I welcomed 2017 with bittersweet hope, looking down the road full of uncertainties. In my last post, I spoke of never-ending brick walls in my way. I was nearly in despair, only to be reminded of the love & support I am surrounded by. It was the one bubble keeping me hopeful & pushing me on. Continuously whacking at that brick wall with my battered hammer.

And today, I am happy to announce that I have finally broken down that brick wall! Made a huge hole in it, and watched it crumble. Then proceeded to climb over it; now I’m seated on the remnants of that wall, sipping on my iced lemon tea, and staring at yet another brick wall a little further down the road. But that’s ok! Nothing can dampen the triumph I feel right now. The sense of achievement, the appreciation of just how much I have accomplished, & the cognizance of how far I have come.

The most important lesson I’ve learnt in 2016 is perseverance brings progress. One step at a time, things started to work out. There was always something in the way, rocks, boulders, rivers, you name it. All the damned time. I started wishing so hard for things to be over, for everything to come together already but all I experienced was the seconds ticking by like they always have, speed unchanged despite my fervour prayers.

I had to learn, that there is a time and place for everything. And there was. Every action, every decision, every turn led me to where I am right now. It wasn’t always easy. But I always remember believing in the magic.

012417_1108_ToFall7Time1.jpg

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 

Like how I’ve wished so hard for snow to come falling and, finally I got to see snow woo-hoo!

I honestly believed in that. It is one of those things that I keep telling myself over the years whenever I come across adversities. It is one way of letting myself discover how much I really want something. Because one can only have so many dreams, and one can only achieve all of them if they really want to. Don’t you think?

 

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

 

I promised myself I wouldn’t let the fear of failure stop me. Even if I think it almost did. My mom never lets me forget that it’s ok to try again (& again & again & again…). It’s not the end of the world.

 012417_1108_ToFall7Time2.jpg

 “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

 

And that, my friends, is how perseverance brings progress. Because by the eighth time, you would’ve set fire to the rain.

I did.

After two long years of paperwork, exams, and bureaucrazy, I am finally a registered nurse in this country I now call home. It was just yesterday that I was reminded that it has been 2 years since I graduated, since I made the decision to make my dreams a reality.

I don’t think I have ever been more proud of myself.

Right. Off to tackle that brick wall down the hall. Beyond that wall lies my new phase in life & I can hardly wait to begin.

To my first success of 2017.

 

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Toodles. ♥

From the 28th of April – 2nd May 2014, I participated in a challenge to raise global awareness and funds to fight extreme hunger and poverty.  Together with thousands of people, I lived #belowtheline on just £1 per day for 5 days! Join us!

Photo courtesy of Live Below The Line UK

 

First of all, much apologies to my dear readers for not updating after Day 3. It seemed so far away now, this time 2 weeks ago. It was like getting past the bad times and living the good days now. Funny what 5 days of “poverty” can do to you. The week I was living below the line was also my study week. I had a paper the following week, which was last Tuesday. While I was getting along just fine, by Day 4 I realized I still had much to catch up on and I simply had to go offline from the blog.

 

Well, 2 weeks it has been, my exam is over and now I’m back in the blogosphere. Again, my apologies.

 

Day 4 and Day 5 of living below the line went well and I am proud to say that right up to day 5 I have managed to keep myself in check. May I also proudly add that I have managed to fundraise a total of £113 up to date and it has to be my biggest achievement ever. I don’t believe I have ever fundraised this much for any other cause before and I am eternally grateful for each and every one who has so generously sponsored me, and supported me throughout my journey. ♥

 

This particular week had been a very interesting week indeed. Not only did I have to exercise discipline from reaching into my snack cupboard and chocolate stash, I also had to keep myself sane. Every single night since the challenge started, I have been dreaming about food without fail. I even dreamt about McDonald’s and trust me – I haven’t eaten McDonald’s for what…8 months now? So on the second day, I decided that to control my desires (for food), I will watch all the food channels and cooking shows there are on TV. You must think I’m either insane or some sort of a masochist for putting myself through such…torture. Lol. It’s not. I put myself through it, to control my mind. After a while, I appreciated food presented on TV just as it is. Wondrous, glorious food. Sure, I would love to eat it. But it surprised me just as well when I didn’t seem to want it just as much. I have all these cravings I wanted to satisfy but it didn’t seem as important. Knowing that I had food for my every meal was more than enough for me. In fact, by the end of the challenge, you would think that I would throw myself into a buffet and eat myself crazy. I thought I would too. Lo and behold, I lost all my cravings. I know then I could eat if I wanted to. And I realized that I have somewhat gotten rid of my impulsive eating. I didn’t want to buy food just because I can and then end up having to discard it or anything like that because I didn’t like it or I couldn’t finish it. It was…a whole new experience. The very next day when a friend dragged me for a mini celebratory meal, I was actually wracked with guilt for eating like normal again. Which I think isn’t exactly a good thing because every time after that, I would stare at my meals with such forlorn, you’d think it’s a crime to be eating.  I got over that soon enough but there will always be a twinge of slight guilt and sorrow, sadly. At least, now I am aware. 🙂

 

One thing I also picked up after this challenge was the fact that now after knowing that it is possible to buy groceries under £5, I was getting more careful about what I was buying. I know then it is possible to get cheaper things elsewhere, as long as I know where to look. Sure, it still isn’t practical to go all out of the way but as long as it is still possible & convenient, why not? That spare change that I save could very well go to fundraise this very cause and allowing someone else to have a proper meal, or send someone to school. :’)

 

Day 4 dinner: Rice coated with sweet & sour sauce + veggies. Surprisingly yum!

But another thing I am extremely proud of is that I lived WITHOUT my coffee! Yay! I have to admit, I was really worried at one point before the challenge. I was worried about the caffeine withdrawal but thank goodness I had none of that! I can totally prove that I CAN live without expensive cups of coffee every single day. Yaaaayyyyyy! Well done me! 😀

Day 5 lunch: Egg Shakshuka. Expensive (£0.54??? I scoff!) and I believe I can make a better version of this.

 

I am still considering doing it again but this time, I will definitely change the ingredients. Oh, the guilt is hitting me again. I get so worked up thinking about the fact that we are still able to CHOOSE what we want despite trying to live below the line. I know, it sounds really crazy but I cannot help it. All I can do is just be thankful and weave my way around it. 🙁

 

Day 5 dinner; my final meal below the line: Similar to day 4’s dinner but it’s actually tomato rice! Still yum!

 

Such a humbling journey to live £1/day. I will definitely not look at food the same way again, knowing how even the most basic, or smallest (and possibly insignificant to some) ingredients, e.g. garlic or onion can make such differences in the flavours of what seem like an unappetizing meal (as you can clearly see from my not so awesome pictures). Oh how I will treasure you little bulbs of garlic and that spoonful (or two) of salt that I put in every dish~ *among all my other appreciation of every other food/ingredients available to me.

 

 

If you are taking part in this challenge, do drop me a comment and share your journey with me! I would love to hear all about it!

 

Do contact me (or drop me a comment) if you are interested and willing to be involved. Or, you can choose to join me and participate in this challenge yourself, pick your own charity group that you may wish to fundraise for and experience an eye-opening, humbling 5-day journey. :D  You don’t have to do it this week, this campaign runs until the 30th of June so anytime from now until then!

If, for whatever reasons you are not able to participate in the challenge but still wish to support, you may choose to sponsor me HERE! Remember, this campaign runs until the 30th June! No amount is too small for any cause, and rest assure that all the money will go to UNICEF UK. If you need all your spare change right now but still wish to make a difference, do spread the message and share what I am doing with your friends & family. Your support is invaluable. :D

 

You can also like their Facebook page or follow their updates on Twitter; remember to use the hashtag #belowtheline to stay connected!

 

 

N.B. The Paypal system does not allow donations to get through from Singapore (and possibly from Malaysia), unfortunately. I am still trying to get a list of countries from Live Below The Line UK that allow/disallow donation to get through. If you are interested to sponsor me, please get in touch with me via email/comment, and we can arrange something. I apologize for the inconvenience!

 

 

 

Toodles. ♥

What’s £1 got to do with ending poverty?
From April 28 – May 2 2014, I took part in the Live Below The Line challenge
in support of UNICEF UK. Join me and thousands of people living on just £1 a
day for five days. Fight extreme poverty. Transform lives.
www.livebelowtheline.org/uk

From the 28th of April – 2nd May 2014, I am participating in a challenge to raise global awareness and funds to fight extreme hunger and poverty.  Together with thousands of people, I will be living #belowtheline on just £1 per day for 5 days! Join us!

Photo courtesy of Live Below The Line UK

 

Woke up this morning to a motivational email from Live Below The Line and was awed by the first sentence: “It’s day 4 and I’m sure you are feeling it.”

It’s Day 4.

It’s Day 4 and it’s the 1st of May. Wow. So quick.

Am I feeling it yet? In a way, I’m not entirely sure to be honest. While I am more aware of my hunger pangs now, I am also equally more aware that I can control how I want to feel about this whole thing. I can be all upset and grumpy that I can’t taste my food the way I like it, or that I can’t sneak a cookie or my usual chocolate treats anytime I like…or I can be real about this challenge and be grateful I still have three meals a day (with a cheeky banana every other day). While it was a little sad that I couldn’t go sit in a cafe and fully enjoy yesterday’s sunshine and blue skies (because I can’t quite walk into a cafe without ordering anything, can I?), I’m not too concerned about isolation. It is possible, but it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Honey talked about how she made it through her client’s event yesterday which involved a great deal of free food, free drinks and free everything! She did it, so why can’t we? 🙂

 

Day 3 was alright. I even headed to campus for a short meeting yesterday after my rather filling congee leftovers for lunch, and came back without having to pull myself away from an inviting cafe! I was so proud! Although I did get very hungry by 4-ish, by the time I got home I literally pounced on my unsuspecting banana! Banana has always tasted yums, this particular banana was especially good! Lol. Kept my hunger at bay for a while before I started fantasizing about dinner.

I have to say, the highlight of my meals so far has always been dinner! I tend to put more thought into dinner because I’m a night owl you see, I would rather be more satisfied for dinner than the other two meals. 😀 Last night, I finally decided to make garlic egg fried rice with veggie & tuna!

I nearly burnt my onions, though. This would make some awesome fried rice with some soy sauce and garnishing. And more chilli! Taste-wise it’s a little bland. Just a little. But the veggie and tuna (which were sautéed earlier with garlic in the pan) gave it a lovely fragrant mix to the rice. Still made me happy though! 😀

Garlic Egg Fried Rice with veggie & Tuna

Serves 2

Ingredients:

200g

Rice

150g

Sweetheart cabbage, shredded

¼ pc

Onion, sliced

1 tbsp

Sunflower oil

1 pc

Rocket chilli, finely sliced

1 tsp

salt

2 cloves

Garlic, chopped

½ cup

water

Directions:

1) Wash the rice and cook (preferably the night before, otherwise an hour or two beforehand).

2) In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the chopped garlic, chilli and onion until fragrant and soft.

3) Add the vegetables and put on the lid for 5-10 minutes to soften the veggies.

4) Add in the tuna and cooled rice, mix well with the veggie. Fry it for about 5 minutes.

5) Add in ¼ cup of water to moisten the mix (or else you might burn it!) Crack in an egg and stir it well into the rice mixture.

6) Taste and season well. Dig in.

 

Oh right, before I forget – Here’s how much each meal cost me so far:

Day 1: £0.98 (Breakfast – £0.22; Lunch – £0.47; Dinner – £0.28)

Day 2: £0.64 (Breakfast – £0.11; Lunch – £0.28; Dinner – £0.25)

Day 3: £0.82 (Breakfast – £0.22; Lunch – £0.25; Dinner – £0.32; A teabag – £0.03)

 

Look out for Day 4’s journey! 😀

 

If you are taking part in this challenge, do drop me a comment and share your journey with me! I would love to hear all about it!

Remember to check back daily for them recipes and of the journey. I will also be sharing photos on my Instagram, as well as live updates on my Twitter.

Do contact me (or drop me a comment) if you are interested and willing to be involved, i.e. we can form a team! Or, you can choose to join me and participate in this challenge yourself, pick your own charity group that you may wish to fundraise for and experience an eye-opening, humbling 5-day journey. :D  You don’t have to do it this week, this campaign runs until the 30th of June so anytime from now until then!

If, for whatever reasons you are not able to participate in the challenge but still wish to support, you may choose to sponsor me HERE! No amount is too small for any cause, and rest assure that all the money will go to UNICEF UK. If you need all your spare change right now but still wish to make a difference, do spread the message and share what I am doing with your friends & family. Your support is invaluable. :D

You can also like their Facebook page or follow their updates on Twitter; remember to use the hashtag #belowtheline to stay connected!

 

N.B. The Paypal system does not allow donations to get through from Singapore (and possibly from Malaysia), unfortunately. I am still trying to get a list of countries from Live Below The Line UK that allow/disallow donation to get through. If you are interested to sponsor me, please get in touch with me via email/comment, and we can arrange something. I apologize for the inconvenience!

 

 

Toodles. ♥

What’s £1 got to do with ending poverty?
From April 28 – May 2 2014, I am taking the Live Below The Line challenge
in support of UNICEF UK. Join me and thousands of people living on just £1 a
day for five days. Fight extreme poverty. Transform lives.
www.livebelowtheline.org/uk

From the 28th of April – 2nd May 2014, I am participating in a challenge to raise global awareness and funds to fight extreme hunger and poverty.  Together with thousands of people, I will be living #belowtheline on just £1 per day for 5 days! Join us!

Photo courtesy of Live Below The Line UK

Day 2 – completed.

Apologies for the late update but I was a little behind schedule in my study plan! :O!

I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel like time is ticking slower. Maybe because I was always looking forward to every meal. I mean, normally I would be snacking at a regular basis so time would definitely speed up and before I know it it would be dinner time and I still wouldn’t be hungry because of all the snacks on the go. Shame.

Breakfast wasn’t phenomenal, it was my usual cup of milk (£0.11). Good enough to get me geared up for the day.

I have somehow decided that since I’m cooking for one, and usually end up with leftovers, I will have them for lunch instead. That way, it saves me time from having to worry about what to eat, also I can concentrate on having a nice dinner later. So lunch was my leftover sweet & sour veggie with rice (click for recipe) which cost me £0.23.

I was quite interested to see how dinner would turn out because the lack of condiments I would be using to make this dish. As oriental as it gets, dinner was Congee with Stir-fry Cabbage!

Sure sounded yum to me! If you have not heard of congee, it is a type of rice porridge usually eaten plain with side dishes and/or with lots of condiments added for the savoury flavours. (Just typing this out is making my tummy rumbling already, sobs).

Mom used to serve it with fried fish with soy sauce and a side of stir-fry greens. My favourite is with round cabbage or sometimes Chinese leaf cabbage. And the fish, of course. I would always enjoy a dollop of sesame oil and some soy sauce on my congee, not to forget my usual serving of cut bird eye’s chillies. In a way, it’s a form of comfort food, the same way how the English would find creamy mushroom soup (or just about any other soup you like) a comfort food. (I am salivating as I speak type). I don’t usually have it very often, most of the time when I’m sick, or if I really feel like it. It makes a great Asian breakfast choice as well.

Unfortunately for me, I do not have access to all the wondrous, tasty condiments so this is a version of my simple plain congee with a stir-fry green on the side. 🙂 Oh, I almost forgot, right before the congee was done, I cracked in an egg! Stirred it in and mixed it well with the congee.

Doesn’t look too bad, does it? It would really be nice if I could have a dollop of soy sauce! It’s not all that bland. Remember my last tip on having garlic and onions? Sauté them well and you will get a lovely fragrant mixture and taste. I made enough for 2 so I get to have them for brunch today!

Day 3 living below the line is drawing to a close and it’s almost dinner time! I have cooked my rice earlier for tonight’s highlight – garlic fried rice with veggie/tuna (have not decided which)! Will keep you posted on how I’m faring in the next post (maybe tonight)! I have definitely taken it head on today! 😀

If you are taking part in this challenge, do drop me a comment and share your journey with me! I would love to hear all about it!

Remember to check back daily for them recipes and of the journey. I will also be sharing photos on my Instagram, as well as live updates on myTwitter.

 

Do contact me (or drop me a comment) if you are interested and willing to be involved, i.e. we can form a team! Or, you can choose to join me and participate in this challenge yourself, pick your own charity group that you may wish to fundraise for and experience an eye-opening, humbling 5-day journey. :D  You don’t have to do it this week, this campaign runs until the 30th of June so anytime from now until then!

If, for whatever reasons you are not able to participate in the challenge but still wish to support, you may choose to sponsor me HERE! No amount is too small for any cause, and rest assure that all the money will go to UNICEF UK. If you need all your spare change right now but still wish to make a difference, do spread the message and share what I am doing with your friends & family. Your support is invaluable. 😀

 

You can also like their Facebook page or follow their updates on Twitter; remember to use the hashtag #belowtheline to stay connected!

 

N.B. The Paypal system does not allow donations to get through from Singapore (and possibly from Malaysia), unfortunately. I am still trying to get a list of countries from Live Below The Line UK that allow/disallow donation to get through. If you are interested to sponsor me, please get in touch with me via email/comment, and we can arrange something. I apologize for the inconvenience!

 

 

Toodles. ♥

What’s £1 got to do with ending poverty?
From April 28 – May 2 2014, I am taking the Live Below The Line challenge
in support of UNICEF UK. Join me and thousands of people living on just £1 a
day for five days. Fight extreme poverty. Transform lives.
www.livebelowtheline.org/uk

From the 28th of April – 2nd May 2014, I am participating in a challenge to raise global awareness and funds to fight extreme hunger and poverty.  Together with thousands of people, I will be living #belowtheline on just £1 per day for 5 days! Join us!

Photo courtesy of Live Below The Line UK

 

NOTE: Dear all, it has come to my attention that I have accidentally replaced my Day 1’s post with Day 2’s. I am not sure if it is a system error but definitely a human error from my part and I have no way to rectify that. Neither can I retrieve the post which is now permanently gone.

I am unable to completely replicate whatever I have written and it is really upsetting indeed. Therefore, please accept my sincere apologies for those looking for the Day’s 1 post but ended up in Day 2 instead. However, thankfully, there is a back up because I also posted on Live Below The Line! So let me salvage whatever I can. It won’t be the same but it’s better than nothing.

How is everyone doing on your first day??

I had a nightmare last night. I dreamt I ate all three of my bananas in one sitting. And then realizing what I did, I wailed and cried, “Why did I do that, I still have 4 more days!”

I woke up, the first thing I did was check my bananas. LOL.

Breakfast was ONE banana (I made sure I hid the other 2 before I start sleep walking and sleep eating or something) and a cup of milk, which cost me £0.22.

While I may be okay to go without my morning coffee or tea, I have to say I can’t quite live without my milk. As much as I prefer fresh milk, this has to do for the week! It fuelled me up to get me going (trying to squeeze a little studying in). I decided to push back my eating hours just so the intervals wouldn’t be too great. Also, I found that it helped that once I start getting focused on my task in hand, i.e. studying, I may just forget the hunger. I may. But that’s not a good enough distraction, unfortunately. Soon enough, I was already thinking about lunch. Pffft.

At this point, @LBLUK was firing retweets from hundreds of people doing this challenge as well and pictures of pasta kept coming up. I didn’t get any pasta for this challenge and all the sudden I’m craving pasta! Seriously??? Pffft. I was not happy! But happy or not, lunch must go on!

It was a rather expensive lunch, I fear. I blame the eggs. (£0.47)

Good thing the tuna was soaked in brine, it gave the omelette the salt it needs.

 

The hardest part getting through the day wasn’t the hunger. It was more of my habit of snacking every now and then. We are blessed with the abundance of food in our cupboards and fridges that sometimes we eat without thinking. Without the hunger, without the need. And that what hits me most. Because I was craving snacks. I wasn’t hungry. I wanted to munch on something, anything. Chocolates, nuts, fruits, cookies. I was already looking forward to dinner.

Day 1 Dinner

I was fidgety throughout dinner. I usually cook enough for 2 servings and save the half for the next day. But this time, it was different. While I was able to eat my usual portion, I was restless. The fact that I have food in the kitchen but I can’t, or shouldn’t go for seconds was throwing me off balance. Not that I usually go for seconds. I don’t. But it was just the mere thought that I have food but I can’t touch it. Or else I would have nothing to eat the next day. The fact that I KNOW I have something to eat tomorrow. It is both a blissful & disconcerting thought. Because people suffering from real hunger don’t know if they would have anything to eat…at all.

 

Thought I’d share my dinner recipe. 🙂

Sweet & sour veggie with rice

Serves 2

Ingredients:

200g

Rice

½ jar

Sweet & sour sauce

150g

Sweetheart cabbage, shredded

½

Onion, sliced

1 pc

Carrot, sliced

1 tbsp

Sunflower oil

1 pc

Rocket chilli, finely sliced

1 tsp

salt

1 clove

Garlic, chopped

½ cup

water

Directions:

1) Wash the rice and cook.

2) In a large pan, heat the oil and saute the chopped garlic, chilli and onion until fragrant and soft.

3) Add the vegetables and put on the lid for 5-10 minutes to soften the veggies. Mix in ½ teaspoon of salt. And stir well.

4) Pour in ½ a jar of the sweet & sour sauce. Mix the sauce well to coat the veggies. Add in about ½ cup of water (or less, depending on how you like your sauce consistency).

5) Stir well and serve with the boiled rice.

 

A tip for everyone doing this challenge – believe me, garlic and onions do wonders. You may not have much spices in your list, in fact I only have the salt and the rocket chilli. But seriously, if you’re living below the line, that’s all you need. It makes all the differences in the taste.

 

If you are taking part in this challenge, do drop me a comment and share your journey with me! I would love to hear all about it!

 

Remember to check back daily for them recipes and of the journey. I will also be sharing photos on my Instagram, as well as live updates on my Twitter.

 

Do contact me (or drop me a comment) if you are interested and willing to be involved, i.e. we can form a team! Or, you can choose to join me and participate in this challenge yourself, pick your own charity group that you may wish to fundraise for and experience an eye-opening, humbling 5-day journey. :D  You don’t have to do it this week, this campaign runs until the 30th of June so anytime from now until then!

If, for whatever reasons you are not able to participate in the challenge but still wish to support, you may choose to sponsor me HERE! No amount is too small for any cause, and rest assure that all the money will go to UNICEF UK. If you need all your spare change right now but still wish to make a difference, do spread the message and share what I am doing with your friends & family. Your support is invaluable. :D

 

You can also like their Facebook page or follow their updates on Twitter; remember to use the hashtag #belowtheline to stay connected!

 

N.B. The Paypal system does not allow donations to get through from Singapore (and possibly from Malaysia), unfortunately. I am still trying to get a list of countries from Live Below The Line UK that allow/disallow donation to get through. If you are interested to sponsor me, please get in touch with me via email/comment, and we can arrange something. I apologize for the inconvenience!

 

Toodles. ♥

What’s £1 got to do with ending poverty?
From April 28 – May 2 2014, I am taking the Live Below The Line challenge
in support of UNICEF UK. Join me and thousands of people living on just £1 a
day for five days. Fight extreme poverty. Transform lives.
www.livebelowtheline.org/uk