Mother’s Day 2019: Farmstay

Every year on Mother’s Day, we normally go to a big family get together for lunch or afternoon tea. This year, thanks to hubby, we spontaneously decided to spend Mother’s Day just on our own as a family. We felt like we just needed to spend quality (and quiet) time away from our busy routine… so what’s quieter than being out in the country, in the middle of a farm right?

We found this cosy little barn-style farmstay accommodation in Wattle Bank, Victoria. Located less than 10 mins away from Inverloch, this little place was absolutely perfect. We had the quiet surroundings of staying in a small farm, with farm animals to keep the kids happy, and we were also close enough to the beach, local shops, restaurant and some tourist attractions. The little barn-style house was perfect for our family, with a fireplace to keep us warm at night, and comfortable beds, a fully stocked kitchen with all the appliances and utensils you need, as well as breakfast (the owner very kindly provided bacon, eggs, milk, bread, various spreads and orange juice!). The house also had plenty to keep the kids happy – toys, books, board games, foosball table, puzzles, etc.

We spent most of our time just relaxing, drinkings cups of tea, watching family movies, spending time with the animals, playing board games, napping and reading books. We also spent quite some time at the beach in Inverloch. Kids absolutely love it, and I am in love with Wattle Bank Retreat. Cannot wait to go back!

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It’s Been A While!

It has definitely been quite a while… 😫😜… in fact, “a while” may even be quite an understatement! I don’t think anyone really comes here and reads my stuff… but I do love my little space and all the memories and content I already have on here, so thought I would take a few minutes just to post a few updates!

What have I been up to?! Oh gosh.. where do I begin? First of all, WORK. Work has been kicking my ass, haha. Super busy all the time. It is crazy, but I love it. I love where I am at and I love having a lot of things to do. One thing I do NOT love, is the work around the house that constantly piles up. I need to work on that, lol. Oh dear, too much usage of the word “work” 😂

Secondly, I did a bit of travel in the past 7 months since my last post!

December 2018 – My sister and her bf came over to Melbourne for 2 and a half weeks from Malaysia. We went on a cruise onboard Princess Cruises to Tasmania and back. It was a short cruise but oh so amazing. Did I mention how much I love cruising? I love waking up in a different city each morning, and I love not having to go anywhere, and I love having food available 24-7 😋 Simply the most relaxing type of holiday, hands down my favorite!

April 2018 – I very spontaneously decided to book a trip back to my hometown in Kuching, Malaysia over school holidays! Work was stressing me out, and I wasn’t sure how I would get work done over school holidays with my two kids home with me. Plus, my husband was already going to be away. I had no help! So, I packed our bags and took the kids to where help is…. haha. My parents of course!! They were so happy to see the kids. I was so happy to be around my family and all the amazing food and the chill lifestyle in Kuching. My sisters also came back for a bit and we partied like we were 18. It was a truly special time, all decided and booked for at the very last minute, literally days before we flew out of the country! Sometimes the best things in life are the spontaneous, unplanned things.

April 2018 – We just got home from a Houseboat holiday, where we stayed 4 nights on a house boat in Echuca, cruising down the Murray River. It was a fantastic experience. I love being surrounded by nature, and water. We were fishing all day, the kids spent a lot of time in the spa / hot tub on the rooftop deck, and it was just a relaxing holiday with the family and some friends.

Follow me on Instagram as that is where I post most of my stuff. I am back to reality now, working on a Sunday, but so thankful for the past few weeks and months when I get to travel and take a few breaks. Definitely think we should be booking a weekend getaway in July for hubby’s birthday…. and looking forward to booking our next overseas trip. Life is short, right? There is so much more travel I want to do! Now that the kids are older, travelling just seems a lot more doable and easier to handle.

Reasonably short and not even very well thought out post… sorry, haha! I should go and have my morning shower, do more laundry, make some food, do grocery shopping (need to stock up the house with everything… have been away the past 3 weeks!) and get some work done before I start the week! Oh man… God help me.

We are #Kroo

Some of you probably already know (if you follow my Instagram) that one of my passions is singing. Singing has always been a part of my life since I was very young. I have been singing at karaoke lounges with my parents ever since I can remember. Yes, my parents took me out to karaoke from a VERY young age… think 10ish, way before I was legal, lol. Back then though, it would be a karaoke lounge at a country club equivalent version in Malaysia… so I guess that’s not too bad. I have also been in singing competitions, sang at church, sang at special events and functions, sang a few gigs, etc.

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Anyway, fast forward to today. I am now a working at home mum, I used to be a stay at home mum, and options are very limited. We can’t exactly just go out and enjoy karaoke nights on a regular basis. I don’t exactly have the time to make YouTube videos from scratch, record songs from scratch, play my guitar, write original music, go out and do gigs, to really pursue singing would be very time consuming…

I still sing at church. I am on the roster once every few weeks and I truly enjoy that and feel blessed that I could bless others.

unnamedThis is where Smule comes in. A few years ago, I discovered this app thanks to my sisters who told me to go download this app so we could sing together. My two younger sisters and I all live in different parts of the world back then. We still do. So, to keep the sister bonding thing happening, I thought I would give Smule a go.

To cut a VERY long story short, I have enjoyed singing on this app for 3 years now and about a year ago, I decided to put together some of my favourite people on Smule and form a group.

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Current members of #Kroo

I love these people so much. Amazing people from all around the world. They are all incredibly talented, some of them have been missing in action (but then again, I haven’t been the most active either due to change in work situation) but we are still tight. We will always have this little sense of belonging with each other and will always be part of Kroo. Some of them I have grown to be really close friends with, most of us follow each other on Social Media (other than Smule) to stay in touch.

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Welcome to #Kroo – founded 6/6/2017

The name #Kroo originated from the word “Kangaroo” which represents the country Australia where the creator of the group (@Kimba_) is from. More significantly, it is pronounced “kroo” which symbolizes our singing CREW on Smule.

#Kroo is BY INVITATION only – no auditions will ever be posted to recruit.

Existing members are encouraged to recommend any Smule users they feel will fit nicely within our kroo. So far, I have based my criteria on generally fun and friendly individuals with a great voice, amazing talent and unique style, great personality, and a fairly similar taste in music to an extent… e.g. 90s, old skool classics, RnB, hip hop, modern rock, Top 40 hits from this millennium.

As a group, we are very casual. No competitions, no challenges, no obligations to be in each other’s faces (or eyes and ears) everyday lol. Just have a chat whenever you can, sing with each other whenever you can, voluntarily stalk each other whenever you have nothing else to do… lol.

I am hoping a little sense of belonging within a small group of users (no more than 30) will enhance your Smule experience and make singing a lot more fun!

OK now go have fun!

– Yours Truly

Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea

Oh.. take me back to Japan! It has been 5 months since our trip to Japan, and I have been wanting to go back ever since we got back home! There is so much to love about Japan. Love the culture, love the people and love the FOOD. I cannot even explain what it is about Japan… I just love it so much it hurts, lol.

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Anyway, enough with me being so emo over a country. One of the highlights of our trip was definitely the 3 days we spent at Tokyo Disney Resort. We opted for the 3-day pass because we didn’t want to rush seeing everything with limited time. Thankful that we did, because by the end of Day Three, I think I was ready to say goodbye. I still said goodbye rather reluctantly though… I mean, it truly was a magical place, and the happiest place on Earth. No marketing gimmick there. As soon as you get there, it is like stepping into a magical world of fairy tales. Everything just makes you HAPPY. Even the crowd did not bother me so much. I was just happy to be surrounded by so many Disney characters and buildings and music. The attention to detail in making sure people get the full experience of Disney is absolutely mindblowing.

There are thousands of resources online about the resort, so I will not bore you with such details. Rather, I will let these pictures do most of the talking. These were all from my Instagram, I just figured I should post them on here as a “backup” in case IG ever ceases to exist one day… please, I hope that never happens. I have so much of my life captured on Instagram… I cannot bear the thought of it all gone. I don’t even know where the original photos are, haha. Actually, I am sure they are somewhere but IG has helped me keep things in a systematic order by date and by Highlight etc. Oh I am such a Social Media addict… don’t hate.

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Our entire Japan trip is on my Instagram, more photos and videos on 3x groups of Highlights on my profile. Feel free to stalk me and check them out!

Kryal Castle, Land of Adventure near Ballarat, VIC.

Kryal Castle is Australia’s Only Legendary Land of Myth and Adventure. Located just outside Ballarat, the theme park is normally only open on weekends. However, now that it’s School Holidays, it is open every day!

We had the chance to visit Kryal Castle and stay the night quite a while back, it was during the end of summer Easter holidays. I was just a slack blogger back then so I didn’t around to writing about it.

It is probably best to visit their website or their Facebook Page for the latest information and details of what’s on this school holidays, but thought I should share some of the photos we took during our trip anyway.

Overall, we had a really great time. The Family Suite we stayed in was very comfortable. We loved the fact that we could roam around the castle grounds after hours because we were staying there, it felt like we had the whole castle to ourselves. Very limited food options within the castle grounds though, so best to either pack your own food, or organize to have food elsewhere before/after your visit.

There were some very entertaining activities throughout the day. Some of the activities costs extra money e.g. pony rides, archery, face painting, etc. The shows were all included in your entry price, so enjoy the skits and jousting and pantomines, etc. You should be able to get more detailed pricing information from their website.

Kryal Castle is also available for Private Events and Functions, and they have quite a few Special Events organised periodically that you can book yourself in for. A quick example is their Murder Mystery night coming up on January 26th 2019 next year, for $99 per person you can get a 3 course meal and a glass of mead on arrival, and participate in the event. Sounds like great value and fun! Something different to your typical night out at the movies.

My only observation is probably the fact that this theme park has so much potential to be a lot more. It seems like a smaller scale, seemingly family run theme park at the moment and while that is appealing to some, on a far bigger and commercial scale this place could be absolutely amazing. Understandably, it would require a lot of investment into the property to renovate and build bigger attractions, and to hire more people to run the activities, etc.. so I do hope that someday Kryal Castle would get there.

 

The Influence of Mummy Bloggers

The concept of “mummy bloggers” have gone way past the traditional “mums who blog about their kids and their lives as mums”. In fact, it really amazes me how much CONTENT (e.g. food and/or nutrition, travel tips, home ideas, education, business opportunities, etc) is out there thanks to these WAHMs. Yes in case you are not familiar with the term, Work At Home Mum aka WAHM is now a real thing. Mothers everywhere who are skilled writers, mostly have Bachelor Degrees and a solid professional background prior to having children, have discovered that their best use of time, and keeping sane while staying at home with the kids, is to start a blog… and then get paid to blog! Hence it almost becomes their part-time job. Or those who start a blog, and then start a small online business.

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However, do not underestimate the idea of “just another blog”. Yes, the internet is absolutely saturated, and there are probably more blogs out there than we can ever count. New blogs are born every single day like babies. Those who have persevered and continued to blog consistently for a decent number of years, will eventually gain a solid number of loyal followers across their Social Media platforms, and their website/blog would have organically been search engine optimized, and gain the attention of media companies and product brands who plan to market to people who fit the blog writer’s demographics.

It is amazing to see so many Mummy Bloggers do so well! I have also noticed that successful Mummy Bloggers have these in common:

  • They have been blogging for more than 3 years.
  • They appear in the first three pages of Google for key searches e.g. “mummy blogger <location>”.
  • They have a “Work With Me” section on their blog with access to all their contact info, maybe a few “bragging points” aka stats on their achievements e.g. awards, features in publications, number of followers, professional background, even website stats.
  • They are actively engaging with peers on Social Media, and their followers/peers tend to be influenced by their product recommendations, tips and lifestyle behaviours in general. 
  • Their website/blogs are well structured, and have A LOT of content.

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Of course, I have also seen a fair share that are still trying to get that attention… and then some aren’t even trying and gaining a following anyway simply because they have really good/niche content, or an irresistible personality. Then there’s others who just do it for themselves. For their love of writing, and their need of rambling.

As for me, I was once that Mummy Blogger who would be contacted by various brands and marketing companies to write Sponsored Posts, be given freebies in exchange for Product Reviews, etc. I found that I lost all traction as soon as I stopped. My old blog, Kimba’s Kitchen, although the content has been imported to this website, the website traffic that it used to get has pretty much gone with that old domain. I decided to let it go, as I actually don’t plan to focus on making money from my blog anymore. It was never my original intention, as I started that blog to keep a record of all the recipes I really like and enjoy – and having everything online on a blog was the simplest way of doing it.

Today, this blog is all about writing my thoughts and sharing my passions. It is about keeping an online public diary for all to read, but mostly for me. I am a Deactivated Mummy Blogger, still busy talking about herself and clogging up the Internet with my personal stuff, but it makes me happy so deal with it haha!

I am pretty content now that I get to be a WAHM and work with people who do what I used to do. I believe blogging is VERY healthy for mums who find time to do it, because let’s face it, life is busy as it is. However, those who find time to do it would find it extremely fulfilling. It does get a little bit addictive once you learn how to do more and more fancy things to make your blog look pretty though!

So, if you are reading this, and you are a mummy blogger, CLOG AWAY! (The Internet, that is). Ramble away. Write away. Write like no one is reading, and stay true to yourself. Do what makes YOU happy and never let Social Media bring you down. It is competitive out there, so best not to even bother comparing yourself to others. You are doing a great job, mama ❤️.

 

Mr Miyagi Melbourne – Japanese Food with Style

Nestled right in the heart of the popular Chapel St in Melbourne, Mr Miyagi offers a hip vibe for diners who appreciate exquisitely crafted Japanese / Asian fusion food and cocktails, as well as a vibrant atmosphere.

As you walk in, the restaurant seems like a buzzing bar playing Top 40 RnB/pop hits from the last decade. It was 8pm, and the crowd has already reached its peak, even on a weeknight (I was there on a Thursday night). The restaurant was packed and people were already in good spirits and having a good social night out.

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Shinjuku Sling cocktails

As we headed to the back to mingle with our group of 15 people who gathered for a friend’s birthday, we were offered a cocktail menu with a selection of some very interesting Japanese inspired cocktails. I opted for the Shinjuku Sling – sweet, red and fierce – which is a mixture of vodka, passionfruit, pineapple and pomegranate. It was a delightfully fresh cocktail, and I very much enjoyed sipping it throughout most of my night (had to make that one drink last, as I was driving!)

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Edamame, Prawn & Ginger Dumplings, Happy’s Handroll

Our large group was split across two private booths, and most of us ended up ordering a bit of everything, but 5 of us opted for the “Feed Me” option for $59pp – which is basically Mr. Miyagi’s selection of their best dishes.

As the food comes out, I will highlight some of the best dishes and then leave the rest to pictures as I didn’t actually get to eat some of the food in the pictures I took haha!

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Salmon Nori Taco – grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Japanese mayo, chilli oil.

To begin, I sank my teeth into this amazing.. THE MOST AMAZING… taco I have ever tasted. It is no wonder why this Salmon Nori Taco is the most popular dish at Mr Miyagi, it should be THE signature dish. Biting into the crunchy taco, and be greeted with a generous amount of juicy salmon inside, and the flavours of the chilli oil and mayo and the garnish, it was simply sensational! In fact, I have made a mental note to myself that I will come back to Mr Miyagi JUST to have these tacos. This is definitely the MUST TRY if you are planning a visit.

Next was the Prawn and Ginger Dumpling, they may look like typical dumplings, but it was just cooked so perfectly that the dumpling skin was just soft and the filling was flavoursome. It ended in just one mouthful, but what a burst of ginger flavour and firm prawn texture wrapped in soft dumpling skin it was!

Happy’s Handroll changes daily, but it is sushi made exceptionally well. You can taste the freshness. Even the sushi rice just seems softer and fresher than store bought sushi which sometimes tend to taste a bit “crusty” on the edges because it has been left sitting and drying out for a few hours.

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Kingfish Ceviche – yellowtail kingfish, cucumber, ruby grapefruit, coconut panna cotta, red sorrel, young ginger dressing.

I am a huge fan of raw fish, so to taste this Kingfish Ceviche in all its raw gloriousness and complimented with the acidity of its dressing and different textures of its accompaniments, a good mouthful of this made me wish I had a whole plate to myself.

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Schnitty Bao – bao bun, ramen coated chicken schnitzel, kim-chi tartare.

This is my second favourite dish after the tacos, a very close second favourite – the Schnitty Bao. Can you tell from the picture how GOOD this would taste? Not only is the bao bun incredibly soft and squishy, the chicken schnitzel is sooooo crispy and everything else just complimented it beautifully. It is full of flavour, and the chicken is so tender inside and so crispy outside, and the sauces etc made it quite a deliciously “sloppy” Asian burger, just the way we like it!

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Wagyu Brisket Betel Leaf with peanut satay, red chilli, coconut and lime.

This Wagyu Brisket was not part of the Feed Me, but it looked really interesting on the menu so I thought I would give this a go and ordered it as an extra. You basically squeeze a bit of the lime on top, and wrap it all up in the leaf, and enjoy that mouthful of tender shredded wagyu brisket and all its flavours. I want more!

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Miyagi Fried Chicken

Last but not least, no Japanese meal is complete without fried chicken, and Miyagi Fried Chicken is this wonderfully coated fried chicken ribs that typically, I could eat the entire plate, but by this point I was so full I could only eat one! It is everything you can expect from Japanese fried chicken, served with kewpie mayo.

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Pumpkin Toast – white chocolate and pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yoghurt sorbet, spiced pumpkin ice cream.

As for dessert, I had a taste of my friend’s birthday Pumpkin Toast and it was a delightful and surprisingly mind blowing dessert. The Pumpkin “Toast” is kinda like a cake/bread that has been caramelized on top, and the combination of that “toast” with a bit of everything else just creates this amazing sweet/salty balance of flavour in your mouth. It was outstanding!! Not your typical dessert, as it truly is almost half savoury. I love sweet/salty foods so this was a huge YES for me.

As for the rest of the pictures below, they were photographed but I did not personally taste them so unfortunately unable to comment. Sometimes pictures say many words though! So feel free to check out the rest of these food items too:

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Japanese Eggplant Rice Paper – grilled eggplant, miso glaze, cucumber, peppery leaves.
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Godzilla Beans – tempura runner beans, salt and vinegar seasoning. My vegetarian brother in law gave this a huge thumbs up!
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Corn Ball – tempura corn ball, BBQ corn, buttery popcorn, corn biscuit mayo.
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Tempura Broccoli with ramen seasoning and salted buffalo ricotta. I actually DID try this! The broccoli has been fried and coated in this beautiful crust, and the ricotta was a nice touch. Definitely fancy way of eating broccoli.
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Yellow Curry of winter vegetables, Korean rice cakes, turmeric ginger oil, coconut cream, served with roti.

Overall, Mr. Miyagi was quite the experience. Loved the atmosphere and the service was great – our waitress was naturally friendly and very helpful. I would most definitely like to come back, although I heard it is actually pretty difficult to score a table so make that booking far in advance just to be sure. Mr. Miyagi also offers an upstairs function room, so if you’re planning a party or special gathering anytime soon, it is worth a consideration. The price is easily mid-range by the time you add them all up, but seriously.. TRY THE TACO. That is all, folks!

Mr. Miyagi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato