The Thirsty Thursday club comprising 2 overworked lawyers and 1 hyperactive tax professional convened last night. The venue: new restaurant Hummerstons at Robertson Walk. It was a very nice setting on the 2nd floor at Unity Street, above the (eerily quiet) no signboard seafood and overlooking the Robertson dining stretch of restaurants and bars. I loved the beautiful vintage re-upholstered chairs/tables and cool bistro vibes of the restaurant.

As professionals, it is good practice to keep meetings short and sweet, so we wasted no time in moving on to the first item on our agenda - ordering a bottle of wine to quench our Thursday thirst. Admittedly, I am a cheap drunk so my eyes immediately settled on one of the house reds, an argentinian malbec at $45 a pop. At this price point, it was quite palatable - peppery and spicy. Oh that first sip of wine was a warm hug down my throat!

Next item on the agenda was the food. Here, we zoomed in on the beef and foie gras poutine (french fries topped with emmental cheese, covered with brown gravy), the smoked duck quesadilla, as well as 2 items from the specials menu - the Norwegian salmon, and the chicken terrine with double brie cheese (this sounded too good to resist).

When the food came, we were bowled over by the fantastic presentation. This is my first appreciation of how visual presentation can whet one’s appetite to eat. Apologize for the pics which do not do the dishes justice. I think the presentation might have raised our expectations a notch too high though, because the taste of the food, albeit good, did not impress. The poutine stood its own, but the smoked duck quesadilla and chicken terrine were kind of lack-lustre. Luckily, the norwegian salmon was done very nicely, I loved how it was pink on the inside, and the cream (mushroom?) sauce complimented it perfectly.

We ended the meal with item 3 of the agenda, a bottle of montepulciano d'abruzzo ($51). It was an easy drinking Italian red with mildly sweet and soft tannins, a good one to end the meal.

The Thirsty Thursday club passed the motion that in spite of misses in some food items, Hummerstons was a good place to unwind and recuperate from a hard day at work. Oh, and of course, quench our thirst.


Oh yes, mums and daddies, its that time of year again - toy sale time! Catalogues with pages and pages of toys and games, crazy mums heading out to the shops at midnight, trolleys everywhere and lay-by lineups that go for hours. Oh the joy of it all!

Image from here

I have to say, i did well this year. Last i went to the Big W toy sale 3 days after it started, expecting that they would still have plenty of the toys i wanted. Uh - Fail! But i was a newbie toy sale-er back then... i didnt know abot the crazy crush of mums who get there bang on midnight and spend half the night in a lay-by line. So this year, a little older and a little wiser, i prepared. I scoured the catalogues and made myself a list of what we wanted to for Flynn and for our two neices and 3 nephews; i double checked prices and Googled the items i liked to make sure they were appropriate; and i did a scout around the store a day or two beforehand so i knew where the things i wanted would be. Genius Mummy!

We ended up getting our two biggest purchases from Myer which meant that when i went to BIg W today i wouldnt have to get as much ( which meant there were less things for me to miss out on ). I didnt go at midnight with the other pyscho-mummies ( sleep is far too precious to me for that! ) but i did go at 8am, after Flynn and I had had breakfast, showered and got dressed. There was hardly anyone there - all the hardcore toy sal-ers had been and gone; and the slowpokes and newbies probably didnt realise the store was open continously from midnight. We were in, shopped, lay-byed and out in 45 mins!

And yes, before i praise myself too much and someone else points it - yes i know you can now do the shopping online. However, not all items are available online and part of me actually likes the planning and the searching and the satisfaction of finding all the stuff on my list. And now we have all the presents sorted for Christmas and all we need to get in December is a present for each other. Cant get much better than that i dont think!
How about you - did you or are you planning to hit up the toy sales this year? Are you an online shopper or a hands on kinda gal like me?

Coffee Bar K

When I was in Shanghai, I used to love going to the likes of Bar Constellation and Shanty – very Japanese bars that made killer precision cocktails, with crazy varied selections of whisky/ sale/ shochus to boot. Many a night, me and my homies spent, nursing our whiskies splashed over cool hand-chipped globes of ice.

Enter Coffee Bar K, a gem of a bar in Singapore I raved about two years ago, made excessive repeat visits to back then, forgot about since, and recently revisited. Sweet was my re-visit – almost like meeting up with a dear old long-lost friend.

The bar was exactly as I remembered it. Oh, to sink into the plush black leather sofas at the bar and be handed a warm towel, asked for my drink order and pampered with platters of snacks. I took my time picking my poison – so many choices of gin/vodka/whisky/wine/liquer base cocktails, luckily they rate the alcoholic content of the cocktails and whether they were suited to the male or female palate (ok, this was admittedly sexist). The Moscow mule was my usual drink but tonight I picked a Honolulu, something light to end off my earlier buffet dinner.

Service was quietly efficient, just the way I liked it. The cute Japanese bartender has left though, in place there was another bartender that had a funny porcupine hair style and looked a tad sulky for my liking. Luckily the Filipino waitress was warm and friendly.

Prices for a cocktail was about $20 and there is a cover charge of $15 after 9pm (which includes above-mentioned snacks - wasabi chips/ ham/ fruit platter). Worth every penny. I have an old friend visiting from Shanghai soon, I must bring him to my new found oasis here. For old times’ sake.

That Old, Ugly Feeling...

Does anyone else have those little meltdowns, those days when your whole mood is just completely off kilter and there isnt much you can do to change it?

Yea, well i had one of those on Sunday. I woke feeling not quite right, like halfway through the night the happy, satisfied part of myself had decided to slip between the sheets and not show her face in the morning. I felt frumpy, tired, ugly and irritable. I thought dressing up a little would lift my mood, so instead of my usual jeans/jumper/Converse All Stars combo i threw some tights on under a summer dress, with a cardy and boots. I really liked my outift ( way cute! ) but, even so, it did little to liven me up. Now i just felt like a fat, ugly frump wearing a pretty dress. So - no better then. I tried to put on a smiley happy face but it didnt stop the sense of "blah, blah, shitty, blah " from spreading through the inside of me. Even Micks playful teasing - which i usually give as good as i get - didnt make me smile. In fact, it only served to make me feel worse.

Image from here
And why? Was there a reason for this overwhelming feeling of ugly emptiness? I kept telling Mick "no, i dont know, not really ", telling him that i was just having a bad day. But that wasnt exactly true...

She's having another baby.
She's having another baby, and i'm not.

Why oh why is my sense of self-worth so still tied up with her? Why is the way i feel about myself so bound by what she does, or thinks, or says? Why can i feel so fulfilled and happy and confident in what i have and what i want, but one Facebook status is enough to bring me undone? And i cant even see the status ( i was "de-friended", remember? ) so i hear the news from Mick, and i have to bite my lip and say " Oh, really? Good on them " without also saying " I wish we were having one now too ".

Because, believe it or not, i am both happy for her and extremely jealous - even though my plans for a baby are only a few months from getting underway ( as it were... ). For some reason, the fact that she is adding to her family first makes me unbelievably sad for myself, like again i'll be sitting in her shadow and she'll be getting the things i would like to have for myself. Which, in retrospect, is probably how she felt when i was pregnant.... she had been trying to conceive for a while and there i was, falling pregnant accidentally. The difference is a) she already had everything else, and had it for a long time, while i was plodding along with the lower paid job, living with my parents while i saved for a home, spending years without a man to love me, having to scrimp and save for every little thing i wanted, when everything else came so easily to her.... and b) i can be envious that its not my time BUT i can still wish her the best. She didnt do that for me.

So, even though we havent spoken for almost a year, i sent her a message of congratulations. I got a polite, yet curt, " Thank you " in return. I dont know what i was expecting - if anything at all - but i had hoped for something more. Selfishly maybe - maybe sending her a message was inappropriate, like i was trying to get something from her that she isnt willing to give. Maybe it was me subconsciously trying to say " See? This is what you should have done for me. Why couldnt you just put your jealousy aside ? ". I dont know. I dont want to psycho-analyse myself anymore, I'm tired of picking apart and second guessing the choices i make ( made. didnt make. apparently made... ). Whats is done now but what remains is that there is a baby on the way, but its not on its way to me... and i feel like a failure.

My Breakup Heels

My hair is too short and dyed to death already so a change in hair style is a no-go. Same goes to a body tattoo (anywhere), which I think is a really bad idea. So what else is a girl to do when she needs to something cathartic, post-breakup?

She shops.

Not just any shopping, mind you. These are the Swedish Hasbeens I have been lusting for, since, erm, forever. They are not available in Singapore so I had to get them online. The brand is so bohemian - handmade shoes, ecological materials and a never-say-die FUN attitude to match. I like this braided model which they say "will make you look like Sandy in the musical Grease before her total makeover." And I love love love (sorry for gushing here) the bright cheery yellow colour. Very appropriate, don't you think?

Yes, these are the shoes that I will wear strutting into the new era of my life. My Hasbeens are "super-highs" at 4.1 inches, but insiders (which I am now part of, yippee) say they are super duper comfy. SEK 1,731, inclusive of UPS - worth every cent!

Update on 1st July 2011 - IT'S HERE AND IT'S PERFECT!

Everyone, meet the new love of my life. Fits true to size. Luxuriously soft and comfy.

"The fact is, sometimes it's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes. That's why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun." ~ Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Dear Flynn, Aged 18 months

Dearest Flynn Charlie

Happy 18 month-aversary honeybee! I cant believe that you are 18 months old already, which means its only 6 months til you are 2 - and then you really will be classed as a "toddler " and not a baby anymore. Not that it matters - you've been telling me for months you're a " boy " and only refer to yourself as a baby when we have special hug-gles together, and even then the " baby " part is accompanied by a cheeky grin.

See? That cheeky grin!

Actually, most things are accompanied by a cheeky grin. You've grown into such a happy, smiley, giggling ratbag of a boy. You're a cheeky little monkey, a real " boys boy " - you love nothing more than mucking in with Daddy or Poppy in the garage or backyard. You're apparently quite the hands-on little person too ... Poppy was very impressed when you watched him for only a few minutes and then you were able to put a pop rivet in the pop rivet gun all by yourself ( a Bob the Builder in the making maybe... )

All this " boy " stuff doesnt mean you dont also love spending time with me. I love the time we get to spend together readig books, or doing puzzles, and i think its incredibly funny that every morning you want to hide in the wardrobe with my shoes while i get dressed! You still get very much attached to me when you are sick or tired, and although i sometimes wish i could have my lap back, i secretly dont mind...

Kind of helping in the yard

In the past 6 months from my last letter you have:
* developed an amazing vocabulary. I dont mean to boast, but you speak very well for your age;
* had battles with Mummy and Daddy over your food - you still manage to eat A LOT, but you fell out of love with your vegies for a while there. Currently you smash down roast vegies, and will happily munch on raw capsicum, carrot and sometimes beans;
*had your first kiss from a girl - ooh la la! Olivia came over for a playdate and gave you a smoochy when she was leaving. You might have pulled a weird face, but I'm now planning on your wedding...
* learned to climb up the play equipment at two of our favourite playgrounds all by yourself. I still need to stand by and make sure you dont fall, but you can pull yourself up the steps. You've also found the courage to go down the slippery dip - but your favourite is still the swings.
* discovered a love of chocolate ( thank you Easter Bunny! ) that i think may actually be genetic... at least once a day you say " Mummy? Coc-o-lit ? "

Picnicing at our favourite playground

.... and so many other things. You've also been unfortunate enough to have croup 3 times, and a stint with a week long virus which changed you from a tiny tear-about to a tired, fluffy little baby-lump inside a few hours. But, most of the time, you are loud, crazy, boy-energy personified. And i wouldnt have you any other way.
Love ya guts ( and your stinky little feet ),
Your mummy...

Creperie de Arts

When I think of crepes, desserts come immediately to mind. My idea of savoury crepes is limited to the ham and cheese ones you used to get (or are they still available) at Marche’s, all rolled up like a popiah. So when I visited Creperie de Arts and saw the huge selection of savoury crepes there, I was quite bowled over. Brittany, the motherland of French crêpes indeed! Excellent suggestion to go there, Ling!

Creperie de Arts was a small and intimate joint clad in warm lighting, not unlike eating in a friend’s home kitchen. We had indoor seats but I imagine it would be nice nursing a bottle of wine with a special date at one of the tables outside. Yes, they do a rather palatable bottle of house Côtes du Rhône red wine at a good price.

I had read the hungrygowhere reviews about the Saint Caradec (scallops and leek) crepe and the Auguebelette (potatoes, bacon, onions, melted reblochon) crepe. They all sound delish. But I had my eye on the Complete Forrestiere. Ham, cheese, mushroom and egg – there’s no way you can go wrong with a combination like that. Plus, I am a sucker for anything with a sunny side up on it. The disappointing part was that they overcooked the yolk - sigh, I was looking forward to runny goodness. Fortunately, everything else was tasty and fresh, I loved the texture of the buckwheat crepes. It wasn’t too salty and went very well with the wine. My friends who ordered the salmon crepe said it was good too.

You’ll need to try the traditional apple cider too. Nice aperitif to whet the appetite. Will I be back? Likely, the raclette looks good.

Because It's Hard

I’ve never been a very sporty person, but since last year I started going to the gym and I run regularly now. Not hard-core running, but at least I don’t wheeze on the treadmill anymore. When Yuming told me this morning that he signed up for the Standard Chartered Bank Marathon and encouraged me to do the same, albeit for the more palatable half Marathon, I was tempted.

Why run a marathon? I took the day today to consider my motivations carefully. The reason I finally arrived at was: I want to do it because it’s hard.

In the early 1960s President Kennedy set a national goal of landing a man on the Moon. He said that we choose to do this not because it is easy but because it is hard. One of Edmond Hillary's comments about finally scaling Everest was: "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. We all need challenges and the sense of euphoria that comes from achieving a difficult personal goal.

Well, I for one don’t expect myself to ever stand on the Moon or the summit of Everest. But a marathon – now that’s something I can do. It’s not going to be easy but it’s ACHIEVABLE. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, complete the distance, no need to come in first or anything. I just need to prove to myself that I CAN DO IT.

The secondary reason of course is that training for the half-marathon will give me the focus I need, and hopefully distract me from unhappy thoughts. Send me a minor victory to cheer me up please!

So 4th December will see me taking on 21.1km. I hear the views on the route are going to be great. There’re early bird offers and discounts for SCB card/ Passion card holders so go check out if you are keen!

Trust Yourself - Intuition

( By Susan Piver ) If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?

Wow - you know, though i've always kind of relied on my intution ( though for a while there "intuition " was very heavily influenced by " negative thought process " ) i've never actually thought about what she might look personified. Oh yea, my intution is definately a "she " - that much i'm sure of. A strong, sultry "she ", one who knows her own mind ( is that my own mind? ). I'm thinking long auburn hair, green eyes, taller than me and curvy. A strong, fiery redhead. I mean, she'd have to be to get me to listen to her, wouldnt she? I'm not going to take my cues from any old mousey, wet-blanket, woman. You know what? Think Famke Janssen in the " X-Men " movies and thats pretty close to what i'm picturing here....

Or maybe she looks like this...( image from here )
As for dinner - what the hell am i supposed to feed the inner woman who guides most of what i do? ( Hell, i say most, because lets not pretend that " negative thought process " doesnt still win out sometimes... ) It'd have to be something good, something hearty and comforting and satisfactorily filling. Something that could accompany a good heart-to-heart. Roast chicken would be the best bet i think... or is that what my intuition tells me?

What she would tell me is that my feelings of needing to change jobs are right. I keep thinking it back over, and putting myself in my co-workers shoes, but my intuition would tell me that for my family to be put first, i have to leave when i get the chance.
She'd tell me to make contact, even though it probably wont be returned the way i hope. Just put myself out there and do it, and prove that i can be what she wasnt.
And lastly she'd tell me that i'm a good mum. She tells me that all the time as it is, even when the self-doubt creeps in.

What would your intuition look like? Be like? Tell you?

Polly Dolly - Workin' 9 To 5

So i'm a bit late to this weeks Polly Dolly ( i was off adventuring with Mick - more about that later ) but this week the lovely Dani from Danimezza wants to know what Polly wears when she's...

Polly Dolly - Workin' 9 To 5
At my office we ( unfortunately ) have to wear a uniform - navy trousers, black pin stripe shirt and black closed-toe shoes. Yes, black and navy together... whoever designed our uniform apparently knows little about fashion rules. But Polly here is wearing what i would love to be able to wear to work. The beautiful print skirt would be the centrepiece, paired with a basic black knit top and basic black tights. Then i'd add mininal accessories in a bright colour to liven up the black, but keep the outfit looking professional ( cue a chunky beaded necklace and some cute flats ).I'm also a fan of wearing my hair in a relaxed low bun for work ( a la Natalie Portman ) and the Jason Wu glasses are a must for a girl with poor eyesight. A tote big enough to carry not only my wallet and phone and everyday essentials, but my cute little Netbook too. Finish off with a light tinted moisturiser and dont forget my water bottle ( i dont drink coffee *gasp!* so i have a bottle of water on my desk all day ) and Polly is ready to head to the office?
What would your Polly wear to her 9 -5 ?

Shameless Self Promotion

Would you believe that i started blogging way back in 2007? No, probably not, especially not if you paid any attention to my blog stats. Which i sort of do, but kind of dont. See, even though i'm an old pro at the art of blog posting, the social media skills required for full-scale blogging success are still alluding me. I signed up for Twitter last year but have only just started "using " it; I've only just cottoned onto the awesome bloggy-community that is Digital Parents; and after 5 years of blogging, i've only just decided it might be wise to make myself a Facebook fan page ( although i'm not comfortable with the term " fan " page - i'm no celebrity! I dont have fans! ).

So please overlook my previous lack of utilising social media, and allow me this one chance at blog-whoring:

Find me on Twitter and chat to me about #Masterchef, the #Trust30 and sharing #TMI !

Be my friend on Digital Parents so i feel a part of the big mummy blog family!

Ok, alright, enough now - what i'm saying is its only taken me 5 years to realise that socialising within blog circles is important ( duh Amy - you dunderhead! ) and may just open up doors that would otherwise remained closed...

*NOTE* - My blog-whoring does not reach as far as " following " for "followings " sake. Unless you want to ( follow me please! )... though be pre-warned i'll only follow back if your fabulous!

Wine Dinner at MLSP

I hadn’t hung out with Vivo Shifu for a while, so when he asked me to join for the June Ribera del Duero dinner at My Little Spanish Place, I was quite happy to join. The promise of free-flow jamon definitely helped sweeten the deal haha.

So there I was, blind tasting various (blends of) tinto fino (the local name for tempranillo) and stuffing my face with jamon. Whilst the offerings from Pago de los Capellanes, Domino de Atauta and Protos were all fairly decent, it turns out my favorite was the Crianza 2008 from Pago de los Capellanes – what can I say, I’m a cheap drunk!

Dinner with wines was priced at $90+, good value, considering the jamon-ful dinner and “freebies” of rose wine. Foodwise other than the jamon, the paella was flavorful although a tad dry for my liking. I remember from the last time we celebrated Bev’s birthday here that the meatballs, grilled squid and mushroom tapas were a hit, so be sure to sample those if you happen to visit MLSP.


You know that feeling of wanting something, and wanting it now, now, NOW? That unscratchable itch? Yea, well i've got the itch, and i've got it bad. Its like my brain is stuck in fast-forward, and the more i dwell on thoughts of the future, the "itchier" i get. I'm wanting three things:

1) I want to get married
2) I want to build a house and
3) I want to have another baby.
And i want all these things to happen tomorrow, or at least thats how i've been feeling the last few weeks or so.

Its crazy really - each of those things are very realistically on the cards, its just that i cant shake these feelings of wanting to have it all happen tomorrow, next week, next month... not next year, or the year after that. I mean, our wedding is now only just over 4 months away ( which, in reality, is crazy/scary soon ... ) yet night after night i run through the plans in my head and secretly wish that everything was already organised and we could just say the " I do "s this weekend. After the wedding, Mick and I are planning on having another baby - and by planning i mean i've sat down and figured out how to manipulate the Pill so i have my last period right before the wedding and we can start baby-making on the honeymoon. And when we have another child, a two bedroom duplex is just not going to be enough room, so the want for another house will be more like a need. And, rather than buy an established home ( which is still a great fallback plan ) what we'd like to do is buy a block of land in a village just outside of the town we live in and build. I'm not talking anything fancy - no giant McMansion for us - just a 3 or 4 bedroom home, with built-ins and a nice big kitchen. We've even looked at the option of having a kit home/transportable home built by a local company and have found that it makes things pretty affordable for us, providing we sell the duplex before borrowing money for the build. Realistically, all this selling and borrowing and building cant happen til at least the end of this year, and all the timing becomes a bit trickier if you throw a pregnancy into the mix.

I guess what i'm saying is - who wants to give me $250 000? No, no, thats not it ( athough, if you have deep pockets... ). What i really mean is even though i have this crazy urge to have it all, and have it NOW, i also know that the more i focus on the future, the less i'm concentrating on the now. I'm living with my head in the proverbial clouds, which means i'm missing so much of whats happening down here in the real world. The real, tangible, its-happening-right-now... well... now. So - its not just me is it? Tell me i'm not the only one who is itching to get things done, and to do it all without resorting to massive credit card debt or an astronomical mortage?


Image from here

Why argh! ? Because i wrote a whole blog post at work today and it has somehow - again! - disappeared into cyber space. So please enjoy the little stuffed monster dude up there until tomorrow when i can find either find the lost post or find the motivation to write it again....

Ice-cream Making at Tom's Palette

It was tough waking up early the morning after Beerfest, but boy am I glad I made it for the ice cream making class at Tom's Palette.

Located at Shaw Leisure Gallery, Tom’s Palette is a non descript shop space hiding a delightful Willy Wonka’s factory within. I knew they had been around for a while (since 2005) and won many accolades, but it was my first time there.

There were 8 of us in the ice cream making class. The class started with the instructor giving us a demonstration on making green tea ice cream, followed by our own hands-on effort to make chocolate ice cream. I was quite surprised by how easy it was – mix up the egg yolk, milk, cream and sugar to create the custard, infuse the custard with the flavoring you want, chuck it in the freezer for a bit, churn it by hand and return it to freezer for a bit more and voila – your very own traditional homemade ice cream!

While waiting for our custards to freeze, we were treated to an ice cream buffet. It was surreal – so many flavours to try, so limited stomach space! There were some incredible flavors at Tom’s – I especially loved the chocolate stout, salted egg yolk and onion, popping candy (melt ‘n’ sizzle) and salty yuzu flavors. I was stuffed but I couldn’t resist asking for one last scoop of Granny’s Favourite, packed with cookie dough goodness. Perfect hangover food haha.

TADA! The picture on the left shows our finished product. Very yummy chocolate ice cream. We were immensely proud of ourselves :)

The private class lasted from 11am till 1.30pm, when they opened the doors to the public. Wow, I never knew that there are so many people craving ice cream so early in the afternoon. Brisk business indeed.

I highly recommend the ice cream making class at Tom’s Palette!

( Maybe Not ) Trusting Yourself

This is kind of, sort of, a bit about the Trust30 challenge. Those of you have been reading along at home the last two weeks or so will have noticed the majority of my posts in that time have been prompted by the Trust30, which was a daily posting challenge inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's text " Self Reliance ". I was so geared up to post something i'd never managed to do before - and it started out well. The prompts were thought-provoking, in depth, honest and a bit raw. But now?

I'm turned off a little - the prompts are becoming so repeatitive. You know... same same, but different?
Image from here
Of the last half dozen prompts, only one has inspired me to write ( Wholly New and Strange ). The other five have all been variations on the same theme, each question essentially the same just worded differently. What are you afraid of? What do you want to achieve in your life but havent tried? What is holding back from achieving your dreams? What do you dream of - write it down! Do it! All pretty much the same thing, and the same as one of the first few prompts we were given. Its like whoever was responsible for compiling all the prompts didnt actually check to make sure  they were doubling up on topics. Or tripling, or quadrupling...

I was very much inspired in the beginning, but i wont write about the same thing day in and day out for a month just so i can say i completed a blog post challenge. The idea was to help my blog move away from constant " fluffy " posts and more towards meaningful writing - if i write the same post over and over that kind of defeats the purpose, doesnt it? So i'll keep checking back at the Ralph Waldo Emerson page to see if they've come up with anything new, but if not, i'm resuming normal transmission around here....I hope none of you think less of me for giving up? I mean, there is no use flogging a dead horse right?

Trust Yourself - Wholly Strange and New

Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?

Write about that moment. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, let the miracle play out in your mind’s eye and write about that moment in your future.

Image from here
You have no idea literally i'm going to take this one - the moment when I "had life in myself " and it was " wholly strange and new "? That moment, for me, was the day i found out i was pregnant. Literally the first time i life inside myself ( is your mind being blown yet? ) and every single thing about it was new and strange - yet somehow oddly ...well...right.

When i found out i was pregnant, even though it was only 3 months into my relationship with Mick ( yes, you read that right, 3 months when i found out, so i would have fallen pregnant 6 weeks into the relationship ), it was like everything i had ever dreamt of was falling into place. Not all that fanciful travelling the world, winning Lotto, marrying a bazillionaire kind of stuff - the romantic notion of what my everyday life would be like. I had the man who loved me, i was going to be a mother, i had a good job and a supportive family. Puzzle pieces were finally appearing to fit together.

And then one that i thought was so firmly in place fell out - the " best friend " piece. When i told her i was pregnant she stopped talking to me for a while. She thought it was far too early in the relationship ( even though the pregnancy wasnt planned ), that i shouldnt be having a baby at all and (admitted after the fact ) that she was jealous that I was pregnant and she wasnt. Even though at the time i was so desperately upset and confused, in retrospect i think those collective moments were the ones that really set me on my own path. Til then i had lived so much in her shadow - always the funny friend who never had a steady boyfriend, who didnt go to uni, who didnt have as good a job or as much money. Always living so much of my life vicariously through her because she seemed to have most of her puzzle pieces already in place. I was happy to just to sit on the sidelines and be her cheerleader. But, after those moments, after the hurtful silence and then the angry, bitter words.... after that, i realised how much i needed to step up, and step out, and become my own woman in order to be the best (future)wife and mother and human being i could be.

And, as most of my regular readers would know, we dont talk anymore. We havent spoken a word in at least 8 months now. I have missed her a lot, in small quiet moments, or in times of celebration, but i've tried to keep my chin up and walk my path with other, better, people at my side. The rest of my puzzle pieces are still in place and who knows? Maybe i'll never find a perfect fit for that " best friend " piece - maybe i'll try a whole bunch of other pieces and they'll each suffice for a time but none of them will ever fit the way she did. But what i do know is i'm stronger now for having lost her, and i'll keep pushing forward on my path, puzzle complete or not....

Pink Dot 2011

Looking for something meaningful/interesting to do this Saturday June 18th? Go down to Hong Lim Park to form a human pink dot!

Yes, it’s PINK as in gay, lesbian, transsexual/ transgender/ bisexual/ intersexual/ queer. This will be its 3rd year running and like previous years, Pink Dot aims to nurture an all-inclusive, non-discriminatory society which appreciates diversity and understands the basic human need to love and be loved. Everyone deserves the freedom to love!

Kudos to Google for supporting the event and making the concert possible. The event this year promises to be BIG, with a whole slew of celebrities performing, including the Dim Sum Dollies and the Broadway Beng.

1. Go at 4pm or earlier to chope a nice picnic spot right in front of the stage. Concert starts at 5pm sharp and the whole event is expected to end by 6:45pm.

2. There’ll also be a lot of other activities going on around the park so feel free to bring the whole family along. Going by last year's experience, I think it will all be very subtle and tasteful.

Cream Bistro

5 years ago, before I left Singapore for Shanghai, I used to frequent Cream Bistro on weekends or off days. It's one of those places I feel perfectly comfortable dining alone, reading from their rich library of fashion magazines and enjoying my old favorite seafood don. It's a huge serving of eggy seafood and rice, and I would always walk away feeling happily satiated. Perfect me-time memory.
Today, I revisited the bistro. It's amazing how the seafood don still looks and tastes the same after so many years. I've had better versions of seafood don since, but nothing beats the taste of nostalgia. Sitting there alone with the magazines, watching the crowd go by was pure deja vu.

Today, I am back to where I was exactly, 5 years ago. I feel oddly conscious that I am no longer that doe-eyed girl excitedly planning to take on the world and trying hard to make a difference. I guess life has mellowed me down and I'm just glad to be home. That bowl of seafood don is indeed comfort food for my soul.

Polly Dolly - Baby Love

So - its time again for another Polly Dolly challenge, brought to you by the lovely Dani over at Danimezza. This week Dani is getting a bit clucky, because she'd like to know what we would wear to a ....
I had my baby shower in November, which meant that i was hot, sticky and had some major swelling going on. We had a lovely afternoon tea at my mum and dads, and i wore denim maternity shorts and a sweet, floral print, maternity cami. However.... i would love to have worn this maxi dress. It has plenty of room for a bump and would keep me nice and breezy. Sensible flats that also allow room for my swollen elephant feet, a funky wooden bangle and some aviators to keep away the sun. We'd have cute cupcakes and other delicious pastries, and a ( non-alcoholic ) pink lemonade. Someone would have bought me the Pandora pram charm, and no doubt i would have received some cute baby clothes and lovely baby bath products ( including multi coloured rubber duckies! )
What would you wear to your baby shower?

13 Wives

It must be nice to open a bar with the cocktails inspired by one’s lost loves.

Kampong Bugis is one of those places that’s actually very near my home but it’s so obscure that I will never think of venturing there, much lest have a party on a Saturday night. But it was AL’s big 30th bash and the princess has requested to celebrate there.

13 Wives is part of an old building which also houses Kilo (new restaurant on my to-try list) and Loysel’s Toy, a coffee joint opened by the same guys behind Papa Palheta. The bar is only open on weekend evenings, apparently. It’s an al fresco area with wooden tables and benches, a bit old skool. Sorry, no pics to show.

There's 13 signature cocktails here, inspired by each of the 13 "wives". On this occasion I did not try any of the cocktails because we BYO-ed our own sangria, but the few people who had them said they were quite good.

My verdict? I think it's a bit of a stretch, calling it a waterfront bar. Seriously, it seemed more like a "lokang" (drain) view. But I suppose the bar is worth checking out if you are into the eclectic. Reminds me of my primary school canteen outdoor area haha. To be fair, it can be a nice quiet chill out place. But not one I'd personally hang out often at. Maybe I'll try a cocktail the next time after dinner-at-Kilo.

A ( Long ) Weekend By The Numbers

Its been a while since i've done a Weekend By The Numbers post ( the last one was in October of last year! ) and, seeing as i'm not inspired by todays #Trust30 prompt, i've decided to skip it and do a weekend run down instead....

Image from here

1 - date gone on with Mick. Oh yea, we left Flynn in the very capable ( and loving ) hands of my parents so we could go to the movies together.

3 - movies watched this weekend. " Pirates 4 " at the movies with Mick, " Shrek Forever After " at home with the boys and " Black Swan " at home by myself. Can i just say - Nina from "Black Swan "? Total nutcase...

140 - dollars spent on two suits and two ties for Mick and his best man for our wedding. They were business suits marked down from $200 at Lowes - oh yea, we are awesome savvy shoppers!

10 - blissful hours of sleep on Saturday night, when i had the night to myself. Mick had gone away to his brothers for the night, and i asked my parents if Flynn could have a sleep over so i could have sometime to myself... and they said " of course! " so i gotta to sit home Saturday night, watch " Sister Act2 ", Twitter, blog, read some of my book ( " Deliverance From Evil " by Frances Hill ) and eat icecream....all whilst being uninterrupted!

7 - hours spent in the Emergency ward early Monday morning with Flynn ( and his teddy bear, Bruce ). He'd come down with croup (again - this is the 3rd time in about 9 months ) so i had him in bed with me so i could monitor his breathing. He'd had the cough before, but never the horrible, wheezing stridor. At 1:30am he sat up, crying, trying to get in air but all you could was the squeak as the air struggled to get down into his lungs, and he was twitching his limbs and hot all over. I hastily put on my slippers, warm dressing gown ( and, strangely, my bra... ) and took him straight to the hospital. They put him on some nebulised adrenalin to open the airways, and then gave him a shot of steroids to help keep them open. 4 more hours of monitoring ( and trying to sleep on a narrow ER bed... not.comfy. Jan ) and we were allowed to go home... and, thankfully, he was much better last night. ( Oh, and in case you were concerned, Bruce the teddy has hit ears and his heart checked and he is ok aswell ).

25 - dollars my Mum spent on a pair of boots for me, just 'cause she wanted to by me a present. You have to love the specials at Rivers - boots that were originally $80 for $25? yes please! And oh - thank you Mum!

50 - approximate number of times Flynn has said " Luff you Mummy! " this weekend. Some when i dropped him at Poppy's for his sleepover; some at the hospital when he was all upset, cuddled up on my lap; and a whole bunch yesterday afternoon when he had his strength back a bit, running around the loungeroom like a man man. Gotta love those 3 little words....

Trust Yourself - Suprise

( By Ashley Ambirge ) Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself. How will you surprise yourself this week?

Image from here
Let me say this - suffering through depression and social anxiety disorder, i constantly suprised myself with things i had  to do in order to get better. Simple everyday things, like striking up a conversation with a stranger or eating lunch by myself in a public place ... things i said ( to my counsellor or psychiatrist ) " I'll never to be able to do that! ".... i did them. So take those small things and multiple them by like a hundred and you get the biggest challenge you could throw at someone with social anxiety disorder : move to the other side of the world and live in a communty where you dont know anyone. Not a single soul.

A monumentally huge challenge in fact. But, even though i doubted myself a bazillion times, i was determined that this was one challenge i was going to make it through. And, in the end, not only was i suprised that i stuck it out but i was also suprised at how easy it seemed to be. Moving to the US to live with and work for a family i had never meant was daunting, but i was amazed at how quickly i felt accepted as one of them. I thought i'd be lucky to make one friend while i was there, but by the end of my year i was the " go to girl " for new au pairs coming in to the community, the one who was asked to take them out for dinner and show them around. I thought i might struggle with suburban/city living ( having come from a rural background ) but i took to NJ and New York City like a duck to water. All those things were once on my " No way Jose! " list but, in the end, the ease with which i accomplished them suprised not only me, but others too.

So what will i do to suprise myself this week? I think it may revolve around some training i have to do for work on Wednesday... i could either:
a) suprise myself by NOT getting cranky at management i'll have to deal with or
b) suprise myself by telling them to take theur job and shove it.
Option a) is definately going to be the better option for me right now, so lets just hope i dont get annoyed enough to run my mouth!

Table at 7

I used to love Sage. What's not to love - food was fantastic and corkage was free. I celebrated my birthday there last year and when news came that they were closing, I rushed to make reservations for dinner on closing day, to bid Jusman all the best in Bali.

Another husband-wife team (Karl and Eugenia) has since taken over where Sage used to be and opened Table at 7. Eugenia is Indonesian, so it's a mix of Indonesian food and European fare dished up by Austria-born Karl. I heard the food was good. When AL asked for suggestions on where to go for her birthday dinner, I immediately lobbied for Table at 7.

I would have loved to do the degustation menu but the rest of the group weren't keen. A bit disappointing, but oh well, the ala carte experience rocked too. For starters, most of us had the highly recommended "Twice-baked Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Cheese Soufflé, White Wine Fondue Sauce" - sounds delicious, doesn't it? And it was. A bit jelat for a starter, but we polished off every last bit. I thought the Iced Gaszpacho with Tuna Tartare looked good too.

For mains, the Black Angus Beef Onglet Steak, and the Wagyu Oxtail Rendang were big hits. I kinda regretted ordering the Chilean Sea Bass when I saw what my friends were served. They nicely let me try some of it, indeed, very flavorful. Fortunately, my choice turned out well too - the sea bass was very well-executed - fresh, sweet tasting and the garlic mash and sauce were awesome.

We bought a bottle of wine from them, got free corkage for 1 of our own bottles and paid $30 each for the remaining bottles. The wine list has a good mix from all over, and prices were fairly decent. Service was rather good - Eugenia was friendly and the staff were prompt and responsive to our needs. Food came at a good speed.

Excellent new restaurant, quite worthy to take over the special place Sage holds in my heart. I will be back with a big bold bottle of red to try the beef or lamb.

Happy birthday darling AL! The theme of the night was Mafia and Mistresses - group shot of all the mistresses (or are we mafia?)!

Trust Yourself - Divine Idea

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

Image from here
This one completely has me stumped ( i think it may be, in part, to all that grandiose language.... ). There is a divine idea which represents me? Really? Thats the first i've heard of it...

Please not the hint of sarcasm here, but truth be told i really dont know what to say here. I understand what the question is asking - in what areas of my life am i just following along and copying the crowd, holding my true self back by feeling like i have be the same as everyone else.... i just dont think there are any. There is nothing where i'm really trying to  " keep up with the Joneses ". There are, of course, things that others have that i would like; attributes that others have that i inspire to cultivate in myself. But nothing where i am deliberately cloning the behaviour of others in order to do... what ? Fit in? No - i learned a while back that no matter how hard i tried, monkeying the behaviour of others in order to become i wanted to be wasnt going to work. Not for me anyway - "fake it til you make it " might work for other people, but it was never going help me out.

So, in conclusion.... i have no asnwer. I dont know what my " divine idea " is yet ( and to be quite frank, that whole phrase just sounds so pompous to me ), but what i do know is that being a sheep and following along, in imitation of others, is not going to help me find it...

Trust Yourself - Your Personal Message

( By Eric Handler ) What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

Image from  here

I'd say - mistakes are only human; whats important is that we learn from them. Negative emotions will come, im many forms ( revenge, jealousy, bitterness, lonliness, hatred ) but as hard as it is we need to let ourselves feel them... as humans we need to experience the full range of the emotional spectrum. In the end, what you make of yourself is entirely up to you - hold steady to the good things, let go of the bad, and remember always that you are an important part of the universe. Without you, it literally wouldnt be the same....

Trust Yourself - Scared To Do

( By Mary Jaksch )Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.

You know what - i think i've written about quite a bit of " scary " stuff on here. Depression, suicide, loneliness, heartbreak, lying, manipulation and selfishness. Thats some pretty scary shit right there, some stuff that i know other bloggers wouldnt even contemplate writing about. But back when i started this blog, thats primarily what it was for - it was a way of externalising all those things that were weighing me down. It really didnt matter to me whether anyone else read it or not ( although helpful comments were always appreciated ). So when i first saw the question posed in this prompt, i really didnt know what i could answer with. " I've done all the scary stuff - end question " ? And then it hit me...
Image from here
Revenge. Cold, hard, bitchin' revenge. I dont want to admit the feelings i'm having because to even think them makes me sick - what kind of person must i bet to feel this way? Doesn't even having these thoughts make me just as bad as she was? Or does it make me as bad as she said i am? But now here i am, going to admit them, in writing, for all of you to judge .... and thats scary. But you know what would be so satisfying to me? The " revenge " that would make me feel so much better about the way she treated me? What would make me feel like the "winner" ?

Falling pregnant and having another beautiful baby before she does....


Let me let you in on a little secret. The wine prices at Incontro are AMAZING. Take the Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2008 (delicious burst of dark berry and tobacco) from Eden Valley for example. I have a bottle in my fridge which I bought from Wine Directions for $51. Over at Incontro, you can order it for $54 a pop – the (what) mark-up is wayyy reasonable. I wish I could say the same for many other restaurants out there.

Incontro is this rustic Italian bistro and bar located at Robertson Quay and it is officially my favourite wine bar for now. The food is not particularly impressive but it’s good enough. Give me my wine and some Tête de Moine with crackers and I’m a happy girl. In true Italian hospitality, the service is friendly and attentive.

Unlike many other wine bars which carry mostly mainstream labels, what I like about Incontro is its carefully selected wine portfolio which the owners personally enjoy and recommend. When I complimented Amy on the fantastic setup she had going, she replied that they wanted to create a haven for people to enjoy wines at affordable prices.

We had the “La Braja” 2007 from Piemonte last night and it was a cracker, that one! I think you will find me at Incontro A LOT.

Polly Dolly - High School High

And for a breif break in #Trust30 broadcasting - its time for Polly Dolly! ( My favourite weekly memo brough to you by the very talented Dani over at Danimezza ). This week Dani is taking us, and our Polly's, all back to.... 
Polly Dolly - High School High
So thats me, right there - i typically lived ( during winter ) in a hoodie and jeans, or comfy cords like Polly is wearing. I'd wear some kind of skate shoes and i like tieing scarves in my hair, Alice band style, for a bit of colour and style ( my hair wasnt long enough for pony tails or braids or buns... ). I always at least two rings - usually three or four - and they were all either silver statement rings or silver and garnet. And, despite not being too much into makeup at the time, i hardly ever went without mascara and eyeliner. My friends and i went to the movies A LOT and if we couldnt afford the cinema we had movie nights at each others houses... and if i wasnt watching a movie, you could find me in my room, listening to sad/angry music and writing bad emo poetry ( hence the notebook and pen ). Oh yea - i was totally emo on in the inside i just didnt feel the need to do the white make up/black clothes thing!
What was your high school style?  

Trust Yourself - Five Years

( By Corbett Barr ) There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?

Me, circa late 2005/early 2006
Dearest 2006 Me - congratulations on getting the optical dispensing job. You were a little worried that you'd return from your year in the USA and not be able to find work, but it only took you 6 weeks. You will have to study, and towards the end of your course you will become a little disillusioned ( some of that old negativity creeping in... ) but dont fret - you pass the course, get your qualification and get licenced. You'll be very proud of yourself, and so you should be.
You wont be stuck at home with Mum and Dad forever either. You'll move out, then back in to save some cash, and the you'll buy a place of your own. This place will become your first family home - yes, despite how you feel right now, the way you get anxious and despair about ever having anyone to love you, you DO find someone. Or they find you, you're still not sure exactly how it worked.... but you find each other and fate deals the cards and you make yourself a fine little family. Your son is becoming quite the little person - he makes you proud, and you love him dearly. Just like your family love you.... dont ever forget that. You'll have your black moments where it all seems futile, but hold steady - it's all going to come good in time.
Enjoy SE Asia when you get there,
The 2011 You.

Future me? Maybe... image from here
Dearest 2016 Me - How are things? Here's how i hope they are - i hope you have a happy marriage; that you have at least two beautiful children ( one more than you currently have ); that you find a better job than you have now and are content in your work; and i hope that you've sold your first family home. It was full of love ( and unfolded washing and magazines you hoarded and bloody toast crumbs all through the carpet ... ) but it was a bit too small for more than three people. I hope that you've found a wonderful family-sized house, and that you've made it into a comfortable home for your children to grow up in. I hope that you can look back at me, the 2011 you, and see me as a strong, resilient woman, and that you are glad for the way that i was... I literally made you what you are ( or aren't, as it may turn out to be ). I'm looking at you, five years away from the here and now, and i'm almost certain the soul-searching i'm doing in this time and place will make you a good woman, a good mother, a good wife. A good person.
Give 2016 Mick a big, dirty, pash from me,

The 2011 You.

Trust Yourself - Dare To Be Bold

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

( By Matt Cheuvront ) Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.
The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

Their was only one thing that immediately came to my mind when i got to pondering these question - I want to be a childrens author.

I've always wanted to - even in kindergarten, when my teachers read my little stories that were a paragraph long instead of just one sentence like the other kids, i would say " When i grow up, i'm always going to write stories ". When asked the same question in Year 6, my final year of primary school, i answered " an author or a paediatrician " ( That last one fell off the radar when i realised too much blood and yucky stuff doesnt make me feel well ). I even expressed the same wish here last year, posting a story i had written for my son and asking you other mummies to critique it. It reviewed well... so whats holding me back?

Fear, certainly - fear of rejection ( What if i think i'm good but no-one else does? ); fear of failure ( What if i concentrate all this effort and nothing comes of it ? ); and, strangely, fear of success ( What if i got one book published and then i couldnt produce a second ? ). But also lack of " know how " - aside from sending off a manuscript to a publishing house, i would have no idea how you go about getting a childrens book publised. I have no contacts in the industry and certainly no-one in my social circle who would have any either. My blog is not well known enough to garner any attention that could help promote any writing i do, and there is no way in the known universe that i have the finances to self-publish ( i dont think i'd want to know anyway - its apparently quite the difficult and thankless route to take ).

So where to from here? I keep churning ideas through my head, keeping noting them down and trying to make something of them; i research publishing house and agents and other novice authors; I volunteer my writing services on websites like Digital Parents and try and get my name out there. I post stories now and then on my blog to see how the childrens-book-reading public respond, and i hope that they enjoy reading them as much i enjoy writing them, that their children might get so excited by the story that they demand repeat readings. I'd love to illicit that kind of response from small children, that huge smile that lights up their faces and the little giggles they get when the words sound funny to them.

I love that stuff - that, that right there, thats what i want to accomplish....

Trust Yourself - Come Alive

Another of the #Trust30 posts - and just for future reference, for the ext month or so you can assume every post is a #Trust30 post unless i say otherwise...
( By Jonathon Mead) Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.
Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

One week, in the scope of things, is not a very long time ( though much longer than the 15 minutes were given in the first prompt of the #Trust30 challenge ). It might be long enough to organise that sky-dive you've always wanted to do, or take that short trip up the coast that you've been promising yourself, or to dance on the table tops nude at your favourite pub. But, in the scope of things, one week really is not that long a length of time. So, if i did only have that short time left, what would i want to NOT have to worry about? What would i want out of the way so i could enjoy the time i had left?

I'd quit my job - that ones a given. Not only would i not want to spend my last 7 days on Earth working, but i wouldnt want to be working for the company that i am now.
I'd hastily arrange a marriage certificate and licence and tie the knot, even if our parents and Flynn were the only ones in attendance. And...
I'd take my brother aside and tell him to grow up. None of us are sulky teenagers anymore and that means more empathy and less selfishness and immaturity.

Those are the three things that i'd want to get off my plate - off my " To Do " list, so to speak. So why dont i do them now? Why are they still loitering on that list of things that need doing, just not in the forseeable future? Well - the wedding IS in the forseeable future. With only 5 months til our big day i think we can pretty much take it as a given that this WILL happen. Quitting my job? Well, being the responsbile adult and mother that i like to think that I am... i cant quit without another job to go to. I cant just leave my family hanging for the sake of my own happiness. It might be sad to say, but sometimes we need to put our own satisfaction and happiness aside, just for a little while, to benefit the greater good. I wont do it forever though - in fact, i am currently looking a other employment options and should they not work out i fully intend on not going back to my current job after my next period of maternity leave. ( Having another child is also at the top of my " To Do " list....unfortunately that one doesnt have instaneous results, and wont be hurried ).

And the brother thing? Lets just say someone needs reminding about the importance of family, and the way its supposed to work. He also needs reminding that just has he aged so have others, and though he still wants to see them as they were, theyve grown and matured and so should he. The reason i dont say this to him in the here and now is because, right now, it isnt exactly my place. And, even if it were, there would be repercussions that maybe i dont want to deal with. ( Selfish? Yes - perhaps this is a slight case of the pot calling the kettle black.) So i dont say it, though if it isnt said soon - by me or whomever else - it might end up being too late.
So thats that - those are things i'd need to do to allow myself to breath and feel alive for my last week on Earth. After those were out of the way... sky-diving? Freaking hell yea! Trip up the coast? Definately - Mick and Flynn included. Nudie table dancing at the pub? Even with only a week to live, methinks not....