November 28, 2008

The BIG Pixart letdown

I collected my Pixart book last Saturday. Words cannot describe how DISAPPOINTED I was with the book. The printing quality was so much inferior compared to Photobook. The photos look faded, and it seems to me like the pixel quality is pretty low (not sure if this is the right way to describe the problem). It is definitely not a problem with the quality of my photos as they were shot in high resolution format (4-5MB each photo), so something must have gone wrong during printing.

The placement of the photos are out of place as well – for two photos laid side-by-side, the border of one photo was missing, while the other had the border, plus some extra space! I just don’t get it – the layout was fixed in the software, so it’s not as if I could change the alignment.
And this didn’t happen to just one page, several pages had the same problem.
The only saving grace for the book is the presentable cover, but still, I had the urge to just chuck the book away in a corner of the drawer – that’s how DISAPPOINTED I was with the quality. And you can bet a million dollars that I’ll stay far far away from Pixart for future photobooking projects.

November 26, 2008

Weekend at Pangkor Laut Resort - Part 3

Day 3
It started raining at about 4am so we woke up slightly late after the rain stopped. We decided to skip breakfast and let the children enjoy the kiddie’s pool before checking out from the hotel.

The infinity pool

Near the pool area

Audrey offered to watch over them so we took a walk to the Spa Village again for a visit.
The pool at Spa Villas - only guests staying at the Spa Villas can use this pool

We had an early lunch at the Royal Bay Beach Club by the infinity pool.

Island Pizza, Spaghetti Bolognese, Club Burger, Vermicelli with Prawn

After that, we joined the children in the pool before heading back to our villas for a quick shower and packing up. We checked out at about 2.30pm and took the 3pm ferry back to Lumut.

Some of the animals spotted at PLR - monitor lizard, yellow hornbill and peacocks

Random shots before leaving

On the way back, we stopped in Kampung Coldstream, a small Chinese village about 7 miles from Bidor, for steamboat. The stock is made from seaweed and it had a nice aroma and flavour to it. Since there were eight adults, we ordered the large set consisting of various fish and meat balls, squid, cuttlefish, prawn, fish, crab and beehoon for only RM130. We reached KL after 10pm and everyone was totally worn out.

November 24, 2008

Weekend at Pangkor Laut Resort - Part 2

Day 2
Hubby arrived on the 8am ferry this morning. He couldn't come yesterday as he has some engagement in the afternoon. When he arrived, we had a leisurely buffet breakfast and let the children roam around koi pond and library/lounge area.

The library/lounge area with plenty of day beds and sofas, and shelves of books for loan. There are also several desktops with free internet access

We then took a walk to the Spa Villas and the award winning Pangkor Laut Spa Village. However, as children below 16 are not allowed into the spa area, some of us had to watch over the kids while Audrey and Tracy, her friend who works in YTL, took younger sis for a quick tour.

Yiu Yiu having fun near the Spa Villas

The award winning Pangkor Laut Spa Village

We then proceeded to the beach again and spent a good part of the afternoon there.

When we got back to the hotel room, I made sure Yiu Yiu took a nap as we were planning to hop onto the staff barge to Pangkor Island for dinner. Slightly more than an hour later, we woke her up and made our way to meet the rest of the group at the lobby before taking the resort’s shuttle van to the staff jetty.

On the staff barge

Dinner was at a seafood restaurant in Pangkor Island. The food was good and cheap – it costs less than RM200 for nine adults and three children, and the dishes included fish, prawn, squid, pork, chicken, tofu and two types of vegetables. We caught the 9.40pm staff barge back to PLR and called it a night, though Audrey and her gang continued with a drinking session in her room.

November 22, 2008

Weekend at Pangkor Laut Resort (PLR)

Warning: Posts heavily laden with photos ahead

Day 1
We left KL early in the morning, at about 7.15am, stopping in Bidor for the famous Pun Chun herbal duck noodles. Can you believe that I’ve never had the duck noodles despite growing up in Bidor? Back then, we locals considered Pun Chun to be very expensive, as we knew their price was meant for the many tourists passing by Bidor. I only had it recently in Kota Kemuning, where they opened a branch early this year. Oppsss, sorry for the digression.

We arrived in Lumut just in time to catch the 11am ferry to PLR. The ferry took about an hour and we promptly checked into our beach villas upon arrival at the resort slightly after noon.

Entry point to PLR from the jetty

The PLR jetty

Our room @ Garden Villas

The picture perfect view from our adjoining villas

Yiu Yiu and Yihao couldn’t wait to get into the water so we quickly fill up the open air bath tub for them to splash around.

Refuelling their energy before heading to the beach

We then proceeded to the beach @ Emerald Bay at the other side of the island by taking the resort’s shuttle van.

The waves were pretty strong and Yiu Yiu was initially hesitant to get into the water. She was contented just building sand castles...

But eventually warmed up and started chasing the waves.

I love these shots of Yiu Yiu and Yihao...they looked so happy and carefree in these photos

We went back to the room about two hours later. We had wanted to order some room service for a late lunch but to our dismay, PLR does not offer room service. Luckily we brought fruits and other snacks so at least our tummy was filled. We tried getting the kids to have a nap before dinner but the two little monkeys just refused to sleep. As such, we took them for a walk around the resort, and spotted three huge monitor lizards, various birds and fishes, crabs and monkeys near the sea villas.

The Sea Villas

Having a jolly good time with Audrey che che

The moment we set our foot in Feast Village for dinner, both of them fell asleep! The staff promptly arranged some chairs so we could lay them on the chair to sleep.

I ordered the Cajun pasta, sis ordered a bibimbap while mum had nasi kandar.

Food is expensive in PLR and our dinner rang up a bill of RM225++. Luckily, our entourage is entitled to a 50% discount on all food and beverages upon check-out.

November 20, 2008

More photobooks

Few months ago, I completed my first photobook of my trip to Siem Reap last year. Over the last few months, I’ve been burning the midnight oil, as well as taking time off from work, to complete another five books:

a) Our wedding ceremony and dinners – this is a classic case of procrastination. My initial plan was to choose photos I like, and pass them to my photographer to create a wedding book (there was no DIY photobooking service back then). But somehow, something always got in the way, and the book never got done. Now that there’s DIY photobooking, I figured I might as well do it myself.

b) My trip to Europe in September last year

c) Our trip to Taiwan in January this year

d) Our trip to New Zealand in March/April this year

e) Our recent trip to Medan in August

This time around, the people at Photobook only gave me a 15% discount, a far cry from the 30% discount when I purchased my first book. Accordingly to them, that was the first and last time they offered such a big discount. Apparently they have not increased their price since their launch, even with the multiple increases in petrol price which affected their production cost as their papers are all imported from Europe. Furthermore, they claimed that they had also improved on the quality of their paper and cover material. Anyhow, since I’ve already completed all these books, I went ahead and purchased them, since they swear that 15% is the maximum they can give from now on. And I certainly don’t fancy the idea of re-doing these books using Pixart, as their software is not as user friendly.

I completed a small book using Pixart, as I don’t have enough photos for the 40-pages minimum with Photobook. Maybe when I have some time, I’ll write a post on the pros and cons of both softwares. Anyway, I sent that book for printing two weeks ago, and though they promised that the order will be processed within five working days, I've yet to receive any news from them to collect my book. Doesn't speak too well for their customer service, if you ask me.

My next project is to complete another three photobooks, for each year of Yiu Yiu's age. I had wanted to complete the 1st and 2nd year in time for her birthday early this month but there's just not enough time. Must strive to complete them before year end.

November 14, 2008

Going on a weekend getaway

We’re all packed up for our weekend getaway. It doesn’t take a genius to tell that we’ll be going to the beach, right?

Here’s the place we are heading to, wanna hazard a guess?

Photos from here.

We’re going to Pangkor Laut Resort, yippee!!!

I’ve heard so much about this place and had always wanted to go there but with that kind of price, we might as well travel overseas. I had also hoped that my company would organize some meetings there but no such luck as it’s considered too luxurious. The golden opportunity came when a colleague, Audrey, mentioned that she’s going, and looking for extra company. Audrey’s friend works in YTL and she can book up to four rooms at one go, and since they are only taking two rooms and have two extra rooms to spare, I quickly grabbed them. It’s a fantastic deal, at RM115 per room per night for the garden villas, whereas the rack rate is USD350++. Mum, younger sister and her children (Yihao and Xiaoyu) will be coming along. It’s going to be a blast for the kids, with the beach and the pool at their disposal.

November 13, 2008

My favourite present

When mummy asked me which presents I liked best from my birthday stash, I chose these. Actually hor, I had totally forgotten about this beauty.

This is my early birthday present from mummy and papa. We went shopping for this baby in some bicycle shops in Subang last month. Actually, I’ve got on this baby several times in the evenings and weekends, when mummy is free to let me cycle to the playground near our house. I absolutely love this cute, pink bicycle, and will ask mummy to let me cycle to the playground, even on days when she gets home from work at night. But she tells me that I can only go cycling when the sun is up, otherwise, bad guys may come and catch us in the playground.

The first few times on this pink baby, I don’t actually know how to cycle. I will simply put my feet on the pedals and asked mummy to push me. Mummy kept telling me to move my feet up and down, up and down, but I keep telling her that I’m not strong enough. The last few outings, however, mummy was so happy coz I finally could move the bicycle on my own, following her up and down, up and down rhythm. I can also climb onto and down from the bicycle myself, and no longer need mummy to carry me. Boy oh boy, this is indeed my best birthday present.

November 10, 2008

Buffet lunch at Jogoya

We had team lunch at Jogoya Japanese Buffet @ Starhill last Monday. I didn’t even know of its existence, the “katak bawah tempurung” that I am, but I found out later that it has been the talk of the town since it’s inception in January 2006. The restaurant is really huge, with various seating halls arranged around the various buffet stations – it’s like a maze so it can be quite confusing at first. The atmosphere of the restaurant is casual, relaxed and elegant.

The buffet spread was impressive, with a wide selection of sushi & sashimi, teppanyaki, tempura, soup, shabu-shabu, BBQ, deep fried, cooked local, Western and Japanese cuisines, dessert, beverages, and several more which I can’t quite remember. Beverages are free flow, and include fruits juices, fragrant coconuts, and even a small selection of wine and liquor. But what caught my eyes was the ice-cream bar – Haagen-Dazs, no less. And there were 16 flavours to choose from, so you will be spoilt for choice.

There were 16 of us and we booked a private room. A chef came in and cooked grilled mini lobster with cream sauce for us in the room shortly after we arrived. We then proceeded to sample buffet line. For food that needs cooking, each customer is given a clip with the table number to pass to the chef, and the food will be brought to your table once done. That saves a lot of waiting time. Each table also has several mini-stoves that are used for cooking soup and food in stone pots. Quality wise, some food were really good, while some were rather mediocre.

Food clip with table number, and a selection of sushi, sashimi and cold dishes

Mini stove for soups, shabu-shabu and self-cooked dishes

It costs RM78++ for lunch (11:30-13:40), RM68++ for late lunch (13:40-16:20), RM88++ for dinner (17:00-21:30) and RM78++ for supper (21:30-01:00). It’s actually quite pricey as many of the food items are fusion and Oriental, rather than pure Japanese food. But but, sit tight – they are having their 3rd anniversary promotion from 13 October - 19 December 2008. There’s a 50% discount for ladies all day long from Monday – Thursday, while for Friday, it’s only valid for lunch and late lunch. Another promotion is the senior citizens promotion – 50% discount all day long from Monday – Thursday on every third week of the month. The flyer says valid for senior citizens aged 60 years and above for four adult guests, so I guess it means one senior citizen can bring up to four guests? Call them at 03-21421268 to find out if you are planning to give your parents a treat. Will see if mum is up to it, coz she’s not a fan of Japanese food.