31 March 2012

The World This Week

The World This Week is not necessarily news related. If I did this every week I'd have to read the news every week! I still watch the news in case of a natural disaster or Aliens invade but I don't allow it to dictate my life anymore. This week, it's about items I've found just clicking here and there on the blogosphere. You know that feeling - once you click, you can't stop.

Here are some items I just had to share:
This egg craft is super cute.
I want this MCM Danish Bed.
This converted barn is definitely me.
I really did laugh out loud to this TV ad.
I enjoyed reading Interview with a Safecracker.
I just discovered one can read a magazine online.

30 March 2012

Friday Favourites: Playlist

Battle In Me - Garbage
Higher Love - James Vincent McMorrow
Home Again - Michael Kiwanuka
Small Hands - Keaton Henson
The Right One - Phenomenal Handclap Band

Leo and I both grew up watching music videos on TV in the 1980's. Mostly, I remember being glued to the TV and jumping up to record my favourite music videos on the VCR. Personally, the 1980's produced some of the best and original music videos. Granted, most are now cringe-worthy but even for our children, they are still watchable.

Images: amazon

29 March 2012

Thursday Thrifting: Oriental finds

Top: Imperial Boxed Yellow Placemats
Below: Goldfish and Blossom Vases

As soon as I walked into the thrift shop, the box of yellow placemats caught my eye. The back of the box reads, Shanghai Tang. I'm very selective about vases, the goldfish are a wonderful orange-red.

In my early twenties I went through a Chinese-phase. I would read books about Chinese culture, watch Chinese films, eat Chinese cuisine and I would shop almost every other weekend in Chinatown, Sydney. I even owned two tanks of goldfishes until my step-father overfed them. Whenever I come across Chinese-style goods in a shop it brings back good memories for me.

23 March 2012

Friday Favourites: Laugh out loud

Charlie Chaplin
While looking for this quote I found this moving version of the same.

These links are already listed in my blogroll but go ahead and check them out. I'm sure, at least one will guarantee you a good laugh.

Image: prlog

21 March 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Invite only

Did I mention that Leo and I are engaged? We were engaged in February 2008 and four years later, after some unhappy events, we are now planning to elope. There are so many reasons why we've put it off but, only three reasons stand out for the Just-Do-It-Vote; faith, each other and our sons.

We've been to some 'really good' and 'never again' weddings in our time together. But, here are some weddings I wished I was a guest at...
See that Bride and Groom infront of the vase? That's the couple I had already bought for our 'big wedding' day. It's no longer what we envision for our elopement, so I'm going to eBay them.

20 March 2012

Tuesday Timeline: Boys club

1. How to Make Origami Airplanes That Fly by Gery Hsu
2. Build his own Academy Aircraft Kit 1/32 Nieuport 17
3. Brushed Hoodie Shirt & Slouch Carrot Pant from Country Road
4. R2-D2 Projection Alarm Clock
5. The Adventures Tintin, Volume 1

Just like any kid, growing up I looked forward to my birthday with great anticipation. How many presents would I get? Who's present would I open first? What would I get? The earliest birthday I can remember is my 5th birthday because every present I opened was pink. Which was not my favourite colour. Of all the birthdays of my childhood, the gift I remember the most was a framed display of butterflies. To this day, butterflies are my favourite flying creature.

In two days, our eldest son Aries will be turning 8 years old. These last few weeks, I've been looking for gifts that Aries will differentiate from the Toy Store varieties. Hopefully, I can make up my mind - they all look so good!

Images: refer links

19 March 2012

Monday Medley: Late to party

Happy 80th Birthday to the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Not sure what the party plans are today, I can't seem to find much on the web. Yesterday, at Bradfield Park there was a 1930's style celebration with swing dancers. Today, some members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra scaled the bridge and performed for a select group of guests. One day, when I'm not suffering from vertigo I will definitely do the bridge climb... and swing dancing.

One party I am quite late to is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. As noted on the right sidebar of my blog, you will see the books I am reading for each Month. The book has since been made into a film and that is now available on DVD but it's only recently that I became interested in The Help. Note, I wrote 'interested'. I had heard and seen (but not read) all the hype about this book but, as usual, I keep out of the hoopla until I can come out of my 'cave' and enjoy it in my own time.

I never did give into peer pressure as I have always been taught to wait. Especially, since I shared a home with two younger brothers, including two adopted sisters, plus four foster sisters and sometimes my Mother's parents and other times, her extended relatives. Only a few times in my life has my patience reached it's limit. I had reserved a copy of The Help from our local Library but it's a frustrating three month waiting list! Yesterday, I bought the darn book, brand new, full priced. Ugh.

Today I discovered that it is National Year of Reading 2012. Very cool, especially for a house of readers like ours. We also enjoy visiting the Art Gallery NSW. This weekend we are hoping to fit in the Picasso exhibition which is also closing on Sunday. While we're in the Sydney CBD the kids like to run around in the Royal Botanical Gardens. A great way to tire them out for the train ride home. Fingers crossed regarding this silly weather.

Image: sam mooy

18 March 2012

Sunday: Congealed

English is not my first language. I learned English quite quickly by reading anything I could get my hands on. Such was my love for reading and visiting the Library, it was my second home. I was never late in returning books as my adopted sister told me that I'd be arrested by the Police if I was late in returning borrowed books. I learned English too well that I almost lost my native language - it can happen. I only speak my native language when I'm back in the Islands.

The Library was also my playground during the first half of Year 7. Every recess and lunch break I'd be the one left sitting on the bench, right next to where the 'boys only club' played their handball. One day I was asked if I wanted to play and of course I accepted. The bench was not fitting for a newcomer to Australia with a weird Kiwi-accent. This of course won me no female friends at all those first six months. Rumours came back that I had a crush on one of the boys, so off I retreated to the Library where I read with feigned interest The Encyclopedia Britannica. No joke, I got up to J before my family moved and I started Year 7 elsewhere.

While working in the Finance Industry for 13 years, Customers would be surprised that they were speaking (on the phone) to a Pacific Islander.
"Really? Where did you learn English so well?" asked a Customer.
"I lived in New Zealand for ten years." I'd reply.
Then of course...
"Oh, do they speak English in New Zealand? Hahaha." joked the Customer.
"Yes, we do." I'd reply back.

Whenever I sit down to read a new novel, I always ready myself with a fresh notepad and pencil to take notes of what I don't know. I don't like to note things in books because I don't want to give anything away to other readers. That is one of my pet hates, opening a book with handwritten notes on the side, especially in Poetry books.

In tonight's case, it was a food dish. There I am happily reading along and then the words congealed salad came up. It bugged me so much I had to put my book down and Google images. Congealed Salad is also known as Jello/Jell-O Salad.

So, back to my book...

Image: joy of jello

16 March 2012

Friday Favourites: South Korean Films

Listed are my Top Six Korean Films. I'm not a film critic and I'm not going to bore you with why I like each one. Only know, I enjoyed it enough to have it listed here.

In clockwise direction, here are the trailers:
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Secret Sunshine
The Host
Memories of Murder
A Bittersweet Life

Leo told me that during University he went to see a friend who was living in South Korea. On arrival, when the Customs Officers saw 'New Zealand' on his passport, the two men immediately got out the Atlas and checked to make sure it was indeed a Country. Later, Leo's friend told him that Kiwi travellers were very rare in South Korea at that time. Aussies were popular travellers there and they would often be mistaken as Aussies - which you never do with a Kiwi.

15 March 2012

Thursday Thrifting: Landscape

Top: Le Chemin de Sevres
Below: Ville d'Avray

These are prints of works by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.

I chose these framed prints based on my love of French artists and landscape art. I looked into Corot and to my surprise, the original of the top print was stolen from The Louvre Museum in Paris during broad daylight on May 3, 1998. It has yet to be found.

14 March 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: New baby

Firstly, I am not having a baby. It's always good news hearing of new babes to come - as long as they are someone else's. I am looking for 'new baby' gifts for Leo's cousin who lives in Melbourne with her husband. This babe is also their first.

Secondly, I wanted to congratulate Ellie and Katie who have recently announced their pregnancies on their respective blogs. I wish them both a wonder-filled time in the months ahead. Check them out soon.

Peters of Kensington
1. Polka Dot Hooded Towel, Lime
2. Vintage Knitted Cotton Baby Blanket, White
3. Bamboo Kickers Baby Sock Set

Urban Baby
4. LTC Wooden Door Letters
5. Pearhead Babyprint Keepsake
6. Skip Hop Hug & Hide Stroller Toy, Lamb

Images: refer links

13 March 2012

Tuesday Timeline: Neighbourhood

I read this article last week and showed it to Leo for his opinion. We spoke about the different areas we lived in and our favourite childhood memories.

My favourite memories were of playing with the neighbourhood kids. After school we'd check in with our Mums at home, then we'd gather at the top of the street and make our way to the 'woods' past our block. We'd play until it was either almost dark, too cold, or it had started raining. I remember walking with these kids to the local park, town centre, youth centre and swimming pool - on our own, unsupervised. Using Google maps I checked out my childhood street and I couldn't believe my Mother would've allowed me to go these distances.

Even Leo agreed that he and his younger brother would take off with their friends after school and even in the middle of the night. What?! I said. One school holiday he remembered his Father had his family play Treasure Hunt all the way from their street to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. After his Father's funeral in 2010, we joined Leo's brother and a friend from the neighbourhood who brought up crazy but true stories from when they were all kids.

Last year, after much debate with Aries, I decided that he would be allowed to walk to and from School alone. His first argument was, he's now seven and kids younger than he were already walking to/from School alone. His second point was, one of his classmates lived fifteen minutes away and walked with his siblings every day. He also pointed out that we only lived five houses away from the School gate. I realised, stupidly, that he was right. It also meant that I didn't have to wake Tauren who always liked to sleep in.

It's not that I don't trust my own son, I don't trust the people. When my Mother saw Aries walking home alone from School one day, she was on the attack about stranger-danger, crazy drivers, kid's crossing the street etc. I realised this must be how I looked and sounded to Aries when he first asked me. Every week it got easier (for me) and I saw a change in Aries that was both promising and saddening. I saw our son enjoying the one responsibility he had asked for and I also saw Aries, no longer my baby but my little man.
The above image is of Aries playing in the driver's seat, aged 3. Next Thursday, is his 8th birthday. He will then be half-way to sitting his Learner (driver) Licence, which he has already asked about.

12 March 2012

Monday Medley: About a boy

Saw this child interview on bedtimemonsters who saw it on Pinterest. After checking them out too I stuck with Darcy's version. Aries is ten days away from his 8th birthday and I asked him to try this, he was pretty ecstatic. But just like any kid he wants to do it again... like, tomorrow.

FAVE BOOK - The Magic Pear Tree
FAVE SUBJECT - Human Society and Its Environment
FAVE SONG - Billie Jean
FAVE FOOD - Banana
FAVE MOVIE - Kung Fu Panda 2 / Transformers 3
FAVE TOY - Transformers
FAVE TV SHOW - Ninja Warrior
FAVE MUSEUM - Australian Museum, Sydney
WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND? Adam, Ahmad, Blake, Brandon, Chone, Dean, Ehsan, Jack, Jai, Jayden, Kai, Kaled, Kaled O, Ken, Mama, Timothy, Uhila
FAVE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY - Eating together


I was quite surprised by a few of the answers - Justin Bieber being one - but I realised he must've been allowed to watch the music channel at my parent's house. Which is a big no-no with Leo and I. We believe music video clips have become far too raunchy and one Saturday morning last year, we wanted to see what the latest hit songs were. We just couldn't believe the rubbish in music videos aimed at kids.

I found this video of an 8 year old Chess Champion. Kids are amazing aren't they?

11 March 2012

Sunday: Sunshine

Today we spent the day at home enjoying the sunshine and togetherness. It also saved Leo and I from making decisions about what to do, where to eat out, what time to leave/return etc. In the backyard, Leo and the boys played cricket and then handball while I sat and drank coffee without the fuss. A perfect Sunday in.

Tonight, when everyone else was in bed sleeping, I watched the Japanese film Departures. It won the 2008 Academy Award for Foreign Language Film and a well deserved win too. I'm a sucker for films with music - Four Minutes, Life on a string, Shine, The Piano, and a few more. I think music pulls a film together like it pulls at the heart strings.

Admittedly, I did cry a few times because the film brought back a memory about my Maternal-Grandfather. He was the father my brothers and I didn't have (around). In my culture, we dress our deceased relatives. It helps us to cope with 'the sending off' part of grieving, just like in the film. You can ask for the body to be dressed but, this is a relative's final act of respect. It is also our last intimate moment with our loved one before he/she is seen by non-family members.

Other winners in 2008 were Sean Penn (Milk), Heath Ledger (Dark Knight), Kate Winslet (The Reader), WALL·E and Slumdog Millionaire.

Image: inadawords

9 March 2012

Friday Favourites: Designed to inspire


Friday Favourites is my space to share my personal favourites. Different to Monday Medley because Leo and the boys aren't interested in this stuff. This week's favourites are interior designs onscreen - TV and film.

Frasier - This is my dream City apartment! I'd have everything the same, except Martin's armchair, of course. That quirky sidetable next to the powder room is amazing. This is where I first saw the Eames lounge chair and ottoman.

Iron Man - Fictional or not... I love the whole darn house and it's awesome location. Nuff said.

Ghost - The apartment that Sam and Molly renovate is such a wonderful space this photo does not do it justice. Everything from the galley-style kitchen, the staircase, Molly's workspace and that statue, it's all 90's perfect.

Gattaca - I love it because of the interior of Eugene and Vincent's apartment. The staircase is massive! However, the windows are either long vertical or long horizontal - not your typical residential variety. All the exterior shots of the apartment were wonderfully edited to look like one complete apartment complex. This is also where I first saw the Barcelona Chair and never stopped thinking about it (sigh).

Pride and Prejudice - I adore all of the interiors of the homes showcased in this 2005 version. I've seen it so many times that Leo tried to hide it a few times. Funny guy.

8 March 2012

Thursday Thrifting: Read to me

Thursday Thrifting is my space to share the things I've bought from thrifting, sales and also freebies - or what I like to tell Leo, "my good fortune".

Leo is one of those men who likes to see savings, either in his account or in what we do/buy. I've learnt thrifting from being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, it's mine and Tauren's time to get out and rummage for the things that make us happy. While I worked fulltime, I was too ashamed to go into charity shops, thrift stores, garage sales and the likes. Now that I do it at least once a week, I still can't believe how much money I've wasted on buying brand new and brand names. Looking back I realise, I don't recall any fond memories of these purchases and none of them have lasted. Strangely, I have a vivid memory of each item from thrifting and, they are still used daily in our home.

The Magic Pear Tree, is my favourite book in this week's buy. This is the edition Leo and I read as kids - we are the same age. I just love the illustrations. So far, I haven't found this version anywhere and I'm pretty stoked about it. I'm hoping the boys will keep this one in the good condition it was found in.

Love You Forever, doesn't bring back any memories for me but Leo remembers reading it. I was shocked to find that it was listed as one of the 10 Worst Books for Toddlers. After Leo and I read it, we didn't find anything offensive about it. Are people so politically correct that reading an example of unconditional love is seen as stalking? Oh well. Everyone is entitled to their opinion so here's mine: I loved it and it's on our kid's bookshelf so HA!

Aesop's Fables, I've never seen this edition before. It is beautifully illustrated and I can't wait to read it to Aries and discuss each moral. Aries can recall every book that we've read to/with him, I hope he will remember those books when he reads to his own child.

These books were bought at our local Vinnies store for a total of $5.00

7 March 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Three's company

Wednesday Wishlist is my space to share everything I wish for.

Lately, our toddler Tauren is going through the 'closing doors' and 'throwing doors open' stage. Both at the same time. These animal bookends are versatile and can also be used as a doorstop, for decoration or toddler weight-lifts. Seriously. Tauren has bigger biceps than his older brother Aries.

Did I mention I'm a bargain hunter? I try never to pay full price for anything, because I believe we don't have to. Here is the cheapest I can find the Zuny animal range.

Obviously, I'm looking for a good tote bag right now. I stopped being a handbag gal when I gave up working fulltime. Walking around with a handbag looks odd when your Mom Uniform is mostly jeans and T-shirt with Eau de Toddler.

Right now, this very moment, my bag is what working women carry their lunches in (at least in Sydney, three years ago). Personally, the tote bag is one of the best buys for a fulltime Mum... and jeans. The canvas tote bags are from Apple & Bee.

I'm leaning more towards the 'Air Mail' tote as I'm a big fan of letter-writing. However, the 'Sustainability' has a lovely blue. I also love the 'Hearts' because there is a heart to represent each of us. I may even surprise myself and buy all three.

The Comic Hero Cape is perfect for our sons' role-playing games. My younger brothers and I used to love watching the re-runs of 'Batman' starring Adam West. We used to be in awe of how the sound-effect-words used to pop up during the fight scenes. Later my brothers would re-enact these scenes with their own 'POW!', 'BANG!' and 'CRRAACK!'. Eventually, it got too much and one has a permanent facial scar from jumping off the shed one too many times.

This Zoku Chocolate Station would be great fun for our kids (and Mum). The Skeanie Chocolate UGG boots would be a wonderful addition to Tauren's winter wardrobe. He loves wearing his 'boodz'. Available aMetro Mum.

6 March 2012

Tuesday Timeline: Breaking point

Tuesday Timeline is my space to share stories from our life together and some from our lives before we all met.

A few years ago, I used to read the blog A Cup of Jo but for some reason I lost the link - virus, lost files, crashed laptop etc. This year while perusing the blog lists favoured by several of my favourite blogs, I noticed a link that consistently popped up. Lo and behold, when I eventually clicked on it, the blog A Cup of Jo appeared. Needless to say, I spent that entire afternoon catching up with Jo's blog while Tauren was having a rare afternoon nap. When I write 'rare' I mean it, Tauren is a power-tool! He's been known to stay awake a whole 12 hours since he was 18-months old and he's almost 2-years old.

On Jo's post 'Do or don't: Seeing movies alone' I posted a comment that I indeed missed going to the cinemas on my own, a part of my life before Leo and our children. That was nine years ago! The very next day, I did just that. It's very rare that I do anything because of a blog. It only happened because of two things that finally got to me that day.

Firstly, my Mother accused me of something immature. My Mother and I have never had a lovey-dovey mother-daughter relationship. Never. That's a topic for another Tuesday.

Secondly, with the boys running amok and feeling rundown (again) my partner Leo decided to overwork the ignition to the oven, eventually breaking it. That was my 'breaking point'. Leo is one of those men who have bigger-than-average-male hands and he also doesn't know his own strength. So even though I had reminded him countless times before how to use the oven, he still preferred to power his way through it.

Instead of having it out with Leo, I casually got dressed, grabbed my things and got the heck out of here. I just needed space, air and time. I don't believe there is anything wrong in what I did, other than timing. After three years of being a Stay-At-Home-Mum I realised I've never done anything on my own, without Leo or the kids. I've always been supportive of Leo to socialise with his friends and workmates. I used to think that it's the least I could do since he's our only income provider.


On my way to the cinemas I had several thoughts on my mind:
I should be feeling guilty.
I hope Leo is coping with the boys.
I should go back home just in case.
I wonder what Leo and the boys are doing.
OMG I'm going to the movies... alone... Yipeeeee!

You see, sometimes, it's okay to just say What about me? It's even super when you actually do something for yourself, because once it's done, it can't be taken back. I always over-think an issue (the listmaker in me) and eventually give up because of what I thought was best for our family. However, balance is key to every aspect of our lives.

On my way home I asked myself, What else have I given up since leaving my fulltime job to have our second child? I made a list of ten things and then told myself, I have to do each one before my birthday in July. Arriving home, the kids were fed, bathed, Aries was in bed asleep and Tauren was placid ready for a snuggle.

The day after, I woke up feeling new again. When Leo came home from work, he said my going off was a wake up call about how I'm rarely ever alone. I was taken aback when he added how he enjoyed the time with the boys alone. He even asked me to find my 'alone time' every second week. That evening, he was appreciative of how much work is involved in the 'night routine' and liked not hearing me shout orders up and down the house.

To be honest, since that day, I haven't shouted at our kids much. Maybe I won't lose my voice this year?


Image: imdb

5 March 2012

Monday Medley: A few favourites

Monday Medley is my space to share what we are like as a family. Feel free to share what you and yours favourite, I like to try new things.

Our favourite fruit jam is from Cuttaway Creek. Tauren likes it on it's own and I love it on toast. Actually, it's the only reason I even eat toast!

Our favourite Sunday activity is Family Funday. For $2.50 per person your family can enjoy a whole day out. We always buy exhibition tickets for Sunday to utilise this massive discount.

Our favourite family snack is from Harvest Box. I like rating each mix of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, then select the days and frequency of the delivery and voila!

My favourite new recipe is Gyozas. Pleating the gow gee wrappers was not as easy as I thought. It was a big hit with Leo and Aries, not so much with Tauren.

My favourite organising tip on how to fold T-shirts. I just sat in awe of this video and then I got angry at how I used to fold T-shirts and all the times I could've been doing something else.

These are not sponsored items - they are things we have tried and really enjoy.

4 March 2012

Weekend What's On

Listened to The one that got away.
One day cruise a water bridge.
Ate a Jaffa Kiss.
Date with Inspector Montalbano.
Parents beware Drop Dead Fred.

A photo of Tauren and Aries in a wrestling match. I've had to put my thinking-cap on this week for indoor activities as the weather here in Sydney has been dismal. There's been kids movies, books, story writing, running into furniture, screaming and wrestling. Lately I've been feeling like I'm not living in Sydney.

Whenever there are rainy days and piles of dirty washing, the word Sisyphean comes to mind. Yesterday, we had to buy clothes airers to be used in the garage. We are not comfortable with purchasing a clothes dryer, the bills are high enough and Sydney isn't getting any cheaper. I also utilise the local laundromat if it's urgent and our next option is a clothesline cover.

Yesterday, after I bragged to Aries about how Mummy thought 'Drop Dead Fred' was the funniest movie, we bought the dvd. We sat there as a family watching and waiting for the laugh-out-loud moments I had promised our son. But, as soon as 'Drop Dead Fred' appeared I just thought, Wow! My memory just had a wake up call. Firstly, the rating states PG. Let me just say, it is not a kid's movie. It should be M as it contains sexual references and coarse language. Needless to say, the next time we buy a movie from 'our time' we'll be previewing it before the kids see it. Definitely not one of my finest moments as a Mother.