Pristine Island : South Island of New Zealand (part 2)

After a quick stay, yet memorable, at Queenstown, we went ahead to Milford Sound. We departed early in the morning to catch the afternoon cruise at Milford Sound. The distance between Queenstown and Milford sound is approximately 286 KM. It was estimated that we would be there by at least 5-hours drive by car. The scenery along from Queenstown to Milford Sound is very beautiful. Sturdy mountains and scattering lakes are the natural ornaments all along the route. In between the driving, we stopped by to the nearest city to the Milford Sound, Te Anau.

Te Anau was a small city where we booked a homestay for a night. We decided to stay at Te Anau because of limited accommodation choice at Milford Sound. Milford Sound is an option of a quick visit only and not for staying. Understandably, not many lodging options there. According to the Lonely Planet, there is only one available lodging. And surely it’s not an option for us. We had an issue once doing the check in at the homestay. I just knew when I arrived that the homestay did not accomodate children under 10. And it became a problem to us as we had to find another lodging.  Te Anau is a very small city and we were afraid that we couldn’t find any available hotel, homestay or room to stay. Therefore, we hopped from one hotel to other hotels, one homestay to other homestays. Good luck was on our side. There was a vacant room in a modest-beautiful homestay run by a carpenter. So, we paid the rent fee at advance before continuing our driving to Te Anau.

According to Lonely Planet the scenery along the route to Milford Sound is the wildest, most magnifique, the most natural of all spots in the South Island, and probably in all over New Zealand. Been warned like that, we became very enthusiastic. While driving to Milford Sound, we opened the car windows and let the wind blew in. Fresh!!  Once heading to Milford Sound from Te Anau, one by one, the wildest beauty that we’re told before were there before our eyes. Large havana, creeks,  sturdy trees, beautiful valley, river flew across the street that we passed, and the most magnificent one was the the scenery of waterfalls. Not only one but a lot of waterfall. They flow down from the cliff along the road to Milford Sound. It’s very beautiful. The source of waterfall is from the snow toppling over the cliff. The snow melts and plunges down as waterfall. We stopped in one of photo shoot points. The chilling wind caught us right away when we stepped down from car. Rain made the weather even colder and wet.

Our road path to Milford Sound got descending as it was a river heading to the sea. Once got there, we exchanged the tickets in the counter. Days before, we bought ticket online in an cruise operator. My suggestion: buy the cruise ticket online because you will get the discounted price. There are a lot of cruise operators in Milford Sound and almost all sell the ticket via web. Simply google them to compare the best price. After waiting for several minutes, our cruise came from the previous trip. We boarded in a quite big cruise which would take us to enjoy the river. Rain kept pouring down all day. Understandably, it said recorded  as one of the wettest area in the world. Sun was hardly seen. The scenery offered along the river was beautiful. Waterfalls fell down from the highest peak of the cliff. The fog made our journey mysterious. The chilling wind continued blowing and passengers who wanted to get warm can get into ship and make coffee and tea for free. The journey back and forth the river was approximately 90 minutes. Our camera shutter didn’t stop working as many breathtaking views to capture.

After enjoying Milford Sound, we stayed at Te Anau for a night. In the morning after that day we departed to Dunedin. It took about 4,5 hours drive to Dunedin from Te Anau. Dunedin is well know as City of Student where University of Otago located. It is one of the best universities in New Zealand. I knew why students prefer Dunedin to other cities. It is simply because it has a  well-known university and  friendly environment. It is a small city with complete supporting facilities. And everything is relatively cheap there. Our first destination at Dunedin was Cadbury Museum. Cadbury is undoubtedly known as popular chocolate brand. In Dunedin, they have established plant since 1800 and they have a long history. In the museum, we were accompanied by a very warm guide who comprehensively elaborated the history of Cadbury and its development since the very beginning to the current. Each of visitor got free chocolate and candy for free. Yumm!! Of course, we could also buy chocolate and Cadbury related merchandises there. Having been indulged by delicious chocolate in Cadbury, we headed to the Dunedin Railway Station. Still according to Lonely Planet, this is the most photographed railway station in the world.

Otago peninsula is another lovely site in Dunedin that has many views to offer. First is Larnach Castle. Larnach Castle has fantastic garden and a spot where you can see Otago Peninsula from top. The castle was surrounded by native rainforest plants. They have a small cafe where visitors can sit and enjoy the scenic view while sipping the tea.

If you are interested to watch Pinguin in their native habitat, then you have to go to  to Sandfly Bay in Otago Peninsula where Yellow-eyed Pinguin have their colonies. The best time to catch the Pinguin is before dusk. The local authority provides a shelter for visitor to view the Pinguin colony heading back to their nestle from the sea. By viewing them from behind the shelter, we can see them clearly without obvious interruption. Pinguin is a sensitive and shy animal. Human presence can make them uncomfortable.

It was already 8 PM once we finished watching the Pinguin. However the sun was still shining as in the summer sun usually sets in 9 PM. Feeling hungry we rushed in to Plato, a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet. Unfortunately, all main course are sold out and only dessert left. We chose Rhubab, a sweet delicacy from Turkey and a Coconut cake. All were nice. Once at hotel, we ate bread and everything we had.

In the next day, we went to Scribe  which is said as the largest second hand book in world by Lonely Planet. I could smell the old and vintage books once getting in. The tall shelves and tables were full of books. Amazing. Scribes has complete collections and I bought some books there with half of price surely. Baldwin Street is another interesting and as for me a must-visit site. It is recorded as the steepest street in the world by the Guinness World of Record. If you have a chance to visit the city center, please do come. Enjoy the museum and cafes around the octagon-shaped public space where wi-fi is free.

Our last day at New Zealand was spent at Christchurch. In a day before, we drove to Christchurch from Dunedin. The trip by car was approximately 5 hours. On the trip, we stopped by at the Mouraki Boulder. It is a collection of large spherical boulders in the beach. The boulders are scattered along the beach. We also bought some souvenirs there.

Christchurch. Our last day at New Zealand. It was memorable as we didn’t realize that the windshield of the GPS was missing. Once returning the car to the rent operator, they told us to find it otherwise we had to compensate the lost. And it was expensive. Hurriedly, we went back to hotel and found out the shield already dumped in the bin. Thank God the office boy was very helpful to assist us finding it. 8 day, 9 nights. We’re content and ready to fly to Melbourne.



The Pristine Land: South Island of NZ (part 1)

New Zealand! Finally, I made it. It is one of my wish destinations and now I could write it off from my list.

It was wet because of raining when we arrived at Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island of New Zealand. The song from ABBA, I Do, was played by the driver of the Super Shuttle, the service that would take us to the lodging. It made a more melancholic day.

We stayed two days and a half  in Christchurch. Actually not many things to see in this city especially after the massive earthquake last year. The city center, where the old cathedral is located was ruined. The restoration was still on going when we were there. City tram, one of the city attractions doesn’t operate because the path is also not working.

On the first day, we couldn’t see many things because we arrived in the late noon. The activities we did were having dinner and doing the groceries. The next day, we walked down to the botanical garden. It was very large garden with quite complete collection. You could take the tour such as punting the avon by which you will be taken to the small boat and do tour on the small-shallow river surrounding the garden. There is a guide who will punt for you. All you have to do is just sit back and relax.

Next to the botanical garden is the Canterburry Museum. In this museum, you will find a story about Maori people, the native people of New Zealand. Besides, the museum also provides information on the south polar exploration carried out by scientist. New Zealand is one of the nearest country to the South Polar. Understandably, the information provided is relatively comprehensive. No admission fee in this museum however you are encouraged to give voluntarily donation for the maintenance program.

To get informed about the city and the surrounding, we took the city tour by the bus. The tour took about 1,5 hours. You can buy the ticket in the i-site, an official tourism information of New Zealand which are located in the strategic places around NZ. As for us, we bought the ticket in the i-site located in the botanical garden. The bus is typically tour bus with double deck. We sat on the top-less second deck in order to capture as many as possible views along the tour.

It was summer when we were there however the chilling wind concealed the hot of the sun. That was called summer breeze. After completing the tour, we went to the car rental nearby the airport. We did the reservation about one month before. The car we chose was Nissan Travella, a very convenient sedan that could accomodate up to 5 persons. The rent fee was 47 NZD per day. NZ strictly requires a baby or toddler or children to sit in the special car seat. So, car renter will ‘force’ you to rent the baby/toddler car seat if you bring a long minors.

On the third day we headed to Mount Cook. It is one of the highest mountains in the Australia-Oceania. Even in the summer, the cap of the mount is covered by snow. Exciting as it would be our mountainous experience with snow. Before arriving to the Mount Cook, we would be spoiled by beautiful scenery in Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. It was very breath-taking view we saw there. Understandably Peter Jackson chose this area as the setting of Lord of the Ring. The turquoise water was very calm. And because we came in summer, there were a lot of beautiful wild flowers in near lakes. Scenic!

Mount Cook or famously known as Aoraki/Mount Cook  National Park lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range that lies along the length of South Island. Our ultimate destination was Tasman Glacier. However, there are many sites that you can visit for example Sir Edmund Hillary Center where visitors can find various information about the mount. The center also plays 4D movie that family can go together.

To reach the Tasman Glacier, we should go to the starting point from the lodge by vehicle. It will take 45 minute return walking. The path is relatively steep but since it is nicely built up, visitors can easily go up to the viewing point. The Tasman Glacier is gradually melting due to the global warming. When we were up there, we could see that some part of the glacier melted and the water flew to Lake Pukaki. Should the global warming persists, it is plausible the glacier will disappear any soon.

After Mount Cook, we headed to Queenstown. Queenstown is a very small city that reminds me of Kuta Bali. It is packed with bungalows, hotels, cafes, restaurants and of course tourists. It locations is by a beautiful lake, Wanaka. Because the lake is very near, some locations of Queenstown resemble beach by the sea. In Queenstown you can find some places to go to do bungee jumping, which unfortunately we didnt do as we had a toddler going with us. So, what we did? As we only stay for one night, we walked to the city center to enjoy the scenery. As I told you before that Queenstown is very small city that we could do the city walk not more than one hour. We also dropped by at the Cow, a famous restaurant that sells the best pizza int town. Cow was located at Cow Lane. It is the “our pick” in the Lonely Planet then we went there. We met our anticipation as the pizza was soooo delicious. The garlic bread was served wholly with warm garlic butter to spread above the bread. Everything was so delicious and we were very content.








After full with seafood pizza and garlic bread, we went to souvenir shops around. There were many choices of souvenirs shops in the center of city. I bought somes for my relatives and friend in Indonesia. Another thing one should not miss while in Queenstown is stopping by to Fergburger. It’s located in 42 Shootover St. They served the best burger in town and it was not boastful. A lot of burger’s menus you can choose and all of them are awesome.

Unfortunately we only stay one night at Queenstown so we can not really enjoy all sceneries in the city. The day after we arrived, we had to drove to Milford Sound. I will elaborate the beauty of Milford Sound in the next post. Enough for now!


Potty Training

I proudly announce that my son, Avicena (25 months old), has completed successfully potty training program during the night. It started more or less one week ago, I suggested him not to wear any cloth diaper in the night. Surprisingly he agreed. Then, we began the night potty training program. Months before reaching 24 months old or 2 years, Cena did complete the potty training in the day and nite before sleeping. Therefore, completing the program in the night was another big challenge for me. Actually, I put it as one of my resolutions in 2012:)

Then, the program commenced. Before going to sleep, I asked Cena to pee. I also put waterproof sheet on the bed, just in case Cena unconsciously did pee in the night. In the first night, I did hypno-suggestion to Cena. Repeatedly I said to him a ‘chant” like this:

From this night on, if you want to pee, you wake up in the middle of your sleep and go to the bathroom.

I kept saying that to Cena while breastfeeding him before sleeping because it was the best time to suggest a person, including a toddler like Cena.

I watched him along the first night, making sure if he wanted to pee then I could rescue him to the bathroom. Beyond my expectation, he didn’t pee at all. Waking up in the morning, the first thing he did was saying to  like this :

Bun, I wanted to pee.

Then, hurriedly I carried him to the bathroom and voila…he did it in the bathroom. I was soooo happy.

And it continued in succeeding nights. Cena has been sleeping without cloth diaper until now. Learning from my experience, I could share some tips once doing potty training for children:

  1. Trust our children. Put trust on our children is the ultimate thing. Believe in his/her capability to make this program success.
  2. Start the program as early as possible. The earlier, the better. Once your son/daughter could sit straightly, the program can be commenced.
  3. Be consistent. Once your son/daughter doesn’t wear any diaper, offer him/her to go to the bathroom or pee in the portable closet.
  4. Be supportive. Praise them if they are willing to pee in the bathroom.


Quick Style Tips

As any mother will know, being a parent can sometimes mean that you don’t have much time to spent on making yourself look great. However, that doesn’t mean that mothers can’t still take pride in their appearance, and enjoy looking stylish. If you are looking to find quick and easy ways to make sure you always look great, then here are a few tips to consider.

If you don’t have the time or the energy to spend your days trawling around the shops in order to update your wardrobe, then don’t panic. There are plenty of ways to make sure you still look stylish using what you’ve already got. One of the best ways to add the finishing touch to almost any outfit is by accessorising. Simply add a beautiful ring from somewhere like 77diamonds, or an eye-catching necklace, and you will find that you are able to dress up your entire outfit in seconds. Jewellery fashions tend to come and go, so take a look through items which you no longer wear, and see of there is anything which might compliment your clothing.

If you are leaving the house in a rush, then dry-shampoo can be something of a miracle worker. If your hair looks like it might need a wash, then dry shampoo can help to revive it, giving you voluminous locks which smell amazing! A small pocket-sized hairspray can also be useful for taming unruly hair whilst on the go, as you can simply pop it in your handbag, and use as necessary. In addition, it is worth remembering that a red shade of lipstick will always add a touch of glamour to your look, even if that is the only make-up which you are wearing.

what’s in 2012

2012 is going to be an excellent year, I plan. We will start this year with vacation…yeay we really long for holiday after abundance of works through 2011. It will be an extending holiday as we will be off for three weeks. Three weeks? Yup it is. So, we’re now busy delegating our task to our staff so the daily chores that we’re used to do will be running smoothly without us.

After the pleasant vacation, we hope to get the energy and more insights to be applied at our next projects. My hubby is in on- going process of launching a new product with his team. I will be also occupied to deploy several projects which are related to my e-commerce business. And the most exciting is one of the project will be requiring us to travel to several cities!

This year we also hope our lovely house will be ready to be settled in. And once it’s ready, we will move to Jogja. And before it, I need to complete a series of course to gain a new competency.

Overall, we are hopeful to obtain more success ahead this year!

Motivating Children through Story Telling

with putri soehendro

I was moved by the presentation of Putri Soehendro, a professional story teller, @poetrisoehendro in the fun story telling event held by The Urban Mama at Fimelafest. She stated that nowadays most parent want their children to be an excellent straight A student. They send their children to the expensive school with two or three different languages. But it’s not enough. Children are given additional courses such as kumon and many more. Once parents have a plan to make the children as an excellent student, they forget that they never gave them a motivation. They missed the 1-5 year old moment and never told any stories which brought a good motivation. That 1-5 year old range is the golden moment must be known by most of us. When children pass the 1-5 year old range, they will be much harder to be motivated. Then it’s not surprising seeing a demotivated child in midst of courses and activities. One of the causes as they have no motivation.

According to Putri Soehendro  parents should use the golden age of children to inject as many as possible spirits, good virtues and values that can boost motivation to the children. Therefore, don’t waste the time. Stimulate our children’s brain with games, story, colors and voice so it will develop to its maximumly.

Story telling is something fun. Most children love it. Moreover if the we deliver the story in a funny and interesting way. That’s why parents, in my opinion should master this skill. And as parents we should not be bored telling the story for our loved ones. Why? Because through story we can insert values and good virtues to our children in a lovable way. They will have full motivation to enter the next steps of their life.

Then, what should be paid attention before telling a story to our children? Here are some clues:

  1. Give a short, brief and clear story. Bear in mind that children have a short concentration time. For example, your 1 year old toddler can only focus for about 1 minute. Your 2 years old daughter’s focus time is only 2 minutes. You can find google more about this focus/concentration time. Therefore, long story will disinterest them.
  2. Deliver the story with a fun mimic, different variety of voice (high pitch, low pitch). If you have puppet show, it will be much better. Story telling will be much fun.
  3. For the under-6 children, avoid mystique and miracle content such as story of Lorojonggrang and Tangkuban Perahu. And do you still remember the story of si Kancil. It’s not a good story anyway. Why? Because it figures the kancil, the main star, as a thief who steals cucumber. The main stars of the story must be the honest, the responsible and kind ones. So children can learn the good values from them.
  4. Create your own story. Why? Because children love the story from their parents as it will be unique and different from those at school, play-group or books. Putri Soehendro said that the idea of the story is available on many sites. Just give some times to look on it and modify it based on your children’s age.

As I learned from my story telling activity from my son, it also made my son ate all of his meals. I often inserted one or two short stories while he was eating. The theme was around the vegetable, or fish or meat on his plate. It’s very fun anyway.

So parents, why don’t you try it now??



On Monolog


Finally, I had a chance to visit this coffee shop, Monolog, which is located on Plaza Senayan. Well I used to be curious every time I passed this coffee shop. The style is very unique. Woody and warm. And when I killed the time before going to the cinema, my hubby and I, decided to go there.

Once entering the coffee shop, the waitress greeted me warmly. I could see his enthusiasm. We chose to sit at the terrace of the coffee while watching people passing by. The concept of Monolog resembles coffee shops in Melbourne. Many coffee shops in Melbourne are located precisely by the street, so visitors sit near with the hustle bustle of street.

I ordered the signature beverage of Monolog. Iced Orange Caramel Latte. It tasted so nice. I could taste the flavor of orange blended subtly with the coffee latte. Ogi, my hubby ordered hot choco praline (I forgot what its name exactly, but pretty sure that it was praline chocolate). The hot choco praline is a must-try for you who love chocolate. Not too sweet with a nice combination of bitterness along the sip.

The place was very clean. The waitresses were always responsive and helpful. Once I ordered additional tissue, they quickly got one for me. As this place attracts many people in the weekend, so I suggest you to enjoy it in the weekdays. As like what I did before, I came in the weekend and barely empty chairs there.


Iced Orange Coffee Latte : IDR 36K
Hot Choco: IDR 31K

Plaza Senayan CP 101B
Palm Gate Entrance
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8
Jakarta 10270

Rumah Liliput

More than three years ago, in the early days of our marriage, my husband and I talked about building a small house for our children. A small house what we meant is really a small one. We thought of it nesting above the tree in our backyard. As it was small one that we dreamed of, then we called it Rumah Liliput. Rumah means a house. Liliput means tiny or small.

Back at that time, we hadn’t had a child yet. Therefore, we didn’t build any. In addition to, we also didn’t have any house. However, Rumah Liliput phrase becomes a symbol. It is a symbol that represents our hope and our dream. One of our dreams is having our own house and our home at once where we nestle and nurture the love of our family. When we talk about a house, then Rumah Liliput is always in our conversation.

Building a house is not a piece of cake. I learned it from my parents who built their house in Jogja. They searched for a land, bought it, hired an architect to draw the design and a officer to supervise the process of building. It involved tenses. It dried up their money and savings. They did it to have a home sweet home at Jogja. As they preferred not to buy from a developer, then it resulted in extra efforts.

That is exactly what we are doing right now. We decided not to buy one from the developer. The process of searching the land took a quite long time. Thank God that we are now being assisted by my father-in-law. He is the expert as he’s been in the construction field for more than 30 years. Now we are living at Jakarta and it is very difficult to look on the building process regularly as Rumah Liliput is located at Jogja. Why we choose Jogja instead of Jakarta? Because we want to grow our children in a friendly environment. And another important reason is because we want to stay close with our parents so we can take care of them intensively. Anyone would be my friends to hang out around on comfort afternoon at Jogja later? :D

Now, Rumah Liliput is half-done. It’s now in finishing process. The last time I went there last week, I saw many on-going progresses. It is projected to finish by the early of next year. My father-in-law says that he will strive to accelerate the process so it can finish on Cena’s birthday:).


cookies and yearly resolution

Last Ied Fitr, I said to my hubby that the next Ied Fitr I would bake my own cookies. That was a challenge I gave to my self as I was not an expert of baking. I love cooking, my family loves cooking. However, baking is not in our blood. My mum is not in to baking. She prefers cooking to baking, And so do I. I was not growing in baking culture. I grew in cooking culture of my family.

However, I have been nurturing my passion on baking since 3 years ago. It started with an oven I got as my wedding gift. The company was the mixer. Also from the wedding guests. As  a start, I baked the food that I love such as macaroni schottel and lasagna. And then, I tried with the sweet delicacies. I baked banana cake, muffin, brownies or cheese cake. Yet, cookies were not in my list.

I started baking cookies when I needed to make cookies from my son, Cena. It is my commitment to give him fresh food , including snack for him. So, instead of buying instant cookies  (which mostly contains preservative material), I baked it myself for Cena. Then, I continue baking and baking. I try many recipes I find in the internet.

So, as one of 2011 resolutions, I put baking my own Ied Fitr cookies in the list. There are four kind of cookies I have baked: kaastangels, choco chips, lidah kucing and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. Of each kind, I bake as much as four jars so in total I bake for 16 jars. The cookies will be dedicated for my mother, my mother-in-law, my helper and of course for my family.