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Friday, 31 January 2014

Chinese New Year 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!
May good health, good luck, good fortune and great success be yours in the Year of the Horse.
祝大家: 新年快乐, 心想事成, 马到成功! 
With no extended families here (both my paternal and maternal side), we only had five places to visit on the first day of Chinese New Year - the temple (to pray for blessings for the year), my grandaunt, an elderly family friend, my primary school teacher and another elderly family friend. :) Pretty relaxing for us. :)

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Chinese New Year's Eve 2014

It is Chinese New Year's eve 2014. The girls are at home because their school has declared today a school holiday because of the excellent results for PSLE 2013 and O level 2013. Yes, their CNY holiday is 5 days long!
In the morning, my family prayed to my ancestors and asked for their blessings for the year. In the evening, we had reunion dinner at home as always. :) Being practical, we feel it is not worth it to be fleeced by restaurants for dishes with over the top prices just because it is the Chinese New Year and it is also uncomfortable to eat within a time limit because of the crowds. For us, it is so much easier and comfortable to have dinner at home as we always have steamboat. :)
Preparing the Yu Sheng with seasoned seaweed, jellyfish and scallop
Yu Sheng all done up :)
Home-cooked steamed chicken and steamboat soup
After dinner, we just relaxed and watched television. Actually, it feels like any normal day lol. Oh yes, I gave out red packets to my parents and the girls, and also to our domestic helper. :) The next two days will be busy with visiting family and friends as well as hosting family and friends who come visiting.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Dispensary @ Tiong Bahru

I finally visited The Dispensary today with a friend. In its former life, it was an abandoned Chinese medical hall which has been revived and transformed into a cafe, now known as The Dispensary. My late paternal grandfather used to own a Chinese medical hall so it is really wonderful to see the owners retaining the old Chinese medicine cabinets as it is a fond reminder of my childhood. There are also many items on display that serve to show a glimpse of life in the 50s, 60s and 70s. :) It was kind of a little travel back in time. I didn't get to see upstairs as it was closed. Hopefully, I can see it at the next visit.
I didn't get to try out the cupcakes as I have hoped as there weren't any. :( Perhaps next visit, I will have better luck. :) Instead, I just had a Babycino while my friend tried a Ham & Cheese toastie and a latte.
I love The Dispensary's vintage decor which gives the cafe an idle and nostalgic air - perfect in getting me to slow down and take it easy for the time I spent at The Dispensary. :)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Finding Comfort

in Stories. That's me. :) 
You Find Stories Comforting
You love to dream, imagine, and escape into a beautiful story. There's nothing like leaving the real world for a while.
Books are the ultimate relaxation for you, but you can also be drawn into the right movie, tv series, or even song.

For you, there's no better experience than finding a book you love, especially if you connect with the characters.
You can lose all sense of time in a story, and at the end of it all, you have a new perspective on the world!
This is so true for me! When I need a break or when I am stressed or when I want to relax, I read. :)

Monday, 27 January 2014

2014 Chinese Zodiac Animal Forecast II

Here is another 2014 Chinese zodiac animal forecast which is pretty good, with positive news and suggestions/ advice on how to avoid/ minimise the negative stuff. :)

Chinese Horoscope Forecast for 2014 by Joey Yap

Have fun reading the forecast.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

CNY Prep Checklist

Another four more days and it will be Chinese New Year! 

Girls' CNY clothes - checked
My CNY clothes - checked
CNY gifts for my elders - checked
Prepare red packets - checked
Sparkling juice for reunion dinner - checked
Yu sheng ingredients (minus raw fish) - checked

CNY goodies for visitors - unchecked

Saturday, 25 January 2014

At Assembly Again

Not the school kind of assembly but the cafe kind of Assembly. :) Visited Assembly Coffee again. :) Wanted to try out its other food items and drinks. The menu is not extensive but it has enough dishes to satisfy the hunger pangs. :)
Iced Chocolate and Latte
More latte art :)
Ham & Cheese Croissant and Carrot Cake
Pulled Pork Sandwich - apple slices added a new twist :) A tad dry though
Scrambled Egg Croissant with Honey Baked Ham - simply delicious!
Inside Assembly before it got crowded
We tried various dishes. My favourites are the scrambled egg croissant and the carrot cake. The eggs were scrambled just nice and the carrot cake is most moist and there are pineapple bits in it! :) The pulled pork sandwich was quite tasty with the apple slices, which gave the sandwich a new twist. However, it was just a tad too dry. Could do with a little bit more sauce. As Assembly is a coffee place, understandably there are a lot more coffee drinks. They do offer other than coffee - chocolate (hot/ iced), freshly squeezed juice and tea. As a tea drinker, I am hoping maybe one day soon, Assembly may just add a tea latte or two into their drinks menu... :)
What I also like about Assembly is that the smell of food doesn't cling to your clothes and hair, unlike in some other similar small cafes. In fact, there is hardly any food smell even though they prepared the dishes onsite, except for the aroma of coffee. :) 
Although it is small, Assembly is an unpretentious and cosy place for a drink, a simple meal, a little catching up with a friend or two (and for working too!).

Friday, 24 January 2014

"Revision/ Refresher" Workshop

I attended the Primary 5 & 6 Mathematics and Science workshop at SCGS from 6-8pm. As usual, I went alone as the girls' father had no interest in knowing/ learning such things. Again, I saw the surprised looks on my ex-colleagues' faces upon seeing me lol. They always feel that I already know the things that they are going to present so I need not attend. I know things haven't changed much since I last attended the workshop in 2013 and since I last taught the subjects in terms of teaching approaches. But the workshop is good as a revision or refresher for me. :)   

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Black Ants

Of late, I have been finding black ants crawling on my work station at work! I am really perplexed as to where the ants are coming from! I have been at my work station since 2008 and I have never had any ant problems. Today was the last straw for me when I spotted no less than a dozen black ants crawling around on my table in under an hour and there were also ants on the floor as they crawled up my legs! I CANNOT work like this!!
I spent a good half an hour verifying where the ants are coming from. Ruled out two colleagues as their work stations are clean and cleared of food. Only left with one colleague and true enough, I managed to trace the ant trail back to a potted plant on her work station shelf. As I moved the plant, black ants swarmed out of the pot onto my hands. It was a nightmare! I could only go as far as the entrance of the research centre (I couldn't even make it out of the research centre!) without the ants crawling onto my upper arms. There is definitely a nest in the pot. I had to call in the relevant department to help get rid of the ants. Only when the pest control person came, I realised someone else had also complained about the ants coming from this particular colleague's work station.
I just don't buy the colleague's excuse that the ants weren't around when she last took her plant down from the shelf to water. Ants don't form a colony overnight! It must have been weeks since she last watered it?! Ants also don't hang around if there is no food for them to forage. There was an unwashed mug (with the remains of her last drink forming a layer in it) on her table (and I don't know how often she leaves unwashed stuff on her table). This is a work environment, we each have to do our part to keep it clean, otherwise it is just irresponsible.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Braised Duck Noodle

Juliane requested for my mother's braised duck last night. Early this morning, my mother went to the market and bought a duck home to braise.
The duck just done braising
Braised duck deboned
Braised duck noodle soup (soup boiled from duck bones and turnips)
By the time, the girls came back from school at 2pm, there were two bowls of pipping hot braised duck noodle soup waiting for them. :)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

No Tuition

The girls' tutor is down with shingles. Although my girls have had the chicken pox vaccination, the tutor preferred not to take the risk of exposing my girls to her shingles. She cancelled their tuition for this week and will probably resume next week, to be confirmed, pending her recovery rate. 
I wish their tutor a speedy recovery! 

Monday, 20 January 2014

2014 Chinese Zodiac Animal Forecast

One of my favourite things to do before Chinese New Year is to find out what my Chinese zodiac animal forecast as well as that of my daughters', my parents', my brother's, my sis-in-law's and my nephews' forecasts are for the Chinese New Year. Most of the shopping malls in Singapore would have the Chinese zodiac animals' forecast for the coming year of the Horse. I have been to three shopping malls near my workplace during lunch time and so far, some zodiac animals have excellent forecasts, some have bad ones, and some are mixed. I endeavoured to look for good/ excellent forecast for all the Chinese zodiac animals, if possible. I found it! :) 

2014 Animal Horoscope Forecast

Each zodiac animal forecast is positive and with a thing or two to watch out for. Some may say "How can all the zodiac animal forecasts be so good?!". Well, all I can say is - Isn't it better to start the new year on a positive note and with hope?! :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Waiting Time

During the time when we didn't have the FDW, I would prepare breakfast for the girls and then wait with them at the lobby for their school bus to pick them up at 6:40am. However now that we have a FDW, the girls still wanted me to bring them downstairs and wait with them for the school bus. I realised that the girls actually valued that "waiting time" with me. Although we only had 10-15 minutes together, the girls treasured the fact that I was spending time with them. 
I do spend time with them after work but mostly in supervising their homework, nagging or scolding them about their homework and/ studies. I guess the "waiting time" in the morning was really just spending time with them - no scolding and no nagging. 
I shall try to nag and scold my girls LESS. :(

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Assemble at

Assembly, a new cafe in my Botanic Gardens neighbourhood. It is next to Mr Prata and Hatched on Evans Road. It is small but cosy. There are breakfast/ brunch items as well as sandwiches and waffles and of course, coffee and tea. Finally, another cafe to go to other than Food for Thought, Botanic Gardens and Brunetti, Tanglin Mall. :)
Salted Caramel Buttermilk Waffle - delicious!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Political Stand

Interesting, never really thought about where I stand in terms of politics. 

You Are a Progressive
You believe that everyone should be given a fair shake at life, but that doesn't mean giving people handouts.
You simply would like an even playing field where people can all work to get ahead. And you'd like to help those who struggle in life.

You feel like we have progressed a lot in the modern world toward equality, but we still have a way to go.
You don't think that we need to remake all of society to make things better... but a few changes are in order!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Everything At Once by Lenka

The song from Windows 8 advert, Everything At Once by Lenka. :) A catchy and quirky song. :) 

(uploaded by mpBomil)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Our "New" FDW

Our "new" FDW came home with us today. She is both new and not new. She has been in Singapore since May 2013 so she is not new but she is new to us. Since it is her first day at our place and it was late afternoon when she arrived, we let her settle down and take it easy for today. My mother will slowly teach her in the days to come.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

In Hong Kong Now

Sorry, not me but my boxes! :P Remember the boxes that I was shipping back from my Brisbane unit to Singapore? Well, they are currently in Hong Kong lol. My boxes should be arriving in Singapore soon, within the week or so. :)

Monday, 13 January 2014


I submitted my first article as sole author for review to an international journal. A small milestone in the career of an early academic researcher. :P It is currently under review. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 12 January 2014


We went for another interview with a second transfer maid. Although I would be the 4th employer under her 8 months of employment (she arrived May 2013), I am willing to give her a try. Her previous 3 employers had issues with her but I feel that she is definitely not the issue.
I have found my FDW. :)

Saturday, 11 January 2014

FDW Interview

My FDW suddenly tendered her resignation overnight! Just when school has started. Sigh. We have no choice but to let her go. It would be too long a wait if we get a fresh maid in as it would take 7-8 weeks and it is Chinese New Year soon. So we could only go for transfer maids. Going to interview one later this morning.

Friday, 10 January 2014


A target has been set for me. 12 months to achieve it! I don't know if it is :) or :( 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Meow Meow

Random shots of cats around Singapore. :)
Cat napping
Looking a little stunned
Wonder which one is for sale - BBQ gas grill or cat?! Lol

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Cats and Books

Two of my favourite things together in a bookstore - Books Actually at Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru to be precise. :)

I was at Books Actually last December and I bought two books for the girls, Nini in Changi Village by Fanny Lai and a children's book of classic stories such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


My parents/ the girls' grandparents are back in Singapore from their two months' holiday in Taipei and Xiamen! :)

Monday, 6 January 2014

Cold Storage No More

I took my iPad 1 out of "cold storage". With heavier homework demands, sometimes the girls needed the easy (and quick) access to information and/ or references whereby the iPad comes in handy for them. The girls would share my iPad and use it when doing their homework, e.g. checking the dictionary, etc. But sometimes time is wasted as they took turns to use the iPad. Now with both my iPad 1 and iPad 3 in use, the girls no longer have the excuse that she is not doing her homework because she is waiting to use the iPad. :)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sherlock vs Sherlock II

Almost one and a half years ago, my girls and I had  a disagreement on who is the best Sherlock - Sherlock Holmes US or Sherlock Holmes UK. See Sherlock vs Sherlock blog post on 29 July 2012. 
Fast forward to today, my girls now agree with me that Sherlock Holmes UK is the best. No, I didn't arm-twist them to agree with me! They found out through their own. I guess being a year older, do made a difference for the girls. They now appreciate the humour and the intellectual dialogue in Sherlock Holmes UK. Now they are the ones telling me what's happening in Sherlock Holmes Season 3 lol. :) 

Saturday, 4 January 2014


This is what I saw Marieann doing this afternoon during her free time after completing her homework. 
Playing Minecraft on one half of the screen and watching Sherlock Holmes Season 3 Episode 1 on the other  half! I was astonished by how well she could actually "multitask". She was building her mansion in Minecraft and was also following the storyline in Sherlock Holmes! How I know? Because I would throw her a question here and there about Sherlock Holmes lol. And she could tell me what's happening!
I wonder what happens if one half of the screen is online Science/English/Math/Chinese exercise and the other half is Minecraft. Will she be able to multitask as well?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy 12th Birthday, Marieann!

First day of school! It is also my elder daughter, Marieann's 12th birthday!

Happy Birthday, Marieann. I wish for all your dreams and aspirations to come true in 2014!

This is a crucial year in your primary school years. I may seem "cruel and mean" at times (at most times, in fact) in expecting you to do your job as a student, mainly to pay attention in your studies, do your school work and tuition work with care, ask for help when you need clarification, revise your work and do your best. It is only because I have your interest at heart, I want success for you and most of all, I love you dearly! Happy Birthday. Love you always.

Updated 10pm, 2 January 2014
We celebrated Marieann's birthday with a simple mango cake in the night. :)  
As it is her birthday today, I allowed her to go to bed 30 minutes later than usual at 10:30pm. :)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year! May all your aspirations come true in 2014! :) 

Today also happens to be the first day of the 12th lunar month. We went to the temple in the morning to pray for the new year and to pray for wisdom for the girls in their new school year.
We went for an early dinner at Kuishin Bo Japanese Buffet Restaurant to celebrate Marieann's birthday in advance. Her birthday is tomorrow which is also the first day of school. Marieann chose the restaurant as it is her favourite. :) 
Grilled lobsters, complimentary from the restaurant
Delicious desserts
Lavendar Milk ice cream - enjoyed it!
It was a sumptuous meal. :) A good start to the new year. :)