Why is the sky blue?

23 April 2014

Blue Sky

My 9 year old son and I were running through the park. I was helping him train towards running his first 5kms, and he was doing quite well so far.

The weather was amazing. The air was crisp and cool. The sky was bright and blue. There was not a cloud in the sky.

All was going fine until we took a 20 second break.

Between puffs, my son asked me, “Mum, why is the sky BLUE? If the earth is in space, and space is black, shouldn’t the sky look BLACK?”

I rolled my eyes. Is this kid for real? Deep, complicated questions while we are sweating?

I rustled through a rolodex of “Quick Answers” in my brain… but nope, I found nothing.

I had no idea WHY the sky was blue.

His question was a good one. Why isn’t the sky a depressingly black colour?

I blurted, “I dunno, let’s look it up when we get home.” And sprinted off the last 2kms.

So here it is, after an hour or so on the Internet… the answer (as I understand it) to the very good question:  “Why is the sky BLUE, not black?”

The earth’s atmosphere is made up of zillions of tiny molecules, mainly nitrogen and oxygen. These have no colour of their own. But when sunlight goes through the atmosphere, the oxygen and nitrogen molecules get very excited (lucky them!),which makes them turn into a kind of one-molecule antenna that radiates and scatters the sunlight in all different directions.  But sunlight looks white, and so the sky should look white, right? And that would just be too plain!

But NO. White sunlight is actually a combination of all the colours of the rainbow. If you look at the colours of the rainbow on a spectrum, red light has a slow frequency, green has a fast frequency and blue and violet have very fast frequencies. ALL the colours of the rainbow are scattered by the atmospheric molecules. But the size of the molecules produces an antenna that is BETTER at scattering high frequency colours – blue and purple light – not red, yellow or green light.

Therefore the sky should actually look blueish purple! Now, that would be quite garish and trippy if you ask me.

BUT (and this is my favorite bit) because human eyes are more sensitive and receptive to blue light (our eye receptors are made up of red cones, green cones and blue cones)… the sky LOOKS BLUE TO US , but not necessarily to other animals.

And THAT is why the sky is blue, not black, or white, or a funky rainbow, or disco lurid purple.

I really liked that answer. It was simple and elegant… much like most of the mysteries of life.

My son was rather unimpressed. He wanted an answer involving aliens and laser beams.

But I was actually pretty impressed.

The sky looks so beautifully and cheerfully blue because, after however many millions of years of evolution… that’s how we like to see it.

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.


 

Exploding Bread

22 April 2014

I’ve been trying to make bread. And by that I mean, nice, fancy bread. Good-looking proper bread, from scratch.

I guess the whole idea started because I wanted fresh homemade bread to go with my homemade dips for my dinner parties.

So I tried out a sour dough recipe. I mixed up the yeast. I kneaded it, threw it in a pan, and left it on the bench top to let it rise.

I came back 30 minutes later and OOPS!

Exploding Bread

A frozen, doughy, mushroom cloud of Karen’s stupidity!

And to further prove my daftness, I have to admit that actually… this is the forth or fifth time this has happened!

I keep trying to make bread, leaving it in warm, dark places and then coming back to find hideous and embarrassing monstrosities, like a science experiment gone wrong.

Then of course, I just throw these bread fails into the oven – just as I find them. They bake and harden into crusty explosions. I just can’t get them right. So why can’t I get it right? Well, mostly because I just can’t be bothered with reading the instructions properly. It is one of my failings, I admit. Creativity, confidence and recipe instructions, just don’t mix.

Thankfully the bread still tastes good, but looks terrible!

My kids think it’s hilarious.


 

My Total Girly Party in Singapore

20 April 2014

A few weeks ago, I went on a quick trip to Singapore. Yes, it was JUST ME – no kids and no husband. I was only there for a few days, but oh man, I crammed so much in.

The most outstanding and toe-wiggling-exhilarating part of the whole trip was that I could go throughout my day and make decisions WITHOUT having to consider anyone else!!

Forgive my lameness. But that was huge for me. HUGE!

I could wake up at any time I wanted. I could eat anything I wanted. I could GO and DO any god damn thing I felt like doing, in my own freaking sweet time.

sg-sunrise

So the first morning? I woke up at 6am. Because each day was MEANT TO BE LIVED YO!

I saw the sunrise over Orchard Road and listened to the sounds of a city waking up.

sg-poolside

I went downstairs for a swim and did 12 laps.

I ate watermelon and croissants for breakfast. And I didn’t have to share.

It had been 2 hours since I woke up and I had not spoken a word to anyone. Oh the bliss.

sg-bodytech

By 10am, I went to join some friends for an EMS training session. EMS stands for electro muscular stimulation, and it involved me putting on a suit which delivered electrical impulses to activate my muscles. It’s like a weight session at the gym without any stress or impact on the joints.

That’s right, I got electrocuted so my muscles will look bigger! It was pretty intense and it felt very weird (bordering on distressing). But I left the studio feeling pretty good, as if I had done an hour of weights at my regular gym.

Then my girlfriends and I went for coffee and morning tea, of course.

We did a bit of window shopping, of course.

We went to get a full manicure, pedicure, and gel nails. It was a total girl party.

We did more window shopping.

Sat in another café.

More shopping.

Oh and we squeezed in a neck, back, shoulder and feet massage, just before dinner.

sg-massage

When I say “squeezed in” it actually took 45 minutes… and you know what? We just POSTPONED DINNER. Which is something you can’t do when you have small children.

After the heavenly massage, we wobbled blissfully over to dinner at Holland Village. And we chose the noisiest and most NOT kid friendly restaurant we could find.

Unfortunately after that, my girlfriend had to leave. It was 10pm after all and she had to get up at 6am… to look after her kids.

But me? I was a single lay-dee that night. Uh huh, that’s right, you know what I mean. My night was just beginning!

So I caught at cab to Raffles City and joined some other girlfriends at the end of their dinner.

sg-raffles

Check out the view! 70 stories up!

They were dining at a restaurant called Jann, and having a ridiculously expensive degustation and they kindly included me in for the last course – dessert!

sg-jann

Oh my, it was a gastronomic spectacle. There was smoking dry ice, rosemary chocolates, peanut brittle salted caramel spoons, fluffy marshmallow coconut cubes… it was all so delicious.

I also had an after-dinner coffee to wash everything down. I know! Caffeine at 11pm! Naughty me!

Then we headed over to Club St to meet other friends for drinks. I got the impression that it was THE cool place to hang out these days. The place was a little street where each end of the street was closed off to traffic, and all the people just flowed out of the bars that lined the street creating a huge, heaving crowd. I felt like I was in a club, but we were outdoors.

It was a fun! I drank some champagne! I got hit on! I talked over really loud music until I lost my voice! I met some cool people! I caught a cab and went home at 1am! Go me!

I got to bed by 2am, and I had to be up again at 6am, to catch a bus to Malaysia.

Phew. It was a huge day.

Sure, I missed my husband and I missed my boys.

But at the same time, it doesn’t happen often, so I lapped it all up and enjoyed every single hour of my day.

Stay tuned for my adventures in Malaysia :)


 

Liam Turns 5!

15 April 2014

My little chicken turned 5 years old and we had a kind of mini festival for him – celebrating his birthday over a few weeks, with lots of different groups of family and friends.

Liam Turns 5

For all his best friends from school, we threw him a huge party in our backyard.

We put up a bouncy castle, we had snacks and lots of play time. My older boys organised and lead some simple games for the kids, like relays, egg and spoon races, “What’s the Time Mr Wolf” chasey games. I was so proud of them, it was a fun party!

I made a two tiered cake, which Liam requested to be in the theme of Disney’s Lightning McQueen. I totally stole the idea and design off the internet, so I get no points for originality!

Liam Turns 5

I made two chocolate cakes. The bottom tier was 18cms in diameter and the top tier was 10cms.

(Unfortunately – as I found out at the end – the cake recipe I used was much too dry, stogey and it just didn’t taste very nice. Boo! So I have to find myself a new chocolate cake recipe for next time, and make sure I do a bit more testing.)

Liam Turns 5

I bought some white fondant, which I dyed, rolled out and moulded to make a desert & sky scenery for the base.

The fondant was too soft for my liking. It kept sagging and my moulded figures wouldn’t hold their shape. I had to constantly keep moving the cake in and out of the fridge to keep the fondant in place. I have to find a good quality fondant next time. From a proper cake shop! And stop buying supermarket brands!

Liam Turns 5

I made a checkered flag design for the top tier. I made some stars from yellow fondant. I printed out a Disney Cars logo and super imposed my son’s name in the middle. I decorated the cake with Cars characters which made the whole cake looks so lively and happy.

The result was awesome! I was really happy with the end result and Liam just LOVED the cake!

Happy Birthday Liam, we loved making a fuss of you!


 

A Bit of Refurb Magic

14 April 2014

Outfit: Refurb Magic

Last month, I realised that I had quite a few clothes that I didn’t wear anymore because they “didn’t quite fit right”. For example, I have a skirt with a waist that is a bit too loose. Or the legs of some pants are a bit too long. Or the neckline of a top is too low. And so on.

So I spent a few hours going through my wardrobe and pulling out all these items… and to my embarrassment, I made a VERY BIG PILE. All these unworn clothes! Thus I began My Refurb Project, promising myself that I will spend a few hours here and there, sewing up a few of these unused clothes. I’m so glad that I’ve started, because it’s like rediscovering old favourites that fit me PERFECTLY!

I wore two of these refurbished goodies the other day.

My Sass and Bide Tank had shoulder straps that were a little *too long*, so that the neckline dipped just a touch*too low*, showing a bit *too much* cleavage for you know, a casual day time look. My boobs weren’t exactly going to pop out, but I found myself quite conscious that I had lots of skin on display. I actually find this happens with most Sass and Bide tanks that I try on. I guess Sass and Bide models are not Asian shorties like me!

I also have a pair of black JBrand Super Skinny Capri Jeans – which are so insanely comfortable, soft and snug. But they are a tiny bit loose at the waist, and since I don’t like to wear a belt with them, I find that throughout the day, they ride down and make my ass look saggy. And I have to constantly pull up the back of my pants like my 5 year old son does.

So I sewed a 1cm dart at the waist and they sit so much better. Yay!

Outfit: Refurb Magic

As for my handbag – which is not refurbished – it is a Tory Burch Thea Cross-body bag that I bought recently and I am so in love with the rose blush colour!

The size is just a little bigger than your standard cross body bag (19cm x 24cm x 9cm) so it fits everything from my rather large purse, my smart phone, compact camera and powder compact, lippie and even a packet of tissues. It’s a fantastic everyday bag, that looks refined and tailored, with an added tassle charm. It’s just adorable.

It also goes so well with my gold and my rose gold jewellery and wrist-wear.

Outfit: Refurb Magic

Lastly, I ‘m wearing my super comfy sandals from Vangoh Shoes.

My fedora hat was a gift.
My necklaces are from Wanderlust + Co.

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


 

The Joy of Rainfall Showers

10 April 2014

Earlier this month, my sister got married at a fancy shmansy hotel in Perth.

Because I was a bridesmaid, and because I was going to be out and about doing wedding things from 6am to 11pm, I knew I needed a place to crash during the day – thus I booked a room at the hotel.

It was an excellent decision. The wedding reception dinner ended late. It was too late for my youngest boy, so my husband took him home early (hello 9pm bedtime!), leaving my older two boys to stay overnight at the hotel with me.

Crown Hotel, Perth

This is us at 11pm, after a looong day. We were at the lift lobby about to head to our hotel room.

The room was lovely, modern and super stylish. It was a bit of a splurge, but the extra money spent was lost on me. You see, I’m a bit indifferent to all the over-the-top poshness. I am not too fussed about fancy accommodation. I’m happy, as long as my room is clean, comfortable, quiet and it has the hotel basics.

But my boys? My goodness. They were sooooooo excited.

Their eyes were popping out of their heads! They couldn’t BELIEVE how new, shiny, soft, clean, well designed, stylish, modern and expensive everything was!!!

They were falling over themselves. Oh my gosh, this carpet is so soft! Feel how soft the pillow is! No way! THIS quilt! It is soooo fluffy! This bed! Freaking amazing! Look at me! I feel like I’m being swallowed by a marshmallow! It’s like I’m making snow angels on the mattress! I could die and be happy on this bed! I want to live on this bed! Look at this lamp! No look at this clock! Oh the curtains! They are so thick! Look how smoothly they glide over the tracks! WHOA look at the shower! And the bath!

Oh man, they just went on and on and on like that, non stop, for ages. I thought it was soooooo adorable and hilarious and beautiful and innocent and just an example of how children enjoy such simple things with such pure joy.

I stood back with a huge smile on my face. I remember being 8 years old and completely astonished by the insides of a hotel room. As an adult, of course, the novelty of it is considerably less. But as a mother, my joy was in the happiness and contentment I felt knowing that my children were experiencing such a thing for the first time ever.

Crown Hotel, Perth

The next morning, I ordered our breakfast to come up to the room. Just as an extra treat :)

It was 7am, and again my boys were failing over themselves with excitement. WHOA! Room service! Just like in the movies! OMG this french toast is so fluffy! The maple syrup is so good! This is the best poached egg I’ve ever eaten! My taste this danish pastry! I’m going to cry! This croissant is still hot! Oh yum this bacon is so so soooo goood muuum!

Crown Hotel, Perth

Then we went downstairs to check out the pool, hot spas and water slides. We found lounge chairs, poolside cocktails, and a pool table. The weather was just amazing.

After that, we went back to our rooms, so the boys could have a shower. They sat under the rainfall shower head, completely blissed out. Then they moved on to the bath (I just ¼ filled it because I felt terrible to waste so much water!), and covered themselves with water and bubbles and splashed around with glee, like seals.

I was in a very playful mood, and I kept interrupting their merriment.

I casually reminded them that they had once told me their ULTIMATE holiday was camping in the wilderness, with bush walking, a bonfire,  no tv, no electricty, no water supply and where we had to dig our own toilet in the ground!

I teased them and said, “So which kind of holiday would you prefer NOW???”

They sat back in the bath, with a crown of soap suds placed deliberately on their heads and under their noses like moustaches, and they were thoughtful for a few moments.

After a few minutes, they both agreed that a camping trip is still their most ideal holiday, but a 5 star hotel is nice… once in a while.

And with that they wrapped themselves up in the big, oh-so-fluffy, white robes, with white slippers on their feet and spun around on the swivel chairs till they fell off laughing.

I love my boys and I love their happiness.


 

Bridesmaids Dresses from White Runway

4 April 2014

A few weeks ago, I was a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding.

I think my official title and role was “The Chief Bridesmaid” – which sounded a little scary, possibly involving sacrificial animals and tribal initiations.

Thankfully it was a lot simpler than that, just involving pretty dresses.

So part of the Chief Bridesmaid’s job was to help decide WHAT the bridesmaids – just two of us – were going to wear, our earrings, our shoes, our hair, our make up, our nail colours, and our style of eye lashes (I’m not kidding).

Thankfully my sister is not the Bridezilla type. She was very relaxed and easy going about all of it.

For the bridesmaids dresses, she wanted two matching navy dresses, that were flattering, comfortable, gorgeous and something that we could wear again and again.

We chose these two BEAUTIFUL dresses from White Runway – an online shop specialising in bridesmaids dresses, formal evening dresses, cocktail dresses and mother of the bride dresses.

Gah the dresses were sooooo pretty and soooo flattering!

Bridesmaids

This is Rui Hsian and I, posing in our Mikaela dresses and ready to head out the door to do bridesmaidy things.

They are actually by an Australian designer that I adore, Pia Gladys Perey (via White Runway).

I already have several of her dresses – all super soft, super comfortable, stretchy and easy to wear, and all made in her signature slinky, silky fabric that drapes wonderfully.

The fabric didn’t need to be ironed too. I literally just folded up the dress loosely into my luggage, then when I arrived at the hotel, I hung it up for 30 minutes before wearing it, then viola, I was good to go. I also have to add, that they were very affordable, for bridesmaids dresses.

But I think the best thing about my dress is that I can wear it again, out to dinner, out to a function, out to someone else’s wedding. It’s versatile!

If you check out the all the Pia Gladys Perey dresses, you can actually choose a different style of dress, but choose the same colour and fabric. So all your bridesmaids can have a dress that best suits their style and body shape, and be all matching. Very clever!

Bridesmaids
(Photo by Jason Tey)

Our hair and make up was done by local hair and makeup artist, Creations by Kassy.

I cannot begin to describe what a great job she did with our hair, make up, eyes, eye lashes and eye brows (oh wow those brows!).

I took a peek into her makeup kit and almost died with envy. She had all the “best of the best” cult beauty products – from Urban Decay, to Smashbox and classics like MAC, Nars etc etc.

And the three of us (bride and bridesmaids) looked incredible from 7am all the way til evening! My makeup didn’t melt in the sun, or smudge, or go all shiny or oily. I needed a touch up of lippie before dinner, but my face makeup was matte all day. Amazing! What kind of beauty magic do these makeup people use?!

Bride and Bridesmaids
And lastly, here’s another shot of the three of us, in all our girlified glory!

Love and sunshine to you all xxx


 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake + Ice Cream

3 April 2014

Almond Chocolate Cake

I am so in LOVE with this chocolate cake recipe! I’ve made it before, in this blog post, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.

I don’t use flour. I use almond meal instead.

I also have been experimenting with the recipe by using less and less sugar each time. I’m down to 70g of sugar, it still tastes amazing and it’s still a winner every time I make it (original recipe asked for 100g).

In this picture, I served it with homemade ice cream, mixed berries and roasted pistachios.

OMG soooo yummy!

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter
140g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
70g of brown sugar
3 eggs separated
140g of almond meal

Toppings
vanilla ice cream
mixed berries
pistachios

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.

2. Slowly melt chocolate, butter and brown sugar, until smooth. Then let it cool for 5 minutes.
(You can melt it in a bowl over hot water, or melt it in the microwave. I just melt them in a small pot on the stove, on VERY low heat!)

3. Whisk the egg whites until you can make firm peaks when you lift the whisk up.

4. Add the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, then stir in the almond meal. Mix until well combined.

5. Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, until well combined. Pour into cake tin.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for another 10 minutes. Turn the cake onto a plate to cool completely.

7. Add toppings and serve immediately!

Enjoy!!!


 

To Stay In Luve

2 April 2014

My youngest son Liam turned five last week. As the baby in the family, he has gotten away with bad behavior for longer than anyone else. My fault, I have to admit… he is my LAST baby.

So, I have been going all “Tiger Mom meets Super Nanny” on him recently, to get him to stop his anti-social behavior. He is often sent to his room to ponder the error of his ways, and calm his red hair down.

Often, he emerges with a note he has written as a peace offering.

And this is my favorite one so far.

Scroll down to the bottom of the note, where I have translated it from Liam-speak into a human-readable form.

To Stay In Luve

“I need to remember not to kick, punch or hit my brothers. Especially, don’t say swear words. This will all help to maintain the love in our family.”

Well, he is getting the message, but obviously, I need to work with him on his spelling, letter formation, grammar an general neatness. Some lined paper wouldn’t hurt either.

Damn, I Luve that kid so much.


 

Love is in the air!

1 April 2014

As I mentioned before, my little sister got married!

BT & CC Wedding

Oooh I just love weddings! And this one was extra special because it involved my one and only sister, a great guy, and all of my family. I was a bridesmaid and part of the wedding party, my 2 sons did a special reading during the ceremony and my youngest son was a ring bearer.

It was such a sweet and fun day… and everyone was giddy with happiness and love!

So as promised, I have a few photos to share.

The photos were taken by Perth wedding photographer Jason Tey, who did an amazing job. When I saw the photos, I squealed with delight upon seeing how pretty my sister looked, how great her husband looked when posing (not awkward or forced), how natural everyone looked, and how the light was captured so… exquisitely!

BT & CC Wedding

I love this shot, they totally look like Korean movie stars :)

This pic needs a title like “The Proposal” or “52 Pairs of Shoes” or something like that superimposed on top.

BT & CC Wedding

Pretty dresses, sparkly earrings, pretty flowers, pretty hair, glam hair, gorgeous makeup – this is one serious girlyness overload.

From the left, of course that’s me, my sister Christine, and Rui Hsian, who is my sister’s long time friend from high school.

Rui Hsian and I are both married with kids, and while we suspected that our official titles were supposed to be “MATRONS OF HONOUR”, we insisted that everyone called us “The Bridesmaids”.

I’ve had so many people compliment us and ask about our dresses, so I’ll be talking about the dresses in another blog post (this Friday!).

BT & CC Wedding

And here we all are. The damn fine looking bridal party at Brookfield Place, in Perth City.

The photographer and videographer followed us all day, from morning till night (9am – 9pm)… and we even traipsed across the city to several locations, just to take special wedding party photos.

It sounds pretty epic and tiring, but we had so much fun, chatting and laughing, and it was all very relaxed and chilled.

Surprisingly the photographer (and videographer) didn’t get in the way at all, they didn’t crowd the space, they weren’t annoying, awkward, pushy or in our faces. They just got on with the things they needed to do, dashing in and out without interrupting our fun.

It was like being on a great big, girly party all day long!

xxx


 

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