Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sandisk Christmas Giveaway!

Tis the season to be giving!!

Which is what I will be doing with yet another Christmas Giveaway with SanDisk!

I have THREE cool USB drives up for grabs, ideal for those who are always running out of phone memory space when on holiday from all the picture taking, selfies, food pics and OOTDs. Raise your hand if you're guilty of this.

But HEY, it's Christmas and all is forgiven. In fact, let me reward three lucky travel addicts in the spirit of Christmas, New Year (Hello, 2017!) and Chinese New Year! These USBs from SanDisk aren't like the usual USB from pasar malam because these are quality stuff that you need especially if you're constantly travelling and snapping pictures with your phone.

iXpand™ Flash Drive - a mobile storage device designed to help people quickly and easily free up space on their iPhone and iPad with up to 128GB of additional capacity. The iXpand Flash Drive features a new, modern design that fits with most iPhone and iPad cases, a USB 3.0 connector for faster transfer speeds to Mac or PCs, and a completely redesigned app to easily manage photos, videos and music. It’s available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities, with MSRPs of RM179, RM239, RM339 and RM529, respectively. 

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C flash drive - features a new retractable design, faster speeds and higher capacity, giving users the ability to quickly and easily free up space and transfer content between their smartphones and today’s USB-C devices. It comes in capacities of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB with MSRPs of MYR59, MYR79, MYR119 and MYR219, respectively. 

For this giveaway, I have two SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C flash drive and one iXpand™ Flash Drive up for grabs in a very easy Instagram contest! 

All you need to do is: 
1) Follow me on Instagram (@wee.trains.eats.travels) 
2) Gimme a like on the contest image (sample below) by double tapping on Instagram 
3) In the Instagram comments, tell me why you desperately need a SanDisk USB for your next trip.
4) Tag a friend as well to let them in on the fun.
5) You're done! 

like on instagram please!
Winners will be announced on Christmas Day so stay tune for the good news!

Terms and conditions:
1. Contest ends on Christmas Eve, Saturday at midnight Malaysia time. 
2. Winners will be selected based on caption creativity.
2. Only three winners will be selected. One device per winner.
3. Giveaway is open to those with a Klang Valley address only. It can be a home or office address.
4. Entries that have not completed the stated instructions will be automatically disqualified.
5. Winners will be notified via DM.
6. Blogger is not responsible for any malfunction of the device.
7. Prize cannot be exchanged for anything else or for cash.
8. Prize will be delivered by a delivery service of the blogger's choosing or if the winner is within her vicinity, she might drop it off herself.
10. If winner does not respond to the DM within 48 hours with the requested information, blogger reserves the right to select another winner.
11. Due to it being the festive season, expect a delay in the delivery of the prize.

Thank you and good luck! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Philips InfraCare review: Helping my achy knees

I always say that 'you never regret a good workout'. I standby that saying but even a good workout has its backfire if one is not too careful. Injuries, muscle pull and wore out joint often go hand-in-hand with being healthy and fit (ironically) and if not properly treated early on, these aches and pains can go on to be a nuisance and movement hindering for older you.

I, for one, am feeling the 'rewards' of my tennis days, sliding across the court and running back and forth with a lot of stop, turn and sprint motion thrown in. Those left my knees and heels with a lot of pains even until now.

My left knee in particular has taken the blunt of the injuries and I could feel sharp pain every time I squatted or knelt. It got worst when I injured my hip which in turn affected the way I walked which brought back the pain in the knee. Sigh.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bright Spartan Trifecta Weekend 2016 recap

Well, I have done it. I managed to completed not one but two Spartan Trifecta this year. Once a distant dream, it was made possible with a lot of planning and the willingness to make small sacrifices like buying less clothes and going out less. So much less...I have no social life now outside of my bootcamp and work groups.
A Weekend in Beautiful Hell
It seemed right that my first Trifecta for 2016 had come from Malaysia and very appropriate that my second came from Australia, the land where my Spartan journey started. The journey to these Trifectas has been nothing short of memorable.
My Spartan medals since 2014

Thursday, December 8, 2016

St Marc Cafe's Chococro lands at Sunway Pyramid

I remember one rainy morning in Kyoto, I sought shelter and breakfast from the heavy downpour in a St Marc Cafe near the Teramachi shopping arcade. It was early, cold and I was hungry. It was then I was introduced to their delicious array of pastries and its...Chococro....drools. Think layers of buttery croissant wrapped around a rich centre of dark chocolate. Delicious!

It seemed that founder Naoyuki Katayama discovered it by accident one day after skipping the fermentation process when making the croissant dough, resulting in a pastry that is denser and richer, and creating one of St. Marc Café’s bestsellers to date.

Now, I don't need to go all the way to Kyoto for St Marc Cafe because it has just offically launched its first outlet in Malaysia at Sunway Pyramid. St. Marc Café prides itself in creating and baking all of its pastries in-house, ensuring their freshness and quality. The café’s open-kitchen concept allows customers to see how the pastries are made, as well as enjoy the aroma of freshly-baked goods.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Get your cat checked up with MyCat2Vet Campaign by Royal Canin

"Your cat is a little on the chubby side for his size."

When the vet told me this, I stared at my silly furkid boy, Milo and patted the underside of his belly and his sides. Now that he mentioned it, Milo was a little on a meaty side and I hadn't realised it.

There are a lot of things we don't realise about our pets, cats in particular and one of those things are their health. A survey commissioned by Royal Canin revealed that an estimated 2 in 5 cat owners in Malaysia won’t be taking their cats to a veterinarian this year. One significant finding was that 40% of cat owners surveyed have never taken their cats to the veterinarian.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mobile wifi review: Travel Recommends in Melbourne

We all read about that Olympic Champion who incurred a $5,000 phone bill just from playing Pokemon Go at the event. Noob. Like why you no buy local sim card or rent wireless wifi router? Gone were the days when we lived in fear during our travels over obtaining a thousand dollar phone bill just because we needed to google a location and address while on holiday.

What more with our constant practice of sharing and posting on social media and not to forget hunting region exclusive Pokemon such as this Kangaskhan.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 6 - Dominica Soup Curry, Hokkaido Shine and Beer Fest!

My last day in Hokkaido and for the third time throughout that trip, it was raining....the urge to just curl up in my nice hostel bed was tempting. BUT then again, it was my last day in Sapporo and driving by a need for piping hot food, we headed out in search of soup curry.

This time we tried Dominica Soup Curry, a little hidden jem 15 minutes from our hostel. Located in the isolated hallway of an unsuspecting building, Dominica Soup Curry offered the most unlikely form an eatery with odd decorations and a tight seating space that can accommodate about 15 people at its peak hour. And even that meant elbows being bumped and rubbed occasionally.

Monday, November 14, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 5 - Self Drive to Lake Toya and Noboribetsu

Day 5 in Hokkaido brought on heavy grey clouds followed by a heavy downpour in the later part of the day when we were on the road from Lake Toya to the Hell's Valley aka Noboribetsu. It was yet another long drive into the countryside and after the previous day's adventure into Biei and Furano, I found myself wishing that we opted to stay an extra night out near Lake Toya.

Anyway, due to the weather we decided to play it by the ear and ended visiting the following places:
1. Silo Observatory
2. Lake Hill Farm
3. Volcano Science Museum
4. Sendoan,Toyako-cho
5. Noboribetsu

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lazada Online Revolution 2016: Retail Therapy for All

Well, we now live in a world where Donald Trump is POTUS. Not only had the idiots taken over with this victory but little do they know how their choice will also affect the rest of the world.

Let us console ourselves with some therapy and nothing works better than retail therapy. And where else than at Lazada Online Revolution 2016. Think over 1,000 brands, 55,000 international and local merchants. All for one month as part of Lazada's fifth Online Revolution since its inaugural event in 2012.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

OCR Highlights: Great Eastern Viper Challenge Sepang

Viper Challenge has come a long way since its first event in Nov 2013 as Asia's Biggest Obstacle Challenge. The recent Viper Challenge Sepang (the final leg of the Finisher Series and the fourth long distanced challenge to be held at Sepang International Circuit) saw an attendance of 17,568 participants tackle the terrain and obstacles throughout the day, in the morning and at night!

It helped tremendously that the event was blessed with a cooling weather and an overcast of clouds that kept the sun rays at bay. Less heat meant less dehydration and that meant less injuries amongst the participants. Blessed weather aside, the organisers themselves were no slackers as they pulled out all the stops at this event with many big-named sponsors and new and improved obstacles.

In a nutshell, here are the highlights from the Great Eastern Viper Challenge Sepang.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Four Years on...

Sigh... it's quite bad that I missed my own blog's anniversary. And here I was wondering why people were congratulating me on LinkedIn. 

But yes, it has been four years. It's my blog's fourth anniversary and of late, I have questioned and pondered the direction of my creative medium amongst other other things. 

Four year ago, I started this blog to allow me to continue writing as I used when I was a writer at a magazine. It was quite simple then, the content potential unhindered and unbound but eventually I realised things were changing.

Things have changed. I've changed and those changes reflects in the way I write and what I write about on this site. From general lifestyle to food and travel to its current status - fitness, OCR and travel oriented.

It has been a long journey but I finally found my passion, my niche. I've been blogging about OCR when it first landed in Malaysia with Viper Challenge leading the way. Alongside the growing OCR scene in Malaysia, I hope to see this site grow with it.

Happy Anniversary and Happy Halloween, blog. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ezbuy Malaysia: Taobao in English

In this day and age, online shopping is the way to go. Easy, hassle free and your boss won’t catch you running off to a mall for a new wardrobe now and then. We are literally spoiled for choice with sites like Zalora, Lazada and Taobao for us to shop on for our fashion and gadget fixes.

While I have shopped plenty on Zalora and Lazada, I have not purchased anything from Taobao for one simple yet significant reason….EVERYTHING IS IN CHINESE. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Southeast Asia's first Kit Kat Concept Store opens in Midvalley

I super love Kit Kat, especially those from Japan for their variety of flavours unique to the prefecture and season in Japan. Sakura match, hojicha, raspberry, cheesecake, red bean (not so much) and so on. I could go on and on about my favourite flavours but....oh wait I already did (link).

So when I heard that Midvalley was to house the first Kit Kat Concept Store in Southeast Asia, I was elated. Woohoo, odd, weird flavoured Kit Kat come to me!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Spartan Race Putrajaya 2016 - Sprint and Beast

The Kuala Lumpur leg of Spartan Race Malaysia concluded itself in a spectacular fashion with two back-to-back events, a Sprint and a Beast over one weekend. It was the final stretch for many pursuing their Trifecta, having completed their first ever Sprint event in October 2015 and the Super in March 2016.

Normally Trifectas are completed within a calendar year (Jan-Dec) but due to the requests of Asians who got their first taste of Spartan Race end of last year, Big Boss Joe DeSena made an exemption for the KL and Singapore Sprint and announced that it counted towards the 2016 Trifecta.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Indonesia: Tough Mudder Bali 2016

It was exciting news for OCR junkies in Malaysia to hear that Tough Mudder was finally coming to Asia, set to take place in beautiful Bali. And since Bali was sort of a part of Australia, it drew heaps of Aussies over as well. Malaysia and Australia weren't the only excited nations.

According to Coconut Bali, mudders from over 37 countries flew into Bali for what was deemed "probably the toughest event on the planet." For many, it was their first Tough Mudder. For a few other members of my team, the Mudder-in-Laws and myself, it was our second and third respectively. I had my eye on that blue headband and I wasn't going to let even a nagging hip pain and cramps get in my way.

The morning of the race, it was so humid. Imagine that. Our wave was 7:30am and we were already sweating. I loved that they brought down a few of the Australian Tough Mudder team to lead the warm up and especially the emcee who successfully got the crowd revved up. Tough Mudder always had the best pre-race routines where we had to incite the Tough Mudder code to look out for each other.

At 7:30am on the dot, we were released onto the course and off we went into the 13km course. I had heard the organisers had to shorten the route on account of the Bali heat. A wise decision I thought as heat stroke and dehydration were no joke. The heat and terrain also limited the types of obstacles they could bring to Bali.

However Tough Mudder does not fail to live up to its name as there was mud albeit not as much as Australia. But enough that everyone came away muddy at the first obstacle.

Of course, what was an obstacle race without wall obstacles? Tough Mudder was not without Skidmarked (slanted walls) and the Berlin walls. There were some obstacle that could be conquered alone like the Cage Crawl and the sand bag carry.

The infamous Artic Enema 2.0, a dread feature obstacle overseas was one to look forward to to combat the Bali heat. At least until we found our legs seizing up from the icy cold waters. What sorcery is this??

Still the nice cooling effects lasted about another kilometer before we came across the ever scenic Life is a Beach obstacle.

Which wasn't an obstacle but a photo backdrop....sighhhhh.

Quite a number of the obstacles were a disappointment as they were merely part of the terrain like the Gorilla Killer (which was actually a killer hike in the Melbourne Tough Mudder so that was legit), Bushwhacked, Stairway to Heaven and Cliffhanger. Like why....

Where Tough Mudder really excelled were their teamwork-oriented obstacles. The Pyramid Scheme and the ever iconic Everest 2.0 were my favourites because it basically forces everyone to work together.

Blockness Monster was a new obstacle for 2016 and one where we had to work with other racers. It also got us all nice and wet for the next and final obstacle........Electroshock Therapy.

Ah, what is Tough Mudder without Electroshock Therapy?

Also what is Tough Mudder without a cold bottle of beer and its orange headbands?

The first Tough Mudder in Asia clocked in 13km, the shortest TM I've done but on account of the blazing heat, it was a good call. As for the obstacles, well, let's just say the terrain should not be counted as obstacles. Loved the course though for its scenic views but wished there was more beach running and obstacles. 

Psst - I heard Jakarta is next on their list for a Tough Mudder Half and another full Tough Mudder for Bali next year. 

Ps: Sorry for the crappy action pics. They were taken with my iPhone 4s, securely protected in a waterproof bag. 

Pss - I missed my Olympus camera.... Olympus Malaysia, why you take so long to service my camera? It's been two months T_T

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How I prevent cramps

Cramps suck.

There is no denying that sudden seizing of your muscle into a tight knot in that one brief second is perhaps the worst pain you can experience in that moment. Unfortunately, some people are more prone to cramps than others.

I am one of those unfortunate souls. I even remember my first cramp. A 2km run followed by a round of waterpolo does not do wonders to your muscles...

However after many years of experimenting, I finally figured out a near cramp proof way of preventing cramps. Load the hell up on isotonic sport drinks a day or two before the race.

Isotonic sport drinks are a crucial part of my race preparation; long distance running and obstacle course racing wise. Two days before the race, I would load up on a bottle of isotonic drink and this has so far prevented me from getting a cramp as proven by my Kyoto Marathon and the numerous OCR races I have done this year. So far, cramp free to date.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 4 part 2 - Self Drive to Biei and Furano

I was lucky that my car came equipped with an easy-to-use GPS because without it, I would have been hopelessly lost in the countryside of Hokkaido. Forever doomed to wonder the roads in a rented Toyata Vitz with dysfunctional family in the passenger seats.... *Shudder*

We had many places to hit in Biei and Furano and so much driving to do and so little time.
1. Zerubu Hill
2. Mac OS X backdrop, less commonly known as Blue Pond
3. Shirahige Falls and Blue River
4. Shikisai no Oka
5. Tomita Farm 
6. Furano Cheese Factory

After my near encounter with a speeding ticket in part 1, we arrived at our first stop of the day, Zerubu Hill. Because it was still early in the season, the flowers weren't at full bloom so there wasn't much to see. However, it gave us a lovely view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Little did we know that we would be driving towards those snow-capped mountains and would be seeing plenty of them later on.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Run for Your Lives

Run For Your Lives, a game of flag tag set in the world of a zombie apocalypse will be making its return to Malaysia this December 31st at Taman Botani Putrajaya. Drawing from its beginnings in the United States back in 2011, the game has attracted over 12,000 participants since its debut and has spread to other cities worldwide which include Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The premise behind the game is that a zombie apocalypse has plagued the world, caused by an unknown virus. Participants may choose to run as a ‘Survivor’ (human) or a Zombie. Gameplay is generally simple – the humans will have to outrun the zombies, who have the goal of ‘capturing’ the humans.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

AXA Hearts in Action 2016, Cyberjaya race review

Colourful shirts from which you can pick one to wear for run.

Funds going to animal welfare and preservation.

AXA Hearts in Action 2016 had me at those points and without hesitation, I signed up for the 12km category and dragged along my mom and a colleague. Sadly, that was where all the positive points ended for the race organisers.

Upon arrival at the race site, there was no clear indication of where the race was starting from. I only assumed it was before the finishing arch because there were a horde of runners standing there. There were also a horde of 6km and 3km runners standing there munching on donuts and sandwiches so you would understand the confusion.

Monday, September 26, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 4 part 1 - I got pulled over in Japan!

It was the first time I drove in Japan and also the first time, I got pulled over by a cop. Ever.

Let me start from the beginning.

When coming to Sapporo in the spring, seeing the flower fields and natural wonders of Furano and Biel comes high in the list of things to do. However unlike Otaru which was easily accessible by train, these two locations were best explored via car and so rent a car we did for this occasion. To drive in Japan by the way, foreigners are required to obtain an international driving permit (IDP). For Malaysians you can find out how here.

I rented my car, a Toyota Vitz from the Toyota Rent a Car near my hostel, having made the booking online weeks before the trip. For a family of five, it was a bit cramp in the back seats but as we didn't have any luggages with us, it sufficed for the two days adventure outside of Sapporo. On this day, we were headed to Furano and Biel and what a long drive it was into the countryside.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tokyo Marathon 2017 - HERE I COME

As you may have guessed from the title of this post....I am in for the Tokyo Marathon 2017. Out of exactly 321,459 entries, I was one of the 26,370 runners who was lucky enough to score a spot by ballot in a World Marathon Major and one that is being held in my favourite country in the world, Japan.

That's a 8.2% chance of winning the ballot and I got it. Excuse me while I hyperventilate into a paper bag.

Okay, I am fine now. But I think the little butterflies in my stomach disagrees. Because holy crap, I need to start training all over again.

The Kyoto Marathon 2016 was my first ever 42.195km and it had been a glorious experience running all over the historical and naturally beautiful city that was Japan's former capital. You can read about it here and here.

It only seemed fitting that I try balloting for the Tokyo Marathon next which I did in August along with my mother and a few friends. The Tokyo Marathon is set a week after the Kyoto Marathon resulted in a shared cold weather that was ideal for a long run.

I had also balloted for the Kyoto Marathon 2017 (as back-up) and also the Nagoya Women's Marathon (because the medal is so beautiful) but it seems that fate has plans for me to be in Tokyo instead.

Maybe I should try for the lottery next. Some prize money would help finance my next adventure to Japan. Can't wait!

Monday, September 12, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 3 - Self Walk Tour in Sapporo

Admittedly, this self walk tour was impromptu. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day on our third day in Sapporo and decided to hit all the outdoor activities and attractions in the city. It just so happened that everything was more or less within walking distance of each other that we decided to save money and not take the train.

Carmen was our automatically anointed navigator for the tour and with her trusty phone and portal wifi in hand, she led the way. From our accommodation at Khaosan Sapporo International Hostel, we took a nice leisurely stroll to the Sapporo TV Tower. Breakfast was purchased from a passing convenient mart and consumed on a bench in Odori park located at the foot of the tower allowing us to enjoy the blooming flowers on a lovely sunny morning.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Great Holiday Deals with Sri Lankan Airlines at MATTA FAIR Sept 2016

Here's an image to marvel over.

I have yet to experience the beauty that is Sri Lanka but its natural attractions of beaches, blue waters, jungles and national parks and sanctuaries continue to draw me in. Throw in their promise of delicious spicy food and the temptation to hop on the first flight out to Colombo is just too great!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Taylor's Jog For Hope 2016

To be honest, Taylor's Jog For Hope 2016 was the first run I've done since the Milo Breakfast Day in May. Now that was a long break from running and one I did not enjoy. However, I was happy with my pacing for the whole 10km despite the hilly Hartamas route.

The Taylor's Jog For Hope 2016 was the eight edition of the annual run organised by the students of the Taylor's College Sri Hartamas. And in case you didn't know, I am a proud alumni of Taylor's College and Taylor's University and was compelled to contribute towards a charitable cause championed through this run.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Viper Challenge Genting - Great Eastern King of the Mountain race review

After hearing raving reviews about last year's Genting event, I finally conquered the Viper Genting: King of the Mountain!

The event was, in one word, A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

The fun started pre-race when we arrived at Awana Horse Ranch in the wee hours of the morning, parked the car the multi-storey parking lot of the sky cable and collected our wristbands. To my joy, several foodtrucks had already opened at the race village and I could not resist a cup of hot latte and a glazed donut before my 7:40am wave. While waiting around, we were joined by members of the other OBC platoons, since majority of us were in the same wave.

Come flag off time, we started off right on schedule! Imagine my surprise as Viper Challenge rarely ever starts on time! Hats off to the organisers!

We turned a corner right after the start line and it was an immediate uphill. This was Genting Highlands! Of course, it wasn't going to be easy. But nevertheless, jacked up on caffeine and sugar, I jogged up the whole 2km uphill route. On the way up, we saw the returning lead pack of the elite wave on their way back and called out to several of our OBC buds who were charging downhill.

The obstacles came hard and fast and why not when there was only so much space and distance one can work with in 10km. Some were easy, some were wet, some required teamwork and some needed just plain luck and guts. Throw in the uphill and a route that cuts through Awana and you have a course that effectively staggered the participants nicely to avoid crowding at the obstacles.

I must recommend the Tyre Trouble obstacle because I don't think I've seen an obstacle like that before. While I initially had my doubts about succeeding, a boost from a teammate set me off and before I knew it, I was on the other side. And then the marshal told me this awesome news.

"You are the third woman to pass."

Woohoo! Granted we were only one of the early waves and the elite already had a go at it but still...Woohoo! No sirup bandung bath for me! The same cannot be said for my youngest sister who made an epic splash (literally) at her first obstacle race.

We encountered the much anticipated Rotating Cube in the last two km. An obstacle that was impossible to conquer alone, it required eight of us to get in and simultaneously roll over the giant cube while one teammate clung onto to get over it on the other side. We kept doing this until everyone was over. We enjoyed it so much that we didn't mind staying back to help other participants where needed. 

To finish off Viper Genting, we encountered the signature wall climb variety which amassed a crowd and a queue towards the later part of the afternoon. Despite the waiting time, participants were surprisingly patient and helpful this time. There was no pushing and shoving from what I saw. 

The course pretty much burnt off my donut and coffee from earlier. I was ravenous by the time we got back to the festival area after the race and it was off for more coffee for me from Senses Truck.

As I mentioned earlier, the festival area was awesome because there was just so many food options available from the trucks. There was even chicken roasted on the spot and gelato ice cream!

I was a happy girl and even a minor gutter accident that happened on the way to lunch did little to spoil my mood. The only thing that managed to do so was a Snorlax running away from me despite using a razz berry and two ultra balls. 

Now for an overall view of the event:

1) Registration was fast. The Viper boss was present to personally attend to us but he lingered there a bit too long though. 
2) Festival area was well set up with ample food, drinks and seating. 
3) Obstacles were fun! Especially Tyre Trouble and Rotating Cube. 

1)  The route before and after the Rotating Cube basically merged the approaching and outgoing traffic of participants from the obstacle. I saw many people nearly colliding into each other because they weren't paying attention or was running too fast downhill. There were even people turning back at this point because they didn't want to have to walk up the slope again.

All I can say is....if Viper Challenge were to organise Viper Genting 24 hours, sign up me ASAP!

ps: photo credits to my mother who not only did Viper Genting but also did it with her phone, hence the photos and also did 21km the next day.