $67.50 each!

3rd stop: Myer Kitchenware Department. I wanted a good set of knives and was hoping to get a good bargin. I was disappointed because there isn't much knives left. :( But we got a juice Extractor. Hubby loves drinking juice and this has being on our list for at least 6 months. It cost us $160. I tried it out yesterday and it is powerful.

4th stop: Myer Electrical Department. DVD Recorder + Digital Decoder was next on the list. After discount, I still found it too expensive. So was strike off from our list. There isn't any discount offered on ITouch so Hubby didn't mention of getting one.

5th stop: Myer Womans Department. Running low of my facial stuff. Even without discount, I still got to have it. Manage to get a free gift :). Mini facial stuff which is handy when I travel or going to gym.

6th stop: Mens Department again. Hubby needed more underwear. Got a pack of 6 Bonds. Before discount was more than $20 and we paid $18.

7th stop: Country Road at Melbourne Center. I tried on a dress. Before discount cost $250 and now selling at $170. Hubby insisted of me trying them on as he find it nice. I did and size 10 was too big and size 6 was too small. In the end, I save $170.

8th stop: French Connection at Melbourne Center. Hubby did not manage to get any jeans. Most of the sizes were sold out.

9th stop: Adairs at Melbourne Center. We needed an extra set of bedsheet for Summer. After spending more than half an hour deciding, we bought a 1000 tread Sheet Set for $190. I don't used to believe spending so much on bedsheet but an ex-colleague used to tell me he spend a lot on bedsheet. He believed each person spend half of his life on the bed, having a good bed + good bedsheet is very important. After I bought my own 1000 tread bedsheet last year, I discover the different and agreed with him.

Last stop: King of Knives at Melbourne Center. I bought a set of knives. It cost so much that I didn't even dare to mention the price. We save more than $100 after discount. Good bargin? It's something I wanted long ago and told Hubby to get it for me as X'mas present. Prepared dinner yesterday with them and OMG! They were so sharp and cutting has become an easy job for me. I will be taking very good care of them and hope they will last me for ages.

At the end of the shopping spree, we were happy and sad. Happy because we bought a lot of stuff and did save an amount. Sad because we burn a big hole in our pocket.
Hubby says he is going to do his major shopping during mid year sales and Boxing Day sale. But we have to shop on the 1st day it start, if not we won't be able to find the right size especially on clothing. He plan to shop before Boxing Day ,make a list of item with sizes and just grab and go during Boxing Day. That way we won't have to wait for fitting room and waste time shopping around. I was pretty surprise that he is able to think of that....haha

Sassafras, Mt Dandenong

I just got home from Sassafras village at Dandenong Ranges. Peter, my boss bought me there for lunch last year when we were working at Glaxo in Boronia. Being wanting to bring Hubby there and I did today.
Sassafras is a little village about 45km away from the city. It took hubby about an hour to drive. Activity we did were shop and eat, very typical of us.
We shopped at their local shops like Bluestone Candles which we bought an aroma candle (it can burn for 65 hours!!) which is made from Bee Wax. Learn about Bee Wax and found it so cool + environmental friendly because no chemical is used. Now the car booth smells like lavender because of the candle. We were quite amazed by the power of the candle. Plus the candles made purely from Bee Wax smell like honey!
Finally found a teapot we both love at Tea Leaves. When we enter Tea Leaves, Hubby commented if we can't find something we both like here, we can forget about getting a teapot because they have such a huge range of teapots, cups, teaspoon, tea filter, anything you can think off when you think of tea. There are over 300 varieties of tea for you to choose from!

We had our lunch at Miss Marple's. I read about the place from a Melbourne girl blog and went to check it out. It was located at a very good location, there is no way you will miss it. The place is small, cosy and crowded! I'm quite surprised that they don't allow for reservation. Although it's crowded, we managed to get a table within 15 minutes wait. It was hard to decide what to eat because everything in the Menu seems so nice.
Btw, photos are taken using Hubby Nokia N80 because we onlu found out that our Canon digital camera wasn't working when we were there. That's why no photos on the place itself.
Miss Marple's Menu
Miss Marple's Interior Design

I decided to try their famous scones and Hubby a beef cottage pie. We even ordered their famous finger halfway though our meal as Hubby still has space in his tummy...hehe

Hubby patiently waiting for his food.

1st to arrive, Hubby IPSY WIPSY... Soft-drink spider + my pot of tea at the back.

Also 'Miss Marple's Own' delicious home-made jam and freshly whipped cream for my Scones.
Next were
Cottage Pie: Beef
This Country England speciality is a delicious potato topped pie accompanied by Miss Marple's Own sauce.

Devonshire Scones
Miss Marple's world renowned specialty - 1 Plain Scones and 1 Fruit Scones

Me and my Scone covered with Jam

Lastly,Miss Marple’s Famous Finger:Fresh Chicken, Chesse and Asparagus Finger

Let talk me introduce the pie 1st. There isn't any crust on the pie. It uses a oval baking dish to contain the food. The beef is finely minced and juicy, smashed potato is smooth. It taste fantastic.
As for the Scones, it is tall and huge! It taste so good that Hubby say this is the place if we have craving for Scones. It's not too soft or hard and most important it does not taste dry. Together with the jam, it just make me fall in love with Scones.
We actually wanted to have dessert but notice that a lot of customers are having fingers. Decided to tack along with them an ordered a share. OMG! We did not make a wrong move. You should see Hubby expression when he took the 1st mouth. I kept asking him how he find them. "You got to taste it yourself" was his answer. It is so nice! Moist on the inside, super crunchy at the base and fully covered with melted cheese. Seriously no idea how they do it.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

X'mas Dinner 2007

It's X'mas today! I wasn't working during the holiday season this year. In fact, I'm only going to start work on NYE 31st Dec. I have to start thinking where to go for Thur, Fri and Sat as both me and Hubby aren't working and thought it will be a good time to spend some time together away from home. Either a short trip or a day trip.

Back to the topic. Woke up this morning an prepared breakfast (forgot to take pictures) for Hubby after he knocked off from work. Yes, he is schedule to work night shift on X'mas Eve and X'mas Day, off on NYE BUT I'm working on NYE. Such a good combination right?

I also cooked dinner today. Dinner menu is Lamp Chops for Hubby, T-Bone Steak for myself and Potato Gratin.

Potato Gratin.
This is suppose to be Potato and Mushroom Gratin and because there isn't any mushroom in the fridge, I decided to change the recipe a bit. Btw, got to recipe from Nigella Express which I bought about 2 months ago. It's my 1st time trying her recipe and it is delicious! Simply and fast to make. Plus it uses milk instead of cream(I don't really store cream in my fridge). I'm deifinitly going to try more recipe very soon.

Potato Gratin + my T-Bone Steak in the background.

Hubby's Lamp Chops

Okie you might be wondering how come I split 3 lamp chops into 2 plates. The one on the left is just normal lamp chops marinated in salt and pepper and pan fried. As for the one of the right, it is also marinated and cook the same way BUT I added WHITE WINE before I serve. I know, I know! I shouldn't be using White wine for red meat. I should be using Red wine. Listen to my explaination first.

The Potato Gratin asked for 3*15ml of White Wine. I did thought of skipping it as I will need to finish the rest of the bottle of wine by myself as Hubby doesn't drink. But it's my 1st time trying Nigella recipe + I have bottles of wine in my pantry. I thought why not open up a bottle, use some for cooking and the rest drink during the night. In fact, I'm having a wine glass beside the keyboard as I typing this entry.

As I already had a bottle of opened wine, I figure I could do some experiment. So I decided to cook the Lamp Chops with some White Wine. I only cooked 1 slice of it just incase Hubby doesn't like the taste or it taste funny. If he doesn't like it, he will have to eat them because I don't eat lamp. That's why 2 plates of Lamp Chops.

The final verdict: Hubby loves the Lamp Chops cooked with wine. He says the meat favour is being enhanced by the wine. Kept asking me what I use to cook the lamp chop....hehe Actually, I'm pretty surprised by the result but very happy because he love all the dishes I prepared today.

BULA (Part 5)

Finally!!! I upgraded my account with Flickr after constant nagging from Hubby(told me to update my blog). I was complaining that I'm kinda of bored. I haven't being doing much today except doing some expired laundry + watch Grey Anatomy Season 3. Can't spend time in the gym as it's close for X'mas + Boxing Day. I'm having the whole week off from work and starting to feel lose. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow as Hubby is bringing me shopping!!!! He is knocking off at 0730 and planning to go straight to the city with me after shower. Seriously I have no idea are we going as he planned. But that's what he promised. He says to avoid the crowd. Myer is opening at 0700 and David Jones at 0800 and all major shopping center starting at 0900. OH NO!!! Seem like my pocket (or should I say hubby's pocket) is going to burn a BIG HOLE.

Continuing the diving we did on the 4th Day of our Fiji trip.

Day 4 12-11-2007

We set off for the finally dive once we had out lunch + grab new tanks for our dives. Weather wasn't that great by the time we reach the dive spot. It was cloudy + water a bit choppy. There is also a slight current.

We just gear up immediatly and start out dive. This time 2 Beqa crews(Rusi & Petero) + 4 leisure divers. As for the dive, it is SOFT CORAL + WRECK.

Rusi was with Maria as she is taking her time to do her photography. Petero led the 3 of us for the entire dive.

For the first few minutes, we dive around the soft coral.

X'mas Tree

There is a bit of current and I can feel it as I have to use more energy and kick harder to go against the current. I was getting a bit tired. Guess that because it is already the 3rd dive for the day + I haven't being exercising much for the past year.

When we reach the Wreck, I was stunned! I actually did pause and stop breathing for a min! The visibility was great and I'm able to see the HUGE wreck in front of me!! + I wasn't being blocked as there are only 4 of us! I love diving in small group...hehe

The Wreck

Me and the Wreck

On our way back to the soft coral after viewing the wreck, we saw a small school of Barracuda. They are swimming in circle and it was my 1st time seeing a school of Barracuda.

We dive a round the soft coral till we were out of air. It's a pretty relaxing dive. Not as intense as the 1st 2 dives but I actually like it. :)


Hubby with Beqa Crews and Lesisure Divers
The World Famous Shark Feeder Rusi and Me.
On the way back to Beqa Head Office.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Finally, I DROVE!

I drove myself to the gym and back on Sunday!! It was my 1st time driving by myself! Yes, I should have done it ages ago. Those who didn't know, I got my license in early August.....before I even started to blog. But I kept on finding excuses to drive and continue to have my Ah Mat(driver) to fetch me around.

Hubby even gave up on me! Stop asking whether do I want to drive. He used to pressure me to drive after I got my license. Guess he started to notice that I always find way and means to avoid driving. Hehe. When I finally requested to drive after the gym session, his reaction was "Finally you want to drive liao ah?".

Guess the triggering point for me to make myself drive was on Friday 14th Dec 2007. Hubby was schedule for night shift and I wanted to go to the gym coz I was feeling guilty of the greesy, cheesy Mexican food we had during my company, TechEng X'mas dinner the night before. Picked up my gym stuff from him before he left for work after his gym session. I went to do a bit of shopping before heading home after gym.

I MISSED the tram by just 30secs! I had to wait 21mins for the next tram! I was freaking staving! Started to curse and swear at the tram stop as the tram journey back home will be less than 10mins but I need to wait 20mins for the stupid tram! Lucky I bought some sushi for dinner which I started to have while waiting. My tummy couldn't wait any much longer!

Started to ask myself. If I drive to gym, that will only take me less than 5 mins. At the most 10mins if I drive at 40km/hr. I won't have to spend so much unnecessary time waiting for the tram. Especially during weekends when the tram frequency low. I'm very familiar with the road from house to gym as I passby every single day. Weekend mornings are the best time for me to start driving alone as there isn't much car on the road.

I'm suppose to have a morning gym session with my personal trainer but it was postponed last minute to sunday morning. Which is kind of in advantage for me as Melbourne weather was really bad on Saturday. It was raining and I wouldn't want to drive in that road condition for a start. I didn't even mention to Hubby that I planned to drive. Thinking I will just ask him when he get home from work. Before I went to bed on Saturday night, I messaged Hubby and told him I'm planning to drive the next morning. Asked him does he think I'm ready to drive alone and also does he dare to let me drive alone. It's sort of his car so I think I better check with him 1st. He's fine with it and even said "It's high time for you to start driving around!"

So off I went with my precious, not really little car of mine. I'm rather surprised I'm actully quite calm! I thought I will panic, scare, have a heart attack etc. I felt really stress with Hubby sitting beside me and expressing a disappointed expression if I make a wrong move or I couldn't park the car into the spot. (Oh no, hubby might make me sleep in the hall tonight :P) But I was wrong. In fact, it was totally opposite! I'm taking my own sweet time to start up the car, adjust the mirror, the seat and revising the rules I learn in my head. Wayn, my driving instructor had steps which he taught like if making a turn "mirror, indicator, brake", turn left "give way to pedestrians", turn right " give way to everybody" etc. It's all easy to remember and it all came back to be when I was driving and kept telling myself.

I was so happy that I took the 1st step and was kinda proud of myself. Even message Wayn and told him about it and also boost to Eizac and Elsie....hahaha. It did build up my confident and I will need to do it more often. Guess the next step will be driving myself to work. Hmmmm I wonder when I will do that or will there be another triggering factor to trigger me?

Ya, Eizac flew in from Sydney on Saturday. Me, Elsie, Stan and Eizac manage to catch up during the weekend. Poor Hubby due to work can't join us. I even did some X'mas shopping!!! More shopping to come especially on Boxing Day!!!!! I'm smelling smoke from Hubby's ATM and credit card!!!!!!!!

Friday, 14 December 2007

BULA (Part 4)

Before I start, please note attached are quite a few underwater photos taken by Hubby. My job for this day is to enjoy the dive and not to panic!

Day 4 12-11-2007

The activity for the day is the dives with Beqa Adventure Divers! We are doing shark dives!!!!

Beqa is located at Pacific Harbour. Taxi journey from Outrigger to Pacific Harbour is about 1.5 hours. Journey is rather tough as the road condition is bad. We had the dives booked on the 2nd day of arrival and requested them to organise the transport for us. Transport itself cost us $115 return.

It was after 0800 when we reach Beqa. We were the first to reach. After paying $200 each for 2 dives and verify our diving license, we proceeded to gather our gears. Honestly, I was rather impress with their gears + maintainance. Plus they are using top quality gears!

After all the stuff are being sorted out. We waited for everyone to arrive, settle down and most important the FOOD use for feeding! At the meantime, we started chatting with the crews + the famous feeder, Rusi! Even joke that the sharks are Rusi's pets and all has a name. Do you know Rusi had experience feeding the sharks with his mouth!!!!!

They have being feeding the sharks for 9 years now and they do not have a single incident! I was really impressed!!!! But at the same time I'm still very scared as I have no idea what is under the sea waiting for me. Yes, I have seem shark when I dive but only white tip and black tip sharks. They aren't really huge + just one of them either lying on the sand bed or swimming pass us.

The food finally arrive and the crews began sorting out the food and packing them into the bins. Load them onto the boat + secure the bins for the boat ride.

As we are all excited and ready to depart, we were requested to be patient as 1 of the japanese diver who had sign up forgot to have his diving licnese with him and they are in the mid of driving him back to his accommdation to get them. Lucky he doesn't stay as far as us! In the end, the japanese guy still can't find his license. Beqa decided that he won't be able to dive with us but they will still bring him out to sea with us to snorkel and watch the feeding at the top.

Bet he is super disappointed. Diving license is like a passport to the divers. Without it, you won't be able to dive. If you forgot to bring your gears, you will still easily able to rent it. But as for license, there is not way! Hubby and me always tend to constantly check to make sure either our license or log book is with us.

The food (fish head + bones) use to feed the fishes and sharks!

It was already 1000 when we finally depart! A total of 8 leisure divers + 8 crews ( 1 feeder, 1 videographer, 1 skipper, 1 delivery gal cum bodyguard and rest bodyguard). The maximun number of lesiure divers they bring per trip is 16. Once that number is reached, you will have to wait for the next day. We had our briefing during the journey. Being orientated how to position ourselves behind the wall, how to react if the fishes/shark come close to us, what will happen when the feeding start etc. Oops before I forget, I was impressed with their speed boat too! It's spacious for all of us + in very good condition.

When we arrived Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Giant Trevally are already there to welcome us.

Giant Trevally

Petero said they are starting to get impatient as they have not being eating for more than a day! The crew started to throw some food for the Trevally and you can see them fighting for it. It got us all excited and scared.

We all descend altogether and was guided to the viewing gallery/wall. We were line up side by side.

Hubby had such a good view of the sharks! As he is taking photos, the crew actually brought him nearing to the feeding area when they survey that the area is safe. The potota cod even mistaken his as food! Potato Cod "Oh WoW, I'm going to have a FEAST!". After the end of the dive, Hubby say he felt that he is in where all the actions are! He even felt a bit scare....HAHA.
Giant Trevally

Here comes the star!

Me at 17m on my 1st dive of the day

The world famous shark feeder, Rusi in his yellow hood at 17m!

Sharks! Sharks and more Sharks!

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles. All the leisure divers all line up side by side at 5meters doing safety stop and at the same time viewing the sharks (see next photo for)! One stone kill two birds!!!

Sharks at 3-5 meters.

Throughout the whole dive time, Hubby wasn't beside me. He was at a good spot without bing blocked by other divers taking pictures and Petero is watch out for him. As for me, I'm just with the group, secure a good viewing spot and breath slowly and watch. Maximise the whole tank of air I have. In total we clock more 51mins for the 1st dive! It's really cool considering we stayed at 31meters for more than 15mins.

Hubby and me doing our surface interval after the 1st dive. We can't wait to go dive down again!

During the surface interval, Hubby asked Beqa is it possible for us to do 3 dives for the day instead? Since we will be finishing the 2nd dives at before 1300. Since I already spend more than hour travelling to Pacific Harbour and $115 for transport, we must make full use of it! The answer was if we manage to gather enough people, they are happy to orgainse another dive. We went asking around, the japanese can't do it as they already had program but the rest of us say YES immediatly! Petero was so surprised by immediate our response and agreeded. Suggested to bring us to the soft coral + wreck dive!!!

Wreck!!! I'm so happy when I heard it. Because I only did 1 wreck dive and that was in February, the Yongala. The Yongala was one of the best and well-known wreck but I was suffering throughout the whole trip due to sea-sickness. :(

After more than hour surface interval + to wait for the sharks to come, we are all geared up and ready for the 2nd dive. The purpose of the 1st dives is to actually create commotion under the sea so that huge sharks will swim over and check things out. That where the 2nd dives will come into play.

Me at 17meters, positioning at the viewing gallery/ wall during the 2nd dive. Waiting patiently for other species of sharks. Petero had Hubby station right beside him. It was a really good spot! You will see why I say that when you see the photos of the bull sharks.

The Potato Cod is back to look for my lover!

The best part! Bull Shark! Pregnant Bull Shark! It was so HUGE!!!! We were really lucky because it was actually the mating season for the sharks and Beqa told us we might not be able to see them. Did notice the sharks did not eat even when Rusi ahd actually brought the food right in front of them. Petero told us they notice the sharks doesn't eat during mating season and the female sharks are usually bruised with teeth marks on them after the mating season. Apparently the male will bite and hang onto the female during mating. The Bull Shark was practically right beside Hubby!

During the 2nd dive, Maria (she is really into photography!) as usual was taking photos. Beqa had assigned 1 of the crew to take care of her. Guard her, help her with her camera if require etc. Half way through, the crew got a bit side tracked and left Maria alone (she was in front of us). Petero saw it and went straight to the crew, took his metal rod and indicate he will take over to protect Maria. I was stunned for a minute. I felt that Maria was safe as we are all in a group, she is not isolated. Didn't realise they were so particular about safety! That how they manage to maintain their reputation with ZERO incident for the past 9 years and still running.

Me during my 2nd dive. No idea how many meters I am at but I will say most probably 5 meters doing my safety stop.

Once we finish our 2nd dives, Beqa bring the boat back to the main office. To drop off the other leisure divers who aren't joining us for the 3rd dives, to change the tanks and also for us to have lunch.

I will need to continue the 3rd dive in the next entry as I have not upload the photos. :-)