Life In Photos – Day 45

Part of my uniform in Mahidol University

The recent spring cleaning has unearthed some gems!!! Ah….such memories!! One of the best times in my life. Met the most wonderful people from all over the world in a beautiful country at an amazing university! Best times!! ❣️πŸ₯°
#University #universitylife #MahidolUniversity #Thailand #Salaya #Tailandia #UniversitΓ  #besttimes #greatmemories #ricordibelli

Tiffin carriers

Have always been a little fascinated with tiffin carriers. The antique ones are so beautiful! Have you seen them? These are some of the tiffin carriers I grew up with. Though we never used them in my family but I see them in my relatives’ homes and in my grandparents homes. I love those enamel ones with all those intricate designs. If you click on the link you would be able to read up on the story of tiffin carriers in Peranakan Malaysia.

I never knew porcelain tiffin carriers existed. They probably did but I never saw them before. To think they used this to bring food to different quarters of the home. Some Peranakan homes or old rich Chinese homes are huge and these were needed to send food.

Many years ago, I bought 2 tiffin carriers for myself thinking that I would use them someday. All in all, I have probably used them about 10 times in the last. I used them twice in the last week alone! So proud of myself. It is the Covid situation that got me busting out the tiffin carriers. Brought food to the office for M and myself.

My tiffin carriers are the new version one. Airtight and insulated. I love how the handles are fully incorporated in the full length of the carrier. Though I would have loved to have an antique one but I think these suit my needs better. I travel around on a scooter so an airtight and insulated tiffin carrier is more practical for me.

Lunch today
Homemade wholemeal bread with sunflower and pumpkin seeds with chia and goji

These was lunch today. Fruits – kiwi and apple, beef with ginger and broccoli, vegetable curry, tofu and mushrooms and salad for M and last but not least my own homemade wholemeal bread.

Lunch last week. Hamburger under the egg

This was lunch last week. Fruits- kiwi, apples and grapes, peas and broccoli with smoked bacon and onions, hamburger and a bullseye egg.

This Covid situation has made me the home maker I never was. I love cooking and baking but I was never that good. I definitely upped my game this 2020 lockdown. I used my oven and kitchen the most in 2020 than I have in my last 13 years in this house. I could never successfully make bread before 2020. My cupcakes were also a miss or a hit depending on my luck. Now I consistently churn out bread, cakes, biscuits like nobody’s business! So proud of myself. πŸ€ŸπŸ˜†

The best thing I got out of this whole Covid situation is that my children get to eat my food and they love it. Asking me to make them this and that all the time. Even M. So happy. I post some of my cooking and baking on my Instagram. I am still to shy to post them all. Also, I take horrible photos of them so they don’t do them justice. So I rather not. But rest assured they were devoured with relish.

I am just going to go off and enjoy lunch and the feeling of accomplishment now. πŸ˜‰

My foray into YouTube

So, I have thought about this for the longest time and I finally took the plunge. Though I have had this thought for a while, it resurfaced and reinforced itself after my Digital Marketing course. More so after we had to build our own website, which I already have and I used that opportunity to revamp my site a little and revisit my old blog posts. I realised, I always had so much to say but so little was put into words.

Then I asked my friends and family what should be my first vlog be about. My sis said to talk about whatever I want. Another friend said, you always tell great stories and another said that I have a good voice. Oh, how sweet she was. I agonised over it for a few months. About 2 to be exact. πŸ˜†

Then I promised myself that I would start it in 2021. Maybe I should post one on new years. That came and went…I still mulled things over. Not to say that I was idle. I took videos, I tried to download them onto my computer but I couldn’t. Then I tried a few other ways. Then I gave up. Changed over to another camera and tried with that. Then I tried to edit the videos which I suck at. The video is still there waiting to be finished.

As all that was happening, the days were passing. Now we are right smack in the middle of January, way beyond the new years deadline I put for myself and I am still nowhere with that video.

So today, after a pretty eventful week, I decided that I am going to throw caution to the wind and sat myself down and made a video. No editing, no special effect, no anything. Just me and the phone yapping away. After I was done, I watched it again just to see if I was making sense at all and realised I wasn’t half bad. Guess all my university debate experience came in handy. I bit the bullet and decided that this was good enough and I must post my first video today. So I did.

Though if you look at my channel, it is not the first video per se as the previous ones were the videos I had to post for this blog. WordPress didn’t support video content before. We could only link videos before. I don’t dare to delete the previous ones for fear that I will affect that blog post. As you can already tell, I am not that tech savvy. I have a long way to go.

Anyway, here is the link to my YouTube channel and post. Hop over to watch it, feel free tonlike it and maybe subscribe and let me know what you think. Also, if you have any suggestions or ideas or anything you want to me to talk about just drop a comment here or in YT. See you all there!

Thanks and toodeloos!!

P/s: just realised that we can now add videos directly here. WordPress has improved. I like. Or maybe I am behind with technology. πŸ€”

Happy New Year!! Hello 2021!

Leaving behind 2020! Happy New Year!!

Hello 2021!! And bye-bye 2020! You won’t be missed but you will be remembered for all that you were. It is not easy to forget what 2020 was but it was also hard to remember as all the days blended into one. Homeschooling, staying indoors, 24/7 with the kids bursting with boundless energy. All in all, a very unforgettable year.

It was also a year where I finally lost 10kgs from all the weight I put on over 15 years here. Though I have only managed to lose the those from my pregnancies and none from the gluttony after moving to Italy. Such is life! πŸ˜… I got to work harder on this.

I can also say, I have gained a lot too in other areas of my life. I finally used my kitchen to the fullest extend since we got it 13+ years ago. It was as if 2020 knew I had to make up for all the lost years. My kitchen told the universe that they felt underutilised and wanted to do more. Wanting to be used for what they were made for. πŸ˜„

I upped my cooking skills. Managed to finally bake bread, cakes, biscuits and cook up a storm. I have also finally learnt to cook Malaysian food with whatever I could find and all its substitutes. My saving grace is that I am cooking for Italians and even if I don’t do a good job, no one is any the wiser! πŸ˜†

Then there is an international Tabata group going on since lockdown and it is still going strong. It was actually helpful for me on my weight loss journey. The girls are amazing. Very motivated and they re going strong. Germany, Italy, the UK, Australia, Malaysia and occasionally Singapore and Japan all log in at a specific time to exercise our fats away and build camaraderie. I hope this goes on for as long as it can.

After these trying months, I am ready to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021 with open arms. All ready for all it has to offer and all its possibilities.

So Happy New Year everyone!

P/s: Watch this space as I have something planned…fingers crossed, it comes to fruition.

Bath Stories

Some time back I received a beautiful package in the mail. In the midst of the horrible pandemic of 2020, a little box of joy dropped in to say hello from Have you ever seen such a beautiful piece of soap? It reminds me of a very famous painting. Do you know which painting I am talking about? Though it reminds me of a painting, Simone, the beautiful soap maker found her inspiration from a photo by Babak Tafreshi. This photo is the cover of the photobook “The World At Night”.

This particular piece is made of lavender, neroli and patchouli. When I first opened it, a burst of intoxicating perfume filled the room. For the next few days, till I kept it away, it filled my hall with its beautiful scent. It worked just like an room incense. I had to keep it away cause while it was pleasant for me, it was a little to overwhelming for everyone else. Also, the kids kept playing with it and it was too precious to me for them to play with it and it will probably be “lost” among their toys later. So I kept it away until it was time to use it.

I didn’t use it right away as I had others I need to finish up first. I don’t like too many opened items around, all half used and nothing finished. So, I patiently waited. Though I kept it away, I kept it within sight so that I won’t forget to use it once my other soaps finish. The moment it did, I whipped it out of its box gleefully, like a kid in a candy store. But it was a few months later, hence the late posting. I got it back in October and only started using it in December and only now am I posting it here. I did already post in on my Instagram.

It was quite a change for me to use bar soaps as we use liquid soaps cause of the kids. Way easier and the kids can soap themselves without dropping the bar everywhere. Also, my elder child has sensitive skin so bar soaps are a “no no” for her. Dries out her skin too much. But with the linen bag that comes with it, I can keep this bar of soap away from those prying hands and hang them way up high, away from them. Now it is my own personal soap bar.

Now, let me sing its praises. This bar of soap not only looks nice it leaves my skin silky. I absolutely love it! It is perfect for my “lazy to put on cream” days. So perfect for winter! Though it leaves the skin silky, I still won’t share it with my girls. πŸ˜› shh….don’t tell them. Someday they might read it here but by then it will be ancient history. πŸ˜€ It is not only good for the skin but the bar of soap becomes more beautiful as you use it. In one of Bath stories’ posts, you can see how beautiful it becomes with each use. It looks like a pebble weathered by the flowing waters of a stream.

Bath stories have so many more amazing bars of soaps. Hop on over to her Instagram and get one for yourself. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. Get yourself a piece and see it for yourself. You will love it and be so sad when the bar of soap finishes. I am already a little sad as I see my bar of soap getting smaller by the day. I should get myself another piece but with lockdowns and Italy’s “amazing” postal service I am hesitant. I would rather fly to her and get the bar of soap myself, in person. I shall be back to see the soaps for myself, Simone. Keep some for me!

Toodeloos everyone! I will be here patiently waiting for the borders to re-open to fly back to Asia to stock up on everything, especially hugs, kisses and love and comfort food from my family back home.

Hope 2021 will be better and safer for everyone!

Care package with love

My happy package

Look what came in the mail today!! An amazing care package arrived with all my favourite goodies sent with love πŸ’˜ all the way from the UK. πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

A little of Malaysia in a box making this Malaysian a very happy Malaysian. πŸ˜„

Best of all I get my Ipoh white Coffee!! Because of the lockdown on international travel, I couldn’t stock up this time but a good friend with a huge heart got me my fix. Am super happy!

Sending my care package angels lots of love, hugs and kisses!

Thank you Lyn and Vikki!

Advent calendar

All done!
Finished stuffing every pack with something
There was more chocolate than anything else
Hiding their designs
Don’t look mama!

My eldest wanted to make her own advent calendar this year. Not that we have ever been making them all these years. She just decided she wanted to make one this year. Mind you, we are not religious. So much so, that this year is the first year we have a Christmas tree at home. We just never got round to it before. We were usually never home anyway for the holidays. But we are doing it this year for the kids.

I bought all the items needed and got them to design their own boxes. It took them 3 days to finish colouring everything. Then one morning when the girls were in school I packed and stuffed each packet with stationery and chocolate.

Now every evening after school, they will run to the boxes to open their surprise for the day. Sometimes it is fun but sometimes they fight. Kids! Though I put in the same things for both boxes but because they get to choose their boxes everyday, they both get different items each time.

What most interesting about this whole thing was that M doesn’t know what an Advent calendar is? I looked at him incredulously and laughed. I mean, he is the Christian in this house and he doesn’t know what an Advent calendar is! Now he knows. πŸ˜„

This is our Advent calendar adventure. Our first, and I see it, the first of many more to come.


Popcorn success!

Caramel popcorn

So, why popcorn success? Well, I have tried many times over the years to make caramel popcorn but I have never been successful. Don’t get me wrong, I can pop normal popcorn and add salt but it doesn’t always turn out well either but always edible. However when it comes to caramel popcorn, I suck at it! I have no idea why.

I will always manage to even burn the popcorn. It will be all black. How did I do it? I don’t know. I just do. πŸ˜…

The only type of caramel popcorn I can manage not to burn are those prepacked ones that you pop into the microwave. Those, I ace! πŸ˜†

Then, while browsing through Instagram videos I came across a video of a mum making caramel popcorn for her kids and suddenly it all became clear. I have been doing it wrongly the whole time. It was such an epiphany! The next day, I promised the girls I would make them caramel popcorn and they were so excited! Poor girls, they have tried all my failed popcorn. 🀣 yet, they are still so excited. Bless them!

I wonder why I have never attempted to even Google how to make caramel popcorn. I mean, we now live in a wired world and we can get any type of information online, any time, anywhere and I just never tried. How strange was that. Maybe making popcorn is so simple that I didn’t think I needed any help. Obviously I did but ignorance is bliss, isnt it?

Anyhow, I just wanted to record this moment of useless glory for my own benefit. To remind myself how I triumphed over popcorn! I take my victories where I can. 😁

Hmm….maybe I should go make some popcorn now since I am working from home and I can have the whole bowl to myself! Hmm……toodeloos!

Isolation activities..

Snow White the Disney Princess

Last 2 weeks, J and I were in isolation. A classmate of hers was or maybe still is as he is not back in school yet, is positive for Covid-19. Unless you have been living off the grid with no access to civilization or maybe on another planet, you will know that Covid-19 is not a trifle thing. The whole of 2020 can surely be remembered in the future at Covid 2020. The year the whole world was brought to their knees.

Anyway, I digress. So, since she was to be home the whole day for 2 whole weeks we set about getting some activities to do to pass our time. I have seen this particular activity but I have never done them. When M brought the first one back J couldn’t wait to start while I was dreading the possibility of the millions of coloured plastic pins all over the floor. ButΒ  I managed to stop her and coax her into starting on them bright and early the next day when I had more time to organise and do it with her.

The next day we started on the first one. The first set was a set of Disney portrais of Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy. In the pictures you will see that the whole piece is made up of 4 smaller pieces put together. So we had a portrait piece if each character. When we started, it took us a while to get the rhythm going. Also, it was not that easy for J to push those little pins into the holes piercing through the paper design on top. After a while she got the hang of it. She stops once in while to rest her little hands or when she gets carried away in her thoughts while chattering away. She chatters non-stop. I had to play the ‘game of silence’ which she loses every time, just to catch a respite from her constant chatter. πŸ˜…

How the picture is made up
The paper design that it comes in

We finished that in 4 days. I limited it to one a day. It was actually enough cause each one took us about 2-3 hours depending on how chatty or distracted we are. You could probably guess that I did most of the work but she was just so cute!! I found this avtivity to be very relaxing and cathatic. I didn’t have to think, like in board game or a puzzle, which we also did in that 2 weeks. Just grab a pin of whatever colour we working on, from the bowls I have prepared and just stick it in wherver I see the corresponding colour. Easy peasy! We finished it in no time at all!

Then, M got this one. This set came with 2 Disney princesses and we had to choose. We could only do one. The choice was between Snow White or Rapunzel. You can safely guess which one won. πŸ˜‰ This took us 4 days too. I can truly say the outcome is really beautiful! So much so that we are thinking of framing it! Though I joked to M that it would probably cost more to frame it than to actually buy it. It was €12 for this set. The frame would probably cost us at least €50. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

After we were done, i told J to hold it up as I wanted to tale a picture of her with it. She gave me a cheeky face as I took the picture. I don’t think she intended to posr like Snow White but it turned out to look like she did.

Posing like Snow White

I am glad we did this. I liked it so much that I am thinking of getting another one. Something to do for when I am stressed or in need of some distraction? How about you guys? Has anyone tried this? If you haven’t, you should. Then you will know what I mean by it veing relaxing and cathartic.

Actually, now that isolation is over and i am back to work, I don’t know if I will have the time to do this again. But for now, I am glad that we are healthy and that J is back in school. Freedom!! πŸ˜†

Am off to get some alone and ‘me’ time. Till next time! Ciao and Toodeloos!!