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After a little over five years of having the wooden deck by the pool & pond side (pic from 5 years ago here), it was time for a bit of a revamp. The biggest reason for this exercise was that while wood used for the deck was of adequate quality (merbau wood), the contractor had  used normal iron nails which started to rust in and damaged part of the deck, resulting in perhaps some 5-10% of wood rot via nail rust.

the finished product - 60 x 60 granite tiles by poolside
the finished product – 60 x 60 granite tiles by poolside

I was debating a plan replace the rotted out wooden pieces initially, but ultimately chose the path of replacing the deck in its entirety with solid granite tiles instead.

The biggest advantage of going with tiles is that it would be a permanent solution, and furthermore,  there was a sales at Nero Granite of 30% off regular price last December.

ripping out the damaged wooden deck
ripping out the damaged wooden deck, can be reused later

First course of action was to remove the wooden decks. This proved to be great cardio & strength workout that lasted for many weeks.

Merbau wood is rather heavy and dense. I bought a crowbar for this purpose and developed some calluses on my palm in the process. Some of the better looking wood pieces are kept for future projects (wooden bench, garden planter etc). Nails would have to be removed but I’ll sort that out at a later point.

granite tiles delivery, with bullnose pieces for edges
granite tiles delivery, with bull-nose pieces for edges

Then came the granite tiles. I made careful calculation with excel sheets and bought pretty much the precise number of tiles required.

At the end though it proved to be too much since there’s already a round of tiles around the pool and we decided to reuse them. This made ripping those out unnecessary, reducing the risk of damaging the fiber glass pool, and I sorta like the outline of pool having a different color anyway.

proof of concept - granite + sand, no cementing
proof of concept – granite + sand, no cementing

After procuring the granite, I procured construction aggregate and sand to be used as base. Started out with a scoop each (closer to 1 meter cube per bobcat scoop), and eventually guesstimate somewhat correctly that 2.5 scoop each was required.

The idea is to use aggregate as base to provide strength and sand as the top layer for laying the tiles. I avoid having to cement the tiles as this will allow for more margin of error, and flexibility in the future.

edges of pond to be glued in to prevent slippage
tiles at edge of pond glued in to prevent slippage

For the area surrounding the fish pond though, the tiles were glued on with “Vital Nails”. This prevents the tiles from slipping into the pond. I also used some of the off cuts to pave around the pond to lift it a little higher, matching the level of poolside. Original wooden filter cover & water outlet box for pond are re-used, breaking monotonous look of the granite, plus reducing some work scope.

cutting tiles with diamond cutters is hard work
cutting tiles with diamond cutters is hard work

Cutting tiles proved to be quite a challenging task. I bought a BOSCH cutter for this purpose, together with way too many diamond cutting discs. These discs don’t last very long thanks to the thick, tough granite and the dry cut method (the tool won’t allow wet cut).

Measure twice, cut once! I only ended up messing up maybe 2 different cuts thanks to blunt blades, but ultimately was able to salvage those tiles as well.

some of my prouder cuts to get around fencing poles
some of my prouder cuts to get around fencing poles

The trickier cuts were around the metal fencing poles, but with a bit of careful measurement and a lot of patience, they turned out looking pretty neat, and immensely satisfying.

Now, onto the next project!

Since the start of working from home arrangement due to this fantastic 2020 pandemic, one of the very few positives has been the number of hours I get to sleep every night. It is incredible the amount of time we used to spend in traffic each day. My fitness watch tracks an average of almost 9 hours of sleep each night for me.

Which got me thinking, perhaps I should spend a bit more effort and investment on a surface we spend so much time on everyday?

NOTE (May 2021): Please do read comments in below & make sure you can contact the seller before buying, due diligence is always important whenever purchasing anything online.

Origin mattress, love the packaging
Origin mattress, love the packaging

Of course, shopping for mattress can be a very complex and convoluted process. Getting a mattress that is priced just right with the quality you can trust can be a fairly tricky process. There’s also myriads of different technology, something that can take quite a bit of effort to go through.

Thankfully, Origin Mattress makes things simpler by shifting things online and offering a 120 Night Return Guarantee on their Origin Hybrid Mattress.

The mattress is a full 24.5cm in height and comes in Single, Super Single, Queen, and King sizes. Made of natural latex with cooling gel memory foam and pocket springs, the hybrid nature of its construction ensures that we get the best of what each material can offer.

unrolled, unwrapped, and a few minutes later... done!
unrolled, unwrapped, and a few minutes later… done!

After sleeping rather sound for the past few nights on this new mattress, I’m sold. The mattress is firm but not hard, providing good support for the back and offers very comfortable surface to zzz in, the cooling foam does work in keeping the surface temperature in check as well, perfect for our climate.

I was also quite impressed with the way the mattress is delivered in a compressed, space saving format. Simply unroll and set it free from the vacuum seal, a few minutes later and it’s all proofed up like magic. I thought that was very impressive.

founders of Origin Mattress - Shaun and Gee
founders of Origin Mattress – Shaun and Gee
Credit to Express photography

These mattresses are actually designed in Germany and produced locally in Malaysia, brought to you by Shaun and Gee, the founders who bought the patent for its construction.

If you’re in the market for mattress or pillow, do check the – The Best 8 Pillows in Singapore article.

Origin Malaysia

No. 77 Jalan SS2/55 47300, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia</>

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 10.00am – 7.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 5.00pm. Closed on Sunday & Public Holiday

Tel: +65 6977 9637

Thank you Noel for doing this interview and featured me on Free Malaysia Today.

I’ve been a contributor to the online portal for the past three years or so, specifically on their Lifestyle section under Food (duh). Some of you may have seen reproduction of my articles on the portal.

If you’re interested to know a little bit about me and my online journey, the article is here.

KYspeaks on Free Malaysia Today

Until next time, stay safe everyone!

I was at a cousin’s wedding the other day, being seated by a bunch of relatives mostly a generation older, and while you can guess what the topic of conversations generally falls on – whose son just took UPSR, who’s on medication for diabetes etc, one surprise, to me, was this line:

“My daughter very smart doesn’t need to bring cash, all use phone to pay only”

And that of course, was the indication of cashless payments now reaching the lexicon of critical mass in Malaysia.

grab pay

When it comes to cashless payments, or e-wallet apps, none is as ubiquitous as GrabPay.

Most of us already use Grab for other services such as e-hailing rides and food delivery, it makes sense to leverage on the platform and use GrabPay for everyday activities, which is one way to earn more of those Grab Reward points too.

dining at Mei by Fat Spoon
dining at Mei by Fat Spoon

The skeptic in me (and undoubtedly some of you) will ask if GrabPay is up to the task to be a true provider of cashless transactions in everyday life. And whether or not a person is able to live completely cashless solely on their e-wallet.

To answer this question, GrabPay has added more opportunities and brands to its breadth of merchants to enable everyday users to go cashless via the app, from mostly F&B outlets to now including hypermarkets, health and beauty retailers, cinema outlets and even convenience stores. GrabPay is also the first e-Wallet to adopt Malaysia’s national QR Standard, DuitNow QR making cashless payments more seamless than ever.

Grab ride using Grab Pay
Grab ride using GrabPay

Hence, the GrabPay Cashless Challenge – going one week cashless, with the aid of GrabPay as payment and carry on life as you would any normal day.

So, let’s break down what’s to cover for a whole 7 days of activities:

  • 14 – 21 meals (you don’t exactly need 3 meals a day everyday.. I certainly don’t)
  • groceries
  • rides
  • other supplies or gifts
  • entertainment (maybe)

Kenny Rogers via GrabFood using GrabPay
Kenny Rogers via GrabFood using GrabPay

For my typical 7 days, I usually go to restaurants perhaps 7-10 different times, food delivery another 3-5 times, cook few times, and enjoy free biscuits & coffee at office pantry the rest of the meals.

Some of the restaurants I checked out during this period using GrabPay includes Mei by Fat Spoon (their ox tongue was awesome), Gamtong in Kota Kinabalu (tofu pot!), and Universal Bakery (sourdough).

99 speedmart accepts GrabPay too
99 speedmart accepts GrabPay too

GrabFood was my next source of meal – Kenny Rogers (chicken), Mich’sology (poke bowl), Shepherdoo Restaurant (pizza), Thaqwa (roti telur for breakfast!), and DubuYo (soondubu jigae) where what I fed myself with. I also recently learned that GrabFood is now in additional cities around the nation, making it easier to go cashless as they only accept cashless payments.

I got my groceries at 99 Speedmart  too, grabbing some toothpaste, kitchen soap, and of course, the all important instant noodles for those late night emergency meals. Other grocers like  Tesco & MyDin accepts GrabPay too by the way.

Watson, cashless? no problem.
Watson, cashless? no problem

I also took a trip to Watson for some supplies and holiday gifts – I mean, gifting moisturizer with SPF protection works pretty much 100% of the time, the sun is a gift and also a threat, people!

Watson even had a 20% discount for certain GrabPay purchases, a win in my eyes.

It can be hard to keep up with all the different promotions every e-wallet seems to be giving out these days but if you’re looking for a list of GrabPay’s exclusive deals, they can easily be found HERE.

can you sense I use GrabFood quite a bit?
can you sense I use GrabFood quite a bit?

Other merchants that have joined  the GrabPay ecosystem includes Zalora, MBO Cinema, Mr DIY, Dominos, and more. I have a feeling my relatives, despite their age, will be jumping on this platform soon enough. After all, they are already using messaging apps, playing games, and watching online news with overly loud volumes on a daily basis.

All in all with the expansion of GrabPay touchpoints that includes different merchant categories outside of just F&B outlets and with their ecosystem of services, GrabPay is definitely one step closer to being the everyday ewallet.

I’ve personally been on several live aboard diving trips before, usually in tropical water and on pretty “basic” facility and level of service. After all, the aim was mostly for diving.

However, if you’re looking for this sort of experience in Mediterranean with top notch level of luxury, then check out Luxury Yatch for Charter at Croatia. has many options when it comes to chartered yachts, and if you’re looking for ones with everything for a group of up to a dozen, consider My Mustique or Lady Gita.

These yachts are 55 and 49 meters in length, with 6 cabins comfortably takes up to twelve guests.

Other than enjoying good food and sun tanning on board, there’s also a host of water sports to be enjoyed while on the trip, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, jetski, and more. Other fun activities includes fishing, board games, and with My Mustique, there’s even a jacuzzi.

For a larger group of up to 36, consider checking out Freedom – a 48.2 meter yacht with 20 cabins – 2 triple, 14 double, and 4 twins. Again, there’s water skiing, jet ski, donut ride, a jacuzzi, and even a small pool on the main deck

More details and pricing information is available on the website at

If you’re looking for an experience of a life time, you owe it to yourself to check this out.