October 06, 2010

Taking A Stroll In My Garden

I like gardens, but am not a fan of tending one. That's why I love our home so much, because the only bits of garden we get are strips of nature which are easily manageable. I was so excited when I found out that we have rose plants in our garden, and even more so when a couple of them started to bloom.

20101006 Rose 1

20101006 Rose 2

20101006 White Flowers 1

20101006 White Flowers 2

Future additions to the garden: another herb bucket (for parsley, mint and something-else), lime, capsicum, chillis. And maybe some cyclamens and daisies.

October 01, 2010

A Rut? You Think?

This space has been very sadly neglected for the past month. In fact, I've been finding trouble even coming up with something to write, or to update on what's going in my life. It's just the same.

Same old, same old.

I envy those who update regularly with pictures of what they've been doing, places they've been visiting, people they've been seeing. Our weekends now consist of the same old routine:
- Yumcha (or brunch)
- Grocery shopping
- Gardening
- Cleaning up the house
- Washing the car
- Occasionally meeting up with friends

Tim's routine when he's back from work, and he'll laugh when he sees this, because I always tease him about it:
- Takes off his shoes
- Pours some wine
- Lies on the couch
- Turns on the telly
- Drinks some wine
- Eats some Shapes

A rut? You think?

August 15, 2010

A Sneak Peek Into Our Humble Abode

As promised, some photos of the new home :)

A tiny abode, if I do say so myself, but quite a charming one. It's still very bare though, and terribly messy, as you can tell from the photographs. No hurry in decorating the place I say. Rome wasn't built in a day, and so's interior decorating!

20100813 New Home 1

A favourite feature of the house, which we will probably never use. Yep, it's an honest-to-God fireplace, that can build honest-to-God fires in winter. We haven't tried it out just yet, although the previous owner left us the cast-iron thingy that holds firelogs. Next winter perhaps. For now, it serves more of a decorative feature in the house than anything else. I'm also on a lookout for a good ornamental clock to replace the current Kmart clock above the mantelpiece. Any ideas?

20100813 New Home 2

As small as the house is, I'm real glad that the kitchen is big. Ample space to store all things kitcheny :P

20100813 New Home 3

So there you go, a peek into our humble abode. Next items to get would be at least three bookshelves for the many books we have, and dining chairs. Hubs and I are currently having our meals on a foldable garden chair and a tiny stool, which we take turns to sit on (no prizes for guessing which seat we prefer). We're still on the lookout for the dining chairs, so if we do have housewarming parties, etc in our place, the invitations would state "BYO Chair". No kidding.

Ahh ... it's great to be home :)

August 08, 2010

Honey, We're Home

It's been one week since we moved in to our very own home, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Sure, there were little niggles here and there which unfortunately, we did not notice when we first inspected the place, e.g. not even power points in the house, overly modern bathroom features that leaves water all over the place, slightly drafty windows, etc. But really, those things are easily fixed so no problems there at all.

It's such a joy walking about in my tiny garden, or having a cup of tea in my kitchen (the best feature in the house, I'd have to say!) without someone else who isn't your husband around. With that, yes, I meant the housemate ;)

We're currently still waiting for our TV bench and couch to be delivered (it's now a week late), so the living room's pretty empty. We have no dining chairs, so we're sitting on our office chair and garden chair. I should take a photo of it and post it here; it's such a sight.

Our very first home. I really couldn't be happier.

June 28, 2010

Just Over A Month To Go

Just over a month to go to our settlement date. Exciting, yet money-draining times. On one hand, we're thankful we don't have a lot of big items to move to the new place; on the other, well, we have to now get those big items. Items such as a washing machine, couch (expensive things they are, even for the ones of really lousy quality) and a TV entertainment unit (currently, the TV is on our dining table, and we eat on the floor. No kidding. We've been eating on the floor for over two years).

The items on lower priority would be bedside tables, lamps, and other bits and bobs. I'm planning to get some of them from eBay. You'd be surprised at how much good stuff people are willing to get rid off at very low prices.

We've already started packing, which is a good thing. Didn't realise just how many books the two of us have, especially me. I gave quite a lot of other items away to Salvos, but books, books I keep. IKEA's looking pretty good when it comes to looking for affordable bookshelves, I reckon.

Exciting times, but money-hemorrhaging ones indeed.

June 04, 2010

Five Years From First It Began

Blog's Fifth Anniversary

I remembered the first day I started blogging. I didn't really know what it was, only that my cousin was doing it, and being the kiasu (afraid to lose) person that I am, I too had to jump onboard. I wasn't all that much of a funny person, and I still am not, so finding funny and entertaining things to say was quite a feat. I mean, that's what blogs are for, right? All that witty stories and repartee? No? Damn, that's five years down the drain.

This blog wasn't the first one I started. I was going through a very difficult time back then, and I started writing on a completely anonymous blog which I told no one about. I was angsty, an emotional wreck and it was carthartic putting all that emotion into words. When I started writing this blog, I wasn't sure what I wanted out of it. I was still an emotional wreck then; I didn't want to put my heart on my sleeve (well, in this case, on the web). In the end, I did.

When I began writing this post, I went through a few blog posts of mine which I wrote in 2005. It was such an incredible journey that I went through, and I'm so thankful I had it in writing. It brought back a wave of memories - some good, some bad. It was as though time stopped for me, just for a little while, as I went through what I wrote all those years ago. How I've changed to be the person I am now as the years went on.

This blog has seen me on my travels. My broken heart. My discovery of true friends. My love for my family. My falling in love. My move from Malaysia to Australia. My married life. Me.

Today marks my 5th year of blogging. I'm glad this was something I saw through for that long, even though I do not update as often as I did before. I could say here's to many more years to come, but for once I shan't be that optimistic. Let's just take it as it comes. Who knows, one day I'll finally say "here's to a decade".

June 02, 2010

Turning Thirty

20100602 Mt Wellington, Hobart

I join the 3-0 bandwagon this Saturday. At first, there was that "OMG-I'm-turning-thirty-there's-no-going-back-I'm-oid!" feeling. And then I figured, it's not so bad. Life's good (well, as good as it can get), so I can't complain. I've got good friends celebrating the occasion with me this weekend at Nobu. I'm finally moving to a place of our own in a couple of months. This three weeks at Tasmania has been an awesome holiday with Tim.

Oh, and I'm getting an iPad.

Who said turning thirty was bad? :)

PS: Let's not go to the "having-kids-now-that-you're-in-your-thirties" chapter yet, eh?

April 27, 2010

Efficient Living in Tiny Spaces

I was completely blown away when I stumbled upon this video on YouTube. Talk about an incredible design and utilisation of space. With more highrise accomodation coming up in Asia, I reckon it wouldn't be long before people begin to transform their tiny apartment into efficient living like this.

Although I have to say, as impressed as I am with such a design, I believe that it would only be suitable for singles, at most a couple. You would have to childproof the heck out of the apartment if you have young children too :P

April 16, 2010

About Having A Housemate

Things I Won't Miss

Having complete freedom to the washing machine (don't have to wake up extra early in the morning to do the laundry, just to find that the housemate has beaten you to it), telly, couch, refridgerator ... the whole house, really.

Being able to walk around in my birthday suit in the living room. Not that I do that. Often.

Being able to leave the bedroom door open and free to do whatever I want without be subjected to any nosy glances.

Being able to cook anything I want, fry anything smelly without the housemate opening the door and windows loudly in disgust.

Being able to do it anywhere in the house, without having to keep completely silent. Yes, even the laundry room. *wink wink*

Things I Will Miss


That about sums it up, doesn't it?

April 08, 2010

We Bit The Bullet

20100408 Barry Plant Letter

Our prayers are answered. After two years of searching, we finally found a place we liked and bit the bullet. We were at Coles doing our usual grocery shopping when the real estate agent called Tim and told us that the vendor has accepted our offer. I literally danced at the checkout counter :P

For now, I'm going to enjoy the weight of the 2-year burden lifted off my shoulders, before the reality of a 30-year mortgage falls on us.

We're going to be homeowners!

April 04, 2010

We Remember

2010 He Is Risen

Today we remember how it all began. We remember what He's done for us. We remember the sacrifice He made so that we may be saved. We remember that on the third day, He resurrected.

Amidst all the chocolates (which I had none of, by the way) fluffy bunnies and hot cross buns, we remember Him. We remember His love.

Happy Easter.

March 31, 2010

When Half A Million Dollars Is Chicken Feed

20100331 Couple in House Outline

Ask anyone who lives in Melbourne how buying property there is like (in these times anyway), and I'll bet you anything their response would be very similar to mine. Bleak, disheartening and downright frustrating.

Tim and I have been looking for a place of our own for two years now. And since we are still renting and living with a housemate, you can guess that prospects are terribly bleak. It doesn't help either with the pressure we get from our parents about finding a place.

"Quickly go buy a house/unit/apartment, etc or else we will not come visit you!"

When I hear that one time too often, I believe I cannot be blamed for thinking "oh thank God, don't come".

The problem is, buying property here just isn't like buying property in Malaysia. The process is different, and there's a hell lot more red tape. You want things to move smoother and quicker in Malaysia? Doesn't hurt to grease the palm of those involved. No one would bat an eyelash. Over here, it's a different story altogether. Our families seemed to think that as long as we have the money, we can buy a place. If only it was that simple.

I'm not going to bore you with the process of buying property here. Look it up if you like. The Age reports daily on how volatile the market is, how foreign investors are making life difficult for first home buyers, unscrupulous real estate agents underquoting property prices (the bastards), all that jazz.

We did find a place we liked (well, I liked) about half a year ago. I put a lot of time and energy into the process, ringing up solicitors, building and pest inspectors, a lot of communication with the real estate agent, only to find that in the end, we just couldn't outbid another interested buyer. All that hope into getting that place was dashed in an instant. That's the problem with getting a place, I guess. Never have high hopes that you'll get the place, because someone else (like a FOREIGN investor. I say it like it's a dirty word because it is) will most likely swipe the property.

My close mates will know of the other reason we really want to move out. Let's just say that after two years of living with a housemate, I'm done. I've had it up to my eyeballs. It was a big mistake not moving out and renting on our own when we got married, and the last couple of years haven't been exactly smooth sailing, living condition-wise.

At the time of writing, we are currently in the process of putting an offer for a tiny unit. I want to say that I don't have high hopes for this one, but you know I'm lying. I'm already picturing our freakin' furniture in the place, for pete's sake. Tim has a good feeling about this one. I'm just trying not to get there yet.

So keep your fingers, toes, whatever's crossable crossed for us. For our sanity, at the very least.

March 16, 2010

All Systems Down

20100315 Ill

Tim and I have been struck by some sort of viral bug. We've got the body aches, disgusting snot, sore throats, the works. I think I got hit first and then passed it on to him (or the other way round; who knows when we sleep in the same room?). Suffice to say, with us being in the same room, it's now a cesspool of germs.

It's times like this that I wish I was back in Malaysia. Yes, I was a "siu cheh" (little miss) back home, I don't deny it. At least I wouldn't have to worry about food. Having to tend to a sick person when you're sick too isn't a piece of cake. And no, I'm not even going to think about what it's going to be like when kids come into the picture.

So right now, I'll just go back to my hot cuppa. Honey, lemon and hot water, that should, at least, soothe a fiery throat. I hope.

February 25, 2010

What Is Your Favourite Scent?

20100225 Freshly Baked Bread

When one's asked the question "what's your favourite scent?", it's natural to immediately think of a favourite perfume. Sure I do have a number of favourite fragrances (Burberry's Brit Sheer, Estee Lauder Pure White Linen Light Breeze to name a few), but when it comes to a favourite scent, I'd have to say, nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread.

I live in an apartment near a few bakeries, and each morning I'm greeted with the most delicious smell of freshly baked loaves on the balcony. It's absolutely divine. Catching a whiff of it works up an appetite for a hearty breakfast each morning, that's for sure.

That's the mornings. In the afternoons, there'll be smells of fried chicken wafting in the air from nearby takeaways (gives you a rough idea on where I live, eh?). Not as good as the smell of baked bread, but it does give me KFC cravings from time to time.

What's your favourite scent? Smell of rain splashing on the grass? Indian curries? :P

February 10, 2010

Chinese New Year in Melbourne

Chinese New Year is in 4 days, and I've had nothing done. The apartment is not cleaned (it IS clean, it's just not ready-for-Chinese-New-Year CLEAN), no decorations are up, I don't have any new red attire, no angpows prepared (woohoo!), no mandarin oranges in the house, nothing. And that's the thing about living in Melbourne, especially when you're not in an Asian suburb. There's absolutely no Chinese New Year atmosphere.

No loud "tong-tong-chiang" music in shops, radio or telly. No New Year decor. No hustle and bustle of rushing to the bank to change crisp new notes for angpows. Here, it's going to be just another day.

This is the first time I'm spending Chinese New Year in Australia. I do miss the festive season in Malaysia, especially even more when I don't get to spend it with my extended family. At the time of writing, they are heading to Genting Highlands for a get-together, which I will sorely miss.

Still, it's not going to be a bad day, the eve and first day of the lunar new year. The weather will be good (i.e. it will finally cool down for a bit). We'll be meeting up with friends, having a potbless, and enjoying each other's company. There may even be some *ahem* gambling *ahem* involved :P Who knows?

So happy Chinese New Year, folks. May the year of the Tiger bring you good health and good things.

February 05, 2010

SCA Promo for Valentine's Day and the Lunar New Year


Going to do a little shameless self-advertisement here, so don't mind me :P


20100204 Valentine's Day CNY 2010 Promotion

In light of the coming Valentine's Day and Lunar New Year, what better way to celebrate these auspicious occasions than with new shiny trinkets? ;)

Sweet Contemplation Accessories will be having a 10% discount AND free worldwide shipping, and is valid from 5 to 28 February 2010.

In your shopping cart, there will be no calculation of shipping fees. Just enter the code VDAYCNY2010 in the Vouchers section, and you're on your way.

Please feel free to spread the word. Much appreciated :)

January 08, 2010

Puppy Mills

Sometime last year, I caught an episode of The Oprah Winfrey show which had me tearing up badly at the end of the show. They did a feature on puppy mills. If you're a dog-lover (in fact, as long as you have a heart, it would really bother you too), you'd be angry at the thought of puppy mills.

Puppy mills are what you would call puppy factories, where they "manufacture" puppies for pet stores and breeders to make a very quick and easy buck. Dogs are acquired (many a time dog-napped from homes) for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to breed with other dogs. Female dogs are made to breed, give birth and nurse puppies almost every year of their lives (many of them do not live a long life, and are ridden with tumours on their nipples due to over-nursing). These dogs are kept in very small cages, often stacked on top of each other to save space, and most of them never had their paws touch the ground. There was a footage in the show where a dog, which was rescued from a puppy mill, could not even walk properly on the tiled floor. Simply because it had no idea how to.

You may not know this, but many pet stores acquire puppies from puppy mills. The pups may seem really adorable in the glass window, but many of them would suffer from psychological issues, and you wouldn't even know until you bring them home.

If you were to ask someone where the cheapest place to get a puppy, especially a pure-bred one, high chances are that they will tell you to buy from Thailand. Puppies from Thailand are notorious for being incredibly cheap. You can purchase a pure-bred Labrador at only 2000 baht, which is about RM200. Pet stores sell them at around RM1000.

I didn't think much of this until I saw how these dogs were sold. My cousin Bea and I went on a holiday to Bangkok a few weeks ago, and when we were at Chatuchak Market, we headed to a section where people were selling pets and pet supplies. When I saw how the pups were caged and sold, it broke my heart.

09 Chatuchak Puppies 1

09 Chatuchak Puppies 2

09 Chatuchak Puppies 3

Many of the sellers hold a hairdryer and a steel-toothed comb in their hands, blowing air onto the puppies, making their fur look cute and poofy.

09 Chatuchak Puppies 4

09 Chatuchak Puppies 5

09 Chatuchak Puppies 6

See the golden Labrador pup on the right? He was quite the inquisitive and cheeky lil' fella. He was originally sitting on the left cage, but managed to walk over the rest of the pups and climbed to the right cage. He also managed to climb over the right cage, but fell onto the floor letting out a yelp. The guy who fed him water (see previous photo) yanked him back by his tail, causing the pup to yelp even more, carried him by the neck, and literally threw him back into the cage.

09 Chatuchak Puppies 7

Even birds for sale are not spared. Look at the sheer number of them in just one cage. It's simply inhumane.

09 Chatuchak Birds

If you would like a puppy, kitten, etc why not adopt one from your local RSPCA instead? You would be doing those poor fellas a huge favour by giving them a good home. The RSPCA neuters/spays and vaccinates them, so you wouldn't have to worry about it. When the dogs are not adopted after a while, they would, sadly, be put to sleep. After all, there is only so much room that the RSPCA can afford to accommodate the poor animals. You could also get them from reputable and trustworthy dog breeders. Just ask around.

I have a dog too, back in Malaysia. His name is Tiger, and I picked him up from the streets ten years ago when he was but a 3-month old puppy, wondering about near a market. He was part of a litter of stray puppies. He's probably not as smart as pure-bred dogs, but he's still pretty clever, loyal, and very lovable.

Dec09 Tiger
Tiger hates the camera, and never looks directly at it :P

Help eradicate puppy mills. Please do not buy your pets from places like the above. When demand is low, supply will dwindle and hopefully, puppy mills will have no choice but to shut down.

These dogs deserve better.

January 07, 2010

A Look Into Our Usual Laundry

20100107 Laundry

Methinks it's high time we inject some colour into our wardrobe.

Don't you?

January 05, 2010

And The Holiday Ends Here

As I sit at a cafe at LCCT waiting for my flight back to Melbourne (and enjoying the free WIFI, no doubt), I looked back upon the month-long holiday I had back in Malaysia. I've enjoyed myself immensely this trip, especially when I was spending time with my family and close friends. I found it really difficult to leave this time. I remembered sobbing to Tim a couple of nights before leaving Penang, telling him how much I'd miss my parents.

Time can be such a bitch. Everytime I see my parents, they seemed to have shrunk a little bit more. There were more lines and white hair. Mum would ask me why it was that I made so much plans with my friends when she hardly had any time with me. The guilt was unbearable. I vouched to call them more often, and I plan to follow that through.

I had the pleasure of spending time with my grandma too, who turns a grand ol' 90 this year. I'm so glad that other than the poor short-term memory she has now, she is still healthy and strong. Mention the word "mahjong" to her, and her eyes light up with a thousand stars. Her mind is still pretty sharp, thank the Lord.

The trip back to Malaysia this time is, I'd say, one of the best trips I've had so far. I'm sorry I didn't get to catch up with more people but I had so many events planned the entire month I was back, it was crazy. I don't even have that much of a life in Melbourne! :P

Still, I'm glad to be going home. Back to work, back to the ol' routine. Back to good friends.

And back to a LOT of laundry.