Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Technology is a wonderful thing!

I am so sorry for the huge gap in posting! My iPad could not link into my Dad's wireless so I was without easy Internet access for a fortnight! Yes I did feel like someone had cut off my right arm.

We are having a great time in New Zealand even if Scarlett and I got to experience some pretty intense earthquakes on the 23rd of December. We are off on a road trip today heading south... List of great photo opportunities I hope.

We had a lively Christmas. Scarlett was thoroughly spoilt and even with a combined luggage allowance of seventy kgs I still think we will be paying excess baggage!

No photos to add yet as I am posting from the iPad. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and I will try and post from the lovely husband's laptop this week with some photos of our trip.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The relief of Christmas Shopping being complete!

I am really pleased that we have got all our presents purchased for family back home in plenty of time. I am going to take some with me and Tet will bring the rest when he arrives on Christmas Eve. I would like to say they are all wrapped and ready but that is a bit too organised. We will hopefully get that done tonight without the helpful  nearly two year old.

I have taken a picture of the finished printers tray Tet and I made for  my Dad for his present. I used an Elle's Studio kit but in the end we barely used the supplies included and relied more on the photos to tell the story. Scarlett is my Dad's only grandchild and they have a really close and special relationship. I am really pleased to have created something that will remind them of this time together. Tet was my right hand measure and cut man. He is way better at getting a straight line from my trimmer than I am. I think I might have to take lessons!

We have been doing some last minute catching up before we go away. We all had dinner with one of the twins (Scarlett's best buddies in the whole world) and their Mum, Lisa. We have hardly seen Lisa as she has recently started her residency to complete her medical training to become a paediatrician. 80 hour weeks and weekly 30 hour shifts which always involve no sleep and often no meal breaks make catching up hard. It was great to eat some sushi and catch up. Lisa is working Christmas so it will be a new experience for her little family having Mummy away on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Please excuse the less than great photo but even at very high ISO these two are just in constant motion! They really do love each other!

I am feeling a little guilty as we got our first Christmas Card today and we have not sent any this year ... I think we got three last year though so I figure it might not be worth the effort - or the stress of going to the post office at this time of year!

I had better get moving and finish packing Scarlett's suitcase and start packing my own - I only get whatever is left of the weight allowance once all her gear is packed. At this rate I will be buying a lot of clothes on holiday!
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The countdown is well and truly on

It is only four more sleeps until Scarlett and I head back home to New Zealand for the first time in 18 months. I have only just realised how many things I have to get done between now and Saturday afternoon. It is a little bit daunting to be honest.

We made a real effort to do some fun things as a family over the weekend. Saturday's visit to Little India was a great success and one of the malls along the road had a great outdoor playground. Scarlett had a wonderful time scaling the climbing wall and wooshing down the slide. On Sunday we split up - Tet and Scarlett did the grocery shopping while I had a pedicure. I think I got the better deal! In the afternoon we headed down to one of the local malls as they had a live Sesame Street performance. Scarlett loves Ernie with a passion and she really enjoyed watching the characters dancing on stage. We had hoped to have a trip on the Singapore Flyer which has all been decorated for Christmas but sadly Scarlett had reached the end of her tether and we headed home.

I have got a bit behind with completing pages of my December Daily and I have realised they do not photograph well at all. This is in no small part due to my using silver pen! I have plenty of ideas for each day but no photos printed! I am off to the mall this afternoon to get some photo paper and we will attempt to print some photos on our Pixma at home. I will let you know how that goes.

I have finally taken a photograph of the layout I completed last week. I am really happy with how it turned out. I used an idea from Shimelle's PPP again - combining spots and stripes although I think it is clear which way my heart lies. 

I am hoping to complete three days of entries in my DD today and to make my Dad's printer's tray from Elle's Studio. The sad thing is my photos are all landscape and it is designed for more portrait so most of the cute notes and labels will not fit! Hopefully I will work out a way to make something good.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

And still it rains

I know it is the monsoon in Singapore at present. I love the cooler temperatures - 28 as opposed to 34 is a very pleasant improvement. I do not even mind the rain but please let the all day rain stop!

I know I should not grumble. Today was lovely until about three. Currently the lightning and thunder are arriving at the same time and it is happening out both sides of the apartment. I do believe we are in the middle of a storm! Foolishly I left taking photos of my DD and my most recent layout until after we got home from Christmas shopping. The light is nowhere near good enough so I guess I am going to try again tomorrow.

Last night we hit Orchard Road to make some inroads into our Christmas shopping. We managed to buy Scarlett a couple more presents and her best buddies in the whole world had their presents sorted too. We oohed and ahhed at all the lights and monster Christmas trees and had a delicious dinner. We totally wore Scarlett out and she was carried home sleeping in Tet's arms for the first time in a long time.

After gym today we headed to Little India as my sister has specifically asked for some Indian bangles for Christmas. We found those after a lot of hot walking! Good when someone is really specific about what they would like though. We also bought Scarlett's Christmas day dress. I just love it!
Scarlett has slept on both car journeys to and from Little India so Tet is sitting in the car with her till she wakes up. He is playing Angry Birds so they are both happy. Our daughter has never transferred well from the car so we always are prepared with Ipad or magazines for these inevitable breaks. It has given me a chance to blog and to complete Day 2 of my DD. I am very grateful!

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful weekend. My last full one in Singapore before we head home to NZ. I am getting really excited!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

First of the month

I am not sure if it is just me but December seems to have come around awfully quick this year. I have to admit I find this time of year a little disconcerting when we live away from our families. Either I constantly feel like I am missing something by being away or I am super excited to be heading home.

This year is a heading home year (we get home leave every two years) and we are starting to get very excited. It is going to be a little strange to leave tropical Singapore for quake damaged Christchurch. At least it is Summer though so the weather should be ok.

The Christmas lights here have been fabulous. The theme is blue and silver and they really do look magical. It is times like this that I am so grateful to live in the central city so we can easily walk to see them rather than having to brave the traffic.
 December first brings the start of the December Daily. I spent a wonderful two hours in Starbucks yesterday while Scarlett went to her weekly playgroup. I packed a SC crop bag full of Christmas stickers, chipboards and thickers and sat with my toffee nut frap and worked on my foundation pages. I got up to the 20th which is great as I am only going to Christmas day before swapping to my holiday minibook. I did get some odd looks but it was wonderful with carols playing in the background... I actually felt really in the festive spirit.

To be honest, I have no clue what I will record from today. Our playdate friends are under the weather so we will not be going there. I might just pop down to the shops and take some photos of the decorations to get things started. I had hoped Scarlett might be happier having her photo taken with Father Christmas this year but sadly when we offered her the chance she clung like a limpet. I will try again when we return home but I think the big man in red is just a wee bit frightening for her. As you can see from the Christmas party last year tears were the order of the day!

I thought I might start the monthly task of goal setting on my blog. It always helps to be a little accountable for our actions (or lack there of). This month I would like to:
  • have all our presents bought and wrapped by the end of this weekend
  • survive the flight home with Scarlett without either of us being permanently traumatised
  • keep up with my December Daily and not feel pressure to have the amazing products that I am already seeing online
  • have a proper family holiday between Christmas and New Year where we can introduce Scarlett to some of our favourite places in New Zealand  - namely the MacKenzie Basin, in the central South Island
  • make a good start on a holiday album using the Amy Tangerine mini book
  • not feel guilty about indulging in the wonderful food and wine while I am home - January is a new start
  • create some new Christmas traditions for our family as Scarlett will actually enjoy and start to understand what all the fuss is about this year
Just one or two then! Hopefully I can achieve most of them!

Have you got any goals for December? I would love to hear them.

Here is a photo of Lake Ohau where we hope to spend some time this month from Alangrinberg.com. Can you see why I am getting excited?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Busy weekend

I was sure I would have a spare minute to post over the weekend but it was not to be. We had some of our favourite people visiting from KL and they kept us entertained. Scarlett loves her honorary uncles and they make such a fuss of her.

The best thing was they agreed to babysit Scarlett on Saturday night so that Tet and I could go out for dinner with friends. To put this in context, this is the second time Tet and I have been out in the evening since Scarlett was born 21 months ago. We were really excited! Scarlett was less excited and in fact was a real monkey. We spent a lot of time trying to get her down before we left but she was not having a bar of it. So we left with her screaming. She continued to do this for quite a while and her uncles gave in and let her come out to the lounge. She watched half an hour of Happy Feet, ate a snack, had a drink and then asked to be put down in Mummy's bed. She was still sound asleep when we got home. 

We had a fabulous evening with our friends K and P. They introduced us to their local wine bar. It was wonderful with an amazing range of wines. Even better though, they have the menus for all the restaurants in the area. We decided we felt like Thai and so we rang the restaurant and they delivered the food (on china no less) in less than 15 minutes. We had a great evening. They are wonderful company and we look forward to getting together again in the new year.

I have definitely decided one of my resolutions for 2012 is to find a reliable babysitter and have a date night once a month. It makes us feel a bit more like the way we were pre baby. I think we could do with putting a bit more focus on us as a couple instead of just us as a family.

I am working on a couple of new layouts - still working through the Boardwalk kit and using Shimelle's PPP as a starting point. I am so much more productive with a sketch to get me started - even if the finished product bears little relation to the original idea.

SC have had their reveal this past weekend and I have been very restrained. I have not ordered a single add on - although I have picked up more than a few items in the shop. I have my fingers crossed that the box will arrive before I head overseas but suspect that hubby will be bringing things back for me.

I will try and post a couple of layouts today or tomorrow - it all depends how long my daughter naps for and if she goes to bed easily tonight. Yesterday it was a short nap and a battle to get her to sleep at night so here is hoping she plays the game and lets Mummy get some crafting done!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Black Friday and December Daily

I was planning on doing a post about the Black Friday sales today but overall they have not really rocked my world. I did pick up a few bargains at Studio Calico. They had an album I have been looking at marked down and some pens. I also used the sale as a chance to pick up some of the SC lines. I mainly went for the embellies and scrap tags. Pretty much things I can see me using with Project Life next year. Oh and I picked up one of the full sets of Mister Hueys which I am really excited about. I know I could have picked these items up cheaper elsewhere but I love the customer service at SC and I know what my postage is going to cost. When you don't live in the US the sticker shock on postage can be amazing. Ofter as much as the items purchased, if not more.
My wee dot was a great napper today after a lot of disruption around nap time. We had our air con units serviced which usually is a pretty quick process. We have had a bit of trouble with the unit in the master bedroom and they spent an age trying to get it spotless - without success. Long story short Monkey's nap was over an hour late. She still managed to sleep for over two hours though which gave me a chance to check out the SC sale, eat some lunch and make a start on my December Daily.

My DD is not going to be one of the works of art I see online. I do not have the stash, the time or the inclination to make something so elaborate to be honest. I am using the DD as a partial record of our trip home to New Zealand next month. I have also put aside an Amy Tan minibook to record the mini holiday we will be taking as a family while we are back home.

The basis of my DD is one of Elise Blaha Cripe's holiday books. I have been admiring her seasonal books for a while and I thought this would suit my needs perfectly. The 4 x 6 size also means that I can later add in full size photos as well as some instax prints into the album. I have been adding date numbers and the odd flat embellie to the pages. There are some envelopes inside too which I hope to find some special souvenirs to put inside. I am planning to take a fairly minimal kit of some EP and Simple Stories stickers and cards anf a Bo Bunny set of ephemera which has proved really useful already. I want to keep things fairly flat as I am going to be completing it on the go. EBC's etsy store Elise Joy has lots of cool quirky art as well as her seasonal books. Well worth a look.

I am also amazed at the response when I finally put a link onto the SC daily blog list. I had so many hits and was really encouraged by all the comments - I even have two followers now! (thanks ladies - you made my week!). I will definitely respond to the comments over the weekend.

We have Scarlett's "uncles" coming to stay with us from KL this weekend and we cannot wait to see them. They spoil her rotten! I am hoping to take a few photos and do a layout of the three of them together. This weekend is also all about making my Dad's Christmas present. I purchased an Elle's Studio thankful kit which I am adapting with photos of my dad with Scarlett on his visit to us earlier in the year. I have always wanted to complete a printer's tray project so this is a good chance to do it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 24 November 2011


I have finally taken some photos of two of the three layouts I have worked on this week. I have decided that one is a bit unfinished and needs something else so will hold off on sharing that one.

The first is based on one of Shimelle's sketches from Pretty Paper Party lesson one.
Please excuse the slightly washed out colours. It does have a washed out feel but not to the degree it appears here. I used the Studio Calico "Boardwalk" kit for this layout and  I am really happy with how it turned out. It is not actually a wonderful photo but it is the only photo of all three of us from this holiday and I am glad it has been scrapped and preserved.

Last night I completed another layout from Shimelle's PPP. This time it was from the second lesson. This took a bit longer to come together as the combination of so many patterned papers really did take me out of my comfort zone.
This one also used papers and embellishments from the Boardwalk kit along with some extra bits and pieces from a couple of the add ons. I am just so excited to have moved away from coloured card stock backgrounds with this class and have used some papers that, in the past, I would have shied away from.

I know I have a long way to go with this craft but it gives me such pleasure to create something special with our photos and my wee girl just gets so excited to see her pictures in the albums completed in this way.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A night at the theatre

After a period of thinking I was going to miss out, my friend Elena managed to get a couple of tickets to Richard III for last night. I had super high expectations as the reviews I had seen for this Sam Mendes production were uniformly excellent.

It was the first time I have seen a production at the Esplanade Theatre and I was really impressed. It has wonderful acoustics, comfortable seats and great views from every seat. I knew it would be chilly and was very glad for my long sleeves.

We were warned by signs and the ushers that the first act was about two hours long. It certainly did not feel like it! The set was quite simple and costuming 20th century. The supporting cast were uniformly good with special mention to Chuk Iwuji who was remarkable as Buckingham.

Kevin Spacey was simply wonderful in this role. He was a pleasure to watch. 

He was believable as a crippled, spiteful man with no conscience. I imagine walking with the twisted leg and brace must be fairly draining night after night.

If you have the opportunity to watch this play do not hesitate. It is three and a half hours long including intermission but it felt much less. 

I am definitely going to make the effort to go to more theatre. I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Scrapping again!

It feels like forever since I actually sat down and scrapped. All the stars aligned and I managed to have photos, the inclination and a sketch all printed out. Scarlett was napping so after I got the required housework out of the way I sat on my sofa (my current favourite location to scrap) and got stuck in.

I have made a promise to myself to really make a dent in my first Studio Calico kit, Boardwalk, before I head away for the Christmas break. I have it packaged up in a SC crop bag along with the two add ons I purchased that month. I love the colours in this kit - it was the one that made me sign up for a sub after all. Having looked through it I felt it would work well with my beachy swimming photos. I got a swag of those printed last weekend.

I decided the important thing today was to make a real start so I printed out the first two prompts from Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party. There are a lot of seriously patterned papers in this kit so it all seemed to make sense. I liked the look of the final sketch from prompt one so sorted through my landscape pictures and found one of the three of us on our first trip to Bintan this time last year. It is not a great photo (in fact my eyes are closed) but it is one of the few that has all three of us from this time so I really wanted to have it scrapped.

By the time Tet came home for lunch about 30 minutes after I started, I had the papers cut and adhered, the titles on and was looking for embellishments. Of course Monkey woke up just after we finished lunch so the layout is not quite finished. I am hoping to complete it tonight and get another one underway this evening after Scarlett has gone to bed.

I always thought that the kits would simplify the process and they really made things fall nicely into place. Having said that, I have picked a few things out of my stash to add to the layout. I am also able to stop feeling guilty for having these kits arrive month after month without using anything from them.

I totally love the Shimelle class prompts. They are full of great ideas and certainly give a novice scrapper like myself the confidence to have a go. I have also recently purchased Kelly Purkey's Sketchpad and am hoping to try some of those sketches too.

I will try and post two new layouts tomorrow. If I can get some pictures off the camera I might do  a quick picture dump of our weekend. It was action packed! 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Brunettis arrives in Singapore

We have had a very busy Sunday. It was sunny first thing, which is not a given when in the middle of the monsoon, so we got organised and took Scarlett to the Botanic Gardens to burn off some energy. We fed the fish and turtles and had a nice walk through the gardens. 

We headed down the road to Tanglin Mall for breakfast and came across the newly opened Brunettis cafe. This is apparently an institution in Melbourne and after eating breakfast there I can see why. They specialise in baked goods... particularly of the chocolatey, pastry variety. Cabinet after cabinet of all types of delicious treats - salted caramel macaroons, two types of chocolate croissants... fabulous.

We were not there for sweet treats though. Tet ordered the Sicilian Eggs Benedict and I had the Truffled Scrambled Eggs. We both had a flat white and the monkey had a chocolate croissant and a vanilla milkshake. The food was excellent. Scarlett's milkshake and croissant were received immediately upon ordering as were the coffees. The coffee was excellent and not badly priced. The croissant was decadent beyond words. Full of fondanty chocolate and the pastry was light and crispy. Her milkshake was also lovely. 

Sady there was a fairly long wait for the main orders but they were worth it. The truffled eggs were flavoursome and the mushrooms and grilled tomatoes were well cooked. It was served with some crispy bacon and a large slice of toasted farmstyle bread. It was a good sized portion. The eggs were a little more well cooked than I like but that is a small quibble in the overall scheme of things. The eggs bene looked lovely and I can only assume they were as Tet wolfed them down in short order without sharing. They were served on toast with ham and cheese to go with the hollandaise. 

We decided it would be rude to leave without trying some of the pastries. We are working our way through them at home. I will report further when we have tried them all. We were heavily involved in Scarlett wrangling during this meal so no photos I am afraid. I can definitely recommend Brunettis for breakfast as long as you are not in a hurry. I would suggest getting there early though as the cafe was packed by the time we left.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Tough Week

We have been super lucky the last 6 or 7 weeks in that Tet has not had any overseas work trips. It has been lovely to have him home.

Sadly this week he has been in Jakarta. He left Monday morning and will arrive home again tonight after Scarlett has gone to bed. Usually Scarlett is better behaved for me when her father is away. Usually....

Scarlett has reached the stage of pushing boundaries - hard. She is particularly resistant to any restrictions put in place for her personal safety such as holding hands while crossing the street or wearing a seat belt while travelling in a taxi. This makes life challenging at the best of times. If you combine this with a week where she has ended up in my bed before midnight on three of the four nights it is a very tough week. I generally do not go back to sleep once Scarlett gets into bed with me. She is quite restless and flails around quite a bit while in bed. I am worn out.

Yesterday took the cake though. Scarlett had had two showers by nine thirty as she decided to use her mango yogurt for a hair treatment. The floor got quite a generous helping as well. Thursdays are the day our cleaner comes so I try to take Scarlett out to give the cleaner a good run at things. Yesterday Scarlett fell asleep on the first part of our walk in her pram. She woke up just before I headed for home. She slept for maybe 20 minutes. When it came time for a nap... no go. 

Thursday is also play date day so we had to taxi to our friends' house. She was pretty dreadful on the way there but controllable  and spent most of the trip in a belt seated. On the return journey she refused to sit and was trying to crawl all around the cab. Cue some restraining from Mummy and ten minutes of screaming from Scarlett. It was horrendous and took all my strength to keep her held and safe.

The long and short of it is I am having really major second thoughts about taking Scarlett back to NZ next month. I know she is going to fight being belted into her seat and I know that she more than likely will not sleep. I just do not think I have the energy to manage her for ten hours on the plane plus the two or more hours at the airport. This is compounded by the fact that my dad's house is not very baby friendly at all which is going to make just daily life a real drama. It is all just starting to seem too hard.

I had a bit of a meltdown on skype this morning to my poor husband who really cannot do anything about it from Jakarta. He wants me to have a weekend away from Scarlett so I can have a real clear head before I make any major decisions. I know I want to go home for Christmas but the thought of having a boundary pushing 21 month old in tow is just dismal. I have arranged to have lunch with 2 old friends and I know it is going to be awful as Scarlett expects the meal to end when she has finished. We have worked on that with her but at best she will tolerate about 5 minutes at the table before she starts to get boisterous.

Maybe a baby free weekend will help but more likely I will just feel guilty. No one else seems to have these sorts of problems with their children. People always comment on how active Scarlett is and I am increasingly aware this is not a compliment. She totally needs to start school or do something away from me to give us both a break. Up to 22 hours a day in the same room as each other is just too much.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Printing photos

I am still trying to find the best solution for printing photos as this is the single thing that impacts negatively on my ability to scrapbook.

Now I make no claims to being an excellent photographer. I do not have a DSLR camera. I have a nice little Sony point and click which takes a pretty decent photo and now that I have started to fiddle about with ISO and such can even cope with Scarlett at play. I take quite a few photos and we try and download everything off the camera and hubby's phone weekly. We do a monthly album on facebook for all our friends and family overseas and that works really well for us.

Printing pictures is a whole different kettle of fish. We have struggled to find anywhere very good in Singapore for photo printing. I am currently going to Harvey Normans and using their self print work stations but the quality is pretty hit and miss and it is surprisingly time consuming. The staff are really helpful but I need something better as we generally only get there every couple of months at best. By that time I have dozens and dozens of photos to print and it just takes forever. When you have a 20 month old forever does not work well.

We have been looking at the selphy printers but they are a lot more expensive here than the States. I think one might be a necessity with starting Project Life. 

Does anyone else have this problem? We have a Canon Pixma printer at home and have never tried to print photos on that. We probably should but I suspect the results might be disappointing.

On the bright side I printed an 8 x 10 print of one of my current favourite photos of hubby and Scarlett. I love it because it shows how much they look alike and how much of a bond there is between them. I am off to the Studio Calico boards now for a bit of chat and to see the sneaks for December. 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Cruisy rainy day

I love a rainy day when you have nothing planned. Hanging around home is a good choice instead of the last resort on a rainy Saturday.

To be fair we have been pretty busy. We took Scarlett to her weekly gym class this morning. She loves it and her two best buds were there too. They really do love playing together and it is  good to see that Scarlett can hold her own with older, bigger boys. As she often does, she fell asleep in the car on the drive home so we continued driving to a mall to have some lunch and start our Christmas shopping.

We had our usual sushi lunch and as always it was delicious. The teka (tuna) maki was really good - so much so that I had to order another portion. I then managed to buy Scarlett a gorgeous winter coat and cardigan from Zara. New Zealand summers are not always that warm and we are heading back to Japan in March so the coat will be useful for both trips.

It really is a cute coat and purple is Scarlett's favourite colour. 

I was getting a bit frazzled so my lovely husband took Scarlett off for an explore while I had 45 minutes of reflexology. Bliss! I feel so much better for it.

We have spent the rest of the day just vegging at home. We have watched some figure skating on TV and Scarlett has been playing with her jig saws. These have become her favourite toys again after a few months of ignoring them.

Life is about to change for Scarlett. She is about to have her first session at a drop off play group on Wednesday. She has never successfully been left for anything. This is going to be a very interesting attempt as it is run at her gym by the teachers who she knows and loves. We are hoping to start her in pre school three mornings a week next year so this is the soft lead in. One morning a week for two hours. I know she can do it but she is a stubborn wee thing and if she decides she does not want to it could be a very long two hours.

We were not initially planning to send Scarlett to school of any sort next year but we both definitely need some time away from each other. She needs more socialisation with other children and more opportunities to learn. I just need a little time to myself. We have not been apart for more than a couple of hours since she was born and while I don't think I would change it we could certainly do with some separate time. Now if the principal of the school would just return my call so we can finalise that she has a place for next year we would be all set!

I hope your Saturday has been a relaxing one.