Sunday, July 31, 2011

Maldives: Six Days in Paradise Volume 1

~*Prelude*~

I know many of you, especially my friends and some of my long time readers (and many of kh's friends), have been waiting for my "so-called honeymoon" Maldives photo updates.

Anybody recall that the trip happened in January?

Whenever I meet with the various group of friends, they would never fail to ask me if I've uploaded the photos on Facebook or blogged about the trip as they don't recall seeing any album remotely similar to what I call heaven on earth.

That said, I'm currently in the midst of editing day 5 photos while attempting to start writing about this amazing last minute getaway. I've never tried blogging before I'm even done with the photo editing so cross my fingers that I don't get stalled halfway should I get caught up with some other more important matters than editing photos.

I've never felt so busy in my life. During work, I busied myself with work-related matters and out of work when I can't sleep, I'm always busy doing some research and making lots of decisions for my future plans which all of you would hear about in due time. =)


~*Before Day 1: Hulhule Island Hotel*~

After work on Saturday, kh went to pick me up and we headed for the airport to catch the night flight to Maldives, Malé where we stayed at Hulhule Island Hotel for the night.

The room was simple and clean.

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A rubber duckie was provided for the young and the young at heart. Kh actually floated the rubber duckie in the tub but it could not really swim well.

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I was rather tickled by their pillow menu.

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~*Day 1: Bye Hulhule Island Hotel, Hello Constance Haleveli Resort*~

When the new day dawned, we had complimentary breakfast at the hotel lounge. I could not really stomach the food well as my body wasn't used to eating so early in the day.

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After filling our bellies, we had to say goodbye to our humble abode at Hulhule and make our way to catch the seaplane at 8am which would take us to our resort.

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We were led to what they termed as a first-class lounge while waiting for the seaplane. It sure made us feel like some important personnel.

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Outside, the wind was really strong and the whirring of motor was deafening. However, we braved all unpleasant conditions as we simply had to take photos with the seaplanes.

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They call it an air taxi.

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I thought this shot would make a good outfit of the morning photo.

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Outfit of the day:
♥ Alano soft flowy fairy top
♥ Cotton On inner white spag top
♥ Coax denim shorts
♥ No label crochet lace booties
♥ No label fedora hat

Inside and outside of the plane

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Throughout the flight, I was mesmerized by the many atolls and resorts dotting and some splashing across the Indian Ocean. The turquoise lagoons around the islands which emerged from the deep blue ocean seemed so surreal.

Soon, the seaplane landed with a ginormous splash a distance away from our resort-- Constance Halaveli Resort, located in the North Ari atoll which is shaped like a curved dhoni (Maldivian boat).

Likewise, the turquoise lagoons amidst the deep blue Indian Ocean was a beautiful sight to behold. Together, the water and sand combined lay in contrast to the exuberant green of the foliage in the middle of the island. I could hardly wait to be enveloped in the heavenly air of paradise.

We hopped onto a ferry which took us to the jetty of the island and finally set foot on our very own heaven on earth!

The guests were each assigned a staff who introduced and got us familiarized with the island. The overly sweet welcome drink seemed to hint of an extremely sweet stay at Constance.

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Clambering onto the buggy, we soaked in the serene sights while strong wind flapped against our faces. I've never witnessed such beautiful shades of blue in the skies and seas before. At that moment, I fully comprehend the essence of the phrase "the azure blue sky" and "the sea glittered like myriad of diamonds under the dazzling sun rays". Both of which are phrases I teach my students to use in their compositions to describe the good weather at the beach.

This video would give you an idea of what I'm trying to word above. Scuse the noisy wind though; I don't know how to edit videos.



We finally reached our villa which was located somewhere near the end of the curved dhoni. It was a long ride from the main island.

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The open eye up there indicated that the room could be cleaned. The close eye worked the same way as a "Do not disturb" sign. I was rather intrigued by the brush turtle. I've always known such brushes as toilet brushes and never as a creative turtle.

kh and I were so impressed with our water villa. As usual, I went round snapping everything in and about the villa while exploring.

We had a surprise champagne to welcome us for our honeymoon stay.

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Peeking at the cozy bedroom in which we spent many hours at night watching movies and using the free wireless internet for we both packed our laptops for the trip.

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The bathroom is as big as the bedroom and I could only wish that I had a bathroom like that at home too.

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I NEED A WARDROBE LIKE THIS RIGHT NOW!

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I love the coffee maker in the room. It's the expensive kind which uses individual capsules. I'm more of a tea person and not exactly a coffee addict. However with this machine, I savoured rich aromatic coffee about twice a day and totally forgot about tea.

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For a video tour of our villa with amateurish commentary, click the play button. Some of you may have seen this video before when I posted it in January.



If you watched till the end, you would know that my camera battery died when I was about to conclude the video tour. What you didn't hear was me cursing and swearing like a drunken sailor after that.

I had wanted to get Canon S95 for this trip but it was OOS everywhere in Singapore at that time. Hence, I had to make do with my loyal but ailing pink bimbotic camera. It was fortunate that kh borrowed an additional point and shoot camera from his bro or we would be left with no beautiful photos for the rest of the day. That camera snapped quite decent day shots but I wasn't too pleased with some of the night shots though it sure beat having no pictures at all eh?

So after being so sore about my camera, I decided to join kh in the plunge pool while sipping champagne and soaking in the sun.

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Due to the obvious fact that I am a pig and that my tummy is often termed as the "bottomless pit" by some friends endearingly, I got really hungry and bugged kh to et out of the pool and to seek out some eateries.

While walking to the main island, we could not resist taking pictures coz seriously, having beautiful pictures to capture the beautiful memories superseded hunger at that time when we were still considered new inhabitants to the island.

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We decided to seek out Jahaz Bar by the poolside.

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We waited almost half an hour for the food but it was totally worth it! I ordered the Black Forest Ham while kh had the Haleveli Burger. We also had Fish & Wedges as sides.

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The hearty lunch at the bar actually prepared us for many more costly meals to come.

The above was considered bar food but quality items like parma ham and foie gras set us back by USD25, 28 and 26 respectively. Added to the price was the currency which was in USD. SGD25, 28 and 26 is definitely the norm for the prices of main courses in Singapore but USD is a little on the steep side.

As the Maldives updates progress, you would notice that we only ate 2 very full meals a day to save money. We are quite the poor peasants you know? ;P

I love how my bil's camera captured this shot of the public pool. There is no editing done to this photo except for the adding of borders and watermarking.

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Still the same day but a different outfit which calls for an outfit shot once more.

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Outfit of the day:
♥ No label tribal design spaghetti strap sundress
♥ Fendi sunglasses
♥ Diva ethnic beaded necklace
♥ Sheer Romance flower clip
♥ Pretty Fit embellished hooked on sandals

After the satisfying meal, we went to the diving centre to sign up for a scuba exploration dive. We also rented diving masks, snorkels and flippers for the rest of our stay.

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We called those creatures above "little sharkies". They are really sharks by the way.

I was excited yet a little apprehensive about signing up for the scuba exploration as I'm actually aquaphobic.

I can't swim with the correct strokes, I nearly drowned twice in my life and I have an immense fear for putting my head under the water surface for long. However, I figured that since I would have an oxygen tank with my mouth and nose blocked from water, I need not worry about not being able to burst out from the water surface to breathe in atmospheric air.

We led really lazy lives for the next 6 days. Sing the poem below to the tune of Bruno Mars Lazy Day!

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NOTHING AT ALL!
woo hoo oo woo hoo oo
*whistles in the background*

The rest of my day was spent lounging by and in the pool as for the hubby... guess what he did? He actually switched on his laptop and played WORLD OF WARCRAFT instead of doing his paper.

The first sunset in Maldives was a little disappointing due to the presence of clouds over the horizon. I was half expecting to see the orange ball sigh into the water and disappear beneath the horizon slowly.

It's alright though. The sun set was still beautiful as it seemed to have tinged the sky with brilliant hues of pink, orange and purple.

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We spent the rest of the night watching lots and lots of movies and called for room service for dinner/ supper at midnight.

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I would end this post with a description of our midnight meal.

Once again, the food completely wowed us. We ordered Maldivian Style Tuna Curry with fragrant rice, chapatti, curry leaf sambal and Angus Beef Sirloin with tomato cruise, chilli jam, truffled potato puree, asparagus and a light citrus vinegar salad. Whatever that was on top of the beef (tomato cruise or chilli jam) was truly delicious. It reminded me a little of raspberry or cranberry jam but minus the tart sting.

I'm dying of famine while looking at these delicious food photos.

Look out for Volume 2 in the meantime!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Post Harry Potter Blues

Over 10 years and 8 Harry Potter movies, actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint or should I say Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley have really grown: from children to teenagers to, now, young multimillionaires.



After watching the final installment of the whole Harry Potter movie series last weekend, I feel a sense of closure and loss at the same time. There is nothing more to look forward to now but to reminisce.

Aside: True fans of the books, please don't deride me for being a fan of the movies.

For those of you who need a recap on all the Harry Potter movies, this brilliant summary by PAINT would do the trick.




And just in case you need further visual recap, here's one with snippets from the movies.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear 4am, 5am, 6am



We gotta stop meeting this way.

I would rather sleep with you.


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My biological clock is seriously screwed. I cannot get to sleep unless I'm mentally exhausted.

Sleeping when I'm physically tired but still mentally active would result in all kinds of nightmares.

All kinds of sleep therapy and sleep-inducing methods do not work on me. If only I could will my mind to be less active.

When it's time to wake up, I could press the snooze button for as long as two hours. At other times, I have no recollection of hearing the alarm at all. I kept going in late for work and either leaving late or using the many extra hours previously to claim time off.

It's fortunate that my direct superior has got the same problem as me. When I finally explained to him, he was so happy to find out that he wasn't the only one who can't sleep and can't wake up as a result.

And I too, am so happy that he has the same problem.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot Summer Days

On sunny island Singapore where it is summer all year round, who would even know when the summer season is?

I definitely do!

The air-conditioner in my room had been spoilt for about a week and it so happened that Singapore was experiencing one of the hottest week ever during that time.

I felt as if I was experiencing the heat in this Hong Kong movie -- Hot Summer Days.



Before the technicians came, I tried to get out of my house as much as possible to escape from the burning inferno. [Read disclaimer at the end of this post]

Dressing for a hot and humid summer is a little tricky especially when you do not want to look like you're a sloppy mess even though you feel like one. However, the heat and humidity during summer does not mean that you have to throw sophistication and trendiness out the window.

When temperatures soar and humidity rises, how do you keep your dressing casual chic yet stay cool at the same time?

Just remember some cool and chic rules:
1) shorts
2) summer dresses
3) breezy loose fit outfits
4) the right colours and fabrics


1) Shorts, shorts and more shorts

Shorts keep you cool and comfortable and if you've got a toned and shapely legs, flaunt them. Don't keep them hiding from the sun in jeans and maxi dresses.

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Denim shorts should be a wardrobe staple for everyone. They are casual and could take you to beach in the day yet chic enough to hit the clubs when night falls.

Besides denim shorts, high waist flare shorts are a great alternative that can be dressed up with a nice top.

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I don't know about you but such high waisted jappy shorts make my legs look stumpy. I should remove the "toned and shapely" phrase up there.

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Nice legs or not, shorts are definitely a summer staple for trendy dressing coz who cares about how stumpy your legs are when you are cool?


2) Summer dresses

When people think of summer, flowery summer dresses immediately pop into mind.

Summer dresses are a great way to dressing trendy at picnics, barbecues, and even fancy restaurants. The right summer dress will look great in a variety of different locations which can take you through the day and into the night.

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I'm not really a dress kinda gal. I usually save the dresses for special occasions like celebrations, dinners and clubs but ClubCouture alex silk chiffon dress in yellow looks so whimsical and dreamy on this page that I couldn't help getting one for myself.

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The complete look:
♥ Clubcouture alex silk chiffon dress in yellow
♥ Spinel cork shoes with detachable flowers from another Spinel shoes
♥ Sheer Romance huge flower clip

If you're interested in the alex silk chiffon dress in yellow, you could click the picture below and purchase. ClubCouture offers all my readers a 15% discount storewide so remember, to key in the discount code JOLENE2011 (all in capz) during check out to enjoy the discount.

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3) White as a summer colour, cotton as a summer fabric

White clothes allow you to keep yourself cool. Furthermore, it is less likely that you would be spotted with circular sweat spots under your pits on whites as opposed to coloured tops. Now, that certainly ups your chic factor, doesn't it?

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I'm wearing a white cotton M)Phosis top with sheer puffed sleeves which was a gift from my cuz sushi. This detail certainly makes the top more elegant as compared to a regular white tee. I had ClubCouture sleeveless draped vest on for added chicness for chilling indoors in the cool air con comfort. The vest is made of a slinky and smooth cotton so it isn't warm when worn outdoors at all. Besides. you could remove the outer layer if it gets too hot.

Layering is not only for the colder seasons. It is in fact the key to formal summer occasions... coz you never know when someone would invite you to a club for a drink.

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The complete look:
♥ M)Phosis white top
♥ Clubcouture sleeveless draped vest
♥ Coax denim shorts
♥ DMK grey mesh shoes
♥ Titus bracelet watch
♥ Fayfey heart tag and key necklace

If you're interested in the sleeveless draped vest, you could click the picture below and purchase. Remember to key in the discount code JOLENE2011 (all in capz) during check out to enjoy a 15% discount.

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4) Breezy outfits

The last thing you want during summer is to have clothes sticking to your sweaty skin. It not only feels uncomfortable but looks unsightly too. Imagine looking at someone's outfit only to find patches of sweat stains... totally unglam!

Common sense as it sounds, loose woven shirt fabrics keep the air flowing about the body for a cooling effect. It also greatly minimizes any stench transferred onto clothes too.

For my god daughter, Charmaine's birthday celebrations over the weekend, we went to Universal Studios yet again. The weather was sweltering but I felt really dry and clean in a breezy regina crochet blouse from ClubCouture and a loose fit bubble hem shorts.

That's me with my godson Jase.

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Pardon the phoenix on my face. My good friend cyn mommy, charmaine and I all had a phoenix each on our faces that day.

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The complete look:
♥ ClubCouture regina crochet blouse
♥ No label dusty pink bubble hem shorts
♥ Pretty Fit embellished hooked on sandals
♥ No label faux leather vintage sling bag

On another occasion, I wore the same blouse in an off shoulder manner and tucked into my high waisted shorts on a night out in town. I also wore a yellow stringed bikini inside which recreates an entirely different look.

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Don't forget to accessorize! I got this necklace with ribbon, rose, penny and beads charm from ClubCouture. It stands out against the cream coloured top.

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The complete look:
♥ ClubCouture regina crochet blouse
♥ ClubCouture summer long necklace
♥ No label turquoise big bow shorts
♥ No label crochet lace booties

If you're interested in my regina crochet blouse and summer long necklace, you could click on the pictures below and purchase. Once again remember, to key in the discount code JOLENE2011 (all in capz) during check out to enjoy a 15% discount.

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These are some of the guidelines which worked for me and I hope that this sharing has helped you to learn how to keep cool while dressing up.

For more summer inspiration, you can check out ClubCouture's latest collection -- She dreams of the country as well as their lookbook.

As mentioned, all my readers will get a 15% discount as long as you key in JOLENE2011 (all in capz) during check out. Also, ClubCouture offers free shipping for all orders with no minimum purchase required. Get shopping this summer now!


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[picture credit: googlygooeys]

Disclaimer:
I must emphasize that I'm not one of those spoilt brats who cannot live without cool air-conditioning comfort. In fact, back in my parents' home, I often opened the windows wide and enjoy the natural breeze that fanned in. It is only after moving in with my hubby that we switch on the air con in our room for almost the whole day whenever we are at home. The windows of our room are closed at all times due to nasty roaches, crickets and other creepy crawlies and flyee flawies bursting in. In the day, our room is like an oven and by night the heat continues to linger. Hence, you could imagine how thankful I was when the technicians finally came to fix the air con.

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