I’m Back!

hello again

Hello my darlings! I can hardly believe I’m back again. It’s been over a year (time flies!) and while taking a hiatus from the blog was necessary at the time, to tell you the truth, I’ve missed this. Missed sharing things that caught my fancy. Missed the little community we built here at Peonies & Pancakes. And so, I’m writing again.

So much has happened over the course of this past year. For starters, I finally (can’t stress that word enough) finished my PhD and will be graduating this November. Phew. They say that when one chapter closes, another opens. The chapter I’m talking about now is my business – Lovesprk.

The idea behind Lovesprk is simple really. Our aim to put the fun back in dating! We do this through our website which offers a wide variety of exclusive one-of-a-kind dates (sometimes luxurious, sometimes a little quirky) but all lovingly handpicked for couples to choose from. All you need to do is sign up, purchase a date from our website and we take care of the rest. We handle all the nitty gritty details like planning and making reservations. Want to take it up a notch with a fancy personalised gift or bouquet of flowers? No problem. Our concierge service is just the thing for you. No hassle! Our focus is on providing a wonderful experience for two. Oh and did I mention that all our dates come at a discount? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter and like our FB page so you don’t miss out on all the goodies!

Lovesprk is definitely keeping me busy but this blog was my fun space. My creative outlet and I’m glad to be back. So look out guys – daily posts are coming your way once again.

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Do You Sing In The Shower?

elvis-singing-in-the-showerOkie, who am I kidding? Of course you do! Right? Admit it. Admit it. I absolutely love it. As the saying goes, “There’s no half-singing in the shower. You’re either a rock star or a diva.” So the question really is: What are your favourite tunes to sing in the shower? I was a kid who loved singing. In those days, I jumped at every opportunity to sing for family and friends. I’d plan concerts and charge everyone a dollar to stay and watch me perform (luckily, everyone indulged me). Haha.. Now, my bathroom is my personal concert hall. Here are my top ten go-to songs:

1. Part Of Your World – The Little Mermaid
2. On My Own – Les Miserables
3. Make You Feel My Love – Adele (but I sing the Glee version)
4. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Wizard Of Oz
5. My Favourite Things – Sound Of Music
6. Feed The Birds – Mary Poppins
7. Memory – Cats
8. Summertime – Leona Lewis’ version
9. Jar Of Hearts – Christina Perri
10. Look With Your Heart – Anna O Byrne, from “Love Never Dies”  (I attempt this)

So there it is! Looking at my list now, I realise I sing a lot of sad songs. Oh well… I love em. What do you sing in the shower? Do tell.

Any Book Recommendations?

marilyn-monroeHello lovelies! I need to ask: Have you read any good books recently? I just wrote about 4 of my favourite books and now am itching to pick up something great. I’ve heard wonderful things about The Goldfinch. Have you read it yet? The NY Times had this to say…

“The Goldfinch” is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind. I read it with that mixture of terror and excitement I feel watching a pitcher carry a no-hitter into the late innings. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of “The Goldfinch,” they never do.

Pretty awesome, right?

Happy birthday!

tashna birthdayHappy birthday to my beautiful sister! You have been the absolute best to grow up with. I couldn’t ask for a better person to have shared all those years with and am so glad we’re as close as we are. Though I wish you were closer geographically. Please work on that : ) Oh we’ve been through so many great times…

Like our days in Melbourne. Remember shopping on the weekends, pizzas and gelati on Lygon, choc chip cookies and The O.C. on Wednesdays? in-melbourneAnd let’s not forget our trips to Thailand. Markets, spicy food, temples and spas. What amazing memories! Mummy really went out of her way to give us the best and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Let’s plan another trip soon.ringing-the-bells thailandPlus you were there during one of the most crazy, hectic and wonderful times of my life – wedding planning. It feels like just yesterday when we were emailing pictures of dresses and flower arrangements to each other. Thank you for making the whole process so enjoyable and thank you for the back massage! See, you’re the best. back-rubmy-weddingI love you.

10 Things To Do Alone

alone in siem reapI remember the day clearly. My mom and I were walking around a mall when suddenly, she bumped into an old friend. Naturally, they wanted to grab a cuppa coffee together but there was a tiny problem: me. I was only around 11 at the time and clearly, didn’t want to spend my time listening to my mom and her friend reminisce about the good ol days. So I put on my most pitiful face and made a plea Please mom, let me go watch a cartoon in the cinema. It worked and off I went to buy a ticket and watch a movie all by myself. Like a grown up. Sitting in the theatre, it occurred to me that I’d never done anything like this alone. And I liked it. A lot.

Since then, I absolutely love being alone. Sure, some activities are best enjoyed with the company of others but I do enjoy hanging out with just moi. So here are the ten things I love doing by myself.

1. Chill at a quaint cafe – Bring a book if you’re new to the whole ‘being by yourself’ game but just bring yourself if you really want to enjoy.

2. Catch a movie at the cinema – A habit I picked up at 11.

3. Wander through a museum – Something I had to do because none of my friends wanted to join me : (

4. Create an at home spa – Relish in putting on a face mask, painting your nails and soaking your hair in coconut oil.

5. Visit art galleries – Going alone means you can spend as long as you like staring at a painting you love and simply skip the ones you don’t fancy.

6. Go shopping – And splurge on you.

7. Cook something fancy – Bring out that recipe you’ve bookmarked/pinned, you know the one that requires thirty ingredients and takes 3 hours to prepare, and make it slowly. Enjoying every minute.

8. Or treat yourself to a fancy meal – Get dressed up, feel confident enough to sit at a table alone. Order a meal and savour each bite. Don’t fear that people are staring and wondering if your date stood you up. Who cares?

9. Dance – Get lost in the music and rhythm. Look silly. There’s no one to judge ya.

10.  Take a class – Always wanted to learn something? A new language, art or vocal lessons, maybe a writing workshop? Stop saying you’re too busy and just go do it.

Do you love being by yourself? What would you venture off and do?

Brain Orgasms

peaceful sleepSo I read an interesting piece in the latest Oprah magazine about ASMR, short for autonomous sensory meridian response. Apparently, there are people, millions of people, who experience a sort of tingling or tickly feeling which spreads through their head, scalp and back by listening to certain sounds. They call it brain orgasms. In fact, it’s so relaxing that most are asleep within minutes. Even insomniacs swear by it!

Of course, this sounded too good to be true. And since I have trouble falling asleep some nights, ASMR was something that needed my attention. First stop: YouTube. Here I discovered scores of videos of women whispering into the camera. Most are role-playing experiences such as facials, haircuts and such… like this and this. Each looked a little more iffy than the next but in the name of research, I had to check a few out at least. Ten minutes later, I was still wide awake. Next stop: Wikipedia. I learn that there’s no legit science backing ASMR but as Tom Stafford, a professor at the University of Sheffield, says, “It might well be a real thing, but it’s inherently difficult to research.” So this means we can’t rule out ASMR as utter hogwash. 

The article in Oprah says everyone has different triggers so perhaps soft-spoken spa role-play just isn’t mine. But goodness me, I don’t think I can go through any more of these videos to discover what may work. Still, I’m curious. Have you heard of ASMR? Have you tried it before? And did it work for you?

(Photo from Flickr)

A Long Weekend

long-holiday-weekendOne of the best things about living in Malaysia is all our holidays! Thanks to the many races that live in our beautiful country, holidays are the norm. We just celebrated Chinese New Year and enjoyed a really really long weekend because of it. There’s nothing like having a stretch of days ahead of you with absolutely no plans other than to do all the things you enjoy – like visiting family, going out for reunion dinners with friends, reading books for hours on end (I’m reading this one now)… you get the idea. But the days whizzed by and now I must get back to work. Although, come Friday I’ll be off to Singapore to spend a few days with my sister. Yay! I just can’t wait. Just two more days and I’ll be there. My sis and I see each other fairly often but it’s not often that we get to hang out just the two of us. And there’s definitely something special about that. We’ve got all our days planned and it’s gonna be fun fun fun.

What did you get up to this past weekend, lovelies?

What Do You Do When You’re Stressed?

dreamerWe’re exactly half way through January, folks! Before we know it, the first month of 2014 would have passed us by. I don’t know about you, but I’m already feeling like time is moving too quickly. I have all these grand plans and goals and dreams that I want to achieve this year that I sometimes feel like shouting to Earth, “Hey, don’t turn so fast. Please!” Do you feel this way sometimes? Do you feel like there’s a never ending list of things to do? It can get a little overwhelming at times and when this happens, I have a few go-to’s that are sure to get me feeling relaxed once more. The trick for me do something that forces me to stop thinking, thinking, thinking. Here’s my list. Share yours with me. I’d love to hear.

1. Talking to Jon. He’s always so understanding and always, always manages to put things back into perspective such that I no longer stress. I’m one lucky gal!
2. Reading a great novel in bed. I just finished this book and absolutely loved it.
3. Listening to classical music (or the soundtrack to Skyrim – it rocks).
4. Watching romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally or As Good as It Gets.
5. Going through my list of bookmarked blogs one by one. So satisfying!
6. Baking cookies. Or brownies. Basically, anything with chocolate in it. Then, eating it.
7. Penning my thoughts. Sometimes just getting it down on paper helps.
8. Exercising.
9. Planning my dream holiday – with no budget – just for the fun of it.
10. Scouring Pinterest.

(Photo from Flickr)

Halfway Through January, Already?

stop and smell the rosesI think the title of this post says it all. I’ve been meaning to get back and update this blog. In fact, not a day goes by (now this song is playing in my head – talk about a dramatic performance) that I do not think of something that I want to write here. But stuff keeps getting in the way! First, there were all those parties to attend around Christmas and New Years. Oh! What lovely parties. Then, just as quickly as 2014 arrived, I got sick and was self-confined to bed for almost a week. But enough about the past. I’m back and can’t wait to get started on my little love – this blog.

Proper legit posts are coming soon…

And my lovelies, though this comes a little late, “Happy New Year!”

(Image from Rifle Paper Co.)

It’s Christmas Eve

chrismas tree 2013Hello lovelies, it’s less than 24 hours to Christmas! Actually, at the time of writing this, it’s less than 6 hours to midnight. We’re with our family (here from all over the world). The house is noisy, merry and full of food. Gosh. I need to talk about the food. Every year, my grandparents make sure there’s enough to feed the usual 10 of us who settle in their home over the holiday season. But this year, they’ve outdone themselves. There are pineapple tarts, brownies (thanks to Bread N Bakes), the richest chocolate cake (made by my grandma), chicken biryani… the list goes on and on and on and on.

Tonight we are going to church and when we get home at around 1am , we will open presents! We’ll also play some carols (perhaps even sing a little), enjoy fruit cake (see, I left that out of the long list above) and wine. It will be loads of fun!

What are your plans for Christmas? I hope you have a merry happy one!

PS. Sorry the picture of our Christmas tree is a little blur. Took in bad lighting with my iPhone : (