Sunday, November 29, 2015


My last visit to London was in 2010 as part of a fashion related project but coincidentally, the airline partner happened to be Malaysia Airlines. So when I was assigned to cover the pop-up Asian Art Festival exhibition at Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush London, I was told we would be flying with Malaysia Airlines (MAB) too.
When the day of departure dawned, I couldn't believe #todayishere! Imagine how ecstatic we felt when we were given the rare privilege of enjoying some pre-flight pampering in the MAB Platinum Golden Lounge in the satellite building at KLIA. Of course, being avid shutterbugs, we embarked on a ‘shooting’ spree the minute we set foot in the plush haven.
During the whirlwind tour, the differences between the Platinum Lounge and Golden Lounge were explained to us. It was indeed an eye-opening experience for us plebs who fly economy so we revelled in the VIP treatment accorded to us prior to boarding our flight to London.
I was impressed by the large collection of artworks displayed inside the lounge which lent vibrant bursts of colour to the posh and somewhat ‘serious’ ambiance. The artists featured consists of a mixture of local and international.
Passengers whiling their time away here can enjoy the full works: complimentary meals (for lunch the menu includes a selection by celebrity British chef Gary Rhodes), plenty of cushy furnishing to rest, relax or read, baby care area, slumberette, children’s playroom, smoking lounge, shower and phone charging station.
For the busy business travellers, workstations with Wifi connectivity are available too. A boardroom set-up as well as a mini library of reading materials should prove useful when necessary.  
While Golden Lounge guests can help themselves to a mini buffet spread, the Platinum Lounge VVIPs have the privilege of ordering hot breakfasts. The options are in addition to the Continental selection of baked items with fruits, cereals and juices laid out.
Flying on the A380 – the world's largest passenger airliner - was a first for me so I was overjoyed at the novel experience. This wide body, double-decker of a plane even has bunk beds tucked away in a discreet section for the airline crew to rest and a convertible area towards the back for passengers who wish to pray.
Much to our relief, the 13+ hour flight was smooth and comfy as we managed to get some lengthy bouts of shut-eye. It goes without saying that the meals, snacks and In-flight entertainment helped to ease the journey tremendously.
On both legs of our KUL-London-KUL passage, the MAB crews were most personable in taking care of us and the plane-loads of passengers. Even the ground staff who worked at the airports displayed similar courtesy so such encounters made our travels all the more pleasant and memorable. Thank you, Malaysia Airlines for living up the MH acronym => Malaysian Hospitality.

For flight information and bookings with Malaysia Airlines, please visit:

Coming up! The adventures of Pilot Parker in London with Visit Britain.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Since it arrived in the local F&B scene in June 2013, French-Asian bakery TOUS les JOURS (Everyday) from South Korea has been winning baked goods fans with its wide selection of bread, pastries, cakes and beverages.
Recently, a fresh idea has bloomed at Tous les Jours at the Empire Shopping Gallery Subang where the South Korean bakery franchise has teamed up with Orchid Culture to open the first orchid boutique in the country.
According to Orchid Culture director Darren Yeo (pix above), both Orchid Culture and Tous les Jours are in synergy when it comes to delivering the best and freshest in their business. "The focus on quality resonates with our brands and we strive to continue to provide only the best as Orchid Culture continues to grow."
Orchid Culture, which has two outlets - one in Bangsar Shopping Centre and the other in Tous les Jours Empire Shopping Gallery Subang, plans to expand the unique concept to more locations in the Klang Valley going forward.
Both entities are positive customers would respond well to their fresh approach as they believe while the tempting oven-fresh offerings of Tous les Jours are food for the soul, Orchid Culture's majestic orchids known as phalaenopsis should be a stimulating feast for the eyes.
An orchid specie native to Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, the flowers commonly known as 'moth orchids' are large and often resemble moths. It takes about 4-5 years for a carefully cultivated plant to bloom and the delicate, pretty blooms last about 2-3 months.
Although the phalaenopsis requires minimum maintenance in our Malaysian climate, it should be watered every 10 days or so. We were advised to keep the plants indoors as they are fond of human habitat temperate zones of 18-30 degrees Celsius. Keep them near bright windows or indoor lighting with plenty of air circulation.
This orchid makes an excellent gift for floral and nature lovers or as a focal centrepiece at home, hotels or even weddings. Prices start from RM70 onwards for a live plant. As the first and only specialised orchid florist, Orchid Culture is established by Waltex Biotec Sdn Bhd, Malaysia's largest grower of Phalaenopsis.
The next time you're stuck for gift ideas, pop into Tous les Jours Empire Subang and pick up a fresh orchid plant to go with the irresistible baked goods available there.

Check out Orchid Culture at Tous les Jours Boulangerie & Bistro, Lot GK08A Ground Floor, Empire Shopping Gallery Subang. Tel: 03-5036 7749.

Friday, November 27, 2015


If there’s one thing us Malaysians love more than eating, it has to be shopping! Even sky-high foreign currency exchange rate is of no deterrent to our ‘shop till you drop’ habit.
 malaysia airlinesVisit Britain
Thanks to Malaysia Airlines (MAB) and Visit Britain (VB), our recent visit to London proved shopping is great indeed in Britain...or in our case – London. Whether you’re a toff or not, the art of gifting this festive season is a walk in the park thanks to the mind-boggling variety that leaves even the most seasoned shopaholics gobsmacked. Based on my brief sojourn, the FAB FOUR spots where shopping is great for me are:

Do you know Malaysians form the 3rd largest group of customers to Bicester Village? With over 130 luxury brands at the doorstep, chic outlet shopping is a complete breeze at this stylish retail haven. When I mentioned my impending visit in Facebook, a chorus of approval from my friends made me even more intrigued.
As guests of Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush, we were told we would enjoy an extra 10% VIP discount at Bicester! Get your VIP invitation at the Hotel Concierge to exchange for a VIP card at the Bicester Visitor Centre. 
This is a cosily furnished area with plush sofas and an affable team will proffer a host of convenient services such as Hands-free Shopping, Personal Stylist, Valet Parking and Luggage Drop.

From Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush, we took a short 15-min drive to London Marylebone Station. That’s where we boarded a 38-min train ride on Chiltern Railways straight to Bicester Village Station
Time passed swiftly on board - the smooth train journey made easier with comfy carriages outfitted with WiFi and power plug points so you can make productive use of your travelling time.
Upon arrival, our group was warmly welcomed by the ValueRetail team and hosted to a delicious farmhouse-style lunch featuring the best of British fare at the rustic FarmShop restaurant.
A brand new, all day dining restaurant created exclusively for Bicester Village, the FarmShop serves local British and seasonal food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
The menu highlights locally sourced produce, from Scottish salmon with lemon mayo and spit-roast chicken with aioli to flourless chocolate cake and Bramley apple pie with ice cream.
After that indulgent lunch, we meandered around the rows of low-rise, well-designed boutique stores which beckoned invitingly with their attractive showcase displays. Most of the prestigious boutiques were clustered around an open-air, landscaped boulevard, evocative of the charming villages of south-east England.
If you’re into designer goods, the pickings are rich. The boast about 60% off regular retail prices at Bicester gained credence after we popped into Michael Kors, Coach, Clarks, Le Creuset and Burberry to name but a few. 
Malaysia Airlines Enrich members will also enjoy some rewards when they shop at Bicester Village. Check for info in the BV-MAB Frequent Flyer programme:

This is the world’s first shopping arcade thanks to Lord George Cavendish from Burlington House (now the Royal Academy) who commissioned the covered promenade of shops to be built in 1819. Besides providing gratification to the public, the 72 small-storey was supposedly a CSR project of sorts, as the shops were meant to employ industrious females after the war.
Photo courtesy of Chasingfooddreams

According to Head Beadle Mark Lord (pix above), the Burlington Arcade Beadles are not only the oldest and smallest private police force in London but they are also the best source of information about the arcade. With 13 years under his belt, Mark knows the arcade, the shops, its people and products inside out. 
Walking us through the revered space, Mark regaled us with the arcade’s illustrious history, ornate curvilinear elements found on its arches and grill work, and enhancement efforts undertaken: the new floor’s non-slip coating and the replacement of the stepped entrance with a gently sloping ramp. The latter has enabled one of the Burlington’s most loyal customers to manoeuvre her wheelchair into the arcade completely unaided.
He also pointed out to us distinctive tenants like Hancocks, a much respected jeweller commissioned to produce the Victoria Cross awarded to soldiers and sailors starting in June 1857. Others include Ladurée from Paris and Kwanpen from Singapore proudly touts its fine handmade croc leather in vibrant colours and refined detailing in Palladium or 18K Gold.
Burlington Arcade has also seen its fair share of dramatic happenings, from fire and robbery to interesting anecdotes about world-famous patrons such as Fred Astaire and Ingrid Bergman. It was also the location of choice for Hollywood flicks such Patriot Games and 101 Dalmatians.
Want to procure a bespoke bauble or two for someone who has it all? Looking for a one-of-its-kind heirloom or vintage Rolex to adorn your wrist? You’d find it at Burlington plebeian foodies can always find succour in the bejewelled hues of Ladurée’s famed macarons.
For a bespoke experience of the Burlington Arcade Beadle Tour on Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 4.30pm, please contact:

COMING UP: More shopping spots: Westfield London & Borough Market

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