27 March 2015

Feeling grateful

Two political leaders who have had personal impacts on my life passed away in the last week or so. Former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser and Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew

Malcom Fraser was instrumental to the Australian Government's policy shift in the mid-late 70's which embraced and welcomed Vietnamese refugees to Australia.  This move was the first significant step towards multiculturalism following the dismantling of the White Australia Policy. When he came to power in 1975, less than 400 Vietnamese lived in Australia. By the end of his term, tens of thousands of Vietnamese would be recognised as refugees.   My parents and sister were three of those people.  Upon hearing the news of his passing and then seeing the coverage of his funeral, I surprised myself at how emotional I felt for this man I had never met.  He was a man of true compassion and strength whose support for human rights was unwavering.   Without him and his strength of leadership, my family and I would literally not be where we are today.   

Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister of Singapore and is said to be the key architect behind Singapore's incredible development.  Singapore has transformed from a third world country to a first world country within a single generation.   He is known as the founding father of modern Singapore and whilst not all may agree with his policies, without him, I would not have the comfort, security and opportunities I currently enjoy in this amazing city state which has become my second home.   The outpouring of grief and mourning across the country and how the people of Singapore have reacted has been so moving.  

Reflecting on the loss of these two men, I am feeling very grateful that I can be the beneficiary of their life's work.  I am also grateful for living in a democratic society where my vote counts and the leaders we vote in can really have such a significant and personal impact.  We must not take this for granted.   I only hope that we and our political leaders continue to be inspired and learn from them as we strive to be the best we can be and to be good to those around us.     

Note to self...

A friend linked this on Facebook this morning and I loved it so wanted to share.

24 February 2015

She does it again...

Sienna Miller (who was one of my favourite looks at the Golden Globes) pulled out another winner at yesterday's Oscars wearing Oscar de la Renta. So pretty.

18 February 2015

The Year of the Goat

I love this time of year.

It means time with family and friends, lots and lots of good food, lion dancing, firecrackers, red packets and since moving to Singapore,  I have discovered the delightful pineapple tart!  

This holiday is the most significant for my side of the family.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of going to the Tet Festival every year in Brisbane where we would indulge in sugar cane juice and beef skewers wrapped in betel leaves (the only time of year we used to eat it).  I remember my dad covering my ears when the firecrackers were going off and being scared of the guy in the mask with the rosy cheeks who teases the lion dancers.  I think I still find him a bit creepy :)  

Whilst we will not be in Brisbane this year to celebrate, I am looking forward to starting some new traditions with the Mr and the little Miss.  Gong Xi Fa Cai / Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

16 February 2015

Sexism and the City

As a mum working in the finance industry I was really interested to read a recent  Financial Times feature called "London: Sexism and the City" on women, leadership and the finance industry.  It focuses on London but I think a lot of it applies and is relevant to other countries.

The statistics are pretty telling - only 16.2% of the managing director level positions at banks are held by women.   The report touches on the reasons behind the statistic including gender stereotypes and bias, sexual harassment and sexist cultures and career disruptions due to parenthood.   It also suggests some possible solutions including incentives for diversity, adequate maternity leave and return to work policies.

Some very good food for thought.

02 February 2015

Afternoon Tea

Over the weekend I hosted a friend's baby shower afternoon tea.  I like baking and cooking but I am also short on time so when deciding the menu, I wanted minimal ingredients, time and effort.

For the savoury, I chose mini quiches and pumpernickel bread topped with egg + smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Image from nigella.com

For the sweets, I went with Nigella Lawson's Rocky Road Crunch Bars and Frankie Magazine's All Together Cake from their Afternoon Tea book/app.

The Rocky Road is super easy to make and sooo good and moreish!  Nigella has dark chocolate in her recipe but I just melted choc chips I found at the supermarket.  I also used honey instead of golden syrup as that is all I had in the pantry.

The All Together Cake is also super easy (recipe below).  Just make sure your self raising flour isn't too old.  Mine was nearing its expiry date so the first cake was a disaster as it didn't rise!

All Together Cake Recipe:
Ingredients: 1/4 cup of milk, 125g butter, 3/4 caster sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon plain flour, 1 cup self raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180 C. Combine all ingredients in a bowl & beat for about 6 minutes. Grease cake tin, pour mixture in & bake for 40 minutes.  
Ice cake with your preferred icing. I used butter, icing sugar and a little hot water. 

My only photo from the day - I forgot to take more!

Busy Beauty

January is over and I am finally starting to get back into my exercise routine again after a holiday season hiatus.  My morning routine (which I try to do a couple of times a week) is to drop the little Miss at nursery, go to the gym and then head to the office.  I usually try and get in by 9am.

To do all that usually means my max workout time is 20-30mins + a super fast shower and beauty routine at the gym. 

That's why I loved this little discovery on Beauticate (great beauty blog by ex Vogue beauty editor, Sigourney Cantelo) on how to do your eye liner in like 3 seconds. It works a treat! 

There is also a great vid on 5 minute glowy makeup.  

14 January 2015

Reminders of home

We spent a wonderful 2 weeks back home in Australia over the Christmas/New Year period.  We had lots of family, beach and chill time.  I was also super excited to go shopping in Aussie supermarkets and big box stores like Kmart and Target haha.  Living away does mean you often miss the conveniences and way of life back home so some recent discoveries have given me a few little cute reminders of Oz....

 Australian bird prints by Studio Cockatoo which I purchased from Lamington.  
I also spied these wooden kids toys from Make me Iconic recently - I think it would be a cute way to introduce some Aussie food to the little Miss! 

12 January 2015

This dress.

One of my favourite looks from today's Golden Globes is Sienna Miller in Miu Miu. Love.

12 December 2014

Sam Smith: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

A beautiful beautiful cover of my favourite Christmas song by Mr Sam Smith


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