Goodbye 2020

We have finally come to the last week of 2020, here are my personal reflections..

WFH with 3 kids

Warning: this turned out to be quite a rant

The biggest challenge this year was having to work from home with 3 kids during the Circuit Breaker (CB) period. Unlike others who had the luxury of “learning from home” at their own sweet pace, my team was actually rushing for a product launch. Besides actually doing the work I am paid to do, I had to 1) manage the twins home-based learning (be their IT support, slap them when they’re chatting or watching twitch instead of the teacher etc etc), 2) entertain the preschooler (this is a full time job imho *crazy laughter*), 3) stock the pantry with enough fruits and snacks every few days (because there is a reason why Fat X refers to the kids as LOCUSTS), 4) do meal planning and ensure that we have the ingredients to cook planned meals (praise the domestic helper, I did not have to cook. Working mothers who cook and bake during CB are true goddesses and have utmost respect and admiration!), 5) cry because redmart has no more delivery slots, the queue to go into ntuc is 10metres long, the shelves on Giant are empty and I HAVE TO FEED SIX HUMAN BEINGS!, 6) smile when I realize some eateries are open for takeaway and small grocers are offering deliveries for vegetables and stuff!

Gains

I know many people hate 2020 but it has been a mostly good year for me. The CB has unlocked so many precious hours for me to draw and sew. I even made some cute earrings after a long long break from jewellery making.

Unfortunately my biggest gains this year are my weight and dress size! Lack of exercise plus daily dalgona during the CB period finally took its toll on my slim physique and I gained a whopping 5% fat this year ( ゚Д゚)

Loss

Sadly, one close relative and two dear friends at work did not make it to the end of 2020. All of them passed on suddenly, leaving us bewildered and in deep shocking pain ρ(・・、)

Goodbye

So goodbye 2020.. it’s been a most weird year but thank you for everything!

Mini break week 3

Health

Recovering from the flu and throat inflammation. Haven’t been sleeping well. A close uncle suddenly passed away on 10 Oct and we are all trying to come to terms with it. 人生无常 :'(

Been feeling very tired, like dry eyes, whole body feeling heavy etc.. and I haven’t done any exercise at all, 都不知道为什么酱累 ^_^;

Also, I went to do an allergy blood test and got 0 for everything. Therefore, the mystery of what triggered my swollen eyes, swollen lips, swollen ears, itchy skin etc shall remain unsolved 🙁

Shopping (tee hee)

24 PC Polychromos and 8 tombow irojiten coloured pencils!

I finally bought the Faber castell polychromos!! Didn’t have enough money to splurge on the irojiten box sets so I randomly picked a few colours to try out. Spoiler: they’re not as nice to use (blend) as the polychromos lol. Some of the colours I picked are too light

Reading

Finished “The Alice Network” and it was awesome!! The ending was very satisfying and I liked that the side characters were based on actual persons and real events, although it’s heartbreaking to know that some of the events really happened. For e.g. the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre :'(

Drawing

Have not touched these pencils in a while 🙂
We all know that these pilot eno are still my favourite <3
My favourite drawing so far!! Ribbon and rainbow by kiki <3
Testing out the Polychromos!

Stupid me forgot to check the colour chart for my 24 set. The 24 set doesn’t come with the skin base colour so I had to use one from the Koh I-Noor portrait set. Looks like I need to get some loose Polychromos pencils!

Mini break week 2

1 Oct Thu

Kiki suddenly developed a fever after dinner and I had no choice but to feed her paracetamol that was prescribed in May. Luckily, the near-expired paracetamol managed to bring down her fever.

2 Oct Fri

Brought Kiki to the doctor in the morning and she was issued with a 5-day SHN (Stay Home Notice) because she was having fever, flu, cough etc. I am praying that it doesn’t spread to me. (Spoiler alert: prayers did not work at all)

Cute baby fell asleep outside my bedroom door

3 Oct Sat

She was really restless at home so I had to think of stuff to entertain her, and let’s be frank here, as well as myself.

Tada! The upside-down face!
Upside down face with funky hair!
A fun way to test out my coloured pencils

4 Oct Sun

Went out for a quick lunch with fat X because 1. Kiki was on SHN and 2. The twins wanted to stay home and play!

Matching masks!!

5 Oct Mon

Started waking up at night from pain in my throat. Omg >_<

Struggling to finish “Rose Under Fire”. It’s quite crappy compared to “Code Name Verity”, which is one of my favourite WW2 books.

6 Oct Tue

My sore throat seems to be getting worse and voice has also become more nasal and sexy. Kiki asks me to refrain from touching her because I might “infect her with the virus”.. I pinched her cheek and reminded her that she was the one who spread the virus to me.

7 Oct Wed

6 Oct chick’s face reflects my feelings accurately.

Finally went to see doctor and was given 5 days MC with SHN for the flu and sore throat.. really leh.. I’m already on hospitalization leave but now have an additional MC slapped on top of it. 我究竟是。。。 ╮(╯_╰)╭

The flu makes me tired and permanently sleepy even when I’m not taking medication. So that’s a good thing cos I get to take 2 good naps a day now.

Also, I finally finished “Rose Under Fire”. I think it was totally disrespectful of the author to make Maddie say “Julie would have died there.”, even though Julie is just a fictional character. Bleh. Anyway I’ve moved on to a new book “The Alice Network”. And yes, I’m back to WW2 spy stories!! Code Name Helene was such an enjoyable read, I need a few more good WW2 books!

Mini-break

So I went for a keyhole surgery on 24 September and was given one month hospitalization leave to recuperate from the surgery.

23 Sep Wed

I went to work in the morning and came home after lunch to prepare for the surgery. Had wanted to work the whole day but the nurse advised me to stay at home because the drug that clears the bowels is very effective and I should be physically near a toilet all the time.

I AM GLAD I TOOK HER ADVICE. I can totally imagine the watery sai avalanche happening while I was like, say.. walking to the bus stop, waiting for a bus, or HORROR OF HORRORS while INSIDE a bus. And I can already picture the stomp or mothership headline “Middle-aged woman unable to control bowels lets loose on board SBS bus

No, I don’t intend to be famous.

So anyway the laosai was pure torture and I did not know that the human body was capable of expelling so much liquids from the bowels within such a short span of a few hours. My bowels worked hard all the way till midnight and I went to sleep gratefully after that, fatigued from the hardship of shitting water and depressed with the knowledge that I had to wake up in 5 hours’ time..

24 Sep Thu

Because the bloody reporting time was freaking 6.30am and to add on to the sadness it was also raining, so I stood at my void deck and started singing 天空不要为我掉眼泪 ~~~

Once at the hospital, things started moving (quite fast, I would say).. before I know it, it was 8.30am and I was lying on the narrow bed in the OT, shivering from the cold (or from the fear, I may never find out). The IV insertion hurt quite a bit but it was nothing compared to the epidural injection. When someone tried to put the gas mask on my face I choked on the gas and pushed it away..

Aaaaaand… the last thing I remember from the OT was someone apologising to me about the gas mask. He probably had the last laugh though, because..

(IT’S JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES!!)

When I woke up, it was like 10.30-ish, the surgery was over and I was lying on another bed in the recovery room! It’s like magic! And I had the BEST SLEEP OF MY LIFE! A deep, dreamless sleep! I have been a poor and light sleeper all my life; my sleep is usually full of action-packed dreams (think mountain-climbing, running away from zombies in haunted house etc) so it’s quite accurate to say that I hardly get a good night’s sleep.

I vaguely remember the nurse at the recovery ward commenting on my age “you’re in your 40s! I think you look more like 30 or 31!“.. and then later she made a phone call to Fat X on when I would be pushed to my ward etc.. and then I accidentally fell asleep..

So the rest of the day was totally blissful because I was not in pain and kept falling asleep, totally not bothered by the nurses who constantly checked on me every hour. My phone was returned to me at around 3PM but I was more interested in sleeping..

The only discomfort was the IV drip, my sore and scratchy throat, and some bites on my inner lips but these were quite minor..

Pretty pink!

I spent the rest of the day sleeping and generally chilling.. thankfully I did not experience any giddiness, nausea, or vomiting and was able to have some porridge and fruits for dinner! Because I was so hungry, I already drank soy milk and ate a tub of tau huay before that ^_^;

The pain was very mild compared to a cesarean and I was able to get up from the bed and walk around the room on my own.

25 Sep Fri

After a yummy breakfast, I felt energised enough to start drawing! The nurses were so amused by my colour mechanical pencils X’D

Girl 1
Girl 2

I finished reading Code Name Helene with a broken heart and told myself to do a fanart of Nancy Wake someday. Seriously, she’s freaking awesome!

Fatty X brought me home at around 5pm

26 Sep Sat

The horrible back pain started today.. #想死

I spent most of the day in bed.

Drawn with Miao’s coloured pencils

27 Sep Sun

Wanted to go out for lunch but decided to stay home instead.

WISE CHOICE. Read on a while more to find out why.

Weird girl

So I was playing with Miao’s colour pencils again. Did a fucked up job on the cheeks and did not want to waste my work on the eyes (I always start with the eyes).. so I made the cheeks into some kind of tribal stripes gone wrong.

At this moment I was already damned sian.. but I cannot be so evil and let her be a botak right? So I braved on and started colouring her hair in a unique combination of greens and yellow!

Yes she looks damned 奇怪 but I secretly love this look!

28 Sep Mon

All the kids are back in school!!! Yay!!! Full of confidence, I went to NTUC with my helper today. Although I didn’t carry anything heavy (we brought a trolley), the backache intensified on the way home. At one point it got so bad that my whole body started to ache and I started to feel cold and worried about fainting on the road side.

Thankfully I managed to make my way home safely.

Immediately went to shower and lie in bed. Accidentally (but happily) fell asleep.. woke up to cook a random lunch and KO again after that. Accidental naps are the BEST!

Chapalang 麻油姜 noodle soup

29 Sep Tue

Today I decided to draw a picture for 中秋节!

嫦娥

This woman took me almost six hours to complete and I developed an epic backache from sitting for so many hours. So I spent the rest of the afternoon lying in bed

My loot from hospital stay!

Solid shampoo and conditioner from Skincare Co AND kakuno fountain pens from Qoo10 arrived today!!

Also, I removed the dressings today and it was quite eventful. The belly button one was ok, it was dry and I couldn’t see the wound at all (quite possibly hidden by my layers of tummy fats). The other two wounds? Not so lucky!

Because the compression bandage was so sticky, I accidentally split open the skin while removing the bandages. The cut on my cesarean scar started to bleed and took some time to stop. By then I started to freak out and had fainting spells in the bathroom. In the end I before I felt strong enough to stand up and shower. #吓死人

30 Sep Wed

My loot from the weekend!

Happy to receive my loot from overjoyed today!! Bought 2 preppy fountain pens for the twins, a Sailor Fude for myself, a pencil sharpener (yes, I do not need another sharpener but it doesn’t hurt to have a few backups in case all my sharpeners go missing or get broken etc), and a box of colour pencils in portrait shades!

Did nothing today but eat, sleep, shit. The back pain is still there and the wounds are itching so much TuT

Updates on life in 2020!

Erm.. so it’s been almost 8 months since my last post ^_^;

Circuit Breaker

So COVID-19 happened, and Singapore went into Circuit Breaker mode.. I endured gruelling hours of WFH with 3 kids at home, with the aircon breaking down during the hottest months of the year. I deserve a bloody copper medal for everything sia (precious metal medals reserved strictly for the real heroes <3)

But then I also enjoyed the CB tremendously because I get to stay at home every single day! Instead of wasting time on commuting to wherever, I was able to do a lot more drawing and sewing at home!!

Drawing

Speaking of drawing, I’ve drawn a few more pastel pieces since my first Marilyn Monroe portrait X’D

My addiction to mechanical pencils with coloured leads grew somewhere in the beginning of CB.. and I also started learning how to draw using the twins’ Faber castell colour pencils just after CB ended! 其实小学生用的色铅笔也是不错的啦!

Sewing

During and after the CB I also sewed a fuckload of masks.. mostly for family. This kind of thing happens when you have 3 kids – 2 of whom outgrew their original mask size within months, and third one having to change 4 to 5 masks each day because every mask she puts on her face needs to be fresh (insert roll eye emoji here)

A small fraction of the masks and pouches I sewed in the last few months.

The pouch that I sew has a tissue holder and 2 separate pockets for masks. I extended the original design to include an additional pocket on the other side and I’m rather proud of this hack X’D

Sewing is super therapeutic and I love the loud humming of my sewing machines.. <3

Also, I discovered that barbie clothes are a great and fun way to use up fabric scraps!

Barbie outfits
Custom-made wardrobe

I even made a wardrobe using a shipping box, and a pair of disposable chopsticks. Mini hangers made using craft wire.

My first nagomi pastel art portrait

Lalala~ here’s how I spent last Saturday doing what I love!

I started with a quiet lunch at nana’s green tea
The sky was so pretty!
Literally 蓝天白云!
Approaching Arab Street
And the destination!!!
Filling in the eyes first because the eyes are the most important part of a portrait!
I took a picture before drawing the lashes because I was so worried about ruining it.
With the lashes!
The teacher’s portrait on the left, mine on the right!
Teacher Gina and I!

I can’t stop raving about Teacher Gina! She is soooooo patient and she has magic fingers that can turn all my mistakes into smooth blended shading lol!

Also, Teacher Gina actually stayed back for almost 2 hours to help me finish up the portrait because I was like aiyah the face already done liao so I shall just anyhow draw the ears and clothes lah but she managed to save those too!!! hee hee hee..

Therefore I’m attending her basic features drawing class tomorrow!! Hope I can learn more useful tips! like how to hold a pencil properly cos I realised I’ve been holding my pencil wrongly while drawing!

More nana green tea ❤❤❤ hope I can finish the class up by 8pm!

More info on nagomi art classes can be found on this website!

2019 ~ reflections ♡

So it’s the end of 2019. I’m finally forty! And still fabulous, hahaha 😎

Work

The year began with a bittersweet ending for me. I resigned from a job that was starting to bore me and showed no prospects of any progression, but it was a workplace that I loved so much – the friends, the bosses, the wonderful location, and the proximity to my home. I struggled to make the decision to leave. Then the whole process took so long that I thought I would be happy to finally leave but my last day of work was actually not as happy as I imagined 😭

Score: ➖

Time management

Changing to a workplace that is not 15-munute walk from my home resulted in some changes to my personal schedule. I can no longer attend the exercise class at the park because the longer commute home means 1. I’m already tired by the time I reach home in the evening and 2. It’s challenging to gobble down my dinner and head off to a tabata workout immediately without throwing up the food. Everything became so rushed and I just stopped looking forward to the workouts. So that’s a minus point there, although my weight gain was a definite positive 😑

On the other hand, the longer commute means that I can actually do my reading on the bus and not have to stay up to read!

Score: ➕

Drawing

So instead of reading at night I started drawing again! It started with a personal challenge I set for myself in March – to spend 10 minutes drawing every day for 30 days. The challenge ended and I continued to draw regularly, practising on any blank paper whenever I have time. It’s cool. Its fun. And I can see myself improving. A definite win here 😁

Score: ➕

Sewing

Surprisingly, I got a bit of sewjo back this year and managed to sew a few zipper pouches, tissue cases for my sisters and friends, a coin pouch and 3 blouses for myself, as well as two zippered pouches, a dress, matching t shirt and skirt set for kiki, and also a grey skirt that is too tight for me so it has become kiki’s maxi skirt 🤣

My favourite sew of the year is this slim pencil pouch with 2 separate compartments inside! And of course I had to make a matching one for kiki or she would nag die me 😭

Score: ➕

Piano

Last year I tried to be home during lunch time at least once a week to do piano practise. This became impossible after my new job and so this is still something I need to work on 😣

Score: ➖

Time with the kids

The most painful price I had to pay for changing my job is the reduced time I have with the kids, especially the twins. In the past few years, it was the norm for me to have lunch with them during school holidays or just randomly take leave and bring them out. But because my current workplace is no longer 2 bus stops away from home, I’m not able to anyhow meet them for lunch. And because I have just joined the organisation, my leave is pro-rated, so I’ve been super frugal with my leave applications and have not been bringing them on any excursions or play time 😣

This truly sucks because the twins are now ten years old and slowly gaining independence. It won’t be long before they start wanting to go about their activities without me 😭😭😭

Score: ➖➖

Lost and found

On mother’s day this year, my favourite shinzi katoh tote bag was stolen along with my personal belongings, including the 平安符 that had been with me since I was in primary school. I was devastated and cried for many days, went around begging people to help me look for clues..

In the end I never found the lost bag and the culprit was never found as the police was not able to find any conclusive evidence.

I learned so much from this incident. I am touched by all my friends who offered their help, my sister who worried about me, my brother who got me a new 平安符,and my friends who started to gift me with 0.3mm mechanical pencils that they happened to see in stationery shops. #感动

more importantly, I now understand that physical items are replaceable and what matters most is the memory we keep within our hearts. I can now understand that I am letting go of my attachment to the physical item, not the memories. In a way, I am thankful for the theft for allowing me to understand this 😌

I am also thankful to my father who gave me enough money (via 4D first prize) to buy a new wallet to replace the stolen one. 谢谢爸爸 ❤

Score: ➖➕➕

===

Although this was supposed to be a bad year for people born in the year of goat but I felt that it was overall pretty ok. Shit happened but I was able to learn something useful from it.

My favourite thing about this year is the amount of learning I managed to squeeze into my life. I hope I can continue to learn and grow next year. Read more, draw more, play more, run more, sleep more, eat more, but lose more weight lol!

Here’s a loving farewell kiss to 2019 💋

Our first Penang trip

Before flying off

Presents for my 39th birthday 😍

I only wanted to get the soft cream but fat X is a sucker for free gifts (being a teochew and all that) AND la mer hardly gives away free gifts and samples.. so he literally stocked up my skincare for the next one or two years #赚到 😏

My mum’s presence was supposed to be a surprise for my cousin but I accidentally sent this photo to her and she spotted my mum in the background before I deleted the photo from the chat 😂 #fail

So anyway it was a short 4d3n vacation and we spent our first two nights at the Golden Sands Resort.

It’s a beautiful resort but the car ride from the airport to the resort made all of us car sick 😭

Luckily the beautiful rooms and the view from the rooms make up for the long and uncomfortable car ride!

Bathroom.

The bedroom. Kiki slept on the single bed on her own and only fell off once!

Balcony overlooks the pools.. I love the view from the balcony!

My mum and the twins stayed in the next room and their balcony was to my left. 

I was shouting at them and banging on the railing to get their attention. Of course they couldn’t hear me when the sliding doors were shut. But the man to the right of my balcony definitely heard me clearly. I literally jumped when I turned around and saw someone sitting on the balcony on my right #想死 #丢脸

Another random photo of the view from our balcony

For dinner we went to this bigass food centre about 10 mins walk away from the resort AND THEY HAVE THE MOST AMAZING FOOD like fried oyster omelette, char kway teow, penang prawn mee, fried black noodles,  tasty deep fried spring rolls, BBQ seafood etc.. 

Once again I put on some of the weight that I painstakingly lost during my TR90 😭

Nevermind 我会瘦下来的!

Anyway.. look at the twins’ expressions.. #nogiveface

还是老公好

Three generations of 美女

This young lady obviously thinks that it’s very trendy to wear this outfit to the hotel lounge..

Check out her whole “look”. The feet cannot even touch the floor and she’s busy typing away 好像很厉害酱 😅

Playground

The indoor playground within the hotel compound is also open to public

Colourful slide!

The blue slide was the “intermediate” level. The “extreme” level is the red slide, which is almost a vertical drop!

The toddler play area also keeps non toddlers entertained!

Beach

The otaku sitting on a deck chair with his DS.

My 二姨 and I.

Also, please dun ask me why my tongue was sticking out 😂

Kiki and my nephew Sam

Sam, Junpig, and kiki 

Gurney Plaza

After two nights at the resort we moved on to Hotel G next to Gurney Plaza.

The room was very big and modern!

King sized bed was just nice for 3 little pigs! Their legs also very synchronised hor 😏

The three boys waiting patiently for the aunties and grandaunties to finish their shopping spree. The training starts young lol

The kids having fun with gel painting. Notice the helicopter dad helping his precious daughter..

A closer look at the 中风的 pikachu 😂

On the last day just before leaving for airport.. someone die die wanna try colouring an elsa pic so we went back there 😑

After elsa painting is done she can finally leave penang without any regrets 😂

That’s all for our short short trip!

P/S: Singaporeans please remember to bring along your popular card if you intend to shop at the popular bookstores across the causeway! We forgot to bring ours and did not get to enjoy the members discount 😭

Our first cruise!

Instead of splurging on a Japan trip this year we decided to go for a rest and relax cruise during the June holidays!

The cruise ship leaving from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre.

Random picture on one of the many deck chairs on the cruise.

Random photo at one of the specialty restaurants on the cruise. 

Although the cruise package price includes all meals, we decided to purchase additional dining package that allowed us to eat at any of the specialty restaurants. And IT WAS A WISE CHOICE! 

I was actually in my second month of TR90 during the trip and put on all the weight that I’ve lost in the last 6 weeks. But I HAD NO REGRETS. Because the food was so yummy and also also, I lost all the weight within 2 days after the trip hahaha!

Anyway.. 真的是西北西北好吃啦! So much so that fat X and I started dreaming of our next cruise immediately after the first one 😍

Taking a wefie outside the kids activity area.. the twins had half a day of fun there but kiki cried like a pig and refused to be deposited at the toddler care centre!

There are many parents who drop their kids off at the child activity centres while they hop onto the land tours. Lucky lucky parents! The three pigs refused to be deposited and so we were stuck with 3 otaku kids who only wanted to play inside the suite 😭

Managed to drag the two younger ones along with me to explore the ship.. this cosy little chapel is one level above the private lounge, which was one of our favourite hang-outs cos it’s not crowded at all and also happens to serve very nice fried chicken wings and other finger food!

Me with the kids 

Spent so much time on this photo that we eventually gave up and excluded kiki from our group photo 😂

I swear I will take a good one on my next cruise!

Twice a day our room attendant would leave us random towel animals! It was so fun watching out for his little surprises!

Sunset over the ocean 😍

Twins on a random morning

Phuket island!

The little boats that would take us to phuket 

View of the ship from the little boat. Yes it was a really bumpy ride!

Tried to smile for this photo even though it was really hot and stuffy and I had to piggyback a 20kg baby on my back! 😑

After phuket we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant on the cruise. 

Imho it’s more worth it to visit the chops grille and Giovanni restaurants if you do purchase the package.. hee hee.. also, do not miss the burger,  fries, and heavenly chocolate milk shake from Johnny rockets!!!

If I remember correctly it’s only like USD 9.90 per person and tastes 100 times better than shitty McDonald’s. 

When we came back from dinner we had a new friend hanging from the ceiling!

Found our way to the helicopter landing pad and gosh it was super windy there!

The front of the ship. I bet the rooms here have the best views in the ship!

On our last day we decided to leave an extra tip for our room attendant as he was so sweet!

Was very surprised to find his reply waiting for us  😍

Bye Royal Caribbean Cruise, we thoroughly enjoyed the food and chillaxing! 

P/S: I’ve already booked my next cruise lol! Just realised that I didn’t take any photos of the suite  😅 Will take more photos on the next cruise!