Thursday, April 30, 2015

Japan Surplus Store (BF Paranque)

I've always been curious to check out this Japan Home and Office Furniture store along President's Avenue in BF. Not to be confused with Japan Home Centre or Daiso, this is a surplus shop selling second hand furniture and home accessories.

The pieces I've seen displayed outside seemed promising. So I finally found the time to drop by a few weeks ago to check out the prices and to see more stuff.

Upon closer inspection though, I realized that these pieces definitely needed some work. Most were in good condition but you could tell they were definitely used and even old. And what was even more surprising were the prices! Can you believe this black chair pictured below (left) was about P3,500? And you needed to have it reupholstered pa in my opinion since the fabric was dirty and had stains. These tall chairs on the right meanwhile caught my eye since they had that vintage vibe and I could already imagine repainting them in a bright color. However, they didn't seem sturdy enough anymore when I held them. Definitely needed more repairs.

There's more stuff and knick-knacks inside. Be prepared though, it was very dusty and quite hot.

From the first glance, I already knew I wasn't interested in anything. And again, the prices were a bit too expensive for me considering these were surplus stuff. My mom was interested in a bowl that she wanted to put plants in. I swear there was nothing special about it so we were so surprised when we were told it was P650! Ummm, di bale na lang, sa SM na lang kami bibili, bago pa!

These figurines/dolls were probably the only thing I would consider buying...

Again, just to give you an idea of the prices, this cabinet was P9,800 and that center table at the back was P5,800...

Those big cabinets at the back were about P18,000 to P20,000...

they also sell bikes btw

Bottomline, I didn't buy anything from here. If I saw something really unique and special, for sure I would have gotten it. But based on what I saw, I'd rather go to the mall where I can buy brand new stuff for much less. And I wouldn't have to exert effort to paint or fix things anymore. And for the plates and ceramic items, just go to Uniwide or even Landmark for a better and much cheaper selection. But who knows, maybe you can find some hidden gems here if you look hard enough.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Our stay at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

Summer is definitely here! In fact, it is so hot right now that I'm reminiscing about our family vacation to Hong Kong last November. The weather was great (cold but not that cold) and it didn't rain the whole time we were there.

Anyway, when we were planning our trip, we knew we were going to Disney but didn't know if we should book at the Disneyland Hotel or the Hollywood Hotel. Based on the reviews I read online, Hollywood Hotel was cheaper, but the rooms were also smaller. On aesthetic though, Hollywood Hotel seemed more modern. A lot of reviews also said that most of the good restaurants were at Disneyland Hotel so it was more convenient staying there. Since this was the first time our kids were going to Disney, we decided to go with Disneyland Hotel na lang. Go big or go home right! ;p

There are always different promos in their website, but during the time we booked, the best deal was the Early Bird package. We got a 1-night stay in a Deluxe Room and 2-Day Ticket Package for 2 persons for HKD 3,987 (P23,500). We just bought the kids' park tickets separately online. On a side note, my credit card got charged twice so make sure to check your bills carefully. Good thing they were able to refund me the amount pretty quickly.

Disneyland opens at 10:00am but check-in time is still at 3:00pm, So we got there at 10am to get our tickets for the park and just left our luggage at their deposit counter. We just came back at around 4:00pm to check-in and take a rest before going back to Disney to catch the night parade and the fireworks.

It was also a great time to go to Disneyland because all the Christmas decorations were already up. This giant Christmas tree greets you the moment you enter the lobby. Everything just looks and feels more festive that time of year. :)

Anyway, we booked the DELUXE room which can come with either 2 double beds or 1 king bed. We got the double beds and they were more like queen-sized to me. In fact, all 4 of us could fit in 1 bed lol! The room was also very big and spacious. But I wasn't such a fan of the overall look of the room since I prefer a more modern vibe. Parang for the price, eto na un? And there were Disney elements but it was very subtle for me. I was thinking lang na since this was the Disneyland Hotel, dapat mas bagay for kids un design or something. I know Victorian talaga ang theme pero sana it could have felt more Disney gets?  So I think I would have liked the Hollywood Hotel rooms better siguro...

Based on the rates, the cheapest is the Standard room followed by the Deluxe. I believe it's exactly the same size, the only difference is there's a balcony in the Deluxe. However, the balcony was useless for us since we were on the lower floor and had a crappy view. We didn't even open the doors or step foot outside. So if you want to save a few bucks, just get the Standard room unless you can guarantee a great view (or maybe if you smoke?).

our view was the side of the hotel

The bathroom was a nice size and had a bathtub which the kids enjoyed.

Of course, I brought all of these bathroom stuff home as souvenirs hehe! ;p

I admit, the most exciting part for me about staying in this hotel was the garden maze. The kids just wanted to run around here and we had to remind them that we still had to go to Disneyland pa! Basta, dream come true for me talaga that we were able to see this. :)

grounds at the back of the hotel
you can also see the ocean from here

I decided not to book a character dining meal anymore since I felt hindi pa siya sulit with my kids. They're at that age where they're a bit scared of mascots pa kasi. In fact, when I was explaining to them the concept that Mickey and the other characters will go to our table while eating, naku umiyak lang sila! So wag na lang. And for the price, sayang lang since my kids don't eat pa a lot. But we did check out the Enchanted Garden Restaurant and hopefully we could eat here next time.

For little girls, there was the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where your child can get all dolled up like her favorite princess with a photoshoot session after. It was expensive for me, but if you have money to spare then go for it. I'm sure every little girl would love to experience this. :)

We saw a lot of little girls wearing gowns and wigs around Disney (Elsa was the clear favorite). Miley wanted to buy one as well, pero it was just too expensive especially if you compare it to the costumes in SM or even Divisoria. I definitely wish I could have just brought my daughter's princess dresses from home na lang. Next time!

Both the Disneyland Hotel and the Hollywood Hotel have swimming pools, but the Disneyland Hotel had an indoor pool which was ideal during the cold weather. I really made sure the kids were able to swim para masulit naman un stay namin here lol.

wearing her Disney hotel robe

Other thoughts:
- At the hotel, check-in time is after 3pm, and check-out time is before 11am. So I think ideal to stay at least 2 nights to really maximize the hotel amenities. Parang if you're going to spend so much for the hotel, then dapat buong day ka talaga dun right? ;p

- Looking back, I think it would have been ok for us to stay at Hollywood Hotel since we were at Disneyland park most of the time. We didn't even eat at any of the hotel restaurants (we ate sa Disneyland na mismo). There were activities for kids at the hotel too, but we weren't even able to check any of those out since our priority was really the theme park. So next time, I'll definitely book at Hollywood Hotel so we can see the difference.

- The shuttle from the hotel to Disneyland park (and vice versa) was very spacious and there was one every few minutes so you never waited too long.

Anyway, I'll also be posting more about our Disneyland experience next, :)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Power Rangers birthday party

It's my little boy's 4th birthday, and the theme for this year was a no-brainer since he's super into Power Rangers!

You should see all the poses he does whenever he watches the show! So intense lol! And check out this quick and easy DIY Samurai Ranger shirt I did. I just got a plain shirt, placed some masking tape to form the "Y" pattern, and used black pentel pen to draw the lines in the center. ;p

I used colored art paper for the banner and just cut the letters out of bond paper. I didn't put the buntings on a string anymore and just stuck them on the wall with masking tape. I liked the geometric pattern this formed. :)

If you've been following my other DIY birthday posts, you know I love using my kids' toys as cake toppers! And just printed out the Power Rangers logo for an added touch. :)

make a wish!
Power Rangers cupcake toppers

Check out his birthday gift which he just LOVES!!! He hasn't let go of this since he got it a few days ago. :)

So again, happy happy 4th birthday to our very own Power Ranger. Don't stop being so sweet, funny, thoughtful, and a big ball of energy! We love you so much! :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

NIU by Vikings at SM Aura

Finally got a chance to check out NIU a few weeks ago with some friends. We were originally supposed to eat at Vikings in SM BF but decided to see what the difference was.

nicely decorated interiors (love those white chairs)
very European feel
rooms for larger groups or private functions (named after European countries)

With regards to food, there were definitely more choices. There were also stuff that I didn't see in other Vikings restaurants, like caviar, foie gras, sake, gelato (in short, mga sosy food lol). Anyway, I'll just let all the pics do the talking. :)

cold cuts
appetizers including caviar and a wider selection of cheese

Niu definitely has more MEAT to choose from!

And I love how they plate the food from the grilling station and bring it to your table.

Of course, the best part according to the boys was the drinks. Everything was already included in the cost like wine, sake, and imported beer. Cheers!

There were the usual fruits, cakes, and pastries for dessert, but there was also yogurt and gelato instead of ice cream. But we were so full na from all the food that I could only manage one scoop of chocolate gelato hehe. ;p

The price of the buffet was definitely much more expensive. We ate during dinner so we ended up paying around P1500 per person. But honestly, I don't think I'll eat here na again unless someone will treat me hehe. Kasi parang hindi naman sulit sakin coz I didn't get to eat that much. I think pwede na sa regular Vikings where you'll spend half the price and still get to eat good food. :)

NIU by Vikings
6th Flr. SM Aura Premier
478-3888, 847-3888, 0917-586-6888, 0919-999-6888


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