photo slideshow

Friday, 22 July 2016

#hitzEscape: Euro 2016 Champions - Portugal!

How can we not wanna escape to the home of the champions of Euro 2016? If you're lucky enough to make a trip, you might wanna read on:

Portugal has 4 seasons - it can get pretty nippy in the winter, but in summer, the temperature could climb to be hotter than in Malaysia! Best time to travel? Probably spring / autumn.
Lisbon (Photo credits: Cunardline)
Lisbon is the capital, its history of the stunning architecture draws in the crowd, but the second biggest city is Porto, which is one of the oldest cities in Europe and a city of music and the arts!
Festa Dos Tabuleiros
The Portuguese can be quite a serious people (even casual outfits are usually smart casual), but almost all their festivals are music or arts related.

Arroz de Tamboril com Gambas Photo Credits
Fish, dessert and Spanish rice are faves when it comes to Portuguese food; but their dishes are as hard to pronounce as their football players' names! Also, unlike in Asia, they eat their rice with a fork. 

Portugal is... the oldest country in Europe.
They have... the oldest bookstore in the world.
They are home to one of... the world's oldest universities.
Portugal and England have... the oldest political alliance in the world
First colonial power... to abolish slavery

Wanna be a champion? Let's plan a Euro trip! =P
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew & Snapchat @CalistaLeah;
And join me on the hitz Playlist every weekday 10am - 1pm on 
hitz fm Sabah 100.8 in Kota Kinabalu & 99.8 in Sandakan! 
*Daily #hitzEscape tips at 12pm

Love always,
Calista xx

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

What Not To Take When Going On Holiday

When you've got a holiday planned, you might seek advice from others about planning and organisation. Almost everything that you find is going to tell you what to take, the items you shouldn't leave behind, the things it's essential you remember. It can all get a little bit same-y.
While the above lists are undoubtedly good and should be considered, maybe it's time to approach this from a different direction. You're going to know there's a lot you should have in your suitcase, but what should stay at home?
It might seem obvious - you're going to leave the blender behind, that's not much use. The TV also. No one needs a list of the things they don't need. Except... perhaps they do. There's things that you might throw in that you'll never actually need. Not only does that limit space for the things you actually require, but do it with enough items and you're going to wind up paying extra baggage. If that sounds like something that you want to avoid, then read on:
1. As many shoes as you can jam into the case.
You don't need it. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is a distant dream for most of us, so we compromise and just grab anything we think we might need. However, shoes are tough to pack and take up a lot of space. Limit yourself to three pairs for a week, and four for a fortnight.
2. Expensive jewelry
We'd include in this your engagement and wedding rings, as well as heirlooms. It might seem bizarre to leave these things behind, but there's a good reason for it. If you lose them in a foreign country, then chances are, they're gone forever. Language can prove a real barrier to conducting searches and a loss on a beach is going to be tough to track. If you feel naked without them, then look for a stand in from affordable places like elf925 that can make the trip. The genuine items are best left at home while their stand-ins see you through the holiday.
3. Makeup that doesn't suit the climate
If you're going somewhere hot, there's little need for items like bronzer and any eye makeup that isn't waterproof. You're going to enjoy yourself, not to spend hours reapplying every time something shifts off your skin. Be harsh and limit yourself to a small makeup bag of the essentials. Remember the carry-on laws if you're planning to take anything in your hand luggage, too.
4. Cash
It's always a good idea to have a certain amount of local currency, but it's now advisable to carry the bulk of your funds by other means. You can find specialist credit cards that have some of the best exchange rates available. Cash is far too susceptible to being lost or - even worse - stolen, so limit your supply and focus on other methods.  If possible, take a couple of different cards that you keep in separate areas of your luggage and handbag.
Follow the above and you should have space for the things you actually need. Have a fantastic trip!
Love always,
Calista xx

*This post was contributed.

Monday, 11 July 2016

#hitzEscape: Iran with Farhan!

Farhan of the hitz Drive Thru spent a few days in Iran during Ramadan, so I asked him (aka forced) to take me on the adventure through the hitz Escape!

Getting There 
Imam Khomeini International Airport
It's an 8 hour flight from KL to Tehran, the capital of Iran, with a 5 hour time difference (GMT+4.30). You're gonna wanna catch some sleep - so don't forget to bring a pillow!

The distance from Imam Khomeini International Airport to the city centre is similar to KLIA into town - a pretty long journey. A taxi costs around RM90 for a one way trip.

They have an underground train (the metro) which connects most parts of Tehran, and buses are available too. Alternatively, you can also use an Uber-like app called Snap; but it's mainly in Farsi!

Dress Code
Typical Iranian women's garb
There is a strict dress code in Iran - all females must be covered up, but normal clothes are fine (aka long skirts, jeans, long sleeved tops etc). Headscarves are also mandatory, but many styles are acceptable. Before leaving the plane, the stewardesses will ensure everyone is covered before allowing them to disembark.


10000 Iranian rials = RM1.29, but Persians usually shorten the name of the currency from rials to Tomans, where they take away a 0; meaning they will say 1000 Tomans instead of 10000 Rials.
Iranian cards are accepted everywhere though - even in kedai runcit!
International ATM cards, debit/credit cards do NOT work anywhere in Iran, so make sure you bring enough cash!

Tochal: This is in summer! 
The temperature can change drastically:
It can be hot in the afternoon, but cold in the evening;
It can be sunny in the city, but snowing in the outskirts - all year round!

Places to Visit
Azadi Tower - Yes, that's Farhan
Grand Bazaar Tehran
Fruit Market, Grand Bazaar - look at those peaches!
The puasa hours are longer in Iran; sahur at 4am, sungkai at 8.30pm. Restaurants mostly remain closed even after dark, so you will have to eat at home. Supermarkets are open. Farhan's Iranian friend actually made kebabs and rice; kebabs are  one of the main dishes there, and Farhan, well Farhan requested the rice haha.. Surprisingly though, a vast majority of the people didn't fast at all.

Eid aka Hari Raya
Eid is celebrated on a small scale in Iran, even though it is still one of the biggest celebrations there. Family get-togethers and feasts are still the norm, but they don't have kuih! Oh no, how to live without makmur, kuih gulung, onde-onde......

Tehran skyline from Tochan base
Useful Persian / Farsi Phrases

Hello: Salam

Hi my name is Calista, nice to meet you: Salam, Man Calista-am, azdidanet koshbakhtam

How are you: Salam, Haleshoma chetori

Thank you: Merci (same as French!)

Just look at those eyes! No not Farhan's...
Overall, Persians/Iranians are very hospitable, and super good-looking! Sadly though, they only have a one-day weekend, which is on Fridays.

So is Iran on your bucket list now? It's definitely on mine! Special thanks to Farhan for the info!
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew & Snapchat @CalistaLeah;
And join me on the hitz Playlist every weekday 10am - 1pm on 
hitz fm Sabah 100.8 in Kota Kinabalu & 99.8 in Sandakan! 
*Daily #hitzEscape tips at 12pm
Persian Cat
Love always,
Calista xx

Monday, 4 July 2016

#hitzEscape: Euro 2016 - Spain Edition!

Hola es Calista y se escapar Hitz! 

That’s Spanish for Hi, it’s Calista and this is the Hitz Escape! So Spain didn't make it to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate the awesome country that can ignite wanderlust in even the most dedicated homebody!

1. Love football? Even though Spain didn’t make it to the quarter-finals of the Euros, there’s no denying they are still home to some of the most loved teams on the planet. Some of the city’s most visited attractions are the Real Madrid Trophy Room and the FC Barcelona Football Museum, and from September to June, you can see some of the world’s best players in action almost every weekend!

La Tomatina
2. Spain is home to the world’s largest food fight - La Tomatina, which happens every last Wednesday of August. Spaniards love their food, and just like Malaysia, it’s a big talking point. One thing that's different? Unlike Malaysians, Spaniards like to take a walk after their meals - maybe we should learn from them? 

3. Are you a night owl like me? I may be full of energy in the studio each morning, but I really come alive at night! If you feel the same, I think we should move to Spain: The normal Spanish dinnertime is 8 or 9pm, parties only really come to life after midnight, and a night out generally doesn’t end until the sun comes up!

4. When in Spain, three of the most interesting places to visit are:
La Sagrada (PC:

  • La Sagrada - this family church has been under construction for over 100 years, and won't be fully complete until 2026!
  • Cross the border from Spain to Portugal on a zip line! 2365 feet long, and it takes 60 seconds to get across.
    Tower of Hercules (PC:
  • The world's oldest existing lighthouse - The Tower of Hercules was erected in the First Century.

5. Learning how to speak Spanish won’t go to waste as it’s the 2nd most spoken language in the world! Surprisingly, the first is NOT English - it’s Chinese!

What do you like about Spain? Drop me a comment! 
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew & Snapchat @CalistaLeah;
And join me on the hitz Playlist every weekday 10am - 1pm on 
hitz fm Sabah 100.8 in Kota Kinabalu & 99.8 in Sandakan! 
*Daily #hitzEscape tips at 12pm

Love always,
Calista xx

Friday, 24 June 2016

#hitzEscape: Euro 2016 - England Edition!

So Euro 2016 is into the Round of 16 right now, and yes! England made it!

Obviously I'm supporting England, seeing as I'm half-English and all, so for this week's #hitzEscape, I decided to take it all the way back home!

If you've been joining me on air (if you haven't, why not??), you might've heard me make mom give us 5 random facts about England. I wish I could attach the audio, but I can't so.. here they are!
  1. England is the only country in Europe that doesn't use the Euro; we still use the pound. (Yes, now that Brexit has happened, this would be a given)
  2. In England, "dinner" can mean both lunch and tea.
  3. People always greet you with a comment about the weather, eg: "Lovely weather today!" or "Awful weather we're having".
  4. We drink more tea in England than anywhere else - the stereotype is true!
  5. The English are football mad - Go Three Lions!
Getting around in England is a breeze: you have the iconic double-decker buses, the trademark black taxi cabs, and if you wanna travel to France for the Euros? Just hop on the Eurostar line for a two-hour train ride, which includes 20 mins in the Chunnel, aka the train tunnel that runs underneath the English channel, connecting London & Paris.
Ignore the watermarks - this is the nearest photo to my mom's Sunday Roast I could find *yum*
The Brits love their Sunday roast (roasted meat, roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vege & gravy), a traditional Sunday lunch. We also have an incomparable love for fish & chips (eaten out of a newspaper), shepard's pie & a super spicy Indian curry. Strawberries & cream or apple crumble are the dessert of choice.

England also has weird names for their food: ever heard of Toad in the Hole (sausages in Yorkshire pudding), Stargazing pie (pie with fish heads poking out of the top), chip butty (chips on buttered bread), or my fave, bubble & squeak (fried leftover mashed potato & vege)? Trust me, there are more where those came from haha!

Just by taking a short 20 minute train ride, you could be lost for words: check out this video as an example, 'nuff said: 

Did you get any of that? Didn't think so! =P

Do you have any interesting English facts? Drop me a comment! 
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew & Snapchat @CalistaLeah;
And join me on the hitz Playlist every weekday 10am - 1pm on 
hitz fm Sabah 100.8 in Kota Kinabalu & 99.8 in Sandakan! 
*Daily #hitzEscape tips at 12pm

So hit subscribe, and Bob's your uncle! (Sorry, just had to)

Love always,
Calista xx

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

#HitzEscape: Euro 2016 - France Edition!

Whether you're a football fan or not, I doubt you've been able to escape hearing that Euro 2016 is currently happening, and it's being hosted in France this year! So what better reason, than to take our wanderlust there?

French Alps
1. We may have the highest mountain in Malaysia (Mount Kinabalu stands at 4,095m above sea level), but the French Alps are the tallest mountains in Europe, standing at 4,808m! Already conquered Mount K? Maybe it's time for a new challenge!

2. Travelling to France for Euro 2016? Make sure you know the law!
  • Planning to go for a swim? Only Speedos allowed – if you wear baggy Bermuda shorts, sure kena saman!
  • People are not allowed to kiss at railway stations, because it may delay departures.
  • No elephants on the beach, so leave Ellie at home!
  • No dying in Cugnaux unless you have a family vault there
  • No UFOS are permitted to land in the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, so if Independence Day: Resurgence becomes a reality, I’m moving there! 

3. French food facts: 

  • Potatoes were illegal in France from 1748 - 1772. Like, I literally would not have survived - pass the 'taters!
  • The French love cooking so much, that an average of 2 cookbooks are published every single day.
  • Special French dishes include: escargot (snails), foie gras (fatty duck liver), and black perigord truffle.
  • There is a coffee shop in France where not saying hello & please will actually make your coffee more expensive!
Have you been to France? Drop me your tips in the comment box!
Don't forget to follow me on 
Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew & Snapchat @CalistaLeah;
And join me on the Hitz Playlist every weekday 10am - 1pm on hitz fm Sabah
100.8 in Kota Kinabalu & 99.8 in Sandakan! 

*Daily #HitzEscape tips every day at 12pm

Je'taime, copains! 

Love always,
Calista xx

Sunday, 19 June 2016

#HitzEscape: Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan, or puasa month as we call it in Malaysia, is observed on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims worldwide fast from dawn til sundown, refraining from eating, drinking, and any sinful activities. Ramadan also emphasizes a lot on charitable thoughts, words, and acts. For example, cursing or quarreling while fasting may result in batal puasa, just like if a man ogles a woman. 

Ramadan Facts:

1. Best thing about Ramadan? The Ramadan Bazaars! There are so many in KK, almost every area will have their own. Which ones are your favourite? I like the one in Asia City, and I heard the one in the army base in Lok Kawi is pretty good too!

2. If you're not Muslim, what's the best way to enjoy Ramadan with your Muslim friends? Well, you could always take turns going out to the Ramadan bazaars and bringing enough back for everyone to buka puasa (break fast)in the office, or even someone's house together! 

3. The longest fasting period in the world this year is in Denmark - they will be fasting for 21 hours. In Malaysia we fast for about 12 hours, while the shortest is in Argentina at 9 & 1/2 hours. Wanna challenge yourself? You can also go to Iceland, Sweden or Norway - they're fasting for 20 hours!

4. What's the difference between Ramadan in Malaysia and other places around the world? Nothing much! Probably different kinds of food, but it is pretty much observed the same way in every country, so if you're travelling, rest assured that you won't get too much of a culture shock!

5. If you are travelling this Ramadan, make sure to take it easy. It's completely normal to feel tired faster, and you may have to miss out on some of the experiences as a lot of our travels are about trying new, local food, but if you really can't reschedule your trip, make up for it by visiting the Ramadan bazaars after hours, and take a little break here and there to conserve your energy throughout the day. 

Have any tips or fun facts about Ramadan? I'd love to know more, so drop me comment! =) Also, don't forget to follow me on 
Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew & Snapchat @CalistaLeah;
And join me on the Hitz Playlist every weekday 10am - 1pm on hitz fm Sabah
100.8 in Kota Kinabalu & 99.8 in Sandakan! 

*Daily #HitzEscape tips every day at 12pm

Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim friends! 

Love always,
Calista xx