Feb 27, 2017

Disneyland Paris in Winter

Whether you are old or young, big or small, a Disney-fan or not, I think you should go to Disneyland once in your lifetime. In my case, this is the 6th time I'm in Disneyland (first time in Paris), I still get that excitement like it was my first.

As usual, Disneyland is located out of town, it is the same case in Paris. The train ride is about 45 minutes, so you need to allocate one full day for the trip. Although the tickets are available for purchase online, we couldn't figure out which ticket to buy. There are two parks and the ticket prices are divided into peak and non-peak time. We bought our ticket at the park. Since it was peak holiday season, we waited around 15 minutes for the queue, that wasn't bad at all. I can't remember the price, but we paid around 100 euros each person, it wasn't bad at all too.

It was a frosty morning when we were there with slight snow. The weather was bad because the temperature dropped drastically compared to other days. Despite the cold, we still had fun.

How we cope with the cold weather is to do as many indoor activities such as indoor rides, watching shows and having a long meal at the cafe. A lot of rides were closed due to the snow. I strongly encourage you to go there during good weather so you won't miss out most of the rides.

Here are some snippets from my trip.

The grass are covered in snow

Can you believe that this photo is taken in Disneyland? Does it look like a haunted movie?

If I had a daughter...

Just right after Christmas

The macaron I'm addicted to

Alice in Wonderland - my favourite character of all the Disney icons

Pirate ship

Father of vapping

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are...


Feb 24, 2017

Monocle Cafe London

I am heavily influenced by Monocle. I believe that Monocle is more than just a media. It is a lifestyle. Given the opportunity to visit the Monocle Cafe in London, as an avid follower, I had the urge to check out the cafe myself.

Nestled in the Marylebone neighbourhood, the Monocle Cafe embraces the classic essence of Monocle - simple, hipster, diversely global and refreshing.

The interior is noticeably narrow. Extra seatings are available on the lower ground, however the entire cafe is designed in the minimalist fashion that you don't feel cramped up in the cafe despite the small space. They have a basic menu and typical range of coffee selections.

On our table, we had chicken katsu sandwich, Scandinavian breakfast, flat white and latte to start our day. Overall, food was great, the coffee was average and the service was acceptably fast. This place is a cafe for everyone. Whether you're with friends for a meet-up or a writer looking for a quiet solo coffee session, it fits those moments you're looking for. And, definitely, it makes every Monocle followers feel at home. 

Feb 20, 2017

Musee Du Louvre

Musee Du Louvre (pronounced as musi doo luv; make sure you squeeze your mouth like a fish) is one of the most iconic royal palaces in Paris (the other one is Versailles). What was once a royal residence, central government office, torture ground and hostage prison, is now a beautiful museum attracting thousands visitors per day.

Visitor tips:
To skip the queue, purchase your ticket online (highly recommended) because the ticket queue can take up an hour long. Backpacks and large bags aren't allowed in the museum, however, lockers are provided free of charge. Just in case there's no more room at the locker, bring a small handbag for your convenience. Pack a bottle of water or snacks if you are going to spend a long time there.

I believe 80% of the crowd aren't art connoisseur. If you think you're one of them who wants to see just the Mona Lisa painting and take a couple of photos, my advice is to skip it entirely if you are in a rush. For those who wants to glance through all the exhibitions on the surface, you may required 3 days. And if you're an art scholar who wants to study the art pieces in detailed, a year spending inside the Louvre isn't sufficient. My point is, plan your visiting time because the place is HUGE!

My main goal for The Louvre isn't Monalisa. I was very eager to see David's painting of Napolean's Coronation. Enjoy...

Travel safe. Go and see the world! 

Feb 17, 2017

Dinner at Eiffel Tower

I have two bucket lists for Paris - (1) to see the Eiffel Tower, and (2) to have a fancy meal. To save my time and money, I combined the two in one. So I had a fancy meal at the Eiffel Tower. A toast for that!

There are 3 restaurants on the Eiffel Tower - Gustave Eiffel Room at first floor, 58 Tour Eiffel also at first floor and Le Jules Verne on the second floor. My initial choice was Le Jules Verne but I couldn't confirm my trip to Paris earlier, the restaurant was fully booked a month before I arrive. 58 Tour Eiffel was the next option. The restaurant is also fully booked (we were there during holiday peak season on 30th December), but we managed to get a table for two.

Getting onto the first floor of the Eiffel Tower wasn't easy, but at least we have a separate lift to go up. The crowd was unforgiving. At least 150 people or more were dining at the restaurant. In a classic Parisian fashion, the waiting staff did very little to speed up their movement to sit us fast. Our reservation was at 9pm and we had our table no earlier than 9:30pm. Standing at the door in a freezing cold weather have killed the entire experience.

Bread with butter only. I was looking for olive oil and balsamic but they didn't have it.

Duck foie gras, quince and white balsamic marmalade, with a toasted brioche

Marinated Manakara peppercorns Trout, aromatics fromage frais, citrus dressing

Cod fillet, seasonal vegetables cooked in crustacean broth

Tender cut of beef, mashed potatoes, onion confit, mushroom, bacon, and a red wine sauce

Mont-blanc, silvers of candied chestnut, mandarin

Crousti Eiffel Guanaja chocolate, praline cake and creamy Jivara chocolate

Overall, I think that the price is OK (€120 per pax), the taste was mediocre, the view is magnificent (except that it was covered in darkness) and the experience is not as profound as it sounds. I guess it could be better during lunch when the view is bright and you have lesser crowd in the restaurant.

It is cliche to say this, Eiffel Tower is really breath taking. I had a love at first sight when I saw the tower lit up with twinkling lights at night. It sparkles like a diamond.

Photo does not do justify the beauty of the tower. It is so photogenenic at every angle. I didn't have enough of it and went back the next day to have a view of it under the sun. Whether you see it at night or during the day, it is just as gorgeous as it is.

P/S: Do you know that the creator of Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, has a secret apartment on the top of the tower? I got to know about it in The Da Vinci Code book.


Feb 15, 2017

How to earn money from blogging

Earning from blogging sounds like a myth. However, there are people who have done it and blogging as a career. There are some people who earn a fat cheque and enables them to buy a big house and a nice car. But there are also people who earns merely a few cents per month or nothing at all.

If you choose blogging as your income revenue you have to know that you need to work hard and work smart in order to earn big. It is a fair system - how much effort you put in, is how much you will earn.

So, how do you earn from blogging?

Let's get the purpose of this post clear - what I am going to share is all about blogging (not social media, not YouTube, not outside jobs which may link to your blog), and I also separate it into the visitors' count so that you can focus on the direction where you want to go.

Low visitors (Ave. 10,000 page views per month)

Generally speaking, low visitors blog have very low chance to earn. If your blog readership falls under this category, you should focus on increase your blog traffic to at least the medium range. You have to understand that the lower your visitors are, the lesser options you have to earn.

1. Adsense

Adsense is a Google Ads platform and it opens for all publishers regardless your visitors' count. I still haven't mastered the entire Adsense payment matrix, but what I understand is, you will be paid on two levels - by views (CPM) and/or by clicks (CPC). CPM pays lower and CPC pays higher. To begin with, Adsense will place your CPM on the lower price due to low exposure of the ads. Your earning will gradually increase based on your readerships, if it increases as well.

On average, I earn around USD183.03 for average 60,000 page views per month. This is considered high earning because my page views aren't as high as other bloggers. However, my blog is able to publish relevant ads to my target audiences. This will increase the chances of getting the ads clicked by visitors.

2. Panel Ads

Panel Ads are basically the same as Adsense. The only difference is you have pitch to the potential advertisers yourself. For Adsense, Google acts as your agent to get these advertisers to publish their ads on your site. In the beginning, your blog may not be influential enough to pitch to bigger companies. This is where you can get your personal networks to buy your ad space. Look around you if there is anyone you know that owns a business? You can speak to them directly. Make sure your price is also reasonable in exchange of the exposure you are able to give to your client. When I start out, the panel ads that I charged was RM50 per month. It is pretty cheap and affordable. And most of my clients are blogshops (it was the thing before Instashop).

The only inconvenience for this method is the production of artwork. Are you going to design the ads for your client? Or will you specify the requirements (size, format, URL to link and use of image) for them to produce the artwork? You will also need to prepare proposals and post-mortem report for your client. All these work may not worth the money you are getting, but it is definitely a stepping stone for you to go further because in the future you are able to provide a portfolio for your future clients.

3. Sponsored Posts

Sponsored Posts are posts that being paid for or the product featured are paid for. In advertising, products are also considered as value as opposed to us bloggers, products do not equate to earnings. For discussion purposes, we are going to lump sponsored products and paid sponsorship into the same category.

How do you get brands to sponsor you? First of all, you need to know how to build a sponsorship proposal for your blog. Secondly, find the PR contact or contact persons of the brand you want to work with. Third, submit your proposal and do a follow-up courtesy. (Will blog about how to build your proposal next week).

For fresh blogs, the chances of getting sponsors are low, but it doesn't mean that it is impossible. Some newly established brands or indie brands are more flexible to work with. Target individual owned brands before you jump into the bigger brands like Maybelline or L'Oreal.

Mid visitors (Ave. 100,000 page views per month)

For medium sized page views blogs, the options are the same as above, with additional of the below:

4. Product Appearance

If you have blog with page views 100,000 above and have reputation of working with some PR companies, chances are, you will get a lot of sponsored products coming into your mail regularly. To compromise with the products you received, you can do a product appearance posts such as Monthly Favourites, What's in my mail, New Products Features, etc. It is a single post with various products featured in it. If you are a regularly YouTube beauty videos watcher, you are familiar with these contents. You can always follow the content direction, instead of making a video, you can blog about it. 

5. Keywords Link

This is my least favourite revenue. Most of the time, you may get random emails from brands to link their websites on your blog. They pay somewhere around USD50-USD100 for 3-5 keywords. The reasons why these people are reaching out to you is because they need to drive your visitors to their websites. 

What I don't like about this is the relevance of the keywords/brand to my blog and also it is of no value to my blog. You can't reference this job in the future to get new advertisers in. Some of the brands that love this method is e-commerce sites and apps. 

6. Affiliate Programs

The Affiliate Programs are an avenue for you to feature a product on your blog and earn commissions or clicks. Some by invitations only and some opens for all. One of the successful affiliate program is Amazon Affiliates. To start with, Amazon pays you around 4% of total sales per quarter. If you successfully refer 7 sales, your commission will increase to 6% and so on. 

I personally find this method don't work for my blog because of the nature of my blog - to provide information. You need high influence skill to be able to convince your audience to buy the products. My Amazon earning is a pathetic USD2 per quarter. That's like RM8 for 3 months, which is not enough to a cup of Starbucks. 

You also need to be very hardworking to find out what's new on Amazon (what sells and what don't). To make your referral work, you also need to go back to the Amazon Affiliate platform and link the product back to your blog. This is something I am very lazy of, so I'm not going to complain that I earn so little from the platform. 

There are other affiliate programs such as Commission Junction that covers a wide e-commerce sites (which means you have wider range of advertisers), Say Media, Media.net, and many more. (Will blog about this in a separate post.)

High visitors (Ave. 500,000 page views per month)

The opportunity for you to earn from your blog is endless if you have high readerships. Basically, whatever discussed above are applicable. On top of that, you are able to choose the partners you want to work with, in additional of the below:

7. Product Sales

If you have the ability to convince your readers to buy the products you featured, why don't create your own products and sell it on your blog? If let's say you are earning a decent pay cheque of USD10,000 from Amazon, which equates to 6% of the commission, think about the possibility you can get if you sell your own product with a sales profit of 100%. That is a total sales of USD166,666. 

This is why you see a lot of bloggers are becoming entreprenuer themselves. A successful example in Malaysia is Vivy Yusof. Instead of products, you can also sell services on the area that you are expert in (example, if you are a travel blogger you can take up jobs to be tour guides). 

8. 360 Product Campaign

On a larger scale, the biggest job that a blogger can get is a 360 product campaign. This include, panel ads, sponsored posts, social media posts, event appearance and campaign appearance. Basically, the brand will buy you up for a retainer project to promote their items for a period of time. It often comes with a thick contract, strict requirements and a fat cheques. 

Even if you are a famous blogger with very high readership, this opportunity does not come often. For example, SK-II engages beauty bloggers world wide to promote their products and a very few of them are able to appear in SK-II advertisements, attend their events worldwide and act as a spokesperson for the brand. 


To be frank, you will need to do a lot of research and a lot of work before getting a decent pay for your blog. Blogging is a fair industry. And as a blogger, you are your own boss so working smart is also essential for your success. 

What we have discussed above are just on the surface of the blog. When you have high readership, there are more doors open for you to earn from different revenues. Just work on increasing your readership first and slowly build your reputation. You will learn everything you need to know along the way. 

Where to Find Disney Princess Tea Party in London

One of the things you have to do in London, is to have an afternoon tea. If you love afternoon tea and Disney at the same time, here are two afternoon tea in London that you shouldn't miss.

Following the recent blockbuster movie, Beauty and the Beast, the Hotel Kensington is serving an afternoon tea with all the characters as the main attraction of the tablewares. You will find Mrs. Potts and Chips serving you the delicious delicacies handcrafted to suit the theme. The price is GBP35 per person with additional GBP10 for a glass of champagne. It is a decent price to pay for the experience and food. Book your table immediately to avoid disappointment.

Another place which lacks of hype but just as magical is the Sanderson Hotel Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea. Technically, Alice isn't a Disney Princess, but she is so well-loved, her reputation is on par with the other Disney Pricesses. The Sanderson Hotel have been serving the Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea for a long time and often fully booked in months in advanced. Also known as the Mad Hatter Tea Party, the presentation is in line with the characters in the cartoon. The price is approximately GBP48. 


So, will you choose the Beauty & the Beast or Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea? I'm always an Alice girl, curious and strange. 


You can purchase the Beauty & the Beast Mrs. Pott & Chips tea set on my shop. The tea set is designed by Disney merchandise designer Kato Kogei. The tea set is originally sourced from Disneyland. Go to <<this link>> to purchase. 


Feb 13, 2017

Gili Trawangan: 5 Things You Need to Know

Gili Trawangan is the new Bali of Indonesia. It used to be an island for budget backpackers who are looking for alternative to the commercialized Bali, but now people are flocking in to the island for its unspoiled and serene view. The island is misinterpreted by a lot of websites and pamphlet that pushing to promote the tourism here. This prompted me to write about the 5 things you need to know before going to Gili Trawangan.

I was one of the victims of the misinformation. I stayed at the wrong area which limited me to enjoy the night activities. I also didn't factor in the traveling time and boat schedule which costed me a lot of time lost. Due to that, I had to hire a private boat to transport us over and that's another cost incurred. I hope the 5 points below will help you plan your trip better.

#1 - Access into/out of the island

The nearest airports to the island are Lombok and Bali. From the main island (Lombok or Bali), you will need to take a boat or ferry to Gili Trawangan. Although some of the travel guides make it sound like you can hop on to any boat and head directly to the island right after you touch down, in reality, it doesn't work that way. From my experience transferring from Lombok, you need to travel another one and half hour to reach the boat transfer spot by the beach in Sengigi. The price for the private chartered boat transfer is pretty expensive, approximately RM200. For those who would like to take the public ferry, there are a few harbours for transit. Bangsal Harbour is the recommended one. The public ferry isn't that convenient, as it only departs twice a day without a schedule. Although the schedule is provided, the boatmen will depart only if the ferry is fully occupied. You will need to squeeze into the ferry along with the local tradesmen who are carrying live chickens and other food stocks. I highly recommend you to rent a private boat for convenience. But it is only worth it if you have a few pax to share out the cost. 

#2 - No motor vehicle on the island

The entire island is motor vehicle free. The only mode of transport there is horse cart or bicycle. You have to be prepared for this. Pack light, even better if you can fit everything in a backpack. Bring sandals, there will be a lot of walking. Horse cart is expensive. I spent about RM150 for horse rides in just 4 days. Rent a bike. And stay nearer to the harbor. This brings me to point #3.

#3 - Stay nearer to the harbour

The hot spot is nearer to the jetty. I made a mistake by booking Villa Ombak which is pretty far away from the hot spot. Even if you rent a bike, it is not easy to go to the town area at night since there is no street lamp and the dirt road is not easy to ride on. The hotel prices in town is cheaper than those around Villa Ombak area. Remember, stay nearer to the town which is nearer to the jetty to enjoy the night crowd there.

#4 - The sand is rough

No one talks about how rough the sand is. I got my legs cut a few times when I was in the water. Broken coral reefs and coarse sands are accumulated on the beach. Be prepared for this by bringing your sand shoes. One disappointing fact is, the sea isn't exactly swimmable. The water nearer to the shore is shallow and if you go further it is too deep. Do not leave your kids unattended near the water. If you are thinking of going for a swim while having your kids playing on the sand, this island isn't the best for you. 

#5 - Bring your cash

Since the island imports food ingredients and water from the main island, the prices for food is pretty expensive especially if you dine in the restaurant. Bring more cash as there is limited ATM machine on the island. Most family operated restaurants do not accept credit card. Also, pack your essentials because things are either expensive or not available. I guess you get the point.

Have you been to Gili Trawangan? Do you think what I've mentioned is true? I would say this isn't the best island I've been to so far. Pulau Perhentian Kecil would be a better option if you want a relaxing and affordable beach retreat. Take note that I visited the island in 2015. There might be some improvements done on the island, I hope.