Archive for Daily Living


day of week

Oh So Green!

26 November 2015

Tasmania Ferns

I am absolutely LOVING all the greenery in Tasmania!

The lush, rich, deep, mossy emeralds and forest greens are making my heart beat with sheer delight.

I feel so happy and healthy just looking at it all.

Can’t wait to share more :)

See you soon!

day of week

Hello From Tasmania!

23 November 2015

Tasmania Forest, Franklin River Walk

Hi everyone!

I’m currently in Tasmania with my husband.

We’ve done a few bush walks, found beautiful waterfalls in the forest, drove around mountains, crossed over from the East to the West… It’s been amazing so far!

We have a few more days here and I can’t wait to share my photos with you all.

In the meantime, I will be leaving you all with a few pre-written posts I have scheduled this week, enjoy!

Oh and I’m updating on Instagram (@karenlycheng) and Facebook (@karenchengblog) so please go take a peek!


day of week

Girls Trip to Singapore 2015 – Day 1

18 November 2015

My girlfriends and I organised a quick trip to Singapore.

We had a very simple plan. We wanted to eat local food, try new cafes and trendy bars, get manicures, have high tea, go to little fashion boutiques and independent specialty stores, and do a bit of shopping.

Basically, we wanted to enjoy 4 days of doing girly stuff, without husbands or kids!

Being mothers, it has been so incredibly rare for us to have this kind of lengthy girl time together… so during our whole trip, we were constantly pinching ourselves and lapping up our relaxing, kid-free schedule.

Yet at the same time – hilariously – we were missing our little babies so much!

Singapore, Maxwell Food Centre 2015

We landed in Singapore in the evening and head straight to the Maxwell Food Centre.

I used to work in Singapore (in my early 20s) and I used to come to this food centre every day.

The food was soooooo good and soooooo cheap.

Singapore, Maxwell Food Centre 2015

My absolute favourite dish was the Char Kway Teow (the fried flat noodles on the banana leaf plate). I used to eat it twice a week!

Of course I couldn’t find the same stall or the same Chinese uncle who used to cook my noodles, so I bought a plate from another stall. It was OK. It was a bit sweet. It did not make my toes curl with delight.

My friend had the Lor Mee (yellow noodles with gravy) which was pretty good.

Singapore, Maxwell Food Centre 2015

My other girlfriend waited in a ridiculously long queue for Singapore’s famous Tian Tian Hiananese Chicken Rice, which apparently has been endorsed by countless international celebrity chefs.

I was rather skeptical about all the hype… until I took a mouthful!

WHOA, it was freaking amazing! The chicken was so silky soft and tasty, the rice was so fragrant and the sauce was absolutely delicious. But I think what made it even better was that it was $4!!

It was definitely the winning dish of the night.

Singapore, Chinatown 2015

After all that eating, we needed a bit of a WALK before we even contemplated having drinks at a bar.

We headed over to Chinatown, and took a stroll through the outdoor markets on Sago Street, where I spied these pretty ceramic bowls.

Singapore, Chinatown 2015

I bought a wedge of fresh watermelon in a bag (for $1) as we walked through the markets. Reminded me of my childhood!

We also walked along Smith Street, Temple Street and Pagoda Street and saw some temples (including the Sri Mariamman Temple). I’ve actually seen it all before, years ago though!

It was all very close to each other, and the weather that evening was just lovely for a stroll.

Singapore, Club Street 2015

We walked over to Ann Siang Road, where there were lots of restaurants and bars.

Singapore, Club Street 2015

We ended up on Club Street for drinks.

I was actually dying for a coffee, but I had a mocktail instead haha!

I had been up since 4am (to catch a plane) so I was really tired and ready for bed.

(I’ll be writing about our Day 2: visiting some wet markets, a delicious bakery, finding a gorgeous little bookstore, going to a fashion/homewares/jewellery fair, having a posh high tea and shopping on Orchard Road! We packed in so much in one day!)

day of week

A Quick November Hi!

12 November 2015

Hi everyone!!

1) I’m back from my quick trip to Singapore – I had such an amazing time, can’t wait to share my photos and stories with you all!

2) I got a bit sick after I came back, so I spent the last few days in bed. I actually took a 3 hour nap one day, during the day. I never do that! Even when I had newborns, I hardly ever slept during the day. I must’ve been real sick.

3) On the flip side, I actually enjoyed the delicious feeling of disappearing from social media and being “off the grid” for a few days.

4) But my energy has returned, I’m all zippy, happy, bouncing around and loving life again… instead of, you know, feeling like crawling into a hole and wanting the world to swallow me up haha.

5) I’m back to updating my blog, instagram, facebook and snapchats. And I have heaps of new projects coming up… I’m super excited!

Oh and I’m filling in a whole heap of blank holes in my blog.

Yes I am one of those crazy, old school bloggers, who still keeps my blog as a kind of diary of my life events – so please, please scroll down to catch up on the old stuff – yay!


day of week

The Color Run – With Kids and Sparkles

5 November 2015

I recently did The Color Run with my two older kids (ages 12 and 10) and it was SO MUCH FUN!

The Color Run 2015

Yes, this was us, taking selfies at the starting line!

I have done the run before – two years ago with my girlfriends (I wrote about it in this post)… and I was surprised by how many kids and families were there. So I was keen to take my kids the next time it came back to our city.

The event isn’t really a RUN… it’s a jog.

A fun, 5km jog!

That suited me just fine.

Dotted along the 5km course are colour zones, where coloured powder is thrown at you while you run. There was a blue zone, yellow, orange, purple etc… and this year there was a new sparkle glitter zone and a new foam/snow zone!

While the event volunteers try to aim at your clothes, the colour and glitter goes everywhere, which is all part of the fun.

The Color Run 2015

My boys had a LOT of fun!

They really enjoyed the messy nature of the event and getting completely splattered with colour.

I liked the free fresh fruit at the end, the music, the relaxed vibe and the crowd of happy people.

The Color Run 2015

We hung around after the run, and loved watching the crowd of people throwing colour in the air.

We took some cool video and slow-motion video too.

The Color Run 2015

We chilled out on the grass and enjoyed the sunshine.

We arranged some flatlays and the grass… and I am embarrassed to admit that my 10 year old’s flatlay was better than my flatlay haha!

The Color Run 2015

Here’s our obligatory before and after photo.

It was seriously, so much fun!

We hope to do it again next year with more friends :)

day of week

GENERICS Urban Apothecary – Beauty Survival Kit and Cleopatra’s Rose Milk Bath

27 October 2015

After a crappy and hormonal day yesterday, I was feeling so BLAAAH that I decided to take this morning off to cheer myself up.

Usually I like to 1) get stuff done to feel productive, 2) bake something yummy and beautiful to feel creative, 3) force myself to exercise so I feel all righteous, 4) force myself to clean my house so I feel cleansed, or 5) do something a bit unexpected to lift my spirits.

(I don’t go shopping because that always goes wrong!!)

Anyway, today I needed a serious case of spirit lifting!

I road tested the new Beauty Survival Kit by GENERICS Urban Apothecary.

GENERICS Urban Apothecary, Beauty Survival Kit

GENERICS Urban Apothecary is a new brand offering a range of simple, affordable, handmade skincare using premium Australian certified organic and natural ingredients.

They are paraben free, SLS free, no artificial fragrances, no animal cruelty and no toxic chemicals.

The unisex range includes mud masks, lip balms, moisturisers, cleansers, hand creme, hair care & spa care.

When I visited the store, all the smells and scents wafting around the shop were just heavenly!

GENERICS Urban Apothecary, Beauty Survival Kit

This Beauty Survival Kit is a limited edition set, retailing for $99, with a $255 total value of all the individual items.

There is a mineral body mask, organic body lotion, organic body custard, vegan lip balm, lip brush, mascara wand, dual eye shadow brush, eye shadow / highlighting brush, organic botanical perfume, tinned vegan soy candle, organic face moisturiser… and the best selling Cleopatra’s Rose Milk Bath.

GENERICS Urban Apothecary, Beauty Survival Kit

Cleopatra’s Rose Milk Bath

Oh what a treat! I haven’t had a foot soak in years!

Knowing that I was going to take some pretty photos, I snipped a huge bunch of fresh roses from my garden to decorate my tub.

I blocked out 1 hour from my schedule, I grabbed a book, armed myself with a towel and set up a little basin of hot/warm water.

I sprinkled half the milk bath powder into the water, although I think I was supposed to use more.

I gave it a stir and the gorgeous rose fragrance filled my living room.
GENERICS Urban Apothecary, Beauty Survival Kit

The foot soak was AMAZING!

It was immediately calming, relaxing and totally indulgent.

After the soak (less than an hour), my feet felt so refreshed and soft. You can use them in a regular bath too, which I imagine would be equally amazing.

These vials of milk bath powder would make great Christmas presents too!

Hope you enjoyed my photos!

They were so fun (and relaxing) to take :)

day of week

Reaching Out and Volunteering for Charity

15 October 2015

Red leaves of Autumn

I took this photo back in 2004.

It was of a tree outside the hospital, in which my husband had chemo and surgery.

I stood in the carpark, looking at the beautiful leaves, with tears streaming down my cheeks.

The photo – blurry, unfocused, striking – reminds me of cancer, death, life and love.

It reminds me of that single moment when everything was tumbling down, all around me.

I printed the photo and have it framed in my house. I guess, when life gets too crazy, I look at this photo to remember the things in life that matters the most.

OK why am I sharing this?

This weekend, I’m volunteering at a 2 day charity event, which is raising funds for cancer research.

Handing out water bottles? Helping people with name tags? Picking up rubbish? Cheering on participants? Dressed in a tutu?

It doesn’t sound very worthwhile. It actually sounds kind of pointless, trivial, unnecessary and insignificant.

Wouldn’t it be better to work hard at raising $10,000 for the charity instead?


But I remember that moment with the red leaves.

How, when my husband and I were living in chaos, I didn’t need money. I didn’t need grandiose gifts or gestures.

I just needed someone to reach out, give me a hug, have a cup of tea with me, have a chat and share a laugh.

Sounds trivial. Sounds insignificant.

It’s these things that mattered the most.

Do head over and join me on Instagram (@karenlycheng) and Snapchat (heykarencheng) to check out my volunteering antics!

day of week

October Coffee Catch Up

14 October 2015

Phew! With the kids back at school, the house is quiet once again. I can sit down and THINK!


These last few weeks have been a bit chaotic.

1) My computer hard drive crashed and was told by a Mac guy that “it was cactus”. I lost 6 months of photos, emails, contacts, documents and development work. I was DEVASTATED!

I had a moment where I closed my yes, squeezed the bridge of my nose between my thumb and finger… and instead of letting out a string of curses, screams and tears, I just sighed “Aaaaaah craaaap!” Things could have been worse.

It turns out that I found most of my photos, which were still on my cameras (thank goodness!), my emails and contacts were backed up on my server (such a blessing!) and most of my recent documents were not super critical (phew!).

I did lose 6 months of blog development work, which was – honestly – only 4 months of full time work, and if I really thought about it… it wouldn’t be difficult to redo.


2) A few weeks ago, I went for my regular pap test and my doctor gave me an ALL OVER check up.

She found a small lump on my breast and sent me to get a mammogram and ultrasound.

I knew my boobs and didn’t think the lump was anything unusual, but it was a lump nonetheless.

Yeah, there was a little bit of uncertainty at the back of my mind. A niggly, unsettling thought of what if?

I didn’t entertain that thought though. I just went ahead, had the test and waited for the results.

The results were all clear. Everything is all good.

I’ll go into a bit more detail in another blog post.

You can be sure that I’m holding onto the words “thankfulness” and “gratefulness” like precious gifts from above.

3) Speaking of gratefulness, I am working with some amazing clients at the moment!

I know at the end of the day, it’s a business relationship, but working with such lovely, friendly, passionate, creative people, who love and support my work; getting to choose my own projects, come up with fun and exciting ideas, that are realistic for me to do, given my desire to be at home with my kids – is really a dream come true!

I love my work! If only it could pay more! Oh well, can’t win at everything!

4) Oh, I’ve got two trips coming up.

One to Singapore, with a couple of my closest girlfriends!

One to Tasmania, with my husband!

Yes, yes. It’s not exactly magazine-glamorous like Paris, Santorini or Turkey.

But hey, I could be stuck in a 7 hour transit at a foreign airport with my best girlfriends (or my husband) and have the Best. Time. Ever. It’s more about the sharing of experiences and the journey, than the destination for me.

5) So I know I say this ALL the time. And it’s probably an indication of how much I adore my kids and parenting over the years.

But I just have to say: My kids are at such a great age at the moment!

They are age 12 (year 7), age 10 (Year 5) and age 6 (year 1).

They are all funny, quirky, inquisitive, full of personality, confident, smart, interesting, little people, who I actually like to hang around with!

(Yes they are also annoying, loud, rude, obsessed with computer games, but that’s another blog post…)

6) OK I have seriously lost the plot with my exercise and healthy eating.

It’s all been very irregular, sporadic, disorganised, and haphazard… and it’s been um… 4 weeks?

I need routine! I need goals! I need some kind of plan! I just need to put on my running shoes and get outside, really.

I think I’ve put on about 3kgs. I think I’ve lost muscle mass. My super skinny jeans are a bit tight around my waist, hips, and thighs. And I need to unbutton them whenever I sit on my couch to enjoy my bowl of ice cream haha!

7) Lastly, do you remember that epic 200km bike ride that I did (in 2012 and 2013) called The Ride to Conquer Cancer?

I volunteered to be part of the Event Crew last year (2014) and I loved it. I dressed up as a giraffe and a frog.

So this year, I’m volunteering again! And yes, I’m dressing up again. I’ll leave it as a surprise, unless you’ve seen my snapchats, then you’ve probably seen me in my wig already haha!

I’m really looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and helping out a great charity event :)

Alrighty, I could go on and on!

Gotta go!


day of week

Creating Holiday Moments with Stayz

9 October 2015

Brought to you by Stayz

Hi everyone!

I have recently been working with Stayz (Australia’s largest holiday rental website) to help inspire families to create new holiday memories.

I love this idea. It is so inline with how my husband and I raise our kids. We love taking any opportunity to get away from our daily routine and to create family experiences that we’ll remember forever.

Last week, we took a trip to Dunsborough, a very popular holiday spot in the South West region of Western Australia (and one of our favourite places) – filled with beaches, wineries, forests, caves, bush and cafes. We also invited some good friends – another family – to join us.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

And yes, we stayed at a Stayz house, called “Happy Daze, Dunsborough” right next to the beach!

The coolest thing about Stayz accommodation is that you can rent the WHOLE house.

They have over 40,000 properties across Australia, in 1,700 locations so there are lots of options for groups of any size. That means, you can holiday with your family, your extended family, or even multiple families.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

This particular house had enough beds for 8 people, two living areas, a fully equipped modern kitchen, air conditioning, all bedding and towels provided, a washing machine, a clothes dryer, a front yard for the kids to play, a balcony, and much more. It was just fabulous.

To put things into perspective for you… the last time we went on a family holiday, we went into the BUSH, where there was no running water, I didn’t shower for 3 days and er… I had to dig my own toilet!

So you could say that I am not accustomed to this level of luxury! I was really pinching myself and counting all my blessings!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

There was no formal check-in; the key was hidden in a safe box on the property.

We simply arrived, unlocked the house, we were greeted by a beautiful, spacious home, a bottle of local white wine and we cracked open the cheese and crackers to celebrate!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

The kids immediately went downstairs to play, in the separate living room, and some started a soccer game on the front lawn.

What did the adults do?

Within 5 minutes of arrival, we were sitting on the balcony and watching the sun set in the peace and quiet. Ahhhhhh!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

That night I cooked a big dinner, fed all the kids and set up a DVD for them to watch downstairs.

Us adults were able to sit and have a quiet dinner! With loooong conversations!

It was so lovely and relaxing.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

The next morning, my husband (bless him) woke up early and made pancakes for everyone. What a treat.

Again I sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sunshine, while chatting to my friends and kids.

Oh my, it was bliss.

Such simple pleasures!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

During the day, we took a long walk on the footpath which ran along Geographe Bay.

The kids took turns to scoot or walk. In fact they were falling over themselves to walk and talk with an adult, just to hear our stories and get some undivided attention.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

We headed over to Meelup Beach, which was still and calm.

The sky was cloudy and the water was a bit too cold for a swim.

Nonetheless, the colour of the water turned into a brilliant turquoise everytime the sun peeked out from behind a cloud and hit the ocean.

We saw whales! About 9 of them swimming across the bay!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

My kids and I ran around, making sand castles, playing chasey, writing our names in the sand and taking photos (yes I took selfies and snapchats with my 12 year old!).

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

There was also a fresh water stream next to the beach, which trickled into the ocean.

My husband started a “dam building project”, which excited ALL the kids, including 8 other random kids who were also on the beach and also wanted to join in.

They worked on that dam for 2 hours!

I think that was the highlight for all the kids.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

That night, I made a 6-hour, slow-cooked Moroccan lamb shank stew with potatoes, carrots and brown rice.

I brought along my extra-large slow cooker just so I could make it. But I was also very pleased that the kitchen had everything I needed; even little things like olive oil, salt and ground cumin – which I forgot to bring.

It was soooooo delicious! And of course, we had to wash it down with more local wine.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

Next morning, my friend made perfect eggs, bacon and homemade bread, for breakfast.

Again, I was pinching myself on the balcony – I was so happy!

Oh and you know what else made me happy?

Although I told everyone that the beach was my favourite part of the trip, I have to admit that HAVING A DISHWASHER was my most favourite thing haha!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

The kids played and played.

There was a stash of books, board games and card games in house, including our old favourite – Twister!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

We also enjoyed heaps of local cafes, art galleries, the shops and the bakery.

Overall, it was a such an easy and effortless holiday!

We didn’t have to wash the bed sheets or towels before we left. We just had to give the place a quick sweep and wipe down the kitchen surfaces.

I loved that there were so many things that we didn’t have to stress and worry about – towels, wifi, hair dryer, iron, washing machine, dust pan, matches, candles – it was a whole house, filled with household items. It made life sooooo much easier.

It felt much more homey, spacious and private than a caravan park, motel, hotel or even a Bed and Breakfast.

And because of all that, I absolutely loved that we had so much time to be together as a family, enjoy each other’s company and just have fun.

Renting a house like Happy Daze, for two families, was perfect for us!

So here’s a big, big thanks to Stayz!

If you’re thinking of heading off to find a house to stay in, you might be interested in this…

*Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition*

Win a $1500 Visa Gift Card to put towards your next holiday, or towards a new designer handbag – that’s kind of like a holiday right? :)

You DO need a blog to enter – Write a blog post about your favourite childhood holiday and then fill out the entry form here.

If you DON’T have a blog, that’s okay, you can post your favourite holiday throwback photo on the Stayz Facebook Page or on your own Instagram account (with the #Stayz and #HTB tags) and you could win a $100 Westfield gift card.

Check out more information about the Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition here.

day of week

Win $1500 with Stayz Holiday Accommodation

30 September 2015

Brought to you by Stayz

Hi everyone! I have some super exciting news to share!

I’m teaming up with Stayz, Australia’s largest holiday rental website, to showcase a few fun projects coming up.

Stayz, Dunsborough


Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition!

Win a $1500 Visa Gift Card to put towards your next holiday, or towards a new designer handbag – that’s kind of like a holiday right?? Haha!

You DO need a blog to enter – Write a blog post about your favourite childhood holiday and then fill out the entry form here.

If you DON’T have a blog, that’s okay, you can post your favourite holiday throwback photo on the Stayz Facebook Page or on your own Instagram account (with the #Stayz and #HTB tags) and you could win a $100 Westfield gift card.

Check out more information about the Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition here. It’s really easy!

Yallingup, Wyadup Rocks


I’ll be showcasing a few Stayz holiday accommodations around Australia, over the next few months! Wayhey!

I have so many friends who have used Stayz, who rave about the houses they rented and their holidays. I’m so excited to be road testing and featuring some of these places for myself!

I love the idea that you can rent a whole home, big or small, most often with a capacity for multiple families – this suits our holiday style perfectly.

If you’ve been a long time reader, you probably know we love our camping and holiday trips with friends. We love to be social, we love to create memories, we love our family time, and we love having new adventures and experiences with our kids.

Here’s to new family adventures! Starting next week!

Follow me on Instagram (@karenlycheng) or Snapchat (heykarencheng) to keep up with our holiday antics!


(Photos are some of my favourite holiday memories. First one was in 2012 while holidaying at Geographe Bay, Western Australia. Second photos taken in 2015 at Wyadup Rocks, Western Australia.)

day of week

A Little Catch Up With Sandals and Flowers

21 September 2015

Schutz Flatlay

Happy Monday everyone!

As I mentioned a few posts ago, it’s fashion week season… and I had the pleasure of attending 8 different events in 5 days.

Sounds a bit intense? Yeah it was, but I’m not complaining! It was fun! I made so many new contacts and friends, saw some great shows, I exercised my networking and conversation skills, plus I really wanted to support the local designers, talented creatives and small business owners again.

Also… I guess I wanted to announce to everyone that I was back in the blogging scene again.

Last year I took a break from the fashion scene because I wanted to concentrate on the business side of my blog.

That has worked out really well, as I have been inundated with heaps of new, fun, interesting, paid work over the year; possibly too much for my schedule, but I think I’m now a bit of a pro at sayin’ NO, choosing work that suits me, and making sure it doesn’t affect my work life balance.

I still want to cook delicious meals for my family, have coffee with friends, go shopping with my mum, have long conversations with each of my kids, be a kind of rock for my boys as they grow up and head off to high school, go for runs in the sunshine, volunteer for charity, bake treats, vacuum my own house and grow my own vegetables in my garden.

I won’t be a millionaire, I won’t be famous, but hey I’m happy doing my own thing.

I feel successful!? That’s all that matters right?

So I’m very thankful and grateful for how everything has been going in the last 12 months.

Blogging is a very different landscape now.

I’m more of a freelance digital creative now, busily creating visual and editorial content for my blog and social media, and selling media space across my platform. Ha, that sounds so formal. I prefer to say, “I just write about stuff and take photos.” Haha!

I hope to do a lot more writing here.

I know it goes against the new social media and Instagram culture. I know it goes against all the stunning, image-driven, picture-heavy websites that gets all the eyeballs these days (which is a talent and art in itself!). Everyone says, “People don’t like to read lots of words these days. No one reads blogs anymore.”

That may be true. But as much as I love visual style, art, design and appreciate the creative geniuses behind it all… there’s something about the written word, a voice that cuts through everything else, that truly inspires me.

I have been working on rolling out a few things on my blog. Hopefully it will all be finished soon!

Thank you for reading! Hope you have a fantastic week!

In the photograph: My new Schutz Sandals from Shopbop, Stripe top from Love Bonito, Skirt from Base by Ben, and some roses from my garden.

day of week

Blossoms In The Sun

20 September 2015

Blossom in the Sun

Carrying on with my theme of finding beauty in details… my plum blossom plant is going crazy!

It is bursting with colour and joy in the warm sunshine! It is beautiful!

Ironically, we planted it in our front yard, next to an ugly grey concrete fence… and it’s a bit tricky to take a pretty photograph of the whole plant.

So to take THIS photo, I had to CRUSH myself and SQUAT awkwardly between the fence and the plant, point the camera into the sun, close my eyes, and snap continuously while waving my phone blindly.

Thankfully the postman didn’t stop by or I would’ve looked like such a freak!

The resulting photo was close to perfect though :)

day of week

Commissioning Artwork from Around the World – Easy, Affordable and Exciting

16 September 2015

Brought to you by The Commissioned

The Commissioned
(Photo from The Commissioned)

I was recently introduced to The Commissioned and invited to experience their art commission services.

Having a background in art, design and photography; having a lot of friends who purchase art for their homes; and having bought my own art, I was really drawn to the whole concept of the website.

I was excited beyond belief!

What is it?

The Commissioned has a large selection of talented artist from all over the world. You can look through their bio, browse through their works, and then start a direct conversation with an artist to commission a work of art for yourself.

You can chose colours that will suit the décor of your house. You can choose a subject that will celebrate a special moment in your life. You can capture a special message as a gift to a friend. The scope is endless!

My Commissioning Experience

I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted.

I wanted an abstract painting inspired by one of our family walks through a beautiful forest.

I took some lovely photos during the walk and wanted to capture the moment somehow. I also wanted the painting to have blurry figures of my 3 children, just to remind me of that happy moment as I looked at them through the leaves.

Sign up and Browse!

I signed up to the site and began to browse through the hundreds of artists, view their works and read about a bit about them (you can actually browse without signing up).

When you sign up, you get to see all the artists’ indicative prices and the size of their paintings, such as: Small Canvas (11×14 inch) USD123.20 or Medium Canvas (24×36 inch) USD691.20.
You can also “Favourite” the artists whose works catch your eye, so you can view them again later.

I was quite fascinated to discover artists from all over the world – United States, Asia, Europe, Philipines, Japan, Moscow, Finland, Poland, Russia, Spain, Argentina and more.

In the end, I utterly fell in love with artist, Deusa Blumke’s work.

Art by Deusa Blumke

She was born in Brazil and currently pursuing Masters Degree in Singapore. She has a looooong list of exhibited works in her portfolio, has won a few awards for her art… but most of all I loved her style. I loved her spontaneous strokes, her bold colours, her blobs, splatters and unique layering.

Art by Deusa Blumke

Examples of Deusa Blumke’s work (courtesy of the artist).

So I sent her a message to start a conversation.

I requested that I was keen for an abstract painting based on the theme of “A Forest Walk”. I’d like the painting to look more like a forest, not a path in a forest.

I enclosed some photos I took while on our recent forest walk. I told her that I would love for her to use them as inspiration for shapes and colour, in particular greens, blues, greys, browns, whites, black (but not too much black!)

Forest walk in Boranup

Forest walk in Boranup

I told her I loved the colours, strokes, movement and spontaneity of her featured artworks and would like the painting to have the same strokes, blobs, movement and spontaneity. I don’t really like the use of hard lines/edges and geometric shapes.

Forest walk in Boranup

I also mentioned to her that I would like the painting to include 3 little abstract figures in the background, dressed in a navy/grey blue (much like the photo above). However I didn’t want them to be the focus of the picture; they are just playing within the scenery.

Forest walk in Boranup

She loved the photos! She agreed to the collaboration, we settled the price, I made the payment and she set to work.

(I was given a promo code to use at The Commissioned for this review.)

I was super, super, super excited, and a bit nervous!

I couldn’t believe I was going to own one of her paintings! But what if I don’t like it? What if it’s not quite what I wanted? I guess I can ask her to tweak it a bit?

Updates: Work in Progress

A week later, Deusa sent me an update: A photo of her work in progress!

Work in Progress by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

Holy cow! Amazing! – Was my first response!

Usually a sketch is adequate for the first stage of communication, but all artists, designers and creatives work in different ways… and it can be a bit risky for a client to see an unfinished photo of the artwork. I had to keep that in mind.

It’s like a wedding cake maker sending a photo of their fruitcake; A car paint shop sending a photo of their first coat; A chef sending a photo of their chopping board. The masterpiece is not yet revealed! It’s still in progress!

I have to admit that I stared at the unfinished painting a bit more than I should have. I got a bit worried. The graphic designer in me kicked in and I was concerned that there was too much brown, and not enough bright colours, and maybe I should send a message to direct her?

I probably could have done that. The website has a “Creative Studio” section, which brings together all your conversations with artists, all your current and past commissioned works, and any photos sent back and forth.

The site basically makes it very open and easy to have a conversation with the artist.

But I wanted to see the whole process through, being respectful to the artist, being true to the art process and having confidence in her talent.

So I didn’t ask her to change anything. I knew she would deliver something amazing in the end.

It would be like me telling a master chef, halfway through making my meal, to “OH REMEMBER TO ADD SOME SALT TO MAKE IT TASTY OK?”

Out of curiosity, I asked if she could send over some photos of her workspace, so I could publish it on my blog. Seeing photos of the work in progress, within the workspace, was pretty exciting! But this might not be a typical step in the commissioning process.

Work in Progress by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

So cool!

A few days later, she sent some more photo of her work in progress.

Then a few days later, she sent a few more.

Finally, 12 days after we agreed to collaborate, she sent over her final photos and a message, part of it saying, “Unless you would like to have some more of a certain colour or adjustments, I’m finished :)”

I didn’t want her to do anything else to it! I was absolutely thrilled with her final work!

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

I was so so so happy with it!

I pinched myself, as I couldn’t believe that it was MINE and that Deusa had painted it for me, based on my photos.

She did such an amazing job! Her layers of dots make the leaves and lights look like they are dancing and sparkling. The watery brown blobs make me smile, remembering how fun it was to stomp through the mud. She had captured that perfectly.

And can you see the 3 little figures? How gorgeous!
OK I know that it was my idea, but I love that they are there in the landscape and I have to search for them a bit with my eyes. And I love that they are in a kind of glowing spotlight on the ground. The visual balance of green dots all over the painting is just wonderful. It’s an absolutely gorgeous artwork to look and STARE at :)

I was gushing! I couldn’t wait to have it delivered.

I finalised the details on the website. The project was complete and it was published into my personal art gallery (on the site), along with a direct URL and details.

(You can view mine here: Karen Cheng’s Gallery )

Next, I paid a bit extra for secure international delivery, and after a few days, the painting arrived at my doorstep, wrapped up in lots of bubble wrap, sticky tape and a secure box.

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

I made a special little space in my home for it.

But then I felt that it got lost (visually) next to all my objects, so I hung it on the wall instead.

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

To be honest, I was very unsure whether this whole experience would run smoothly, and I was worried that I would have a poor experience. I mean, the whole IDEA of buying art online, sounds fraught with danger, dodgy sellers and con-artists!

But I was very, very pleased with the whole process. The customer service was excellent. There was an online chat function, and team members were all incredibly helpful.

I have already told 5-6 good friends about this site. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut about it. Okay, I may have raved about it.

I also pointed them to another client review on the site, because I know lots of grandmothers, aunties, mothers who would LOVE to get something similar for their special girls. Basically she commissioned a watercolour illustration of her daughter dancing through a forest, with cute little forest creatures! So cute!

As for me, I am tempted to get another painting commissioned, as I have another two ideas:

1) A unique, abstract family portrait, with 5 abstract figures playing at the beach. I liked the idea of bright blue sky, blue-green ocean and yellow sand. I liked the idea of a bright, bold painting to remember all my family’s trips to the beach.

2) A still life of some pale pink roses in a crystal glass jar. I wanted pastel pinks, pale greens, lots of white and black. Basically I wanted a stylish, moody painting to hang above a small white table and add a colourful lift to a corner in my house.

What do you think??

Do pop over to The Commissioned for a peek!


day of week

A Quick Break From The Computer…

14 September 2015

Coffee with the Hubs

Snuck out of the house and met up with my husband for a coffee break.

Still a bit crazy about him.

(And tiramisu. Always crazy about tiramisu.)

day of week

A Bouquet From My Garden

7 September 2015

Flowers for Leah

On the weekend, my niece turned 13!

Aaah, I remember when she was born! I was pregnant with my first child, unsure about being a new mother, I was still anxious and undecided about things like whether to use cloth nappies or disposable nappies. And yet, I was so excited that my child would have a similar-aged cousin. Seems like a lifetime ago :)

Before we headed out to the 13th birthday party, I prepared a giftcard (that’s what she wanted), but I just felt so… lazy, cheap, thoughtless and uninspired!

I thought I could do better.

So I crept around my garden and picked some simple flowers, bundled them up, stuck them in a clean mayonnaise jar, wrapped them up with some brown paper, brown string and voilà – a cute and simple gift!

I’m so happy with how they turned out.

I had lots of left over flowers, so I made one for my house too.

Hope you all have a gorgeous day!


day of week

My Mediocre Attempts at Cooking

6 September 2015

So according to my blog, it must seem that everything I cook is just FABULOUS DARLING!

I don’t feature my mediocre stuff, because reeeeally, as much as people say that it’s trending to #KEEPITREAL, who actually wants to click on and read about someone’s mediocre attempts at cooking? Not me.

Sure, I can see appeal of featuring EPIC FAILED COOKING ATTEMPTS. That would be funny!

But mediocre is just so, mediocre. Right?

What? Did I hear you say no?

Alrighty then!

Tart Fail

1. Raw Coconut Chia Pudding on Hazelnut Tart  (Like eating squishy cardboard!)

Ok so I made a “semi raw” Chocolate Raspberry Tart last week. I thought I would be clever and make a proper “raw” version, with zero added sugar (except for a few dates).

Tart Fail

Looks so pretty right? Styled so nicely right?

Nope. Ugh, it was so bland and weird!

It was as if I had a head cold and I lost my sense of taste – I could feel the interesting textures in my mouth, but there was ZERO flavour haha!

Plus I was trying to do too much by combining two desserts (chia pudding and hazelnut crust). Lesson learned: keep it simple.

No diary, no gluten, no sugar, no cooking and… no taste! Ha!

Pancakes Fail

2. Gluten Free Pancakes (Tough like rubber!)

I don’t know where I got this recipe. No doubt some hipster hippy healthy food blog. Hmm, it wasn’t exactly a winner.

I bought some crazy expensive gluten-free flour and mixed it with a weird ratio of potato flour, brown rice flour and coconut flour. It was just a bit silly and complicated. Too painful for Sunday morning pancakes if you ask me.

They’d make a great underlay for your wooden floors!

Ribs Fail

3. Honey Pork Ribs (Hello Heart Disease!)

Maybe I bought the wrong kind of ribs. Maybe I added too much soy sauce.

Whatever the case, it felt like I was eating big rectangles of rubber fat coated in salt.

I could feel my arteries clogging up with each bite. Aakkk.

Frozen Buns Fail

4. Re-baked Homemade Bread rolls (Or, How To make rocks!)

I recently found a fantastic bread recipe and have been making lots of bread for my family.

But I really wanted to try half-baking the bread, freezing it, then re-baking them at another time.

This was my second attempt and I still couldn’t get it right. They came out under-cooked and tasting like warmed up play dough – gross!

Inspired? I bet you are!

Happy cooking!

day of week

Healthy Strawberry Smoothies!

27 August 2015

Strawberry & Raspberry Smoothie

After school, I usually make smoothies for my kids (so that’s about 4-5 times a week).

Each time I make about 750ml (3 x 250ml) of one batch; then I make a smaller batch for myself, because I like my smoothies with nuts, coconut, spinach and other weird, healthy stuff.

I use a NutriBullet, however I think any high speed blender will do the trick. My mum bought it for me and it was kind of a surprise/unwanted present, because I already had a (non-high-speed) blender. Initially I was very reluctant to use it, and it sat on my shelf for months. Why? Because I hated the TV infomercials! The marketing people say the blades breakdown the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, unlocks nutrients, and makes women prettier?!? Ugh I couldn’t stand it.

Anyway, the blender and I are friends now.

So… I’ve been sharing a few of my smoothie photos on instagram (@karenlycheng) and a few people have asked me to share the recipes on my blog.

Er, I don’t actually have an actual recipe! I just throw stuff together and play with proportions. If I put more raspberries, it’s going to taste more like raspberries!

The other day I made a concoction that I shall call: A Healthy Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries, blueberries or mixed berries.
1 banana
1/2 green apple
1 cup of coconut water
1/4 cup natural plain yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey (optional)

(This makes about 750ml)

I don’t believe in adding extra sugar to my smoothies. I think the sugar from the fruit is enough. But sometimes my apples or berries are so sour and tart that my kids refuse to drink the resulting smoothie, so I add a bit sweeter fruit like grapes, frozen mango, and if nothing else works, I add honey or maple syrup to make it a bit more palatable.


day of week

Buy Korean Skincare Online from Aniqa Australia!

25 August 2015

Brought to you by Aniqa

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Cremorlab and Mizon

I’m so excited to introduce you all to a new kid in town: Aniqa is an Australian-based online store that stocks some of the hottest Korean skincare products around.

What makes Aniqa different?

Aniqa stocks a carefully edited selection of “boutique” Korean beauty brands – such as, Cremorlab, Mizon, Be The Skin and Caolion.

There are thousands of Korean beauty brands out there, so if you’re a Korean skincare newbie like me, and you just want the best products from the best brands… this site is a godsend!

If you’ve been reading Vogue and other online fashion magazines and beauty forums, you’ll notice that they frequently feature products by Cremorlab, Mizon and Be The Skin. Also, big names like YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan and Olivia Palermo rave about Cremorlab and Mizon too.

The Aniqa site is run by two passionate and hard working women, who are dedicated to trying and testing out every single product; listening to their clients, finding out what works, what sells and what are creating the most buzz around the world. There’s a nice personal touch to the highly professional site.

The site is beautiful, easy to navigate, secure, and most of all, you can get your Korean beauty fix with ease – cheap and fast! No need to pay gazillions of dollars in shipping from the US or wait 3-4 weeks for your order from Asia.

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Cremorlab

But first, I wanted to talk about where I’m at.

I’m in my mid-30s and skin care is really important to me. I wear sun cream, I wear a hat, I eat well, exercise, drink water, get 8 hours of sleep … most of the time, I do all the right things :)

Over the years, I’ve leaned away from drugstore brands and have reluctantly bought into the world of expensive skincare products from global brands. I say reluctantly, because a little part of me dies when I purchase a bottle of cream for $185!!

But I can’t complain really. If I work hard in keeping up a regular skincare regime, I see results.

When I take care of it, my skin is clear, radiant, smooth and it glows.

I’d say that my skin is at its optimum level. I rarely have dull skin days anymore.

I have been using mostly SK-II products (Facial Treatment Essence, Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Stempower Cream and face masks), Lancome (Advanced Youth Activating Concentrate), and some products from Clarins, Shiseido, Alpha-H, SkinCeuticals, Philosophy and Trilogy.

My main problem is that it’s all so expensive.

(And I haven’t done any lasers, peels, dermabrasions, injectables, fillers, light therapy, or surgery before!)

My Recent Switch to Korean Brands!

I had been hearing a lot about Korean beauty products and how they are taking the world by storm. Everyone seems to be loving them – Vogue editors, fashion and beauty magazine editors, celebrities and hardcore fans on online beauty forums have been trying them out and absolutely loving them.

It sounded good and I was curious to try. I wanted IN on beauty products specially designed for Asian skin!


1) I was reluctant because I didn’t know where to start!

2) I am aware (and possibly quite cynical) that this too is just another “trend” and “hype” in the cosmetics industry.

3) It was difficult to buy Korean beauty products in Australia.

So a couple of months ago, I got a call from an old high school friend… she and her business partner had set up an online store specialising in Korean skincare products, Aniqa. It was a nice site! She wanted to work with me and my blog and we set up a meeting. Usually I am very cautious and reluctant when working with skincare brands. Most times I just say no thanks. I have had some really bad experiences in the past. The results ranged from terrible to mediocre, and who wants to read and hear about terrible/mediocre products?? I only ever want to talk about stuff that I actually LIKE and USE.

I was trying to find a nice way to say, “Uh no thanks babe. I’m happy with SK-II and my little routine!” I didn’t want to go through that whole testing out skincare products journey again – ugh!

But she was an old friend, a lovely person, super-smart, super-genuine, self-starting, go-getting kind of person… so we met up, we caught up with each others’ lives, we talked and laughed for hours… and she gave me a box of products to try out.

That was in June.

And for the last 2 months I have been hooked on using these new products!

Now for the first time, I actually enjoy looking after my skin. I use a facial sheet mask twice a week, and I do a scrub twice a week. I bounce with excitement knowing it’s FACE MASK DAY! Or I go through the day and think, YAY I GET TO DO A SCRUB TONIGHT!

I cannot seem to express how much sheer joy and pleasure I have when I go through my routine and seeing my skin glow!

The result?

Well, I keep waking up in the morning and my skin is gorgeous!

Every day I look in the mirror and think – holy crap, er wow?!

I can honestly say that my complexion is more radiant, smoother, has less redness and is more hydrated than it’s ever been over the past few years. My skin is optimum + a few notches up.

Now whether that’s the result of ONE product, or a RANGE of products, or that I’ve simply upped my skincare regime and have now made it a positive priority in my life… I’m not entirely sure. I would say that it’s a combination of all three/four reasons.

The fact still stands, I see great results and I’m liking it.

Another result is a change in attitude: Taking care of my skin is not a boring, futile chore at the end of the day. It is seriously so. Much. Fun… and I think that inner joy and sparkle comes across in my face too :)

Yes I still get an occasional dull skin day, where my skin is not radiant and smooth. But… that is possibly connected to hormones, sleeping at 2am, eating way too much chocolate, exercising with makeup on my face, not drinking enough water, experimenting with new makeup (reviewing for blog posts) and sitting in a room with a heater/aircon on for 5-6 hours. Haha all the major no-nos!

And yes it’s probably the same amount of skincare regime work (possibly a bit more) as before with my old products SK-II, Lancome, Shiseido, etc.

So then, what was the difference? Why switch?

1) The prices.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (150ml) is about AUD$185 and Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence (270ml) is AUD$58.

SK-II Stempower Cream (80g jar) is AUD$200 and Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream (70ml) is AUD$55.

Ok I know I seem to be hard on SK-II. That wasn’t my intention! I DO love, love, love their products and they DO work for me. But it’s so expensive… $385 for two products?? Whereas two equivalent Korean products (as mentioned above) would set me back $113. Yes I know this is a self-inflicted, first world problem… Haha don’t judge me!

2) Using products in the same range.

Because the prices are great, I can afford to buy all the products in the same range (for example, Mizon Pore Range, Cremorlab Hydro Plus Snow Falls Line) so I’d be happy to use all the toners, serums, eye creams etc. And while a small part of me thinks these ranges are just a marketing ploy, I still like to think that products from the same range should work together chemically, in terms of the right pH, active ingredients, layering and absorption.

3) The smell is simply ah-mazing!

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Cremorlab

Where to start?

The brand Cremorlab (recommended by YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan and Olivia Palermo) has a huge cult following. Their most raved about products would be Cremorlab Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence ($58 – pictured above), Cremorlab Triple Bright White Bloom Foam Cleanser ($39 – pictured above), Cremorlab Smooth Pudding Moisturiser ($65)

And their range of amazing Cremorlab Sheet Masks (starts from $5 – $14) are often featured in fashion and beauty magazines.

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Mizon

Mizon is stocked in Urban Outfitters in the US! According to online beauty forums, Mizon’s range of Snail Repair creams and gels are JUST AMAZING. (These are not stocked on Aniqa yet!) Their serums are also really popular.

My favourite so far is the Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream ($55) and the Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Toner ($40).

I am hoping to try the Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 Serum ($65) too.

Be The Skin is also another popular product, often raved about by fashion and beauty editors. I personally haven’t tried any from this brand yet, but I heard that these were good: Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Cream ($58) and Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Serum ($59).

I have tested out most of these products mentioned above and I’ll be posting my reviews on which worked best for me!

I’ll also be testing out a few other popular Korean skincare products… so stay tuned!

Happy shopping!


(Btw, I had a few messages about the flowers in these photographs – Yes I photographed these photos! I sourced the purple Native Wisteria and Camellia branches from my garden, the Almond Blossom from my neighbour’s garden, and the white Lisianthus flowers are from the local florist.)

day of week

The Luminaries and Other Good Reads

19 August 2015

The Luminaries

Many years ago, I made a promise to read one “Man Booker Prize Winner” novel a year.

Well, I didn’t really stick to it. For 10 years – consumed by looking after small children – my brain couldn’t handle “literature”. I read a lot of Twilight and easy-to-read Popular Fiction instead haha.

But I’m trying to get back into the more cerebral stuff.

I really, really enjoy it. Like fashion, exercise and cooking… it makes me feel good.

I’ve updated my Good Reads profile, if you want to check it out.

I managed to add some of the books I’ve read over the years (that I could think of!) and rated them etc.

I like classics, modern literature, popular titles and a bit of sci-fi. I don’t really like youth fiction or romance. However Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourites!

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, won the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and I managed to finish her book earlier this year.

It’s a murder mystery, historical fiction set in New Zealand in the days of the gold rush, with complicated interconnected characters and plot.

I don’t even like murder mysteries. But I liked this novel because I adored her language and story telling (a bit like Charles Dickens), her description of characters and her unfolding of the landscapes and events.

The author is 28 (!!!) and did an incredible job weaving such a complicated narrative. There is also an added technical depth; apparently there are 12 characters, 12 star signs, 12 chapters, and each chapter is half the length as the one before it. But it didn’t really add THAT much to the story, only that the chapters got shorter and it felt more exciting towards the end, leading to the story’s climax.

It’s impressive. But not for everyone!

day of week

Speedfit – Personal Training and Electronic Muscle Stimulation

14 August 2015

Brought to you by Speedfit

I do some pretty cool/strange things for my blog… and for my latest adventure, I electrocuted my muscles to tone them up!

These two photos were taken one day apart, before and after my session at SpeedFit, in Northbridge.

Eeep, my biceps have never been so full and perky before.

Before and After, Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

So let me give you the back story.

I have been very fit and active for the last 3 – 4 years. I run, cycle, play netball, do yoga, boxing, weights, cross training and more.

I first tried EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation) in Singapore last year. Initially, I did NOT like the idea at all. I thought it was cheating, unnecessary and against my idea of what it means to be “an active and healthy person”.

However, once I tried it, I actually thought it was pretty good (and weird)!

I was quite surprised.

The fact is… it worked. My muscles became very toned, very quickly.

Ordinarily I work very hard to keep the weight off, so most of my exercises are for me to tone up, strengthen my core, improve my posture and flexibility, keep my body healthy, strong and injury free. I also exercise because it’s fun, it makes me feel good, it challenges my mind and it helps me sleep better. I don’t focus on body sculpting or maintaining rock hard abs.

So I could see how EMS training could complement my active lifestyle.

And if I could afford, I would do it on a regular basis :)

Having toned muscles would be like icing on the cake for me!

I’ve been told that EMS Training is huge in Asia and Europe. Apparently it is a thriving and popular industry; studios are as common as regular gyms and no one thinks twice when you mention you’re off to the local EMS studio.

So when SpeedFit EMS Personal Training contacted me, it turned out that they were the first to bring the concept to Australia (several years ago), and I was keen to work with them to spread the news.

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

SpeedFit launched in Perth 2 years ago and now have more than 700 clients. They have 2 studios, one in Northbridge and one in Claremont.

I turned up early on a Tuesday morning for my 10:30am session.

It was a cold, windy day. I was dressed in a white shirt, grey knit, grey coat, black jeans, thick socks and boots. My motivation to exercise was er… 2/10.

I thought that the studio would be quiet and empty at that time, but there were two women doing their workout session ahead of my time slot and one other woman in the waiting area, who was going to do her session at the same time as me.

I had a little chat to her and she told me that she had been doing EMS Training for 4 months and absolutely loved it. She said she hated going to the gym, she has two kids under 4 years old and this was her only form of workout.

The two women finished their session and raved about their workout. They had a beaming post-workout glow as they walked out the door.

After seeing and chatting to the other women, I was pretty excited to get started and my motivation to exercise rose to 7/10.

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

EMS involves putting on a suit that delivers electronic impulses to your major muscle groups to make them contract.

A personal trainer leads you through a customised workout and apparently a 20 minute session is equivalent to 4 hours at the gym!

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

I went into the private change rooms, took off all my clothes, stored my watch and jewellery safely in a locker… and then I put on the supplied cotton top and 3/4 leggings.

I have to wear this cotton outfit because there has to be a thin, single layer of fabric between the electrodes and my skin. Plus I’m going to sweat like crazy so I’ll be able to discard them in a laundry bag for someone else to wash. It’s all part of the service. Yay.

The instructor sprayed the EMS suit with water and fastened it onto me.

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

She also strapped on little belts and wires on my biceps (arms), quads (legs), glutes (bum).

I felt like I was wearing a soggy corset!

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

My instructor plugged me into the EMS machine and I suddenly felt like a bubble jet printer.

Charge me up baby!

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

This is the EMS machine.

Looks like a cute, harmless robot!

Each little knob adjusts the strength of impulses to each muscle group. And the big knob on the right controls the overall impulse levels to all muscles.

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

The instructor customised the machine, tweaking the impulses to suit my comfort level.

What does it feel like?

It feels like little massage balls bumping on my skin. It’s not painful at all. It doesn’t feel zappy, or pinchy or twingey on my nerves.

It feels a bit weird and kind of nice, when set to lower levels.

But what’s the point of a low-level massage right? I wanted to tone up my muscles and get a workout!

This is me about to start!

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

Once the machine began the program, it led me through a 20 minute workout session.

The impulses went for 6 seconds and stopped for 4 seconds.

I had to tense my muscles, HOLD for 6 seconds, then I got a 4 second break to change positions.

It’s a bit like yoga, in that I had to concentrate on the position of my body, arms, legs and back.

The instructor went through different workout positions, like squats, rear leg extensions, calf raises, bicep curls and more. It was pretty simple.

As the workout went on, I realised that I could handle a higher level of impulses, so I just reached out and changed the levels to my liking.

The instructor also started to push me a bit and upped the levels for me bit by bit.

Speedfit, EMS Training Perth

By the end, the impulses were quite intense. I wanted to go hard! I was puffing and sweating as I finished.

I pushed myself quite a bit and I think I did really well. After all, I wanted to see results :)

The whole thing went for 20 minutes. So quick!

Immediately after the workout, I was able to have a shower in the private change rooms, blow dry my hair, change into my clothes. My instructor made me a protein shake to help with my muscle recovery. I was in and out in 45 minutes.

(I probably could have been in and out in less time, but I stopped to chat to my instructor and asked her a lot of questions).

I stepped out of the studio looking as fresh as a daisy. I caught up with my friend for lunch and she could not believe that I just “had a workout at the gym”. I was glowing with a fabulous post-workout feeling! I felt amazing!

That evening, my biceps ached a bit and I knew I had worked them quite hard.

I took a photo of myself in the mirror (at the top of the post) and was very impressed to see that my biceps were significantly rounder and fuller than before.

I have been lifting 5kg to 7.5kg dumbells and working out my arms (twice a week, for the last few months), but I’ve had to slow down because my elbow/forearm hurt a bit and I didn’t want tear anything. So this was a great way to compliment my weights workout and give my arms a boost. I’m really happy with the results.

What Are The Benefits?

There’s lots of information on the website about the Benefits of EMS and a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Pricing – How Much Does It Cost?

SpeedFit suggest that you do training once a week, and they have created several membership packages to suit different lifestyles.

See their Price List here.

*Special Offer*

So here’s the big plug – SpeedFit have a special offer at the moment: TWO trial sessions for $90!

(The standard rate for one session is $90). This is a pretty cool offer, especially if you – like I was – a bit unsure whether it’ll work for you, and just want to give it a go.

Call and Book for a Session

telephone: 08 9328 3448

telephone: 08 9384 6182

Hope you enjoyed my review!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


day of week

Girls Weekend to Yallingup, Margaret River

9 August 2015

Yallingup, Wyadup Rocks

I headed down to Yallingup for the weekend with 5 other girlfriends (no kids!).

My friend checked the tide charts and weather charts and took us to this little “secret” pool for a winter swim in the ocean!

I wasn’t planning to swim, so I didn’t take my swimsuit.

But when I saw the water, I was struck with spontaneous craziness, stripped off and jumped in – in my t-shirt and underwear!

Yallingup, Wyadup Rocks

This is my girlfriend testing the water before the rest of us jumped in.

Yallingup Aug 2015

We stayed at my friend’s parent’s house… and this is the view we had!!

Most afternoons, we sat on the balcony, reading, snacking and enjoyed the gorgeous sunset over the ocean.

Yallingup Aug 2015

We cooked up a storm of amazing food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was soooo goood.

Yallingup Aug 2015

A storm rolled in one afternoon, so we decided to take a walk on the beach!

It was a bit crazy, but it was such a beautiful walk.

Yallingup Aug 2015

This was the beach, after the storm came through.

We watched a lot of sunsets over the beach.

Vasse Felix Winery and Restaurant

We also went to a few wineries and ate super posh (and super expensive!) food.

This was the duck dish at Vasse Felix and yes the food was absolutely delicious.

Yallingup Aug 2015

More beach walks. More stunning skies.

This is Shelley Beach in Bunker Bay.

Yallingup Aug 2015

When it rained, we did a lot of sitting around the fire and reading. I finished TWO books (I was 2/3 the way through two books), which felt awesome to accomplish.

In fact, one afternoon, we plopped down on the couch at 4pm… and the 6 of us sat quietly to read, listening to nothing but the pouring rain and crackling fire. We read until 8pm and someone yawned sleepily, “Maybe we should make dinner?!”

That was a golden moment!

No rushing around with kids, no hungry screaming toddlers, no bathtime battles, no rush, no agenda.

Ah it was bliss.

Anyway that’s enough photos, here’s to relaxing breaks and spontaneous fun!

Hope you enjoy your week xxx

day of week

Rock Collections from the Helena and Aurora Range

3 August 2015

Camping at the Helena and Aurora Range

We recently went camping in a very remote part of the West Australian bush. We were about 100kms away from the closest town and literally surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of bushland and not much else.

Once we set up camp, there wasn’t much to do except hike, walk, make a fire and look at the scenery.

We camped with our friends (another couple) and their kids, so in total there were 4 adults and 6 kids, aged between 14 and 6. I was a little nervous that the kids would wander off and get lost. But they were great. They entertained themselves really well.

They collected firewood, made a cubby house, dug holes and trenches, made their own garden, roasted marshmallows and played card games.

But after 2 days of that, they starting to fight and bicker – so we decided they needed a project!

My husband is a ‘project’ man, so he gave the kids a brief:

Create a rock collection based on shape, colour or texture and present them in a row, increasing/decreasing in size.

The kid with the best gradient would win $5. We gave them 2 days, and boy it was fun. The whole area around us was covered in weird little rocks and iron ore composite rocks with banded colours of compressed minerals. I’m not exactly sure what they were.

The kids were so quiet and so preoccupied for the rest of the trip! It was amazing!

On the last morning of camp, we put down a huge plastic sheet on the ground and the kids laid out their rock collections.

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

With our feet covered in red dirt, we all stood around like art critics and examined the rock collections.

It was quite clever, creative, bizarre and entertaining at the same time.

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

Everyone gave a little speech and presented their findings.

We all discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each collection.

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

This was a very cute example of the smooth iron blobs scattered all over the range.

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

This collection was less of a gradient and more of a line up of beautiful banded rocks.

The cube-like rock on the right, looked like a slice of chocolate waffer cake!

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

A very impressive triangle rock shape gradient!

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

And as a complete surprise to everyone, I secretly entered the competition with some heart-shaped rocks!

Impressive huh? I can’t believe how cute they looked.

They were so bloody hard to find! I pretty much had my head down looking at the ground the whole second half of the trip, and might have missed a few sights.

Here’s a close up.

Rock Collection - Helena and Aurora Range

I was a bit embarrassed that I stole the limelight from the kids – it was their activity after all!

And I had a feeling that they (my own children) were a bit pissed off at me for cutting into their winnings, so my husband saved the day by creating different award categories (Best Size Gradient, Best Colour and Pattern Gradient, Best Presentation) and in the end EVERYONE WON $5 haha!

I absolutely love looking at these rock collections now. They put the biggest smile on my face :)

day of week

4NE1 Korean Beauty and Nail Salon in Perth

27 July 2015

Hi everyone!

I’ve been very curious about Korean beauty products for a while now; and I have been itching to try out a Korean beauty salon in Perth.

So I did a bit of asking around and some of my friends recommended me to try 4NE1 Korean Beauty and Nail (pronounced For-Any-One) in Rivervale.

They do semi-permanent makeup for eyebrows, semi-permanent top and bottom eyeliner, even semi-permanent lip liners, eyelash extensions, body slimming, facials, LED Dynamic therapies, micro-hydrabrasion and more.

My friends had semi-permanent eyebrows and eyeliner done and have been really happy with the results.

Finally convinced to try it out, I gave them a call and popped into the shop.

Korean Beauty Salon - 4NE1, Rivervale

The shop was simple, clean, new and spacious. The lovely staff, dressed in all-black uniforms, greeted me at the door and showed me around.

They all looked so young! Yet they were all cute and coy about it, claiming to be my age and possibly older?? Omg I need to get some Korean beauty products pronto!

Korean Beauty Salon - 4NE1, Rivervale

They do a full set of Gel Nails for $55 and Signature Nail System (SNS) for $40. SNS uses a dipping powder, it doesn’t use UV light (like gel nails) or harsh chemicals (like acrylics). Deluxe manicures and pedicures start from $40 – $50.

Everything seemed very reasonably priced.

The salon’s business owner, Sophie, told me all her staff worked as professional beauticians, massage therapists, nail and hair stylists back in Korea, with considerable years of experience. As they immigrated to Australia, they set up home salons, offering their clients great service without the high prices. These ladies became so popular and sought after, that they teamed up with Sophie to set up 4NE1, to translate the same low prices to clients, but with a more professional outfit.

Sophie often goes back to Korea to bring in the latest beauty machines and equipment for their therapies.

There is a large back area with a waiting room, 2 private therapy rooms, change room and dressing room, and toilets.

Korean Beauty Salon - 4NE1, Rivervale

Anyway, THIS was what I wanted – mink eyelash extensions! (I took a snap of a poster on their wall.)

Their Natural Eyelash Extensions are $90, Glamourous Volume Eyelashes are $110, and Eyelash refills are from $45.

I decided to try the Glamourous Volume Eyelashes.

Korean Beauty Salon - 4NE1, Rivervale

BEFORE: These are my eyelashes before the extensions.

The whole process took about 1.5 hours and didn’t hurt at all.

I just lay on the chair, half meditating/relaxing and half trying to guess what she was doing.

Korean Beauty Salon - 4NE1, Rivervale

AFTER: These are my glamourous eyelash extensions!

The difference was amazing. They looked and felt very natural.

This was the first time I’ve had eyelash extensions. They felt completely normal, they didn’t itch, or irritate me.

I was very happy with them!

Karen Lash Extensions

I think from afar, they didn’t look THAT dramatic, which was a good thing. But close up, they looked full, lush, natural and they definitely made my eyes look brighter.

I was quite conscious of them for the first few days. I wanted them to last so I was trying to take care of them – being careful when washing my face, exfoliating, drying with a towel, and when pulling clothes over my head.

I did a bit of research on “How to look after your eyelash extensions”, so that helped.

What I liked best: Every day I woke, went through my usual skin care regime, put on my foundation, blush and brows. That’s it. My eyes looked naturally pretty, so I didn’t feel the need to use mascara or eyeliner. It was great!

In total they lasted 3.5 weeks. I probably should have gone in after 2 weeks to get refills, but I went camping instead!

Conclusion: Yes, I recommend going to 4NE1. It’s a nice and simple salon, with very lovely, attentive staff, who are very professional and experienced.

I’ve been to salons where the ladies are dressed in home clothes, they are too casual, they talk loudly, gossiping and laughing in a different language. They seem unhappy and bitchy… and I just feel that’s a very unprofessional vibe to bring into a salon. Oh and sometimes I feel like they are talking about me while I’m in the room?! I don’t like that kind of salon experience at all.

It would suit people who already know what they want and like (nails, facials, semi-permanent tatoos), people hoping to save some money and people who know the right questions to ask.

I found it a little difficult to understand the ladies due to their accents. For basic instructions and explanations, it was absolutely fine.

But I was keen on some deeper conversation about their step by step procedures, the after care, what are they doing right now, what products are they using… plus I’m dying to know a bit of history of the procedures and for them to tell me juicy details like “This is the most popular service! And customers just love this other thing!”.

(However, I concede that perhaps it’s a bit much to expect a beautician to give me a historical lecture while she’s waving tools over my eyeball?! Plus I would prefer her to focus on the eyelash task, rather than chat to me… so it was probably better that she wasn’t so chatty!)

Check it out if you live nearby!

4NE1 Korean Beauty and Nail Salon
98 Kooyong Road, Rivervale

They don’t have a website, just a 4NE1 Facebook page with lots of before and after client photos.


day of week

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 Program Launch

22 July 2015

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 Program Launch

After spending a week camping in the Australian desert, I was SO glad to put on some high heels, make a trip into the city and dive head first into the sparkly and glamourous world of fashion!

The Telstra Perth Fashion Festival launched its 2015 Program and it was so enjoyable to be a part of it.

The morning featured gorgeous models, kick-arse designer gowns, cool head pieces and accessories, an amazing sculptural floral arrangement… and a free flow of gourmet juices and coffee.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 Program Launch

I always take my hat off to event organisers, producers and the people who work behind the scenes to put together a fashion moment. Because while it looked simple (and it was all over in 10 minutes!), oh the amount of time and work that must’ve gone into it!

I had a warm fuzzy feeling by the end of it – mainly because I know some of the designers, boutique owners, models, stylists – so I felt like I was part of the community and I just want to give everyone a great big group hug! Go Perth Fashion!

Check out the TPFF website to see the line up of designers, events and buy tickets.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 Program Launch - Photo by Stefan Gosatti

Two photos by Stefan Gosatti. These are two looks that jumped out and wowed me!

On the left, Hannah wear a Jaime Lee dress with a Reny Kestal head piece.

On the right, Laura wears a 33 Poets Dress and Generics accessories.

I loved all the ornate embellishments, embroidery and the deep burgundy lips.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2015 Program Launch

And the morning wouldn’t be complete without networking, catching up with fashion friends and taking fashiony photos!

Here I’m with girlfriends Sandy from Hello Parry and Andrea from ShopGoh. Taken by Part Blue Photography.

Follow me on Instagram (@karenlycheng) to catch up with my daily adventures!

day of week

Camping at the Helena and Aurora Range

20 July 2015

Last week we went bush camping with another family and headed out to the Helena and Aurora Range.

Where on earth is that? I hear you ask.

To put it simply, the Helena and Aurora Range is 100km North of the town called, Southern Cross, and is about halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

It takes about 7-8 hours to drive there.

There is no power, no running water, no toilets, no showers. It was indeed the bush.

Helena and Aurora Range 2015

There was a whole lot of red dirt! It was a stunning colour and its consistency was strangely soft underfoot.

Looking back at it now, I can appreciate its beauty.

But trust me, the red dirt got EVERYWHERE and covered EVERYTHING. By the end of the trip, it was in our tents, our clothes, our underwear, our tea cups, our cutlery, our cooking utensils… we were literally EATING IT!

Helena and Aurora Range 2015

The campfire was a hit.

Collecting firewood. Pots of tea. Toasted marshmallows. 6 hour, slow-cooked lamb stew. Crackling wood. The glowing warmth on our faces. Watching embers fly high into the sky and dance with the stars above our heads. It was so enjoyable.

The nights were cold though. The temperature dropped down to -2 degrees.

I wore 4 layers of clothing, a beanie, gloves and scarf… and I was still uncomfortably cold. It was obvious that I should have invested in some proper cold-weather, “insulated” clothing… but we were only there for 5 days and I thought I could get by. Oops.

Helena and Aurora Range 2015

The next morning, there was frost and ice over everything.

Someone forgot to throw out the dish washing water and it froze into an impressive soapy chunk.

I’ve never seen that before – frozen outdoor things in Western Australia! Who would have thought!

Helena and Aurora Range 2015

I also forgot to tip out my camomile tea and it too froze into an cute little ice block.


Helena and Aurora Range 2015

The days were a bit cold too. We had daytime temperatures between 15C and 18C , and there was no wind and no rain.

So in fact, it was perfect for hiking and bush walking.

We did a couple of 4-5 hour bush walks up to the top of the range, along the ridge and along the base. We found small caves and over-hangs.

It was great!

The tracks were easy to walk along, but once we went off the track, everything looked the same and it was a bit disorientating.

Helena and Aurora Range 2015

The view from on top of the range was stunning!

The Helena and Aurora Range is made out of banded ironstone formations and the whole area was covered in a variety of little rocks. We weren’t entirely sure what they were, either banded ironstone, ironore comsposites, with quartz and ocre?

It was extremely dry, with very few birds, animals and insects. While the lack of visible wildlife made the place extremely eerie, I secretly enjoyed the fact that I DIDN’T have to worry about the kids getting bitten by a snake, spider, scorpion, or ant.

Overall it was a beautiful place to camp and it was so serene, quiet and still.

In fact, the whole place had a magical and spiritual quality to it.

I really enjoyed it, despite being physically uncomfortable for most of the time (from the cold, not showering for 4 days, the constant use of baby wipes and menstrual cramps – blergh).

At the moment the region is proposed for iron ore mining, which is pretty devastating.

If you’re interested, you can read a bit more about the conservation history and the national park proposal on the official Helena and Aurora Range website.


day of week

My Garden Birthday Cake

7 July 2015

It was my birthday on the weekend!

I had a jam-packed day full of my normal mummy-duies (football, grocery shopping), mixed with birthday treats (hot breakfast, presents, coffee date in the city, shopping).

Then later in the afternoon, I was banished from the kitchen (so I mowed the lawn haha!) because my boys and husband made me a 3 course dinner! I’ll write about that some other time.

Today I wanted to share this!

Birthday Cake 2015

On the Sunday we had 32+ friends and family come over for afternoon tea.

I made lots and lots of food and I also made my own cake.

It was the first time I used butter cream to create a smooth cake surface. It was pretty easy. I definitely need a bit more practice though.

I actually wanted to make shards of toffee popcorn and stack it on top of the cake with Maltesers and broken bits of chocolate honeycomb in a chaotic and crazy way! That was my plan… but I forgot to buy all the chocolates and I ran out of time!

Instead I blitzed a packet of Oreos and made some chocolate dirt, found some flowers in my garden (which weren’t poisonous!) and made a little garden instead.

Karen's Birthday Garden Cake

Phew, I finished it just in time. I had 10 minutes to spare before the guests walked through the door!

It looked cute, but I’m pretty inspired to make a more elaborate cake next time!

day of week

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

6 July 2015

Brought to you by NESCAFÉ.

Not so long ago, I used to be a stay-at-home mum with three children under 6!

Now I’ve found myself as a work-at-home mum with school-aged children, who are fast approaching their teenaged years.

While this new phase of my life has certainly been easier for me to handle than “the intensive care of newborns”, it has come with new and different challenges.

Life is now fast-paced and jam-packed. With work, school, chores, extracurricular activities, hobbies, holidays, sports, music, fitness, and friends – all our activities are intensely involved towards nurturing and supporting our family and children.

If I don’t keep myself balanced, refreshed and recharged… I find myself drained, frustrated, moody and brain-dead.

So working with NESCAFÉ, today I’m sharing my top 10 ways I recharge myself on a daily basis.

Here goes!

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

1. Early Morning Rituals

I try to wake up at 6:30am each morning, before the kids wake up. If I don’t jump up and DO something to ACTIVATE MY BRAIN, I will just slump over and go back to sleep haha!

So can you believe it, I actually LIKE the meditative process of assembling my kid’s lunch boxes in the morning. It gets the gears going in my brain and body.

Thankfully my kids don’t like complicated lunches. They like simple, grab-and-go kind of food – just a simple sandwich, some cracker biscuits and some fruit!

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

2. Walking to School

While my older two kids ride to school with their friends, I walk (or cycle) with my littlest boy to school. We usually meet up with friends along the way, so it’s a nice way to start the morning.

We are so blessed to live 2kms from our primary school, next to some lovely parks and creeks. It gets me moving and active. And again, I find it meditative and refreshing.

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

3. Exercise to Recharge

It’s no secret that I love fitness! I don’t have time (or money) to go to the gym regularly. So I’ve learned a whole heap of workouts, cross training, weights routines and stretches and I do them at home.

I try not to be too ambitious about it, aiming for 20-45 minutes per day, and I always feel fabulous for doing it.

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

4. A Cup of Coffee While I Read The News

This is my essential, daily, ME TIME. I need to sit back and switch off with a cup of coffee for 20 minutes, catching up on the news and emails. It’s non-negotiable!

When I’m at home, I don’t have my own espresso machine or coffee machine; I happily drink instant coffee, or if I’m really pressed for time, I use instant coffee sachets (such this NESCAFÉ Cappuccino) which is just as yummy.

5. Writing in a Journal

I do love telling stories. I love being reflective, mindful and thankful. I’m constantly jotting down ideas, things I’m thankful for and just random thoughts on my phone or in a notebook.

Even if the ideas don’t amount to anything, even if they are disconnected thoughts and feel more like a to-do list… I always feel content that I wrote them down.

6. Catching Up with Girlfriends

My girlfriends are so important to me. We share our stories and dramas; we laugh and cry; and most importantly, we assure each other that we are NOT crazy!

Talking to them is soul refreshing for me; they keep me sane and keep me grounded. So I ALWAYS make sure I make some sort of contact with my girlfriends throughout the day or week.

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

7. Learn to Laugh

As much as I like to plan my life out… some days, life just throws lemons at me.

This particular day, my car stopped working. I was supposed to do a zillion important errands, go to a parent and teacher interview, go to the shops and find parts for my son’s school project.

I could have been extremely annoyed and agitated, but I just decided to look at the positives (I spent the day at home, doing work and cleaning the house!), and even found a moment to laugh at the strange arrangement of my car’s broken parts.

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

8. Prepare and Cook Dinner

I love cooking and it definitely relaxes me.

I find that if I prepare dinner during the day, instead of doing it at 4-5pm when the kids are home, I can spend more time giving my kids my full attention when talking to them after school or helping them with their homework.

This evening, I made a slow-cooked chicken coconut curry with, eggplant and tomato. Yum!

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

9. Give Myself a Manicure

As much as I love to get a manicure and long lasting nails put on at a salon, it can get a bit expensive. Plus, my nails get quite damaged from the technique of grinding and smoothing down of the nail’s surface.

So I’ve invested in some lovely hand scrubs, hand creams, and nail polishes for me to do at home.

It takes 15 minutes to do and I’m always left feeling pleased as punch.

It’s quick and easy! Simple pleasures are always the best!

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

10. Read a Book

And lastly, my favourite way to recharge at home is to read a book, sipping on a hot drink.

I like to mix up my reading collection with a whole bunch of classics and modern literature. I only ever read a few pages each day; that’s enough to transport me to another world and relax me.

This post was super easy for me to write, because I already drink the NESCAFÉ Café Menu sachets at home and was rather happy to hear that they have launched their new and improved café flavours.


NESCAFÉ sent over a few boxes of their latest range for me to try out -Cappuccino, Strong Cappuccino, Decaf Cappuccino, Mocha, Dark Choc Mocha, Skim Latté, Caramel Latté, Vanilla Latté and many more!

So far my favourites are: Cappuccino and Mocha.

I don’t drink them every day, but I do buy a box or two and go through them quickly enough, because they are so convenient, quick to make, easy to drink, and they taste nice, smooth, creamy and frothy.

I do have slight sensitivity to milk, but I’ve found that these don’t affect me at all – which is SO good, especially when I forget to buy a bottle of soy or almond milk for myself!

Top 10 Ways I Recharge My Daily Mojo

It was actually my mother that got me onto these coffee sachets, because when we travelled to Singapore and Malaysia together, I discovered that lots of cafés don’t offer soy milk as an option. Then I also discovered that my mother carried these around with her in her handbag and I would BEG her (daily) for one or two, because I was so desperate for a coffee!

I was sold since then. So now, I pop them in my handbag (with a flask of hot water) whenever I go out to do my errands, I take them travelling, and I leave them in my car, in case I ever find myself in need of an emergency coffee hit or – as I mentioned before – in need of some serious recharging!

Have you tasted them before? Do you drink coffee at home? How do you unwind and recharge?

If you’d like to try out the new NESCAFÉ Café Menu recipes, you can get a free sample for yourself at

day of week

Pinching Myself

28 June 2015

Pink Sunset

It may be the middle of winter here in Perth, Western Australia… but the evening skies are simply magical!

I’m falling in love with the river all over again. And these last few weeks I’ve been making sure I fit in some running and cycling by the water!

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

day of week

Say Hello to Mount Lesueur!

19 June 2015

Hello Mount Lesueur!

I know you’re not really a mountain… you’re more of a cute looking mesa (a flat-topped, elevated landform)… but you still gave us a fun afternoon!

Mount Lesueur, Lesueur National Park

During our recent camping holiday, our family and some friends took a drive to the Lesueur National Park.

We did a 4km return hike up Mount Lesueur, walking along the marked bush trail – it was really lovely!

To be honest, the park is not particularly famous for anything phenomenally iconic. It does boast of an exceptionally diverse range of flora (like 900 species!) which makes up 10% of the total floral known in Western Australia!

And er, if you look at the photo above, you’d probably need a very. keen. eye. to appreciate this “biodiversity hotspot”.

Anyway, so because of the very unique formation/location/conditions of the area, there are some species of plants that are absolutely unique to this area.

Meaning, that you won’t find them anywhere else in the WORLD!

Mount Lesueur, Lesueur National Park

This is the Djanda (Hakea Neurophylla) and according to the botany geeks, if you look at the leaves with the sun behind them, you’ll see a web of “nerves” from which the scientific name was derived.

SO COOL! I love this geeky stuff.

Mount Lesueur, Lesueur National Park

The bush tracks were covered with small rocks and sand, which made the hike accessible and interesting.

It can’t remember how long the whole 4km walk took us… maybe 2-3 hours, with a few breaks?

The other family that came with us have 5 year old twins… who walked (and sometimes ran) in pink sparkly sandals, with my 6 year old all the way to the top and back! It’s a fantastic mini-hike for families with small children.

This photo above shows my husband having some “man time” with one of my sons..

I spent some time with my other son, telling him about how it’s really important to walk on rocky ground so you can strengthen the vestibular system (motion, spatial orientation, balance) in your brain – *cue eye roll*!

Mount Lesueur, Lesueur National Park

Even though I’m a city girl, I really do LOVE all this outdoor adventuring under the big blue sky!

day of week

The Pinnalces of Western Australia

10 June 2015

When I was about 9 or 10, my family went with a tour group to look at The Pinnacles.

I didn’t think much of them at the time. I just thought they were a boring bunch of rocks in the sand!

And to be honest, nobody local ever talks about driving North for 3 hours to see The Pinnacles… because that’s what tourists do to experience a picturesque postcard version of Western Australia.

The Pinnalces, Western Australia. Nambung National Park

However, during our little trip up North, we stopped by the Nambung National Park to check out The Pinnacle Dessert… and it was AMAZING!!

I really enjoyed myself, the kids thought it was cool and my husband took so many great photos.

The Pinnalces, Western Australia. Nambung National Park

Around this Northern coastal region, all you will see are white sand dunes and low bush scrub. But right in the middle of it, The Pinnacle Dessert is a vast area of strangely yellow sand and lots of pointy rocks!

Apparently no one can agree to how these limestones structures were formed; some say that they are “tree casts”, others say they are “root casts” or even “pipes” of solution built up over the years… but they all agree that the structures are some crazy mix up of chemicals, limestone concrete, acid, and decay.

We were all so fascinated by the history and the science behind it.

The Pinnalces, Western Australia. Nambung National Park

They were weird and wonderful!

They were not very tall or monolithic, but the colours were beautiful, and the textures, shadows and shapes were just stunning. I reckon it is definitely worth the drive from Perth… if you’re into this kind of stuff!

There is a nice information centre there, but there is no cafe (just a vending machine).

So you might spend an hour there and then head into Cervantes or Jurien Bay for lunch.