Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So, we went to Penang

... And frankly, it's all a blur. I think I lost most of my conscious powers of discernment somewhere between the Penang chye tow kway (fried carrot cake) and the curry mee. I think there was chendol in there somewhere and a wholly unnecessary but happily consumed high tea at the hotel. So yes, to put it mildly, we ate A LOT.

BEST.FOOD.EVER
"Goggle lady" char kway teow

Curry mee
Epic curry mee

I have to say though, food aside, it was quite the lovely trip. It's the first vacation we've taken as a family in a long time- husbands and children in tow, and it was wonderful. The kiddies held up to the heat and hawker food (thanks to surreptitiously hoarding of the hotel buffet breakfast), and bountiful fun was had together at the pool. Sophie loved that she was constantly surrounded by people who would hold her hand, hug her, carry her, kiss her, idolize her (yes, 19-month-old Julianne Foo- I'm talking about you...), and thrived on all the affection and attention. So much so that she asked to stay in Penang for "another 11 weeks"...

We have another trip coming up-- to a decidedly different landscape and climate-- but till then, the memory of lush greenery, delicious food, and family will linger warmly.

[click for album]
1. Dinner at Tsunami Village, 2. Hotel, 3. Chew clan jetties, 4. Chew clan jetties, 5. Penang mural, 6. Peranakan House, 7. Amazing Indian samosas by the road side, 8. We ate A LOT, 9. Sisters meet laksa

Monday, May 20, 2013

One of these things is not like the other

Untitled

This photo pretty much sums up our child in a single snapshot. Oh she'll play with her friends-- dress-up, hide-and-seek, catch, etc.-- but when given a choice, Sophie would much rather be in a corner with a book, either by herself or being read to.

The other thing that makes me proud is the fact that unlike her mother, she has pretty good sitting posture :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Renovation Diaries: Shelves

Between Jude and I, we have too many books, CDs, and LPs than is probably acceptable (see here and here for a fraction of what we've been carting around). Which is just fine by us but not so great when you're looking at another move looming in the horizon. We're moving into a significantly smaller place and storage is likely to be an issue. And so to maximise space, we're starting to look into shelving systems, particularly in the living room and study to accommodate all the media we possess.

This post gives you a sense of what we'd ideally like to do with a shelving system. It's meant to make full use of wall space that would otherwise have gone to waste and more importantly, be able to store objects of different shapes/ heights/ dimensions/ depth. If we had all the money in the world, this is what we'd get:


The Vitsœ 606 Universal Shelving System was designed in 1960 and has been in continual production ever since. It's modular which means you buy the pieces you need according to your needs and constraints, and for what it is, it's actually fairly portable, able to be transported with each move we might take in the future. We love the clean, unfussy lines, and the multitude of ways in which it can be configured. It's like the pure idea of storage and design stripped to its bare essence. Watch this video for a sense of why this is such an amazing solution to everyone's storage woes:


Unfortunately-- and surprisingly if you ask me-- Vitsœ does not have a distributor in Singapore and the closest in the region is Tokyo :( There are a few alternatives we can get locally-- here and here-- but to make them really suit our needs, some custom carpentry might be required.

And so-- literally-- it might be back to the drawing board for us...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Renovation Diaries: The Beginning

Inconceivably, it will soon be a full year since we've moved back to Singapore-- something I'll leave for another post-- and with that, we're getting ready to move out of our rented apartment here on the university campus to a more permanent place about a 20-minute drive away and slightly closer to the city. We actually bought the flat in 2006 and have been renting it out since then. It's a modest apartment and just perfect for the three of us right now-- between Jude and I, it'll be easy to manage.

Original floor plan for flat
Original floor plan 

The thing is though, since we bought it, nothing has actually been done to the flat in the way of renovation. Our parents have been wonderful managers and proxy landlords so they've handled things like repairs and installation of an airconditioning system; but if we're going to be living there for the ostensible future, the whole place needs a fairly major overhaul. Which is basically the thing that has consumed our every other waking moment over these past weeks. Apparently, renovating a house-- no matter how small-- is no mean feat.


1. Sin Ming Apartment: Kitchen 1, 2. Sin Ming Apartment: Living Room, 3. Sin Ming Apartment: Bedrooms, 4. Sin Min Apartment: Master Bedroom

We have a designer who's helping us out with rethinking the layout for the house which at this point seems to involve things like hacking and rebuilding walls, reconfiguring spaces, thinking about door placements, etc. Apart from that though, Jude and I are on our own in terms of how we want the interior to look. We have a fairly clear picture of how future home will look-- my Pinterest board will give you an inkling. Of course, how much this vintage midcentury-inspired vision will actually come to fruition remains to be seen. So watch this space- I'm going to try to keep a faithful record of our renovation journey. This is the first time we're creating a home from scratch (well second, if you consider our garage-sale furnished place in Ann Arbor, but that doesn't really count coz we pretty much had to accept the place as it came and we were essentially longterm tenants...) and making it as close to our ideal vision as possible. I think it'll be nice to have something to look back on to show each little step we're taking towards that goal.

Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Accessorizing

I know, it's been almost four months since I last wrote. A longer update is coming up- I promise.

In the meantime, here's a gem from the almost four-year old this morning:

"Mom, you need to accessorize." Which is priceless coming from a kid whose idea of fashion is matching blue and white polka dots with multi-colored stripes.



Sometimes, I feel like we're raising a teenager.