#WeekendCooking Funfetti birthday cake



Sprinkles sprinkles everywhere!

That seems to have been the theme for my now 8yo’s birthday cake.

This was his request…



And so I set off to try Smitten Kitchen’s Confetti Party Cake recipe. I did make a slight change as I  substituted whole milk yogurt thinned with a bit of whole milk in place of buttermilk though and as usual reduced the sugar slightly and increased the salt. The thing with funfetti cake though is that it’s not a light fluffy kind of cake as I’m guessing it needs some density in which to suspend all those sprinkles. And that really is quite a lot of sprinkles!


With the chocolate buttercream, I used the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, again reducing the sugar and increasing the salt. I also used a mix of regular cocoa powder and the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder


 They were very pleased with the cake and my 5yo has asked for the same cake but with vanilla buttercream for his birthday in a couple of weeks!

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs


Library Loot (April 3 to 9)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries




Happy Library Loot day!

This week it’s mainly about catching up with all those library ebooks that I borrowed in the past week.

But I did get a few comics out as it’s readathon weekend! And comics are always great for readathons.

As always, let us know what you got from your library this week!




The Backstagers Vol 1: Rebels Without Applause and Backstagers Vol 2:  – James Tynion , Illustrated by  Rian Sygh

I saw this on Litsy and thought it looked lots of fun.

When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the only ones who don’t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen.

James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.



Moonstruck Vol 2: Some Enchanted Evening – Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, Kat Fajardo

I quite enjoyed Vol 1 and the illustrations were really cute. So here’s Vol 2

Werewolf barista Julie and her supernatural friends try to unwind at a party, but a conniving fraternity of fairy bros has other plans for our heroes. With one of their friends trapped in the frat house and the winter solstice (a notable night of magical mischief) looming ever-closer, it’s up to the amorous werewolves and gregarious centaur to save the day.

The kids’ loot:



What did you get from your library this week?


This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

In no order, just simply off the top of my head…

The cover

What can I say, I do indeed judge a book by its cover. And these days, covers are just getting better. Some recent reads that I have picked up because of their covers. Can you blame me? Just look at these beauties!

The writer

I try to read books by women writers and writers with diverse backgrounds. I’m especially drawn to writers from Asia, and especially Southeast Asia where I’m originally from. Pictured are some of the writers whose books I’d automatically pick up, probably without even bothering to read the synopsis!

Reviews from trusted sources

Like my Goodreads friends and some bloggers I’ve followed through the years, like Buried in Print, Captive Reader. And some genre-specific bloggers like SFF blog The Illustrated Page. Also, I’m on Litsy quite a bit and I often pick up books that my fellow Littens rave about.

The award longlists and shortlists

This is a tricky one as there are SO MANY book awards out there. But I do like how they sometimes open my eyes to new-to-me authors. Some of the award news I keep my eye out for include:

FOMO Fear of Missing Out

Yeah, Instagram and Litsy have ruined my reading plans so often. All those pretty book photos and often, of the same books that are just published or about to be published and I have book envy and think, oh I need to read that!

Things that won’t make me pick up a book

Anything that says “for fans of Gone Girl or Girl on the Train”

Or really, titles with “girl”

Also, books for “fans of Fifty Shades”

What about you? What makes you pick up a book?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday and my boy is 8!





My parents flew in from Singapore on Friday evening, just in time to celebrate my older boy’s 8th birthday yesterday.

He placed an order for a funfetti cake with chocolate buttercream.

So tada!


We started the birthday off with homemade waffles

He requested burgers for his birthday lunch so we tried a new place called Grub Burger Bar.

Then he got to spend the afternoon playing video games and in the evening cycling – we got him a new bike for his birthday present.

Oh and on Saturday, his music school had their annual recital and he did great!




Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid




I’ve been watching Zumbo’s Just Desserts, an Australian baking competition. It’s a slightly different take on TV baking competitions – the two worst scoring bakers of the day go head-to-head and recreate judge Zumbo’s super-fancy desserts. It’s always a technically difficult creation, like one which was a dessert in a dessert in a dessert in a dessert kind of thing like a brownie within a lemon tart with a ricotta pancake and a raspberry gel all encased in a meringue layer. Or something like that. And there was a levitating dessert!! Inside that chocolate hat was a ridiculously difficult ice-cream gobstopper with like five layers that sounded more like a savoury dish than dessert like tomatoes, avocado, corn, some chocolate-chipotle thing. I was intrigued but also appalled that this was a challenge for home bakers….


The Fellowship of the Ring – JRR Tolkien

This is the BBC radio production with a full cast and sound effects and all.



Funfetti cake


Lots of water


We had hotpot last night so lots of leftovers!

Last week:

I read:

Lu – Jason Reynolds
Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend
Geekerella – Ashley Poston

I posted:

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Library Loot (March 27 to April 2)

Top 5 audiobooks with multiple narrators #toptentuesday




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


Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

I was delighted to be back in Nevermoor with Morrigan Crow and her patron Jupiter as she finally enters the prestigious Wundrous Society, the trials of which she passed in the first book. But things aren’t getting any easier for young Morrigan. She might be in the society but all they want to teach her is how evil Wundersmiths like her are. Also people are going missing and someone is blackmailing her class.

This might sound a bit strange if you haven’t read the first book! And why haven’t you read the first book already?? If you like stories that are a little bit quirky and set in a whimsical world, featuring a plucky young girl who’s got a bit of a dark side and who lives in a hotel with its many unusual guests and staff like a giant Magnificat who’s head of housekeeping and a vampire dwarf/party planner. Also, the good people of Nevermoor traverse their city via Brolly Rail.

I adore this series! I love the world building, I love the whimsy but especially that there’s this delightfully dark side to it all

Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum


I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York. No one ever spoke of my condition. I did not know I was mute until years later, when I opened my mouth to ask for what I wanted and realized no one could hear me.


“I’m afraid of everything! I’m afraid of letting down my family and culture, only to find out that they were right in the end. I’m afraid of what people will think of me if I don’t do what I’m supposed to do. But I’m also afraid of listening to them and coming to regret. I’m afraid of getting married, but I’m even more afraid of being alone.”



Fridays are for Book Beginnings on Rose City Reader, Friday 56 on Freda’s Voice




The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

I’m always excited to see what new ideas Kowal comes up with. I quite enjoyed her magical Regency series The Glamourist Histories. And on my TBR list, I have Ghost Talkers, a book about mediums of WWI who aid in the war by talking to the ghosts of men who have just died.

I love how she takes the ordinary and spins it just so very slightly, in a way that is so believable and enchanting.

But The Calculating Stars may be my favourite of her books so far.

At first I thought it would simply be a book about a woman heading into space. The series is titled Lady Astronaut after all.

But it is so much more than that.

What happens if a meteorite crashes onto Earth and obliterates much of Eastern US? Besides the many deaths and immediate problems (DC is gone for instance), it eventually becomes clear to scientists that this is an extinction event and the climate consequences that are to follow will likely spell doom for humankind. It is 1952 though and space travel is still merely an idea. But this event immediately propels countries like the US to start space programs.

Elma York is a mathematician and a pilot. But those who run the space program do not think women – or as a matter of fact, anyone who’s not white – can make it in space.

The administration says space is too dangerous for women and the women are relegated to computer jobs. But Elma doesn’t give up. She starts a campaign to show that women are as capable as the men going into space, putting publicity to work for her by going on a kids’ TV show, setting up an all-women airshow – all while desperately battling crippling anxiety.

I love how Elma is so determined to fight for her place on the team. And I appreciate how Kowal writes Elma as being ignorant (and eventually realizing her ignorance) about how other ethnicities are being treated. If it’s difficult for her to get on the program, it is many times more so for the women of color aspiring to be astronauts.

“Around us, women circulated in a susurration of crinoline and starched cotton. Not a single one was black. And the longer I stood there, the clearer it became that Maggie was the only person who wasn’t white.”

Eventually she does get chosen (I’m hoping this isn’t a spoiler) and one of the first things the women have to do is work with a stylist to select wardrobe and hair for the announcement event.

And it is incredibly infuriating for her when they have to do advanced pilot training…in little blue bikinis and in front of the press.

“After spinning in the pool, I turned to face the photographers and waved at them. A record? No. Even if I’d been fast, it was because the variables weren’t the same as under normal test conditions.

But that was science and science wasn’t what they wanted from me.”

What an absolute stunner of a book. I read it not long before I learnt of the news that the first-ever all-female spacewalk had to be canceled because the spacesuit didn’t fit and it would take too long to get a different size ready. According to an article I read, a 2003 study already had found that 8 of the 25 women astronauts at the time couldn’t fit into the available space suits (while of course all the men could). It’s taken many steps for humans to get into space and even more leaps for women to get there. And I love that there’s a book like this that imagines an alternate history yet also reflects the current state of the world today.