Archive for Daily Living

 

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My Bali Trip: Suarga, Padang Padang

29 April 2016

Last week I headed over to Bali with my mum, to meet up with my sister, girlfriends and relatives… to attend a girlfriend’s wedding.

It was my first time in Bali! (I know. I may have been the last woman in Australia to visit Bali.) Anyway, despite having a million friends who have visited Bali, I did my own research on places to stay.

We were in Bali for 6 nights; we stayed 2 nights at an eco-sustainable boutique resort, 1 night at a moderately cheap and cheerful hotel and 2 nights at a inner city 9 bedroom villa (which we shared with the wedding party).

The venues were not sponsored. I wasn’t planning to write about any of them, but my mum and I had SUCH an amazing time in the eco-sustainable resort that I just had to share :)

Suarga at Padang Padang

Suarga Resort at Padang Padang

I had never heard of this resort before. No one recommended it to me. I found it on Trip Advisor, because it was close to the wedding venue and it stood out with its amazing photos and super-high ratings and reviews on Trip Advisor.

Suarga combines modern luxury of a resort with an environmentally sustainable ethos. It’s about 35 – 40 minutes drive from the airport, near Uluwatu, on the south west coast of Bali.

Perched on top of a cliff, the whole lounge, pool, and restaurant area of the resort had spectacular views of the ocean!

The main pool was gorgeous. I had a swim in the morning, afternoon and night time :)

Suarga at Padang Padang

The main structure was made out of recycled wood and bamboo – it was architecturally stunning.

In the hottest part of the day, we sat in the open-air, shaded lounge area. With fans and the gentle breeze from the ocean, we hardly felt the tropical heat and we were very comfortable. There also seemed to be no mosquitoes.

There were only ever 5 or 6 other couples in the lounge area. Maybe there were more, but it was always so deliciously quiet.

Suarga at Padang Padang

The whole place felt very secluded, peaceful, calming and relaxing.

We read novels, we had a cup of tea, had cocktails, had an afternoon nap on the lounge, ordered some nibbles, my mum did some tai chi on the balcony, I did a bit of wonky yoga – which my mum managed to snap before I lost balance!

All the other hotel guests did the same; they just chilled out quietly and calmly.

(The other accommodation we went to had bus loads of tourist, dropping in to gawk at the clifftop views, or huge wedding parties with camera men and people with walkie talkies – it was so noisy and felt like a theme park. There were so many guests and strangers around that I felt I had to keep watch all the time.)

Suarga at Padang Padang

Breakfast was included in the price and it was pretty damn good. There were a choice of eggs, and a whole spread of locally sourced fruits and homemade organic cereals, breads and jams.

We also had some tea and cake for lunch, and ate dinner in the restaurant for both nights. It was really good quality, restaurant level, fresh, local dishes.

Suarga at Padang Padang

My mum and I booked some in-room massages, which were excellent.

The ladies who did our massages were definitely more skilled and experienced than the massage salons we went to in Seminyak.

Suarga at Padang Padang

Unfortunately for our first evening, our air conditioner ran poorly, so it was a bit warm in the room.

So for the second night, the management upgraded us to a larger room, which was brand new and had a private infinity pool.

I woke up at 7am to have a dip. It was divine.

 

Padang Padang Beach

One morning we took a walk down to the beach. I discovered that I had booked at the Suarga Resort not knowing that it was right next to the beach featured in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love, with Julia Roberts.

The beach is called Labuan Sait Beach, or Padang Padang Beach, and it seemed like every person and tour group wanted to visit this place. It cost RP 10,000 (AUD 1) per person to enter the beach and the actual entrance to the beach was cut through rock and you had to walk down some steep steps.

We went there early, around 10am. It was a 2 minute walk from Suarga. It was a good idea to go early, because by 2pm I saw three buses pull up and huge groups of people were trying to get onto the beach.

Padang Padang Beach

I had a swim out into the ocean. The water was lovely and warm. There were seaweedy bits floating on top, but that was fine. The gentle ebb of the water was soooo relaxing.

The beach was actually quite small. And by noon, it was rather crowded that I was almost stepping on other people’s beach towels to let people pass me.

Suarga at Padang Padang

Even the cocktails (I mean, mocktails) were delicious! What an amazing view!

My mum and I had a fantastic time. I would LOVE to come visit again with my husband.

Personally, I wouldn’t bring my three kids here because they are too active and jumpy (they would want to do bombies in the infinity pool, play basketball on the wooden platforms, throw a football across the garden beds)… and they would spoil the peace and quiet for everyone else. I wouldn’t bring toddlers here either, because there are lots of wooden steps and I would spend all my time nervous and edgy that they might fall over.

We paid AUD$380 per night for a Muso Pentroom, with two single beds, and it was totally worth it.

We also paid an additional AUD$200 for 2 evening meals, 2 cocktails, several cups of tea and cake, 40 minute drive from the airport, and 2 one hour massages.

A humungous thank you to the staff and team at Suarga!

Hopefully you’ll see us again soon :)


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Reading The Classics: Great Expectations

24 April 2016

Last month, I mentioned that I was on a quest to read some classic literature.

Now OK, I know what you’re thinking… it sounds super dorky… bordering on pretentious.

But hey, personally I think TV is rubbish, so let’s all put away our judgey hats shall we!

Great Expectations

I finished up Great Expectations by Charles Dickens the other evening.

I actually wrote out 7 huge paragraphs about my thoughts on the book, but decided to condense it all into 7 snappy sentences, since this is, like a blog and all. I mean, I almost titled this post, “7 things you need to know about Great Expectations”.

1) The novel is NOT : a cute, children’s story like Oliver Twist. (That’s what I thought it was!)

2) Pace of the story : Slow and rambly to start. The story picks up in Chapter 20!

3) How’s the old fashioned language? A bit tricky to read. I had to re-read some sentences a few times to get the hang of it. But by Chapter 3, I was all good.

 

4) Words I didn’t know: Perspicuity, remonstrance, penitentials, farinaceous.

5) The ah-ha moment at Chapter 19: We were FINALLY told WHY the story is called Great Expectations. I was tempted to google it, but I was happy I hung in there.

6) Plot Summary: A story about a good-hearted boy with lofty goals; an unexpected gift that changed his life; how he rejected his family and friends, and his moral journey through life after that.

7) Best parts: I adored the language and the found the story quite compelling in the end. It had some unexpected twists and surprises.

I liked it and might pick up Tale of Two Cities next time.


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New Lettuce

26 March 2016

Lettuce Harvest

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve kept a vegetable garden.

I’ve had endless problems with ants, rats, fruit flies, old reticulation… so much so, I needed to take a break from growing my usual run of snow peas, tomatoes, beans, zucchini and broccoli.

(I do keep  5-6 herbs though, because they are so simple to keep.)

However a few weeks ago, I found half an old wooden barrel and I just had to put some potting mix and lettuce together!

Now every few days I get a lovely bunch of fresh baby lettuce leaves to toss into a salad. Just like my old organic gardening days!


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What We Wore: Emoji Costume Party

24 March 2016

Recently we were invited to an Emoji Themed Birthday Party!

It was the birthday of my two gorgeous cousins, turning 18 and 21. Naturally they chose something uber-cool and millennial haha. They invited friends and family, all my aunties, uncles, my parents and grandparents… and most people made a fab effort to dress up.

We spent a week on our costumes – planning, sourcing props and creating them. It was heaps of fun.

This is what we wore!

Emoji Costume Party

I was the haircut girl!

I was going to lacquer my hair to make it stiff and flat, but I couldn’t get it right. So I decided to make a cardboard wig instead. It looked so silly. But authentic.

I also found a little girl’s pink top for $3.

Emoji Costume Party

My husband was too busy with work to get involved with any planning or creation of a costume.

So I made one for him – The “Frustrated Face”. Very apt, I thought haha.

Check out my mad painting skills. I even painted it up with a gradient and all!

Emoji Costume Party

My oldest boy chose to go as a money bag.

I bought some cloth, sewed up the sides like an upside-down pillowcase, then he painted a $ sign on it. We filled it up with balloons so it would look bulky and full.

He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts underneath, but the moneybag covered his clothes, so it looked a bit weird, like he was naked?!

He also made some little wads of bills, that he gave out to people and left in little piles lying around around the party.

Emoji Costume Party

My middle boy was a chocolate donut. So cute!

We made two cardboard donuts and strapped them together to his front and back.

But during the party, he collected up a few of the emoji props and added them to his costume.

Emoji Costume Party

My youngest boy wanted to go as a lollypop.

He also explained to me in great detail, WHAT his costume was going to consist of, and HOW he was going to wear it. He just wanted to print out the emoji and sticky tape it to his t-shirt.

It seemed too simple and quite frankly… inferior and substandard as a costume.

At first, I said “NO it has to be a 3D costume”, “It has to match all of our 3D costumes!”

We were going as a family and we all had to match!

I was completely happy to make him a huge, AWESOME cardboard lollypop that he could carry around, or wear on his head or body. But he refused.

I fought with him for 4 DAYS, arguing and negotiating, sweetly trying to convince him, involve him. I also tried using emotional blackmail… but nup. He wouldn’t budge on the issue.

So in the end I gave in. Humph.

Other costumes for the night – Someone dressed up as a poo emoji, a toilet, the dancing girls, my little nephews went as 3 matching sushi (salmon, tuna and prawn, so cute!), a dolphin, a city building, lots of faces, lots of girls in pink!

It was such a fun party!!


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That Blue!

15 March 2016

Moore River, Guilderton, Feb 2016

On the weekend, our family went on a quick camping trip to Guilderton and camped at the mouth of Moore River where it (almost) meets the ocean.

We just spent 2 days chilling out together, going for walks, swimming, sand boarding and eating lots of icy poles.

It was absolutely glorious to be unplugged, away from the city, and drinking up all the big blue skies!


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Big Dreams For My Family

13 March 2016

Brought to you by Lotterywest

Big Dreams For My Family

In 2002, my husband and I travelled around Scotland and England for our honeymoon.

We spent 4 weeks climbing mountains, exploring castles, looking for loch monsters, discovering quaint little towns, and visiting my husband’s birthplace.

We were newly married, with no kids – it was glorious!

Big Dreams For My Family

Now, 14 years later, with three kids in tow, one of my biggest dreams for my family is to travel back to Scotland.

I’d love for my children to explore and experience it too.

Big Dreams For My Family

However, I don’t want to just have a quick tour of Scotland, I’d love to buy a little house and live there for while. 3 months? 6 months? Ah one can dream!

Added to that, I would love to travel to China and visit the places of my ancestors too.

Big Dreams For My Family

My mother’s family is from a little village called Kaiping in Guangdong (Canton), Southern China. Apparently my great grandfather has a memorial built in his honour, because he protected his village from bandits and was hailed a hero.

The village is also known for it’s unique, historic architecture and was the setting for one of China’s highest grossing films, staring Chow Yun Fat – wayhey!

Big Dreams For My Family

My mother took these photos when she visited the Guangdong region in 1994. Her album is full of travel happy snaps, sparking in me a flame of adventure and discovering my roots.

Ah, how I would love to do a long hiking, trekking, kayaking and cycling tour around Southern China with my family!

Am I crazy? Maybe. But that’s what big dreams are all about, right?

With this weekend’s $21 Million Superdraw coming up, I’m hoping to inspire a bit of grand, wishful dreaming.

Part of me feels a little embarrassed to share my big aspirations. It probably reveals more about me that I care to think.

But hey, everyone has a Lotto dream so, here’s to life goals, epic family adventures and dreaming a little bigger!

I’d love to hear YOUR Lotto dreams so please feel free to drop me an email and don’t forget to get a ticket for this weekend’s Saturday Lotto Superdraw!

Dream bigger!


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Reading The Classics: Anna Karenina

9 March 2016

Hi everyone!

I’m on a quest to read some of the most popular literary classics before I die.

It’s a bit tricky, because between my blogging interests, fitness, shopping, cooking, and being a mum… um, I don’t really have much time to fit it in.

But just like exercise, if I want it done, I have to schedule it in and just do it.

Classic Titles

I borrowed these utterly magical editions from my father-in-law. He has a whole WALL of leather bound editions, in immaculate, drop-dead-amazing condition, that make me squirm with envy.

I asked if I could borrow a few books to photograph and I picked out some titles I have read and want to read –

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (read)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (read)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (read)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (want to read)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (want to read)

Anna Karenina

I recently read Anna Karenina (my own copy, not this edition) and absolutely loved the language, the depth of characters, the immersion into 19th Century Russian society.

It was like Pride and Prejudice, but deeper, less-girly, with more drama and tragedy.

I wasn’t too crazy about Anna’s character though (I wanted to slap her! Get a grip woman!) but Tolstoy’s writing was just delightful and marvellous. His characters were amazing!

Anna Karenina

I was rather thrilled (more like, moved to silence) while pawing through this edition.

Either I really like books, or there’s something universally appealing of an old, beautifully bound book in perfect condition.

Anna Karenina

As I mentioned, I didn’t read this edition, but perhaps I should have. It would added a bit more magic to my reading.

Next up, I’m reading Great Expectations (my own copy, as I’m a bit too scared I might ruin my father in law’s copy!)

Check out my reading list on Goodreads.


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Framing The Great Wave

28 February 2016

Schutz Sandals and Picture Frame

I have been a lover of Japanese woodblock prints since I studied it in art school (high school).

When I started working, I managed to save up to buy a proper reproduction of The Great Wave off Kanazawa by Katsushika Hokusai, printed on beautiful Japanese paper. I bought it through the state art gallery, so it must be somewhat official.

Anyway, I finally managed to find some time to frame my beloved picture. Yay to getting jobs done!

Wearing my Suede Sandals by Schutz from Shopbop.


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Roses from my garden, just because.

23 February 2016

rosebunch

I’m into a lot of things.

I believe that’s a key to happiness… my happiness anyway!

There’s so much in this world that brings me so much toe-wiggling, eye-sparkling, ear-to-ear grinning joy.

They are kind of “simple” things though.

They are probably a little uncool too, but hey, it makes things easier for me. Simple pleasures are often the best kind right?

Yes I love clothes, shoes and online shopping.

I love sunsets, beaches, walking, running.

But I also like gardening. I like composting. I like growing things.

I like researching about manures, building worm farms, finding out about soil acidity, tending roses and pruning them. I’m totally going to be that little old lady with a garden full of roses one day.

I love having happy, healthy roses. They are like my pets. They give me flowers. They are like the gift that keeps on giving.

Sure having the fruits of my labour is nice, but really, nothing beats the excitement of my baby rosebuds about to burst into bloom in the sunset. That’s where the joy is at.

xxx


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A Change of Scene

21 February 2016

The weekends can get pretty busy for us.

All our kids play sport, my husband and I go for a run or cycle, we go out to visit friends, we organise sleepovers and dinner parties, we do lots of jobs and chores around the house, and then there’s homework and assignments to be done too.

Although it’s a bit hectic, life is grand and life is stable.

Book and Cafe

Anyway as a change of pace, I took one of my boys out to a cafe to do his homework. I didn’t think he would do very well, with all the people, distractions and smells of food, but he was great.

He had a milkshake, enjoyed the change of scene and ploughed through his work.

My coffee was terrible, but I managed to read a few chapters of my book.

What bliss!

Currently reading the gorgeously written, 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner :

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I didn’t like the writing style at first. I found it irritatingly pretentious (ha!). But it grew on me. And now I completely adore it. And it’s all flowing and moving at a wonderful pace and slowly gripping at my heart,  because I can tell there will be a sad ending.

It’s also inspiring me to brush up a little on my WW2 history and French and German history too. Which is always a good thing for my brain!


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Perth’s Video Game and Console Museum: The Nostalgia Box

18 February 2016

A few weeks ago, my whole family took a trip into Northbridge to check out a Video Game and Console Museum called, The Nostalgia Box.

The Nostalgia Box - Photo courtesy of The Nostalgia Box
(Photo courtesy of The Nostalgia Box)

My kids – and husband – are a bunch of gaming freaks. Me? I just tolerate video games.

My husband is actually interested in video games on a slightly more intellectual level too; its history, cultural and social impacts, interactive design, blah blah… which has rubbed off a bit on the kids.

So before we left, I told the kids that this was NOT an excursion to a video game arcade. This was a museum, so I expected them to come away having learned something about the history of video games. (Haha I’m so hardcore.)

The place was split into two areas. One was the museum area, more like a historical-timeline walk-through, featuring old consoles and games, and lots of interesting bits of information about the history of video games. You can’t touch any of it though. Everything is behind glass in that section.

The other section was a games area, featuring a whole stack of retro games that you can actually play.

The Nostalgia Box

In the Museum Area, I made my 10 year old and 12 year old read ALL the little panels.

I should have quizzed them at the end :)

My 6 year old couldn’t keep up, so I had to paraphrase a few panels, then he skipped off and went to the next section.

I’d say that the museum section wasn’t suitable for little kids, other than to point and show them “these are some of the game consoles that mummy and daddy used to play with”.

The Nostalgia Box

Behold the very first commercially released home video game console!

It’s called the Magnavox Odyssey released in 1972. It had no graphics capabilities, just transparent overlays, and it also came with a dice, a deck of cards, play money and poker chips.

The team at The Nostalgia Box did a good job with all the research and information. I found it all to be really interesting!

Did you know that the origins of electronic video games lay in the design of early missile defence system of the 1940s?

The Nostalgia Box2

There were LOTS of old consoles in amazing condition on display. I loved the ones made out of wood!

Then there were the consoles from the 80s… and I had to cringe, because I remember playing on some of those systems… and they are now in a MUSEUM??

The Nostalgia Box

We moved onto the next section, the Gaming Area, and I had a little PONG battle with my husband.

It was hilarious.

The Nostalgia Box

My kids had a great time playing all the retro games, like Pacman, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros, Bubble Bobble, Sonic The Hedgehog and more.

Sure they can play these games online now, but there’s nothing like big chunky, plasticky controllers with big red buttons to take us back to the 80s.

The Nostalgia Box

I shed a little tear as I revisited my uppercuts with Ryu and was KO-ed by Ken.

YOU LOSE!!

The Nostalgia Box

What struck me the most was the MUSIC.

We listened to all that video game music for hours as a kid. Then what, after 20 something years, hearing one of those tunes again, my brain flipped a little switch and whoop there it is, embedded in my memory – who knows why – major head spinning flashback, hit me like a train, right in the feels, and filled me with such grand nostalgia.

The Nostalgia Box

We took funny photos with the props, looked at the cool retro gaming items to buy and chatted to the owner of the museum.

We must’ve spent about 1 – 1.5 hours there.

It was pretty cool!

I definitely recommend it to people who are interested in learning a bit about video game history, or wanting to revisit old favourites, and parents (with kids over 8) wanting to show their kids a different side of video games.

The Nostalgia Box Museum
Shop 3, 16 Aberdeen Street, 
Perth WA 6000
The Nostalgia Box on Facebook.

There are admission fees and family passes, check the website for more details!


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Chinese New Year 2016 – Year of the Monkey

8 February 2016

Chinese New Year 2016

Happy Lunar New Year to you all!

We celebrated our Family Reunion Dinner at my grandma’s house… and this is me, astonished by (and taking selfies with) her longan tree!

Chinese New Year 2016

It was a stinking hot 40°C day and everyone retreated indoors to the air-conditioned sanctuary that is my grandmother’s lounge room and watched “If You Are The One“, while some kids (mine) opted to play soccer outside?!?

By the time I snuck out to take this photo, some kids went back inside to find a smart phone, and the rest played Duck-Duck-Goose just for laughs!

Chinese New Year 2016

A lot of my relatives were overseas, so there were only 27 people this time… but my aunties still cooked up a storm!

Chinese New Year 2016

Tossing the Yu Sheng (fish salad) for prosperity and happiness!

I actually tried to take video of the tossing, but my 6 year old accidentally dragged all the peanuts OFF THE PLATE which sprayed out all over the table, so you could hear my other son dobbing on him, lots of laughing, and me getting snarky, possibly swearing.

Anyway, hope you all have a glorious start to the lunar new year!

xxx


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Bird Nest Feels

5 February 2016

Bird Eggs

While cleaning a high shelf in the carport, we accidentally dislodged and swept down a bird’s nest.

The nest came crashing down, but the eggs remained intact.

Eeep, we felt so bad!

The eggs were absolutely perfect orbs of white. Immaculate, unblemished, smooth, delicate. They looked like they were from another world.

They were so beautiful and so perfect that they looked almost fake, as if they came out of a plastics factory.

Bird Eggs

Unfortunately we couldn’t leave them in the carport, so we placed the nest in nearby tree.

We think the mama bird came back and everything was A-OK!


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JumpAbout Trampoline Park, Rivervale

2 February 2016

Jump About Trampoline Park

My boys and I were recently invited to check out a new trampoline park, apparently the largest in Perth – JumpAbout!

Yep, we were excited to check it out, because my boys love a good jump session and quite frankly, I needed them to burn off some energy.

Jump About Trampoline Park

JumpAbout is WA owned and operated, has 2 large jumping trampoline areas with 300 interconnecting trampolines, a dodgeball area, a bouncy slide, a climbing wall, a soft climbing area for toddlers, a slot car racing track, gaming arcade and (most importantly) a cafe and lots of tables to sit and watch. It’s a really big area!

I found that the centre has a really different atmosphere to other trampoline parks that I’ve been to.

At other parks, spectators are on a raised platform that look down into the trampolines, so you feel “watched” and I always get the feeling that there’s a small element of “showing off” and “trying to look cool”… so it feels quite intense, especially with the loud music, large crowds and strict time sessions.

But my experience at JumpAbout was almost like going to a public park… it was chilled, easy going, lots of room to spread out and have some personal space, and no one was going to scold/police me if I did something minor like sit on the floor to remove my shoes.

They seemed a bit more relaxed about the session times and movement to and from the trampolines and the spectator area, meaning, we could wander around to different trampolines, take a toilet break, hang out at the climbing wall, go back to jumping, stop to have some water… it was great!

Prices are slightly cheaper too, which suits larger families and big groups.

Jump About Trampoline Park

My older boys ended up spending most of their time at the dodge ball arena, while my youngest boy and I explored the rest of the park.

We spent about 2 fun hours at the park – jumping for 1 hour; trying the other activities, hanging around and having a snack.

It was a fantastic and super relaxing experience for me because I have older kids (6-14). But if my kids were any younger, I would’ve had to follow them around and therefore, it wouldn’t be so relaxing. Then again, when you take toddlers anywhere, you can’t really relax haha!

Cheers to the JumpAbout team, we had a blast!


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Perth City Bridges Run: Thunderstorm

30 January 2016

Perth City Bridges Run Jan 2016

This weekend, I scheduled a run on a day the forecast was: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

I guess I was hoping that the weathermen got it wrong!

I woke up bright and early at 5:30am, met up with my brother-in-law at 7am and we ran/walked a distance of 15km around the river, bridges and city.

I probably ran about 12km and walked 3km. My pace averaged around 6:30min/km.

I felt great after! I wasn’t drained or exhausted or suffering any pains.

I think I’ll work on some interval running to increase my speed and strength.

But overall I’m happy with doing regular 12km distances and I’ll stick with that for a bit. I might even be able to hit the 21km half marathon mark earlier than I thought!

Anyway, turns out that we started so early that we missed all the rain and thundery action. We didn’t get wet at all.

We even managed to squeeze in a coffee and chat later. Brilliant start to the weekend!

 


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Luxe Business Cards by Moo

18 January 2016

Brought to you by Moo

I have been meaning to make myself some simple business cards for… um… 5, 6 YEARS??

Haha and being a graphic designer by trade didn’t help me either. I couldn’t just make any old card – I HAD to make them properly. And PROPER cards took time. So in the end, they didn’t get done.

Anyway, recently, by some glorious timing of the universe, the kind folk at Moo.com hit me up to test out their new luxe business cards.

This is what I came up with!

Moo Cards by Karen Cheng

I made some simple luxe business cards with my contact details and a photo on the back.

Even though there were lots of gorgeous templates on the site, I chose to “Design my card from scratch”.

I chose 30 photos – colourful, vibrant, striking photos, all taken by me, that reflected the vibe of my blog. I simply uploaded them onto the Moo site and fiddled around with the landscape and portrait settings.

Most of the photos were taken with my DSLR Nikon D90 (old model), point and shoot Nikon P300 (old model), my new iPhone 6plus and even my old iPhone 4s (YES the images still looked great!).

Most of them were hi resolution photos, but again, a few were snapped on my 4 year old smart phone. I did enhance the colour saturation and brightness a little on all the photos in Photoshop too.

Moo Cards by Karen Cheng

I wanted a very simple front for my card.

I simply typed in my name and details into a MOO text template, chose Garamond font and chose a dark grey colour.

(Btw, yes I erased my phone number in this photo!)

Moo Cards by Karen Cheng

The Luxe by Moo collection uses a gorgeous, premium quality card stock, with a coloured seam (you can choose from 8 colours), has a weight of 600gsm, and I went with the matte finish.

Prices start from AU$39.95 for 50 cards.

You can even make luxe mini cards, luxe square cards, postcards and notecards, which is kind of cool.

Moo Cards by Karen Cheng

I ordered 100 cards for AU$79.90, and because I only had 30 photos, some were repeated 3 or 4 times, which was fine with me.

I placed my order, I paid a bit extra for express printing and delivery and they arrived at my doorstep 6 days later!!

When I opened the box, I was shocked and deilghted. They looked amazing. I could hardly believe it. I was mostly surprised by how great all my photos looked, as I had expected them to look a bit pixelated and digital (like when I get my digital photos printed out).

I am SO impressed with the quality, the ease with which I made them, the online interface and the price. I totally recommend them!

Cheers to Moo for this opportunity!


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My Summer Poolside Sandals

14 January 2016

Holster Sandals

I’ve been a huge fan of Holster Sandals for years and I have a few pairs that come out every summer.

Because they are “jelly style” sandals, I love wearing them to the beach or pool… instead of my nice leather sandals.

They have a nice sole padding too, so they are more comfortable (and stylish) than than my beach-bum, rubber flip-flops haha!

Holster Sandals

The team at Holster sent over a pair of Flat Sandals (Heaven T-bar) from their latest Summer Collection and I road tested them while I was away on holiday at a beach resort.

They got buried at the beach, accidentally left in the sun, splashed with chlorine pool water, wrapped up in a towel, left in a beach bag overnight, splashed with lemonade (so I washed them with soap and towel dried them), then I also walked in them for a few hours too. Typical wear and tear for a beach/pool holiday right?!

I probably didn’t treat them very well, but they served me so well.

There are heaps of bright, rainbow coloured sandals with pretty acrylic jewels, but I’m more of a black sandal kind of girl. And I also like this Pandora in Champagne colour one too. What about you?


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Silver Sands Beach, Mandurah

12 January 2016

Mandurah Beach

My boys will be turning ages 13, 11 and 7 this year!

At this age, I LOVE that I can take them to a place – any place – and they will make their own fun.

While I didn’t strip off my clothes and jump into the water too, I was SO entertainined by their spontaneity and my heart grew SO big from watching them play in the waves.

*Love*


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A Trip To Adventure World, Perth

29 December 2015

Adventure World 2015

Perth is not exactly world renowned for its theme parks, but it does have a few fun parks with rollercoaster rides, water rides, and race tracks – just enough to keep the kids happy and busy all day.

We headed off to Adventure World with a few of my children’s friends, on a gorgeously, hot summer day. There were 8 of us in total: me and 7 boys — eeep!

Once we set up a base camp of towels in the shade, all the 12 year olds and 10 year olds ran off to the water slides. Argh, I was so nervous about letting them run off by themselves. But that’s one thing I love about this place: it’s family friendly and it’s mostly safe. My kids and their friends are pretty sensible and reliable, so I trusted that they won’t do anything silly or irresponsible.

Adventure World 2015

As for me, I got to hang out with my 6 year old. But he was soooo grumpy about it!

I thought it’d be a nice opportunity to spend time with him and show him all the rides that I used to go on as a kid!

“Come on! Lets go on this ride! Let’s jump into the pool and slide down that water slide! Let’s explore the kid’s pool! Let’s go on the monorail! Let’s watch the go-karts!”

But nope, he had a bad case of Mr. Shitty Attitude about the whole place. He just wanted to sit on the towels and eat chips. Then he just wanted to go home. For real??

Adventure World 2015

After an hour of gentle pushing and trying all kinds of psychological parent tricks, I was about to give up and take my 6 year old home, when the bunch of 10 year old boys came back… and so I asked if THEY could take him on a ride or two.

Suddenly this was THE COOLEST PLACE EVER!

If the big brothers were having a good time, it must be cool! Hanging around mum = not very cool.

I wasn’t offended.

I was happy and relieved that he finally loosened up and could finally enjoy the fun park. And I was also happy that I didn’t waste my money on his entry ticket and that I didn’t have to work out how to “punish” him for his bad attitude, or at least, not even making the slightest bit of effort to change his attitude. Phew.

Adventure World 2015

After he loosened up, we had a much better time together.

I took him up on the monorail and he squealed with delight!

There were a couple of random boys on the rail car behind us (maybe 10 year olds?) who kept bumping into our car. We were going at a good pace, but they were purposely speeding up to catch us and bump us. I asked them politely to stop, but they laughed at me and did it a few more times, so I turned around, put on my Angry Asian Aunty tone, and blasted the hell out of them.

Ok not really, I just spoke sternly to them, at length.

But while I was speaking sternly, I was thinking, this could backfire on me, they could start bumping me harder. Or worse, be filled with monorail rage and do something really reckless? So as words left my mouth, I was also trying to think of a backup plan. Hmm, nothing really came to mind.

Anyway, they stopped bumping us and slowed right back. A win for the AAA in a bikini ha!

Adventure World 2015

I bought snow cones for everyone, which looked so pretty, but for the record, were a complete waste of money. We should have just bought slushies.

Adventure World 2015

It has been 3 or 4 years since my kids were last at Adventure World, so they haven’t been on the go-karts before. The bigger boys lined up for 40 long minutes, but it was worth the wait. It ignited all their video game racing skills and it blew their minds! They loved it.

I actually thought that I’d get an hour of quite time by myself, so embarrassingly, I brought a book!

Turns out that I was up and about on my feet, in the water and on rides with my kids the whole time – and having a blast!


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Christmas Festivities 2015

26 December 2015

These last few days (or weeks?) have been a huge, happy blur.

Our lives have been filled with food, catching up with friends and families, cleaning the house, parties, washing dishes, swimming, fruit platters, relaxing, toys, video games, movies and hours of doing nothing much.

It has been a bit tricky to keep track of the details and recall what happened where and when haha.

But I love to keep a record of the events on my blog, so here goes!

Christmas 2015

Christmas Eve dinner was at my place, with just a small number of guests from both sides of our family: 12 adults and 6 kids in total.

My sister and brother in law (visiting from London) joined us for the first time. My husband’s aunty and uncle were there too.

There was waaay too much food as usual! I successfully delegated out the cooking, so all I had to do was bake the ham and roast vegetables. It was very easy, relaxing and rather enjoyable.

The kids helped to dust, clean, vacuum, clean windows, sweep cobwebs, put up the decorations and set up our swimming pool – they were so helpful. I was so proud of them and glad that they were happy to lend a hand. I rewarded them with fruit smoothies and a swim.

Christmas 2015

My 6 year old wrote out all the table name cards, and he announced that he didn’t think the name “Karen” suited me very well. He much prefered my name to be “Mum”.

He pointed out that since 3 out of 5 people in our house called me “Mum”, which is more than 50%, I should strongly consider changing it.

I told him that only THREE people in the WHOLE WORLD gets to call me “Mum” and one of them is HIM, so he should feel extra-special and he should try working out that percentage.

Christmas 2015

My favourite eats for the evening were my Yorkshire Puddings! Omg they were super crispy and amazingly delicious with gravy.

I used this Yorkshire Pudding recipe (the same one I use every year) but this time I accidentally left the oil in the pans in the oven for too long (I forgot about them until I smelt burning butter coming from my oven — oops!). I also used less batter in each muffin pan, because I had to make 18, not 12.

These combining factors made my puddings rise spectacularly. It was a bit of a fluke, but now I know for next year.

Christmas 2015

My 12 year old made this lovely Christmas Cake with his grandpa.

It tasted so good – however there was a bit of cooking drama over at grandpa’s house. They burnt the first cake, because they mixed up Fahrenheit and Celsius… and they baked the cake at 275C for 4 hours, yikes.

Thankfully they had enough ingredients to make another cake the following day, so Christmas dessert was saved and nobody’s house was burnt down.

Christmas 2015

On Christmas Day, we all woke up early and some family members came over for breakfast (leftover ham). We opened presents and hung out at home. It was really lovely and relaxing.

We don’t follow any Santa traditions in our household. That is, we don’t leave milk and cookies out for him, we don’t fill up stockings, we don’t write letters and the kids don’t get “a present from Santa”.

I think this irritates our kids a bit, because there is a lot of discussion about Santa traditions at school, especially in the younger grades.

The kids do get presents, but we’re just pretty low key about it. They just receive one simple present from us and one silly present from me (this year I gave them Star Wars Pez Dispensers haha!).

We actually sit them down and discuss what they’d like for Christmas. And this year, they requested to receive money from us and relatives, instead of toys, so it can go towards buying a few secondhand laptops for our household.

In a way, I’m a bit torn, Christmas is usually supposed to be about gifts of love, surprise, being thoughtful, the joy of giving…. and here we are, being so practical about gifts! Oh well. For us, Christmas is more about family gatherings and spending time with loved ones.

Christmas 2015

For Christmas evening, we went to my parent’s place for another big feast and swim.

My husband set up his telescope and we saw the rare full moon on Christmas day. I managed to line up my smart phone camera with the telescope eye piece and took this snap.

It was very cool and very magical.

A perfect way to end the day really.

So I hope you all managed to have a wonderful, magical and stress-free Christmas too!

Here’s me wishing you all much happiness and love for the new year!


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Endless Summer Fun

21 December 2015

Liam Christmas 2015

I just had to share this beautiful photo with you all!

My kids and their cousins were in the midst of a water fight… and my 6 year old took a second to smile up at me, from behind his shield.

Hehe this photo makes every molecule in my body smile.

It captures the childhood I’ve always wanted to create for my kids – Endless hours of summer holiday fun; Endless playing with cousins in my parent’s pool; Endless bowls of snacks, fruits and BBQ dinners; and endless amounts of laughter, games and fun.

I’ve pretty much just recreated my own childhood right there, so yep, life is pretty sweet right now.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!

xxx


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Just The Two of Us

14 December 2015

Tasmania, Cradle Mountain SnapA few weeks ago, my husband and I went to Tasmania for 10 days.

Just us. No kids.

It was awesome! We became a couple again. Not mum and dad. Just Karen and Andrew.

And you know what? I realised that I’m a pretty fun person!

I’m adventurous! I’m relaxed! I’m easy going and nothing seemed to shit me at all!

And my husband? He’s really cool! He’s funny, engaging, super fun to talk to and so chilled, plus he’s an excellent and well-matched travel companion for me. That’s right, I actually loved hanging out 24/7 with my husband of 13 years haha!

During the trip, I had a thought: Hey we are a pretty cool couple… when we’re NOT shouting at the kids, battling fatigue, juggling schedules, barking out instructions, breaking up fights and riding the tense ups and downs of parenting. Ha!

A short break from normal life, was just what we needed for this year.

I’m so happy to be finishing this year on a high and eagerly awaiting to see in the new year!

Hope your week is filled with love and loved ones! xxx


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Girls Trip to Singapore 2015 – Day 2

7 December 2015

A few weeks ago, I headed over to Singapore with some girlfriends for a Girls Only trip (no kids, no husbands!), where we hung out in cafes, boutiques, and just chilled out.

Here’s a run down of what happened on Day 2!

(Read day 1 here)

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

We woke up bright and early and on my friend’s recommendation, we headed over to Tiong Bahru.

It was love at first sight for me. I loved the 1930s streamlined architecture, the textures, the plants, the whitewashed walls, the way that the whole area had been cleaned up and revitalised, mixing old and new.

Only later, I looked up its history and discovered it was one of Singapore’s oldest residential estates, featuring 30 or so pre-war apartment blocks for the upper class — and now the area was one of Singapore’s “hippest and trendiest” cafe and shopping areas.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

There were so many quirky, hipster cafes and eating places. We settled for fresh pastries and coffee at the Tiong Bahru Bakery.

We bought an apple crumble something, a matcha croissant, and a curry sausage pastry thing.

As you can see, we split our goodies three ways.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

Most of the cute and quirky boutiques at Tiong Bahru opened at 12pm, so we popped over to check out the Tiong Bahru Markets instead.

It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been to a wet market in Asia.

I loved the visual chaos, I loved how it was so unpretentious and raw.

I loved that all the Asian uncles and aunties didn’t care how their wares were presented, how they scribbled their prices on little bits of cardboard, how stunning strands of orchids were sitting in dirty plastic buckets!

I was so so so inspired by all that rough, raw, dirty loveliness… but I had no idea what to do with that inspiration, so I just soaked it all up and enjoyed it. And I took a few snaps.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

Gorgeous bursts of colour.

They almost look fake!

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

Loved the clean, fresh smell of raw seafood.

I wanted to stroke the fish (to feel the freshness), but I don’t think the uncle would’ve liked a random woman touching his fish ha.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

Chaos! Hundreds of packets of random dried stuff!

 

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

Next we walked over to Books Actually (9 Yong Siak St), a beautiful, artful, independent bookstore with a surprising selection of works.

There were lots of classics, popular modern titles, but I was mostly impressed by the amount of Singaporean authors and emerging writers (stacks of titles!) and the fact that they have their own publishing arm and supported local writers.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2
I found a book that was on my “Classic Stories I Must Read Before I Die” List and promptly bought it, even though it was a little more expensive than if I had bought it online. Happy to support brick and mortar bookstores!

Ok after that, we headed home – mainly because nothing else was open, and we had to get changed for our next engagement.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

We jumped into a cab and went to the Boutiques Fair at The Pit Building for 12pm.

It’s a huge fair that hosts over 120 designers and independent sellers, all within one air-conditioned space. It features independent fashion labels for women, children, men, homewares, jewellery, bags, toys, art, trinkets and more. The brands and designers are from all over the world, and it’s all very girly.

There was so much good stuff to look at, but I didn’t buy anything.

Why? I don’t buy cutesy/designer/adorable things for my kids; I couldn’t afford $350 French designed earrings; I couldn’t fit bronze-painted concrete pots in my luggage; and I have already have zillions of screen printed t-shirts.

Singapore Catch Silk Shirts

The only thing I wanted to buy was a 100% silk blouse from Catch.Com.sg.

Their silk shirts were freaking AMAZING for the price. I have an Equipment silk shirt and an Isabel Marant silk shirt, which are both eye-waveringly expensive (I bought them on sale though). The Equipment silk is strong and smooth (but not the exquisitely soft type); The Isabel silk is soft and delicate (but possibly too fragile). I think that the quality of the Catch Silk Shirts sit somewhere in between the two. It’s really good.

The shirts are also designed for smaller framed women, so there are lots of XS and XXS sizes.

Unfortunately I didn’t end up buying one, because er, I wanted to buy FIVE blouses – I wanted the navy long sleeve, white short sleeve, black short sleeve, black shirt sleeve with neck tie and navy short sleeve) – and I couldn’t decide which one to get and I didn’t want to make a rushed decision. Plus they sell their shirts online, so I was going to mull over it for a few weeks.

By 3pm my girlfriends had shopped up a storm, but we were keen to move on.

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

We made our way over to The Rose Veranda for high tea buffet at the Shangri-La Hotel.

I’ve never had a high tea buffet before. It was very posh, relaxing and the food was absolutely lovely.

It wasn’t the typical English high tea that I was used to. It was very different, but still yummy! I ate so much salmon sashimi. There was laksa too haha.

It was soooooo nice to sit around on beautiful chairs, nibble on small portions of food, drink amazing teas, talk to my girlfriends… for 3 leisurely hours.

Plus there was no rush to go home to cook dinner, feed and bath kids. Bliss!

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

THEN. After all that sitting and eating, we decided we needed a WALK.

We drove over to Orchard Road and had a looooong, meandering shopping session.

We bought tonnes of presents. It was a successful shopping trip.

The weather was unusually lovely, so we were happy to walk around outside and enjoy the Christmas lights too.

The photo above was taken in Robinsons, my feet were hurting and I needed to sit down again. My girlfriends were troopers though, they blitzed through that department store!

Singapore Girl's Trip - Day 2

As all the shops began to close, we ended up at a food court, craving for something refreshing and sweet.

This ice kachang and chendol were not the best we’ve had, but it hit the spot.

Looking back on our day, it all seemed so indulgent, frivolous and girly… but hey, it doesn’t happen often! This is what we came here to do!

The following day? It was just as full of activity, shopping and eating! It’s kind of amazing what you can fit into a day when you break it up into 3 hour blocks :)


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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!


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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!

Xxx


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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!

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).

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.

(Read my post about Day 2 of My Singapore Girls Trip here. We visited some wet markets, a delicious bakery, found a gorgeous little bookstore, went to a fashion/homewares/jewellery fair, had a posh high tea and shopping on Orchard Road! We packed in so much in one day!)


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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!

xxx


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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 :)


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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 :)


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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?

Perhaps.

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!