Putrajaya Floria 2012

Venue : Waterfront, Precinct 2, Putrajaya
Date : 30 June – 8 July 2012

Is the annual floral festival again at Putrajaya. The theme for this year is Bougainvillea – Enduring Beauty. We reached there on the 30 June, in conjunction with Mr. B birthday. What’s greater way to celebrate the special day with a visit to the country annual floral festival. The crowd was not too packed due to the afternoon heat and we managed to capture some photo without having much crowd in it.

Flower Galore and Showcase Garden

The main attraction for us is always the indoor Flower Pavilion for the display from international participants. It also serves as the cooling spot for us after all the sun and heat from the outdoor garden. We spent almost an hour here to go through each and every showcase and enjoyed the air-condition. The international participant came from all over the world, which include USA, Kenya, China and etc. Here we can observe the different style of flower arrangement from different part of the world. The two countries that captured my interest are the one below, from UK and Japan.

Indoor Flower Pavilion

We ended our visit by browsing the Garden Bazaar. The major product that was on sale seems to be the organic fertilizer. For those who have yet to experience the Putrajaya floral festival, do come and pay a visit. Admission and parking are free.

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Making our own Smoothie

Aside from bubble tea, Smoothie drinks are also getting all the hype among the health buff individuals.  We used to spent RM10 for cup of mixed fruit blend from JuiceWorks that comprised 50% of blended ice cubes. We were basically paying for all the ice and minimal fruits at an exorbitant fees.

As part of the stockpiling for our future kitchen, we had decided to buy a blender and I came across this Smoothie Maker in Groupon going at RM158. After a week of consideration, I found out MyDeal website was offering the same product at RM145. We decided its going to be a good investment since it claimed to be able to blend ice as well. We read up some good reviews and decided to purchase it. We were going to use it as our all purpose blender.

2 weeks later, the red Smoothie Maker was here and Mr. B can’t wait to get started with his Smoothie making projects. On the first evening, since its arrival, Mr. B bought some green apples and pears. The outcome doesn’t taste good because we didn’t peel off the apple skin. Tips: If you want to blend apple juice, remember to peel the skin off.

Fruit blend with Smoothie Maker

The next Sunday, Mr. B bought some mangoes. This time the outcome was yummy. The mango Smoothie taste something between tangy and sweet and the texture were smooth and thick. Our family loves it very much.

I’ve decided to pay a visit to Juice Works soon at the nearest shopping mall and note down their extensive Smoothie recipe.

Buying Amazon Kindle from Malaysia

I have been researching on several brands of ebook that were available in Malaysia, such as iRiver and Nook. But the prices were considerably higher than Kindle even with additional shipping cost from the US.

However, when I tried to make purchase at Amazon, it can’t be done because Amazon does not distribute any of their product to Malaysia. What a bummer! Therefore, my friend suggested I use the delivery service from Vpost.com.

1. Create an account in Vpost.com – after creating a free account, I received a US mailing address that can be use in Amazon

2. Create a new Amazon account – then I created a new Amazon account that specify I reside in the US with the mailing address I received from Vpost.com

3. Make Amazon purchase – I can now make any purchase in Amazon with free shipping to any address in US. Thus, we do not need to pay Amazon on any delivery charges.

4. Forward Amazon invoice to Vpost.com – upon payment to Amazon, forward the invoice to Vpost.com

5. Paid Vpost.com delivery charges – Once Vpost.com received the parcel, they measured the dimension and notified me on the delivery charges. I spent RM45 to get my Kindle delivered to my doorstep in Malaysia.

These were all easy to do steps. We do not need to make purchase from any third-party that selling Amazon Kindle at high as RM400 in some local forum.

Saving Tips for Books Lover

My paperbacks collection

My obsession of fiction reading started during my student years at Taylor’s College. When my course mates were busy revising on physic and chemistry textbook, my eye balls were fixed on battered library’s paperback. I think fiction books should be ban in school libraries, as I strongly thinks that they hindered me from scoring distinctions.

I started off with reading the best seller such as Dan Brown’s, JK Rowling and Michael Crichton. But as year passed, I ventured into least known authors and even some self-publishing ones. From crime thriller, science-fiction to chic lits, all of them were also my favourites.

The cost of paperbacks in Malaysia are ridiculously high ranging between RM30 to RM40 per book. If you are an avid reader like me, we are going to be bankrupt soon. I had even stop purchasing paperback ever since I got myself the Amazon Kindle two years ago. I named it Apad and it had accompanied me wherever I go and I consider it my most worthwhile investing so far.

Amazon Kindle

Here are some ways you can save your money while still enjoying the books.

  1. Borrow from the library – When I was a student, I make full use of my school library. We have already paid for it. When I was an adult, I signed up as a member in the local library. I used to be a member of Perpustakaan Komuniti Petaling Jaya near my neighbourhood, which cost RM15 per annum.
  2. Read at the book stores – I have stop buying any books from MPH and Border, unless I am so desperate that I will be miserable without owning it. I only visited them to enjoy reading the unwrap books for long period. I prefer visiting those with member’s lounge such as MPH at 1Utama. However, do be a courteous reader and make sure the book is still in mint condition after we finish with it. Do not leave any dog ears behind.
  3. Buy from lesser known book shop – I recommend everyone to visit Book Xcess at Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya. Their titles might be limited, but most of their paperbacks price at RM17. I did came across Dan Brown’s and Twilights there. Consider dropping by to check out the titles available.
  4. Buy during warehouse sale – The Big Bad Wolf sales was held annually around Selangor area for the past few years. They were selling their new books at totally rock bottom prices. Best seller paperbacks go as low as RM8 per book. Go to their Facebook page and ‘Like’ them to receive alert of their future sales.
  5. Download ebook from the internet – Reading software copy is definitely the cheapest route. There were several website hosting ebook, both legally and illegally. Or try type in the author name, book title and book format in Google, and Voila!, you got yourself a free copy of the book. Reading from the laptop might strain our eyes, thus I bought myself an ebook reader. In the long run, it help save me a lot of money purchasing books.

Read more on Buying Amazon Kindle from Malaysia

House mortgage and lawyer fees

Looking for house mortgage that suits our needs

We have already paid the down payment for our house. So what’s next?

  1. Look for bank loan – Is advisable to find out from the bank how much loan they can grant us based on our income prior to our house hunting. Honestly, I didn’t know we can stretch the payment period to the maximum age of 70. Are we even still working at that time? Anyway, just because the bank grant that amount to us, doesn’t mean we have to take full advantage of it. At the end of the day, the more we loan, the more interest we are going to pay.
  2. Find suitable mortgage package – What is flexi loan? Recently, flexi loan is getting more and more popular. Initially, only the oversea bankers offered them, but now even the local banks are starting to offer semi-flexi and flexi loan as well. So what are the advantages and should we get them? According to what we understand, flexi loan offer us the flexibility of paying more that the prerequisite instalment amount and the additional payment will be deducted from the principal amount and thus, we can save in interest fees. This scheme is suitable for those who have additional money and wish to settle their loan earlier that the tenure period.
  3. Clarify on lock-in period and penalty – Is also important to find out the lock-in period of our mortgage because mortgage deal changes every now and then. The most common lock-in duration is 3 years. After the lock-in period, scout for new mortgage deal that offer lower interest rate. Refinancing our mortgage after the lock-in period will help us to save a lot on interest.
  4. S&P and Loan Lawyer – We didn’t realize lawyer fees are going to cost us such a substantial amount of money. Remember to include this in your budget, if you do not wish to add into your loan amount. For our property of RM348K, we paid RM6K for S&P and RM4K for loan agreement.

We applied to various bank that located near our neighbourhood that include Maybank, HSBC, RHB, CIMB and Public Bank. Most of the bank told us that our house market value was only RM310K, but in order to attain 90% loan from the full amount of RM348K, we have to pay for an on-site evaluation fee. Is this a scam? Anyway, we paid RM1K for the evaluator in order to get the 90% loan. Most banks offered us flexi mortgage deal at BLR – 2.4% for the entire 30 years tenure, however we chose Maybank due to its convenience. Inter-bank transfer is going to cost us RM2 per transaction and driving to pay at the branch office will either cost us more on petrol or worst a parking ticket.