Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas (early) in Kuala Lumpur

Whenever I'm in England, I have to visit Marks & Spencer for their affordable and beautiful products. This autumn was no different. I picked up three biscuit tins and a couple of wool leggings.

The shortbread is already finished, courtesy of my co-workers. I'm not such a huge fan of shortbread myself, so I brought it to the office to share. I'm now using the tin for my cross stitch :)

The third biscuit tin is a revolving musical tin, really beautiful, and still unopened. Since it's a Christmas tin, I've decided only to open it for Christmas.

I was playing around with hand-drawn typography in the days leading up to my KL visit and intended to draw all my gift tags. But as usual, I forgot that I had even done this up till now when I'm uploading all my photos to the computer. Tsk.

So this year is the first year ever I'll be spending Christmas without my family. Sad, but it's a choice I made a long time ago. So we decided to open our gifts to each other early.

An early Christmas celebration at home.

Contrary to Yelleh Belleh's very natural shocked face, she actually already knew what she was getting for Christmas.

Schrobbenmaster getting socks.

Schrobbenmaster's new posh scarf.

Gift to Mumsy Bumsy from Yelleh Belleh and I. She loves reading biographies.

From Schrobbenmaster to Yelleh Belleh.

A beautifully packaged gift from Yelleh Belleh and I to Mumsy Bumsy.

As it turns out, I won't actually be without family this Christmas. Because Yelleh Belleh is coming over in a week! Yes, we managed to haggle an internship for her at our office, so she'll be here for the next two months. Awesome for me, not so awesome for Mumsy Bumsy :( But she'll survive and I'm sure she'll find a way to make the Christmas season jolly too.

Time to plan a nice, cosy Christmas at home. Tree first, decorations next and then recipes and games organisation after.

Pictures from Christmas markets and garden centres coming up!

The new kitchen and potato chicken

Have I already mentioned that we changed our kitchen a couple months ago? Just before Mumsy Bumsy and my aunt came to visit.

Schrobbenmaster and I had gone to several kitchen places to request quotations and see what was on offer before we decided that a whole new kitchen was just too expensive. So we discussed and agreed on what the most important things to be changed were, which were the doors of the cupboards, the cooker hood and a new microwave and oven combi.

That didn't make it much cheaper but at least it was in the budget now.

We went back to the original manufacturer of our current kitchen and ordered the new doors etc. It's a huge improvement now, but we were annoyed by the guy who came to build it. Old-ish guy and very very sloppy. I truly believe he gave our wood floor several new scratches because of his sloppiness. Urgh, just thinking about him makes me annoyed now.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the work that was in progress.

Big improvement on the old doors, right?

When Mumsy Bumsy and my aunt came, I of course made them cook some of their delicious meals for us... hehe.

Mumsy Bumsy cooking my favourite dish of hers - potato chicken. Okay, so that's not what she's really cooking above (obviously), but basically I call the whole dinner "potato chicken", even if it includes pan-fried tofu and beans with sambal.

The reason there's all that junk food hanging out on the cooker hood is that relatives will be relatives and they always think you suffer and starve when they're not around. So Schrobbenmaster and I ended up with a fuller than full kitchen of snacks, biscuits, fruits... and lots and lots of eggs. About 30 of them?

The lucky invitees to the "potato chicken" dinner.

I have lined up some Christmas market posts for after this, so stay tuned :)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Christmas Shopping Day. Robinson's +1, Jusco -10.

So today was our scheduled Christmas Shopping Day.

Schrobbenmaster couldn't come out with us yet again because he's still recovering from his flu. The poor guy is spending the last few days of his holiday in bed. Sigh.

Anyway, Yelleh Belleh and I headed to Robinson's in The Gardens for our shopping. We knew what Mumsy Bumsy had asked for so we headed straight to that department. Holy moley, that item is pricey! But we did receive an RM20 voucher to spend in the same department. What a good decision then, to get similar items from the same department for other people.

Talking about receiving vouchers as a reward for spending a certain amount of money...

One of the things that irritates me about Malaysia are the measly, pathetic excuses for rewards and rebates they have.

"Spend RM300 with your credit card and get an RM10 Coffee Bean voucher!"

Just tell me, won't you, what exactly you can buy with RM10 at Coffee Bean? A small cup of orange juice is what I think.

So if you spend RM900, you get an RM30 Coffee Bean voucher. OMG. You know what? Keep your lame vouchers. As much as I like free things and things that are value for money, this is just insulting.

Another one I saw a few years back:

"Buy 2 Absolut Vodkas and receive RM5 off!"

RM freaking FIVE.
Off bottles which cost RM200 each.

Keep your RM freaking five and leave me my dignity, thanks.


Yelleh Belleh and I managed to get everything we needed, and the two shop assistants at Robinson's were so helpful and patient with us. Robinson's really knows how to train their staff, I can say that for sure.

As opposed to Jusco.

We couldn't find some of the cheaper items in Robinson's so we knew Jusco would be a good bet. Sure enough, we found what we were looking for, but not without some heartache from lazy Jusco staff.

We want to find out if there is more stock of a certain item, so we approach the nearest shop assistant. He says (with a smile, at least) that he doesn't know that section, but the woman in charge should be "over there". Okay, after Robinson's, this service just doesn't cut it. Just look for the woman and bring us to her or vice versa lah. We had to wander off in the general direction of his pointing finger and hope to find that woman.

She turned out to be alright, quite enthusiastic but also unable to help with stock enquiries. So we gave up and chose another design instead.

The cashier was really the one who irritated me. She was talking to a customer in front of me, and after waiting behind him for a bit, I realised that she was actually really just talking to him and not serving him. He was just some other staff member who was discussing an item. I had already looked for the Closed Counter sign, but it wasn't anywhere to be seen, so was I to know that she wasn't serving him as a customer? Could she not see me standing behind him with my items to be purchased? It would have been easy to just point me round to the counter behind her who was really serving customers.

Inefficient, blinkered staff.

But the funniest (in a not-so-funny way) was when we went down the escalator and turned the corner to the next escalator, and nearly bumped into a short Malay shop assistant standing right at the edge of the escalator, staring into space. Yelleh Belleh gave her three huge: "EXCUSE ME"s. But the light never came into her eyes. Even when, going down, I turned back to look at her.

Ah, Jusco. Always good for low blood pressure.

Robinson's, you're the best.