Friday, August 21, 2015

Do you need proofreading or editing?

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As a freelance writer, editor and translator, I'm usually asked to edit text. But occasionally, I'm asked to "proofread" it. But whenever I get this request, I insist on seeing a copy of the text, so I can gauge if the text requires editing or proofreading. Quite frankly, most people don't know the difference between the two and I don't blame them. I mean, unless you're in the publishing business, you rarely have to go through the process of editing, proof reading, copyediting and so on. So what's the difference? I found a great online article by Upwork that explains just that :)  Hope this helps!

Monday, August 17, 2015

3 more things I love from Daiso

Hi  guys, I've had a crazy few weeks, how've you been? Good I hope! Here's a short post on 3 more Daiso buys that I absolutely love!

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It's this green oven-proof ramekin, green heat-resistant silicone mat and white rice scoop.

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See, the rice scoop stands up - Love this feature! The silicone mat helps protect my wood table and these ramekins are the perfect size for serving small portions. May I also add, all of these are of excellent quality. Yaay Daiso!

PS: I am not very impressed with Daiso's ice trays & flat mops... two of each have broken on me over a short period of use - not good!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Visit from Ikea Team

Several months ago, I dropped by Ikea to get some stuff and while I was strolling along with Arif, a n Ikea staff member approached me. Basically, they were looking for people who would allow a team from Ikea to visit their homes, conduct and interview and take pictures. They wanted to understand the problems faced by home owners and create solutions that they would feature in their revamped store display. I was more than happy to sign up, and on 2nd July, the team dropped by.

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Thanks for visiting Ikea!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: Tesco Home Delivery Service

Tesco home delivery
A Tesco truck pulling up in front of my apartment block.

Hi guys, today I'm going to rave about Tesco's home delivery service. I've ordered groceries from them at least 10 times now and so far, I'm really happy with the service. There are so many benefits to grocery shopping online that I highly recommend it. 

Here are just some of the benefits of ordering your groceries online:

1. You don't have to drive to the mall and find a parking spot
2. You don't have to search the aisles for the things you want
3. You don't need to line up at the cashier
4. You don't have to lug heavy groceries in and out of your car
5. You can keep tabs on how much you're spending
6. You can add our favourite items to a virtual list, so you can find them again easily
7. It'll save you time
8. You can get online discounts (sometimes Tesco gives out discount codes)
9. You can compare prices between goods
10. You can immediately see what's on sale or if there's a promotion
11. It'll save you money, as there are no impulse buys.

Now that I've been ordering our groceries online, we don't have to spend time dragging the kids around a hypermart. Instead, we're able to be more leisurely on trips to the mall. We have lunch or dinner, do a bit of window shopping, and that's it.

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Groceries delivered right to my doorstep! Gotta love it!

But are there any cons to online grocery shopping? How about freshness? What if something's not in stock? These are the questions I frequently get asked. And my answer is, the pros totally outweigh the cons. The only con I can actually think of is, sometimes things aren't in stock. For dry goods, they'll bring you a replacement, which you can choose to accept or reject. I once accepted a replacement for orange cordial and it was a brand I would never buy... and it tasted awful! Lesson learnt.

However, for fresh groceries, they don't bring replacements. A few times I ordered some fish, and they didn't have them. So if you're ordering fish for dinner that night, be sure to have a back up order or plan. As for freshness, it's never been an issue for me. You see, the people who pick the groceries for you at Tesco's are specially trained, so it's as good as (or even better than) picking things out for yourself. I would recommend this service to anyone, but I think it's especially useful for the elderly, people with disabilities, busy stay home mums taking care of the kids and those who work from home. 

To learn more about how Tesco home delivery works, check out this video:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Art Attack! Making a zig zag photo frame

You know that show Art Attack? I've loved it since I was a kid. I used to watch Neil Buchanan whip up all sorts of cool stuff, and I used to think to myself, "Gosh! That's so cool!" These days, I enjoy watching Art Attack with my kids on the Disney Channel (Astro Ch 615).

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During the recent school holidays, Amir and I tried our hand at making an Art Attack Zig Zag Photo Frame using materials we had at home. Here's how we made it:

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1. First, we assembled our materials. We dug up some family photos and got some corrugated board. I cut the corrugated board into three pieces, in a size slightly larger than our photos.

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2. Then Amir cut holes in the middle of the corrugated boards to make frames.

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3. Amir decided that he wanted a cat on our photo frame, so he drew a cat's head and tail and cut them out.

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4. Amir then added some details to the cat using marker pens.

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5. We then attached the frames together with masking tape, so they formed a zig zag shape.

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6. Then we attached our photos to the photo frame using more masking tape.

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7. And that's it! We're done! It was a fun and quick activity ans we love how it turned out (Even baby approves).

If you'd like to learn how to create cool crafts with your kids like this, be sure to catch the new season of Art Attack! Just join  new host of Disney’s Art Attack, Marco M. Borromeo on Disney Channel (Astro Ch 615) every Saturday and Sunday at 12noon. Watch the Art Attack Season's Four Trailer here:


Now in its fourth season, Disney’s Art Attack is the award-winning program that has introduced millions of children to the joy of art. Fret not if you can’t paint within the lines and don’t worry if your dog clay model looks like a mouse – Marco will show you that all you need is lots of creative ideas and loads of enthusiasm. So what are you waiting for? Tune in and be ready to get Art Attacked!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Homemade okonomiyaki - so easy!


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So, I recently discovered an awesome YouTube channel called Waoryu Only In Japan, and have been binge-watching episodes over the past few days. And somehow, as a result, I developed an intense craving for Japanese street food... especially after the Dotonburi and Hirohima Okonomiyaki lunch experiment episodes! I decided that I HAD to make some Okonomiyaki, and so I YouTubed a few recipes to see if I could make it at home. To my delight, okonomiyaki IS very easy to make and I had all the ingredients on hand, except for dashi and bonito flakes. But, as always, I improvised and the results was just as delicious.

Check out my recipe after the jump...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Our stay @ Colmar Tropicale

We recently enjoyed a short stay at Colmar Tropicale, and as it was our first time there, I thought I'd blog about my first impressions of this popular holiday destination. First of all, the climate isn't very cool, unlike my memories of Genting Highlands and Fraser's Hill from years back. Sometimes, it can get pretty warm when the sun is out, so there's really no need to pack a sweater or anything. There isn't even a chill at night, I found. 

Colmar tropicale

Secondly. the place looks great in pictures. Be it on other websites or blogs, and even in my own photos, everything looks pretty awesome. In real life, however, it's not quite as charming as I had hoped. Even if you've never been to France, or any European country for that matter, you'll be able to tell right away that the architecture and decor here is lacking authenticity. Plus, it's hard to have an immersive experience when game arcades and 6D adventure rides are among the shops lining the street. I mean, I don't really mind that they're there and Amir did have fun trying them out, but perhaps they could have been incorporated a little more discreetly. 

Also, if you tend to pay attention to details, like I often do, you'll notice that lots of things in the town need a repair or replacement, or an upgrade. And speaking of the town, which is pretty small, you can pretty much see everything you need to see in it in just a few hours. So if you're staying for more than a day, it could pretty boring after a while, even with the other attractions at Berjaya Hill.

Monday, June 1, 2015

My (Malaysianised) Homemade Kimchi Recipe

Ok peeps, I love Korean food, especially kimchi, but the store-bought stuff can be pricey. I've made sauerkraut before, using my leftover cabbage, but I'm not a big kraut fan. So I decided I'd twist my kraut recipe a bit and make kimchi. My recipe uses ingredients we can easily find here in Malaysia, and to me it tastes just as good. Here goes.... 

Kimchi

Adline's (Malaysianised) Homemade Kimchi Recipe

Serving: One jar

Ingredients
Cabbage - washed and chopped (For this jar, I used about a quarter of a head)
Half a carrot - Chopped into matchsticks (It should really be daikon, but I don't have any on hand)
1 stalk green onion - Chopped to 1 inch lengths
3 cloves garlic - Sliced
2 red chillies (You can use more for extra heart. It's supposed to be Korean chilli powder, but I substituted)
1 tablespoon of dried shrimp, washed and soaked
Salt - about 3 tablespoons (It's a lot, but don't worry as it will turn into lactic acid)

Method
1. Blend together red chillies and dried shrimp (do not add water)
2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
3. Sterilise your jar and stuff everything inside (Really pack everything in. You might have to start with a larger jar, and then after the cabbage has softened, you can transfer to a smaller jar)
4. Leave the jar on your kitchen counter for 2-3 days (Malaysia is hot and humid, especially in the kitchen, so the fermentation occurs quite fast). After that, taste it to determine how fermented you want it to be.
5. Once happy with the state of fermentation, you can keep the jar in the fridge.

Note: You can Google how others do it too, some people use special jars that will let the CO2 out, and prevent bacteria from getting in. I find that fermenting for 2-3 days in small batches doesn't usually cause much gas build up, so I don't leave my jar lid slightly ajar etc. But if you like, you can place a clean cloth over the mouth of the jar and tie a rubber band around it to allow the fermented cabbage to breathe.

Happy fermenting!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Satisfying my craving @ Laksa Johor Heritage

I love online shopping for its sheer variety and convenience. But now that I'm a work from home mum, I depend on it even more. I've purchased all kinds of things online, from bullion to cloth diapers, but most recently, I ordered myself some delicious laksa Johor! 

Laksa Johor from Laksa Johor Heritage

The laksa packets you see above are by Laksa Johor Heritage. If you're interested placing an order, do get in touch with them to find out if they deliver to your area. The minimum order is five packets with a delivery charge of RM10 for a total of RM45. 

Laksa Johor from Laksa Johor Heritage

I shared my laksa order on my FB page and a few people told me that they had been thinking about ordering it, but were unsure of the quality. So since I've given it a try, I'll review it here for everyone's benefit. So here goes:

Portion: The packet might look small, but when you place the contents into a bowl and pour the gravy on top, it makes for a good-sized portion for one (trust me, I'm a big eater!)

Texture: The gravy is thick, which is the way it should be, as I was told you're meant to use your hand to eat laksa Johor, like you would eat a plate of rice. I'm more used to a more watery version, which my mum used to make, but this is ok for me too. 

Taste: I've had some laksa Johor that are quite frankly awful and way too expensive for its quality. And of course, to me, my mum's laksa Johor is the best in the universe. However, I am pleased to report that I was happy with the taste of Laksa Johor Heritage's offerings. 

Freshness: The gravy, spaghetti and veges were fresh, which is crucial, as you need that crunch from the veges as you're enjoying your laksa. All I can think about is someone slaving in the kitchen at wee hours just to get this laksa into my bowl. 

Reheating: I kept a packet of laksa in the fridge overnight to enjoy it the day after. I microwaved it for lunch and it tasted just fine. Here's a tip on microwaving though. Take the packet out of the fridge and pour the spaghetti and veges into a bowl. Let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave the gravy on high. Never microwave the spaghetti and vegetables as they'll wilt. Lastly, pour the hot gravy onto your spaghetti and veges and you're all set! 

I look forward to my next order, I just love laksa Johor! I hope to learn how to make it from my mum soon :) Hope you guys liked this review, thanks for visiting!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Gratitude Friday - Thank you my dear clients! :)


It is Friday and I am so grateful for my clients. I am grateful that they understand I have certain limitations as a work-at-home mother who is without her own transport and who takes care of her two children full time. I am grateful that they do not equate my prioritising of my children and domestic capacity with the lack of professionalism. I thank them for valuing me for the quality of my work and effort, and not the fact that I don't wear power suits and killer heels. I am grateful that they would make allowances and go out of their way to make it easier for me to work with them, to get payment and to follow procedures. All these things I am thankful for is from the Almighty, who has made things easier for me to earn a living from home, while caring for my children. On this Holy Friday, I express my highest gratitude to the Almighty. Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Minted prints in Ribba frames from Ikea

I apologise for the lack of updates guys, I've been so busy working on writing projects :) In my last post, I wrote about finding a tiny defect on one of the prints I order from Minted. I emailed them about it and they sent me a replacement free of charge! Last weekend, I finally got a chance to go to Ikea and get some Ribba frames for them - Don't they look awesome! 

Ribba photo frame and Minted prints

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My order from Minted.com

Earlier this month, I wrote about a lovely website I discovered called Minted, which carries beautiful designer paper goods like art, graphics, name cards and invitation cards. I placed an order for a few pieces and they've just arrived from the US!

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I got three small, customised artwork for my boys Amir and Arif.

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I got this slightly larger limited-edition print to remind myself and my family to be true to ourselves and to always be brave and kind :)

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Top left: The envelope they came in.
Top right: Some info on the designers/artists who created the work.
Bottom left: Certificate of authenticity for the limited edition print.
Bottom right: A slight defect to one of the prints, note the line on the "R" in April.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so the minor defect on the "R" annoys me, but in an effort to be less of a stickler for detail and to learn to embrace imperfection, I've decided that I can live with it :)

Overall, I'm happy with the stuff I got and I can't wait to get them all framed!

Monday, April 20, 2015

4 things I love from Daiso

Since I've become a WAHM (work at home mum), I've embraced my inner domestic goddess more each day. And part of it has to do with finding those little things that can help make my life and my home a little more organised. One of my favourite places to shop for home organisation stuff, is Daiso. The Japanese are so good at organising that they've come up with all sorts of thingamabobs to get your life sorted out. But are these things really useful? Or will you just be buying more stuff you don't actually need? 

Well, I've bought four items from Daiso that now I just can't live without. They are...

Four items from Daiso that i really like

1. Water bottles: These fit nicely in the fridge door and look decent enough to pull out and place on the dining table. 

2. Sponge drier: I never knew this little plastic thing existed, nor how much I needed it in my life. It keeps my sponge dry and in its place, ready for action :)

3. Collapsible colander: Why is this so special you ask? Well, it collapses, so when I don't need it, I can just store it away neatly without having it take up too much space.

4. Microfibre cloth: I'm new to this phenomenon, but it's never too late to start. Dusting and mopping is so much easier with microfibre cloth, because the dust clings to the cloth (unlike rags). It's also very absorbent and is easy to rinse out.  

Of course, I've bought a lot more stuff at Daiso and not all of them have made a difference in my daily life. In truth, not all time-saving gadgets will actually save you time, either because:

1. You don't like using it and prefer to stick to your same old method of doing things
2. You don't really have an opportunity to use it often
3. The item doesn't work as well as you'd hoped

Still, I'm open to trying new things, in the hopes that they will make things easier for me. How about you? What are your favourite Daiso buys?

PS: Post GST now Daiso's items cost RM5.30 :P

Friday, April 17, 2015

Making baby food in a rice cooker

I love making my own baby food for Arif, who's turning one at the end of this month. Not only is making your own baby food cost effective, but it enables you to create your own recipies too. Arif's still not too keen on chunky textures, so I am sticking to thick purees for now. I usually steam his veges and fruits, but occasionally, I make vegetable porridge - in my rice cooker! 

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Here, I've combined a cup of rice, broccoli, pumpkin, carrot and bok choy. It turns out bok choy wasn't a good addition, as it left some strands of fibre. I'll leave it out next time. Perhaps spinach would be a better substitute for a leafy vege.

Then, I just add water to cover the ingredients, press cook and let the rice cooker do its thing. Once the porridge is done, I let it cool and then blitz it in the blender, with some extra boiled water. Lastly, I pour the pureed porridge into an ice cube tray and freeze. Voila! Baby food for a week :)