Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Clay gingeries

Did you guess that this was one of the things I'd make with the materials I showed you previously?

I've been inspired by the craft books I've borrowed from the library and spent the last couple of nights (when I should've been sleeping) making these. 

I think I'll turn them into Christmas decorations (note the holes at the top) or attach them to homemade Christmas cards. It was a lot of fun cutting them out, smoothing the bumps, manipulating the clay into the tiny buttons and mixing the colours for the men.  All they need is a coat of spray on varnish which I will get to over the week. Which one do you think is your favourite colour combination? I kinda like the dark one.. ha ha ha.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy taste buds

Hi Anna :D

Look at you, little water baby!  Your last post had me a bit worried though. Definitely don't want you drifting and getting yourself scratched from the reefs. Robinson Crusoe washed ashore came to mind. However all these snorkeling posts are making me want to go exploring with you. Because you live a bit further away and I don't know your area well it'll feel like I'm going on an extra mini holiday.

I had a great week that went quickly. I've been indulging too much this week trying new things that is food related and not enough exercising. That's alright, makes up for next week which will be a rather quiet one and hopefully get the chance to be a bit more active.

I think the calender on the iphone is deteriorating my memory. I actually struggled to recall what I did a few days ago and also what is coming up. What helps is going through the photos on the phone. What is annoying though is that I can't rotate pictures on blogger. I think it has something to do with photos taken on iphone too. I always feel like it's takes ages for me to blog because of these little annoyances.  I wasn't going to put up the right side up ones but I had already uploaded them and it annoyed me that I wasted my time.

 Thursday night at Tong 86 with the old PCEC crew. Loved it and loved Icey Ice even more! Haha! Gosh it's been ages since I had Korean BBQ and the second time I've had this amazing dessert.

I loved how half of us came in exercise gear. That is the way to do it!

Friday was after work drinks at The Aviary to celebrate an early birthday for Alicia.
We were  impressed with their small serving plates. We had the salt and pepper squid and I was amazed at the taste of the little red peppercorns. We also had the bourbon pork (I think?!) and the wonton and truffle dip.
Why this photo can be rotated is beyond me.

 Saturday was a big day for Jen's hens. We had delectable sweets and savouries and carried on to drinks at Print Hall and dancing at Tiger Lils. We had too much fun getting random guys to get all but three sweets off Jen's sash.

Stretching out the no-clothes-shopping I've put on myself,  I wore this yellow dress hauled back from London and my fabulous necklace thanks to HW. I have labelled it my Olympics necklace because that was when it made it's debut at the men's hockey games. There was a request to wear a hairpiece for the hens and I thought about making one out of felt again, but my brains sparked when I was parking into the garage in the morning and noticed the roses in the front garden. Closer to the afternoon tea, I popped out  to snip  two roses and a tiny bud for my floral hairpiece. It was a hot 33C day and of course the roses wilted by the end of the day but hey it was free and smelt lovely.

The better angle of me

Cute little bites. The lemon tarts had the perfect sweet citrus combination. They are the ones with the meringue on top.  Having the scones reminded me of high tea in London.

Known these ladies since we were kids! Still can't believe Jen's getting hitched. She's the role model child that all parents compare their child to. Little did they know...

With the bridesmaid at the ladies in Print Hall. Big mirrors = perfect for selfies

Today I had a scrumptious brunch at The Cool Room in Freo. Out of all the brunch places I've been to since coming back, this is definitely a place I'm coming back to.

Finally caught up with uni buddies for brunch
Turkish toast, smoked salmon and mushrooms. The Turkish toast was delicious! I need to know how to make it.
Looking so sleepy. Argh.. can't do these late nights on Sat anymore.
Next door was an antique store. Only managed to have a quick look to avoid having Satoko and Elaine waiting for me. I could've spent a good hour trawling through all the items. Love my secondhand items!

 Not so modern now but  I love old hardcover children's books!
I'm getting back into my arts and crafts again. Haven't done any drawing but I'm getting into a new project. Getting ready to make something. I'll reveal it to you once it's finished :)

Can you see something from you?

Time to get ready for a new week. The kids are going on an excursion to the Fremantle's Maritime Museum on Tuesday which I am looking forward to because I've never been there before.

Night :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Early morning snorkel

Morning Chia!

I laugh when I see that photo of us and how we were pretending to be 'girlfriends'. It just reminded me of Valencia when we were perving on the hot Spanish policemen.

You are so well versed in cooking and making things! Thank you for letting me try your muesli bars as they were so yummy and healthy! I am a little sad that I missed out on trying your inventive blueberry and sourcream muffins and your mint and peanut chocolate cookies. Though, I guess it is also a blessing as I am sure that I would have eaten enough to add a little muffin around my waist! Your hair facinator is stunning! I love the purple and how pretty it looks on you. I definitely think since you have made it, it makes it a better facinator than if someone had bought one from the store!

I also just want to say that you look so hot with your strapless top/dress! =D

For me, this week has gone really slow. I was wishing that it was the weekend on Monday morning! As the week progressed I kept wishing for it to be Saturday as it was predicted that it would be 30 degrees, and here it is!

I woke up early and felt really exhausted as I had stayed up late last night playing my ukulele. But, I decided to try for a little run and look at the water to see whether it could 'entice' me.

When I ran down there, without fail, the water surprised me yet again. It was the stillest that I've ever seen it! So I didn't even continue with my run. I turned around and sprinted back to get changed, grab my camera and snorkel.

It was beautiful! It was already 19 degrees, I was warm from the quick run and the blueness of the ocean just beckoned me!

I love my mornings, when I come out onto the sand and start wading out into the water with no one around, it is kind of scary but exciting too! Scary in the sense that if anything happened to me, there may not be someone around to help me, but exciting because it's just me and the ocean. It's almost like my little secret!

I didn't hessitate in getting in. I didn't want to miss this perfect moment! The limestone reef were exposed and the water looked calm so I decided that I was going to be a little more adventurous today and try to snorkel beyond the reef.
Wading out

Venturing out beyond the reef

As I was carefully placing my feet and trying not to step on anything, for some odd reason the waves started picking up. I decided to go for it and start snorkeling, however in a matter of seconds I was getting pushed back into the reef, and as I looked into the horizon, the waves just looked like they were getting bigger and bigger. So I crawled back onto the reef and tried walking back. There were some decent waves which almost bowled me over, so I decided to just stay low and crawl/float back into the safer side of the reef. While this was happening there was one guy who was having a break from his morning walk and who watched on from the look out. I was a little embarrassed, but I just kept focusing on trying to not get hurt.

Eventually, I got into the calmer waters and I felt a little more relaxed. I also noticed that I had a stinging sensation on my right forearm and on my legs. After a quick inspection, I realised that I had been scratched up from the ordeal. I kind of thought to myself, 'Heck, salt water is good for cuts,' and snorkeled on.

Limestone reef
Visibility was a mixture of good and bad. When the waves came, the white wash would swirl all around me and hide everything within arms reach.  And when it did settle down, the current was still picking up a lot of seaweed and debris.

I still find looking at seaweed scary, but today was a little easier. I tried looking for interesting sea life out there, but it seemed like everyone was sleeping.  However, after a good while my eyes started to pick out from behind the seaweed curtains, these red looking... lips! I  kept watch and then I saw two spotted eyes looking back at me.

Red lipped fish

As soon as I recognised that it was a fish, I tried to get a shot of it, however it swam deeper into the reef and kept looking out at me. It did not want me near it.

Red lipped fish making a get away.
After waiting and hoping it would come out, I decided to try my luck elsewhere. I tried snorkeling around the tight swim throughs. Visibility was better and I was overall a little more relaxed. I remembered this area as I had seen fish here last week, but again, they all appeared to have left this place.  I started looking at the reef itself to see if there were any abalone or perhaps some cuttlefish or octopi in hiding. But nothing, until I saw this:

Being watched

I was being watched. And I got all excited so I just stayed there. This fish was pretty chilled out, and after a while it swam out.

I then realised that there were quite a few fish around me, but that I wasn't able to see them because they all were very well camouflaged.

I followed this black and white striped fish for most of the morning. And it actually kept stopping to look at me, and then swim a little further to then stop and wait for me again. I thought that perhaps to that fish, I was some odd creature it had never seen before as it was very curious  about me unlike the fish in Exmouth which just swam away.

Self photo! I look so silly!

It allowed me to get up real close. I was so tempted to touch it!

After a while I started getting cold, so I go out. I was a little dizzy but ok. I think I may have been really cold and dehydrated.

Underwater explorer photo!

The water wasn't freezing, however, I really loved the sun on my skin; more so than normal. So I assume that is my body telling me to get warmer. I ended up just walking up and down the shore line drying up and seeing if there were any other wonders to find.

Sea snail?
Anywho, that was my morning. I returned home at around 7.15am, which meant that I was snorkeling for a little over an hour.

When walking back home, I had to snap a shot of the beach:

Calm waters

I love where I live!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From the sea to the kitchen

Hi Anna!

How I wish I could go on that snorkeling adventure with you! I love the water and I am so jealous that you get to live near the beach. If only I could have a little beach cottage right by the coast. Apart from swimming, there would be endless fun poking into rock pools and wildlife spotting. Poor lizard! That photo was a bit scary. As for the abalone's eyes, I couldn't find them. I know how much us Chinese love abalone but they aren't the prettiest things although they beat the looks of sea cucumbers.

Anyway of course I know I only saw you yesterday, but of course there are things to tell since it's been a while. Also, I'd rather much be blogging than doing job applications right now. Something that I've been putting off for a couple of weeks since I started full time work as an education assistant at a primary school nearby. The world has a lot to cheer about because this means that I am a step closer to scoring a teaching job somewhere... well I like to think so anyway. I'm enjoying my work and the primary school is really a place of wonder. Explained later.

On Friday night, I met up with Emily and Alicia. That was really lovely and we had mini drinks to celebrate my employment. We will have to do another celebration when I get my own class.
Here's us yesterday.  The two girls lying on a picnic mat that shifted to and from awkward spots in the shade in Kings Park. Can always count on Anna to be my psuedo-bf.

Holey moley. You know it's summer when a fly photo bombs and there is no food in sight.
A couple of Sundays ago I went along to Fremantle Seafood Festival. How disappointing! I  expected lots of little tasting booths and stalls selling seafood kebabs or instant clam chowder in a tin or something mind blowing but really there was a tiny stage for cooking demonstration and a fudge stall. I like fudge, but what on earth does fudge have to do with seafood? We ended up going to Kailis to make up for it and had an afternoon of eating and drinking away. It turned out to be such a relaxing way to spend the day.

So many things to love in Perth!

Sea related things you can eat
Sea related things you can not eat.
 Now this primary school I'm talking about. The Year 5s were treated to a fancy lunch last Friday. I love how they have a common oven and kitchen and I helped with the baking. It was cute how they had little newspaper cones with their fish and chips complete with ketchup and tartar sauce.
My serving. How lucky are the children? They have an awesome science budget with the help of fundraising and the spuds and parsley came from the school's garden.
 I've been baking too. I'm getting really good at making my own recipes. I had a great day picking a whole ice cream tub of mulberries off a friend's mulberry tree and using them in my invented recipe.
Mulberry and sour cream wholemeal muffins. 
 I invented these too! Real mint and peanut chocolate cookies.
I had to give these away because I made too many and too rich and loaded with calories to be enjoyed by one. 
 On the healthier side, I made muesli bars. Uncle Toby's muesli bars have nothing on these tasty and healthy version.
Shredded coconut, sultanas/cranberries, black sesame seeds, pumpkin/ sunflower seeds, flax seeds, rolled oats, rye, egg, dash of brown sugar/honey, dash of evoo, sprinkling of salt all in one bowl. Mix it up. Pat it down. Oven for 15 minutes at about 170C or when it looks brown. Cut it up before it cools. Easiest and healthiest thing you'll ever make! Best thing I love is that you can throw in anything in it and substitute the grains/seeds/ dried fruits for anything you like.
 My creations did not stop there. I also made this! I had to resort to making something for the Melbourne Cup lunch at school after a unsuccessful hunt in Garden City. Really, I can not justify $200 for a bit of feather and fluff. That is like a weekend away I could have ticking off another city in Spain! 

Bit of thread, one piece of felt, and a black hairband. Fold a rectangular piece of felt like a concertina , pinch it in the middle and thread through to hold.
That reminds me, something amazing has happened to me, or rather is happening to me. I have not bought a single item of clothing/bag/shoes since I've been back. It's been almost 3 months. I've been working with the clothes I've had three years ago and also wearing the items from London to death.  Of course London shopping is beyond Perth and I calculate cost of items in terms of a weekend trip away. Must realise that I'm in Perth and $200 is not a weekend away in Europe anymore :(

Now time for those cover letters...

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Morning Chia!

How have you been?

I've taken a slower, relaxed and more 'me time' approach for the last few weeks. However, despite being not as hussle, bussle, busy bee, always fleeting to another engagement, I've been having an exciting time by myself!

Last Saturday, I started off with my usual Saturday morning run, which turned into a walk as my feet were killing me from mixed netball on Friday night.

However, my sore feet allowed me to slow down and appreciate my run trail. On my return route I passed this guy.

Instagram photo of a Lizard

He looked like he had been injured and so he had a bloody eye. I've been having some exciting runs the last few weeks where I've crossed paths with snakes. There was this one time when I was half asleep and from the corner of my eye, I saw this huge brown thing on the side of the path in a shape of an 'S'. It scared me. I jumped to the other side of the pathway and didn't stop. As I continued running, I saw this woman with her retriever puppy just a few metres ahead of me and asked her if she saw that ...

'Snake!? Yes! It was the biggest one I've ever seen!'

Anywho, on my route back I decided to walk on the shoreline and do some runs on the soft sand. After a few laps I realised that since I had a free day, I would take my time to appreciate the crispy air, the cool salty waves playfully weaving in between my sore and hot toes.

The annoying thing was that I still had this sense of urgency. I couldn't completely let go of 'time'. So I just explore and found this guy:

Instagram photo of an angry crab

I also found some interesting sea treasures:

Instagram photo of shells

White coral and a purple shell among the washed up seaweed

I then found a rock to try to relax, however I heard some voices in the distance. Two men holding wet bags with snorkels poking out, approached me. I stood up to be greeted by a warm 'hello' from one of them. He introduced himself as 'N'.

I asked them about the water conditions, visibility and whether it was a safe area to snorkel, as though I've run around this area hundreds of times and have lived less than 5 minutes away for almost 20 years, I've never snorkeled there. N said it was safe to snorkel! We chatted for a little longer. N said that he worked for the Department of Water, and after telling him I was a lawyer, he mentioned that they had a legal team there too. Eventually N joined his friend who had already started snorkelling (despite the choppy water!)

I watched them for a while, and was inspired. They could do it! I should do it too! I decided to head back home as it was getting cold. As I climbed up the stairs I hear this high pitched whistle. I look to the ocean and see N's snorkel propped on his forehead, bobbing in the white wash and waving at me. He motioned for me to come to him. I was confused and curious, so I turned around and descended the stairs.

He came out of the water holding something in his hands. 'Now, we are going to have to throw this back, but I thought I'd find one to show you. Put out your hand...'

I was still confused, but this guy was so nice and informative, so I put my hand out. He placed a shell on it.

'This is an abalone. It doesn't look like much, but it will soon hold onto your hand and two eyes will pop out. It's like a snail.'

I was like 'really?!?!?'

As we chatted about the ocean and stuff the abalone slowly started to move. His shell started to rise and as the man promised, two eyes popped out.

Abalone coming out to say 'Hi'

Can you see it's eyes?

He's holding on!

It was the coolest thing I've seen! N was so lovely and warm. It really came at the right time for me. It was so serendipitous that I had sore feet, that I decided to go down to the beach instead of continuing home as usual, that I stayed at the shore long enough to meet N and his friend. It was just so perfect. When we threw the little guy back into the water, he said 'Anna, it really seems like you're in the wrong career.' Haha!

Anywho, this morning I got up and went on the usual Saturday run. I was feeling a little lethargic as I had given blood earlier this week. Looking out onto the ocean and remembering my encounter with N last week, I decided to keep the run short, go back home to collect my snorkel gear and give it a go.

There was a SE wind which wasn't too strong, yet the water was still pretty choppy. Well, choppy for someone who hasn't snorkeled in that area, and who is snorkelling alone. The water was cool, but not icy. I decided that I may as well just do it. There's no one around, it's a sunny day, and hey, start off in my comfort zone, close to shore, and then work my way out.

Still choppy 
It wasn't the greatest visibility. And for some reason, when I look out my snorkeling mask to see lots of brown seaweed around me, it makes me a little scared. However, I pushed through that fear and continued to fight the waves to swim through the reef and seaweed. I ended up seeing some fish who were also fighting the current and attempting to find shelter in among the reef. I felt scared, excited and a bit like an adventurer going out into the unknown. I took some photos, however, none of them turned out great as the water was quite murky. Here's the best shot I got:


Nevertheless, I am even more inspired to go snorkeling at my beach again!