23 April 2015

Fig and Rosewater Chia Pudding

I first tried chia seeds when I started getting into green smoothies last year.  I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.  At that time, all I knew was that chia seeds were those those things from Chia Pets that you may have had as a kid!  They are actually quite the superfood and full of nutrients, antioxidants, omega 3 etc.  

I used to see all these chia seed pudding recipes and was very skeptical but chia seeds soaked overnight with some milk, honey and topped with fresh fruit really is yum and a good option for breakfast or dessert.  

Then I saw this recipe this morning on Beauticate... rose and figs - two of my favourite things!  I definitely want to try this recipe out.  

16 April 2015

Megan Hess x Lace

Australian illustrator, Megan Hess, has just launched a gorgeous collection of limited edition lace inspired prints that can be purchased on her site. Super beautiful.  I am so tempted to get one for my walls at home.. LOVE.

09 April 2015

Carla Zampatti turns 50

This year marks 50 years of the iconic Carla Zampatti fashion label.  

After being denied a pay rise from her £13 a week job designing blouses for a wholesale fashion house in 1964, she launched her own label a year later and the rest is fashion history.  The fashion house celebrated yesterday with the 2015 Spring/Summer showcase in Sydney at the Opera House.   A beautiful, elegant and gorgeous collection.   Well played Ms Zampatti. 

Career advice I wish I had at 25

A great Linkedin career advice post from Shane Rodgers appeared on my Facebook feed this morning.  Although it is titled advice for 25 year olds I think it rings true for all ages and all careers. 

The full post is here but I have extracted a few I particularly liked: 

A career is a marathon, not a sprint
Chill. When we are younger we tend to be impatient...

Most success comes from repetition, not new things

...The lesson here is to get good at things before you try to move to the next thing. Genuine expertise belongs to an elite few. They seldom have superpowers. They usually have endurance, patience and take a long-term view. They also love what they do. If your find that, don’t let it go.

Deprioritise your career when your kids are young

If you have skills, commitment and passion, careers tend to take care of themselves. Over the long haul, it really doesn’t matter if you have a few years when your career is in canter mode while you prioritise young children. This should apply to men and women... Childhood is fleeting. When it is in its formative stages, you get one chance.

[I don't necessarily agree with the term 'deprioritising' your career - I think that denotes something negative. I think career and family responsibilities can be equal priorities if that is what you want.  The reality is though you can't be in two places at one time so of course there will constantly be difficult choices to make.  So for working parents there are adjustments to be made and expectations to be managed in the workplace and at home]

In the workforce, always act like you are 35

A recruiter gave me this advice some years ago. It is quite inspired. What she meant was, when you are young in the workplace, don’t act as a novice. If you are smart and competent, step up and do whatever you are capable of doing in a mature way. Similarly, when you are an older worker, don’t act like it. Approach your day with youthful energy...

Management is about people, not things

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that all people are equal, behave the same every day and have a generic capacity to perform. Humans are simply not made like that. Business guru Jack Welsh says the workforce consists of 20 per cent of people who are high performers, 10 per cent that you should get rid of and 70 per cent who do okay. The problem is the 70 per cent. Most managers want everyone in the 20 per cent. We need to be careful not to believe that the 70 per cent are underperformers. Sometimes we need to celebrate the competence of the masses not the superpowers of the elite. As managers, we are not managing things, we are empowering people and making the best use of whatever it is they bring to the table.

Genuinely listen to others

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have all the answers as individuals. We don’t. As a group we are far more powerful. We need to learn to genuinely collaborate and really listen to the opinions of others. And we need to ask our own people first...

Don’t just network with people your own age

Beware the whiz kid syndrome. Smart, young people have a habit of forming communities of other smart young people and feeding off each other’s energy. In the older world they are seen as “bright young things” that give confidence that the future is in good hands. Argghhhh. How many times have you heard that? Youth enclaves can actually be restrictive. Smart 20-somethings should make sure they network with older people too. In fact their networking should be about meeting useful mentors and career champions who can open doors and fast track careers. Similarly, older, successful people shouldn’t just sit in musty clubs talking about the 1970s. They should be proactively seeking out smart, young people who can shake them out of their comfort zone and open their eyes to new ideas.

Don’t put off working overseas

Geography is becoming less relevant. We are all citizens of the world... If you get the chance to work overseas, and you aspire to do that, take it. There is never a right time. And we always regret the things we don’t do far more than the things we do.

Work in an office where you have friends

You will spend a lot of time at work. You should work with people you like... The happiest people are those who do things they are passionate about with people they really like. Further to that, if you find you have taken on a job you hate, ditch it quickly. Your career can survive a few well-intentioned detours and mistaken pathways.

Never sacrifice personal ethics for a work reason

Crucial to workplace happiness is value alignment. If you work somewhere that compromises your personal ethics and values, get out of there as quickly as you can. Good people will be unnerved by things that don’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Bad things only manifest when good people don’t take a stand.

Recognise that failure is learning

As bizarre as it might sound, failing is not failure. Researchers recognise that failure is just part of a process to eliminate unsuccessful options... If we fear failure we tend to take a minimalist approach to our jobs and the opportunities around us. Takes some risks. Sometimes failing spectacularly is the best evidence that we are alive, human and serious about aspiring to the extraordinary. There is no value in being ordinary when you have the capacity to be remarkable.

07 April 2015

Tasty Tuesday with the Design Files

The Design Files has featured Vietnamese recipes all this month in its Tasty Tuesday series courtesy of Michael Pham of the Phamily Kitchen.

All my faves are there including Thit Kho (caramelised pork belly and eggs), Pho and Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake).  Click here for all the recipe links.

06 April 2015

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!

In Australia around Easter time you can expect to find hot cross buns selling in every supermarket and bakery in town.  They are a must have at this time of year.   However, in Singapore they are an extremely rare commodity.

After seeing lots of pics of hot cross buns on Instagram, I was having a serious craving for them.  We had no big plans for the long weekend so I decided to try baking them for us.  I was very chuffed as they turned out great! We even ended up making two batches over the long weekend as we brought a dozen over to our friend's place for Easter Sunday lunch.

They are surprisingly quite easy to make but it just takes a bit of time as you have to wait for the dough to rise and proof.

I googled and found this recipe from the BBC which seemed the easiest and most fuss free.   I skipped the fresh fruit and just used 230g of dried mixed fruit.  I also used marmalade/other citrusy jam for the glaze as I didn't have any apricot jam at home.   I used plain flour for the first batch and bread flour for the second batch.  I recommend using bread flour if you can, it yields much tastier results!  Happy Baking!

27 March 2015

Feeling grateful

Two political leaders who have had personal impacts on my life passed away in the last week or so. Former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser and Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew

Malcom Fraser was instrumental to the Australian Government's policy shift in the mid-late 70's which embraced and welcomed Vietnamese refugees to Australia.  This move was the first significant step towards multiculturalism following the dismantling of the White Australia Policy. When he came to power in 1975, less than 400 Vietnamese lived in Australia. By the end of his term, tens of thousands of Vietnamese would be recognised as refugees.   My parents and sister were three of those people.  Upon hearing the news of his passing and then seeing the coverage of his funeral, I surprised myself at how emotional I felt for this man I had never met.  He was a man of true compassion and strength whose support for human rights was unwavering.   Without him and his strength of leadership, my family and I would literally not be where we are today.   

Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister of Singapore and is said to be the key architect behind Singapore's incredible development.  Singapore has transformed from a third world country to a first world country within a single generation.   He is known as the founding father of modern Singapore and whilst not all may agree with his policies, without him, I would not have the comfort, security and opportunities I currently enjoy in this amazing city state which has become my second home.   The outpouring of grief and mourning across the country and how the people of Singapore have reacted has been so moving.  

Reflecting on the loss of these two men, I am feeling very grateful that I can be the beneficiary of their life's work.  I am also grateful for living in a democratic society where my vote counts and the leaders we vote in can really have such a significant and personal impact.  We must not take this for granted.   I only hope that we and our political leaders continue to be inspired and learn from them as we strive to be the best we can be and to be good to those around us.     

Note to self...

A friend linked this on Facebook this morning and I loved it so wanted to share.

24 February 2015

She does it again...

Sienna Miller (who was one of my favourite looks at the Golden Globes) pulled out another winner at yesterday's Oscars wearing Oscar de la Renta. So pretty.

18 February 2015

The Year of the Goat

I love this time of year.

It means time with family and friends, lots and lots of good food, lion dancing, firecrackers, red packets and since moving to Singapore,  I have discovered the delightful pineapple tart!  

This holiday is the most significant for my side of the family.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of going to the Tet Festival every year in Brisbane where we would indulge in sugar cane juice and beef skewers wrapped in betel leaves (the only time of year we used to eat it).  I remember my dad covering my ears when the firecrackers were going off and being scared of the guy in the mask with the rosy cheeks who teases the lion dancers.  I think I still find him a bit creepy :)  

Whilst we will not be in Brisbane this year to celebrate, I am looking forward to starting some new traditions with the Mr and the little Miss.  Gong Xi Fa Cai / Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

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