Restaurant review: Up To You Chinese Hot Pot, Belconnen

Up To You Restaurant
114 Emu Bank
Belconnen

It is currently raining outside, I am cold and hungry. I can’t help but thinking back where I was last week for lunch.

After seeing the blog post by InTheTarratory, I pleaded with Mr E to go and check out Up To You. I don’t know why, but the words “buffet” or “all you can eat” are totally up my alley. I don’t eat as much as I did, but I will try!

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were all alone. We opted for their lunch special, which is $15pp for 3 choice of meat, 3 choices of seafood, a serve of noodles plus all you can eat vegies. With it, you also choose your soup base, we chose pork bone for Little E and I, plus laksa for Mr E (and I). Oh, and you get a can of softdrink too! It is such a great price.

Again, it could just be that we can no longer eat as much as we used to, but the $15 lunch was totally more than what we could eat. We were so stuffed full! The serving size was very generous, so I do not think that I will ever be able to get my money’s worth with the all you can eat option (FYI, it’s $25pp). If you’re a big eater, it would be perfect for you πŸ™‚

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The place itself isn’t exactly child-friendly, most especially becauseΒ you have bubbling soup in front of you. However, since there were only about 3 other tables filled, plus Little E being so used to us taking him out to restaurants and sitting on a normal seat, we managed fine (ie. he ate by himself, he didn’t break anything, he didn’t get hurt). We did make a lot of mess though, luckily the owners were understanding.

It is located by the lake, on the same building as Sanur Balinese restaurant and Prince Palace (down the stairs and out to the right). I have not seen any advertisement or had heard anyone else talk about the restaurant, so I am guessing they’re still quite new? I hope they were able to stay in business and be open for me to satisfy my hot-pot cravings (which seems to be happening quite a lot lately). Not counting the sauces you have with it, and depending on the meat that you choose, hot pots are pretty healthy to have πŸ™‚

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I am always conflicted between trying new places I’ve never been or go back to restaurants I like. #firstworldproblem I am nervous for the restaurant owners when it comes summer, as I do not know how many people would go for hotpots in the heat. However, Up To You restaurant is theΒ perfect food joint in the cold Canberra weather. It is also a good place to go to when you are with a group of friends as it also has a karaoke section πŸ™‚

Skincare Regime

Thank you everyone for your comments, PMs and texts with your suggestions from my post last night. I will try all of them and let you know how I go. My plan for today is to write down everything that is bothering me and what my point of attack is for each. I have a suspicion that the list is not going to be big and that I am probably just exaggerating them.

I thought I would post about something different and light today. I don’t know why I haven’t because I love skincare πŸ™‚

My mum instilled into me from a very young age that maintenance is important when it comes to skincare. She started me off with Ultima II when I was a young teenager, then moved on to Clinique. When I wentΒ home to Indo, she would take me with her to a spa, get facials complete with painful extraction process. During the Β years, I would try many many different skincare, getting sucked into all the marketing and free samples. I love those mini mini packaging!

Thanking the good genes from her side of the family, I have never had problems with acne – I get the occasional pimple here and there, butΒ nothing too major. Not even when I was a teenager. My mum had severe pregnancy acne when she was carrying my brother, and I was worried when I was pregnant with Little E. Thankfully, I never got it, instead, I had the much-worshipped pregnancy “glow”.

In saying all this, everyone has problem-areas. Mine is blackheads on my nose, largish pores, freckles and dry patches. Prior to my pregnancy, I had dry skin, with peeling dead skin. I now have “normal” skin, on the err of oily – pregnancy hormones are weird!

Actually, while I was pregnant, I changed most things that would expose me to unnecessary chemicals. I reverted back to old school vinegar and bicarb for house cleaning, I went to plant-based skin products and I was on clean-eating diet.

My skin is very sensitive to my diet. You’d be able to tell instantly that I haven’t been watching what I eat because my skin will be greasy and weird shade of gross. Usually this happens during the holidays or periods of sad.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with my simple skincare regime now. It doesn’t take long to do and it maintained my skin in a pretty-good condition (ie. Not oily/dry, healthy coloured and no pimples).

Skincare

1. Sukin Facial Moisturiser | 2. Curash Baby Soapfree Wash | 3. Clarisonic Mia | 4. Garnier BB cream

Now, if only I know how to get rid of my freckles, as much as Mr E said he loves them. I so envy girls with porcelain skin πŸ™‚ I have thought about getting some microdermabrasion sessions, but I’m scared of the pain and risk being more sun-sensitive.

What’s your skincare regime?

Fussy little eaters: Vegetarian noodle cups

A recent recipe inside an Aldi brochure got me inspired to make noodle cups. They’re freezable, they’re compact (ie. Not messy) and can be made in advance/bulk. Unfortunately, the recipe calls for instant noodle packets,Β  so I had to change it a bit.

Vegetables noodle cups

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A picture of the picture on the actual recipe – mine look significantly uglier than these but still tasty! πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

  • 150g noodles/pasta
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 finely chopped (or grated) vegies – I had cauliflower, carrots and capsicum
  • 1/2tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1/4tsp each of cumin, tumeric, sugar, paprika
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Cook noodles, drain then stir through the spices, pepper and chicken stock
  2. Line a muffin tray, divide noodles into portions
  3. Top with vegies
  4. Then pour in the egg mixture evenly (you will need to put it in slowly else it’ll overflow)
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180C (preheated)

Little E had one of these for lunch today and he liked it. It was one of the least messy lunch ever, that’s a plus for me πŸ™‚ Mr E had yet to have one but they’re in the freezer for him to take to work for lunch-emergencies.

Please try this recipe and let me know if you like it! πŸ™‚

Toddler room on a budget: Animal-themed

Like I have mentioned in my previous post, I never did have a nursery room. Little E has been in his cot in the guest room. With the thought of him having to move to a big boy bed in the future, I have decided to finally do up his own room. I didn’t have a big budget, so I had to mostly “make do” with what I have. A dear friend said that she thinks I did it the right way around because at least now, I know what Little E likes, which is “animals” πŸ™‚ So that is the theme of the room!

I worked together with Nuff Nang and eBay to create an inspiration board, using the new Collection feature on eBay. It worked really well actually, because the Collection also works like a “wish list” πŸ™‚ Here is what my board looked like:

eBay Collection

1. Bed | 2. Rug | 3. Duck Bookends| 4. Large Wooden Alphabets | 5. Glider Chair | 6. Woollen Throw | 7. Toy Trolley |Β 8. Bedside Table | 9. Bed Sheets | 10. Horse Lamp (I really want this one!!!) | 11. Tallboy | 12. Framed Prints

Below are the “after” photosΒ πŸ™‚ I am happy with the result, all up I only spent a maximum of $200 plus hours of painting πŸ˜‰ Mr E is so happy that he has given me the go-ahead to do up the rest of the house! Hooorah! πŸ™‚

BigBoyBed

Originally, we had a double bed, which took up almost the entire room. To remedy that, I sold the bed and for the same amount of money, I bought a single bed that comes with a trundle from Gumtree. For a little bit of money, I got a foam mattress for the trundle and a proper spring one for the actual bed. I decided to keep the doona that we had (it was a double) and bought a new cover for it that goes with the theme of the room. I was afraid that it would look too big, but I think it actually hangs nicely over the single bed, I am happy with how it looks. I bought the zebra picture from Kmart for $12 πŸ™‚

Bird Cushion

I had a left-over material that I bought from IKEA years ago, and since it goes with the theme of the room, I made a cushion cover with it.

I scoured a few op-shops and bought cheap frames, which I painted over with whatever paint we have at home. I framed one of his paintings that I love, it looks like a jumping elephant. One of the pictures is a decoration that my mum inlaw printed for my baby shower. I also had an old map that I bought from a recent book fair and made a few projects out of it. One of them is the framed “E” – on it, we have Australia, Indonesia and China. The exact combo that my little man is πŸ™‚ The leopard-bird is the first ever print we bought from a proper gallery!

BlueCat

I repainted an old bedside table and wantedΒ the drawer pulls, but have yet to find ones I like in my budget. I bought this small lamp from Kmart as well for $12! I was going to decorate it, but have decided to keep it as is, so that I can reuse it when Little EΒ isn’t as obsessed with animals anymore πŸ™‚ In fact, this is the reason why I kept most of the big things (bed, chair, bedside table, etc) pretty neutral, so when he’s bigger, I can just change the decoration to suit his interest at the time. This cat ball is a present from my little friend, T, given to me at my baby shower (she was the co-organiser) πŸ™‚

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I really want these shelves bracket and drawer pulls, but I cannot justify spending that much money 😦 I have been on Pinterest trying to find ways to DIY, but I have yet to find them. If you happen to come across something similar, please please please let me know πŸ™‚

What do you guys think of my little man’s big boy room? πŸ™‚

 

Our weekend – the highlights

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Saturday – day 38 of 100: Spending the day with his godfather and auntie, a drive to Goulburn to see the little man’s favourite author, Dame Lynley Dodd, and getting his much loved books signed; then churros and hot chocolate for dinner.

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The Lynley Dodd exhibition at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery – these are my favs! With a Schnitzel Von Krumm wall decal!!! I wish they sell these decals.

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Sunday – day 39 of 100: having a great boys-only car racing playtime; bonding with his godfather; then frolicking in the sun at the park by the lake.

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Today – day 40 of 100: donuts with DIY filling injection. Little E sucked the syringe clean of mixed berry jam!

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His support group members – thank you for visiting and spending the weekend with us. The long weekend was definitely not long enough but loads of fun was had by all β™‘

Food food food

For the entire time we’ve been in Canberra, I always lament how there’s a lack of good Indo food here. Good as in proper authentic Javanese food. Unlike Sydney, there’s only a couple Indo food joints here but none has yet come to my liking. Unfortunate really, most especially when I was pregnant, because wouldn’t you know it, Indo food was what I was craving.

Actually, there is one, but it gave Mr E his very first gastro. So he banned me from going back, which is unfair, because I didn’t get sick. Anyway, I never did go back.*

Last week, Mr E told me that there’s an Indo food market in Canberra every Friday. What what? I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it. It was almost like I have hit the jackpot. Then I got angry. Why have I only heard about it now???

Anyway, we got ourselves just presentable today and made our way there. I had to restrain myself from buying everything there, quickly paid for our goodies and get home to eat them.

It was AWESOME! Hallelujah! And cheap! Huzzah! And Little E ate almost the entire nasi gudeg! Hooorah! So here’s my photo for day 37: Authentic Indo lunch packs with potent chili paste (which I may or may not accidentally gave Little E some. Hmm.)

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Nasi kuning campur, nasi gudeg and ketoprak at $6 each!

If you’re in Canberra and are looking for good authentic cheap (!) Indo food, please go to the Canberra Mosque Fridays from noon to 2pm. You sure will see me there πŸ˜‰

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The mosque has a pretty good playground too!

A word of warning though, they’re served in an authentic way (ie. Not heated, at room temperature), including the chicken dishes. I didn’t warm it up for Little E, but you may want to if you’re scared of barely-luke-warm dishes like Mr E πŸ˜‰

Yaaaay! πŸ™‚

*Mr E, if you are reading this, this is proof that I do listen to you. Sometimes.

Child friendly restaurant: Vietnam House, Woden

Vietnam House
Ph: 02 6282 0288
Westfield Woden Shopping Centre
Woden

Vietnam House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We’ve been to the restaurant quite a bit, our Vietnamese restaurant of choice, but never with Little E, until very recently. I actually didn’t know the name of the place, as we’ve always referred to it as “the Vietnamese place in Woden” πŸ™‚Β I love Vietnamese food, I find them very fresh and light, quite different to most cuisine. I have yet to have a bad dish from Vietnam House, every single one I have had has been delicious, of generous serving size, reasonably priced and like most Asian restaurants, served quite quickly.

This past visit was not different. We ordered four different dishes, all coming at around the same time and were yummy. Little E was able to sample every single dish and loved it. He was seated in his own high chair, and was given his own cutleries and bowl. The waitresses were friendly and left us to our food.

One interesting info: when we first went to the restaurant, we were served by a little girl, whom I assume is the owner’s daughter. On this visit, we were served by the same girl, but this time, she’s so grown up! I feel so so old!!! πŸ™‚

Anyway, you could always tell when I enjoyed my experience at a restaurant when I have no photos whatsoever to post πŸ™‚ I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Vietnam House and recommend it for families with young children.

On a separate note, day 33 of 100: my outfit today makes me happy, featuring my new jumper. I love prints and mixing them with each other πŸ™‚

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I have to thank Mr E for not saying anything other than “all your purchases are lovely” when I showed him what I had spent our money on recently πŸ™‚