In between long periods of anxious, impatient waits and sometimes unbearable ennui, I have mastered ways to calm my listless mind.

It’s really simple, really…Brew a cuppa tea, stare out the window & have your notebook ready!

I do this a lot, but I feel Sundays are always the best time. Some people give thanks on Sunday – although we really should be giving thanks every day, if we’re giving any at all. But I like to call this my musings. Just a little corner for my mind to run free with gratitude for the week that just passed and gearing up for the week ahead.

I hope you will enjoy this little snippets of my week that I am grateful for.


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double rainbow

I’m sure a number of you caught this on Monday, but how lucky was I? I was just minding my own tired business when I suddenly looked out the windows and gave the loudest gasp anyone can give in this quiet, peaceful flat, flung the French doors open to the balcony and ran out there admiring the beauty (and my luck). I also forgot that it was cold, good thing I had my cardigan on. I probably took in the best view until I realised I didn’t want to miss a shot and my phone wasn’t with me. I managed this shot, just right before the fog breezed in and went right folks, nothing to see here, back to your homes everyone”. I must’ve stood there for a while, just feeling ever so lucky to have caught sight of my second double rainbow. Also, it was the BIGGEST rainbow I have ever seen in my life. It was magical. And then I caught another double rainbow just yesterday! How amazing!

 

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celebrating C.’s birthday…in person!

I am very, very happy that I finally have the chance to shower C. with lots of birthday love in person! Technically, this is my first time celebrating his birthday lol. We had a nice home-cooked meal (he was kindly subjected to my cooking & new recipes attempts) & an array of unique cakes for him to pick from – but of course he went for his classic carrot cake. It was also nice that he got home from work early, he actually surprised me by coming home earlier than I thought (I wasn’t ready!!!). But I supposed the best bits was almost successfully throwing him a small surprise birthday dinner with a handful of his closest friends over the weekend. I say almost because he said he had some sort of suspicion but then brushed it off, until we got to his favourite restaurant (Honest Burgers) and the lady who welcomed us in betrayed me. She cheerily announced that everyone was here and waiting. The dramatic face-palming happened in my head as C. chuckled and went “Hah, your cover got blown.” Massive eye-rolling right there. He still somewhat got pleasantly surprised at the company, so I guess that’s a success still, right?!

 

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curling up in bed with a book & a cuppa

That sigh of contentment as you sink into bed, wrap yourself up in the duvet, and sip some hot tea. And then proceed to escape in your book of choice. Heaven.

I was going to wrap it up, but I had a thought…and this might be a little bit odd but can we please take a minute to be thankful for:

the dishwasher

I know, I know. Y’all probably think I’m strange, but honestly! Back home in Kuala Lumpur (and Singapore), no one I know has a dishwasher. It was always hard work of washing the dishes by hand. You may think it’s menial but imagine the skills you require to get rid of burnt crusts at the bottom of pans etc. When C. found out I’ve been living with a dishwasher (when I was studying here) & used it as a drying rack for my pots and pans, he might have bowled over in laughter or in pain, or both. Then he started introducing the wonders of a dishwasher and ever since then, I’ve never been able to imagine how I can ever live my life now without a dishwasher.

I had a rather grey week this last week and I am just glad there were things that made me happy.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Sunday and is well-rested for the week ahead!

Toodles. ♥

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“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favourite things.”

I can have so much love for so many things. Too many things, sometimes.

I thought it would be a good idea to curate a list of things that brings joy to my life and share with y’all every month. I would do it every week but there is already a new weekly feature coming up on Sundays (so be sure to check that out too!). In a way, I wouldn’t feel all too bad if I were to miss out blogging at times. It’s like sharing mini snippets of my life!

So here you go, my February FavesUnfortunately, no pancakes were involved in this post. 

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the new flat

May I just say it is really nice to have the space and the freedom to walk around in my jammies at 12 noon and not be judged by anyone else but my teddy bears. And it is really nice not to be living out of my suitcases anymore. Also, because this flat is new very new, that’s sort of a plus point because we almost went crazy shopping for new flat things and that was very exciting. But what is more exciting is now that we are a lot more settled, I AM QUEEN OF THE KITCHEN AND I CAN UNLEASH MY CLEAN FREAK AND NO ONE CAN JUDGE. And I make good food. At least that’s what C. tells me. 

Pssst. – Totally loving the Verveine fragrance from The White Company, plus it was a gift! It took every ounce in C. to hold me back from buying everything else in the store after that.

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my new KeepCup

So I have raved about getting a KeepCup since forever but never actually gotten it. It was one of those things you know you want, but never got around to getting it, collecting cobwebs in the back of your mind. A couple of Saturdays ago, C. took me out on a surprise shopping spree and he simply refused to tell me what he was going to get me. Until we finally entered Selfridges and I was making silly wild guesses like Oooohhh you’re getting me perfume//No, you must be getting me a bag!//Or , *gasp!* you’re getting me a lipstick! etc. He found it highly amusing that I was coming up with such expensive wants and getting myself all excited just trying to guess. But really, who knew he can be such a sweetheart, he remembers exactly what KeepCup I have always wanted – even the colour (The KeepCup Brew Limited Edition cork; black lid and plug)! If you know of KeepCup, you will know that they have so many options on material, colours, sizes, it’s almost understandable why I never really made up my mind even though I already knew what I want lol. I am really pleased with this little gift, it has now taken over all my favourite mugs and has served me my mornings, afternoons, evenings, even those in-between period cups of tea!

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My Family & Other Animals

As I have mentioned in my post yesterday, C. is apparently intending to surprise me with a book a month – books he thinks I would enjoy reading. This is his first pick of the year and I was already cackling with glee in the first few pages. I might do a review when I’m done but it has already hit the spot on my February Faves!

 

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tulips

Tulips are always going to be my favourite, regardless of what month it is. It is my February Faves because I decided to go out on Valentine’s day and buy myself some blooms. These bright tulips were only £2.35 or something, and they brightened up my entire week. Sadly, they’re gone now and just writing about this makes me want to go out and buy more blooms.

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starflowers

At least this is what I think they’re called. C. managed a surprise Valentine’s bouquet with the aid of Bloom & Wild and I have watched them bloom all of the last 2 weeks. The bouquet is beautiful, the roses and spray roses sweet as ever. But what caught my eye are these starflowers. When they first arrived, they were not flowering yet so I didn’t think much of them. A few days later, I was wow-ed by the blooming starflowers! Look at them! They also seem to last well and long; they’re doing much better than the roses right now. I will definitely be looking out for them when I pop to the florist next! Most certainly making it into my favourite flowers list!

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Sundate & Sunday roast

Finally. I believe the last time I had a Sunday roast was 2 months ago. I’m a big fan of Sunday roast these days, and C. & I are finally free this last Sunday of the month to go for a Sundate lunch. It has been almost a year since we first walked into The Princess of Shoreditch and we loved it there. We had lamb the last time and this time as well, but we definitely remembered it differently. It was still very good, I loved every bit of it (and the date) but we are looking forward to check out other places for Sunday lunch. If you do have any recommendations/suggestions, do let me know, I would be only too pleased to rush over for my next Sunday roast!

I hope your February was just as colourful as mine!

What are your favourite things this month?

Toodles. ♥

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If you have been following my journey in the last few months, you would realise that it has been 5 months since I dropped everything and left sunny Singapore for cold, grey London skies.

I won’t lie; I have naively thought that the transition would be a little more smooth sailing. Oh, life’s transition is perfectly fine – I feel very much at home here, all thanks to close friends, boyfriend, & his wonderful family. But the progress and process to attain a right to live and work in the UK is far more complicated and cumbersome. The never-ending requirements and hidden fine prints are enough to send me up the walls.

The whole of last week I had to digest the new information, the new…demands of bureaucracy (I swear, bureaucracy is my new constant word these days) and quite frankly, that has gotten me down in the dumps. Half the time I found myself in denial, the other half of the time I spent hating on how difficult things are turning out right now. And at all times, C. has been nothing but so very kind and helpful, always optimistic and trying to make me see the issues in a different light. It wasn’t helping me at first, but he is constantly giving me hope until I am slowly starting to believe again, that everything will be alright soon.

And in those moments of hopeful thoughts, I channelled my energy to happier things. All my worries about how this new development is going to affect me – financially, mentally, physically – I repackaged them and sold it to myself in the form of a sabbatical. I have never really thought about it this way because I have always imagined that I would be able to jump right back to work once I settled my visa etc. Now that it isn’t all that simple, I have to buy the idea of a sabbatical. It’s not a terrible idea anyway. I can guess many might only be too happy to trade their places for mine. Not that I would let you, really, I’m quite happy here. But hey, it is making me feel a lot better. To acknowledge that I *am* on a sabbatical right now. I have all the time in the world now to do whatever I want, and I feel this is the best time for me to focus on ME.

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♦ To start with, I had a brainwave to revamp this blog. For reals. I acknowledge that in the past I haven’t been the most consistent blogger and this year I intend to change that. I want to be able to properly share my thoughts and improve my writings. And to do this, I will be starting off with a few new features that hopefully will stay regular. By making it regular, I hope it will keep me in check and disciplined enough to put more of me into this space that I call my own. I am looking forward to prettify this little corner on the internet (this is work in progress, some time in the week there should be some sort of visual changes), and tomorrow the first of my new feature will go live! So please hang around and check it out!

♦ Secondly, I am picking up French again! C. introduced Duolingo to me some weeks back and I must say, it is such a fun way to learn a new language! It is also free which is the best aha. However, procrastination is in my blood, I am not on top of it yet but apparently I am now at Level 6 and am 13% fluent in French! Merveilleux!

♦ I have been reading loads in the past few months – you can follow my reading challenge here on Goodreads. This year’s goal is to hit 25 books by the end of 2017. I seem to be doing pretty well, I have done 7 books out of 25! I have every intention to increase my goal but I am also setting myself monthly book goals on the side. I am supposed to finish 4 books in February but alas, only 1 book achieved this month. I will do my best to talk about the books I’ve read and yes, it will be one of those new features I was telling you about. C. is being an absolute delight, he wants to surprise me with a book each month and who am I to say no to that?

♦ It is a little disheartening that I haven’t ran / gone to the gym in ages. Every day I wake up telling myself today will be the day I start working out again. Never happened. I am still working up the motivation to make that first step – after months of slacking – so wish me luck!

So there you go, bits and pieces of my life thus far. Hopefully everything will fall into place soon and this whole new life I have been pursuing will then begin. There is always a time and place for everything. But until then, let me enjoy this freedom and time I have in abundance right now.

Toodles. ♥

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I am absolutely crap at keeping the blog updated in the recent months. I’ll admit, besides complete exhaustion post-work and the need to have a social life during the days off, I was lazy. I was consumed with work and work and more work. I don’t take home work, that’s one good thing. I can lock it all away the minute my shifts end. But the long hours. The mental exhaustion. The worrying I sometimes find myself do. To the point that when I do actually sit down to start a post, I find my fingers resting just very slightly on the keyboard and the air hung still. The only words that I could form in my mind were work related and I couldn’t possibly be sharing things about wounds and deaths on my blog, can I, they do sound quite depressing and a little inappropriate, I would think.

So I’ve been putting off blogging, day after day, week after week. My apologies.

I have wanted to write this post for a while now and here I am, typing away furiously because it’s already New Year. This is going to be a rather personal reflection of my year, just so you know. By the time I post this, I would be completely late but who cares, I still fully intend to recap this past year.

At the start of 2014, I admit I dreaded for the year to end. But now that I’m right at the end looking back, I cannot be more amazed and thankful for the past year’s events. 2014 has ben such an interesting year for me. I daresay it might just be my most memorable year in the last 5 years.

I have had my happiest moments, and my greatest (emotional) downfalls. I have travelled to more places in the year than I can ever imagine. I picked up another sport that I come to really love (DODGEBALL!!!). I allowed myself to let my hair down and really enjoy my youth. I learnt how it really is like to be alone, but not lonely. To enjoy solitude, and making the best of my time out of it. To appreciate cups of coffee and people watching.

I have had my mental breakdowns when my fears and self-doubts ate me up and spat me out – when I believed, at one point, that I was not good enough, and that one thought nearly killed me. It took great strength to disbelieve that of myself. But I survived that phase.

I have also met the most amazing people and made the most wonderful friends in the very short time I was in London. I discovered & believed in fleeting connections with strangers on the street.

I took risks, I took leaps of faith; and I made life-changing decisions. I put myself through a terrible heartbreak, because I believed that sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye. Yes, I was hurt; yes I cried buckets. Because I had to let go of some things that I really love to get to the other side. But because I know I am determined to discover what the other side is, I picked myself up, brushed off the dirt and faced the world one more time. A different person, no doubt. And not without the help of some of my dearest friends. I wouldn’t have been this strong without them. I would’ve been completely broken, if it wasn’t for them.

I challenged myself, and I have unlocked some personal achievements. Took my parents around Paris equipped with only a map and without the need of a tour guide (although eventually I did put them on the daily tour bus because they were complaining too much about having to walk, lol) and we DIDN’T get lost/kidnapped/killed. 😀 Then I threw caution to the winds, booked a one-way ticket to see (part of) the world on my own, and figured out the rest of the trip(s) along the way. Best decision I have ever made. #YOLO. Even if it wasn’t a long journey (because I was getting poorer and time was running out), it was definitely a journey I will never forget. These two last points were important to me because I’m not the greatest kid to handle maps or directions, what more in foreign countries with maybe 1% understanding of their languages.

 

Then just as I thought my adventures were coming to an end, just as I was getting stronger day by day; the one thing I least expect to happen, came along and found me. It just happened and it took me completely by surprise. And life has become a tad bit more interesting that it already was ever since. 🙂 So, hey you. Thank you. ♥

All good things come to an end, so did my year in London. I came back, steeled myself for the real world once again and promised myself that I won’t come back the same girl. And that promise, I still hold. I know I am no longer the same person. 🙂 I also told myself that life is going to be “now, or never”. If I want it, if I really want it, then hell yes I should go ahead and do it.

So I started dancing. Again. When I felt the stirrings in my heart telling me to dance once again, I knew it was a “now, or never” moment. I went for it. It has been amazing. Not that I am all that good in dance, but the fact that I have achieved some rather interesting moves that I never thought I would be able to do i.e. a handstand! 😀 😀 😀 I also started running. Know that I actually dislike running with all my heart because blehhhhh. But run, I did. I did pretty good, I must say, hehe.

About a month into the dancing and the running, I came across this post on Tumblr. I thought it was very apt, like it’s a sign for me to keep going.

I can tell you proudly that so far I have been brave enough to start. 🙂

 

Looking forward now, I simply know more amazing things are about to come and my first good thing for 2015 is just around the corner! 😀 I am uber excited *squeeeeee*! While I definitely miss my life back in London and all my friends there, credit must be given where it’s due. To my lovely family & friends here who have patiently awaited my return and loved me all the same, you guys are my angels, adding the sweet finishing touch to the end of my 2014.

 

So, farewell 2014. You have been a wonderful, magical year but it’s now time to welcome 2015. I cannot turn back time to relive the year no matter how much I want to, but at least I will have the memories. One thing for sure, I have measured my 2014 in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, & in cups of coffee.

 

So here’s to you, 2015. Have a chimney cake and some Bailey’s hot chocolate. You will be a fantastic year, I just know it.

 

2014, I have no regrets. 🙂

 

 

Cheers, all. Have a joyous New Year! Toodles. ♥

The new term is just about to begin! The summer has been oh-so-wonderful and I bet half of you have been busy working real hard and saving up for the start of the new term (while the other half are being whisked away for family holidays, perhaps). Whether or not you’ve got enough money in your pockets to brave this coming term, and you’re looking to save MORE (so you can go out on your well-deserved nights off), I have a piece of advice for you – having home-cooked meals will most definitely do the trick, rather than your usual almost daily takeouts. Plus, I can promise it really isn’t that difficult or time-consuming to prep your simple yet delicious meal, even if you’re the busiest of the lot (unless you’re telling me you don’t know how to use a knife, then we may have a little problem). Also, it’s certainly a healthier option, I must say. You get to control what goes into the dish/meal. 😀

So today, I will share with you a couple recipes which I have tried & tested during this whole year of my student life, and which I have really enjoyed too, with the hopes that you may take the time to just try it out yourself. I spend way too much time watching MasterChef to be honest, and then secretly aspire to be just like them so I end up in the kitchen trying and tweaking recipes – and they turned out pretty well, really.

I use a lot of fresh ingredients because I believe that’s the way to go and of course, some cupboard essentials/must-haves that can save you on days you get too lazy to grocery shop, or if you forget to stock up on the fresh stuff.

It really doesn’t matter if you’re cooking for one, or for everyone else in the house, the recipes would work just as well!

 

First on the list is my tuna steaks with an Asian twist! I know tuna steaks are usually served with some side salad or relishes, on the salad,  or on its’ own. For this recipe, the Asian twist comes from the soy sauce, lime and coriander dressing that accompanies the steaks, and is served with a bowl of hot, steaming rice!

Tuna steak 2

 

Tuna steaks with an Asian twist

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 pcs

Tuna steaks

200g

Rice

1 pc

Shallot, thinly sliced

1 tbsp

Olive oil/vegetable oil/sunflower oil

¾ tbsp.

Sesame oil

1 tbsp

Soy sauce

2 tsps

Fish sauce

1 pc

Rocket/bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced

½ pc

Red chilli, thinly sliced

2 cloves

Garlic (chopped)

1 ½ tsps.

Lime juice

A handful of coriander leaves and stalks

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Wash the rice and cook as per instructions.

2) Rub the tuna steaks with desired choice of oil, salt & pepper. Heat up a grilled pan on medium heat.

3) Meanwhile, you can start prepping the dressing. In a small bowl, mix the sesame oil, soy sauce and fish sauce with the chopped garlic, shallot and chilli. Chop up the coriander leaves and stalks (roughly or finely – you decide) and add into the mixture. Add in the lime juice last. Have a taste before you decide to add in more of anything. If it is too sour, you can counter that with a bit of sugar, or fish sauce.

4) As the grill pan becomes really hot, sear the tuna steaks on the pan, one by one. Cook for 1 minute on each side, so the tuna will be pink in the middle. However, if you prefer it to be well done, you can leave it on the pan for another minute or so on each side. Leave it to rest on a plate while you work on the second piece.

5) Serve the tuna steaks with a bowl of steaming hot rice; if you want, you can sauté some fresh greens to go with. The dressing can be served as an accompaniment, or you can choose to pour the dressing over the tuna steaks after they are rested.

 

 

 

 

Tuna steak

Tuna steak 1

 

 

Next, I am going to introduce my pan-fried lamb served on a bed of spring veggies, topped with balsamic vinegar and rosemary reduction sauce! It is one of my favourite successful experiments and it only took me about 30 minutes on the whole to complete this dish! I was surprised myself. Not to mention, it was absolutely delicious.

 

pan fried lamb

Pan-fried lamb & spring veggie with balsamic vinegar & rosemary reduction sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 pcs

Lamb leg steaks (boneless)

200g

Baby potatoes

100g//250g

Carrots (chopped)//baby carrots

200g

Fine beans

4 stalks

Celery (chopped)

1 pc

Red onion (sliced)

1 bunch

Fresh mint (optional)

1 knob

Butter

1 sprig

Fresh rosemary (or a spoonful of dried rosemary)

2 cloves

Garlic (chopped)

1 piece

Chicken stock cube

¾ cup

Balsamic vinegar

2 tbsps

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Freshly boiled hot water

Directions:

1) Season the lamb steaks with some oil, salt, pepper and some fresh (or dried) rosemary.

2) In a large saucepan, sauté the garlic, sliced red onion, and celery until soft. Add in the bunch of fresh mint (if you want), baby potatoes and chopped carrots, cover with boiled water and crumble in the chicken stock cube. Put the lid on and allow to simmer. Trim the beans and leave it aside to add in later.

3) Heat up a frying pan, and add in the lamb leg steaks. Cook for about 3 minutes a side, or depending on how you prefer it done. Once done as desired, leave it on a chopping board to rest.

4) Add the trimmed beans into the saucepan and stir; taste and season accordingly.

5) For the balsamic vinegar and rosemary reduction: melt the butter in a small saucepan and add in some rosemary and chopped garlic. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and let it reduce.

6) By now, the spring veggies should be tender and the water mostly evaporated. Spoon it into a deep dish, and place the rested lamb leg steak onto the bed of veggie. Pour the balsamic vinegar & rosemary reduction sauce over the steak and veggie.

 

 

I sure hope you will enjoy trying out these recipes and have a scrumptious meal! Of course, if you’re looking for more recipes, do check out the Currys Student Cookbook here – they are collating wonderful recipes for us students to work with throughout the week(s) for the new term!

Just because we are students, it does not mean we can’t have awesome (and possibly fancy) home-cooked meals! Trust me, we can! 😀

I, for one, am looking forward to read others’ recipes and give them a shot.

 

If you do attempt my two favourite recipes here, drop me a comment? Let me know how it goes, tweak it to your liking and share it with the rest of us! 🙂

 

Most importantly, have lots of fun in the process! 😉 Can’t wait to hear from you guys!

 

Toodles! ♥