08 May 2015
Today I need to concentrate and write a briefing paper for my boss' boss. Being in an open plan office it means putting on my headphones and turning on Spotify to listen to their Afternoon Acoustic playlist. It's my go-to playlist and features this sweet little tune from John Mayer...
07 May 2015
06 May 2015
I got back last Friday from a week away in Washington and I fell in love with the place. I was there for work so didn't have too much time to get out and about. I did land on a Sunday though so had that day to myself to sightsee which was lovely. It's such a great city!
I just walked and walked and walked... One of highlights was chancing upon the White House Spring Garden Tour by complete accident. The timing was perfect as they only open the gardens for two weekends a year so I was able to go in and have a closer look. I didn't have time to see too much of the city but I loved walking through Georgetown and the National Mall and it was such beautiful Spring weather. It's definitely a city to revisit.
One of the best things about being in the US was the food. I love bagels and they are so hard to find in Singapore so I took advantage and had a bagel with cream cheese every morning. I also spent ages in Whole Foods :)
Some other restaurant/cafe tips from my short week:
04 May 2015
When we were in Phuket last month, the Mr found some really tasty locally made granola by Crunchy Monkey at the supermarket. We liked it so much we bought a few bags home with us. The little Miss is a big fan and is always asking to eat 'crunchy monkey' (even when it isn't breakfast time!).
Unfortunately our stocks are running low and good quality granola (that is not just toasted oats) is so expensive! So to keep me and the little girl busy on the weekend and to try and combat the jetlag I was suffering, I decided to try and make our own. It was way easier than I expected and is super yum. It was also a fun and easy way to get the little Miss involved in cooking.
I tried a simple recipe but I think I will try other variations next time. I turned to trusty google and this one was the first result after searching 'home made granola' so I adapted it and gave it a go...
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped raw nuts (any nuts will do, I used cashews and almonds)
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (any will do, I used sultanas and cranberries)
- 1/4 cup raw seeds (any seeds will do, I used flaxseed and chia seeds)
- 2-3 tablespoons of honey
- 2 tbspn coconut oil
- 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 150C. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and use your hands to mix well and toss. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking tray and bake for 10mins or until lightly toasted. Cool before serving and keep in an airtight container or jar.
23 April 2015
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
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
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.
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
The Design Files has featured Vietnamese recipes all this month in its Tasty Tuesday series courtesy of Michael Pham of the Phamily Kitchen.
06 April 2015
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!