Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Fijian, African or Brazilian longan? It's Fijian Longan or Pometia pinnata!

My dad loves gardening and he grows plants which he knows not the name of or that they are not accurate. Nevertheless, I was much excited by the latest find in the garden, thanks to his green fingers!

I now realise this Fiji or African longan is not the Spanish lime or Guinep or Mamoncillo fruit as I previously thoughtOther names include Island Lychee, Tava (Samoa) and Kasai (Malaysia).

One side of the tree (Fijian Longan) was covered with these tiny pink flowers.

Tiny bees were busy polinating these tiny flowers
Pometia Pinnata (Fiji Longan) fruits and leaves (taken from my previous post)

We have a whole colander full of them!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Concluding thoughts after first semester

Our education system does not have mechanisms to shape us into fast, independent and creative thinkers and thus, learners.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Where to get soft pastel and fixative in Brunei?

JK brought me to WW Mart at Citi Square and the first thing that got me excited was the sight of soft pastel boxsets! I have tried looking for them at Manggis Mall but the Hua Ho there had only oil pastels. Here, not only they have soft pastel blocks but the pencils as well as fixative! And a whole lot of other drawing/painting materials.

We spent a good time there as I relished over the many different items I like. They have really nice decorative boxes, decorative paper for your scrapbook making.

Only thing that disturbed me was seeing a whole aisle of fake Lego. I felt as though my memories of playing with Lego and the essence behind Lego was defiled by the very items on that aisle. There can only be Lego looking like "lego" and nothing else. Sigh.

Soft chalk pastels, pencils and blending tools
Fake Lego

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Baby fruits

I love having a bit of a wander in the garden whenever I come back from work. The feel of the grass on my toes and the sight of fruits hanging like nature's chandeliers liberate me.

Today, I found some baby fruits just slowly transforming from what were once fruit flowers.

I was so close to taking a macro picture of a brightly greenish chrome-coloured insect perched on a grass leaf. As I steadied my stance for a closer shot, it darted out of sight.
Reddish spots on the edges of the pomelo leaves - is this a kind of crop disease?
A baby pomelo fruit forming from a fertilised flower
A baby soursop
The soursop develops inside the sepal of the fertised soursop flower 
It is just amazing that the macro shot taken from my phone's camera allows me to see the hairs on the grass leaf as well as on the ant!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Andrographis paniculata (Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters)

I had a bad sorethroat the one day and desperately needed to get well quickly to conduct my class. Dad had advised me to pluck a nice big leaf of King of Bitters, which I only knew then as "the really bitter plant" from our garden and to chew the leaf finely and then swallow it. 

This leaf is a lot more bitter than bittergourd. But, the relief it gave me to my sorethroat was almost instant. The sorethroat never came back after that one leaf. I came to learn that it is call Chuan Xing Lian in Chinese and this has allowed me to find the various resources about it from the web, including scientific papers about it. My dad had called it the Chinese antibiotics but I doubted him until I started reading about it.

Web resources on Andrographis paniculata (Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters):

Leaves of Andrographis paniculata (Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters)
Flower of Andrographis paniculata 
(Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters)
Plant of Andrographis paniculata 
(Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters)
Flower and flower buds of Andrographis paniculata 
(Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters)

I cannot tell the difference between Andrographis paniculata 
(Chuan Xing Lian, King of Bitters) on the left and 
Oldenlandia (Snake Tongue, Bai hua she she cao ) on the right.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Loving Gyu Don at Bonzai Nottingham

As we are pretty much done now, JZR and I have found ourselves rather addicted to Bonzai, a fusion restaurant serving Japanese and South East Asian food. I am addicted to their spicy Korean beef dish. It is all very confusing as on one page they named it the Korean beef dish and on another, it was called the Spicy Gyu Bento. Both beef rice dishes tasted exactly the same to me! Anyway, I found that I have more space for some salmon sashimi, which is a must-have, if I order the bento as the rice portion is smaller. In addition, I get to taste the Agedashi tofu which I really like! *foodie mood*

Gyu Bento with Agedashi tofu

Spicy Korean Beef Don

The mandatory order for any visit to Japanese food serving place - salmon sashimi

Saturday lunches at Belle & Jerome

We have been frequenting Belle & Jerome for our Saturday lunch lately. The panini was good. But the jacket potato was not baked thoroughly. So, it was just cooked and not as fluffy as I had expected. Otherwise, it would have been more delicious as the topping was nice. The jacket potatoes from the stall at Beeston Square are nicer as they much softer and fluffier. 

Pulled pork panini with sweet BBQ sauce and cheese, served with salad
and nachos

Jacket potato with falafel in mint yogurt topping


I was waiting for the bus one day and decided to have a look around at the many shrubs around that were flowering. I found this one peculiar yellow flower with sepals that are star-shaped. After several play on the search words on Google, I came across a text description that matches what I was looking for and this was further confirmed by the similarity of the flowers in the images provided. According to, these are Jerusalem Sage. They are actually weeds but they didn't look so as they appeared tidily kept at our uni garden beds by the bus stop.

Jerusalem Sage at Uni Park, UoN 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Lang Lang at Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

13 May 2011

A colleague was asking around if anyone was interested to catch Lang Lang's concert. To be honest, I hadn't known Lang Lang at that time and was teasingly "judged" by my more cultured friends. As I have always enjoyed listening to the piano, I was thrilled at such an opportunity.

I was held captivated throughout the whole concert, not just by the music but the way in which the artist moved as he played. His facial expressions danced with his music! The concert was thoroughly enjoyable.

Lang Lang at Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham (May 2011)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Summer is here

I have been doing packing mostly now. The weather has been warm but still nice. I am enjoying it. I had to go to the office to pick a few things and work on a few other things. While waiting for the bus, I found a few delightful things to take picture of.

Pretty patterns on a really green leaf

Drying-up parasol mushroom

Sunday, 18 May 2014

View of the sky

We had the warmest day so far this year and it is such a beautiful day. Nice blue clear sky.

View from my BGP UoN room

Lunch at Belle & Jerome

ACW and I went to Belle and Jerome today for lunch. I have always enjoyed their Egg Benedict which they used bagel and wonderful Wiltshire ham.  Nice hollandaise sauce. The yolk of the egg, just cooked, so soft and nice. Yum.

Egg Benedict smiley at Belle and Jerome

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Beautiful spring at UoN with pink blossoms

Just coming out of the school building at Jubilee Campus, I was amazed by how good the weather looked. Nice sky, green grass and weed flowers bloomed.
Walking to Exchange Building to catch a bus, Jubilee Campus

I took the King's Meadow bus as the usual 903 bus took another 10 minutes of waiting. I was dropped off at the Portland Hill stop just before the Library stop. From there, I began my walk back to BGP when I noticed the lovely pink blossoms on the trees that darted across the hill behind Portland building. I have not noticed them before despite the few years I have been here! Absolutely beautiful view of pink blossoms, blue sky and cotton white, puffy clouds.

Pink blossoms on Uni Park, UoN
Trees with pink blossoms darted across Portland Hill
Huge green field by Trent Building, Uni Park. This was taken on a separate occasion
This was taken on 6th May, the day I passed my viva. I was walking back to
BGP from JC and the flowers at the North Entrance had just blossomed. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Tanhausser at the Royal Opera House

Jan 2011
Royal Opera House, London

I have always wanted to go watch an opera and was thrilled when C expressed interest to go. We decided to go for Tanhausser by Wagner. My colleague had driven us down to London and we had found free parking at a less busy area, about 10 minutes walk to Convent Garden. I was initially a little worried I was underdressed, thinking people were going to be dressed posh and all. It turned out to be a pretty relaxed environment other than everyone is a stranger to me. Once my discomfort of being surrounded by a large crowd of strangers is pushed aside, everything else was alright. The performance was tremendous and kept me mesmerised throughout the whole show! By the end of it, I was very happy to have watched an opera and have developed an appreciation for Wagner's work. This was a very interesting cultural experience for myself.

Interval  time at the Paul Hamlyn Hall

Cast of Tanhausser

Different area in the opera house

Elaborate decoration on each tier

Friday, 11 April 2014

Dim Sum at University of Nottingham

I get excited whenever my colleague J suggests dim sum for lunch. Yum!

What is amazing about the University of Nottingham is the diversity of cuisine at the various in-campus eating outlets particularly Portland Building at University Campus. Without surprise, this is largely due to the many international students that study here.

When I was first brought here by a colleague, I was so impressed to find a dim sum place at the centre of a British university. On the other side of the food court, you find Jamaican food as well others!

Thanks to Man's Gourmet at Portland Building, whenever I crave for something from home like dim sum and Malaysian curry, it is only a short bus-ride away. While the dim sum at Mandarin Restaurant (at city centre) is still the best I have ever tasted in UK, the  Man's Gourmet is a short distance to my office.

Lunch-time queues are always long at Man's Gourmet

Dim sum (lo ma kai, cha siao pao, ha kao, siew mai) for £6, served with some stir fry pak choi.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Porthmadog, Wales

Last autumn, October 2013, a friend and I visited Porthmadog in Wales where the view of the estuary looking out to sea was simply lovely. We spent a considerable time wondering along Britannia Terrace which is a short walk to the town centre. One big attraction is the steam train which still runs along the railway on the right of the picture.

View from Britannia Terrace with rail for steam train on right and marshes on left side.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

One way to get more UMPH!


I got to visit Devon recently in April 2014. It was a memorable trip, nostalgic as I am a few months away from returning. As the trip was done a few weeks before Easter, I was able to enjoy my time thoroughly, avoiding the hustle and bustle from the influx of Easter-time tourist.

The walk to Hope's Nose from Haytor Hotel was refreshing. I started the walk after breakfast so I pretty much have the whole of the cliff to myself apart from the odd visitor. And how lucky it was to have the lovely blue sky which revealed the lovely turquoise waters around the cliff area.

Hope's Nose, Torquay, Devon

Monday, 17 March 2014