Sunday, 29 March 2009


For those of you who have read my previous blog entries, you'll know that i have the habit of buying plants from my workplace because i cannot bear to see precious and lovely plants being thrown away due to "poor quality" and expired sell-by date. Last night, to my delight, i managed to add another collection to my 'plant sanctuary' and it was a beautiful and precious little bonsai called Carmona bonsai, also known as Fukien Tea Bonsai originated from China. And the poor thing was taken off the shelf because of poor visual quality and it would have faced the fate of being chucked into the blue bin at the end of the night. On the box that the bonsai plant came in, it was mentioned that the bonsai had been grown in the native China for the past 7 to 8 years !!! When i saw that, i knew i couldn't let it be thrown away and despite it looking limp and unhealthy, i bought the bonsai and felt immensely proud of it. The only thing i need to do now is look up lots of information about it and nurse it back to health.

As you can see from the picture, it is not looking its best now (the exact reason it was taken off the shelf) so it will need lots of tender loving care. It's not a great picture and the backdrop looks a bit silly with Mario grinning at the back but you can see it's got such a lovely shape to it and the main branch has been carefully trained through the years with wires and i am sure quite a lot of effort and hardwork must have been put into that.

Will keep posting pictures of its progress (if it doesn't die on me because apparently this species is quite a challenge even to an experienced bonsai grower) and hopefully in a month's time i'll be able to post the picture of a healthy looking Carmona bonsai on this blog.

Saturday, 28 March 2009


One of the perks of my M&S job apart from my staff discount, is that because i work the evening shift until closing time, everything that has been taken off the shelves and is expiring on that day, we get to buy them at half price, or quarter price, depending on the variety. So the M&S that i work at is called M&S Simply Foods, so yes, we sell mainly food and drinks and it's quite a small shop (like Tesco express). So last night, among the waste items was this beautiful bunch of Protea bouqeut and after discount, the price came off at 3 pounds instead of the original 12 pounds. I was told by my South African manager that the Protea is the national symbol of South Africa and they apparently last foreverrrrr !! So i gladly took a bunch home and put them in a vase and this morning they looked so beautiful i took a few pictures. Mind you, the pictures were taken by the crappy camera on my phone so they don't do the flowers justice really.

Another one of my favourites is Oriental Lilies. They are so lovely and they too last for a very long time. On top of that, the whole house smells lovely with the lily fragrant in the air.

I guess that is one of the things that makes it exciting working my evening shift because you'll never know at the end of the night what kind of bargain you're going to get :)

Friday, 27 March 2009

it's Friday!!

ahhhh i love fridays because i don't work on fridays at the uni. well not so much this friday because i'm working at 5pm later but when i'm not working my evening shift on a friday it's a three-day weekend so can't be bad. i have a strange but in a way nice work rota with M&S which i think is excellent and fair. it's a two-week rotation system whereby in week one (they call it week one and two), i work thursday, friday and saturday. but in week two, i work tuesday, wednesday and thursday, and then it goes back to week 1 the following week, which means that i only have to work every other weekend and you get a chance to have a weekend off, which is great. of course when it's week 2 when i have my morning shift and evening shift three days in a roll it can be a killer but it soon rolls by and also i have a three-day weekend to look forward to so i plough through those three days with determination and gusto !!

not long ago miss mathew tagged me in a very funny activity and i said i would comply on my friday off and here is it. revealing the inside and outside of my wallet (i told you it was a fun and weird tag)

this picture was taken with my blackberry phone so the resolution isn't great but you can tell what it looks like. it's a Radley purse (quite popular in the UK but not so much outside i think) and i bought it from Beales at £49.50 (half of that money was kindly donated by the other half, haha). and i love it. it took me months looking through websites and deciding which one i would go for and which colour and then finally getting the wallet and realising it was the wrong size (the first one i got was too small for the rubbish i had to accommodate in it) so i took it back, went to the store next to it and got a bigger one!! basically i caused quite a palaver just getting this wallet. and here's the inside bit with three of my most important cards displayed.

well the first card at the top is of course the all important staff discount card which gives me 20% discount at M&S and the second card is where my money comes from but i don't really know why i picked the third card to be there because it's not really that important, come to think of it now. i was sent to do a short first aid course for M&S last year, got my qualification and so am a qualified first aider. and so far i have only tended to two and a half minor cases (thank god) so... all is good.

sigh how time flies when you're doing nothing but sitting in front of the pc and clicking random pages, hehe. am going upstairs to watch Mummy now (the third one) and then have lunch and go to work (feeling sluggish and tired by that time). so now i'm going to tag a few friends for this fun activity.

Ah Bea being the first, Aniq the second, Doria the third and audrey the next one. (tiee i know you've already been tagged by miss mathew). haha have fun !!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Today at work, we had an interesting discussion on the word ‘tiffin’. Because it was the last day of work for one of our colleagues, the boss bought some cakes and mini tarts for tea (it was right after my lunch break so I had to force myself to eat one piece just to be polite). So it was this chocolate cake thingy and it’s got bits of biscuits and cherry in it (yeah I know, I can never be a food magazine writer, seeing that I have such a boring way of describing delicious food). And we later found out that it was called ‘Chocolate Tiffin Stacker’. So I immediately thought, ‘that’s interesting’. Then we started asking each other what ‘tiffin’ actually means. And being Asian I of course immediately said “it’s a stainless steel carrier with two or three tiers of containers where you’d have a layer for rice, a layer for vegetable and a layer for meat”. But that doesn’t explain why those cakes were called ‘tiffin’. We then decided to google it and found some interesting results. ‘Tiffin’ is actually a word that was made popular in British India which meant ‘snack’ or ‘a light meal’. Hence you have tiffin carriers. However, the word ‘tiffin’ in the world of baking, is a kind of snack which mainly uses chocolate and broken biscuit bits as its main ingredients!! To some of you master baker out there you might have already known this but this is indeed new knowledge to me and I find it absolutely fascinating how you google something and find so many interesting results, some of which can be rubbish but at times when you’re lucky you stumble across some really interesting bits and pieces.

For some reason I felt very tired today after work. But if you'd asked me what i actually did at work today, i don't really know. perhaps looking up some articles, booking a room for a meeting, emailing to cancel a meeting, ermmm.... making tea... surely that should not take seven and a half hours?? hmmm... i definitely have to be more productive than that.

I think i'm going to watch a bit of telly now... the best way to unwind, in my opinion.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Old friends.

Have you ever experienced this on Facebook? You make a comment about the status of someone you once knew but you've not spoken to in ages and they replied and it put a smile on your face? I love facebook. I love the fact that I am connecting with so many old chums. But at the same time, inevitably, there is a sense of nostalgia (or regret?) as well. I was never a very sociable or outgoing person during college. I had a few very close friends like Kamala, Beatrice, Felicia, Lian, Sangeeta, Zaamah, Lily and my highschool friend Noel. Apart from that I never really took the effort to get to know all the other 80 odd coursemates I had at MPIK. I wish I had because as we are all connecting to one another through fb after graduating for almost 10 years, I wish i had taken a bit more effort to get to know these people that i have come to love and cherish through facebook and whose life stories i follow 'religiously' -- Aniq, Betty, Doria, Fidel, Zai, Joan, Beatrice, Ashley, Audrey, Sheri and many more. In fact this morning i was on the computer for so long i nearly missed my bus!!

My usual habit is to wake up, get dressed for work, come downstairs to prepare breakfast and then sit in front of the pc for my daily boost of facebook and bloggering. So i was giggling at the comments people have left and also reading blogs posted by others, before i knew it, it was 5 minutes before the bus was due at the bus stop on the mainroad !! so i dashed upstairs like mad, put my boots on, ran downstairs(nearly tripped and fell) and 'bam!!' out i went through the door and started marching towards the main road. because the road leading up to the main road from the house is a straight and longggggggggggg stretch of road so i could see the cars passing on the mainroad and i kept thinking to myself, please don't let the yellow bus pass, please don't let the yellow bus passsss! and you know what, the road seemed never ending!! i was huffing and puffing and the road seemed longer and longer and longer. Finally i reached the end of the road, crossed the road and ran all the way to the bus stop!! literally a minute later, the yellow bus arrived and i thought 'phew' that was close !!!! no more blogging and facebooking in the morning for me that's for sure (yeah right)

Today i spent the whole day designing the sample copy of the centre leaflet and finally finished it. and I felt really, really happy with myself and couldn't stop admiring it !! the only thing is the boss hasn't seen it yet so she might not like it :P so i shall wait until the centre publishes it (if it gets approved) and then i'll take some pictures and post it here to 'show off' my master piece, hehe.

It just goes to show that one of the character traits as humans is that we get so motivated by working towards certain goals and objectives, achieving them and feeling good with ourselves. sometimes i do feel really sorry for my dad who has retired from 28 years of teaching sometime back. and he hasn't coped with his retirement very well and he's been having some health issues. so i worry about my family a lot, and it doesn't help being so far away. of course people who 'seemingly' are free to do whatever they like and can do whatever they fancy are not always the happiest of people. from my own personal experience, i get bored from sitting at home and having nothing to work towards. and that boredom soon turns into mild depression. it's quite funny that i moan when i'm too busy but in actual fact, busy is good. having said that, i shall start moaning again come thursday when i have to do a double shift, one in the morning from 8.30am to 4pm and in the evening from 5pm to 10pm. x)

Monday, 23 March 2009

in a state of euphoria.

i think i am feeling giddy, excited and breathless, the phase of initial excitement experienced by first time bloggers, i'm sure. i just found a few comments about my blog i am as happy as larry. and to top it up i have a FOLLOWER of my blog (cheers to tieeee) !!!!! i am glad i have finally caught up with the rest of the blogging addict community (the chairperson being qahina, hehe). and now that i have started blogging, i can't stop !!

when i finished work today i thought to myself, for the first time i did not doze off in front of the computer after lunch !! for the first two weeks it was a very, very slow start and i was still finding my way round the centre and exploring what my role was. so my days were filled with answering phone calls, taking phone messages, making tea, ordering beverages for meetings...etc. today, i finally found something to get excited about because i am designing a leaflet for the centre. as soon as i got the approval from the boss i immediately got cracking on it and by the end of the day i was very happy with my progress.

as odd as this may sound, when i first started the new job (an office desk job that i've always dreamt of when i was a teacher), part of me actually missed those teaching days. it was a shocking realisation as i thought to myself one afternoon when i was the only person left in the entire office -- teaching doesn't seem so bad now. so friends who are still teachers, i know at times you may be totally discouraged by the amount of paper work and the problematic students in class, teaching isn't exactly that bad. in fact, it IS one of the most exciting and rewarding professions. so enjoy it to the fullest.

personally i admit i don't have the guts to be a teacher in the UK, i think. especially not to a group of middle-class British secondary children. i have a British friend who is a sixth form teacher and she is a tough cookie and she handles her kids well. i think i will just crumble like a cookie, hide under the table and cry my way out of the school, hehe. so well done to wee mee and joanne, who are both teaching in comprehensive schools in the UK, if i'm not mistaken.

it's sad to say that i might have lost touch with teaching. last week, we had a group of visiting students to the university on a 'citizenship day' event and i was in charge of handling the quiz and i must admit that standing in front of the group of 20 odd students, on the outside i appeared cool and confident but inside i was as nervous as hell. i won't be surprised if my voice came out twitting and squeking like a bird. How utterly useless of me, after 5 years of teaching experience!

Having said that, I still enjoy my new job because i am gaining new experience; learning new things; adopting new concepts; and coming up with new ideas. The only down side is that for the time being it is only a contract job until end of September and nobody knows if the contract will be extended. Only time can tell and in the meantime, I will make the most of it by achieving as much as i can.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

the subject of my hair

Because today was such a beautiful day and we were standing on the lawn hanging the washing out so i asked my other half to take a spontaneous picture of me with my mobile so that i can show my friends on facebook what my new haircut looks like. And it turned out to be a nice picture that i really like. i think that i am one of those unfortunately people who NEVER look good in any pictures no matter how hard i try to change my smile, or my pose or the way i tilt my head or the way i look at the camera. i never liked my pictures being taken. but for some reason, i end up liking this picture a lot.

Getting my long, long hair cut was as usual an impulsive decision that i never thought very long and hard about. I have had very long and straight hair for the past three years so i thought it was time for a change and to have my hair layered and so before i visited the hairdresser i had a mental image of how i wanted my hair to be cut. As soon as i got there i told her very clearly how i wanted it cut. The hairdresser was a lady from China who was recommended by a coursemate who went to uni with me last year. I found out through many painful experiences that British hairdressers DO NOT know how to cut Asian hair so after i visited the Chinese lady for the first time i was very very happy i found the right hairdresser and trusted her completely with my hair.

So she did what she was told and was i happy? no, no, no. Yours truly thought that the haircut wasn't obvious enough and demanded my hair to be cut more and that was a mistake that i would later regret because when she was done, it finally dawned on me that my long hair was gone. That was one of the reasons why i wasn't too happy with my new haircut to begin with. Fortunately, after two weeks my hair started to shape itself into a new style and i have since grown to like it.

Not long ago, Bea and i discussed at length about the prospect of me getting my hair permed and we both agreed that it would be a nice change for me. However the perm would have cost me 50pounds and it's an amount that i can never see myself spending, for the time being, on my hair. So it was a shame that i had my haircut without considering the perm because i had always wanted to try curly hair.

I think hair is a very interesting and amusing subject for women, especially for me and bea. Whenever we meet in Reading we would end up having very fun and giggly nights doing each other's hair and i really miss that. Now ah bea is still stuck in KK and i'm sitting here waiting and wondering when she's going to be able to get back to the UK. Even when she comes back here i suspect we won't be able to have our 'notorious' girly short breaks now that she is married. Sigh. Don't get me wrong though, i am extremely, extremely happy for her that she's married. x)

Anyway i am quite glad with the healthy progress that this blog is making and it's 3 minutes before Desperate Housewives is on and I shall be in front of the telly soon so that I don't miss anything. Catch you later.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Rising from the dead.

It is quite funny that this blogsite is like my water lily plant that 'rose from the dead'. When I first started working at Supermarket X I couldn't bare to see the 'expired' plants being thrown away every night -- beautiful orchids, exotic looking water lily plant, roses, all in nice porcelain pots being thrown away almost mercilessly. So I would try and buy as many plants as I could afford to and bring them home with me. Eventually I finally ran out of space and had to stop buying (by then I had also built up a stronger will power and could handle looking at them being chucked into the bin). Anyway, despite my TLC quite a few plants 'died on me' and that included a water lily plant which I didn't bother throwing out coz the pot was really nice. Last week, when i accidentally looked up where the pot was sitting at, to my amusement, four new shoots were emerging from the earth. How wonderful !!

So yesterday during my day off I spent half of it reading through friends' blogs and thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I thought to myself -- I can do this?! I just have to be more resilient, more 'involved' and not to leave the blogpage for half a year before I visit it again !!! That should do the trick and also I tell myself I should be less self-conscious about what others would think of me and start being a bit more open and relaxed. The other half always calls me uptight. And I know I can be, quite uptight. So am going to let my hair down and share more things with more friends.

So please check this site every now and again and hopefully you'll see new entries every so often.