Monday, 30 January 2012

Ad: Cooking Tip #1

Dear readers,

This post will be a short one. I've decided to start posting cooking tips that I've discovered along my gastronomic adventures. Here's the first one!

Ran out of salt? Use chili sauce!There are a few substitutes. Most people in Malaysia use soy sauce as a substitute, which is an amazing substitute if it goes well with the dish. Sometimes soy sauce totally kills the taste. In that case, use chili sauce instead! I discovered this by accident. I was trying to create a sauce using cream (because I didn't want that to go to waste), and I made a really good sauce without using any salt at all! So whenever you have no salt, keep the chili sauce in mind :)

Til next time, toodles!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Emma : Some Healthy Nutritional Tips

Hello hello awesome girls! it's been a while since my last post..but I'm back with a little something to share :)
and yes I promise, it's beneficial (did I mention 'very'?). A few days ago, I stumbled upon this MSN site which had an article titled "First aid beauty foods".

To summarize, they listed the items which can be used to replace all the health remedies out there that can cost us a fortune! What's more interesting is that these items can be found in our k.i.t.c.h.e.n!! How superbly awesome is that?? Ok ok... So I've read the article and I've summarized it for your convenience. Enjoy!

1)     For irritated complexion : Mushrooms with Almond Oil

 With a high sodium and potassium content, mushrooms are extremely beneficial for broken capillaries and thread veins,' says Helen Ambrosen, arts and science co-ordinator for Lush.

'They are also packed with zinc, another helpful healing agent to reduce inflammation in skin while their antioxidants fight free radicals to protect against further damage.'

TRY IT: Especially kind to sensitive skin, liquidise mushrooms with almond oil to make a vitamin-packed treatment to soothe an irritated complexion. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

2)     For skin repairment : Parsleys

Stand up to angry spots with this fragrant herb which is packed with vitamins, minerals plus impressive anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties.

'It not only stimulates circulation to flush away toxic debris from the affected area but helps to repair and strengthen the skin too,' says holistic skincare expert, Bharti Vyas.

TRY IT: Grind a handful of parsley into a pulp and apply to the affected areas. Leave on for a few minutes then wash off with warm water and moisturise as normal.

3)     For puffiness around eyes : Chamomile

'As well as its reliable skin-soothing properties, chamomile also has an impressive anti-inflammatory purpose which can reduce puffiness,' says Susan Curtis, medicines director at Neal's Yard Remedies.

'Used teabags are a handy ready-made mask and because skin under the eyes is extremely thin, the healing herbs can penetrate quickly for fast results.'

TRY IT: Place a used, cooled teabag over each eye and rest for 10 minutes. Or, intensify the effects and refrigerate them first - a chilled compress helps further constrict blood vessels to minimise shadows and calm puffiness.

4)     For a natural facelift: Egg whites

Before the days of botox, Hollywood starlets swore-by the skin-toning properties of this retro remedy, says celebrity facialist Sarah Chapman.

'Whisked egg whites are well-known in the industry as a natural facelift,' she says. 'As they dry on skin, their water content evaporates which causes a temporary tightening action after they've been washed off,' Sarah explains. 'As egg whites also contain an enzyme which breaks-down bacteria, they can be used to relieve acne and minimise pores too.'

TRY IT: Whisk an egg white until fluffy and paint all over face and backs of hands with a mask brush. Leave to dry then wash-off with warm water

5)     For dehydrated skin & eczema: Oats

Calming, cleansing and softening, oats are used as a key ingredient in many best-selling products to treat dehydrated skin and eczema.

'The starchy nature of oats helps skin absorb and retain moisture. Oat milk moisturiser can also prevent anything from penetrating the skin that could cause further irritation,' says Helen Ambrosen. 'They also gently exfoliate which is still necessary for dry skin conditions to buff away dead cells so skin can breathe,' she adds.

TRY IT: Soak a handful of oats in cold water, after 30 minutes squeeze and sieve the oats to create oat milk. Apply straight away to skin with cotton wool for immediate relief.

6)     For healthy cuticles: Olive oil

This Mediterranean superfood is a nutritional powerhouse with inbuilt antioxidants to nurture nails back to health. 'When essential moisture has been lost from the nail plate, bonds between the layers break allowing water to penetrate and cause peeling,' says manicure guru Marian Newman.

'Olive oil essentially waterproofs nails as it is absorbed easily to safeguard against moisture loss.'

TRY IT: Gently file the edge of nails every week and massage a small amount of oil onto nails and the surrounding skin daily to top up moisture levels and nourish cuticles for healthy growth.

7)     For brittle hair: Avocado

'Avocado is an excellent beauty food for brittle hair as its oil can penetrate deep into the hair cuticle. It also acts like a moisture magnet which locks-in long lasting hydration to revive condition,' says celebrity tricologist Philip Kingsley.

'Avocado's combination of proteins, essential acids and vitamins A, D and E are all essential agents for healthy hair and manageability.'

TRY IT: Philip is famous for his deep conditioning treatments, so try making your own budget version. Mash half an avocado with two eggs plus a little olive oil and water. Work the emulsion into damp hair with your fingertips and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly then shampoo and condition.

8)     For discoloured nails: Lemons

As well as making you look old, discoloured nails are a serious fashion no-no,' says Marian Newman.
 'Lemon juice is a stain devil for nasty looking nails - its natural fruit acids work like a mild bleach to help remove impurities and stains almost instantly for healthy-looking hands,' she says.

TRY IT: Press affected nails into a fresh slice of lemon or lime for a few seconds. Leave the juice on for a few minutes before washing off then follow with an intensive hand cream if necessary.

-end of article-

P/S: None of the above information and pictures are mine. Pictures were results from Google Image search engine. As for the reference for the information, here's the link:

Hope you all find this post beneficial (not forgetting, convenient too).

that'll be all from me today. til next time, stay tuned!
Emma <3.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lina: Review: SimplySiti Makeup Remover & TopShop Eye Brightener

Hi everyone!
This is a video of me reviewing two of my favourite items this month: SimplySiti Makeup Remover and TopShop Eye Brightener.

SimplySiti Makeup Remover
I really love this thing! Some makeup remover I used in the past irritates my skin especially my undereyes, but this one doesn't! It's very gentle, suitable for sensitive skin, and bonus points is that it contains natural stuff! It doesn't irritate my skin, doesn't cause any acne. It removes my makeup really well definitely! I really REALLY love it! To me all SimplySiti products have been amazing!!

TopShop Eye Brightener
This is my first eye brightener! I use this after my foundation and concealer, before I put on powder. This is suitable for those with really really dark eye circles. I feel that this is a bonus for me after I put on concealer, but if you feel that concealer is just good enough for you, then good! :) Well if you're curious if this really works or not, can use the tester available at TopShop, duh. To me it works well, I can see the difference. My undereyes are covered better :)  


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ad: Food Experiment: Nasi Goreng Belacan Meatball!

Dear readers,

Whazzap? lol I know it's been a while since I've posted any experiments done in the kitchen, and honestly I haven't had that much time to cook but I recently started again. However, I've been very forgetful lately, which means that I tend to forget to take photos! Oh no! I even almost forgot to take photos for this food experiment, but I managed to snap a few shots! Ok, so nasi goreng belacan meatball...where do I begin? Nasi goreng is fried rice and it is a very common local dish. There are many varieties and it can be cooked in many different ways using all sorts of ingredients. 

The reason I chose belacan and meatballs for my nasi goreng was because I didn't have much time to do it and I just decided to go with whatever I had in my fridge. Belacan is actually fermented shrimp paste and it is very commonly used in Malay dishes. Ok so to make this dish, you will need the following ingredients:

1. Steamed rice - preferably a day old or rice that has been kept in the refrigerator
2. Half an onion and a few shallots, chopped
3. Garlic - around two cloves (or more if you like), chopped
4. Carrots - around half a carrot or one whole, depending on how much rice you have
5. Long beans (kacang panjang) - one whole long bean, chopped 
6. Marina Beef Balls
7. Belacan
8. Egg - one egg
9. Cooking oil
10. Salt & Pepper to taste

You will also need a wok and a spatula!

First, take a pinch of salt and mix it thoroughly into the steamed rice. The reason cold or a day old steamed rice is used is because it is harder than a newly cooked steamed rice. If newly cooked steamed rice is used, then it is more likely to get smooshed up and lose its form. 

Ok once the salt has been mixed well with the rice, turn on the stove to low heat and put the wok on the stove. Pour in about two table spoons of cooking oil. I usually use canola or corn oil, but this time I decided to use olive oil. Then, sautee the onions, shallots and garlic. 

Next, throw in the Marina beef balls, or any other meatballs that you like :). I chopped mine roughly so that they would cook more thoroughly, but you don't have to do that if you don't want to. Turn the stove up to medium heat and keep tossing them so that they do not burn. Sautee the meatballs until they turn to a brown or slightly golden colour. This is to ensure that the meatballs are properly cooked. Toss in a pinch of salt and pepper into the wok to add some flavour.

Then, add in the vegetables - the long beans and the carrots. You can use whatever veggies you like, but I chose long beans because of their texture. The long beans are crunchy and go very well with fried rice. I used carrots because they are the most commonly used veggies in this sort of cooking. I also chose those two because they add colour to the dish.

After that, add in the belacan and stir well. You can use any kind. I just bought this off the shelf at the nearest supermarket. It is important to allow the belacan to cook thoroughly, especially if it's the chili or sambal belacan kind. Chili that has not been cooked properly can cause terrible stomach ache, so be extra sure that it's cooked! 

Once the belacan is cooked, add in the steamed rice and mix everything well. Make sure you stir it well enough so that the colour of the rice is evenly spread. After that, taste the fried rice and add in more salt and pepper until you are satisfied with the taste. When you are finally happy with the taste of your fried rice, use your spatula to make sort of like a whole in the middle of your fried rice so that you can see the surface of the wok right in the middle. Pour in a bit of cooking oil and crack in the egg. Leave it for a few seconds then stir in the fried rice with the egg until it is thoroughly mixed and then you're DONE! 

Voila! Now you know how to make fried rice :) Try it. The best part of cooking fried rice is that you can use whatever ingredients you like! Cook it the same way, but change the ingredients :) So, are you read to see the final result? Well here you go! 

Don't you love the colour combination? It tasted pretty good too :P But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself and find out!

Have fun in the kitchen! ;)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Emma: Something to share

Salam and hello again!

okay okay. I know I just uploaded a post on my segment. But I stumbled upon this video that a friend of mine uploaded on the infamous Facebook.

this video really made me cry. it's about a girl who's had autism since she was around 2. and usually kids with autism somehow will have to grow up with the existing stigma the society has against them. Kids with autism suffer delayed development in 3 areas; namely, Social Skills, Language Development, and Behavioral Repertoire. typically, symptoms appear before the age of three. but they are all different from each other.

A little background of me: I currently work as a therapist for children with autism. when I first started, I thought I wouldn't be able to do it. But I always wanted to keep trying and keep improving my skills. To be frank, I LOVE this job. It makes me happy everyday to go to work and anticipate what kind of sessions will I have with them. I haven't been working for so long (only 4 months so far) and honestly I've seen so much improvements in them. and every single time they are able to accomplish a task in any of the 3 areas, I couldn't help but say my prayers and feel gratitude for all the hard work and effort put forth for them.

if you realized, I don't refer to them as "autistic kids" because by doing so would be an act of 'labeling' them with such a disorder that already had stigma attached to it. these kids are special. and I mean 'special' in a sense that each of them are able to do something that most of us people with normal development cannot do.

I've seen a boy who can build the best train track that I've ever seen. one boy can build airplanes that could blow your mind away. and one can talk about the planets & the outer space with information that could leave you asking for science lessons from him. one possess great knowledge in sea animals, with every species of fish that he can name. and most of them communicate well, with good eye contacts established in conversations.

this video also serves as an eye opener and a reminder to all of us about how these kids are potential geniuses. everyday I go to work, my love for them increases. and often times I feel so motivated to do my very best thinking that my effort contributes to their development. when we come across them, try to not treat them as 'mentally retarded' or 'slow' kids or what not. just remind yourself that they are kids too. and kids are special, every one of them. and they are indeed different compared to one another.

p/s: should any of you wanna ask more about autism or the kind of work that I do, do comment or drop us an email at


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ad: Food Review: La Gomera Restaurant @ Damansara Perdana

Hey all! I know it's been a super long time since my last update. Sorry sorry sorry sangat, was way too busy! However, in my absence I, of course, had to eat so I have a couple of food reviews (or more) up my sleeves ;) Just recently, I went to a lunch buffet with my boyfriend at La Gomera Restaurant at NEO Damansara in Damansara Perdana. I had never heard of this restaurant before to be honest, and I only knew about it when I saw it on Groupon. I thought that it was a good deal; only RM21 for a lunch buffet at a Spanish restaurant. Neither of us had tried Spanish food before, nor did we know much about it, so we thought a buffet would be the perfect introduction to the cuisine!

First, let's talk about the location. Location-wise it's awesome in my opinion. Awesome in the sense that it's easy to find! For someone like me, who isn't used to driving in areas that I'm not familiar with, it was still easy to find. I took the Penchala Link to get to Damansara Perdana, and right as I was entering the area, I could see the restaurant's signboard. Thumbs up for that! However, NEO Damansara is a relatively new area, so there is nothing to see there; no other shops were open and there was a lot of construction going on. Still, there was plenty of parking and it was easy to find :)

Next up is the decor. It was simple and pleasant. The decor really gave a warm and cozy vibe. The little details like the wall-mounted flowers gave it a more Mediterranean feel. 


The service was efficient and the staff were friendly and helpful too. They worked with smiles on their faces and didn't let the plates pile up on the customers' tables. However, there is one thing they can improve on. They should have someone waiting at the entrance; when we entered the restaurant, we were lost and had no idea where to go or what to do. Other than that, the service was good though. 

And finally, let's talk about the FOOD! There was a wide selection of food. Tapas, pasta, pizza, grills, stews, name it! It was a lunch buffet, so we had from noon to 3pm to eat to our hearts' content. Our goal was to try a little bit of everything (keyword: try) and to eat as slowly as possible so that we wouldn't feel too full too quickly.

The Salad Bar

Left: Baked sausages; Right: Sauteed potatoes

Beef Tripe

Grill Selection

 We started off with some paella, baked chicken, different types of salads, baked sausages, and tapas. The paella accompanied with the baked chicken was just...a lethal combination. They tasted so good! We wanted to get more but by the time we tried everything else, there were none left :( The different salads were good, though we did not had a chance to try them all. We did not like the mushroom salad though. They used oyster mushrooms for that particular dish and the taste was overwhelming; but, both of us are not big fans of mushrooms, so maybe others may like it. The baked sausages were good too; they were baked with cheese and cream. Yum! As for the tapas, they were great too, depending on which ones you take. Most of them were really nice. I think they would have tasted much better if they were hot.

Baked Chicken


Then, we tried more tapas and salad along with pasta and mushroom soup. The pasta we tried were spaghetti La Gomera and creamy mushroom pasta. The tapas were great and I really loved the spaghetti. It was a tomato-based seafood pasta. It was rich in flavour and mostly had clams, (lala) squid and prawns. I did not like the creamy pasta because it was rather bland. Perhaps a dash of salt may  improve its taste, but still, it was bland. The soup was unfortunately not nice. It tasted exactly like the one from Shakey's Pizza & Chicken, so maybe it was from a can. Wherever it came from, it was disappointing. I could barely taste the mushroom. The restaurant also served pumpkin soup but we did not get to try it. 

Spaghetti La Gomera

Then, we tried the stews, the grilled selection, pizza, onion rings and some cheese balls. For the stews, we tried the beef tripe, lamb and meatballs. The beef tripe had rather unusual taste to it - perhaps there were too many herbs and spices from what we are used to. The meatballs were delicious; they were soft, juicy, had a hint of spices and the sauce was great too. But, I must say, the lamb stole the show this time. The lamb was soft, juicy and succulent. It wasn't the melt-in-your-mouth soft as is usually the case especially for lamb shanks, but it was just right. Perfect. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed that mouth-watering dish. The grilled food included chicken, beef, lamb, cod, salmon, squid and prawn. We were spoilt for choice! We had the chicken, beef, lamb and cod. They were all amazing. Everything was grilled to perfection; the chicken and lamb were juicy and oozed with so much flavour, the beef was tender and the cod was cooked just right. Can you imagine having a free flow of cod fish?! Of course the cod was the first from the grilled selection to finish. No surprise there lol. The pizza did not look great, and we really did not expect much from it, but oh we were so wrong, and glad to be wrong too. The sauce on the pizza was responsible for its great taste, along with the choices of topping. Loved them. The onion rings were ok but the onions themselves were a little too sweet. However, my review may be bias because I initially thought they were calamari rings! Imagine my disappointment when I had my first bite hahah. Anyway, the cheese balls were pretty good. Luckily they were made small. Cheese to me should be enjoyed in small portions because it is easy to get sick of it. Still, we loved those fried cheese balls. 



Finally, it was time for dessert. We didn't have much room left in our stomachs, but there wasn't much anyway. There were danish pastry, cake, mango pudding, ice cream and fruits. We tried them all except for the cake. The danish pastry was terrible. I think it was probably the most horrible thing we had there. It was hard, thick, chewy and barely had any taste. I don't know if the chefs made a mistake only on that day, but we certainly were not fans of it. The pudding was alright, not fantastic, but still good. The ice-cream was ok too. It was probably store-bought but we didn't mind. There were nicely-arranged fruits next to the beverage section. We had some papaya and honey dew. 

Mango Pudding

The beverages served were like other buffets'. There were soft drinks, cordial orange juice and iced lemon and peach tea. There was also cold and hot water, and a selection of hot drinks like milo, nescafe, teh tarik (milk tea) and so on. 

Oh and before I conclude this review, I would just like to share some photos of the tapas selection. 

Yes, this was in the Tapas section too

I also loved the open kitchen concept where we can see the chefs preparing the food.

Okay so overall, we really enjoyed the food at La Gomera. There were just sooo much food to choose from and most of them were really delicious. My favourites were definitely the lamb stew, paella, baked chicken, grilled lamb, grilled chicken, grilled cod and the tapas (I know, I know..a lot of favourites right?) Even though the dessert wasn't great, but they were still ok excluding the danish pastry or whatever it was. Anyway, I definitely did not come to the buffet for the desserts, so I really wasn't bothered much by them. The atmosphere is good too. I would definitely love to go there again. RM21 per person was definitely a steal on this buffet; I'm so glad we bought this groupon lol. The regular price for the lunch buffet is around RM37.50 per head. Currently there is a promotion going on where the second person gets to dine at RM17.90. I would be more than happy to pay the full price for this buffet, no doubt. I would definitely come back! Recommended to all :)

Verdict: 4 out of 5

Operating hours: 12pm to 11pm
Halal certified.


Here's the view from our table!

Hope you readers are drooling by now! ;)

All these photos belong to me unless otherwise stated.

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