October 25, 2011

Hubby Takes Over

I don't know if hubby is bored with the dishes I prepared lately or he's not finding it appetizing anymore. But whatever his reasons for taking over in the kitchen last Sunday, I couldn't complain.

First, I get to rest from cooking. Second, he prepared a very yummy Sunday lunch: homemade embutido (which he prepared the night before), tomato soup and rice.


{Hubby's Embutido}


EJ loved it and so did I that we have requested him to make another embutido. He agreed and said he'll add hard boiled egg next time. Yum! We cannot wait.

Thanks Hon for the delicious lunch last Sunday. Maybe you'd like to do the cooking every Sunday from now on? LOL!

October 24, 2011

Our Schengen Visa Application Experience

We applied our Schengen Visa here in French Embassy Phnom Penh. Hubby and I went to get the application form personally at the embassy. What we didn't know is that you can print the form from their website.

When we got the list of required documents, we worked on it right away. After completing our documents, we called up the embassy for the appointment.

I was naive to think that the appointment could be made asap. In our case, the schedule they gave for submission of docs and interview was two weeks away from the time we called them up. If I knew this, I would have called them up first to set up the appointment date and then prepare the docs.

But in any case, there was really no harm done. I was just being impatient. Hehehe.

Here are the docs we submitted (Original copies)
1.) Completed form - one per applicant
2.) Colour passport ID photo - 35mm x 45mm (width x height)
3.) Passport
4.) Flight booking - it doesn't have to be a paid booking. Just a confirmed booking.
5.) Hotel booking - same as the flight booking
6.) Itinerary
7.) Birth certificate and Marriage certificate
8.) Hubby's employment certificate
9.) Hubby's payslip
10.) Bank Statement
11.) Health/Medical Insurance - minimum coverage of 30,000 Euro
12.) Visa fee application worth 60 Euro per applicant, 35 Euro for children 6-12yo and free for children under 6yo.

We also submitted a photocopy of all the original docs we submitted. It's part of their requirement, by the way.

We went to the embassy on our appointment date. When it was our time, we were called to go inside an office. A gentleman asked for our docs, he leafed through it and then asked us some questions. It did not feel like an interview at all. He just asked about hubby's work, our itinerary in Paris, about my son's school and if we happen to know their neighbor? It turned out, the son of their neighbor is EJ's classmate.

Anyway, he took a picture of each of us and our finger prints (only hubby and I) for biometric visa. Kids under twelve years old are exempted.

After that, the gentleman said we can follow up for our visa after 5 working days. Our visa application experience was smooth and easy contrary to what I have heard. When hubby called after the 5th working day, we were informed to collect our Schengen Visa and the original documents we submitted.

October 23, 2011

Change of Mind

EJ realized he doesn't want to get married after all.

Two weeks ago, he told me that his girl classmate X wants to marry him.

And he seemed really excited about that idea. When I asked him, when are you getting married? He said, tomorrow?

Well, now he is singing a different tune. He said he doesn't wanna get married. I asked why.

"Because I don't want to drink coffee ever!"

And I thought it was my marriage talk that changed his mind.

LOL!

October 21, 2011

How to Apply for UAE Transit Visa for Filipinos

We chose Emirates Airlines for flying to Paris because we are dropping by Dubai and Emirates Airlines is the only airline which helps facilitate UAE transit and tourist visa application online. Of course, it goes without saying that the online visa application service is only available to passengers with confirmed and paid Emirates booking.

It’s going to be our first time to fly Emirates but if I have to judge based on their online services, I have to say, I am pretty much impressed already.

Anyway, after I paid our tickets online and got our booking reference, I just logged in and clicked “manage a booking” tool. From there, it was easy as 1-2-3.

Requirements:
1) Applicants’ passports must have at least six months’ validity as of their date of travel to Dubai.
2) Scanned copy of passport (front and back)
3) Scanned copy of Passport colour ID picture
4) Scanned copy of proof of residence

In addition, we submitted a scanned copy of our Schengen visa and my husband’s recent payslip. They also need the name of the hotel (address and telephone number of the hotel too) you’re staying at in Dubai.

Fees for Transit Visa (96 hours)
Visa fee – $44
Service Fee – $17.50
For some Nationalities including Filipinos, they require a deposit of $272.50. It is a refundable security deposit plus taxes, which is refunded after the visa holder leaves Dubai.

The website says processing of visa usually takes about 4 working days. Sometimes it takes longer than four working days especially during peak seasons and if they need more documents from the applicants.

We logged in our application Friday night. And by Monday morning, we have received a copy of our UAE Transit Visa already. It was so fast and easy that I wish all visas in the world can be applied this way and this fast too.

October 20, 2011

UAE Transit Visa for Filipinos

We chose Emirates Airlines for flying to Paris because we are dropping by Dubai and Emirates Airlines is the only airline which helps facilitate UAE transit and tourist visa application online. Of course, it goes without saying that the online visa application service is only available to passengers with confirmed and paid Emirates booking.

It's going to be our first time to fly Emirates but if I have to judge based on their online services, I have to say, I am pretty much impressed already.

Anyway, after I paid our tickets online and received our booking reference, I logged in and clicked "manage a booking" tool. From there, it was easy as 1-2-3.

Requirements:
1) Applicants' passports must have at least six months' validity as of their date of travel to Dubai.
2) Scanned copy of passport (front and back)
3) Scanned copy of Passport colour ID picture
4) Scanned copy of proof of residence

In addition, we submitted a scanned copy of our Schengen visa and my husband's recent payslip. They also need the name of the hotel (address and telephone number of the hotel too) you're staying at in Dubai.

Fees for Transit Visa (96 hours)
Visa fee - $44
Service Fee - $17.50
For some Nationalities including Filipinos, they require a deposit of $272.50. It is a refundable security deposit plus taxes, which is refunded after the visa holder leaves Dubai.

The website says processing of visa usually takes about 4 working days. Sometimes it takes longer than four working days especially during peak seasons and if they need more documents from the applicants.

We logged in our application Friday night. And by Monday morning, we have received an electronic copy of our UAE Transit Visa already. It was so fast and easy that I wish all visas in the world can be applied this way and this fast too.

October 18, 2011

When Migraine Visits

I had the most terrible migraine again yesterday. I hate it when I have migraine especially when it starts in the morning because it makes me invalid the whole day.

I slept at 7pm last night and just as I expected I was wide awake at 3am. Well, at least I don't have migraine anymore today.

I blame our current weather for this. It's so bright and hot in the morning and then it rains hard in the afternoon.

Usually a sudden change of weather triggers my migraine. I also have a migraine when I don't have enough sleep, when I'm hungry, stressed and when it is too bright. I never leave the house without my shades on. That's one accessory I have in my bag all the time.

Over the counter meds aren't effective anymore. The trusted cure is to sleep it off for at least 7 hours. So when it happens in the morning, it means I have the migraine all day long because I couldn't sleep for 7 hours straight during day time.

It's really annoying.

But I think I have to learn how to avoid or lessen migraine attacks. I already know the causes and I should pay more attention to it. I am just so stubborn. LOL! But I promise to pay more attention now.

~~~

I am getting more and more excited with our upcoming travel. It's just two more weeks. But I am not done booking some tours. I am more concerned about what to wear. Typical. Hahaha!!!

~~~

Enjoy your day, everyone.

October 16, 2011

Life is Not a Coincidence

I received this in my email. Just thought I'd share this in my blog. It's a nice read.

~~~

Mountain Story - An interesting short story

A son and his father were walking on the mountains.
Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
Curious, he yells: "Who are you?"
He receives the answer: "Who are you?"
And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!"
The voice answers: "I admire you!"
Angered at the response, he screams: "Coward!"
He receives the answer: "Coward!"
He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"
The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention."
Again the man screams: "You are a champion!"
The voice answers: "You are a champion!"
The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: "People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE.
It gives you back everything you say or do.

Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.
If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence.
This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;
Life will give you back everything you have given to it."

YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT'S A REFLECTION OF YOU!"
-- Unknown Author

~~~

Happy Sunday everyone!

October 13, 2011

Bento!

Hello Thursday! I am craving for Japanese food today!

I had this Bento box at Susume about 3 weeks ago. It was good.

Right now though, I am craving for some salmon and tuna sashimi. Yum! But hubby is not free for lunch. He has a business lunch. Hmm...maybe I should just have a take away?

By the way, did you read about Japan's plan of sponsoring 10,000 tickets to Japan? I read about it yesterday. I am interested to join. Hahahaha! I love anything Japanese.

~~~

It's almost mid-month of October! Wow! Before we know it, it's going to be Christmas time again. Have you thought or made plans about Christmas yet?

I wish we could go home. But it looks like we're going nowhere for Christmas. That's okay though.

~~~

Speaking of Christmas, I should clean up our closets, particularly EJ's. He's got several clothes that are small for him already. And he has a lot of toys that he's not using anymore. I am planning to give them away this Christmas. We also have ps3 bundles that we're not using anymore. Maybe it's better if someone else find joy in them.

~~~

EJ's class will have a term-ender party tomorrow. Wow! The first term sure was fast. I am excited to see what the class has prepared for the parents. EJ said they'll be singing some songs.

~~~

Regarding our upcoming trip, I am happy that we have already booked our hotels. We will be staying at Holiday Inn Notre Dame in Paris and Novotel in Dubai. There's still more to do. But it's just finalizing minor details and it's not really that urgent. I am not stressed out anymore. LOL!

~~~

Happy Thursday guys! Let the sunshine in through our hearts =)

October 12, 2011

She Wants to Marry Me

One afternoon, EJ stopped drawing and said, "You know what mommy, girl x (his classmate) is gonna marry me."

I almost dropped the iron on the floor. LOL! I was absolutely stunned but I did not show it, instead I asked him calmly "Really? She said that?"

"Yes, she said that. She said she's going to marry me....for real!" came the reply.

Before I could say another word, EJ showed me his drawing.

"Look mommy, girl x and I are getting married!"

I smiled and said okay.

I know EJ's imagination is sometimes over the top but where did he get the idea about marriage and stuff?

I did not tease him about his classmate and him getting married. I told hubby not to tease him either. I don't want EJ to be embarrassed or anything. I want him to continue telling me everything.

But I did tell him that he is too young to get married. There's still so much things to learn and explore before he should think about marriage. And besides, I asked him "who will wash/wipe/clean your bum after using the toilet?"

That elicited a laugh from him.

I guess he realized on his own that he's really not yet ready for marriage. LOL!

October 10, 2011

Looking for Hotels

Good morning, Monday!

It has been a crazy busy weekend for us. I am not complaining, just sayin'. Hubby and I slept late last Friday or I should say we slept early morning of Saturday. We were busy submitting online our UAE transit visa application through Emirates Airlines.

I will let you know about our application process later but for now, I am just happy to report that this morning we received an email saying our visa has been approved. They say the processing takes four days but it has only been two and a half days and we got our visa already. So fast!

Get ready Dubai. We're coming soon! =)

And on Saturday night, hubby and I slept late again (early morning of Sunday already) because we were looking for the "best" hotel we could stay in Paris. It was fun looking at each and every hotel we found. Plus we have the best soundbar at home so we were listening and grooving to some music while doing the research.

It's Monday already and still, we haven't found a hotel yet. The whole day of yesterday, we were glued to our iPads comparing hotels. Arrrggg...I am tired now and sleepless with huge eyebags on my eyes.

Hubby said, we will decide this afternoon and book the hotel. I hope we could agree on the hotel already. I want to move on to the next step and finalize our itinerary.

By the way, if you've been to Paris which area is the best place to stay? Or the best hotel to stay that's not too expensive?

So that's how we spent our weekend. How was your weekend guys?

New Happiness

There is so much to be happy about. I am not the kind of person to mope and dwell on problems and negativity. I think and I feel it's just a waste of time. Why be sad when there is just so much to be happy about?

As I continue to adjust to more housework, believe it or not, I find more things that make me happy. Yes, I won't deny that I am tired most of the time. But surprisingly, it's not that hard. My friend and hubby tell me to get laundry and ironing service but I think I can still manage for now.

I told hubby that there is a new definition to my happiness now. But it's not really a new definition. I am still happy shopping and travelling. LOL! It's more like an addition to my definition of happiness.

Things that make me happy lately:
1) Fresh bed linens. I just love it! If it's only possible, I want to change our bed linens everyday. LOL!
2) Empty laundry basket. Enough said.
3) Empty ironing basket. To borrow my son's word, "for real!"
4) No pet stains on carpet.
5) Freshly mopped floor.
6) EJ coming home without a stain on his shirt and shorts.

All related to housework, I know. I guess, my happiness level is shallow. That's a good thing I hope.

What has made you smile lately? Happy Monday everyone. Let's all find something to be happy about.

October 6, 2011

Flight Booking, Done!

It's less than a month before our trip to Paris, Brussels and Dubai and I have just finished booking our flight last night through my iPhone. It's not exactly late holidays as I have already planned about this whole trip about three months ago. It's just that I keep on waiting for the best deal on airline ticket.

It was a bit difficult trying to key in details of the booking on the iPhone but I did it! And why did I book our flight using my iPhone you ask? Well, it just so happened that the fare was cheaper on the iPhone. Really. I don't know why, but exactly the same itinerary was expensive by over $200 on my laptop. It boggles the mind. But when presented with this deal, I don't dare question it. I just booked right away. Hehehe. Who wouldn't?

By the way, we're flying Emirates from Bangkok all the way to Paris, Dubai and back. I am excited because it's my first time to fly Emirates. I heard about their great service. But for now, Singapore Airline is still my favorite airline.

After the flight booking, now it's time to tackle the hotel booking. I am a bit meticulous when it comes to hotels. I always try to research everything about the hotel before I book. My main consideration is location, price, and comfort.

I still have a lot to do before this trip. I still need to apply our UAE visa online thru Emirates. Then, there's the train booking to Brussels. And most importantly, I still need to finalize our itineraries and our outfit. Gotta plan our outfit too

Planning this trip is a lot of work but I am excited (and a little nervous too!).

October 4, 2011

Free Play

It's not a trip to the big city if EJ does not visit a toy store. We always try to accommodate him. So it's always a part of our itinerary.

For our recent Bangkok trip, EJ visited three different big toy stores. It doesn't necessarily mean that he would ask us to buy him toys. He just like to roam around and play with the toy display.

EJ's current fascination is with lego so we're often stuck in these free play legos in toy stores.



We usually stay in a toy store for over an hour. And believe me, EJ is already content just to play with the toys inside. He doesn't ask for anything. So we come out of the store empty handed unless the Daddy feels obligated to buy a toy for his son. One time, I had to stop him from buying a thule bike racks. We didn't need it and EJ did not ask for it. Tsk.

His other favorite toys are the characters from the movie Cars, particularly Lighting McQueen.

I guess toy stores are like heaven to kids in as much as chocolate is like heaven to me. LOL!

October 3, 2011

Hotel Review: Emporium Suites, Bangkok

Hi! I haven't been writing here as often as I would like to because life is just getting hectic nowadays. And we also just came back from a short 5-day break from Bangkok.

Bangkok is always fun - the food and the shopping. And in this particular trip we got a little dose of both.

We stayed in two different hotels because we were supposed to just stay there for 3 days but hubby wanted to stay a bit longer so I booked another hotel for our extended stay.

For the first three days we stayed at Emporium Suites in Sukhumvit area. It's a 5-star serviced apartment and I guess that's the reason why the rooms are bigger. I booked a 1 bedroom suite and that's exactly what we got.

big space

bed
The bed is king size. And it's just perfect for the three of us.

flat tv
They have a flat TV

dining table
They have a little dining table with a plate of fresh fruits daily

toilet and bath
The toilet and bath

Kitchen
And the kitchen is equipped with all the cooking paraphernalias.

I like the place because it is huge. It is perfect for a family staying in Bangkok for a week or more. The rate that I got also included the buffet breakfast. While the breakfast was sufficient, don't expect for a 5-star buffet spread.

I also like that the hotel/serviced apartment is attached to a mall called Emporium Mall which is right in front of a train station.

Will we stay there again? Probably. But for a shopping trip, I still highly recommend Centara Grand at Central Mall because it's connected to a mall - Central Mall, which is bigger than Emporium, which means more choices for shopping.

Having said that, we truly enjoyed our stay at Emporium Suites.

Billion Beef

Hubby swears he had the best beef red curry at Billion Beef, Emporium Mall Bangkok. Yes, it was good even great but to say it was the best, I am not that sure. Hehehe.

Billion Beef is a resto inside Emporium Mall's food hall. They serve premium beef and Thai dishes.

We ordered Beed Red Curry, Phad Thai, Veggie Spring Rolls and Beef Fried Rice.





And the diners....

Hey baby, why so serious? Are you that hungry? LOL!

Dining in a foreign country is a hit or miss. I am glad this one is a hit.