Sunday, January 13, 2019

Wild Flour Bakery, Banff

I went to the Wild Flour Bakery, Banff for the first time last Friday, thanks to my Aussie girl's invitation. Understandably, she laughed at me when I said it was my first time because I have lived in Banff for over a year but I have never been there before. In my defense, I'm not a big fan of Western baked goods. So, there's that. Haha :)

Wild Flour Bakery, Banff
Wild Flour Bakery, Banff

We decided to have a light lunch at the Wild Flour Bakery because my girl was not in the mood of something heavy. I actually googled their menu first for I wanted to see if they offer something for someone who has quite strict dietary requirement like me. Alhamdulillah, thankfully, they offer various choices including vegetarian and vegan options. Needless to say, I was happy.

Wild Flour Bakery, Banff
Wild Flour Bakery, Banff



Meat Focaccia at Wild Flour Bakery, Banff
Meat Focaccia @ Wild Flour Bakery, Banff

Initially, I planned to buy their vegetarian focaccia but decided not to because I was more attracted to their pecan butter tart. It was all because I have been looking for a good pecan butter tart for about a year. I was surprised to see that they carry pecan butter tart that I decided to buy two of them. Another reason I decided to ditch the vegetarian focaccia because they put few vegetables that I'm not fond of like kale.

My girl ordered meat focaccia and according to her, it was super good. She's also ordered a cup of coffee but I'm not sure what kind because I'm illiterate about coffee. Again, she said it was super good. I guess everything was good for her as this is her favourite bakery in Banff. She literally has spent hundreds of dollars here.

Pecan Butter Tart at Wild Flour Bakery, Banff
Pecan Butter Tart @ Wild Flour Bakery, Banff

As for their pecan butter tart, I would say it was good, better than ones that I bought in a grocery store here but still not up to my par. I have tasted a much, much, much better pecan butter tart at much lower price back in Ontario. But I guess this is the best that ones could get here in Banff. Other bakeries in Banff do not even have pecan butter tart in their menus. A beggar can be choosy, eh?

All in all, it was a nice catch up sesh with my girl and I thoroughly enjoyed my pecan butter tarts at the Wild Flour Bakery, Banff. Am thinking to come here at least once after this so that I can try the other things in their menu.

Friday, January 11, 2019

How Do I Use My Credit Card?

I've been receiving few questions on the way I use my credit card. Honestly, I've been pounding with this same question including from my family members since few years ago. It seemed like most of them cannot process that I can be perfectly fine using a credit card, especially my parents for they are afraid that I'll get into a debt spiral. So, here's few pointers that I've been practicing ever since I had my credit card 7 years ago.

1. Expenses < Income

This is a cardinal rule that you need to ingrain in every cells of your body. Do not spend more than you could afford. If you couldn't abide this one rule, please say good bye to your credit card. For me, alhamdulillah, my expenses are usually lower than my income, though I did live with negative balance for few months T^T

2. Know your credit card spending limit

Aside of knowing the first point, you have to know your credit card spending limit. I'm not talking about the ones decided by bank but your own spending limit. I believe everyone should have a ballpark figure for their credit card spending limit. For me, CAD 800 is my sweet spot because that's the average of my credit card spending.




3. Always pay the full amount

Always, always, always pay the full amount whenever you use your credit card. Don't pay minimum amount only for that is going to be your doom as the interest will be accumulated.

Actually, I used to treat my credit card like debit card. I used to pay the amount that I used right away. For instance, if I used my credit card for my groceries in the evening, I paid the amount that I used at the same night. I don't do this anymore because my banking transactions are limited to 12 transactions only per month and I usually use my credit card more than 12 times a month.

4. Make full use of the interest-free period

I'm not sure how other credit cards work, but mine offers 21 days interest-free period. I surely am making full use of it. Like I mentioned previously, I used to pay whatever amount that I owed straight away. However, I stopped doing this due to limited number of transactions. Instead, I make sure to pay for everything within 21 days. To be exact, I make sure to pay for everything on the 14th day, maximum.

As you can see, I don't do anything special. I just use it and make sure that I pay for it. That's all.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

How To Improve Your English? (Versi Orang Kampung)

I know it's very contradictory to write a post on "How to Improve Your English?" by mixing Malay and English but this has always been my way and I'm comfortable with it. So, bear with me? :)

Disclaimer: I'm referring to myself when I use the Orang Kampung in the title. I'm the orang kampung! I live in a place that I considered as kampung and spent years studying in suburban schools. I'm a kampung girl through and through! :)

Rasa macam tak layak nak share benda-benda macam ni sebab Bahasa Inggeris saya pun tak perfect, grammar pun masih tunggang-langgang lagi, pronunciation pun ke laut, tapi rasa terpanggil bila tengok orang-orang sekeliling saya yang masih struggle lagi dalam menguasai Bahasa Inggeris. Jadi, saya nak share cara saya improve English saya. Again, please remember my English is far from perfect and I'm still learning but I really want to help other people to start enjoying English. Also, do note, whatever that work for me may not work for you.

Short backstory about English and I
Back then, I hated English to my bones and it was my least favorite subject ever. Anything English made me want to throw up. However, everything changed ever since I met my English teacher in Standard 5. She changed my opinion about English and helped me to improve my English tremendously in two years. After that, English became my most favorite subject!




1. Attitude

You have to have the right attitude in learning English. Firstly, kena kuatkan hati dan pekakkan telinga especially when you have unsupportive people all around you. Back in high school, I got so many comments like, "Poyonya kau ni nak speaking. Cakap Melayu sudahlah. Semua pun orang Melayu kat sini." Unfortunately, I succumbed to these negative comments that I stopped speaking in English. This is something that I regret until today. Well, sampai sekarang pun saya dapat reaction yang sama juga. My own parents and sisters roll their eyes sometimes whenever I speak in English. However, I'm a bit wiser now so I don't let their reactions to bother me. Ingat, kena kuatkan hati dan pekakkan telinga! :)

2. Familiarize yourself with English in fun ways.

I know English can be daunting for some people so I would suggest you to start step by step. Get yourself familiarize with English in fun ways. Kalau suka menyanyi or dengar lagu, cuba banyakkan dengar lagu English. Kalau suka tengok movies or TV shows, banyakkan tengok English TV shows or movies. Kalau suka membaca, cuba start baca buku English pula.

3. Read a lot of books

I'm a reader so I chose to read. I used to take a week or two just to finish off one book. It took me that long cause I wasn't used to English book and there were so many words that I didn't know. I had my dictionary with me all the time whenever I was reading. Now, I can finish reading an English book in one day or two depending on my free time. I personally think this is the best way if you want to enrich your vocabulary. Also, you can see different sentence structures. 

4. Watch movies, dramas, or TV shows with subtitles

I'm not sure about you guys but I find watching movies or TV shows with English subtitles is helpful in improving my English. I watch everything with English subtitles and when I say everything, I mean everything - Malay, Korean, English, Japanese, etc. I picked up a lot of new words this way.

Though I have to say that I experience a downside as well. The downside of watching anything with English subtitles is I become lazy in listening as I tend to read the subtitles? Whenever I'm watching anything English, I tend to forget to listen how they pronounce words. Which is why my pronunciation ke laut T^T Kalau tengok cerita Melayu pula, memang tak tumpukan perhatian dekat apa yang pelakon-pelakon tu cakap. Unless kalau ada perkataan yang saya tak pernah jumpa dekat subtitle tu baru saya macam, "Eh, sekejap. Sekejap. Tadi dia cakap apa eh?"

5. Fully utilize the resources around you

Kalau ada any activities or workshops related to English, join! Gunakan teachers and lectures awak. Gunakan kawan-kawan awak. Ask them to help you. Back when I was in university, I joined quite a lot of academic writing workshops because I wanted to improve my writing. Writing has always been my main weakness (other than my pronunciation) that I forced myself to join the countless workshops. I still think that my writing sucks but it's a lot better than when I was in the first year.




I also joined a program called Conversation Partner when I was in second year. Most of my acquaintances joined this program because they wanted to make new friends. As for me, I joined the program because I wanted to get used to talking in English. Thankfully my partner was very helpful and understanding. She helped to fix all my mistakes instead of mocking me. She was also very patient while dealing with the awkward me.

6. Be the supportive and understanding person that you wish others would be to you.

I can't stress enough about the importance of this. While trying to improve your English, you may find people with the lower level, same level or higher level of English than you. Please please please, jangan pandang rendah dekat orang lain. Please don't have the holier than thou attitude. You have no idea how someone may get affected by your words or response. I personally got hurt so bad once by one of my friends. She belittled me just because I pronounced few things wrongly. On another hand, I was so motivated to improve my English when one of my friends helped me to fix my pronunciation and my grammar.

7. Be confident and don't be afraid to make mistakes

Saya tahu memang susah nak jadi confident untuk guna English lagi-lagi bila kita tak biasa tapi pernah dengar tak phrase, "Fake it till you make it?" Acah acah confident so that insya Allah, satu hari nanti boleh confident betul-betul? And along the process, please don't be afraid to make mistakes. Semua orang pun akan melakukan kesilapan masa belajar. Dan daripada kesilapan tu, kita boleh belajar supaya tidak membuat kesilapan yang sama.

8. Acknowledge your weaknesses and try to improve yourself

In order to improve yourself, you need to acknowledge your weaknesses. I have mentioned this before but my main weaknesses have always been my writing and my pronunciation. So, I started to find ways to improve myself in these two aspects. On writing - I read a lot in the hope that I can incorporate some of the writing styles with mine. I also write my daily journal in English. On pronunciation - Cambridge Dictionary is my best friend. I make a habit to learn pronouncing at least 5 words a day.

9. Open your heart and mind and heed the constructive criticism

Bila ada orang yang betul-betul ikhlas tolong tegur awak, tunjukkan kesalahan awak dan cuba betulkan awak, terima dengan hati terbuka. Kuatkan hati awak dan jangan berputus asa. Dan, jangan fikir yang mereka ni sentiasa cari kesalahan awak kalau diaorang ni betul-betul ikhlas. If you find these people around you, approach them, stick to them, and ask them for help.




Good to know

1. Not everything that you read or listen to is grammatically correct. So, please be aware.

I have read so many blog posts and books with major/minor grammatical errors. Some of them were written by native English speakers, TESL students, and overseas-bound students. Saya pun salah seorang yang selalu guna grammar yang salah. haha T^T

2. Just because someone pronounces words differently than you does not mean s/he is right or wrong. People pronounce words differently according to their accents even though English is their first language.

Kita ketepikan Malaysian accent or any accents of Asian countries because English is not our first language. But, seriously, have you heard American, Canadian, British, Australian and NZ accents? I'm all good with American or Canadian accents as they are the kind of accents that I'm used to but British, NZ, and Australian accents scare me as I tend to take a longer time to process whatever they are saying.

3. Try to stick to one 'version' of English. If you are comfortable with British English then use British English. If American English is your thing, then use American English.

Tak tahulah awak perasan ke tak tapi dekat Malaysia kita guna dan belajar British English dekat sekolah. But we tend to pronounce things in American English (or to be exact Malaysian English)? I'm still struggling with this one cause I tend to mix British English and American English when writing. But I do know that I use American English whenever I'm speaking (minus the accent).

That's all from me. I know all of the points are menial and more like common sense but I hope at least some of you may find them helpful! :)

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