Archive for July 2008


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Exquisite Roast Vegetables

31 July 2008

Exquisite Roast Vegetables

This is another of my favourite, healthy and very lazy meals.

Use any sort of vegetables. Egg plant, tomatoes, capsicum, red onions, pumpkin, sweet potato, baby carrots, beetroot, turnips. Add fresh herbs from the garden.

Drizzle lots of olive oil, salt, pepper.

Into a 180C oven for 1.5 hours.

Serving ideas: Toss with pasta. Serve with rice. Or pita bread. Or a bunch of fresh green salad.

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The One About The Spray Bottle

30 July 2008

My 3yo and I were walking through the cosmetics section in Target the other day.

Sean: MUM! Look over there! It’s Bob the Builder on a spray bottle! Can you believe that?! BOB THE BUILDER! ON A SPRAY BOTTLE! That’s so cool!

Me: Oh hey! Yeah that’s pretty cool. What do you think the spray is for?

He suddenly stood very still. His eyes opened wide and they darted around nervously. He started to speak in a very deep and very serious voice.

Sean: It’s a spray for killing Bob the Builder. If you see Bob the Builder, you spray it on him and he dies.

Me: Like a cockroach?

Sean: Yeah. Just like a cockroach.

Me: So… um, shall we buy some Bob the Builder spray?

Sean: Better not. I like Bob the Builder.

Me: Ok. Me too.

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Perth Fashion Festival 2008: VIP Program Launch

29 July 2008

Perth Fashion Festival 2008 - ProgramThe Perth Fashion Festival launched its 2008 Program with a special VIP Champagne and Cupcake party this morning at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and I was invited!

So of course, I had to work out WHAT TO WEAR!

The biggest problem was the weather. Although the Festival actually begins in September (Spring), we are still having really wet, cold weather right now.

I was going to be doing a bit of walking in the rain between the train station and the gallery. So the outfit had to go well with a warm jacket, walkable shoes, and a bulky camera bag.

Perth Fashion Festival 2008 - Karen Cheng

So this is what I put together. I’m wearing a black, vintage, velvet blazer. Silk green dress (love the cut-out hem). Knee-high fishnet stockings worn as socks. Black pumps. Simple pearl earrings. I got a few compliments on my outfit, which completely made my day!

I went alone, but to my surprise, I knew heaps of people! I spent lots of time talking and giving out my business card. I had a lovely time alternating between being a media person (taking photos) and being a VIP guest (eating cupcakes and chatting). There were festival sponsors, local celebrities, government types, fashion designers, and lots of people from the fashion and arts industry.

Perth Fashion Festival 2008

There was a mini fashion show on the gallery’s spiral staircase, featuring leggy models wearing some of the West Australian designers in the festival.

Perth Fashion Festival 2008

I was quite fascinated by the amount of media that turned up. The gallery was bursting with photographers, film crews, journalists and reporters, so they were quite a spectacle all by themselves! Ok, I admit, partly I was fascinated because I was checking out everyone’s camera gear!

But the highlight of the event was definitely the announcement of The WA Collections 1 and 2. It was quite exciting to see which designers are going to be showcased this year. And they are:

For Collection 1 (Established Designers) – Ae’lkemi, Antipodium, Aurelio Costarella, Megan Salmon, Empire Rose, Joveeba, Liz Davenport, Morrison, One Fell Swoop, Ruth Tarvydas, Story By Tang, Su, United Constructions, Wheels & Dollbaby, Panache, 33 Poets.

For Collections 2 (Emerging Designers) – Adam Wore Short Pants, Alister Yiap, Ashe, Bim Kenesis, Carly Hunter, Gospel, Love in Tokyo, Of Cabbages and Kings, S2, Stand International.

I recently did a review of Alister Yiap’s eye-catching work and since I have become a fan of his, I was so happy to see his name in this list!

I can hardly wait to see what these designers put up on the runways in only five weeks time!

The schedule of free and ticketed events is now available at the Perth Fashion Festival’s website.

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Eating at East Vic Park

28 July 2008

Me at Makan 2 Cafe, Victoria Park

I met up with some Indonesian Australian friends to revisit a few favourite hang outs from our uni days – in particular the restaurants and cafe strip along Albany Highway in East Victoria Park. This part of town has heaps of authentic Asian, Turkish and Lebanese restaurants and cafes.

I love this area, because most places to eat are the cheap and cheerful kind. They are crowded, a bit daggy, unpretentious, full of colourful international characters, and the food is affordable and just excellent.

This evening we ate some awesome home style Indonesian food at:

Batavia Corner
912 Albany Highway,
East Victoria Park

We shared Indonesian fried chicken, beef rendang, soto ayam (chicken soup), fried duck, lots of dumplings, and ate it in true Indonesian style – with no knives on the table. Ah, I was so hungry forgot to photograph the food.

Then we headed over to:

Makan 2 Cafe
357 Albany Hwy
Victoria Park

Which is a Malaysian restaurant and cafe that is still very popular with students. We had Malaysian style coffee and teas – although I had to skip the teh tarek (Malaysian tea) or I wouldn’t be able to sleep!

And of course, I spied a big mirror in and I couldn’t resist a snap. More pics at the Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook Group.

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Perfect Waffle Recipe

25 July 2008

Homemade Waffles

This is my mother’s super-crunchy, super-fluffy waffle recipe.

It’s a little bothersome having to separate the eggs and all, but it makes all the difference between rubbery waffles and AWESOME WAFFLES.

Waffle Recipe
Makes 16

2 eggs separated
¼ cup castor sugar (or try none at all)
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of water
2 cups of self raising flour
pinch of salt
60g butter or margarine (melted)

1. Beat egg whites (with half of the sugar), till stiff. Keep aside.
2. Beat egg yolks (with remaining half of sugar) until creamy.
3. Then beat in milk and water. Then add sifted dry ingredients.
4. Mix in melted butter.
5. Fold in egg white.
6. Place batter into your waffle maker (amount will depend on your waffle maker).
7. Eat hot! With butter. Bananas. Yogurt. Honey. Fresh berries. Strawberry jam. Whipped cream.

(Note: 16 waffles are not enough for 4 hungry adults! So double everything to make 32 waffles!)

Heaps of people have asked me what kind of waffle maker I have. My waffle maker is really old, and you can’t get that model anymore.

But if you’re going to go out and buy one, make sure you buy a deep pan one. Similar to this model at Amazon: Black and Decker Belgian Waffle Maker (both my mother and brother own one of these, and they swear by it!).

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I Heart Kenny

24 July 2008

Kenny Sia (courtesy of

A few weeks ago, I was in Singapore and by complete co-incidence, so was the incredibly popular Malaysian blogger, Kenny Sia.

We finally had the chance to meet up! Unfortunately, our individual schedules were pretty full and we only managed to chat for a few minutes. I would have loved to catch up over coffee – but it was not to be. Nevertheless, I was not disappointed. He is exactly like I imagined him from his blog!

Kenny writes about his adventures of being a regular, down-to-earth, 20-something Asian guy, feeling and living life to the full. From political satire, to random toilet humour, to extraordinary life experiences – his topics always put a smile on my face.

I love the fact that, although I am not Malaysian and I often do not understand some of the lingo or current affairs of Malaysia… nonetheless, he’ll just get straight to the point, and make me double over with laughter. Or, I might find myself peering a little closer at his photo-documentary-style account of some astonishing adventure.

His posts are superbly crafted. Whether he’s aiming for pure entertainment value, random hysterics, controversy, a cute little story, or a moment of thought – he seems to do it with a very natural and unique style, a very Kenny Sia style. He’s a very clever blogger, and he deserves the astonishing and loyal readership he has.

Kenny Sia (courtesy of

Although I don’t really know him on a personal level, I see him as a very real human, not “one of the world’s most popular bloggers”.

I know he has lived in Perth, my home town, and studied at the same university I did. I know his sister, and his nephew and nieces. I know about his father’s sickness and passing.

Kenny is tuned into all that life has to offer, and shows it to the world in his own, unique way. He’s brave enough to show us his heart, and to poke fun of his own celebrity.

So here are a few of my favourite Kenny Sia posts:

Three Years – where he writes a very touching letter to his late father.

Twenty Four – where he makes an enjoyable lists of things he has done at the age of 24. And you can’t help but be inspired to make a similar list.

The Making Of Mister Potato’s ‘Fish’ – the weird and wonderful life of being a blog celebrity. Hilarious strangeness.

Underwater Photography – a simple but charming commentary of scuba diving, which made me chuckle.

Kuala Lumpur International Marathon 2006 – where he has a crazy idea and pursues it. He admits he is overweight, yet enters and FINISHES a 42km marathon, with a very entertaining commentary.

I am actually looking forward to the time Kenny has kids. I am sure that his take on fatherhood and that amazing adventure of parenting will surely be the most entertaining yet!

Cheers Kenny!

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Not-So-Fierce Shoes

23 July 2008

Gladiator-esque Shoes

I must admit that I’ve never been crazy over the Gladiator or Fierce Shoe. I take my hat off to the girls who can wear them though, because they can look pretty cool with some outfits.

Call me old fashioned, but I don’t know if I can handle my feet being edgy, fierce and confrontational. I like my feet to be elegant and sexy.

So I’m loving these strappy, gladiator-inspired shoes from ASOS Online Store!

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Life’s Sweetest Word

22 July 2008

Four years ago, this month, we weren’t in a good place.

My husband was battling cancer and underwent his first round of chemotherapy. It was an aggressive form of cancer, resistant to chemo, and there was no guarantee of success. We had a 2 year old kid, and we just got news that we were expecting another baby.

Every July that comes and goes, I sit and make myself remember it all.

I remember the bleakness. I remember driving through rain, towards the hospital, walking through a car park littered with leaves. I remember the smell of the corridors. The sounds of the machines and medicines. I remember having no joy in my spirit.

I remember trying to live – one day at the time. Having to concentrate on just getting through that single day. It was too painful to think about the future, or life. I would crumble at the thought of how the little things would never be the same – a family picnic in the park, a trip to the beach, a cup of tea at a cafe.

I remember thinking that I might lose my best friend. That my children might not remember who their father was. That I would be sitting in our house, with every single object around me, reminding me of the man I love. That I might forget his face.

I remember the sheer focus and mental discipline that was needed to stop myself from going mad. The thousands of terrible and depressing thoughts, raining relentlessly in my head, images I couldn’t stop, clouding my view, gripping, choking, dragging me down to that deep, dark place.

I remember faith. Holding on to this really huge floating thing that kept my head above the water. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it, nor why I was doing it at the time, but it was big, much bigger than me, and it worked.

I remember the helplessness. I remember I couldn’t do a single thing to change anything. Nothing. Just hopelessness. Emptiness. And heart-wrenching sadness.

Then I snap out of it.

I sit back from my reverie, I look at myself – here – in the present.

And I think, Oh my God, how did we escape that one?

Did that really happen? Am I REALLY sitting here with my healthy husband and not one son, but TWO sons running around outside, throwing leaves at each other in the garden? With everyone smiling and laughing and happy as can be?

Why did things turn out like this? What on earth did I do to deserve it?

I’ve come to realise that concepts like “fate” and “destiny” are meaningless to me.

Whereas I discover one of life’s sweetest words – grace.

It heals all that is broken inside me, and makes me want to change my life. To live the best I can. With purpose. With significance. With gratitude. With happiness.

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Golden Linguistic Moments

21 July 2008


My 3yo has a rather interesting way of interpreting the English language.

He calls spaghetti – Mister Getty.

Important is Port Tenant.

Comfortable is actually a Comfy Table.

Dessert is Berserk.

And Pistachios are Moustachios.

And sometimes, just for fun, I like to make him say them all in one sentence.

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Meet Fashion Designer Alister Yiap

20 July 2008

I’d like to introduce you to someone who I think is pretty cool.

Alister Yiap has made quite a splash on the fashion scene since he graduated from Curtin University’s Jewellery Design Course just last year.

His work first caught my eye when I saw a photo of his wearable art, I thought it was very cool. Then, when I was invited to be backstage at the Graduation Fashion Show, I saw his full collection and I was completely blown away!

Malachi Alister Yiap - Runway Couture

I was not the only one who was struck by his impressive talent! He’s gained a tidy list of awards, media attention and he was recently named as one of the Emerging Designers at STYLEAID 2008 – one of Perth’s most important annual fashion events.

I had the chance to meet up with Alister, chat over a mug of hot chocolate, and discover that he was even more talented than I suspected.

And he was great to talk to! Lively, confident, intelligent and passionate about his work. He was very modest and very kind. His mix of dedication, professionalism and vision is clearly reflected in the quality of his designs and the styling of his brand.

Malachi Alister Yiap - Jewellery

Jewellery is his main focus at the moment, and the pieces he produces are gorgeous, dark, edgy, confident and sexy. And they encompass the same mood and tone as his “Runway Couture” designs.

Alister’s jewellery come in two categories. The first is his “Fine Jewellery”, highly sought after one-off creations. These are hand-crafted by Alister himself, and there are presently only two pieces left!

The other is his “Malachi Alister Yiap” collection of limited-edition jewellery.

Karen wearing Malachi Alister Yiap Earrings

I really like this range. Which is why I’m a proud owner of these Ivira earrings. I love their dark, elegant, sexy mood. I love the black diamond touches and the solid silver. And I love the fact it’s a “limited edition” piece.

Karen Cheng and Alister YiapI found a mirror and I made Alister “Do The Karen Cheng” with me. He was such a darling.

I was actually trying to capture the whole “dark, elegant and moody” thing, and have some photos that were a bit more sophisticated – especially since we both turned up to the meeting in matching fur-lined jackets.

But when the time came, we spent most of the time laughing ourselves into a blur of pixels.

Thanks Alister, it was wonderful to meet you!

Alister Yiap’s WebsiteMalachi Alsiter Yiap Collection, Fine Jewellery Collection, Runway Couture.

You can browse and buy his Malachi Alister Yiap range at Shopmoose.

Alister’s Fine Jewellery are exclusively sold online at the Katherine Kalaf Gallery.

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Life is Irrepressible

19 July 2008

Life is Irrepressible

It’s been raining. And we have stuff growing on our door mat.

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Sneak Peak at the 2008 Perth Fashion Festival

18 July 2008

Perth Fashion Festival (2007)

With my interest in fashion, I have been very excited about the upcoming Perth Fashion Festival, 4 – 12 September 2008 – its 10th anniversary!

I had the opportunity to meet up and chat with Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan, director of the Perth Fashion Festival, to find out more about her, and to have a little peak into what’s going to be cool and exciting at this year’s festival.

I discovered that it was in fact Mariella herself who first founded the festival in Perth 10 years ago. At that time, she was working as a fashion writer at a magazine, Bridal Options, which she also founded, and she had a fashion jewellery label called Lou Lou.

She has since moved on from both the magazine and her boutique, and now dedicates her time to running the PFF. She also happens to be a mother of two, and so of course, I completely appreciate the energy and passion she must have.

Mariella was lovely to talk to. She was glowing with energy and excitement for the Festival and what it does for all facets of the Western Australian fashion industry – fashion designers, emerging designers, models, photographers, stylists, retailers and more – all making a contribution to the national and international fashion scene.

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Perth Fashion Festival, with the theme ‘A Decade of Fashion’.

The Festival will run over 10 days, featuring runway shows, awards, free events for the public, guest appearances by designers and celebrities and many other events. The full details will not be revealed to the public until the official programme launch on Tuesday 29th July, which is also when the 2008 website will be launched.

Tipped to be the highlight of the event is the new ‘WA Designer Collections 1 and 2’. Collection 1 will feature 15 already successful Western Australian fashion labels, and Collection 2 will showcase 10 emerging and independent WA designers.

I’ll be at the programme launch, and I can’t wait to see who these designers are!

Until then, you can visit the 2007 Perth Fashion Festival to see what went down last year.

Photo credits: Garment by GOSPEL, Neckpiece by Yang Li.

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Cakes and Stumbles

17 July 2008

Cake Dsiplay at Greens Cafe

My husband and I were in our favourite cafe, chilling out, enjoying a chat, a flick through the newspaper and a pot of tea.

I couldn’t resist jumping up and taking a few pictures of the cake display. They all looked incredible, plus I thought I’d practice taking some snaps with my new camera.

I decided to have a slice of Honey Comb and Vanilla Brulee.

It was delicious!! But I had forgotten how hard honey comb was, and I knew my dentist would not be happy. I felt like I was grinding iron ore pieces with my teeth.

Karen and HeidiFrom the corner of my eye I saw a group of girls sit down at a table next to us.

I noticed that one girl was wearing a really nice skirt and had really nice make up. Then a few moments later she walked over and introduced herself as a reader! How cool!

We chatted for a while, then I thought it might be cute to “Do the Karen Cheng” with her and her friends. Thanks for being so game guys! It was a real highlight to my evening!

I’ve uploaded a few pics to the DTKC Facebook Group.

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Simple Beef and Vegetable Soup

16 July 2008

Simple Beef and Vegetable Soup

I was walking past a butcher’s window the other day, when a pile of “Beef Soup Bones” caught my eye.

I stood there with my mouth watering, dreaming about a hot, thick beefy soup, salty and creamy with soft vegetables and the smell of stewed herbs. Mmmmm.

I know this sounds silly, but, I searched the web for a simple beef soup recipe that was similar to the imaginary soup in my head. And I couldn’t find one! So I made this one up, and it worked! It was absolutely divine!

Simple Beef and Vegetable Soup

1kg of beef soup bones
1 large brown onion, chopped
I stalk of celery, chopped
2 carrots
1 small turnip, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon of peppercorns
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt to taste

1) Throw everything into a large pot.

2) Cover the pot contents with boiling water. Boil on high heat for 5 minutes, then simmer on low heat for 3 – 3.5 hours. Taste, add more seasoning, or top up with more hot water, if required.

3) I like to remove the meat from the bone. Serve hot with crusty bread!

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Rootote Loving – Fashion Bags

15 July 2008

I just adore my Rootote Bags! I’m continually amazed by how much stuff I can throw in there and how sturdy they are. They’re definitely perfect as an everywhere bag.

Rootote has recently launched a new range of designs, and I managed to get my hands on some super cute ones.

My Rootote Bag

This is me about to head off to an afternoon lunch with some friends. I’ve got a Medium Luxe Floral Bag which is holding a pair of hoodies for my sons, two drink bottles, a packet of biscuits and not to mention all my usual handbag stuff.

My Rootote Bag

This is me dressed more appropriately for the cold, winter afternoons. I’m heading out to a cafe with friends. I’m carrying a Medium Felt Swan Bag – it’s so cute, and it’s made of felt!

These are a few more cool designs from the site:

Rootote Bags - Medium

From left to right: Dot Luxe, Capital Luxe, Corner and Denim.

I was also eyeing a few TALL designs (slightly larger in size):

Rootote Bags - Tall

From left to right: Nature, Check and Bonjour.

Rootote are offering FREE Shipping Australia-wide. And a flat fee of AU$12 to Singapore, Malaysia, USA and NZ. Enjoy!

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Making Baby 3, Part 29: The IUI Process

14 July 2008

Roof of the Ward

After 10 months of trying for our 3rd baby with no luck, we’ve decided that we will try IUI – Intra Uterine Insemination.

This is where sperm from your preferred sperm donor is injected directly into your uterus. It’s cheaper, and much less complicated and invasive that IVF – where the eggs are taken out of your body, and mixed with the sperm in a lab, before being returned to the uterus.

IUI also has a much lower chance of success than IVF – but since we already have two babies, we figure my eggs and my husband’s sperm have got a pretty good track record of getting together when given a chance.

So a few weeks ago, we chose a fertility clinic that best matched our plans. All three of the clinics we visited seemed excellent, but this one just seemed best for where we are right now.

We met with our doctor and our fertility nurse. We ran through a lot of formalities. We had to sign a whole heap of official documents, consent forms, and papers to make sure we understood everything.

The next thing that needed to happen was: Tracking. This is the term that refers to finding out the exact critical few hours when the egg will be in the correct position to be fertislised.

So when I get my period, I would call my Fertility Nurse and let her know. This was labelled DAY 1.

At DAY 10, I had to go to get a blood sample taken.

This meant going to any blood collection laboratory and get some blood taken before 9am. The blood is sent to another laboratory. Results are passed on to my doctor. And I get a phone call at 2pm with the results. Timing is crucial.

The doctor said, “Have another blood test on DAY 12.”

Repeat above.

“Have another blood test on DAY 14.”

Repeat above.

“Have another blood test on DAY 15.”


So I rush into the clinic, but there is no sense of urgency when I arrive. It is all very professional and calm. After all, this is what these people do everyday. The procedure is very simple and completely painless.

And now, I have to wait 14 days to have another blood test – to find out if I’m pregnant! Fingers crossed.

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

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My 30th Birthday Dinner in Perth

13 July 2008

30th Birthday Dinner in Perth

Last night, 35 of my closest friends joined me to celebrate my birthday over a banquet dinner. I had such a wonderful time talking to everyone, laughing, chatting, eating, floating, taking pictures and just being me.

The company of great friends is priceless indeed.

I thought the photo above was just too cute – the lovely Annika and Ian are crouching down, because they’re actually a full head taller than me!

30th Birthday Dinner in Perth

We stretched along one wall of the restaurant, spread over 3 long, narrow tables!

As with most large group dinners with a mixture of friends, everyone didn’t get a chance to mingle very much, so I was toying with the idea of making everyone shuffle along – speed dating style. But the food came out! So everyone was too busy eating.

Outfit: 30th Birthday Dinner in PerthMy outfit for the evening.

Dress: Silk Smock Dress from Obvious
Earrings: From Pinc
Legs: Beige Fishnet Stockings
Shoes: Black pumps

There’s a few more pics at my “Doing The Karen Cheng” Facebook Group.

I was actually planning to wear another dress that I specially bought for the occasion, but I ended up wearing that dress to my other birthday function in Singapore.

I’m also sporting my new birthday present! We decided to invest in a DSLR Nikon D80 with a very yummy 18-135mm lens.

It’s a tad heavier than my little Canon A700, but I’m completely loving it!!

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Kung Fu Panda

12 July 2008

Kung Fu Panda + Boys

We don’t usually take our kids to the movies!

With my two boys and their insurmountable fountain of energy, going out to the movies is rather unwise. Think about it – jumping on the seats, running down the aisles, crawling under seats, shouting, laughing and carrying on like wet market vendors.

We prefer to have our own movie nights at home, with a rented DVD, homemade tacos, hot popcorn, orange juice and chocolate muffins. Mmmm.

But sometimes, seeing a movie on the big screen, with all the ritual of getting there, does make a nice change. And because it was the school holidays, winter, pouring with rain outside, and well, we were feeling lazy… we thought what the heck. And Sean has never been to the movies.

We watched Kung Fu Panda, and omg, it was so cool. We laughed and laughed. We all enjoyed it so much. And my boys actually stayed in their seats throughout the whole movie!

It was such a nice way to spend the afternoon. I was surprised. My husband and I were trying to teach the boys a bit about animation appreciation – story telling, art direction, animation. But they just wanted to do kung fu kicks.

I give it five stars. I was indeed “blinded by its awesomeness”. Haha.

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Soon Lee Fashion Boutique and Haji Lane

11 July 2008

During my recent trip to Singapore, I had a list of “MUST SEE” boutiques and fashion designers compiled from dozens of personal recommendations, suggestions and my own online research. But I only had time to do about half of them. Argh!

On the top of my list was Soon Lee, in Haji Lane.

I was given lots of mixed opinions as people described the shopping at Haji Lane. I got the impression that it was VERY DIFFERENT to the high-end, designer-brand, super-shiny boutiques in Singapore’s Orchard District.

One of the results of mass production and globalisation is the rise of the conventional shopping mall. These shopping experiences are predictable, and pretty much the same, whether you’re in Perth, Singapore or London.

Part of my interest and take on fashion, is to showcase different, unique and local shopping experiences – so I was very curious to take a look at Haji Lane for myself.

Oh how I loved it!

Haji Lane, Singapore

Walking down Haji Lane, you would probably think you arrived at the wrong place for a fashion experience. The lane is long and narrow. There is the occasional piece of rubbish lying around, there are rickshaws (yes, a pedal powered taxi with a charming, old, toothless man!) and rubbish bins are parked next to tiny, two-stroke vans and motorcycles.

Old shop houses run the length of the shopping lane – some shops have vines growing up the building, with aged, oriental murals flaking off the walls. Some have uber modern glass walls, with brushed, stainless steel fittings and amazingly designed wall patterns. The place is crammed with absolutely unique shops and cafes.

Haji Lane, Singapore

Singapore is a sophisticated, developed, modern and a truly global city. But nearby in Arab Street, you can literally see, feel, smell and taste that Singapore has been a cross roads of international trade and cultural exchange for centuries.

I loved all the vibrant colours, deep textures, exotic smells, the mix of old and new, the signs of oriental and global influence. It was incredible.

Soon Lee Boutique, Haji Lane, Singapore

At Soon Lee, I was welcomed by its co-owner, Sharon Cher. I adore her blog,, so I was keen to meet the woman behind the words. I was very fortunate that she was able to afford some time to chat over coffee!

She is one smart woman. Passionate, intelligent, brave, stylish, driven – exactly the kind of person that makes fashion exciting!

She explained the short fashion history of Haji Lane, and the even shorter background of Soon Lee. Soon Lee means “plain sailing” – a wonderfully calming reference, and indeed, both the boutique and Haji Lane is a long way from the rushed pace of Orchard Road’s towering, multilevel shopping centres.

soonlee01Soon Lee Boutique, Haji Lane, Singapore

Her shop is wonderful. Eclectic, busy, over-flowing with delicious bits and pieces and designed goodies – clothes, jewellery, accessories, hats, belts, sun glasses, homewares.

Soon Lee
56 Haji Lane, Level 2, Singapore.
Open everyday from 2pm-8pm.
Phone: (65)6297-0198

You get the feeling that Haji Lane oozes a new kind of quiet, creative confidence in Singapore, still fresh and exciting.

I can’t wait to go back and have a whole afternoon or evening to drift from one boutique to another – which are all within steps of one another. Haji Lane is worth visiting just to experience Arab Street and its surrounds too, and the price of everything seem very affordable.

Most boutiques in Haji Lane only open their doors from around 2.00pm, and are still open till around 9 -10 pm. I’ve been told that the best time to visit is 4pm on a weekday.

Get there by:

Taxi – I had to explain to our taxi driver that Haji Lane is parallel to Arab Street, between North Bridge Road and Beach Road, then he had no problem. I used this google map.

Or take the MRT East-West line train to Bugis station and walk for 10 minutes.


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When Fashion Gives You A Heart Attack

10 July 2008

If you have travelled to Australia, you have probably experienced our strict and daunting customs and quarantine regulations. Even as a local, I find the whole customs process to be close to terrifying.

The airport is filled with security guards. Sniffer dogs roam the baggage collection points. Attendants will literally open up your bags, rip open packets of tea, and cut open Chinese Moon Cakes in search of illegal substances!

And they’re not looking for drugs, they’re looking for egg yolks!

As a general rule, you can’t bring in food products, or objects made of wood, plants, animals, egg, shells, soils or anything biological into the country. And being the good citizen that I am, plus the fact that I’m terrified that one of those cute sniffer dogs will turn on me, I made sure I had none of the above.

So imagine my blood curling alarm, as my bag went through the xray – something close to nuclear sirens screamed from the machines and a security attendant came hurtling my way.

They whisked my bag away, slammed it onto a table, and asked me a zillion questions.

I was trying to be calm. Cool. Composed.

They kept asking me if I had any plant material. I kept saying NO.

But I could feel every pore on my body prickle and break out into a sickening sweat.

They dug through my bag, and behold, my illegal LEAF was immediately found.

Handbag Leaf

The customs people had a good old yuk yuk yuk about it, while I stood there, trying to mend my frazzled nerves and sweep my stomach off the floor.

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Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

9 July 2008

Sean (3.3years)

My husband and I were away in Singapore for 4 days. It was the first time that we’ve been away from our boys (for more than a day).

I guess I assumed that since 4 days was such a ridiculously short amount of time, we would be back in a flash, and things would be pretty much exactly the same as we left.

But it was not so.

In 4 days I seem to have developed this strange shift in my perspective towards my kids.

My goodness, my kids! They are so funny! They say the craziest things! They are so random! So cute! Look at them! They are putting on their own socks! They can count things!

It’s as if I’m new parent again.

As if I’ve never seen a little kid build a lego spaceship.

As if a conversation with a 3 year old about the Dangers of Rubber Bands was the coolest thing that happened to me that day.

As if the little faces tucked between the blankets and pillows, smiling up at me in the dark, fell from the sky like a million dollars and changed my life in an instant.

Sheesh, I love being a mother.

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Doing The Karen Cheng – Singapore Red Cross Charity Event

8 July 2008

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

The “DTKC Super-babes” are looking damn fine! I am wearing a dress from our major sponsor, online boutique

12 days ago I had this crazy idea to take something that was a bit silly, and turn it into something significant.

In a matter of days, the Doing The Karen Cheng Singapore Red Cross Charity Event caused a huge wave of momentum and excitement. We had multiple sponsors, interviews with 3 major newspapers, I was invited to chat on radio, magazine and newspapers wanted to cover the event, heaps of people wanted to help and participate! I was truly overwhelmed by all the support.

The event was a success. We had over a hundred of people turn up, and we raised approximately $2000 in 2 hours! Woohoo!

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

I was thrilled to see so many girls and guys dressed up to the max and joining in the fun! I’m so glad everyone stayed for drinks, mingled, chatted, and took more photos! I chatted with heaps of people and would have loved to talk MORE, but I was slowly losing my voice over the course of the event.

All my photos and professional photos are at the Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook Group.

Please remember to upload your own photos, feel free to browse them all, and please help me tag people.

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

The wonderful donates US$1000 to the Singapore Red Cross.

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

Photographers working their magic at the gorgeous venue IndoChine – The Forbidden City.

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

The very charming and very popular Malaysian blogger Kenny Sia turned up and was more than happy to be the centre of attention.

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

A big thanks to May (centre) from Carrey Hill Events Management – she looked into every detail, she fixed every problem, she took care of everything, she was so organised, enthusiastic, reliable and creative! She was incredible! And she did it all for charity! Thanks so much May, her crew and Carrey Hill.

We had a professional photographer take some photos for the event, the award-winning Ivan Loh (left) of Pigs Can Fly. He was amazing too – fantastic to work with, full of great ideas, amazing results, lovely personality, professional but fun, hard working, very determined to get that perfect shot, and he even dropped off the CD the next morning! Thanks Ivan, you’re too kind.

Of course, I need to thank the kind folk from The Singapore Red Cross, who were incredibly supportive! Thanks Kelly!
Romadas Arts kindly donated their printing services and materials for the event. They made up some great posters and an amazing banner, all for free! And Nuffnang Blog Advertising Community kindly donated colour printing services to all of the participants!

Lastly, I want to thank the gorgeous girls who came a bit earlier to the event to help with photos, and became the “DTKC Super-babes”. You guys looked amazing!! Thanks to Hui Wen, Mel, Jacqueline, Sheena, Michelle, Karen, Nicole, Norshahira, Tricia, and Kelly. There’s an excellent pic of us in today’s MY PAPER (8 July 2008). Please let me know if I have forgotten someone!

Also thanks to the Fashionation girls, Dottie and Stephie, and also Sharon from Soon Lee at Haji Lane, for all their excellent advice. And, I have to mention my cousin Calvin Cheng, who made some very important conections for us so this could all happen.

Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore - Charity Event

Near the end of the event, I was requested to “Do The Karen Cheng” with a dog with a blog. I thought it was such a funny and cute idea. So we moved the mirror, brought the whole party outside and took some very cool photos of Kingsley the blogging dog.

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Home Again

7 July 2008

Autumn Leaves - Back in Perth

I can hardly believe it. I am back in Perth.

There is a deep layer of autumn leaves covering my backyard lawn, testament of our absence.

Perth is having a particularly cold snap. I flew in late on Sunday night, and the air temperature was only 7 degrees! And when I got up this morning to go and collect my sons from my parent’s house, there was ICE on the windshield of my car.

The warm, humid air of tropical Singapore seems to be so far away!

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Birthday Drinks at the Fashion Bar

5 July 2008

Birthday Drinks at the Fashion Bar

I am extremely grateful to the Fashion Bar – an uber cool and very gorgeous bar in Clarke Quay. They hosted and sponsored my 30th Birthday Drinks while I was in Singapore.

We started very early compared to the Fashion Bar’s usual crowd. The lush interior design was amazing and gave the event such an opulent, romantic, sexy, girly atmosphere! I loved it!

Birthday Drinks at the Fashion BarWe met Randy the manager, who was absolutely lovely! He made everything run smoothly and gave us 8 bottles of wine.

I had invited people who I knew only from blogging or by email, so it was very exciting to meet so many of them face to face!

It was a very mixed crowd – some old friends, some family, some media people, some fashion designers, some bloggers, and some readers. It was great, and I heard so many funny and interesting stories, and it was wonderful to see people who didn’t know each other, making new connections.

Birthday Drinks at the Fashion Bar

Me, Stephie and Dottie (girls from Fashionation) and Ben from

Birthday Drinks at the Fashion Bar

Michelle and Pam (the girls from Style Damsel) with Andrew and myself.

After five hours in the Fashion Bar, and after two hard days of reviewing Singaporean fashion designers and being interviewed by Singapore’s media, I was ready for bed.

My voice was so sore, and very husky. Plus I had to get my beauty sleep for the Red Cross Fundraiser on Saturday afternoon!

More photos over at Flickr.

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Ahhh! Singapore!

4 July 2008

So I’m back in Singapore after six years, and I feels SO GOOD! I love the heat, I love the food, I love the shopping!!

I arrived on Thursday 4am, and it’s been a crazy whirlwind of events, meetings, interviews, shopping and eating. It’s been so much fun! My FashionJunkee dress has arrived! I’ve been talking non-stop, and lo and behold my voice has turned husky again.

Which is hilarious, because I was on Power 98 FM this morning! My first time on radio! Joe Augustin and the gang were talking to me about “Doing The Karen Cheng”, and raising funds for the Singapore Red Cross! If you want more information about the Facebook Group and the Event, please scroll down and read my previous post!

(Btw, it’s my birthday today!! I’m 30 and it feels awesome!!!)


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Doing The KC in Singapore – Event Updates

2 July 2008

I continue to be absolutely inspired by the generosity of Singapore.

It has just been confirmed that the charity event “Doing the Karen Cheng in Singapore” will be hosted by IndoChine Forbidden City bar/club in Clarke Quay.


IndoChine are giving us the space for free, and will also kindly serve soft drinks for free, to all the event participants as their contribution to the charity event. This is fantastic. Thank you so much IndoChine!

Fashion Bar

But wait, there’s more! Fashion Bar at The Cannery, also in Clarke Quay, is sponsoring the media reception that will happen on Friday, to help raise awareness of this cause. Thank you so much Fashion Bar!

It’s fantastic to be able to have these events in such amazing places. Their reputations have spread all the way to Perth, and I can’t wait to see the venues.

Carrey Hill

Carrey Hill Productions have been, and still are, working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring all this together at such short notice, and their contribution is also at no cost. Thanks May!

I also want to mention once again, online boutique for their US$1000 donation to the event! I’ll be wearing a FashionJunkee dress on Saturday!

So the official details are:

Sat 5th July 2008, 3 – 5pm
Indochine’s Forbidden City
3A Merchant’s Court, River Valley Road
Clarke Quay

Dress up a bit, or a lot, (I will be!)
Bring your camera
Bring a $10 gift for charity – money will go to help humanitarian work.

We will be taking lots of photos – yours, mine, and a professional photographer will be there to help. And after the event, we can all upload our photos to the Facebook GROUP “Doing The Karen Cheng”.

** Please note, this is a Private Event, which means that you have to be invited, and you must RSVP.

This is an invitation to all readers, so you need to RSVP over at the Facebook EVENT “Doing The Karen Cheng in Singapore”.

I hope to see you there!

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Need More Sleep

1 July 2008

Muesli Tea

Note to self: It’s probably not a good idea to store my muesli and green tea in identical glass jars in my pantry.

What’s more amazing is that I didn’t notice till I tasted it!