Originally published at breadcrumbss. Please leave any comments there.

My 20s were definitely some of best years of my life. C’mon 30s, catch up, will ya?
(Taylor Swift is a gifted songwriter. Just read the lyrics of her songs without the music – try it!)

Pesto paradise

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Lately, I’ve been more than a little obsessed with pesto of every kind. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to it, on which I pin all the different pesto recipes I’d like to try. It helps that pesto is such an easy sauce/condiment to make, is super freezeable and allows me to create a plethora of uncomplicated dishes for quick, weekday meals.


Cashew-laksa-basil pesto  Laksa pesto with cashew


Pesto pasta

Pasta with pesto and a portion of baked salmon

I put it on pizza, use it as a salad dressing, mix it with pasta and use it as a marinade for baked salmon. All very yummy.

Of course, not all pestos are suitable for every dish. Experimenting is the name of the game and it’s fun – and delicious. I’ve tried Chubby Hubby’s laksa pesto with cashew (add the sriracha – trust me) and also concocted my own with coriander, laksa leaves, a bit of almond, garlic, chilli, fish sauce and ginger. Any other fun combis I should try?



An age thing?

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Recently, I had this conversation with a colleague who is close to a decade younger than me. She volunteers with an animal shelter and co-ordinates their fundraising calendar each year.

She: I’m not sure if I want to take on the project again this year.

Me: If you don’t feel it, don’t do it.

She: Well, I don’t mind doing it, but only if I find a good designer who will work for free (it’s for charity).

Me: That’s not relevant actually. Do you want to do it or not – that’s the question. If you want to do it, then you’ll find a way.

She: What do you mean?! Do you know a good designer who will do it for free? Can you help me find one? Then, I will do it.

Me: You should do it only if you want to do it. Don’t do it if you merely “don’t mind”.

She: But, but, but… I’ll do it if there’s a good designer…


I don’t understand why she doesn’t understand. And I think she doesn’t understand why I don’t understand. Maybe it’s an age thing.




Originally published at breadcrumbss. Please leave any comments there.

So, I have decided that my word this year will be FEARLESS.

I’m tired of being afraid, tired of the what-ifs, pissed off with detractors and deep down, I miss the girl I used to be.

On the final day of 2012, I put on my Facebook page that instead of my usual fashion of making no resolutions, and simply letting the day transition into the next – truth be told, if I’m not at the Chan’s till midnight, I’m usually in bed before the clock strikes 12 – I had decided to make some. Specifically, I wanted to make 30.

(In true Gemini form, I’m the sort who will do absolutely zilch if I’m not inclined, but when I make up my mind to do something, I can get kinda obsessed. You’re like, “You don’t say?!”, I’m sure.)


She believed she could
Credit: mbartstudios

In any case, completing the 30 tasks – it’s kind of like a to-do list as I am formulating quite specific statements, e.g. use sunscreen every day, instead of airy-fairy wishes and dreams (age-wise,it’s a bit too late for those now) – is a given. Very simply, and with no drama, they will get done. “She believed she could so she did.”

Now, how well I do – the quality of each completed task – is another thing. Then again, I can be obsessive, remember? ;)

(I’ll share my list of 30 for 2013 soon.)


Black nails

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I’m still into prettying up my nails, but as you can see, I’m not super consistent about it. My hands have been bare for weeks, perhaps even months. My toes on the other hand are almost always varnished – partly because I feel a bit naked if they’re not, particularly when I’m at yoga.

Lately, I’ve been liking black and glitter so here are the latest two looks:


Glitter French nails

 Current look: shimmery black OPI (didn’t get the name) with glitter tips in silver.


Christmas nails 201212

Christmas 2012 nails: Gelish nails, normal varnish with glitter gradation on toes. Didn’t get any of the names.



Where the heart is

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Here’s a piece on Christmas I did for work:

I have lived in Singapore for 17 years but have only stayed in town for Christmas twice – I had to work.

Christmas is a big thing for my family. That’s why every year, I would make the four to five-hour drive back to my grandmother’s place in Malaysia for our annual gathering. When my husband and I started dating, he came along. This year – the first that we will be celebrating with our son – will be no different. We will make the trip.

For as long as I can remember, a big part of Christmas has always been about the travelling. When I was living in Malaysia, it meant driving across to the next state. The cheery carols on the car stereo; playing with my brother (shooting with imaginary pistols out the rear window at “enemy” cars and darting behind our back seat fort); fighting with my brother (shooting at each other); my mother nagging at us; catching up with my dad whom I saw only twice a year when I was growing up; and of course, the ice cream we always got when we stopped for a break.

Travelling home has always been a feature in many holiday celebrations worldwide. In the US, Americans travel miles – some across the country – to spend Thanksgiving in late November with family. In China, during the Chinese New Year season, billions of journeys are made in what has been called the largest annual human migration. In the Muslim world, before Hari Raya Haji is celebrated, some three million believers head to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the Haj, a magnificent yearly religious pilgrimage.

In Singapore, while many stay in town to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, and many like me travel to be with family, there are many others who take the chance to travel for leisure. I am tempted each year to take some time off for myself during this season. Wouldn’t it be glamorous to ring in Christmas at the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Or wouldn’t it be fun skiing or snowboarding in Japan?

But always, I realise these fleeting thoughts are for another time. Christmas is a time to be with family. My Christmas memories may be tropical, my celebratory dinner may be rendang instead of the traditional turkey or roast, and my tree may be a fake plastic one, but it sure feels like it’s the best Christmas ever, every December 25 at Grandma’s.

And this year, one little nine-month-old boy will be making the journey with us, and starting his own Christmas rituals. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Cleaned up Li’l Man

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J’s cousin’s wedding was coming up (likely the last in the family for a long while) and we had nothing to put C in. Went to the shops and although we did see the cutest formal ensemble (long-sleeved white shirt, dress pants, vest and bow tie), we thought it wasn’t very good value since he probably could only wear it once or twice. So, after looking around on Pinterest and some craft blogs, I decided to fashion something on my own.


C and E 071212Li’l Man and I 

This outfit of a tie and vest took two nights to put together – from scraps of cloth I had and an old, stained onesie (stains covered up) – no thanks to my inability to use the sewing machine well and confidently enough. I only had one try, amid a very busy week at work, so I couldn’t get it wrong. Hence, I sewed the appliques on by hand. Gah!

C's vest Dec 061212

Good ol’ fashioned way! 

It was funny because besides the rush job and the rushing about on Friday evening (end-week traffic jam plus big deadline at work) – why do people do this to their guests?!! – I had nothing to wear! My baby did, but I did not. Thankfully, I found my memory at work and recalled I had a dress I hadn’t worn before stashed at the back of my closet.

*ahem* I had shoes cos I, erm, shopped the Ferragamo sale just a few days before!

Sadly, C probably can’t wear the same outfit – paired with black trousers – to another wedding we are attending very soon. All my fault – absent-mindedly, I threw the onesie in the wash with my dress and now, his white “shirt” is pink :(

I don’t mind a boy in a pink shirt, if it’s not too loud, but specifically, it has splotches of pink :(

Oh well… time to look around for Plan B.


Growing up – fast

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The little boy is growing up fast! Seems like it was just yesterday we brought him home, in all his littleness.

He’s about a week away from the nine-month mark, and this past weekend, learned to stand on his own (holding on to something).


Christian standing 011212

 So happy to be standing!

Sigh! Even at this stage, I know he will always be my little boy.

Christian Bath 011212

He absolutely loves his baths!


Truth of the matter

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Motherhood is hard. Very hard.

Many of us know this but no one really tells you how very hard it is. Barring one or two people, almost everyone told me – when I was preggers – that motherhood would be an amazing journey and that it would be awesome. Of course, they did warn me of the sleepless nights and gave well-meaning advice covering large areas of baby rearing. But by and large, they said, it’s the best job in the world.

Well, the truth is, motherhood kinda sucks – for me, at least. I mean, it has its great moments, but at this point (C is 8.5-months-old), emotionally, it consists of more downs than ups. I love my baby to bits – it really is a different kinda love – but reality bites.

I feel robbed of my time; my body (not that I had a great one to begin with, but hey, I’ll take anything I can get); my sanity; to a certain extent, my relationship with J; and of course, one of the biggest bugbears of all, my career. I am super tired all the time and I am constantly worried – does he have a temperature, is he sick, should we bring him to the doctor, is he too cold/hot, how’s he sleeping, is he breathing (??!!!!), etc. I was in a happy place till maybe three or four days post-birth. Now, I can’t say I’m unhappy, but I’m not entirely happy either.

It didn’t help that some of my friends – natural mothers that they are – talk about how their tiredness disappears with just a smile or a cute coo from baby. Or how they would love nothing but to spend every moment with the little one. Me? I feel guilty because I don’t feel guilty about going to work. I feel bad because I can’t bring myself to erase the wallpaper of Rusty on my phone and replace it with a picture of C – somebody actually chided me for this, WTF! I tried very hard, but I absolutely cannot understand how one smile from C is an antidote to anything at all.

In all fairness to C, he’s a pretty good baby. He is generally happy, laughs easily and learns fast (except when it comes to accepting solids). And for the record, I am very grateful to have him.

So, how am I trying to be happy again?

Well, I am listening to a good friend who advised me to stay far, far away from Nazi mothers and Earth mother types, and to stop reading blogs that are overly “mummy”. I have also stopped reading so many baby books and instead, am relying more on common sense, guidance from experienced friends and Google.

Slowly, I’m beginning to craft different goals and think about how they fit in or not in my new life. I am giving myself time to be angry, to grieve and finally, hopefully, to accept a new kind of happiness.

Recently, I feel like I am getting there. It’s slow-going and the journey is frought with obstacles, like teething. Patience is a hard pill to swallow.

The point is, I think, motherhood is do-able (of course), but if anyone tells you it’s hard, it’s really many more times harder than they say it is.

If your career (I’m not talking about just a job, but a career) is important to you, like it is to me, you need to know that there is no way – no matter what people say – that you can have it all. Not at the same time, anyway. Unless, you have lots of help and don’t mind missing out on large parts of your child’s life/days.


P/s: I’m just being honest. Don’t mean to be a party pooper.