Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Well hello hard, solid and ... shiny

eurgghh can't even do up my shoe laces!

Ah another day, another twinge in a muscle somewhere!  No no I wasn't up all night playing twister! (I'd probably be in traction if that!).  As part of my new beginning in a new county,  I've also joined a yoga class, introduced to me by my sister in law here (yes!  I have them everywhere! just kidding, but then again I do have 3 brothers ), we shall abbreviate that to SIL from now on yeaaa.  Anyways,  SIL took me to her yoga studio last night for a sesh.  Really enjoyed it, tried not to look at all the beautiful ladies around me with too much envy, and kept the one pack (gone are the days of 6 packs or washboard abs, huge sigh) firmly sucked in.  Love the free flow yoga they practice, so different form the discipline of Iyengar Yoga I was practicing, I can still hear my Yogi saying "this is a not a ballet class Daphne, do not point your toes!".. eeepppp.

Have a look at their website Zenko Yoga

With everything new, I've also had to get a new lap top as mine died on me a couple of weeks ago, quite a funny story really, no really it is funny in retrospect.  I've had my macbook pro for 5 years, those machines are brilliant,  I think dropping it at the airport (after many little "oopsies" ) was the final kabosh, and my fantastic Mac said "right, that's it, I'm done wif ya, go abuse another lap top". So I found a place that repaired mac's and went in,
and said "hello, can you help me, I've dropped my lappie and it's not powering up properly" .
He took one look at me and said "don't tell me it's a mac book pro" .
I said "it's a mac book pro".
If he could have rolled his eyes he would have but, Mr I'm cool , I got tattoos up the wazoo and big baggy shorts, just smiled and took my precious to go have a quick look over.  5 minutes later he came out
and said, "do you have home insurance comp"?,
I said "no, so hit me with it",
He said "we have to change the entire casing and it's going to cost ya,  I suggest you go get a new laptop".  
And there you go, so now I'm using the new mac book air, as paranoid nerdette backed up everything to an external hard drive that has more than 1T and can access any file any time without excess baggage or bulk.  know what I mean?

Talking about bulk, oohh behave, I'm still on tech here, we can leave all the wobbly bits out, just for this blog.  My other bit of newness is a domestic one, yeah I wish, we all want a Puerto Rican pool boy who looks like a GQ pin up, but NO, I'm talking about vacuum cleaners.  Oi hang on a minute, it might not sound sexy to you but it's still part of our daily lives.
Whilst staying with my galpal when we first got here, I noticed she had an Aussie Vac Ducted Vacuum system  installed.  Which is great as you can just plug the hose in anywhere in the house , but you still needed to physically hold the vacuum and clean.  Seeing as I was about to move into a new home,  I started doing some research on robotic vacuum cleaners,  several of my friends in Asia have them and say they work a treat.  Well guess who's got one now to help around the house eh.  The kids have dubbed it "robo" Very original, succinct and easy to remember (however I will not allow them to name pets ).

There must be a program in me that I can erase because I catch myself following the dang thing sometimes!  It's great to do a general clean, so while I'm in the kitchen in the morning doing my usual prep, I just let it go.  The house is clean in 20 minutes and I haven't even broken a SWEAT .  Mind you, I still have to nag the kids to help mop the house and do the corners.... wonder if they'll come up with a machine for that .....
In the mean time, have a great week ahead, drop me a line if you feel like it, or just say hey. Dx

Looks like a flying saucer innit!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hello New World!

Hello! Hello!  my first blog of 2017!  Well it's been a tremendous year so far, and I'm loving every moment.  A really good friend of mine just gave me a gentle nudge about the blog so I've decided to start filling in all the blanks since 2016

I left off last year when Kudsia Kahar my media partner and myself started stirring our couldrons, ooh yea we are up to something.  We're currently sourcing for sponsorship as the entire show we've put together is ready to roll out.

It was such a whirlwind of packing, packing packing, selling off and giving away all my worldly goods, yes I got rid of everything I had in my house , well except for the kids of course!!! I had decided I was moving and that was that.  Gave notice to the landlord, gave the car to the mechanic to sort out, uploaded all my stuff on the preloved goods website and everything else I gave away to charity.

I remember sitting there amongst all my stuff wondering if I'd ever be done packing.  Geezzz how much have I accumulated???! My kids retort "well we've been here for 9 year mum what did you expect!"  9 years??!!! Oh my gawd,  time has really just flown by it was supposed to be a 2 year stop gap....
However sometimes life grabs you by the short and curlies and says "oi, wake up, it's time to go forth and explore some better options, gtfo babe!"

And better options there are, we have made the big move, left our country lifted skirts and legged it. We're now in the land down under, immersing ourselves in the laid back lifestyle of the sunnysiders, learning not to say 'slippers' but 'thongs'  and trying not to grin while 'the thong song' plays in my mind every time they correct me!

so along with a new phone number and address, there are also numerous new online sites to do your shopping from, and like most there are cookies and little feedback pop ups which I invariably fill out, because I'm like that!!

This also gives third party marketers your info and then the Tele marketers begin to call, I've had 8 calls so far. Look I know everyone rolls their eyeballs at this, and says grrr they are such a pain in the "beep" , ( ok bum, I said it, I'm not a prude 😜) but think about it, what the person at the other end of the phone has to go through mentally to speak to you, a complete stranger, and try to sell their product in the most innovative non pushy way.

I really feel for them and so I usually give them the time of day to finish their speil, then let them down gently, it is a hard job and kudos to them. I've managed to giggle along to someone trying to sell me funeral insurance, commiserate with someone who was from the seeing  eye dog association to being thanked for being so nice by Raymondo who was from a telco company, he said "you're the kindest person so far,  who has spoken to me, have a great day! " And you know what, I did have a great day!. I've been harping on taking your time to smell that heavenly Columbian coffee for the last few blogs, what is the rush? Where are we all going in such a hurry? Why can't we give  our fellow man a hand after all we could be that person too..no?

You all have a great week ahead, I've got a few more topics brewing that I'd like to throw your way but if you do get a telemarketer calling, don't hang up, they're just doing their job. Dx

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Secret Weapon

Hello Hello!  It's long overdue that I post some rambly type of thoughts and updates of sorts.  Where shall I start eh, ok well quickly run through the production side as everyone I know keeps asking me what I'm doing now, apart from making my condiments.

 I'm partnering up with my radio buddy and former COO of Capital FM, Kudsia Kahar,  to do a chat show!  Ding! ding! ding!, if anything the warning bells should begin as both of us are loud and proud! We'll be shooting a short pilot this week, sometime, for clients to better understand what the content of our show is about.  I don't usually shoot pilots for any of my productions, but we feel this time it requires one.  We're targeting next year to begin production and broadcasting and that's all I'm going to say for now on that show!!!
Then when we were newbies on radio

Now after all those years!

So leaving the production work aside, we all know that Christmas is around the corner! One of my besties from school, Annie does a countdown as early as possible, the groans begin in July or August when she does her "jingle jingle " post with the countdown! (as of today it's 32 days!)

This year my good pal Riz and I will be baking and selling Christmas cookies.  Hey, not just any ol Christmas cookie but special recipes from my step dad, who just happens to be a pastry chef extraordinaire and after years of being in HK, is now training up-and-coming chefs in the Philippines.

My step dad Peter with his students 

 I must say, that when I first started baking or cooking anything, my mother and step dad were really good about trying my errr  attempts (I will not tell you about the rolling of eyes and barf faces I got from my brothers!).  The first one being a simple butter cake when I was 11.  One day when they had gone out  for dinner, I decided that I'd surprise them with dessert when they got home.  Now little did I know when the recipe calls for colouring that means perhaps a few drops NOT a cap full!!! cut a long story short when they got home and I presented my cake (which was a bit brown.. ok ok slightly burnt on top... and bottom) , they gamely cut a few slices and kept a very straight face when they saw how red the inside was and only years later told me how they waited until I went to bed and fell about laughing.   I smile now at the thought because later on as I progressed through my F&B courses in school, it was my step dad who showed me all the little tricks and ways to make food taste and look so much better.

My stepdad just started testing his first batch, hope I can do the same!!!!!

Today I've just received his recipes for the cookies we used to eat as kids in Switzerland during the festive season and I can't wait to try them out.  I'll be posting the pic once they look perfect and will be taking orders in the next week or so.  If they are anywhere as good as Peter's, you will all be in for a real treat!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Das Booty

I've never been one to take up issues online but a few experiences in the last month has made me froth at the mouth and have my inner "cattiness" rear up.  So lets start at the beginning

My Cha Cha Chili Sauce™

As most of you are aware I am a huge advocate of homemade products especially since it's a great way to supplement your income , hey it's does come in handy with our economic downturn.  I was added to a page by a friend which I  have mentioned in one of my past blogs,  the page is called "jobs for caring mums etc etc (it's a very long title!)  Anyway watching the members on the page grow to almost 50,000 members was astonishing but at the same time the down side was your posts for your products would get lost with the hundreds of posts on the page, a perfect example was my trying to find the organic home made soya sauce I saw on the page.  After scrolling down for more than half an hour my eyes blurred up and I still couldn't find it.

So I thought to my self (and that's a dangerous thing!) there must be a more organised way to help the homemade community.  (notice I'm not limiting it to just mothers)  Being a producer and creating shows I thought why not come up with a channel especially geared towards the homemade market and hey lets call it "HOMEMADE IN MALAYSIA"  can't go wrong there can you?

So I spoke to a film director friend of mine and said will you do this for peanuts as it's to help the community,  my friend say "yeah, it's worth while and everyone benefits", so I roped in a few more creative folk, after all it was to help the community.

My lovely faerie from OXOLOCO.COM helped design the logo

The mechanics were simple, we would shoot a 10 to 15 second video of the homemakers product with a standardised format, upload it to the YouTube Channel and the homemade producers could use the youtube links to market their product and showcase it in a professional manner.  I wasn't going to charge them the professional video fees, which lets face it,  would be out of their budgets.  I then wrote in to the Malaysian crowdfunding site  MYSTARTR.COM and applied for crowd funding for some equipment required.

What a joke, after two e mails that came two weeks apart (so in all it took them a month ) the "project coordinator"  from Mystartr still did not understand this simplistic concept and the final Kibosh was when she wrote  "what do you need the funds for ?" AFTER I had uploaded images of equipment for a DIY studio in the last e mail, so she could see WHAT THE FUNDING WAS FOR!!!! And (yes there's a wee bit more) then Mystartr sent me a generic letter to say " Your project has been idle for a month,  this project has been cancelled"  Oh the irony!!!!

To cap it off and this is where I truly believe the universe has a lot to say, the folk from the 'Page" that I was trying to help, BOOTED me off their page!! ha ha ha ha , I couldn't believe it !  Why you ask?  Because I wrote in to EcoWorld,  who  had offered the ladies of the 'page', FREE booths at their events.  I received a date and time for the booth as promised, and when I promoted my booth with my products I was accused of promoting the company ..... errrr paranoid much?


So in the end I threw my hands up and said "I give up!".  If this is the way crowdfunding sites respond to prospective applicants and how pages on FB turn into little dictatorship arenas, I'll just give it a miss thank you and sally forth with my own projects.

Finally on a Happy Note, I'm really pleased to say my friend Claire Sancelot from Zero Waste Kuala Lumpur will be launching her new shop "The Hive Bulk Foods" this weekend, and apart from fantastic organic products will be also carrying my homemade ginger and chilli sauce on her shelves!  Taa Daa!!

The Hive Bulk Foods and organic wholesale outlet

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Call me the Mad Hatter

Whichever club I spinned in, Ron was always supportive (@ Duddels in HKG)

"Hey Ron, great to see you " I say to one of my oldest and best friends as I fling my arms around him for a big hug.  "I gotta go to the loo" I add hastily, "Huh?" he says.  "I gotta go to the loo...now!.., I was waiting till you came out of the gates as I didn't want to miss your arrival! "  We were at the air port, I had come to pick him up.. with a full bladder.. of course.  I had invited him to attend my eldest son's wedding, who else would be my right hand man.  I mean  I've known him from when I was 19, Ron was my best man at my wedding, he was the first to know when I was pregnant, who was my roomie when things got tough, and my rock who whisked the kids and myself away for a month when my husband died and is certainly considered a family member. (I won't tell you all terrible things I did to him that included nail polish and toothpicks....)

We catch up in the car on the drive back from the airport,  it's been 3 years since we've seen each other, so much to say, in one hour.  Of course I intersperse my sentences with colourful adjectives to the drivers who are cutting me up on the high way, he cracks up and says " Daphne, you have to chill out", huh  that's rich coming from Mr potty mouth number one when "HE" drives in Hong Kong or Thailand.!

Our last vaccy in Phuket with Sue whom he introduced to me when I lived in BKK 

My youngest son Ayden is at home, waiting eagerly for Ron, they have a bro/dude relationship, which is good, they can commence with the secret "guy talk" as I have to then jet off to sort out yet another chore before the wedding.  When I get home, my daughter eventually arrives from school, gives Ron hugs and a load of sass (while he chuckles, amused as his little Lani is now all gown up) ... what can I say, she's 17 and is flexing her muscles.  It proves to be a hilarious evening, Ayden who's got a whole head full of light brown tight curly hair has had it cut for the wedding , I looked at him  and said to Ron  " Bobby Brown, ain't no body humpin around, he's got a flat top!"  .. which triggers off a youtube playback of our old songs!  Everything came out from  mc hammer, sugarhill gang, George clinton, bobby brown's my perogative, cameo to  Whitney Huston , the kids gave up somewhere around SNAP when Ron and I were singing loudly to "I got the Power" !  

We had two more days to D day, dresses had arrived (yes yes, I buy my dresses online nowadays, no time or inclination to swim around the mall with thousands of folk) but the kids needed dress shoes. Ok for the average Malaysian it's not a problem, but I have a 16 year old kid who was hitting 6F 1 with size 11 feet and a daughter who also had problems getting shoes her size.   Thankfully we managed to find some decent shoes and shirts within the allotted time (hey we were on a tight schedule) , then it was dash straight to Lisa's house who had to exchange some stuff with me for the wedding trays called "Dulang", that she had created, then back home.   I was already exhausted, but I am woman,  so I rolled on.

The "Dulang" that included the traditional gift of "tepak sireh" arranged by www.oxoloco.com )

The Wedding Reception Day arrives, and pandemonium breaks out,  Ron and I pick up the 350 jars of pickled ginger I made for my sons door gifts  from my sister in law's house, who had been kind enough to help me make them and also to keep them refrigerated ( had no more space in mine!).  We then zoomed to pick up the stressed out groom, then straight to the wedding venue to pass them the door gifts and also double check seating arrangements.

 I told Ron it was time for tea once we were done, he looked at me like I was mad, he said " we'll be going to the wedding in a few hours"  I said " believe me, by the time they start the dinner you'll be fainting of hunger, eat now, live later."  Once every one had eaten, I jetted off to the beauty centre, just my luck all the hairdressers were busy, at least my nails were done, then back home to turn on the curling iron whilst I got ready, err excuse me, whilst the ENTIRE family got ready, shouts of "have you got any perfume I can borrow", "mooommmmmmm where is my tie",  "Moooommm are you done yet?", "does this go with the dress?". "where is my speech??" .. and in between the crazy there are texts and calls coming in from everyone.  An asinine text has me hitting the roof,  Ron starts  bundling me into the car before I have a full blown 'daphasode'! "comon Daphne, it's go time, SMILE SMILE SMILE "


I must say it was a surreal moment seeing my son and his bride enter the venue, watching them as a unit go around and talk to guests.  My lovely daughter took over the baton and did a speech, it was succinct, to the point and full of love.  My brothers and their wives rallied around me, "well he's now hers Daph, ...wait till you become a grandma" ..(luckily they were holding me because for some strange reason I was choking )

My Son Christopher and his bride Irena

I look at my son,  flashes of memories, Chris as a baby, his happy little face when he used to wake up, first time he took a french fry from me and sucked on it as he had no teeth,  the first time he laid his head on my chest and stared into my eyes, the little Halloween costumes I sewed for him, his teenage mutant ninja turtle collection, his love for lego, his drawings, his singing, begging me to go see Linkin Park, playing spaceman in the school play to the sounds of David Bowie's Major Tom,  skateboarding with his buddies, his first girlfriend, his first heartbreak, leaving for the UK and now getting married.   The circle of life.  Powerful stuff.

I'm driving Ron back to the airport, this time he's using adjectives  which may I say are a RAINBOW in colour compared to mine, at the drivers that are all over the road, I laugh and say "now you understand!".    As the saying goes, you can't choose your relatives but you can certainly choose your friends, and I'm blessed to be surrounded with so many who love and support me.   Cheers to the bride and groom and their blessed future together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cookies n Cream

My daughter and daughter in law to be, testing my body butter!

For some reason everything comes to a standstill this month, and the meetings get postponed to the next, so turning my creative energies elsewhere,  I invariably end up in the Kitchen... uh where else!!

Since a very young age I've been told to use cream on my skin, being in Europe as well made my skin very dry.  I remember as a kid before we went skiing or hiking in the mountains my mother would make us slather Nivea cream on our faces,  my stepdad said we looked like we had kissed the frying pan!  As I grew up, trying this and that, I've narrowed  down the two products that  have worked wonders for my skin.    The two products are coconut oil and cocoa butter.

So having one of my moments in the bathroom, hey admit it, we all get our brilliant ideas when we're in there, mine especially in the shower, it must be the steamy, foamy environment... Ok moving on, anyway I was wondering what would happen if I combined the two together, alchemy I thought.  Well not so much alchemy as a test of sorts.

I gathered up my all natural  TRU RA cacao butter and my cold pressed coconut oil, and went to work.  I started with the cacao butter, because its a solid block in it's natural state, and will melt at body temperature.  If you think you can just rub the entire block down your body and it's going to melt on contact you'd be at it the whole day!!!   What I usually do is melt some first as needed and then apply it, so yes it can be a bit time consuming if your want pure cacao butter.

I cut a wedge of cacao butter

Virgin Coconut oil

First of all I melted the cacao butter in a make shift bain marie, then I mixed in the coconut oil

Once the two were combined I chilled it in the freezer for a few minutes :

Whisked it all up again, and this was the result :

Really awesome Caco Coconut Body Butter!  

Just put  it into an empty container and you have your OWN pure Body Butter

Obviously the more edible solution would be the Choc Chip and Sultana Cookies I made afterwards!!!

Cookie Monster!
I don't think I'll go into production yet for the cacao coco butter which reminds me I have to get cracking as another batch of ginger awaits me as the Tickled Pink Ginger™ is flying off the shelves since I launched my brand of pickled ginger!  Thanks again for reading my blog and for subscribing! Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The "M" word

So much has been spinning through my mind lately, it was hard to focus on exactly which topic I wanted to write about this week.  I realised that sometimes you do have to share some personal aspects of your life because somewhere, someone is going through the same thing and could possibly benefit from knowing they're not alone in their experience.

Lets set the scenario shall we.  I get a text from my son Christopher in the UK and he says "hey mum, you wanna Skype on Sunday?'.  Nothing out of the ordinary there as we usually speak once a month on Skype, so when we did have face time I was surprised to see his girlfriend Irena next to him on the screen.  Even more surprising was the fact that he was just staring at me after the initial hello and was keeping silent.  My youngest son Ayden who was next to me said "dude, this is getting awkward man, say something" aaanndd he did, "Mum Irena and I have decided to get married, after all we've been with each other for 6 years now and feel the time is right " he must have said more but all I could hear was "I'm getting married".   Now my son is 26, which is not an unusual age to get married, after all I got married at 25... WHICH is why I freaked out all the way from Skype, to my room,  to calling my mother up in the UK, to crying on the phone to my best friend in Australia.

father and son

Why was I freaking out?  Firstly he'd just finished his degree in Uni, had hardly been working for more than 6 months at a job he didn't particularly like whilst waiting and applying for what he was qualified for, secondly he had no assets what so ever including savings and LASTLY as I quoted to him, my marriage to his father at such a young age was a total disaster and I didn't want the same for him.  The most worrying part was that he was going to quit his job, pack up his flat and come back to Malaysia (as Irena is Malaysian) because Irena wanted a "traditional" wedding and he thought he could work here for a few months whilst all the marriage preparations was going on and wanted my blessing, (cue me clutching my chest and doing a southern belle swoon, well more like a Hobbit needing CPR if you ask me)

Back to the Skype conversation, by this time I was incoherent with anger, sadness, frustration because everything I had been hoping for, for him to work towards was thrown out of the window in a blink of an eye in a spectacular manner.  I said I did not agree to the marriage, and would not give him my blessing.. the conversation stuttered to a halt, and eventually I excused myself whilst Ayden took over (ever the diplomat to smooth things over)

To try to write about what transpired in those two months would be akin to a Latina Telenovella script.  Once Irena flew back to Malaysia, he packed up his things, went to stay with my mother for a week, and though she tried to talk some sense into him he was determined to see it through. Meantime back in the land of no smiles and political unrest, my father had been diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma and was undergoing chemo, my youngest brother whom I had not seen for 20 years was coming back to KL to see him and Christopher flew into town without informing me, which really hurt.

My best bud Ron and my brother Zaki on the right

Seeing my younger brother after so long was like a ray of sunshine, we had grown up in our teens and twenties in Hong Kong and had been close.   He had eventually settled his family in Australia and has been working offshore all this time, I have missed him so.   I took him aside at the family get together to have a quiet word with him, and he in turn had one with me.  He said "do you remember what  you were like in your twenties? and when you wanted to marry Chris's dad and how mum was totally against it? did anyone or anything stop you? think about it.  It's his life, and if it's a mistake it's his mistake to make, give him your blessing and let it go"  I mulled it over for a bit, thinking back to when I was the same age and what I was going through and feeling at the time. I laughed out loud in realisation because my mother reacted the same way as I did when I told her I was getting married!

Yup I got married against my mother's wishes !
So I wrote my eldest son, whom I love so much and had gone through so much for to have in my life, a letter from my heart to tell him in the gentlest way my concerns, to reassure him of my love for him and to give him my blessing because at the end of the day, the most important thing was his happiness.  Isn't that what all mothers want for their children?

Today I'm helping him sort out his wedding trays (in Malaysia they are called "Dulang" it holds the gifts he will present to her at their wedding ceremony),  making the door gifts for the guests, listening and discussing with him possible job opportunities, attending the food tasting for the banquet and generally any information he needs to help make his marriage and time here (as he's reassured me he's not going to "live" here) as stress free and as smooth as possible.  We've got a month and a bit more to go before the big day.

at his 21st b'day when Chris started dating Irena

The most important thing we are put on this earth, is for and to love,  and it is with love I write this (but please god let my other two kids be 350 years old before they get married!!!)   Have a great week and thank you again for reading my blog.