Friday, November 29, 2013

Chicken Karage

We love our fried chicken around here, so it's a no brainer when I saw the recipe for chicken karate that I had to attempt it at least once for dinner. (We don't eat KFC so I guess gotta make up for it in some way!)

It's very simple,  I promise you. All you need is time for these babies to soak in the marinade and then slap on some potato starch and we are all ready to go! The potato starch give it a crispier crunch then the usual flour mixture.

The only thing I regretted was halving the recipe cause there wasn't enough to go around. My Dad literally almost finished the entire dish on his own! (Fortunately some of us sneaked in a piece or two before he finished it! Haha!!)

Here's the recipe.

6 boneless chicken leg fillets
1/2 cup of soy sauce (I used kikkoman)
1/4 cup of sake
2 tablespoons of grated ginger
Potato Starch
Oil for frying


  1. Cut the chicken into 2-3 inches squares. (approximately 8 to 10 pieces per cutlet)
  2. Marinate the chicken with the soy sauce, sake and ginger and leave it to sit in the fridge for at least half a day (I marinated mine overnight)
  3. When you are ready to prep dinner, take the chicken out. Prepare a dish with the potato starch and a handful of salt. Then coat the chicken in the starch mixture before frying it. Check that the oil temperature is optimal by dropping a drop of the potato starch before starting. It should form a small ball as it hits the oil but not brown.
  4. I normal add about 6 to 8 pieces of chicken into the oil. Don't attempt to over populate the oil as the temperature will dip and the chicken will be soaked with oil.  Flip the chicken after 2-3 minutes. It should take about 5 minutes per batch.
  5. Serve with salad greens, tomatoes and a side of Japanese mayonnaise. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Host with the Most

I was out having high tea with the gals yesterday and was lucky enough to have a girlfriend coming over to watch the boys.

At 7 and 8, these boys are pretty self reliant and independent. We could technically leave them home without supervision and know they would be ok and not do things to hurt themselves (although I do have a helper at home.) But, yes, this was part of my parenting plan. Having kids who can look after themselves and be safety savvy.

So, after I got home, my friend regaled me with tales of how the boys were helping her look after her little one year old and they even offered her food and drinks intermittently throughout the day. 

I laughed in amusement and amazement when she said that. 

They were playing host! Lol! 

I guess, over the years, they've picked up  these skills from observing what I do when we have guests. It made me so proud, I'd tell ya. :) I really like that they are looking out for the little one and they are gracious and considerate hosts. 

If you know me, good social skills matter a lot too. Especially in scenarios when they are on their own. Good manners are always important, in all aspects. =)

A good reminder for me to never unestimate the power of observation in kids. :) And a good day to count my blessings!

Happy Monday, all! xx

Friday, November 22, 2013


When I was young, I'd love watching all the Disney movies! Naturally, it was something that I wanted my kids to inherit and boy was I glad to bring them along to the premiere of Frozen a few days ago.

Based loosely on the Hans Christian Andersen story of the Snow Queen, the story focuses on Anna, the princess of Arrendale who sets off on a journey through the blizzard to search for her beloved sister, Elsa, whose icy powers had set the town in eternal winter. She encountered a rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven to assist her on her quest.

It was the first time all three of them watched a show in 3D so we were all very excited about catching it. They were so enthralled by the show that no one make a hint of noise during it and was totally captivated by the plot.

And how did it go?

It totally blew my mind away when the credits started rolling. I was very pleased at how the show depicted true love (not giving anything away). I loved how well written the characters were and in particular, I loved Princess Anna's can-do spirit! Ah! The kids loved Olaf the snowman, who was crazy hilarious to boot!

The sound track was also very catchy that Kate came out humming its title track.

It was a fab night out with the kids and I would totally recommend that you catch it this holidays.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A weekend away with the gals

Last weekend, the boys were away camping with their Daddy and my folks offered to take Kate with them on a road trip to Melaka. Given a rare weekend to myself, I decided to book a last minute trip to BKK with the gals! 

With not much experience touring Bangkok, we followed my dear friend R around to explore the city and boy! Did we see it in a different light and perspective.

We completely avoided the main shopping malls and kept to small 'burbs like Thong lor. There were pockets of little stores that had such gorgeous fit outs and some had good coffee to boot. This was not the BKK that I had remembered.

In fact, some of the shops brings back memories of Jiyugaoka. 

But the best part has to be the company. In a city filled with dust dirt and chockablock traffic, one can only maintain its sanity with lots of humour and that's were the gals come in. It's always easy traveling with them.

Bangkok, we'll be back! We have more on our list to explore! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mid Week Thoughts

Oh hello end of October! 

Seriously where did the year go? 

These two days has been such a mixture of the good and the bad. 

The bad being getting the back of my car bumped by a poor lady who was so freaked out that her husband had to deal with the insurance claims instead. Surprisingly, Bubba was calmer than her even though she was in the car with me when that happened. I felt so bad for her that I had to calm her down when we were exchanging papers.

So that has transpired into a series of visits to the car workshop and time spent dealing with claims and all but that's all done and the car is being fixed as we speak so hopefully we can get it back before the weekend.

And the good?! (I always love the good)

Since my vitasoy post, I've been receiving a few more packets from either son these few days. Such a lovely pick up treat at school pick up. 

And we had a massive birthday party over the weekend for Bubba. She's turned 4! Can you believe it? I can't but I'll save that for another day. 

We followed up with a smaller rainbow Hello Kitty party in school on Monday. She was so stoked when we showed up with cupcakes and balloons!! I love seeing the expression on her face! xx

Exams are also finally over so yay for that! Hello holidays!!

And in the midst of the car drama and all, we have been spending so time feasting and celebrating birthdays with our dearest friends, having daily coffee catch ups with our favourite peeps at our favourite coffee joint, checking out new spaces (more on that) and just loving life at the moment. 

It's really the moments that count, isn't it? 

I am feeling very very blessed to be surrounded by people who love us and whom we adore back.

Happy hump day, everyone!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Raising a SNAG

My 8 year old is growing up to be a lovely young man.

I guess, as parents, we hardly see significant growth in kids until we look back and recount.  However, lately, it's very prevalent that this little kiddo is maturing.

I believe his language of love is "acts" as he likes doing little things for people. Here are a few instances.

I had a headache just the other day. And after taking a nap, it was still lingering around. But it was time to send the joys for enrichment so I had to get up and go. I casually mentioned it to K when we were walking to the lift and once we got into the car, he immediately put his fingers on my temple to massage it. And he turned to his little brother and said 'hey Jake! Can you move to the back so that I can sit in the middle to massage mummy's head cause she has a headache."

Once in a while, he would ask if we would like a foot massage and he would just stand there and rub our feet. My husband loves it whenever he offers. It's like his personal masseuse.

So this arvo, as I picked him up from school, he brought me a packet of vitasoy and said 'Here mum! I bought you this because you like it' and my heart just melted into a puddle of goo. I LOVE VITASOY and I love that he knows it. :)

Now I must be doing something right in this parenting gig to deserve someone this special as a kid, yeah?

Click! Smile!!

Inspired by the always creative Debra and Pam, we spent one morning crafting a cardboard camera for the little miss.

It was so simple and such a fuss free project that even I was surprised at how quickly it all came together. =) Even the materials were procured from around the house. And we always love recycled projects! They are always the best toys!

Kate loves to paint so she absolutely relished coloring her soon to be camera. Of course, her little bunny rabbit had to be involved as a spectator. 

And what's a budding photographer to do with her new toy? Well, a photo walk was imminent and we had so much fun seeing the photographer in her! She went around taking pictures of her favourite people and flowers of all different sorts in the nursery. Definitely mummy's girl in this aspect!

If she had a memory card in that paper camera, I wonder what pictures we would see. Ah I love my girl at this stage. =)

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.” 
― Albert Einstein

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sundays at Home

Perhaps we are getting older but, by and by, we are slowly spending more time at home.

We weren't always like that.

We used to spend every weekend out running every possible errand or just hanging out at some cafe.

However, things change with this apartment. We find ourselves spending half our weekend just chilling out here. The space is welcoming enough for every one to have their own space, keeping the noise level to a minimal.

I can cook or bake to my heart's fancy with the kitchen my husband built me. And the kids have a room that they can lay back to read or have their toys sprawled all over during their play time. My husband loves nothing more than lounging in front of the telly, or you can definitely find him resting in the bedroom, a good break from his daily hectic life.

When we first viewed this apartment, I thought it would be perfect for us.

And I guess it really is. =)

Happy Monday, folks!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A SAHM's Sanity Saver List

And just like that, with the eldest turning 8, it marks the sixth year of me being a full time mom.

It's been a long journey. I guess with every season, brings along new surprises and milestones. Now with my boys in primary school and the little one who's moving onto kinder next year, things have settled into a nice smooth rhythm.

So how to preserve your sanity in the throes of bringing up kids? Here's what I do.

1. Have a schedule. 

I'm big on scheduling. I like knowing what the kids are meant to do at a certain time of the day. This applies on weekdays. It helps me keep track of their school progress as well as set time aside for their other activities and play time. The kids also know what to expect at different times of the day.

2. Have a hobby and be active

This can be done at home or outside of home. By hobby, I mean doing something for yourself. I love to cook and bake. It's my kind of therapy. So I experiment with new dishes all the time. 

Outside of home, I find time to work out and I go for pole classes. These happen in the mornings or late in the evenings.  My mum or D would babysit when I go for classes. I love the camaderiè of the pole community and I always have a good time at classes with my girlfriends. So when I head home, I am much happier as I feel that I've had some time to be something other than mum.

3. Friends are your best allies 

The Chinese says it takes a village to raise a child. I agree. When I had the boys in Melbourne, I was very young and had no family around. Fortunately, Australia has a fabulous system where every new mom gets inducted into a mothers group. It is strongly encouraged that you attend as you get put into groups with babies of a similar birthdate from your child. I've made so many friends there and built a good support network of moms whom I can seek advice if need be. It also got me out of the house, which is very much a sanity saver in more ways than one, looking back.

My girlfriends are the ones I turn to for anything. I've also got mummy friends to ask advice from. It definitely helps to have a myriad of friends for different aspects of your life. :) At times, I'd schedule a mid day coffee break with the girls just to have a quick catch up. Always a lovely thing to do. =)

4. Date nights

The husband and I love our personal time. I guess we like spending time to eat and catch up with each other. We would do short travels now and then but once a fortnight or on Saturday when my kids go to Sunday school with gramps, we would  go grab dinner or catch a movie. The husband is definitely #1 in my list so I like to nurture the relationship we share. Cos when the kids are grown, he's the one I've got to grow old with.

5. Dress up

I ever mentioned in a blog post eons ago, it's important to look good. And you gotta dress up for no one else but yourself. Why? Because you will always feel like you are ready to take on the day once you are out of your pjs or house clothes. I'm mostly in simple stuff like dresses or shorts. But I like to add on a necklace or some arm swag to make the outfit brighter or cheerier. =)

6. Spend time playing with the kids

It's very easy to get caught up with the academic portion of school. Trust me, I know. But it's very important to play too! Remember, play is the work of a child. =)

These kids of mine are older and now they enjoy playing board games. And these boys are so competitive when they play. It's a little scary for mum here! ;) Gotta be on top of my game here!

Sometimes, though, all I wanna do is lounge around and watch travel or cooking programs. So they'll sit with me and watch with me. What they love to do is to tell me their thoughts during the program. :/ It's a little distracting but hey! I'd rather have a kid that wants to talk to me than not.

7. Teach kids life skills

This is very important for me. I started with little things when they were younger like self feeding. Then moved on to bigger items like dressing yourself. Now they have little chores like keeping their toys and books (which they sneakily would ask my helper for assistance at times) I find that it matters to impart independence because they eventually would need to learn to fend for themselves when they are out in society. So that makes me want to ensure that they are socially and emotionally able to cope with the challenges that life would throw them. I'd like to think they are doing ok so far.

8. Be positive

I like starting my day with positive thoughts and, at times, a prayer. Kids can be pretty unpredictable. So there are good times and certainly bad times. I live by the mantra, "this too shall pass" which has served me really well in this journey. And I know that, despite the naughtiness at times, they are still good kids. So it's just a matter of showing and teaching them the etiquette of life. 

9. Lastly, always end the day on a good note.

You know how they say you shouldn't go to bed angry with our spouse? I'm sure this rule gets broken A LOT with the husband (guilty!) but, with the kids, it's important for them to learn to go to bed knowing they are loved. Bed time stories are a great way to start. We all snuggle in bad, and I'd read a few stories befor calling it a night.

You'd notice that most of the actions are focused on you. The trick I've learnt is to always always have time for yourself. It does get crazy from time to time or even on a daily basis but, in order to cope, mum needs to be happy first. 

Hope this works, for you guys! Would love go hear what works for you guys as well! xx

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On Turning 8

Dear Kayden,

You turned 8 last week and what a delightful age this has been. I promised you that we would throw a party this year and we celebrated it over the weekend with a bunch of friends that you've carefully handpicked.

So what's a bunch of 8 year olds to do at a park on Saturday? Well, laser tag, of course. I knew that it would be something that you would love doing, seeing how active you are. And we were right.

You guys had such a blast running around the park, shooting at your opponents and strategising against them. Every one had a good time and I think you were very very stoked to have your friends there. Ah! The joys of friendship.

You were grinning from cheek to cheek when the games were over and even when you woke up the following day, it was still there.

I was just telling Auntie R the other day about how long it has been since we first found out we were pregnant with you. In more ways than one, you were the one that made us a family first. And it's been rather gratifying seeing the kind of kid and person you are becoming. We learnt that you are an outdoorsy boy who loves to swim and run. Rugby is now becoming one of your favourite activities to do. I can already see the adrenaline junkie in you.

You are also very much a foodie kid. Your taste buds certainly know what's delicious and worth consuming. More often than not, you prefer Italian and Japanese cuisine but these days, we can see that you are getting really adventurous with trying new stuff like chilli. (Mee pok ta ke hiam, one day?) It's gonna be good eating out with you when you are older.

What I like about you is how seriously you take your responsibility as a kor kor and how you always try to keep them in line. No matter how much they ignore you, you make sure they must know how to behave. Yet you play with them, make sure they get to their intended destinations and you will always have their back at the end of the day.

I count myself lucky that you still come and kiss me goodnight and that even though you can read competently now, you still like a good bed time story. Ah! Don't grow up too soon. I'm not ready for that yet.

You are a great kid. Don't you forget that. We all love you and I'm very very glad that you had fun at your party. =)


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A night at Brasserie Gravoche

September turned out to be rather busy in this household. I haven't really seen the husband much at all. He's been busy with his work and new project. That all we get is just a few words in between him coming home and me leaving for my workout and me returning to him leaving for entertaining.

Thankfully last Saturday, we managed to sneak in a date at Brasserie Gravoche. We'd always walked past this place after dining at Teppei and its classic Parisian fit out keeps calling out to me. Francophile, or what?! So I've made a mental note to return.

Unfortunately we made last minute ressies, so we got seats at the high table near the bar. No matter but we were moved to the main dining hall after our entrees, thanks to the kinda maître dame. 

So that night, in the midst of all that wine and food, we sat, held hands and just talked. Random stuff. Important stuff. Kids stuff. Everything came pouring out. 

It was kinda therapeutic, in a way that only your spouse can hear the true words you wanna say, even when nothing is said at all. I guess no one can truly know your heart more than the man who has been with you for 11 years.

It's moments and not milestones that build the foundations of a relationship. 

I am glad that we are where we are today. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bake Shop, Jiyugaoka

I am definitely in wanderlust mode this week. 

With school running at a high intensity in the lead up towards exams,  I have been trying to find pockets of time to sneak away at the blog or just catching up on reading. So indulge me as I dig into my memory pockets as I recount some of my favourite places during my trips.

Tokyo has grown to be one of our favourite cities. (I should know la, I've been back 3 times in a year!) There is everything to love about it. The shopping, the food, the culture, the people. We always feel very safe when we are there and there are new places that we discover each trip. I am missing Tokyo a fair bit this week, actually.

So when I was there with my friends in May, we spent a day getting lost in the streets of Jiyugaoka. (Random fact: Did you know Jiyugaoka is one of the highly ranked suburbs that Tokyo women wants to live in?) 

Before we went a little crazy shopping for homeware, we hopped into the Bake Shop for Sunday brunch. 

I chanced into this adorable bakery cafe accidentally on Tokyo Eats. I knew immediately that this was where I would bring them for brekkie. After walking around a little, we finally found it. It is on the fourth floor of a small building (IDEE is on the ground floor) so unless you are in the know, chances are, you won't stumble upon it accidentally.

The menu was pretty comprehensive with both brunch and lunch options. And, more importantly, it comes in English and there is a server who speaks English too!! After being starved of proper western menu stuff, all of us gravitated towards anything eggy on the menu. I was quite pleased with my cup of latte and I know my girlfriend bought some of their baked goods and savoured every bit of it.

The service staff were polite but firm in enforcing their policy of no prams. So if you were to bring a little one along, you gotta park your pram on the ground floor of the building. Oh and also, make ressies well in advanced or be prepared to wait. Just like how we did for an hour and a bit.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tummy Guide to Bali

I don't think it's physically possible to cover all the new cafes that has opened in Seminyak over the last couple of months. We really tried to eat as much as we could but haha! the stomaches do have their limits. =) 

Here's a sample list of the few dining establishments and one homeware store that we have gone to! I'm sure the next time we are back, we would have more places to explore. Enjoy!

Jl. Petitenget No. 21 Benoa Kuta Badung Bali, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 738202
If you are looking at dining with a view, you look no further than Sardine. Behind the high walls facade, lies a serene view of a large rice padi field. If you dine at a certain period of the year, you will get to see it in all of its crowing glory. Unfortunately, both times we were there, the rice has already been harvested.
Sardine serves mostly seafood that has been freshly caught earlier in the day. The food is prepared simply and certainly it showcases the freshness of its produce. The boys had the udon which was simple but had an umami effect. I love ordering the grilled fish, which is always served with a side of sambal and a bowl of coconut rice. It's an absolute bliss dining there.
I would totally recommend going either for lunch of an early booking for dinner. And don't forget to make ressies. They do get rather busy for dinner.

Jl. Petitenget No.40X 
Seminyak, Bali
We used to patronise The CornerStore, which stocked the cutest kids clothes, that had burnt down and so the owner set up a new cafe called Petitenget. Now it a gorgeously set up cafe with a mod french decor. Mostly outdoors seating, it sits at the corner of Jln Petitenget, just across the Living room. I found it really easy to lose myself having brekkie there. It's kinda like being in Paris but with pocket friendly prices. 

Order the banana pancakes, paired with a side of palm sugar syrup and it was heaven. Yum! I loved the fruit platter too. Balinese fruits are always sweet! The dinner menu looks enticing but pity we didn't have time to head back to explore.

Potato Head Beach Club
Jln. Petitenget
Seminyak, Bali 80361


Now it's a no brainer that Potato Head is the must go destination for the kids. The drinks (both mock and cocktails) are excellent. And we love love love their food. Often the kids would spend all day in the pool and when they feel like a drink, there is a pool bar in the pool where you can order one. It's quite a fun experience for them, as it makes them feel like a little adult.

It's always good to arrive early to secure a bed. We were quite slackers and so it was a hit and miss for us but it's almost guaranteed to grab one if you arrive when they open. The menu changes quite a bit so I can't really recommend what to eat BUT I always order an insane amount of NOJITOs, a non alcoholic mojito. Yum!

Revolver Espresso at Gang 51
Jalan Kayu Aya No 3, Oberoi
Seminyak, Bali
Tel: 0361 788 4968

Revolver Espresso, a hole in the wall coffee joint. Hidden at a gang, you would totally miss it, had you not seen the sign that was hung at the front of the alleyway. I loved the vibe of the place. I thought the coffee was one of the better ones in Bali. Dark roasted under the 5 senses blend, it offered a good robust texture when served in the form of a latte. (And not burnt!) The breakfast was honest to goodness. It was fresh produce done really simply. We were quite pleased with our poached eggs on toast. 

If you ever wanna visit, it's directly opposite Bali Clinic. You can see a sign at the corner of the alley way.  Follow that sign. A guy would normally open the door for you.

Sea Circus
22 Jalan Kayu Aya [Oberoi Rd],
Seminyak, Bali
Phone: +62 361 738 667

Sea circus was a surprise hit for me. I've read rather mixed reviews online and the morning we rocked up for brekkie, they wowed me with their version of corn fritters. It was delish and in an odd color of green. The taste was divine and spot on. Coffee was ok. But service was top notch and have you seen their decor? Those rainbow hued windows in a house that could easily be on any gorgeous coast in the world. I forgot I was in Bali for a moment. So how could you resist stepping in for a cuppa or some juice. 

Next time we visit, we hop in for their shared plates and dinner. Oh! Do check out their toilets too!

Biku Restaurant 
Jl. Raya Petitenget 888 Ph. +62 361 8570888

Biku didn't have me at Hello. In fact, I was a little skeptical about the raving reviews I read online. Lol! It was all excellent but staring at the traditional balinese house in front of me, I was going HUH?! so loudly in my head. Thankfully, the food turned the most cynical thought in my head to a yes yes yes.

We ordered the bircher muesli which was very decent in my books, it was nicely crunchy and rather tasty that I kept scooping mouthfuls in but the stand out dish was the mexican breakfast for me. It had a bowl of retried beans with 2 sunny side ups above it and you get to wrap everything up in a nice burrito before devouring it. Comfort food IMO.

W Seminyak
Jl. Petitenget, Seminyak, KerobokanSeminyak, Bali 80361
+62 361 4738106

A visit to W Seminyak is no brainer. We'd hung out there the last time with our friends and everyone, both the babies and adults, had a good time soaking in their pool. Brunch at the Starfish Bloo was not too bad but the cabanas that were the main attraction for us. 

Just note that the rules for visitors who are not their guests are now subject to a pool usage fee of USD$30 per pax. So in order to avoid that, it's best to go on a Sunday for brunch and then they would let you use the pool with compliments.


Hotel Mexicola
Jl Kayujati No 9X Petitenget Beach, Seminyak Denpasar, Bali – Indonesia+62 361 736688. Open daily 11am-1am. 

Hotel Mexicola is new to the scene. It totally makes you feel like you are in Mexico. Almost all their fit out was purchased from the mother land itself. We were there for dinner on the first night and the food was pretty good. We were a little late so we missed out on the guacamole but the service was good and the drinks were potent. I'd say go during the day to enjoy the interiors. It's beautiful! Next time I head back, I'd grab a lounge at either the spacious courtyard or if it's just me and the hubs, at the bar for a frozen magaritha.

Carga is a place where they sell some gorgeous home decor stuff. It's probably pricier than most of the other decor stores but it's worth a visit as the items are quite intriguing and carries a lot of balinese essence in the modern way. These dolls were sewed by the cottage industries at the villages and sold as a source of income for the women. I did enjoy walking through the store and looking through the knick knacks

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