Friday, July 28, 2017

Melaka With Kids - The Shore Aquarium, Toy Museum, Puteri Beach

pantai puteri tanjung kling
Melak with Kids - Puteri Beach @ Tg Kling

This is one overdue post.. we went to Melaka for a short getaway with the kids but it was peak period and a last minute decision so a lot of the popular hotels were already full. We decided to give Ramada Hotel a go even though normally we wouldn't choose this hotel. We were pleasantly surprised as the hotel was actually quite comfortable. Given that the exterior looked really old, the interior has been refurbished recently and the rooms were very modern. There is no bath tub in the room that we requested though.

Ramada Hotel Short Vacation

Room service was also good and breakfast in the morning was not too bad. It is also near a lot of convenience shop and there is a 24 hour mamak shop at the back. 

Ramada Hotel's Room Service

The Shore Mall is also just a few minutes drive away or you can even walk there if you have the stamina to brave Melaka's hot sun. 

Maybe next time we will try The Shore Hotel and Residence  :)

Speaking of which, since Melaka is so sunny, we opted for anything indoors and The Shore Oceanarium was first on the list. It is located inside The Shore Mall and I think there are a few other attractions at the mall as well. Hubby purchased tickets for both the aquarium and the toy museum. 

melaka aquarium
The Shore Oceanarium @ Melaka
The kids enjoyed the aquarium immensely, it is something like The Aquaria at KLCC but on a smaller scale. My kids love petting the baby sharks at the entrance and also feeding the turtles at the end. Strangely, they also found the 3D theatre very mesmerizing even though my husband and I were already begging them to move on 😂

Outside the Shore Oceanarium exit

Even if you don't go inside the aquarium, there are some kiddy rides just outside its exit.

toy museum melaka
Melaka Toy Museum @ The Shore Mall

Our next attraction was the Toy Museum, we went through this very quickly as there is really nothing much to see. The picture is the only nice part of the Museum in our opinion.. Can skip this attraction. 

Afterwards, there kids were hungry but there was nothing much on offer at the mall, so we went to Halia Restaurant instead. Then we headed out of Melaka town and went to Tg Kling for Puteri Beach. While reading up on beaches in Melaka, I was really tempted to visit Pulau Besar but then I stumbled upon one website that says that the Pulau isn't all it is made up to be and I think it will be unwise for me to bring the kids there 😬 Pantai Klebang is also not an option as I read that to reach the sand dunes you actually need to walk a distance and there is no beach to swim in too. So, Pantai Puteri it was. 
Playing in the water @ Melaka's beach - Pantai Puteri

The sand at Pantai Puteri

When we arrived, it was 5pm but hubby said it was still too hot, so we decided to eat at one of the numerous eateries there (there is also a stretch of night market stalls already operating then). We waited till 6pm and then we unleashed the kids 😂 the sand wasn't soft and white instead casuarina seeds lined the sand making it quite difficult to walk barefoot and playing sand castles. But the water was ok.. not that clear but some people were swimming. Later on, we realized there was also some oil in the water that wasn't quite visible but stuck on our legs and so difficult to remove afterwards. Ah well.. by then the kids had already had their fill of fun in the water 😄

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KL Tower Mini Zoo
Mangala Beach Resort (Post in Malay)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Halal food Glasgow Central

So, hubby went for a summer course in Glasgow and we followed. I did not foresee doing much sightseeing on my own with the 3 boys while hubby went to class, so I settled for a place near shopping centres where I can pacify the kids with a trip to a toy store when they get restless 😂

Premier Suites Plus Glasgow was our choice since it is walking distance to Hamley's hahaha.. little did I know that it was a great choice because it is opposite George's Square where there are plenty of pigeons in the morning and the kids had fun feeding them everyday lol.. (this was before hubby told me that it might be illegal to feed the pigeons)

Feeding the pigeons @ George's Square - Glasgow 

Usually, after feeding the pigeons, my no 2 would ask for Subway across the street. The subway at 11 St Vincent Place is halal :)

While walking around the area, we also stumbled upon Oko (Japanese Cuisine @ 78 Queen Street) which zabihah states as having partial halal menu (all chicken halal except for gyoza and no pork served) but we didn't get to try it cos my kids don't favor Japanese cuisine.

So, on one of the days, we went to St Enoch Shopping Centre cos I was bribing the kids with Hamley's and then we saw a very small kids play area @ Euro 5 per 15 or 30 mins (I forgot) and the kids wanted to have a go. It was really small and I have no idea how and why but the kids were entertained for nearly an hour. Afterwards, my no 2 was hungry so I said let's just take a look at the food court and see if there is any halal option and Masya Allah, we saw one :

Di Maggio's Pizza with halal options @ St Enoch Shopping Centre

Halal Options @ Di Maggio's - St Enoch Shopping Centre

The guy at the counter informed me saying 2 types of pasta is halal and cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza but I can't take the chips as it's not fried with vegetable oil (something else but I can't seem to recall what they use)

We also tried Kebabish Grill @ the other side of River Clyde (323 Victoria Road) as I wanted to buy some meat as well to cook and that area has a lot of halal butchers. The food at Kebabish is really nice and the restaurant has a prayer place and also plays nasyeed on the entertainment system. As the kids ate, I wandered around the area to buy halal meat and I found a small butcher shop (can't recall the name) opposite Green Grocer (380 Victoria Road) the chicken is really fresh and the fruits and vegetables offered in Green Grocer is also quite ok.

Around Victoria Road, there are a lot of halal restaurants like:

1) Al Forno Ristorante (10 Torrisdale St)
2) Chicken Cottage (366 Victoria Road)
3) Star Coffee Patisserie (330 Victoria Road) for halal cakes

But we didn't try it cos we were around the area only to buy halal meat :)

On one of the days that we had to travel early in the morning and I didn't have time to cook breakfast and clean up, we bought breakfast from iCafe @ 72 Ingram St as it opens very early in the morning @ 7am :

Halal Food Menu @ iCafe - Ingram Street

This was the morning that we had to take a train ride to London, I didn't have the time to cook breakfast as we had to get things cleaned up before checking out. We took the Virgin train to London on a weekend. If you are traveling first class, the train will serve food during the trip however, if your travel on weekend, the food option is limited, if you are traveling on weekdays, they have vegetarian options for you to choose. If you happen to have time, I would just advice you to pop by M&S Food hall and maybe buy some vegetarian sandwiches as back up. I bought a falafel wrap and egg sandwiches for myself and packed instant cup noodles for the kids :)

While in Glasgow, if you are a Dr Who might wanna check out a few of the tardis around the area. We managed to see 2:

1) at 106 Buchanan Street:

Tardis @ 106 Buchanan Street

2) at intersection of Wilson Street and Glasford Street:

A nicer one selling coffee and sandwiches @ intersection of Wilson St and Glasford St

We didn't know there is another red one @ 27 Sauciehall Street or we would have been there as well 😄

Monday, July 10, 2017

Halal Food @ Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

We were en route to Glasgow last May and KLM transits at Amsterdam so we took the opportunity to explore Amsterdam as well. Its about 11-12 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam and we were having difficulty in choosing a "special" meal (read halal) online on the KLM website. Hubby called up the hotline and we were told that from KUL-AMS the food is halal but from AMS-KUL we will have to check with the airline again before we fly off.

We took the night flight and the kids didn't really eat much on flight but they were pretty hungry when we touched down. It was early in the morning around 7 am and I couldn't find much information about the halal food available so we settled with some fruits bought at Albert Heijin.

I saw this sign though and just snapped it cos I thought that it might be useful given the dearth of information online. I thought whichever one that has halal options must be the ones serving Asian food..

Then on another day while we were in the airport to pick up our rented car, I chanced upon Toko To Go and decided to check out if my assumption was correct. So, yes, Toko To Go has partial halal menu. They serve halal chicken dishes BUT please be aware that they also have Pork on their menu. As we were not comfortable with that, we did not give their halal dishes a try. (Also their google reviews are pretty dismal)

Then on our way back from Glasgow to Kuala Lumpur, we transited in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, I did not find any information with regards to any specific restaurants serving halal food in the transit area. (Yup, I'm talking about you halaltrip and have halal will travel) so since there was no food served on flight from Glasgow- Schiphol, my kids were pretty hungry in transit. We walked about trying to find a halal option and I told my husband let's see if Kebaya has partial halal menu since it also serves asian dishes. We headed for Kebaya and again saw pork on the menu and I can't confirm if they have partial halal menu cos husband was the one who did the asking this time around as our 23 months old was acting up already due to hunger. We decided to go vegetarian instead. We went to another restaurant which serves vegetarian burger that I find very tempting but husband still didn't feel good about it. In the end, I gave up and said let's just find something like a shop that sells pre-packed sandwiches and yoghurts and stuffs and husband said ok. We saw Grab & Fly and I saw that they sell instant ramen (that means they have hot water yeah? woohooo.. cos yours truly packed 2 instant cup noodles -halal all the way from Malaysia yeah- for emergencies haha) I asked the staff if they can kindly put hot water in our Maggi Cup Noodles and they said ok but I have to pay for the hot water. I said ok.. hey what's a few euros compared to raging hungry kids? Hubby bought some yoghurts for himself and I told him, I don't know about you but I am taking the tuna sandwich as well (tawakkal alAllah) 

After filling up our bellies with the light food, we walked about to shop and in one of the shops the staff gave salam to me and I was pleasantly surprised and we striked a conversation. I took the opportunity to ask if there is any halal restaurants there in the transit area at Schiphol Airport and he said no. He advised to just eat fish and vegetarian dishes. So, that's it... all the other Muslim tourists I saw walking about are also either only holding drinks in their hands or eating pringles.. I mean if it wasn't for the cup noodles we brought along with us (it was intended to be for the flight home just in case the kids don't like the food offered) we would have also been like them. It's ok if it was just the two of us, but I can't stand it if my kids go hungry.. :(

On the flight back from AMS-KUL, the staff said that all the food are halal and we decided that we will take that in good faith. 

Thanks for reading this super long post.. will try to post something about our trip soon. :)