Friday, November 28, 2014

The Tower of London

Date: 18th April 2014

Looking back, it was equally great that we managed to tour outside the Tower of London by chance when we spotted it while having a good coffee break at Starbucks. After the coffee, we walked bypassing the tower palace in search for the next metro line heading towards the famous London parks (for clarification, it is famous according to Malaysian who loves to visit the park whenever they are in London). It was an exchange visit to the 2 places, Buckingham Palace and the Eye of London which we did not managed to find till the end. We are very positive to return in the near future so that we can visit all those places in the next visit. In the meantime, I would like to share the history of the Tower of London as narrated by Wikipedia for my personal reference.

The Tower of London is actually Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. Rest assured that those Tower Hill has long gone, flattened by a vast development of London’s city. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, resented a symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. It was originally intended as a grand palace early in its history, served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within 2 concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Having had her wedding photo at the Tower

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and has been controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudor dynasty (1485-1603), the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.

The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, were held here. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison, and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired and the castle reopened to the public. Today the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, it is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.

The Tower was oriented with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon London, which archaeologist Alan Vince suggests was deliberate. It would have visually dominated the surrounding area and stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle is made up of three "wards", or enclosures. The innermost ward contains the White Tower and is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north, east, and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard the Lionheart (1189–1199). Finally, there is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285. The castle encloses an area of almost 12 acres with a further 6 acres around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties, land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons. The precursor of the Liberties was laid out in the 13th century when Henry III ordered that a strip of land adjacent to the castle be kept clear. Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in later periods. Tower Wharf was built on the bank of the Thames under Edward I and was expanded to its current size during the reign of Richard II (1377–1399).

The Tower of London has become established as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. It has been a tourist attraction since at least the Elizabethan period, when it was one of the sights of London that foreign visitors wrote about. Its most popular attractions were the Royal Menagerie and displays of armour. The Crown Jewels also garner much interest, and have been on public display since 1669. The Tower steadily gained popularity with tourists through the 19th century, despite the opposition of the Duke of Wellington to visitors. Numbers became so high that by 1851 a purpose-built ticket office was erected. By the end of the century, over 500,000 were visiting the castle every year.

Ticket's booth seated across the Tower

Over the 18th and 19th centuries, the palatial buildings were slowly adapted for other uses and demolished. Only the Wakefield and St Thomas' Towers survive. The 18th century marked an increasing interest in England's medieval past. One of the effects was the emergence of Gothic Revival architecture. In the Tower's architecture, this was manifest when the New Horse Armoury was built in 1825 against the south face of the White Tower. It featured elements of Gothic Revival architecture such as battlements. Other buildings were remodelled to match the style and the Waterloo Barracks were described as "castellated Gothic of the 15th century". Between 1845 and 1885 institutions such as the Mint which had inhabited the castle for centuries moved to other sites; many of the post-medieval structures left vacant were demolished. In 1855 the War Office took over responsibility for manufacture and storage of weapons from the Ordnance Office, which was gradually phased out of the castle. At the same time, there was greater interest in the history of the Tower of London.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tower Bridge of London & London Bridge

Date: 18th April 2014

Still remember what I wrote about Chain Bridge in Budapest? In a different perspective, Tower Bridge in London and Chain Bridge are both designed by British designer. Chain Bridge was designed by Willian Tierney Clark in 1839, opened 10 years later in 1849. 45 years after, Tower Bridge, designed by Sir Horace Jones was open to public in London. Important to note that a smaller scale of chain bridge was also designed by the Willian Tierney Clark in Thames River, called Marlow Bridge which connecting the town of Marlow, Buckinghamshire and the village of Bisham in Berkshire. It was built between 1829 and 1832. Tower Bridge and Chain Bridge, both are grandeur and unique in it's own that brought so much happiness just by looking at these 2 bridges. 

Like I said in previous entry, Tower Bridge is often mistaken for London Bridge, which is seated not far from each other, i.e. on the next bridge upstream. Although the bridge is an undoubted a London landmark, professional commentators in the early 20th century were critical of its aesthetics. H.H. Statham wrote "It represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure", while Frank Brangwyn stated that "A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river". It was nothing wrong to my eyes except that the surrounding areas are blooming with modern buildings which makes the Tower Bridge look a little bit out of place, in my opinion. Similarly to the Tower Palace located next to it. However, architectural historian Dan Cruickshank selected the bridge as one of his 4 choices for the 2002 BBC television documentary series Britain's Best Buildings.

Tower Bridge is built from 1886 till 1894, took 8 years, 2 years less than the construction of Chain Bridge in Budapest. It is a combined drawbridge (bascule) and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It seated close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name, and has become an iconic symbol of London. The bridge consists of 2 towers tied together at the upper level by means of 2 horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the 2 walkways are carried by the 2 robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge's present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white and blue for Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee. Originally it was painted a mid greenish-blue colour.

View from London's Bridge

The nearest London Underground tube stations are Tower Hill on the Circle and District line, London Bridge and Bermondsey, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway. We took a different route of the tube to reach the London Bridge and thereafter pleasantly walk to the Tower Bridge as it is not that far. London Bridge was built an increased commercial development in the East End of London in the second half of the 19th century. A traditional fixed bridge could not be built because it would cut off access by tall-masted ships to the port facilities in the Pool of London, between London Bridge and the Tower of London.

Historically, a Special Bridge or Subway Committee was formed in 1877, chaired by Sir Albert Joseph Altman, to find a solution to the river crossing problem. It opened the design of the crossing to public competition. Over 50 designs were submitted, including one from civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette. The evaluation of the designs was surrounded by controversy, and it was not until 1884 that a design submitted by Sir Horace Jones, the City Architect (who was also one of the judges), was approved.

Jones' engineer, Sir John Wolfe Barry, revised the idea of a bascule bridge with 2 towers built on piers. The central span was split into 2 equal bascules or leaves, which could be raised to allow river traffic to pass. The 2 side-spans were suspension bridges, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge's upper walkways. The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by King Edward VII, the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark.

The bridge connected an Iron Gate, on the north bank of the river, with Horselydown Lane, on the south, now known as Tower Bridge Approach and Tower Bridge Road, respectively. Until the bridge was opened, the Tower Subway, 400 m to the west was the shortest way to cross the river from Tower Hill to Tooley Street in Southwark. Opened in 1870, Tower Subway was among the world's earliest underground ('tube') railway, but closed after just 3 months and was re-opened as a pedestrian foot tunnel. Once Tower Bridge was open, the majority of foot traffic transferred to using the bridge, there being no toll to pay to use it. Having lost most of its income, the tunnel was closed in 1898.

Tower Bridge is one of 5 London bridges now owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. It is the only one of the Trust's bridges not to connect the City of London to the Southwark bank, the northern landfall being in Tower Hamlets. Construction started in 1887 and took 8 years with 5 major contractors, Sir John Jackson who built the foundations, Baron Armstrong responsible for the hydraulics, William Webster, Sir H.H. Bartlett, and Sir William Arrol & Co. has employed 432 construction workers. 

Two massive piers, containing over 70,000 tons of concrete, were sunk into the riverbed to support the construction. Over 11,000 tons of steel provided the framework for the towers and walkways. This was then clad in Cornish granite and Portland stone, both to protect the underlying steelwork and to give the bridge a nicer appearance. The original brick facade with the more ornate Victorian Gothic style, which makes the bridge a distinctive landmark, and was intended to harmonise the bridge with the nearby Tower of London. The total cost of construction was £1.184 million, equivalent to £118 million in 2014.

The bridge is 44 m in length with 2 towers each 65 m high, built on piers. The central span of 61 m between the towers is split into 2 equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimise the force required and allow raising in five minutes. The 2 side-spans are suspension bridges, 82 m long each, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge's upper walkways. The pedestrian walkways are 44 m above the river at high tide.

IJM is building a luxury residential living Royal Mint Gardens, just behind the Tower London, within walking distance from Starbucks cafe that we stopped that day. During the launch, IJM has invited all staff for early booking. At that time, I had book a unit at Altitude 236, Bukit Mandarina Enclave. Should I know earlier of IJM's Land intention to launch the property, I would not hesitate to book in Royal Mint Gardens as I believed it's worth the investment due to it's strategic location and neighborhood's tourist attractions. 

Source of reference: Wikipedia

London - Glance through visited places

Day visit on 18th April 2014

The first thing we did on arrival at London St Pancras train station was to change our Euros to Pound. After that, we joined a long queue to purchase a metro passes. Nothing much to worry about those things as everyone is speaking English and you would have no troubles communicating with everybody on all matters you wish for; i.e. getting direction. I would discourage for those who has limited time in London to buy London daily passes as it will be waste. The fact is nothing much can be done or visited in a short hours. Well, we have initially listed few places to visit before shopping times. However, our group became bonkers when we found Clark's, Marks & Spencer boutiques etc along the street and started shopping henceforth. 

Following a metro map, we chose to stop at London's Bridge station not knowing that it was not the nearest station to reach London's Tower Bridge. Please take note that London's Bridge is not London's Tower Bridge, make sure you add "Tower"when searching for it. Lucky that the Tower Bridge seated not far from London bridge, hence, nobody complained when we had to walk a bit to reach the place. In addition, the views around the Thames river are worth to see though it was surrounded with modern building. 

After enough photo shots as London Tower Bridge, we had coffee at Starbucks hoping to enjoy their free wifi. Unfortunately, the crowds and poor Internet connection forced us to sit Starbucks outside foyer with a view of Thames river and Tower London, a royal palace. The ladies were only thinking to shop, so, no one would want to enter the huge palace surrounded with modern buildings. We passes visit from the internal side, rather appreciating the historical story of the palace from the outside look.

From there on, we took a tube to reach Hyde Park not knowing that the station we stopped leading us to Kensington Park. Maybe at that time all of us were not concentrated well on the map, as our minds were calculating what to buy at the Oxford Street later on. Kensington Park has equivalent facilities as in Hyde Park, where we decided to stop for prayer and lunch. 

Incidentally we found Royal Albert Hall while searching for Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park which were in our original itinerary. By this time, our group mutually agreed to stop searching in the dark (especially when our heart were no longer wish to visit, but shopping) to drop the 2 places. Instead we went ahead to Oxford Street. 

We finally arrived at Hyde Park entrance (see below photo), but the girls quickly assured me that they do not wish to walk anymore. The view and the environment would be the same with Kensington Park, thus no point to enter, they said. I nodded my agreement. We then, took a bus to Oxford street.There's a Malaysian lady who happened heading towards the same direction, in the bus that we took. She was in London visiting her son, who studied in local university. She bought a fortnightly bus/metro passes at a very good rate.

I've been searching for our shopping photos but we could not find any. Apparently, everyone was too busy shopping along Oxford Street to bother about photos. We were monitoring the time left to spend before ending the trip and headed back to London St Pancras for our train back to Paris.

That was how we spent our time in less than 8 hours in London city.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Train Rides - Paris to London by Eurostar

Travelling date: 18th April 2014

We take a return day trip to London from Paris. Rail Europe Asia has secured Eurostar tickets for our group on 9th January 2014, 3 months @ 120 days before departure day, tips we get from Seat 61 website. The ticket was couriered to us within days. Though it said we can get a good price of Euro39/trip/pax, the actual ticket price we paid online through Rail Europe was Euro49. In other words it cost us Euro 135 for a return trip. The travelling schedules were as follows:-
  • To London St-Pancras, departure time: 08:36 and scheduled arrival time: 10:00 via train no. TGT 9013
  • To Paris Gara de Nord, departure time: 20:01 and schedule arrival time: 23:24 with train no. TGT 9054.

Eurostar is a high-speed passenger train from London to Paris via the English Channel Tunnel, taking as little as 2 hours 15 minutes for the 495 km to Paris or 1 hour 55 minutes. The same train shall proceed to Brussels for another 373 km.  Eurostar trains travel up to 186 mph, leaving London St Pancras station almost every hour for the Gare du Nord and for Brussels Midi every 2-3 hours.  Eurostar trains are run by Eurostar International Limited, a company owned 55% by SNCF French Railways, 5% by SNCB Belgian Railways & 40% by London & Continental Railways (wholly owned by the UK government).  Eurostar carries only passengers, started their first running in 1994. 

The Gothic Railway station, London St Pancras

We took an RER line to reach Gara de Nord from our hotel and being well guided to reach an International train platform from Gara de Est by a beautiful French lady that conversant with me during that short ride. It was rather a long walks from Gara de Est to Gara de Nord from the underground route, so, it’s worth to be kind to locals as you will find no difficulties to reach the platform. There was already a long queue line for Immigration checkpoint by the time we arrived. After we have passed the immigration and security checkpoint, we were to wait at the waiting halls for the train to board. The gate was open about 15 minutes later. For information, only a brief 20 minutes of the Eurostar journey is actually spent in the Channel Tunnel, the rest is spent speeding through the countryside of Kent and northern France at up to 186 mph.  Some Eurostar trains stop to pick up passengers at Ebbsfleet International near the M25 & a handful stop at Ashford International in Kent.

On a special lane to catch a train to London at Paris Gara de Nord

Along the journey, the train manager shall makes announcement on departing and arrival, so you should worry less. Whilst, from London St. Pancras, all international passengers shall gather at the international departure halls which has almost everything, the café and the gifts shop for your last minute shopping. The train first heading north, makes a sharp right-hand turn past the huge steel gasometers behind Kings Cross/St Pancras and within few minute enters a covered bridge across the tracks leading out of adjacent Kings Cross station, which becomes a long tunnel under east London taking the Eurostar east and south.

Similar green pasture rural area visible from inside the train when passing France/England countryside 

The Eurostar passes Stratford International station, around 8 minutes after leaving St Pancras, the Eurostar train finally emerges from the tunnel and starts crossing the wastelands of east London, past warehouses and run-down housing estates.  An impressive Queen Elizabeth II suspension bridge on the right, which carries the M25 London orbital motorway across the River Thames at the Dartford Crossing can be seen shortly after, thereafter plunges back into a short tunnel for its own crossing underneath the Thames, emerging the other side in the county of Kent. The train is running at its full service speed of 300 km/h and crosses the most dramatic structure on the new high-speed line, the viaduct high over the River Medway.  To the right of the train as it crosses the viaduct, we shall see small boats moored on the muddy riverbanks far below.  To the left of the train, over the top of the adjacent M2 motorway bridge, we can see Rochester Cathedral and Rochester Castle in the distance. Take notice of the said scenery should you travel from London to Paris in a daylight. Take note also while crossing rural green and pleasant rural of Kent.

Just 35 minutes from St Pancras, the fields and hedgerows of east Kent give way to the roadways and check-in lanes of the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal.  This is where cars and lorries are put on the Eurotunnel car-carrying shuttle trains to go through the tunnel to France, train passes through the middle of the terminal non-stop.  Passing through the Channel Tunnel takes just 20 minutes, and is something of an anti-climax.  The Channel Tunnel is just like any other rail tunnel, only a bit longer.  As a precaution, the yellow fire safety doors between each pair of coaches are closed during the tunnel transit.

The Eurostar emerges into France at up to 160 kmph, where distinctive clock tower of Calais town hall is visible from distance.  The Eurostar may call at Lille or simply pass through on the centre tracks.  The line to Brussels and the line to Paris diverge just after Lille Europe station.  The high-speed line to Paris ends just short of Paris Gare du Nord, and the Eurostar passes seamlessly onto a short stretch of conventional line to complete its journey into Paris Gare du Nord, the historic terminus where the traditional boat trains from Calais or Boulogne used to arrive.  The Gare du Nord is also the station for trains to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Cologne in Germany, and you will see red and silver Thalys trains arriving and departing from these places. When we arrived in Paris Gare de Nord, we walk forward straight off the end of the platform onto the main station concourse to catch a train to the hotel.

It was our last night in Paris after spending 4 days 3 night stay in a beautiful city of lights.

Beautiful Painting in Premier Wealth Centre, KPJ Kajang Specialist Hospital

I took a day off on 20th October 2014 to screen my health. It was a medical benefit provided by IJM to all staff to enjoy with at certain limits depending on their grades. I am entitled for RM950 compensation for every 2 years, hence I chose a RM650 Women Wellness Package offered by KPJ Kajang Specialist Hospital. It was my second time there for the same purpose, the first time was in 2011. The doctor has advised about my status as thalassemia minor when I had my first screening test. I must have inherited it from my late mother, I believe so though I'm not sure. Medically, thalassemia is a blood disorder passed down through families in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia. This disease is inherited, meaning at least one of the parents must be a carrier to the disease, caused by either a genetic mutation, or a deletion of certain key genes.

Red ambiance to receive visitor 
Premier Wealth Centre is in the 3rd floor, on your left after the lift. As soon as you entered, you shall immediately see the above photo view. Red decor with a red painting. There's few painting inside the clinic, where the beautiful staffs informed was purchased by their previous director, who apparently must be very fond with paintings. I mean, everybody are attracted to beautiful things, beautiful girls, beautiful flowers as well as beautiful hearts.

KPJ Kajang reception/main lobby area
While being examined by a friendly senior nurses, she shared about the problems facing by  her cousin sister, a thalassemia minor couples (means both are carrier). Usually thalassemia minor couple are not encouraged to marry. In other words, if only one of the parents is a carrier for thalassemia (minor or major), a children may develop a form of disease called thalassemia minor, and stays a disease carrier, like myself. But if both of the parents are carriers of thalassemia, children will have a 25% chance of inheriting a more serious form of the disease. Thalassemia is most common in people from Southeast and Central Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India and North Africa. There's a new discoveries in a medical world that the thalassemia couples could conceived via IVC where the doctor will monitor the pregnancy. The doctor may give a baby a blood transfusion, called as "Ïn utero blood transfusion" before birth to treat alpha thalassemia major. Chances for married couple to have babies are, 1st baby will turn as Major, 2nd will be normal, 3rd is minor.

The nurses at Premier Wealth Centre
The tests that are included in RM650 women wellness package are, 1) Physical Examination by Wellness doctor (Blood Pressure, Vision test, Ear test, Body Mass Index (BMI) test, Chest X-Ray and ECG), 2) Executive health profile (Rheumatoid Arthritis factor, Kidney function test, Liver function test, Fasting serum lipid, AIDS (HIV) screen, Hepatitis B screen, Hepatitis A IgC, Full Blood count, Diabetec screen, Thyroid screen, Syphilis screen, Blood group and Urine test), 3) Pap Smear 4) Ultrasound Upper Abdomen & Pelvis 5) 5 types female cancer marker screening 6) Mammogram and breast Ultrasound 7) Diet consulting. Please take note that you are required to fast at least 10 hours before the screening, strictly no food except sip of plain water is allowed.

This are the laboratory to place your urine and draw a blood for test
I obtained my result only a week later. Nothing major that need to be worry at. Wellness doctor has advised for me to exercise and watch over my diet as the cholesterol reading is high, 6.1. No medication was given maybe due to an existence of a good cholesterol, HDL after my disciplinary daily consumption of fish oil supplement. During ultra sound abdomen, doctor has spotted uterine fibroid about 2.9mm existed and he jokingly answered me that I should removed the fibroid when it grew as big as a coconut. A tiny spot of cancer found, majority due to the fibroid but most importantly is I'm clear of breast cancer as certified in mammogram test as well as breast ultrasound. Pap Smear result was taken as normal. What a relief as I have so much silly doubts few months ago that I might have. My sleep will be peaceful in future.

Remaining screening test
Other than that, it was shown on a blood test of a low Hepatitis antibodies, due to aging factor. Hence, I have taken Hepatitis B injection, 1st dose in a different clinic a week later. Hepatitis B second injection will be done a month after the first and the last would be 4 months after the second. My blood also has a low Hb 2 due to thalassemia trait.

Painting purchased by previous director of PWC
The final diagnosis are 2, small uterine fibroid and hyperlipideamia, which I have to be careful at. I will have to do an abdomen ultrasound in the next 6 months to monitor the fibroid growth. Secondly, I have to really look after the hyperlipideamia if I do not want to die of artery blocks, hence die of a heart attack. By the way, hyperlipideamia is the scientific form for fats in the blood as I like to eat unhealthy food. At proper levels, lipids perform important functions in my body, but as they are excess (6.1), it can cause me health problems if I did not carefully watch over my diet and exercises. The term hyperlipideamia means high lipid levels or in other words that I have high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. 

A selfie with the painting
From now on, I have to stay healthy by making changes in my diet and exercise habits called therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC). TLC can lower total cholesterol by 10 to 20 percent in some people. More commonly, however, people with hyperlipidemia experience a 2 to 6 percent reduction from TLC. I will change my diet by:-
  • Reducing my saturated fat intake to 7 percent of my daily calories;
  • Reducing my total fat intake to 25 to 35 percent of my daily calories;
  • Limiting my dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day;
  • Eating 20 to 30 g a day of soluble fiber, which is found in oats, peas, beans, and certain fruits; and
  • Increasing my intake of plant stanols or sterols, substances found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn and rice, to 2 to 3 g daily

Other foods that can help control cholesterol include cold-water fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon. These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that may lower triglycerides. Soybeans found in tofu, soy nuts and many meat substitutes contain a powerful antioxidant that can lower LDL. A supplement known as psyllium can help to increase soluble fiber intake. Made from seed grain husks, psyllium helps absorb water and cholesterol from intestines and may improve the ratio of HDL to LDL.
The MRT Project right in front of KPJ, it says "today's difficulties for future's benefit

Excess weight can decrease HDL cholesterol, whilst losing excess weight can lower LDL levels. One consideration, though, is body shape. If a person can carry extra weight around the middle of their body, they have a greater chance of heart disease than if their weight clusters around your hips, thighs, and bottom. Exercise makes up another component of TLC. A physician will recommend an exercise program, such as walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week. Exercise can help you lose or maintain weight, relieve stress, raise HDL, and lower triglycerides and LDL. In other words, its good to maintain a healthy diet as 1 grew old like in my case.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

100 Days of Happiness - Day 1 to 10

On 1st November 2014, the idea pop out from nowhere for me to commence a 100 days of Happiness project. Honestly, I have run out all of my cash money (considering my long time savings) for the house construction, hence I'm poor (not pauper as yet). What I discovered thereafter is that; money does not necessary gave me happiness as when I have lots of them, it made me a stingy person. When it's gone, I discovered so many other things to be happy about even without the money. In other words, happiness doesn't cost me a cents, I just need to open up my eyes and feel it. So, I spontaneously wishes to record those daily happiness that I encountered in my Instagram as well as Facebook, hoping to keep a positive vibes all around me. After every 10 days of the said happiness, I shall record them in my blog. This being the first.

Day 1 of happiness: "indulge in Freemori Mille Danish layer bread & Marble Milk while dreaming of having own bakery". Later, I came to know about sweet story of this Malaysian cake manufacturer "Freemori", their link is shared here, "freemori brand-story". The card that catches my attention most was this 1 "If you wished, and if you were sad, you could simply jump into a hole in the tree and all of your sorrows would disappear immediately, of course your happy memory would be gone too". As when I cherished a moment in Freemori nice decoration bakery so much that morning to get bread for breakfast, it has inspire me to dream of having a little corner bakery at my new house soon.  Baking is an enjoyable thing that any women can indulge at, beside indulging in a cakes, breads, cookies etc etc. I'm so adamant that this dream of mine will come true 1 day.

Nowhere or now here, crimson lake is weaving a web, at the moment, it dissolved into memory and never to be forgotten. Tonight, Angels float in the sky , follow the moonlight, enjoy the secrets and happiness of Freemori that was what written on their shopper bag.

Day 2 of happiness: "scrubbing a toilet till sparkling indeed shine a day". It was Sunday morning that I picked up the tiles scrub and started cleaning the toilet, a routine task which I added more happiness into it. The outcome results and feeling thereafter was even more meaningful and wonderful, being able to appreciate a use inside a spot clean toilet. The amount that I paid for the scrub, RM4.80 return so much benefit and happiness.

Day 3 of happiness: "Say a little prayer with this Apple boy for his big day, so calm, so at peace ... Wish you luck son, love you unconditionally". It was the first day of SPM's examination (Secondary School Final Exam that qualifies teenager to enter colleges/universities in Malaysia), 3rd November 2014. My youngest son, Nasrul is sitting for his big exam which shall be completed by next week. Looking how nervous he was for the last few days in preparing the exams, he and I recited prayers on the way to school that morning. He is the last children finishing school in our family and is a great achievement to a parents, hence a priceless happiness to me as a mother. Deep inside, I knew that this boy will keep kissing my faces and loving me unconditionally till he has his own family, i.e. forever in his life he keeps me special.

Day 4 of happiness: "listening to a silly jokes on radio do keep a stress away, heighten a spirit, balance d intelligence & insanity. Yet, 1 can gain so much wisdom from d radio/dvd player while on the road. Manage your time wisely. Once taken, it won't be return". This message was what I repeated to myself and no harm sharing it with others. Everyday on my way to and back from work, while on the roads, 1 hour in morning and 1 hour later in the afternoon, I use my time well. I will listen to a good programme, worth listening, gaining knowledge from the radio. I recites dhikr following dhikr CD by playing it daily on a DVD player. Listening to good music and silly jokes really push away all the stress. In addition it balance my mind. 

Day 5 of happiness: "coming home safely to this bundle of joy is a great gift". I could never be able to thank Allah for keeping me safe while I was out to work, especially while travelling on road. Everyday, I feel bless for reaching home safely, seeing my family including our beloved hopeless cat, Tottie. Though being lazy, this boy grew bigger and heavier each day by eating and sleeping, doing nothing. The way he follows hubby around in the house is so so pretty sight to watch. He is a God sent. There's so much happiness in our house. We treat our children's (including a hairy 1) as friends and made them understand the meaning of teamwork and togetherness.

Day 6 of happiness: "sing along with coldplay "the scientist". Alas, I'm saying good night now, sweet dreams all". There's no time spent wasted, daily. I always have my McBook Air with me, it is so light to carry, becoming my best friend. Everyday I will check my blog review, sing a long with youtube, search knowledge from Wikipedia, check friends update on Facebook, watching Korean Drama and selected movie, so on and so forth. There's no empty space, always accompanied myself seeking new things daily. Staying home all day, all month, all year is never a lonely thing to do. Home is a place where I can be myself, my heaven on earth.  

Day 7 of happiness: "suffice to share the joy that brought smiles to those 3 faces. Happiness is a subjective matter, it has to come sincerely from inside. Dalai Lama was quote saying that "happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your own actions". Happiness depends upon ourselves, added Aristotle". It was on 8th November 2014 when I first started classes for Year 2 in University Malaya. Coincidentally it was GMI (German-Malaysian Institute) convocation day where my son, Nazhif was specially invited to be a recipient for Semester 4 @ Year 2 Academic Excellence. I could not attend because of the class, but my daughter went on my behalf. It was a glorious day for the 3 of them. Seeing their happy faces on the photo brought so much happiness to me. 

Day 8 of happiness: "an amazing feeling when this girl decided to become a very close companion. She changed herself from a loner to an affectionate cat. Hence, brushing her thick fur & rough massage which we both enjoy becoming a happy daily routine. A mere thought, "if animal can change, why can't we?" So stop from being judgemental to others as no one and no one is perfect. Peace". Kayla, a female Persian cat belonging to a friend was with us since August 2013. When she first came, she's a loner, never wanted us to touch her or friendly with anyone. As time passes by, this girl chose me. She came closer and loves when I brushes her fur. She even kisses my face these days and choose to stay next to my bed, close to me while I was busy with my McBook. I'm so thankful to her owner for letting her stay with me as she and I have a special feeling, name LOVE.

Day 9 of happiness: "it's wonderful to have many girlfriends who gave comfort at a time of sadness and brighten up my day with their words of encouragement. Love all of my beautiful girlfriends to the moon & back". Year 1 result finally came out. I was devastated when I failed Contract Law, being a Contract Manager myself. What went wrong? It was on 12th November 2014 and I was sharing it with my close girlfriends on a group whatsapp. Apparently I have close to 10 girlfriends, not 1 or 2. It means, I have so much comforts which I can rely on during sunny and rainy days. I am indeed a lucky person in the whole milky way. I've been blessed with so many beautiful thing in this life. Thank you Allah, Alhamdulillah for all the things that You have granted me in this life. I am greatly indebted to You forever, I promise you I will remember that, always.

Day 10 of happiness: "received a small token for writing about velvet shoes and wisely spent it on made my day". It's a first step to earn a token, i.e. income from blogging. Out of nowhere, Aini from Zalora has read my blog that received so many likes, Paris, Musee de Louvre. She left message whether I would like to collaborate with them, and I said yes. The next day I posted it and received my token. A day later, I shop online with a given voucher and immediately received the good on Friday, 14th November 2014. It seems only good things happening as I only see happiness in everything everyday.

So trust me dear reader, keep the positive minds and attitudes around you as you will be rewarded well by everyone, especially by the Almighty. I could never be able to thank Allah enough for what I gain though I sin a lot. He knew it but He still reward me. Keep your faith intact, because God is watching after ALL of US, not only me.