Archive for June 2008

 

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The Sand Between My Toes

30 June 2008

Boys at South Perth Foreshore

Happiness is,

A spontaneous trip to the river foreshore.

Watching my boys laugh and play for hours.

Chilling out on the sand. Soaking up the warm winter sun.

Then having my boys run up to me and

plant sandy kisses on my cheeks.


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FashionJunkee sponsors “Doing The Karen Cheng”

29 June 2008

fashionjunkee.com

Wow. Only a few days till I go to Singapore, and “Do The Karen Cheng” with readers of this blog to raise money for those in need. I am so excited to let you know that we have already raised US$1000 for this cause.

I have previously talked about FashionJunkee.com, an online fashion boutique, and when they heard about this charity event I was organising, they offered to sponsor a gift to the Singapore Red Cross of – just let me say this again – ONE THOUSAND U. S. DOLLARS!!

The check (and a couple of their latest dresses) are in an express parcel pack as I write this, to meet me at my hotel in Singapore when I arrive there on Wednesday. So, now I know what I’ll be wearing! What will you be you wearing?

I’m also glad to say that we have another sponsor as well. Carrey Hill Events Management in Singapore are very generously organizing the event (at VERY short notice) where we will be “Doing The Karen Cheng”.

I’ll publish the details of this location on Thursday or Friday here on this website, and also on the Facebook group “Doing The Karen Cheng” and the Facebook event “Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore”.

We’re still confirming all the details. It might be in the Orchard district, or maybe somewhere else.

If you are planning to come, please indicate this with an RSVP at the Facebook “Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore” event.

Please support and check out FashionJunkee’s latest garments at www.fashionjunkee.com.

EEEK!! So excited!


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Fashion Boutique Review: Zekka

28 June 2008

Zekka Menswear and Cafe

In my boutique travels, I was tipped off to visit a new menswear concept store and cafe on Kings Street, called Zekka.

Upon entering, it is hard not to ooh and ahh. With it’s discrete shop signage, a mysterious laneway, wall murals, eclectic mix of furniture, dramatic lighting, amazing architectural shop fittings and art sculptures – this shop is designed to uber perfection.

I managed to have a chat to the owners, Scott and Connor. They were just the loveliest guys – ambitious, fearless, warm, humble and kind.

They had previously been business partners, opening Test Tube, a designer homewares shop in Mount Lawley. After that, they wanted to try something different and not done in Perth before, combing upmarket menswear and a cafe in one space.

I love the way they talked about their business ventures: casual, humble, with understated confidence. As if they were talking about a little project they just happened to find in their garage. But to look around and see what they have created from nothing, I was in awe. You can see more great pictures here.

Zekka Menswear and Cafe

These guys have created an amazing shopping experience for me. Browsing through designer garments, feeling like I’m walking through an art gallery, gawking at art sculptures and quirky window displays, then sitting down and enjoying a coffee and a gourmet sandwich – it was all very cool.

Zekka stocks a range of upmarket, international designer menswear, shoes and accessories.

Zekka
74 King Street, Perth Wa 6000
Phone: +618 9481 1772
www.zekka.com (still under construction)


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My Dusty Photo Album: On the Car

27 June 2008

My Dusty Photo Album: On the Car

For my upcoming birthday party, I thought it might be cute to compile some baby photos of myself in a photo album.

As I was browsing through my hard drive, I found a couple of nice pics.

Photo above: My brother was 5 years old, I was 3, and my mother was 34. My little sister had not been born yet. Damn, my mum looks so good!


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My Son the Gymnast

26 June 2008

My 5yo son has been going to gymnastics classes.

At first I made the terrible mistake of paying for the whole term, before I introduced the idea to him. So we rocked up on the first day of term, he cried and never wanted to return.

It took him 4 weeks to get the hang of it. Now he loves it. He absolutely, completely and utterly loves it.

I’m not actually sure what kind of things he learns there, because my husband takes him to the class and stays to watch.

I get the impression they do somersaults, cartwheels, hand stands, and back-flips… BECAUSE.

EVERY TIME we are on a soft surface – grass, carpet, or a rug. My son will place his head on the floor and do some crazy acrobatic trick. It gives me a heart-attack. He is constantly leaping, flipping, tumbling and rolling around.

You know how acrobats can move and control their bodies in slow motion, moving their muscles and limbs like in a graceful performance?

Well my son will do something similar in order to perform a perfect “hand stand” – but then he’ll tip over and land with a WUMPH, flat on his back.

I grimace and smile. Then I give him a weak thumbs up from across the playground. He deserves that much for his enthusiasm.

It’s amazing what little kids can learn – so quickly and with no fear! It’s quite inspiring, in a way.


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Pause For a Moment

25 June 2008

Sunflower Bud

Things have gotten very busy in our little house this last week.

I have been charging around at a zillion miles per hour organising the details of my trip to Singapore – interviews with designers and boutiques, meeting friends, organising birthday drinks, managing a charity event, emailing people, calling people, picking the kids up from school and classes, helping them with homework, cooking dinner, washing clothes.

My brain is full of ideas, plans, strategies, schedules. My thoughts are swirling with reminders and to-dos. Time is getting tighter. And I can just feel something inside me looking for that moment of rest. That quiet place.

My 5yo son grew some sunflowers for a school project. A few weeks later, he brought them home and out of obligation, I planted them in a garden bed next to our car. Just so we would remember to water them everyday.

It’s been lovely seeing them grow. Bit by bit each day. New leaves. A little taller. A little greener. Buds. They are like our little friends swaying in the wind, nodding at us, and waving farewell.

In the midst of our daily hustle and bustle, our flurry of daily activities, rushing here and there, we see LIFE. As it is. Steady and continuous. Ongoing and faithful. Unaffected by us.

I found my moment.

A baby sunflower. It was all I needed.


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Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore

24 June 2008

I‘m going to be in Singapore next weekend, and it’s so cool that I have so many readers in Singapore!

I’d LOVE to meet up and chat with each one of them, especially the ones who have emailed me over the years, but I simply have not had the time to reply to.

Time is so short, and there are so many people. I REALLY want to DO SOMETHING with everyone!

So here is my crazy idea.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from one of my readers who is an aid worker posted to Myanmar (Burma) to help deal with the cyclone disaster there. I won’t mention their name, because it might put them in a difficult position somehow, but a BIG “Hello!” to you.

I saw the devastation on TV, but to then sit down at my computer, find a message from someone who reads my blog, whose job is to literally help these people, well, it made the suffering seem very real and close.

I have to admit, with my kids safe and snug in bed, I realized what a privileged, happy, lucky, secure life I, and all of us who live in developed countries have.

Since then, of course, there has been earthquakes and floods in China, typhoons in the Philippines, not to mention the Boxing Day Tsunami victims, who are still in need. It’s all been on my mind.

And I wanted to do something to help.

So, while I am in Singapore, and it’s my birthday, I am going to raise some money for the Singapore Red Cross. I know they will do good things with it! And I am asking you all to help me!

How does this work?

At 4pm on Saturday the 5th July, I will be dressed up and “Doing The Karen Cheng” in a big mirror somewhere in Singapore, in a public place. A shopping centre, function centre, or hotel lobby. Somewhere central, and easy to get to.

If you’re not familiar with what “Doing The Karen Cheng” is, please read my post about it here, and then head on over to the Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook Group craziness!

I’ll be “Doing The Karen Cheng” with anyone who wants to have some fun, while helping some very needy people. Instead of us spending $10 on coffee and cake, we will each put the $10 in the Red Cross collection box that will be there!

But wait, I need more help!

I haven’t even been in Singapore for six years, and I have no idea where I could find such a big mirror!

So if you are familiar with Singapore, can you suggest where you think a suitable mirror/place might be and I’ll get in contact with the owner to organise permission.

Ideally the mirror would need to be HUGE! In a big open space, outside a shopping centre or hotel, or inside a shopping mall.

We need to know:

> the name of the shop, or hotel, or whatever
> in what shopping centre or street
> in what district
> how long it takes to walk there from public transport

If you have a suggestion (please!) for a place, please email me directly on karen[AT]karencheng.com.au

Facebook Event

Please RSVP to this event on the Facebook EVENT “Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore”.

By rsvp’ing, we can know approximately how many people are coming, and also, I’ll let everyone know the EXACT place of this event. I will also announce the location and any other updates on both Facebook and my site.

I can’t wait to meet everyone! Invite your friends!

Hope to see you all there next Sat!

xxx


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Scuba Diving With Sharks

23 June 2008

Diving with Sharks

I went diving with sharks as part of my birthday “festival”. It was such an incredible experience!

Leading up to the event, lots of people asked me – Are you scared? How do you feel?

The truth was, I wasn’t scared at all. I knew lots of people who have dived in the aquarium before, I know that the sharks are well fed, I know that the aquarium has an excellent safety track record with no incidents, and I know that the aquarium has many divers going into the tank each day and all the sea creatures are used to seeing divers.

So I was feeling very confident, chilled and quite relaxed about the whole thing. In fact I was wondering when I would actually feel THRILLED or SCARED.

As we geared up, I started to feel excited. I was finally doing something that I have wanted to do in such a long time! This was the moment!

We got into the tank, and we swam around. It was very cool! When I used to go diving, very rarely would I see so many large creatures in one place and one time. There were turtles, sting rays, huge cod fish, and of course 20 or so sharks. The biggest shark was 3.5m.

All the sea creatures swam near the surface, and you didn’t want to bump into any of them. So the biggest rule for the tank dive was: stay at the bottom. We were loaded with extra weights to keep ourselves down, and we practically scrambled and crawled along the bottom.

Diving with Sharks

We followed an underwater path along the aquarium tunnel and during the course, we were required to swim OVER the tunnel one by one. Which meant we had to be near the surface for a few seconds, by ourselves. But of course, the dive master would tell us the exact moment to do it.

At this point, I was ever so-slightly nervous. It was like crossing a road. Look left. Look right. Look out for oncoming sharks! I was the first person over. I had so much extra weight added to my dive gear, that it was a real struggle to swim over the curve of the tunnel, but I made it.

I sat on a rock by myself, catching my breath, waiting for the rest of the group. Then I saw this HUGE shark coming towards me. It was just swimming closer and closer in my direction.

At first I was thinking… OK. I’ll just duck a bit lower.

But it just kept coming closer! I shrunk back and back and back, until I was almost curled up like a freaked out turtle. Eeek! It was SO CLOSE TO ME. I swear I could have reached out and touched its head. I was absolutely petrified for a grand total of 3 seconds.

Phew. After that, it was all a walk in the park. I found a shark’s tooth, which was mine to keep! Then we had a hot shower and a cup of tea.

It was an amazing experience!


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A Surprise Getaway

22 June 2008

Oh My Goodness!

For the last couple of months, my husband’s been telling me that he has booked a little “trip for our family” for the weekend of my birthday. I didn’t know any more detail than that. It was a SURPRISE. But he warned me that we would all need warm clothes and water proof boots.

I assumed that we were going down south to stay in a nice bed-and-breakfast by a forest. Or maybe camping in a national park, with winter hiking in the bush. Or maybe we’d stay at an organic farm-stay, with activities for families and children. Spending the day feeding chickens, horses and pigs. That’s okay, I thought – but not very glamorous for my 30th birthday.

But today he told me the REAL surprise he has been planning all along – our kids are staying with my parents, and the two of us are going to Singapore for 4 days! OMG! He’s crazy! I can’t believe it!

I am completely lost for words. Eeek, what an amazing surprise! We’ll be there from 2 July – 6 July. We’ll be catching up with friends, eating, boutique hunting and shopping!! Now I have to plan every day to get the most out of my second favorite place in the world! Only 10 more sleeps!

SINGAPORE, HERE I COME!


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Pizza: Vegetarian and Cheeseless

21 June 2008

Vegetarian / Cheeseless Pizza

My husband is trying to eat less cheese and dairy. So with homemade vegetarian pizzas for dinner, I decided to make him a cheese-less version.

Pita bread with tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, capsicums, green beans, olives, mushrooms.

I cracked an egg in the centre and sprinkled some dukkah (an Egyptian blend of spices and crushed nuts), salt, and cracked pepper all over. Into a 180C oven for 20 minutes.

The smell of the roasted dukkah was INCREDIBLE. My goodness, I could hardly contain myself.

And then I noticed that I had accidentally crumbled feta onto it… CHEESE! OOPS. Silly me. So I decided to eat it myself.

(I made him another one! I’m not that mean!)


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Designer T-shirts Make Us Crazy!

19 June 2008

Sean and Callum

I bought some Threadless t-shirts for my boys the other week, and they arrived today!

Let me tell you this. Children sitting on their bottoms, wiggling, jiggling and unable to contain their excitement… are the cutest thing ever.

Sean (left) running away from a terrifying robot destroying the earth, models New World Order.

Callum (right) trying to look like an evil villain, models The League of Cliche Evil Super-Villains.

My boys. They make me laugh.


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Fashion Boutique Review: Tu

18 June 2008

Boutique Review - Tu

Tu is a fantastic little boutique run by fashion designer Annie Chong. Having worked in the design industry in Singapore and Australia, she now runs a boutique featuring some of her own designs, as well as other Australian and International designers.

I actually discovered her shop by accident, through a friend of mine. When I popped into the store to take a peep, I introduced myself, and it turned out that we have so many of friends in common. It was really nice. We chatted for ages, about fashion, business, careers, clothes, life. She’s one lovely, hardworking and inspiring young woman!

Boutique Review - Tu

As for the clothing, I was absolutely thrilled by her gorgeous selection of dresses!

She has a great range of party dresses, simple dresses, stylish evening gowns, and standout designer dresses. Definitely the place to go if you’re looking for a great outfit for a special occasion. I liked so many of them!

All the garments seemed well priced, there were lots of smaller sizes, everything was of good quality, and unique design. She also stocks a really nice range of handbags, gorgeous designer jewellery, and other cool accessories.

Boutique Review - Tu

Tu is located west of the main Perth City malls, and west of King Street. It’s just along Murray Street, in Shafto Lane. Very easy to get to!

Tu
Shop 9, Shafto Lane, Perth 6000
Phone: 9322 3288

(I have a few more photos at my Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook group.)


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The Adventures of Scuba Diver Karen

16 June 2008

Karen Goes Scuba Diving!

We went scuba diving on the weekend!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband has organised for us to dive with sharks this month. The problem was, I haven’t dived in 6 years, so we decided to have a practice dive at the Rockingham Wreck Trail.

It’s a famously easy and shallow dive for beginners. You basically park your car opposite the main café strip. Get into your gear. Walk down the beach. Get into the water. Swim a bit, and behold, there’s a sunken boat wreck and a few small aircraft wrecks sitting in 12m of water. The wrecks are connected by rope, so you just follow the path.

Rockingham Wreck Trail

OK it sounds pretty glamorous and exciting, but the truth is, the Wreck Trail Dive is actually quite an un-glamorous dive. The beach access is very easy, and the water is always very still. But the terrain is sand, with no natural reef, so there are no caves, no big fish or sting rays, and the visibility is poor (you can only see 2 to 5m ahead of you). People usually go there to practice scuba diving, or to try out new equipment, and there are often lots of dive courses on the weekends.

The wrecks themselves are pretty interesting, especially if you haven’t seen a sunken boat with stuff growing all over it. They are literally covered with sponges and other weird and wonderful things, there are tiny little creatures hanging around, schools of fish, crabs, eels and seahorses! I am always amazed by the huge diversity of colours and textures in the detail of marine life.

Seahorses (Photo by Kieran J Lee)

We saw a couple of seahorses hiding in the growth. As usual, they were just floating around in this spaced out kind of way. I didn’t have an underwater camera, but this photo was taken at the same Wreck Trail, by my fellow club member Kieran Lee from the Underwater Dive Club. Thanks Kieran!

Overall, it was a success. Nothing went wrong. I can still remember how to use my gear! I CAN SCUBA DIVE!

After the dive, we got out of our gear, walked across the road, sat in a café and had a cup of tea. Awesome.


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My Winter Fashion Favourites: Berets

15 June 2008

My Winter Fashion Favourites: Berets

I have always loved wearing beanies and knitted berets!

I love it that I can plop something on my head to cover my bad hair-day moment, to then suddenly look all stylish, and keep my head warm. It’s all good.

I found some cute ones from Urban Outfitters!


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Fashion for the Fish

14 June 2008

My WetsuitFor my upcoming birthday, my husband has organised for us to scuba dive with sharks at the Perth Aquarium. I’ve been wanting to dive with sharks for years!!

I learned how to scuba dive in 2000, and did heaps diving through to 2002. Since then I haven’t touched my wetsuit in 6 years.

This is me in my custom-made, 7mm wetsuit! At the time I bought it, I thought I’d be able to get one off the rack in a “Little Japanese Girl” size. But it worked out better if I just had one custom made to my own measurements. I chose the colours, design, and had extra zips inserted in the legs and sleeves. It fits me perfectly. Like a glove. I love it!

But as I put it on, it suddenly occurred to me: what if wetsuit designs have changed in the last 6 years? What if I rock up to a dive site, feeling all special in my specky, custom-made wetsuit, and everyone raises their eye brows, because, it’s like SO out-of-date?

Haha. Ok, it was a ridiculous thought. When you’re underwater, no one really cares about how fashionable you look at all. But it did make me think about fashion and style merging with practical design in garment wear, and actually, what is fashion, and where are its limits?

So, to go with that ridiculous thought, I thought I’d slip on some pumps to complete my outfit.

Wetsuit Fashion

Definitely something interesting going on with the zips, velcro straps and the shiny black pumps.

I’ve uploaded a few more oh-so stylish (not) photos onto my Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook group.


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My Beef Rendang (and the story behind it)

13 June 2008

Beef RendangEvery time my mother cooks her beef rendang, both my husband and myself tremble with childlike excitement.

We love beef rendang. I will always swear that one day I will learn how to make it from scratch, to embrace my mother’s recipe and to pass it on to future generations.

The only problem is that my mother doesn’t have the recipe written down. It’s all in her head. And her measurements and instructions are all in Chinese Aunty Language:

“it should be the size of two small fingers.”
“sprinkle a bit, but not too much”
“fry it until it smells nice”

It’s like that for all my mother’s recipes and unfortunately I still haven’t learnt a single one of them!!

So it took my husband’s initiative to get me started. He decided to learn how to cook rendang by himself – bypassing both my procrastination and all the Sacred Chinese Mother Rules. He found an excellent Goat Rendang recipe from ABC TV’s “The Cook and The Chef”. Probably a far cry from an authentic Malay recipe, but DAMN it was so good. My husband did so well. I completely recommend it!

I gave it a try the other day, and of course I changed a few things. For example I excluded the sugar, I used less coconut at the end, and I used chuck beef instead of goat.

As I pounded the lemon grass, garlic and ginger, then fried everything up… goodness me, the smells that filled my kitchen was ABSOLUTELY DIVINE. I FELT LIKE A KITCHEN GODDESS.

Thankfully I managed to take a nice picture of it. Rendang smells incredible, but it doesn’t photograph very well!

Here’s my version of it:

(more…)


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That’s not how it works buddy

12 June 2008

Dr Sean

Today my son ran up to me and said,

“Hey mum! Wanna hear my brain?!”


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Shopping in the City

11 June 2008

Change Rooms in the City

I had a few fashion appointments in the City of Perth today. Naturally I made my way over nice and early to check out all the sales. Almost all the stores and boutiques were clearing their stock, and having 30% – 50% (even 70%) off a huge range of stuff. I love shopping in the city!

So behold, more photos of me in clothes! I’m completely loving my “Doing The Karen Cheng” Facebook group!!!

I know it’s all just for a laugh – but I’ve had such amazing feedback! There are almost 600 members and around 250 photos! And lots of people cruising and commenting!

I love the fact that it’s turning into a place to discuss fashion styling and personal style. Plus showing off and looking at clothes! So if you’re interested, head over there, I’ve added a few more pics, and I explain what I was trying to do with these photos above and what/where/how much!

fashionation.wordpress.com

I’d love to introduce you all to Dottie and Stephie, who write one of my favorite Fashion blogs based in Singapore – Fashionation!

I guess everyone knows about my long standing connection to Singapore, and these guys are my source for what is happening in the Singaporean fashion scene!

They have a unique take on the world of fashion, with really well written, interesting stuff – often throwing in a little fashion history to keep it all in perspective, and with a sense of humour!

Dottie and Stephie have taken up the “Doing the Karen Cheng” self-styling and self-photographing challenge, and you see how it went on their site!


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Learning Chinese : AsianParent.com

10 June 2008

One of my goals for this year is to teach myself and my children how to speak Chinese, from scratch!

I can’t speak a word of Chinese, so I need all the help I can get. My strategy so far, is to immerse our family in Chinese books, CDs and DVDs.

Naturally, I scoured the web, hunting down Chinese educational products. My biggest problem with buying over the internet, is that I would prefer to buy something that came recommended by a friend. I didn’t want to buy something, have it shipped over, to then find out that it was terrible. And I knew lots of other people who felt the same way.

So I thought I’d start reviewing Chinese educational products that I’ve actually tested out, and recommend the ones I’ve found to be exceptionally excellent.

I found a great online shop, called Asianparent.com. They have an excellent range of Chinese books and DVDs, so I contacted them and they sent me some products to review. These are my favourites!

1) Early Start Mandarin Chinese DVD
Chinese & English Bilingual DVD (Volume 1) for children age: 1-5

Early Start Mandarin Chinese DVD

I’ve actually tested out a few bilingual DVDs already. This set is by far the best I’ve come across!

It watches like Sesame Street. It shows clear, uncluttered images of the object, with clear Chinese voice overs. Then it repeats the word over and over, using different voices, different photos and graphics, different situations (eating an apple, cutting an apple, rolling an apple).

My children really enjoy it. I can see my 3yo absorbing the new words and memorising them, purely from all the repetition. Whereas, my 5yo will seem to actively memorise and learn at a more cognitive level of understanding. It works really well! Even I can catch on really quickly.

Early Start Mandarin Chinese DVD

Some screen shots of the Early Start Mandarin DVD Volume 2

What I like best about it: It has cute, happy, piano music playing in the background and the voices are pleasant to listen to. It is not irritating and annoying at all. We can happily watch it again and again and again. It’s really lovely, very well produced and it works!!

Also, most Learning Chinese DVD and CD sets have only 1 or 2 voices saying the words. And if the speaker happens to be a 35 year old guy from Beijing, then you learn how to speak Chinese like a 35 year old man from Beijing!!

In the Early Start Mandarin Set, you get to see and hear different Asian and Caucasian kids, at various ages from 2 years to 9 years, say all the words or phrases. And because they all have different voices, you can hear variations of the correct tones and pronunciations, and thus calibrate in your own head how it is supposed to sound with your own voice. I personally found this REALLY helpful to get the tones right.

I have the whole series (4 Discs) : Early Start Mandarin Chinese – All Volumes (1,2,3,4)

2) Mandy and Pandy Say, “Ni Hao Ma?”
Book and Audio CD

Mandy and Pandy

This is really great for practicing basic Chinese. We already know the basic greetings, and some phrases, so this is a nice way to practice while being out and about.

I play the CD in my car, the kids take in turn to hold the book and turn the pages. In just a few days I can remember new phrases, and pre-empt each word.

I’d love to get more of this series so my kids are listen to them in the car!

Mandy and Pandy

What I like best about it: The CD is great – one track for English & Chinese, one for Chinese spoken twice, and one for Chinese spoken once. The little picture book is laid out nicely and easy for kids to follow. It’s short, simple and very effective.

3) Chinese & English Bilingual Dora The Explorer
5 Disc DVD and Flash Cards set for children aged 2-8

Chinese & English Bilingual Dora The Explorer

My kids love Dora The Explorer, but I don’t let them watch it very often. So, you can imagine how excited they were when they saw the Dora box arrive in the mail. When I put it in the DVD player, I was waiting for them to groan, complain, and say it wasn’t REALLY Dora… but they didn’t! They actually enjoyed it.

After watching it, I can verify that the graphics are exactly like the original English version. The Chinese (and English) voices have been dubbed over, and the voices are pretty similar to the original version.

I believe the series is actually for Chinese kids who want to learn English. Dora and Boots speak 80% Chinese and 20% English, and they switch seamlessly during their adventures. Even though the characters speak quickly, my kids managed to pick up a few Chinese words they knew already “hello”, “friend”, “play together” etc.

I think it’s a pretty cool product! If my kids are watching cartoons, I would rather immerse them in something they enjoy, and get their ears used to hearing the Chinese language.

Chinese & English Bilingual Dora The Explorer

What I like best about it: It’s DORA THE EXPLORER and my kids love watching it! There are 5 discs with total of 10 episodes. The flash cards are really nice too.

Conclusion
I discovered that these products work really well together. They all teach the basics, greetings, colours, and numbers in a variety of different ways. With all the repetition, the kids quickly recognise that they have heard the phrases in the previous DVD etc, and it flows pretty well from there.

Also, we pratice a lot! Throughout the day, I try to repeat the things we’ve learned, and quiz them.

We’ve been using these materials from Asianparent.com for the last 3 weeks. First, it was a lot of fun and a very novel activity for the kids. Then there are a few days where it feels like hard work and the kids are a bit bored. Then suddenly, it becomes part of everyday life! That’s when you know it’s worked!


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Personal Goals – June 2008

9 June 2008

Yet Another Mirror Photo

Hey, we’re up to month number 6 already! It’s pretty much HALFWAY through 2008!

So once again, at the start of each month I like to see where I’ve been, what I’m doing and what I’m trying to achieve.

1) Look After My Skin

i) Wear sun cream. Use a good quality moisturiser with at least SPF 15+. Apply in the morning and re-apply in the afternoon. I’ve switched my day moisturiser, tinted-moisturiser and foundation to products with SPF.

ii) Cut down on chocolate. Too much sugar is really bad for skin. I have to be honest with myself, there are only 3 days in the month that I actually NEED CHOCOLATE. So there is a complete ban on chocolate for the other 28 or so days! Wish me luck!

iii) Give up coffee! Too much caffeine is absolutely evil for your skin and body! So I don’t touch the stuff any more.

iv) Drink more water. Winter is here and I’m always reluctant to drink more when it’s cold.

v) Get more sleep. For the last few weeks, I’ve been getting to bed by 11pm and waking up at 6am. Trying to get to bed earlier.

2) Improve My Fitness

I’ve been running twice a week.
Playing netball once a week.
And walking 2km every day.
I FEEL SO GOOD.

3) Snack properly!

All this exercise makes me REALLY hungry. And I’ve been snacking like crazy! Sometimes I’m so hungry I don’t care what I eat – because I NEED FOOD NOW!! So I’ve been trying to eat proper healthy snacks at set times. Which is tricky, because I’m a bit particular with my snacks. So far I like pistachios, dried apple, and cheese + crackers. Does anyone have any snacking suggestions?

4) Get Organised!

I’m all over the place! I have so much happening these next two months!!!

5) Take better photos (with the camera I have)

I’ve been hankering for a new camera, and have my eye on a digital SLR. But argh, we can’t justify spending the money, because, my current one works fine. So I’ve been exercising some self-control and trying to make the best with what I have.

The other day, it was drizzling slightly and we took the kids to the park. The light was PERFECT for some gorgeous portraits. So I had an excellent photo session with the kids, while they splished and splashed in the creek. The results are here and here.

They turned out great! And part of me was so thankful that I didn’t take a $1500 camera into the rain!!

6) Learn a language by myself

It’s been going well, but slowly! I’ve got my hands on some great Chinese material, which I’ll write about soon.

7) Create Something!

I’ve been itching to make something! I have serious screen-printing envy every time I browse through Etsy.com.

8) Scuba Diving!

In a few weeks, I’ll be putting on my wetsuit and jumping into the water again!!


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Kookai Australia – Autumn 2008

8 June 2008

Kookai – Autumn Collection 2008

I just LOVE Kookai’s latest winter collection.

Kookai is a French label, now well established in Australia. I always seem to love their mix of Parisian, boho and classic stlyes. You can buy their stuff online at ASOS.


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Making Baby 3, Part 28: Moving Forward – IUI or IVF

7 June 2008

Pregnancy Test Stick

It’s been a month since my last baby making post, and we’re still not pregnant.

In that time we managed to visit 3 different fertility clinics, and hear a variety of opinions on what we should do.

Interestingly, all three opinions were significantly different. We also learned a LOT about infertility, reasons for infertility and fertility treatments.

But basically, because of our case history, our choices came down to: IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination) or IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation).

IUI is where they take some sperm and inject it directly into the uterus, at the woman’s most fertile moment. They work out the exact time with daily blood tests. Apart from the blood test, and a pap-smear like procedure, it’s not a very “invasive” process.

IVF is quite different. Basically, the woman has to have daily injections of hormones to produce a large number of eggs. It might not sound that bad, but this hormone therapy is famous to be utterly horrendous and brutal on the woman. Huge, scary mood swings for a couple of weeks. Ugh!

The eggs are then harvested in an operation. The eggs are fertilised in a laboratory (hence the term “test tube” babies). Embryos are created. Some might be frozen. And depending on certain policies, the embryo (or two or three) will be inserted into the woman’s uterus, where hopefully it finds a nice place to grow into a baby.

IVF is much more expensive, complicated and invasive – but also more likely to result in a pregnancy.

So again, we have lots to consider.

We’re thinking that we’ll try the conservative option first – IUI.

I’ll let you know how it works out!

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Sean – 3 years, 3 months

6 June 2008

Sean - 3 years, 3 months

I’ve been trying to take better portrait photographs with my camera. I’m so happy with the results!

This is Sean on a cold, wet, rainy day, trying to find a stick so we can play fishing in the creek.


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30th Birthday Party Planning

5 June 2008

30th Birthday Invitation

Back in May, I began to think about my upcoming 30th birthday, and how I would like to celebrate it.

My first thought was – I WANT A BIG PARTY!

I wrote up a list of all the people I would love to celebrate with – family, extended family, close friends, family friends, old high school friends, old colleagues, mother-friends… and my list was a shocking 120 people.

120 people x $50 per head = $6000! Gah! I couldn’t afford that! It was like organising a wedding! So I had to cut down significantly. And I decided to split it up and have two birthday dinners.

One for family members, which will be held at my parent’s house. I love big family dinners! My extended family and my husband’s family comes to a total of 40 people.

And one for my close friends. Total of 50 people.

I picked a gorgeous, stylish Indian restaurant. The food is amazing, the set banquet prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is fantastic, and I get a semi-private dining area. I’ve asked all my friends for No Presents, but if they could so kindly give a gift towards the dinner.

As my husband and I worked out the details of money, I had a really hard time getting over the cultural oddity of this concept – inviting someone to your birthday dinner and asking them to pay for themselves??

The Chinese Daughter in me was spinning tornadoes in my head. If my father heard about this, he would be so offended! What an insult! How dare I discuss such things on an invitation! How dare I treat my friends in this way? What kind of birthday celebration is this?!

Ah, well. The custom is really common here in Australia. My friends are all pretty forward thinking and I’m sure they would all laugh at me if I tried to pay for them! I don’t need presents anyway. I just want to have all my wonderful friends in one place!

So the invites have been designed, printed and sent!!!

It’s all happening!!


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Doing The Karen Cheng

4 June 2008

Doing the Karen Cheng

A few years ago, I received an email from a pair of girls.

They said they went out for dinner, saw a large mirror, and since they were all dressed up nice, they decided to take a photo of themselves doing “The Karen Cheng Pose”. Complete with head tilt.

They sent me the picture, and omg I laughed and laughed! Oh it was too funny. Big wave to Sofia and Hanaa!

Then a few weeks ago, I received another email. Again, it was another reader doing The Pose. She wasn’t sure if she should send it to me, in case I got offended, but I assured her, I’m all for making fun of myself!!

I find it utterly hilarious (and a bit tragic) that my lazy-assed, self-portraits have become my signature pose.

So I hereby officially invite everyone to my new Facebook Group called “Doing The Karen Cheng” – devoted to the crazy people, a bit (or a lot) dressed up, taking their own photograph in a mirror. Not forgetting the head tilt!

To get things started, I’ve put up about 20 photos of myself taken over the years. I’ve also included little “how to” instructions.

Haha I’m looking forward to see what people will post up. Feel free to post links back to your own blog as well!


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Boutique Review: Atlas Divine

3 June 2008

Atlas Divine

After reviewing various boutiques in Leederville, I managed to catch up with De (co-owner of Atlas Divine) and have a chat to her about her store.

De is a fashion designer who has been running her boutique for 15 years. In its early days, it was a menswear only store, which carried her own label, as well as other international brands.

However, in the last 2 years she re-branded her store, renovated the shop, and branched out to carry women’s clothing, jewellery, belts, bags, hats, shoes, sunglasses, and kids-wear. She has around 65 Australian and international brands in her store.

She personally selects every item in her store, making sure that they are unique and not commonly found elsewhere in Perth. She is determined to keep her stock fresh and exciting – always carrying the perfect items for the stylish girly girl, the funky techno raver, the casual indi musician and the quirky alternative kid.

She believes in friendliness and amazing service for anyone who walks through the door.

As we chatted, she shared heaps of stories about little old ladies who toddle into her shop, young mothers in tracksuits, working executives in power suits, after school teenagers, crazy looking backpackers – everyone loves it and everyone seems to find something they love.

She also mentioned she gets a lot of Asian clientele, so whenever she can, she buys size 6 or 8 for small frames and tiny waists. I clapped my hands with glee and said, “Woohoo! Bring em on!”

Atlas Divine

De let me spend some time in her shop trying on clothes and taking pictures. I went around pulling out 1) stuff I loved, and 2) stuff that looked amazing, but I wouldn’t normally wear. Halfway through, I had pulled out so much stuff, that I was so embarrassed by the PILE I made. It took me ages to get through it!

The shop has an excellent price range of clothes – there were $70 dresses, $400 dresses, and lots in between. There was a nice mix of stylish garments, party dresses and casual clothes. I was in girl heaven.

Atlas Divine

Atlas Divine is located in the hub of Leederville, in the midst of all the cafes and pubs. It’s a tiny walk from the Leederville train station, but don’t walk too fast, or you’ll miss it! The shop front is very small. It sits on the corner of Oxford and Newcastle Street, next to Greens and Co Cafe. Enjoy everyone!
Atlas Divine
121 Oxford Street, Leederville 6007
P: 08 9242 5880


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Playing Themselves

2 June 2008

Sometimes my 5yo and 3yo boys play Mums and Dads, where they basically role play me and my husband. One will go out to do really hard work, while the other cooks and decorates the house. It’s quite amusing and adorable.

Other times they will play Mums and Little Boys, where they pretend to be at the shops. One is a mum, and the other nags her for various items like ice cream and chocolate. VERY funny.

It gets a bit strange, when they play Little Boys, where they walk around the house behaving like little boys – being extra jumpy, doing cartwheels and speaking in a high pitched voice.

But my favourite of the lot is when they play Teenagers. They swagger around, punching the air like Power Rangers, and threatening to destroy things.

I try to throw in a few suggestions.

“Did you know that teenage boys can’t talk? They just grunt.”

“They also smell really bad.”

“And they wear their jeans down low so everyone can see their underpants.”

But ah, my little boys don’t believe any of it, except:

“15 year olds *LOVE* getting cuddles from their mummies!”


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A Very Satisfied Boy

1 June 2008

A Very Satisfied Boy