Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Come Home

I really hope this is it! Hubby has finally agreed to go home. Next month!! Yipee!! After 3 long years! (4 years for hubby).

There are so many reasons why I am even more excited for this trip home than the last (eons ago):

> Little girl will be 4 years old - She can now appreciate family time. She would have a B-L-A-S-T with her cousins (as they are all nearly the same age!).

>Quality time with grandparents/our parents. Our Parents are getting older and they long to spend time with us, as much as us with them. Little B is the most excited of all! We have been Skype-ing with my family very often lately. And this is as requested by my daughter. The bubbly up and down jumping when video of grandparents load -- is absolutely priceless!!!! (My heart melts).

>It's been too long since our small family has had a proper vacation. I don't even remember the last one. Must have been 4 years ago. That. Long. Ago. Although we are on a tighter budget this time around, I am still thankful for the opportunity. Surely the best things in life are still free - or cheap, maybe?

>Food trip!! Family escapades. Memory lane!! Hubby and I have been reminiscing about the stuff we love and miss about home. The last time all three of us were in Manila, it was a very short 7 days with hubby. and about 15 days for me and little girl. We were back in Sydney in a blink. Tagaytay overnight is number one on our agenda. Chill.

>For me, I am wanting some sister time. I miss my little sister so much. She's taken my throne as the big sister, and has been through a lot of pressure the past years. I just want to hang out at the roof top, with our coffees and endless stories. But of course that might not happen - since we both have kids now. Her with 2 toddlers in tow. We might move our usual venue.. to the play room! Much looking forward to it nonetheless!

>I can write a million reasons to go home, be excited. The past 1.5 years has been really hectic, tiring, crazy, highly pressurised. I am sure this will be a highlight for the year 2014. I am even wanting to skip Christmas and New Year's eve.... just so we can hop on a plane and jet off!!!!!!
Photo Credit: http://en.paperblog.com/jump-for-joy-426838/

Monday, December 02, 2013

Life as Parents - Stage one

Silent movies exist - Yes, they still exist. A lot of them. Avatar. Wolverine. Superman 2. The Vow. Dear John. The Lucky One. Green Hornet. Avengers. Fast and Furious. Skyfall. Life of Pi. And the list goes on. Sneaking a movie or two after lights are out can be tricky, especially if it is a LOUD film or a crude one, or.... Either way it must be subtitled! These are hubby and wifey movie dates now. Silent mode!

Spelling game - When you want something... c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e I have to spell them out or else the little one will want to have one too. (Trying to be good parents avoiding sugar - yah right!). Or, when we want to keep the story amongst adults about the c-r-a-p-p-y item we bought.. It's easier to spell it out than explain what it means to a 3 year old. We know sooner than later we are not able to use this method - as the little one is learning to spell and read. Give or take six more months?!

Privacy is non-existent / Endless questioning - Going to the toilet alone? I am dreaming. One minute out of her (little one) sight she is looking for me and asking where I am and what I am doing. And if I choose to keep quiet, I know she will come running looking for me. And all I wanted was five minutes of peace and silence.

Conjugal what?? - The owner of the masters bed is... the little girl. Daddy is kicked out, to squat in the other bedroom or the couch. While the little senyorita dominates the masters bedroom. If it's not enough that the "big" bed is hers --her little bed is adjacent to the big bed. And she gets to keep both. No space for mum and dad here. Right! (Ok, mum is commissioned to sleep with the little girl - poor daddy!)

House is a big play area - Toys everywhere. Books everywhere. Tiny and big crafts everywhere. Lounge room, bedroom, dining, kitchen.. it doesn't matter how many times a day the house gets cleaned. Somehow the toys belong to Toy Story and they all magically come alive and head back to where they don't belong.

Busy social life is theirs - Pre-school party on Sunday, ballet class on Saturday morning, park playdate on Saturday afternoon, Thursday is library storytime, oh and of course, Monday and Tuesday are pre-school days .. seems like a lot of activities involve the little one. They are too little to bring themselves to their activities and as parents obviously we 'signed them up' for these classes and activities. We would like for our kids' social circle to grow - and this is all part of that bigger plan.

I am not complaining (not now! hehe).The whole world revolves around the little commander, but as parents we are quite happy to take a back seat and watch her grow, hear her express herself, realise her dreams, develop skills and learn about the world. Obviously we are still there to guide her and make sure she learns her manners and blossom into a polite and obedient child. There are some adjustments though that we have made (temporarily - until we are past this pre-school stage, I'd say.) in order to accommodate the little one growing into our family lives. Soon, all this 'new excitement' and 'bending over' will end. The little girl will transform into a little adult, and surely hubby and I will adjust to 'being a couple' again and our parenting skills will evolve to accommodate a teenager, and eventually a mature adult child. Exciting stages we go through and will continue to grow through as parents. For now, this is where we are as parents at Stage One. Soon, we will enter Stage Two and it will be a different ballgame altogether. I don't know when that will be or what I have signed up for. Hopefully it will be a breeze.

I am now thinking of ordering this book Loaded Questions! I'm sure it will be an interesting read. I should read it with hubby of course!

Also, I've just subscribed to this mummy site. I must get useful parenting tips!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yes Philippines Digital

I am such a showbiz chismis lover! And of course it has been ages since I've indulged in unadulterated showbiz scoop... so last month I subscribed to Yes Philippine Digital - through Philippine Entertainment Portal's website! The last time I subscribed was back in 2009. Oh simple pleasures in life. I guess it makes me forget reality for a little while and focus on the various articles available. My favourite reads are about featured celebrity homes. Taking a peek into the private lives of the celebrities can give one an insight to what they are like in real life - their taste, their personality and their guilty indulgences!

When I subscribed they didn't have the half price promotion (through Zinio) so I paid full price at $24.99. I wish I waited a little bit longer! But oh well, maybe next time I will catch a promo offer when I renew my subscription.

Off to read the goss now! December issue of YES is up!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Memory = Sum Numba (a.ka. Some number!)

My life revolves around numbers and letters and symbols.. on a daily basis! Of course I am talking about passwords to everything and anything, as well as other trivial stuff!

A million password matches all jumbled up in my head. Tax file numbers, birthdates, ages, dates to remember. One thing is for sure though, I know my credit card numbers (expiry and validation codes) by heart (x 2) (yep, x 2 cards). I am therefore forever being tempted to purchase something in an instant. And no excuses not wanting to get up and get the card from the wallet.... hmm. Bad, bad, bad. Must erase this from my memory.

Sometimes I find myself having too good a memory for my own good. I have a photographic memory to add, which has only gotten slightly (??) worse with pregnancy and childbirth.

I am now on a hunt for games and activities to sharpen my memory!!
Photo from http://www.learning-mind.com/secret-of-sharp-memory-revealed/

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nerdies at heart

Me and hubby are secretly nerdies at heart. At home during our down time we watch David Attenborough's specials on animals, nature, planet factoids. Sometimes we just watch any other documentary (we previously recorded) about the beginnings of life on Earth, planets and space. Other times we watch about docus on modern life, modern infrastructure and buildings, evolution of human life, other species, human culture and behaviour. Sometimes we watch about current events or special shows on refugees, immigration, travel and discovery.

This is one way hubby and I bond - over documentaries that interest us both. We find ourselves engrossed intellectually - discussing 'quietly' or as we watch along. Sometimes we are 'too relaxed' while watching and end up snoozing side by side, only to restart the show the next day.

(okay, occasionally when we are homesick we do bond over cheesy Filipino flicks or Filipino drama)

I really should share some of the interesting stories featured in some of the shows we watch... Hmm...

In the meantime, we are in search for a tv series to watch... Last time we dutifully followed a series was back in the day of "Lost" and Heroes" (oh and my Gossip Girl days).

From zazzle.com.au

Friday, October 04, 2013

Hey Hotel

Sometimes I would love to be able to comment on how tacky some hotels design their rooms and public spaces. If only I could refer them to check out Hotel Supply Online then perhaps some of their decors can be updated and maybe even get their Hotel Bar Supplies up to date. Really there should be enough choices that the Atlanta Hotel Supply can get access to. I remember visiting this one particular hotel in the Sydney CBD which got the room decor and furniture perfectly, however looked like it did not invest in great furniture for the lobby. It spoiled the whole experience for me. In my opinion hotel management should invest in the different areas of the hotel equally. Just because guests don’t sleep in the lobby does not mean it could have an ambience of a hospital!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Jersey way of life

I am always learning about new things and new places to visit (or send clients off to). Today it is all about the fascinating Jersey Channel Islands – which offers a bit of French and English packaged into this warm destination just off the coast of Normandy, France.

As I read more trivia about this Channel Island - the more appealing it is to me, and the photos show she is a looker as well. Apparently a 15mph speed limit applies on this island in order to give priority to pedestrians! Quite interesting to think that two ex-drivers of Formula One currently call Jersey home – must be a lovely place to live or even visit. Mont Orgueil Castle, one of the island’s popular attractions, was once a lookout post back in the world war days. Now, to me it looks like a pretty 'ornament' with the backdrop of the sea and the island. Who knew that this autonomous island have their own law institute and nearly a hundred restaurants to choose from – quite impressive if I may say - a big tick for a big travel foodie. One last trivia that I found – one of my favourite writers of all times, Victor Hugo – who wrote Les Miserables – was exiled in Jersey at some point in his life! Hmm!
Talking about all these new things I’ve come across about Jersey of course naturally led me to researching hotels in Jersey. And if I can just have it my way, luxury hotels Jersey would be the way to go. Browsing through this popular local hotel chain, I am immediately drawn to the property The Golden Sands. The activities near the hotel, the hotel room decor and ambience, sea view – just defines what I am looking for in a holiday. I can literally head off there now. And, perhaps a pit stop for shopping somewhere?!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Out of time


So much so do and always so little time to action! I don’t know if it’s just me and my (lack of) time management or whether I am being short changed by time. 24 hours seems to be just not enough to do everything I want or need to do. I am re-reading Purpose Driven Life again and I am reminded about my priorities in life... Still I can’t seem to cope. Life is going by way too fast! I wish I have an extra couple of hours just to “run my errands”. Errands which are really things that only I can do the way I want done. C’est la vie.
Somehow I am reminded of the movie with JT and Amanda Seyfried "In Time." Really, time is a sometimes felt like a commodity we are always wanting more of and never seem to have enough of. I liked that movie. I suppose I should watch it again now and it might shed some new thoughts on my current chaotic sense of time. Hmm - note for the weekend!! *Yes, if I actually find time to watch it!*

Revisiting an old photo of mine from 2011

Monday, June 03, 2013

Past... Forward

Recently my friend and I have been pondering about what's happened in the past, wanting to re-live the moments. And yet, partly wanting to fast forward to five years from now - anticipating what the future chapter beholds. A lot of times we are reliving the past and yet living in the future as well, when really we should be living in the "now" and just cherish the current moment!

Yesterday's fate has already been, and we get that comfort knowing we know what has already happened. And yet, we continue to try and anticipate everything that will happen tomorrow. There is a fine line's difference in planning for the future and being obssessed with controlling things that we can't possibly hold. Sometimes I find myself caught in between these..

Here is a photo I took many years ago, back when things were quite simple (but at that moment seemed like a complex dilemma). Was I so wrong in thinking they were endless tangled strings! Surely, life has a way of deciding for us sometimes - for the best, hopefully.
Taken @ Intramuros, Manila - 2007

Missing SG and family time

Lately all I have been thinking about is my trip to Singapore in a few months time. I don’t really have a say in the hotel I am staying at (as I am travelling for work) but I can’t help but browse through TravelSphere just to read about the destination, promotions which are currently being offered among the many other information available on the site. After all, you can’t really take out the travel agent in me.
It has been more than 5 years since I visited the lion city and surely there are a lot of new things, attractions to see (Universal Studios and the Marina Bay Sands). Hopefully I get to take a few days off after my training that way I could have a look see what the fuss is about! At this stage I am even imagining hubby and the little girl accompanying me – if possible! And dreaming on further, having my parents, sisters and nephews meet up with us there!
I really wish I can have more days off to spend with my family in SG. The last proper overseas vacation we've had was back in 2010! Seriously, I need a break. And I won't even start enumerating the reasons why I (or rather, we) need one. On the flip side, if we don't get to take time off this October, there is January to look forward to!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

So much for something

It's 6AM and 9 degrees (C) outside. I've been awake for about 2 hours now. Somehow I am now thinking about the following weeks to come and the unexpected change that is about to happen. All for the best of course, is what we are all hoping for.

An opportunity knocked at my door a couple of months ago, but I declined it then. There were lots of things going on and change back then would have just rocked our boat big time. Uncertainty can do that sometimes. It was a tough choice to make since this was something I have been wanting to pursue (maybe for at least 12 years now!). But then timing was just so wrong, or so I thought it was. For all I know I was resisting too much something that was meant to be. I struggled deep inside to not take this chance even if I wanted it so bad.

Now, this same opportunity fell on my lap again last week. Quite unexpectedly. And this time around it will happen. I am longing for the less stressful work environment and the great hours.

Taking this opportunity means I have had to put on hold a few business plans for a while. I am praying so hard though that this is the right decision. I guess something that's blessed on you cannot be bad and can only lead to even better things. Surely when the timing is right the universe will conspire and inspire you to not resist the flow.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Girls Getaway

I'm planning our big girls' getaway to the West Coast USA as early as now, to avoid any disappointment in securing our flights and accommodations. I probably won't worry as much about booking our san francisco airport shuttle just yet, as I know there are an abundance of sfo airport shuttle companies available (visit the site for more information). Nonetheless an sfo shuttle is still on the list to do of course!

Somehow this girls getaway is very late and long overdue. Four of my best girlfriends live on four different continents. The last time we were all together was when we were young and lived in one country (oh, those were the days!). Now that all of us have our own families and live very different lives, we haven't been able to spend as much time with each other as we need. Coming up with a plan as to where to rendezvous was quite easy. Two of the ladies live in countries right next to each other, one having the youngest child which would be a challenge to be away for too long. Who would have thought it possible to meet internationally after all these years!

Being the travel agent in the group, naturally I was tasked to look for accommodations and source activities we could do. My other friend is looking for restaurants we could visit, while one other one is in charge of driving. Wouldn't it be great if all trips were planned like this? Everyone tasked to do something equally important - takes the stress out of planning a trip if I may say so.

I am off to do research about hotels now, and contacting the ones which I know sales representatives at (free upgrades?!). Just thinking about it all is getting me really excited! I can't wait for August!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Travel Guides from Yesteryears

I believe there are not enough travel guides out there, but having one like Eyton would be a good source of real information from a reputable source. Somehow the products to view from their website give one a clearer picture of what to expect from a city (or a hotel) in a particular country. I wish I had that knowledge stored somewhere in my brain, that way perhaps I would be a better travel agent, but I suppose that is the purpose of the internet nowadays - a very good source of information.

I cannot imagine how travel consulting would have been in the early days when computers much less the internet did not exist. The information on travel publications would have expired the minute it was published, and amending information would be costly and time consuming. Imagine having to research all about a particular city you are wanting to visit. One would source this from the library, or by word of mouth from friends and relatives who have been there. Alternatively, if one had a very nice experience to share (or a ghastly encounter) that they would like to share - they would have to wait for the right time and of course someone willing and eager to listen (it would be a plus if you are a good speaker and conversationalist). Publishing a travel guide book would probably not have been a good option during those times, but it may have been a good idea if you are a brilliant illustrator who can either paint with words or compose a nice photograph to share with the world.

If I lived back then, I would probably see myself doing just that. Travelling the world, taking awesome photographs, and printing them in a small travel booklet (just like a guide). I would probably have travel coupons attached too to make it even more interesting! However, we live in the here and now, and we have Eyton, with all the up to date information you could want! They have great information on their website, and gorgeous pictures, which I definitely appreciate. It's quite a virtual experience when you visit Eyton.

My little girl's fourth birthday

Ten months is not a long way to go, especially when planning a long island birthday party! I know a couple of years ago I started to brainstorm for my daughter's second birthday party, a year before her birthday. The way I come up with ideas is not over one sitting in one day. I actually work on it for a month. I jot down possible themes and come up with a mock of each theme. Then, based on what is realistic for me to do I choose the best one. I am particularly proud of my girl's second party.

I have come up with a pink lemonade party. I had pink and lemon yellow balloons all over the house, garden and front yard. I also had concocted some home made pink lemonade in pitchers, and had adorned the entire house with lemonade circles, streamers and paper creative garlands. For the food, I had the big birthday cake decorated, I had made brownies, cut up some lemon meringue squares, popcorn, marshmallows, spaghetti, fairy sprinkle bread, etcetera. On each food I had done up a label within a lemon shaped cut-out (yes, even on the lemonade pitchers). The overall effect was fabulous and I was happy and proud of the outcome. More importantly, the little girl was happy and enjoyed playing with the other kids. Click and see products here to give you an idea of how you can liven up a kid's party.

For the coming year, I am still tossing around whether or not I should go all out again and plan a big party or if I should just host a small and intimate party for my little one and four of her friends? After all she is turning four years old then. Well, I have ten months to plan!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oi Oi Oi

Happy Australia day!

Today we celebrated Australia day with the little girl for the first time (other years we didn't really participate). All three of us had matching Oz tattoos :) went down to the local council's park with the rest of the locals - had the usual Aussie food (sausage rolls, fairy floss, etc).

Here is a photo I took many years ago, when I was very much new to this city I now call home.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blank canvas

I've been in search for the perfect poster frame to put at home - actually searching for more than one - perhaps at least 7. One for each bathroom, room and the living room and my office.

For the bathrooms I am thinking perhaps a fresh canvas of lavander flowers - to match my statice flowers in heart cans. Or maybe even a collage of a beach scene, complete with bucket and spade, starfish, pathway.

My work space is probably what I can't decide on - too many lovely travel related canvas. One of which is this Paris icon... Hmm, I guess I could rotate the canvasses to suit my mood, the season, and my interest! Perfect solution!

If only I could

If only I could go on another (proper one!) honeymoon, I would choose to go around the world with hubby for a few months. Ideally, that is. I have so many items on my wish list of honeymoon destinations that it would take me "x" amount of honeymoons to fulfill - of course with the same travel companion! Here are some of my ultimate destinations/activities:

1. Paris - which couple does not want to be in the city of love, with their ultimate loved one? Whether it be on a honeymoon or not, Paris is the romantic city to be in. The city itself is full of lovers, and full of lovable picture perfect cafes, bridges, parks, buildings, shopping centres (?) and museums. I have to indulge on this and put on my list.

2. Tuscany - hire a car in Italy and stay in a traditional villa in Tuscany for at least a week! This image should spark lots of magic for any couple - coupled with a bottle of wine (or two), enjoyed over authentic Italian feast, at sunset - overlooking the local vineyard - cool breeze, twilight, perfect. That says it all for me.

3. Santorini - whitewashed walls, cobblestone walkway, endless chatter in town, local market noise, clear blue skies blending with the perfect caldera view and sparkling sea view- holding the hand of your love. Soaking the ambience all day, capped with an evening of traditional Greek merrymaking. The atmosphere will just make you fall in love with your lover all over again. 

4. Dubai - Glowing night desert sky and sand, entertaining belly dancers, pop up tent in the middle of the desert (at dusk), overflowing drinks and kebabs, sexy background music, Dubai Holidays will just leave a special memory etched for a lifetime!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Too quick

The holidays went by too quick and I can't believe I am thinking about this year's Christmas holidays already. Ideally, we'd like to spend it in Manila with family (wishful thinking!). Either way, surely it will be a fun one for our little girl. Last year we put up a tree quite early and she loved helping hang the baubles and ornaments. I know the real trees are nicer (but hard maintenance) but to kids artificial christmas trees are just as fun.

I guess as much as I would love to think about what I want to do 11 months from now, I am more excited to plan about the next couple of months trips first. We are in the last couple of months of warm southern hemisphere weather and visits to the beach should happen more in the next months! My birthday is coming up and so I would love a family getaway. Now, I am off to search the net!

The big 4-0

Turning 40 soon has had me thinking about a few things lately. One, major one is whether to have another baby. Hmm. I guess this is partly n...