It’s Monday (again?)

Hey there. How was your weekend? What have you been up to?

We said a teary goodbye to my mum on Saturday morning. She had been visiting us for about two months and flew home to Singapore. We are so  lucky to have our family visiting us every year. It is a long flight and our parents are getting older so we really appreciate it.

Things are getting Christmassy here! I put up a book Christmas tree, we did a walk around the nearby neighbourhood that’s always lit up splendidly for Christmas and that last massive tree is at one of the restaurants we are at.

Currently…

Reading:

 

Watching:

The Grand Tour is back! Also we are giving Sling a try so that means I can actually watch some Food Network (although it is disappointing to see just how many shows that high-pitched Guy has)

Listening:

Eating:

Half of this Nutella walnut pastry. It’s so rich I could only have half yesterday.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

Something made last week – quiche and a key lime pie

Today I’ll cook up some Yakisoba with fish cake and leafy veg.

And some kind of baked pasta tomorrow morning as the kids have tennis class which ends only at 5 so I can easily pop it in the oven when we get back.

Last week:

I read:

Oh man this book was so good. Just so bloody good.

 

This book was quite rambling. She would talk about something and then suddenly segue into a memory of someone from a while ago and then back into that earlier conversation. She definitely seems a very impulsive person. For instance she takes a course on Montessori education but only after the course realizes that she is not a person who can work with young children!

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2017 – books worth the hype?

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we blog

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we read

badgeIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date
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#amonthoffaves2017 – books worth the hype?

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Fri. | Dec. 8 – 3 Popular Books Worth the Hype #AMonthofFaves

Oops a few days late with this one.

The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman

I know there have been some mixed reviews and I wasn’t entirely that into Lyra as an infant but I really loved being back in that setting. Daemons!

When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

A cute and fun YA romance read. Now if they’d just turn it into a movie.

Jane, Unlimited – Kirstin Cashore

I had fun with this book – a sort of “choose your own adventure” of sorts, with multiple possibilities and endings. Also, a main character who makes umbrella art. I loved this one. About the hype though? I don’t know.

Not worth the hype

Angel Catbird – Margaret Atwood

Was it because it’s Atwood that I was expecting more (a whole bloody lot more) than this? Yes yes of course. But I think even if this was by an unknown writer, I would have expected more. It was just too simplistic and it made me feel like she hasn’t seen how complex storylines and characters in well-written comic series can be (like Saga). Anyway, I think because it’s Atwood that I even gave Volume 2 a try. I can safely say I am not reading that series anymore.

Needs more hype

I don’t know if there’s very much hype about these books but whatever, they are great reads and they need more hype!

 

All the Rivers – Dorit Rabinyan

It’s only got 909 ratings on Goodreads so that’s a bit on the low side. This book, written by an Israeli writer, is about a relationship between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. She’s in New York for just six months and it’s a chance meeting with this man but can it work? Can it last? Lovely and thought provoking.

 

Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker

What a fun nonfiction read. I was constantly having to disturb the husband with a newfound fact about the wine world or sommeliers or fine dining. And that to me is what makes nonfiction enjoyable. Learning new things. But it was also very personable (it is after all her discovery and journey, learning about wine and the world of sommeliers) and it made me want to keep reading and reading.

 

The Strays – Emily Bitto

I loved this Australian novel set in the Melbourne art world (my review here) but haven’t really seen that much about it online – or perhaps I just am not aware of book hype these days…?

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we blog

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Wed. | Dec. 6 – This Is How We Blog #AMonthofFaves – Essential Computer Programs, Browser Plugins, Websites and / or your blogging routine, blogs on blogging that you follow, blog tips you learned and used this year

 

I always have trouble with this topic as my blogging is very simple: open wordpress.com click on “Add new” and start writing.

That is, if I remember to.

That is, if I can be motivated enough to sit down at the laptop and start writing. I haven’t been blogging much, other than the usual “It’s Monday” posts. I especially haven’t been writing much about the books I’ve read (and if you’ve been following along, you know that I read a lot of books).

Maybe joining more memes will help? I used to be a regular Library Loot poster. And an occasional Weekend Cooking poster. Tanya’s Master List of Book Blogging Memes is always useful! I just need to pick something and stick with it.

How about you? How do you keep blogging when there are just so very many things to do???
(I really want to know how you do it!)

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we read

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Mon. | Dec. 4 – This Is How We Read #AMonthofFaves– eg. Number of books read so far, genre you read the most from, picture of favorite (or most often used) reading location, most read author, % eBooks, hardcovers, paperbacks and/or audiobooks, hint at what your favorite read of the year is (let us guess), types of books you wish you read more of, month you read the most and least)

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 204 books so far this year.

A lot of the books I read were comics (76!) so lots of fast reads but generally I am a rather quick reader. I read a lot of literary fiction but also a good deal of speculative fiction.

 

Also a lot of books were library ebooks. I am very fond of my library but find myself increasingly borrowing more ebooks than physical books. Most of the physical books I borrow these days are picture books and some chapter books.

Also about 10 audiobooks so far this year.

27 books were from my own collection, the rest were library books and e-books

 

 

Fave reading spots: 

This one at the library
And my own library at home!

Of course I really do most of my reading in bed before going to sleep!

How about you?

#amonthoffaves2017 begins!

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Fri. | Dec. 1 – #AMonthofFaves [The 2017 Favorites Edition]– eg. to eat, drink, wear, smell, see, do, enjoy, best purchases, most used gift received etc, favorite concert, outdoor activity, place visited, most squee worthy moment of the year.

Fave eats:

So many. I found a new seafood place in Santana Row (EMC Seafood and Raw Bar) and they had this beautiful seafood tower with really all you could ask for in seafood.

We ate at some amazing restaurants in Singapore like Whitegrass (see my post here). The second photo is what we were served first – some little ‘snacks’ of a deep-fried little crab, a pea tart and some Parmesan crisps. The photo above was one of my favourites that was our first course and actually listed in the tasting menu (it was a five course menu but that didn’t included the ‘snacks’ and in betweens that they served us!). This was a beautiful presentation of roasted and pickled white beetroot and hamachi slices. The contrast of textures (crunchy from the pickled beetroot and soft from the roasted beetroot and hamachi) and tastes was truly sublime. It was the start of a truly amazing meal, the chef (who came out to present some of the dishes himself) was a master of combining western and Asian flavors as well as textures. 

Also there was Braci, a tiny restaurant where every diner gets a full view of the cooking (and from our table, the heat of the wood burning oven!). We were just across all the playing action. It was fascinating watching how it all went on.

Fave drinks:

I always start my day with Yorkshire Gold with milk, have a Nespresso mid-morning and then maybe some green tea later. I stick to water after lunch. Occasionally wine or beer.

Fave activities:

Hiking. We’ve explored lots of new to us places like the Sunol Regional Wilderness and Rancho San Antonio. The kids have done surprisingly well and enjoy our little hikes.

Crocheting

I started teaching myself to crochet this year and managed to finish several scarves, a granny square lap blanket, and some hats. I’m currently working on some kids mittens.

Fave place visited:

Every year we take a trip back to Singapore to visit friends and family. This year my parents and sister joined us in a little family holiday to Sentosa, a small island that’s part of Singapore and is full of hotels and fun activities. So all of us went to Universal Studios and had such a great time, despite the heat and humidity and crowds. We also went to the beautiful aquarium and stayed at the lovely Sofitel Sentosa Resort which had a lot of peacocks strutting around and a fantastic breakfast buffet spread included in the room rate.

Best purchases:

Well this year, we bought a piano. My 6yo has been learning to play since last year, and he had been practicing on a keyboard for a while. After much back and forth (it is quite an investment after all), we decided to go with a Kawasaki piano. My husband likes playing the piano so it’s a great buy for everyone!

And of course, books. Every single book I bought was awesome – even those I haven’t read yet. 😛

How was your 2017?

It’s Monday and the kids are back in school

Happy Monday! The kids are back in school this week and I couldn’t be happier (bwahahaha).

Really though, we had a lovely long Thanksgiving week. We took off for Pismo Beach on Sunday and spent three nights at the pretty Shore Cliff Hotel.

Sunrise on the last morning we were there

The first sunset we caught

I booked us a two-bedroom suite and each room had a balcony with an ocean view. It was just incredible waking up each morning to this breathtaking view. The kids had a wonderful time swimming in the pool – it was such a warm week we got to wear short sleeves and shorts!

And we took a guided tour of the Piedras Blancas light station at San Simeon. It was about a two-hour tour with some history and plenty of nature thrown in. We got to see sealions, seals, cormorants and pelicans, walk into the ground floor of the lighthouse and the grounds itself. Everyone had a good time.

Just a few minutes down the highway is the Elephant Seal Rookery and you can get a good view of the elephant seals sunning themselves on the sand.

Oh and when one is by the beach (albeit a beach with lots of sandflies) one must eat seafood, so we made sure to get to the Cracked Crab really early (yup we were there at 5!) and grab a crab boil.

On Thanksgiving Day, we had our usual hotpot. And I made an apple tart using a Smitten Kitchen recipe. It was pretty simple especially the filling – place the apple slices in pate brisee, brush with melted butter and sprinkle some sugar on top. No need to cook the apples beforehand or anything like that. I was a bit skeptical to be honest but it came out great. It wasn’t too sweet and it didn’t have that starchy texture that I don’t really like about some pie fillings. Definitely a keeper.
How was your week?  I can’t believe it’s almost December. Ok then again, we did just put up our (artificial) tree yesterday so we are already in that frame of mind!

Currently…

Reading:

Voyager – Diana Gabaldon

Listening:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets read by Stephen Fry (listening with the kids in the car as we go to and fro from school and after school activities – first thing they say when I start the car is, “can we listen to Harry Potter?”)

Eating:

A brown sugar lime bar we made over the weekend from a Bill Granger recipe (note to self, reduce the amount of sugar next time. It was a bit too sweet for me, but tasty)

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

Braised slow cooker pork

Browsing:

Last week:

I read:

Victory of Eagles – Naomi Novik
Baking with Kafka – Tom Gauld
The Book of Dust Vol One La Belle Sauvage – Philip Pullman

badgeIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday and somehow I skipped last week

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

I feel like I’ve been reading less these past weeks. I definitely have been blogging far and far less often than ever. I feel like I’m reading blogs far less than I used to, resorting more to Litsy, Instagram. Is it about shorter posts? Less detail?

Anyway, last week we…

ate Pakistani food

 

visited Books Inc in Mountain View

went on a hike and saw lots of deer, as well as farm animals

made blueberry Meyer lemon muffins

and pizza

and olive bread

and the 6yo discovered a new chapter book series, Dragon Masters

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

I’m not sure why but I started watching The Walking Dead on Netflix. I watched it once and then stopped somewhere. So I’ve decided to start from the beginning.
Listening:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, read by Stephen Fry. The kids and I have been listening to the audiobook as we drive around (school drop off, to after school activities etc). It’s been so much fun introducing Harry Potter to them!

 

 

Drinking:

Hot chocolate from a Christmas mug

 

Last week:

I read:

Squirrel Girl – Shannon Hale
Sweetbitter – Stephanie
Jane, Unlimited – Kirstin Cashore
I posted: