Oct 23 2016

Party Of The Year

Published by under Life


Is there a 30-something in Singapore that isn’t going for this, or at least considering it? I haven’t met one yet. All the GNR fans are crawling out of the woodwork now–I didn’t realise there were that many! I’m sure some of them are converts because of “Patience” and “November Rain.” That’s the snob in me talking.

Speaking of GNR, I issued Ron a new challenge the other day: Find my new blog. Yes I have an alternate online abode. I intend to lay this blog to rest eventually, perhaps a year or two from now. So I’ve picked a new name and written a few posts, but mostly I’m parking. It’s on WordPress, and I gave Ron some clues to help him along: My favourite song, from one of my favourite bands. With an “s” appended to the title, because the title was already taken.

He thought it was GNR. Nope. Welcometothejungles.wordpress.com just doesn’t do it for me.

You’re welcome to join the search as well, if you have time to kill. If you know where to find me on Spotify, you can poke around and make some guesses. It’s not a song off my playlists. I’ll be truly impressed if you can find me. I’ll buy you coffee or send you something off Bookdepository!

Leave me a comment over on the other side, if you get there. If not, the easier way is to wait it out, and ask me for my new link when I finally decide to shut this blog down.

Update: Ron’s solved the mystery. I gave him an additional clue that made it too easy–consider it best friend privilege.

3 responses so far

Oct 22 2016

Just Another Saturday Night

Published by under Life


What time will you be home?
Not sure, babe.
Ok don’t forget I’m going out next Saturday, and on Halloween too.

Right before Alf and I had this conversation, he was telling me about his colleague’s sister, whose protective instincts extend to having to sit next to her husband at every social encounter, just to be safe. I always feel a little sorry when I hear stories like these. If you’d had a window into our lives five years ago, you’d have seen me demanding an estimated arrival time from Alf, and getting mad at delays. How do couples strike a balance between space and stability? How did I get to this place of peace? I wish I could sit every insecurity-ridden girl down and hand her my roadmap, but I really don’t have one. (My love guru Diana does, though.) I know I’ve worked hard to like myself, a lot, without crossing the line into self-centredness and narcissism (I hope). I work at being trustworthy too; attraction is fluid after all, and you don’t always see it coming. I trust my husband, to some extent. But more than that, I trust my destiny. It’s as simple as that, now that I’ve arrived. I hope I don’t lose my way again.

Space and stability. It’s the feeling I get when I look at the picture above. Love at first sight, I must say, and I have to make my way there one day, preferably alone. Or maybe with a girlfriend. I did have solo travel dreams for ’17 but I’ve also recently received the estimate for Layla’s upcoming orthodontic work, so… Priorities, right?

In other news, I’m absolutely thrilled that Mr. Ronbot is blogging again, after a years-long hiatus. We used to have this cosy friendship community, where we were all linked up and putting up our random finds and thoughts of the day. There were some petty fights, but nothing permanently damaging. I miss that! Not the fights of course, but knowing what my friends are thinking about–FB updates aren’t the same. If you have a blog that I don’t know about, leave it in the comments so that I can stalk you too. :)

No responses yet

Oct 12 2016

Remembering Basil Alcove

Published by under Life

I got finger-trigger happy earlier and was trashing a bunch of blog posts, and then of course the inevitable happened and I discovered I’d permanently deleted something I’d wanted to keep.

You see, earlier this year I’d received a comment on the blog from someone very special to our family, on this post. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Oct 11 2016

Picture A Tree (Scholastic)

Picture A Tree

Picture A Tree

When I was growing up, I mostly stayed indoors. My mom’s a homebody, and she also preferred it if we kids were sitting quietly and amusing ourselves, so she stocked our home full of toys, and later, computer games and videos. It’s not what the experts today would recommend, but I would still say I had a fun childhood, especially since I was blessed with the freedom to choose my own entertainment.

I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

It was only post-motherhood that I started to venture out more. I’ve clocked many green hours with my athletic 10 year old before she entered school, because she takes after her father and if staying indoors is unbearable for her, I suffer too. Z has couch potato tendencies like me, but for both our sakes, I’ve put him in a sports playgroup with an awesome coach, and we meet out in the park, weekly, when the weather permits. The play spot we’ve chosen is perfect, with just the right balance of sun and shade. I think trees, and greenery in general, are conducive to conversation too, and there was a morning recently where a new friend and I sat on a bench, watching our kids, while letting our guards down to discuss everything from marriage to music.

In Barbara Reid’s “Picture A Tree,” she crafts a loving tribute to trees using a keen sense of observation and plasticine as her medium. Her artwork, photographed for the book, depicts what trees can represent for us–depending on your perspective, they can be a source of comfort, adventure, or wonder.

There is more than one way to picture a tree.

It doesn’t matter that my kids and I will never have a tree clubhouse. We’ll probably never climb a tree either, but what’s important is that we find our own ways to connect with nature, especially when the heart needs healing, or when the spirit could use a little nourishment.

Picture a tree. What do you see?

Some people think making books for kids is effortless, or that it can be done in a flash. Not the case, if you truly have a vision and a message that you want to bring across in the best way. It’s easy to gloss over the artwork in picturebooks without appreciating the effort that went into creating it–if you’re planning to get your hands on this book (you should!), you also need to watch this behind-the-scenes video.

2 responses so far

Oct 07 2016

Little Spuds

Published by under Reviews + Sponsored Posts

Little Spuds

Usually, when people write to me because they’ve wandered into my blog, it’s for tips on ballet or gym. But occasionally I get touching notes that I save, like this one:

I just want to say I really admire your honesty in sharing so much about your personal life and thoughts.

Cat wrote to me last year, saying she hoped she didn’t come across as a “weird stalker type.” Absolutely not! I don’t get it when bloggers complain about loss of privacy or being recognised in public, because it’s a choice what you put out there. I’m a control freak in some ways, and if I’ve published something, I’m conscious of the fact that it’s available for you to read, whether you’re family, a friend, or a complete stranger. I have specific reasons for sharing my stories and once I’ve deemed that the content has served its purpose, it’s deleted or privatised, no looking back.

Come to think of it, Cat didn’t discover me through my blog–I found her first. Almost a decade ago, she ran an online store where she sold stripey legwarmers for kids, among other things. I bought Layla a pair and ended up using them as arm warmers once, for a gig! I know, please don’t come to me for fashion advice.

Recently she wrote to me again, and this time it was to tell me that she’d opened a new online store called Little Spuds. I’d mentioned in my last post that Z received a surprise package. Well Layla and I got one too, and it was such a treat!

Little Spuds

This is probably the fanciest breakfast I’ll ever make. Z wakes up every morning now requesting a “heart-shaped sandwich.” You can’t go wrong with this sandwich shaper–just press down on the bread and peel the sides away.

Little Spuds

Coin pouches! I know my daughter’s tween friends will fancy these.

Little Spuds

Am digging the tattoos and keychain, and the Little Spuds business card doubles up as a good behaviour incentive card! As I said before, I’m going to be putting in some orders as an official customer soon, and I highly recommend Little Spuds if you’d like to make some kids very happy on a modest budget. There are wearables too!

No responses yet

Oct 04 2016

Something To Smile About

Published by under Reviews + Sponsored Posts

Little Spuds

Little Spuds

Little Spuds

I’ve only just upgraded my iPhone to iOS 10, and as always, I wish I hadn’t! How late am I, did everyone else do this months ago? More important: How do I reprogramme my muscle memory to stop swiping to unlock?

Fortunately, no major changes in the camera and albums department. I’m impressed that my photos are sorted by people now, but also increasingly wary of facial recognition technology and how it can be used against us in future. Well there’s plenty of time to worry about that. In the meantime, it turns out I have more photos of Z and his buddy Matt than anybody else! Kids are a joy to photograph, especially younger kids. I do occasionally instruct them to smile or say something (never “cheese”) but I’ll wait till they’ve freed themselves from their camera faces and are back to being natural again. There’s so much genuine emotion to capture.

Today’s excuse to photograph Z was a special package he received from my friend Cat. There’s a story behind how we got to know each other but I’m saving that for another post. In the package was a cheery new tee for Z, which we love! You can find Cat’s online store for kiddies, Little Spuds, here. Lots of pretty and budget-friendly things to pick up, even for older kids. I’m already planning my own order–post-exam goody bags for Layla’s friends.

No responses yet

Oct 03 2016

Doing It All

Published by under Life

banana pancakes

Last Friday, it occurred to me that my husband had:

– worked a full day, beginning at 7.30AM since he teaches
– arrived home to prep dinner
– played a boardgame with the kids
– possibly tucked them into bed with a made-up story

And after all that, he still had enough energy left for an 11PM game of soccer–he doesn’t watch, he plays–and supper with friends. I thought to myself, geez he’s trying to give supermoms a run for their money!

I said as much to him yesterday and he was surprisingly touched. He replied that he couldn’t do what I do, being the primary parent at home. But y’know, this is sort of my midlife crisis year… I’m a responsible person but there are days where I check out emotionally, and he’s been there, holding the fort. I appreciate that.

p.s. I also like that I now have a husband who serves up banana pancakes for breakfast! Definitely doing it all.

5 responses so far

Sep 29 2016

Talking About Throwbacks

Published by under Life

Talking about everything

Yeap, that’s me in blue, trying to check up on my friends in my usual inelegant fashion.

Sometimes I’m not sure if talking helps at all. As I recall telling someone else, I prefer to work through issues on my own, and talk about them when they’re somewhat resolved.

And then there are things that I almost never talk about, like matters of the heart. These days I let an emotion or two slip into the one-sentence journal that Ron bought me, but I’m also guilty of getting so annoyed by my own whinging that I’ve taken to self-censorship–by blacking out selected statements with a permanent marker, so that no one else will ever have to suffer through reading them.

I do occasionally tell Ron about these things though. It is a relief to have someone that you can talk to without having to overexplain everything or provide a heavily sanitised version of the truth. I’m much more emotionally stable now than back when we were confiding and confessing a ton of stuff to each other a decade ago, but I’ll always be thankful for us.

And speaking of throwbacks, this post from 2012 still makes me smile–those Instagram filters are so 10 years ago! Also, I have not succeeded in using fewer exclamation marks, but I’m trying. Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Sep 28 2016

The Little Executive: Astronaut Training Camp

Published by under Reviews + Sponsored Posts

The Little Executive

The term “growth mindset” has been around for a while, but my first real encounter with it was through a blog post written by my friend June. After reading her post, I got curious and did a little more digging in order to write this for work. Having a growth mindset is about not seeing your potential as finite, and instead, believing that you are capable of anything that you hope to achieve, if you’re willing to work for it. Note that this doesn’t refer to blind hard work; it’s better to work smart by not fearing failure and being open to trying new strategies and approaches when you hit a roadblock. Of course, this doesn’t all come naturally.

June is currently an educational therapist-in-training at an enrichment school called The Little Executive, and one of their primary aims is helping students develop a growth mindset. That alone was intriguing enough to me, so when June offered to link me up with the school for a review opportunity, I was glad to accept.

That’s how Z found himself at a three-day astronaut camp focused on sensory exposure and problem solving during the September school holidays. At the time, Layla had just gone for a three-day adventure camp run by her school, so it wasn’t too difficult for me to sell the camp to Z as his own “big boy” experience, minus the sleepover. Here’s what happened: Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Aug 30 2016


Published by under Celebrations

Z turns 5 in September and my girlfriend Stephii invited us to crash her family party to celebrate her son Matt’s birthday. Z and Matt are best buds now, and they were born a day apart, in the same hospital. You can read the history here.

I can’t imagine that five years ago, I didn’t even know Stephii. She is such a big part of my life now.


A joint birthday sign! Such a sweet surprise! And yes, that is Z’s name. We really do call him Z (as in “zee” and not “zed”) so I haven’t been omitting his name on purpose.


Matt also got his own astro-themed wall.


Cake decorating in progress. There is no place where I feel more useless than in the kitchen! As always, I watched. That, is the ocean.


Hello seaweed.


Now we’ve got backdrop. I say “we” but it was all Stephii.


The blocks were planned. Matt built the ships, mostly, because Z was too busy being self-conscious. The fish were a last-minute addition by Layla.


All done! It’s perfect!


Getting ready for candle blowing. I don’t think we mentioned wish making.


Together and friends forever, I hope. We’ve already imagined them fighting over the same girl…


Yay us! Alf isn’t hiding in a corner or taking our picture. He’s been stressed out at work so we gave him some alone time to recharge and meet his deadlines. And yes, Matt’s dad (Pat) is “the guy who sang ‘So Happy.'” I was asked twice after I posted this picture! Maybe we should’ve used that song in place of Happy Birthday.

So that’s the second celebration this year where I didn’t do anything at all, except soak in the warmth and love. Oh wait, make that the third, because Stephii orchestrated my surprise birthday party this year too.

To birthdays, and friendship.

3 responses so far

Next »