Affordable Luxury

Have you ever heard about the saying: “There is no such thing as free lunch?”

There can be so many interpretations about this. Mine is, how I can be fair to anyone, anytime in my life. This is about how I can be fair to myself in business, in acquiring what I want and being happy in my achievements. At the end of the day, a good restful sleep is a confirmation that I have been fair for the day.

Off course having the right bed set in acclimatised bedroom is the other half of the matter in having a good sleep. My sleep is my reward to myself for a work well done for the day, or a pat on my back. I highly recommend this practice.

It has been so long since I posted my last blog. It has been a while before I can confidently write this blog with positive recommendation. We were so busy remodelling our bedroom. This project includes replacing our double size bed with a two part super-king size, which off course comes with a tail of requirements. Living in a country with for seasons and temperature can go high as 40° Celsius and low as -5° in Winter requires to have thick and thin duvets, preferably bigger size than the bed. Off course this will need a bet set: Duvet, pillow covers and bed sheets. After all the measuring, decided to go for Emperor size bed set.

But the tail of requirement is longer than I thought. Having known now what we want, I need to think about maintenance or care of the bed set. This is about how to get these washed and the cost. I search for laundry net in our area. I found one far and cost will cost a lot to get the duvet washed.

So I have to hold back our project and rethink on how I can bring the cost of washing my bed set and still able to get my sleep at night in luxury. Luckily blanket size fleeces are available. I found the cheapest from It is not the best fleece material as I expected because it is cheap, but this is all what I need to be a blanket inside the duvet cover. We only have one layer in summer. Now we have two. If weather turns to be more colder, then there is an extra layer for standby. Any because layer can go in our washing machine, I don’t need to call, schedule and pay high a laundry net.

With prices rising every day, we look for bargains. We even tried ways of how to get things for free. There is nothing wrong with it. What we don’t realised, there is no such thing as free. For example, free apps, free software comes with free adverts and can come with free virus or tagged with spam or location detector. For bargains, if not bought from sale, we expect quality to be less than the expensive ones, but there is always it can be done to get more value from it, if we only put more effort to make it work base on our specification. This my way of able to afford “luxury”.

Happy New Year!

Note: I bought five blanket fleeces. These had stretched during my sewing, so I end up needed only three. I am selling the other two blanket fleeces in the same prize I bought it. Here is my shop:


November of 2012, I started my blogs in I started writing for few reasons. One is to use writing as my way to look around me positively as my next step to move forward. For almost a year, I was stuck in the state of trying to get things done, until I surrender myself to have a great family climbing holiday again later this July. I had my left littlest toe fractured (hit in sparring) three months ago. So I started the holiday with worries about it, but with a positive thought that the holiday will make me stronger. And, it did! Not only that, I am so happy on its outcome, I am also able to start relaxing while doing things I like. One of those things is writing again in So here is what I would like to share.

  • It lifts your cheeks as you smile. A way to avoid any facelift!
  • Snowdonia, North Wales,
    United Kingdom
  • Great ideas are all express on big round eyes, minimizes the wrinkles.
  • It will help manage stress and control your cravings. It gets you on control of yourself.
  • A vitamin for the soul. The excess is used by the body as it charges adrenaline.
  • Decision making is faster! It get things done! Because you are focussed on what works.
  • You reached your target. That was easy! Because you are not bothered or even aware of the obstacles.
  • Whatever you do with it or wherever you use it, will release a ripple effect around you.
  • A continues supplement is a protection for all negative things happening around you.
  • In a competitive environment, you are ahead and you not even aware of it, for you are happy and contented on what you are doing.
  • Or, it can get you high! It perks you up your spirit when you reach your target!
  • Your beauty glows from within. Free beauty treatment, there is nothing else cheaper than that!
  • You can look younger than your age, because you are a cheerful, positive, confident person.
So what else you are waiting for? Be optimistic now!

Get The Good Things Going! (GTGTG)

The first month of the year is almost finish! I still have not figure out my New Years Resolution. New Years Resolutions are very important for me. These gives me direction. It gives me something good to look forward for to happen or to achieve. It is a promise to keep and smile when I remembered as lovely memories.

The absence of "My New Resolutions" for the year is giving me frustration. To cheer myself up, I started thinking of what are the good things happened to me last year. This is making me feel good. So good I want to keep the good things happening and I know, I feel things will only get better.

My son and I do same activities together. But last year, we pushed ourselves a little bit more to get better in swimming and karate. My son's swimming style improved. It moved him up to the next stage. In school swimming, there was a week in October when he moved a level every week. This has boost his confidence and would swim on his own in 6feet deep pool to practice for his survival test in swimming, which he passed. As a mother, the best about this, is the part that he asked if he could practice it on his own to make sure to achieve his goal to pass his test in swimming. He learned to put an effort if he wants to achieve something. I, myself learned to swim front crawl style. I would now swim comfortable in 6feet deep pool. These means, myself and my son can swim together in deeper pools. In Karate, my son and I were granted to move to next stage. We joined brown belt group. We are proud but also nervous for we are aware the discipline required of the group is higher. But we went through last year. We end the year liking Karate even more. The program is helping us to improve ourselves in many aspect especially on the physical side. Although my husband is not taking Karate lessons and prefer to be active in other ways, the result of the karate program help me understand to his needs and be able to organize our family schedule to accommodate his activities. With all these, my son is learning discipline. He might not be able to tell what discipline is in words, I sure know that he knows it well by practice. Through practising his guitar often, he passed his Grade 1, Guitar Exam last December. Off course he is so pleased.

So for this year, I have to get the good things going while get few starting.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Sudden Turn

I like routines.  I always do for it puts order in my life and this gives me a calmer approach to organize each of family member’s daily schedule, menu plans, and to execute a wiser finance and time management for myself.

Routines get disturb at least once a year for me for a good reason – holiday.  This November we had a very unusual disturbance from our routines.  My mother in law passed away. She slept through with the thought of looking forward to see Matthew visiting her in the hospital. While this is just a disturbance for us, it is a sudden turn to my father in law’s life. Halfway towards eighty, his lifestyle changed whether he likes it or not. It is not a choice given to him, but a dictation from life that he must adjust to.

My mother-in-law had been confined in bed for years. So my father in law would wake up in the morning and live life supporting her.  That is his purpose. This sudden turn in his life leads to a one way road of very low visibility due to fog. Like hope, fog lifts and shows the road.

Now December, things are better. But off course it will never be the same again.  We do miss her from time to time. It has become now in our routine to have a family cuddle when this happens.  Off course there are spontaneous warm cuddles when Matthew misses Grandma.

We are all missing you this Christmas.

Better Ways To Refine Few Aspects Of Our Lifestyles


This is the life! the expression that goes along well, with deep and long sign that savors the moment of contentment. It is my favourite expression from my son, that whenever I hear it, it gives me a feeling of well accomplished role as a mother.  It then made everything around me bright, cheerful like field of vibrant colorful flowers. How I wish this feeling would never last!  But everything here on earth has its peak moments, and peaks always come with its contrasting deep or lasted times, fading away until it vanishes.  Which before happens, I always make sure I could save these good times as memories, in whatever way possible. For I would like to be able to go back to it and enjoy again at any time, especially in moments when cheering up is required.
Campsite at Berny Rivera, France

This blog is about our holiday in France that happen during May Bank Holiday in United Kingdom and a weekend easy climbing weekend break in Snowdonia South Wales.  I supposed to post it months ago, but things happened. I still have this good feeling about it, and like I said, it is one of those good memories to recall, to bring out the happy feeling – the result of well planned holiday.

Our holiday did not cost us a fortune.  It does not have to be, especially if it with a child. Kids have a straightforward requirement on their holidays.  They just need to be happy by always having something to do. It is that simple but could be tiring for being active is must. Anyway that is a good thing for a healthy lifestyle.

We drove most of our way to and from our holiday destination in France.  Part of it is through the Eurotunnel. We have prepared ourselves for the journey.  We have our gadgets and books in the car.  We have music from our headsets. We also have pillows, so we doze happily sometime during the journey.  It was relaxing chill-out journey.

The opposite when we reach the site. We were welcomed with lovely view of the colorful flowers. This was followed by a lovely sunny weather the next day. So that we are not worrying about meals, I planned, packed and we brought meals with us to last for days. All is left for us to do, is think what to do on the next day base on the weather.  We had played tennis, badminton and table tennis in the evening. We swam a lot when the day is a mix of dry and wet weather. They enjoyed the slides while I learned to swim in good front crawl style.  My son attended three holiday clubs in the week.  He learned to roller skate and played his guitar after dinner, as a practice in preparation for tis Grade 1 exam.  We also practiced our karate moves for few times in the week. We cycled through the fields and we had a day of shopping.   Although we missed trying other activities like climbing, riding the pedalo, and fishing, overall we all enjoyed a very active holiday.

Many think of a holiday is like a “get-away”. From a young age, I had formed this principle: "Time is the most precious resource, everyone has it but when it is gone, it's gone forever." that time is precious so I would like to gain benefits to whatever life brings me.

So what could be an ideal holiday?
  • It is a good reward for the hard work I finished.  Though may not be obvious, holiday for this purpose can revitalised our whole being which has a productive effect when back to work. I work as a software support/analyst, which spend most of the time sitting down in front of a computer. My husband is the same. My son is eight years old, so as he gets older, he spend most time sitting down too in classes. So a holiday which has target to hike to the top of a mountain and rock climbing on a gorgeous weather is appreciated. We enjoyed our weekend in Ogwen Valley of Snowdonia, North Wales, United Kingdom (25th August 2014).

    The rocks are called "Adam and Eve", the peak of Tryfan

    The view below.

  • It could come as “bonus” if my holiday comes with learning.

  • I hit a jackpot if I could come back from my holiday with something I enjoyed doing and had become a part of me, as it made a better person, like when I learned to swim in front crawl style. I now swim to practice this with my son, thus helps me to become fit. Off course, as I do it frequently, it leads to my better shape body. This August, after our climb I feel stronger and thus more confident. It shows in my posture.

  • The most important it should deliver us all to a happy feeling and leaving us happy memories.  Knowing what every individual requires in their holiday ahead of time is a must.  Holidays don’t need to be expensive t at all to deliver these benefits to everyone.  Requirements could be as simple as cooling of in the hot day by a very unusual way. See how my son cools off during one hot days while he is waiting for us as we prepare for our moutain to Tryfan (26th August 2014).
    Mummy, I like abseiling!
    Nice Rocks!

If you are looking for unsual place to visit for your holiday, I do recommend to try For those who have kids, why not try sites with static caravans like or

In the shortest way to describe, holiday is about making ourselves feel good or happy. So why not have everyday a holiday. Why can't we have the best everyday? I think this is very much possible by customizing our lifestyle to give us the best gain we could have.

What food is right to eat?

Health experts say that “five-a-day” of fruits and vegetables is not enough. To benefit from the fruits and vegetables, an adult should eat more and at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables. More in

But all year round, fruit diets is recommended. So there is not much new about, this aside from the amount of recommended intake.

3 simple rule about diet.
  1. Eat as much fruits in season. Buy fruits in season for your week consumption. Put it in the fridge and get out what you can consume in the day or two. Eat fruits while fresh. 
  2. Eat food of nutrition equate to your activities. Our family always like to have big meals, with little snacks or even none in the day. My husband and I work as software analyst which confined most of our time in front of the computer. As my son move on the next level in school, he spends more time inside the classroom learning the academics. So as we experienced, as time goes and so as our age, our body metabolism slows and keeps more food as fat off course. We then feel sluggish, and suffering rather enjoying activities like cycling or hiking. But before it is too late or harder to accepts changes, we decided to modify our lifestyle: when I could not last a very energetic Karate class when learning the kicks; while my husband found that he needs to buy new trousers with bigger waistline, we changed the amount of food intake. It is not easy, but we still did it. Now we eat little or just the amount of food that will supply the energy for like a given activity, like for just sitting down in front of the computer. We always pack energy cereal bars, just in case of an energy crash and whenever going out weather just shopping or cycling. We try to cook our meals, so we are sure to get good quality food in taste and nutrition for a low price. (see for ideas and sample recipes). 
  3. Avoid temptation. Hot summer weather and I am thirsty! Good thing we have cold water. I do remember the time I got addicted to Coke. Somebody offered me Coke soft-drink with ice cubes in it, and this started my craving for soft-drinks. I had no idea of how I manage to come out of this addiction, but I am so glad I am off it for a very long time. My son only drinks water and hates fizzy drinks. I hope to keep it that way. Also we tried not to stock of food we do not want to start a craving for it, except for very delicious chocolates. We do need little treats sometimes.

Routines That Gives A Good Feeling 

Summer holiday is a very long break! The scary part is getting bored. Which now, it is impossible to happen to anyone in the family. We continue with our routines which have our sports (swimming and karate) and schedule for exercises in place. It is already build in our lifestyle and we will be sad to miss it, for we could feel the awful effects on our body. We tend to have a little longer of this instead. My son enjoys the holiday club packed with activities like Barracudas, while I continue to attend to my routine office and house work in the week. When times we are together, we still do the old routines of ten-minute mental math. When times he is at home and better to stay indoors, he do his typing lessons via, practising his guitar or just enjoying a good read. Rather watching the television or playing computer games, we sometimes play board games, gardening, cooking his favourite summer treats like, crafting, or twiddling on his gadget. We could lost him to his legos or minecraft. The family or sometimes just the boys also goes cycling in the woods while I am enjoying peace and quite in the garden.

Routines that gives a good feeling can help in managing daily stress.

Saving time is also saving money

Although it is more important for me to save time before saving money, I noticed that by saving time, I am actually saving money while getting a lot of things done.  

One good example is my way of choosing my clothes. Since we are brought up to iron our clothes, by the time I am working and choosing my clothes to wear, my choices has to be the non-iron garments. If I like a style but unable to find a non-iron style of it, I buy clothes and my very kind mother would sew it for me. Which was a good bargain with my clothes made for free. It has been a very good value for me when after 15 years, I am still able to wash-and-wear these clothes which colours has not faded.

Another time saving tip is to spend your time on sure things.  For example, rather spending time shopping for something you know it is impossible to get from any off-the-shelf of any shop, you may want to try making it from the resources around you. If you have the time to learn to craft, why not try it. If you don't like spending money on materials, you can try get these for free from Whatever happens in the process, make sure you learn from it.

One for all: Go for the best gadget that can do a lot.

Gadget, the genie of the era. We love gadgets! I love my gadgets! I adore when it works. So to get one, like a pocketable smartphone that can be a GPS, camera, music player, organizer, note taker or recorder, a web browser in desperate situation, I do take time to research the best one for the money and from whom best seller who do well in support. Gadgets are not cheap. So buying that will make life easier is the best way to justify spending money on it. We bought my son 3D Nintendo DS when it was launch because it has a better quality in displaying graphics. We also bought him some math games for it, which he needs to unlock a level to receive extra games from us. Desktop at home is a must for us, to do serious research, shopping, learning other things like typing for my son. A tablet at home made it easy for us to get answers via internet, a portable board game for two when on the move, gaming pad, and quick shopping.

As a housewife, a good appliance is a must. We love home cook food. But to cook a delicious dish could be time consuming. I have modified recipes like bolagnese sauce, mash, shepherd’s pie, carbonara to give it more flavor and texture that my family prefers. The cooking process is more tedious. So to spend less time in cooking any of these recipes, I cooked in big amounts, pack it a serving and freeze it. This mean we have good freezer and a microwave to warm the pack before serving it. For recipes, you can subscribe at

All should make lifestyle light and easy, like "riding the breeze"

All of these, whether is about spending on the best gadget, getting the best holiday for all, choice and eat the right amount of food; you are to make your life feel better while save money, if you invest a little more time collecting and weighing choices to arrived at the best decision for yourself. It is this simple: If you are interested and happy on what you are doing, you will spend more time in having it more and often, utilizing what you already have, thus filling your time with good and healthy activities for your whole being. And so at the end of the day, all what left is feeling of content.

Live life wiser and get the most of it! Go get the best times anytime!

Brown Belt At Last!

This first quarter of the year is turning to have a number of milestones for us. My son turned eight. Two weeks after that day, we passed our grading to Brown Belt (3rd Kyu, Shotokan Karate). Before the month had ended, we received a letter that my son passed his swimming assessment and can join the next stage. We are very pleased about our achievements! We should be. We worked hard to reached our goals. But working hard is not enough to accomplish tasks on time. A plan or strategy is required.

If there is a will, there is a way.

Four years ago, I had set my mind for Matthew to learn Martial Arts (the goal). I had been aware of the classes available around the area where we live, but they will only accept six year-old kids. (He is only three at that time.) To prepare my son, I borrowed Karate kids books from the library. I tried not to use movies for Karate is always shown with violence and with unbelievable stunts. I found Kid's Karate of TSKAGB ( They accept four year old and move the kids to the Teen's and Adult karate when they are six. I enrolled in Karate when my son joined the teen's class.

How to start moving from point A to B?

I find it much easier to reach my goals if I had set it as S-M-A-R-T goal. SMART goal means:
  • S for Specific (You must define exactly what you want to achieve. To know if this is what you want, you should feel happy when you imagine yourself having reaching your goal.),
  • M for Measurable, Meaningful, Motivational (You should be able to assess yourself on specific times to be able to determine how much effort you need to put on, to achieve your goal.  The thought of you are near in reaching your goal should motivate you.),
  • A for Achievable, Attainable and Action-oriented (Don't set yourself to disappointment. You need to set a goal that is achievable with a stretch to give you a challenge, therefore giving you lots of action and excitement),
  • R for Relevant, Result-oriented, Rewarding (A goal could have a lot of mini goals which are all relevant to the major goal.  Going for your goal would require many actions, but still results is the factor that will get you there. Lastly, it must be rewarding, and this will surely motivate you along the way.) and
  • T for Time-bound (Goals must always have a deadline to achieve. This will add excitement and challenge.
If you have your goal defined in SMART formula, I say you are a quarter of the way in reaching what you want. Our training curriculum, supply the other ticks to have a SMART goal, which makes halfway the road to success in reaching our goal. The other half is about a list of things you need to do to get there and make sure it happens.

And Action!

Having a “to do” list is not enough. This is always followed by the “actions”. When enrolled in a training or study program, the curriculum is the “to do” list. There is clause in our Karate curriculum: “We have to practice as often as possible as everyday.” From Karate class we learned about: “Little but often like just ten minutes everyday.” This method is so effective! Ten minutes everyday is just right to remind ourselves the best way to do the things we need to improve ourselves nearer to our target goals. I find this technique so good, that we use it a lot, like on my son’s practice his writing, maths, playing his guitar and many more.

“Win-Win”, then “little but often” can make practices result to perfection

“Little but often like just ten minutes everyday”, is a brilliant idea. However, this method alone, cannot improve the skills, especially when dealing with six year old kids. Lucky for me, my son wants karate so much and do not want to lose it. I told he will stop his Karate if he refuses to practice. So at the start, we have to practice more than ten minutes, because we always end our practice with three consecutive correct moves in its best form. This way, we train ourselves to remember the correct and good ones. This is our win-win. When we often practice with our best movements, our practice shortened to ten minutes. If we stop practising, we notice the slack in our movements and we realised we need to start all over again until we get it right.


To do some task, I often need some tools to set my mood. I call these things reinforcement. To be able to execute some good moves in Karate, I realized I need to do some exercises also, which is a good thing. I have to be honest, I do find myself wanting to watch the television than having press-ups and sit-ups. Whenever I feel like this, I would play my "Get up and go" musics, to perk me up for my exercise. This tactic never fails. To be active, my reinforcement is my son. Being active with him while spending quality time is a great gift to myself and to him, another win-win.

Above all, when feeling down, I have some visual aid that always draw out a smile from myself. It has a title "Don't ever give up!", which is very much appropriate. I have no doubt that this will get us to black belt.

Many things are possible if we put our minds to it. So would you like to be a black belt, rockstar, a magnificent chef or _______________ in the future?

I hope you had a nice time reading this blog. Until next time.

Toys that can last a lifetime

I can’t believe my little boy is already eight years old, and enjoying the little independence he is learning day by day. He likes being able to do things on his own, which I am happy for him and for myself.

I still have memories of when he was two. We bought him the smallest kitchen playset that I found. I like it small so it fits with other toys in sitting room. That summer his daddy did a BBQ in the garden, Matthew saw this and wanted to copy. Since he saw me assembled his cooker, he asked me to remove the top part. To my surprise, he started to pretend doing BBQ like his father. He also served us pretend tea and his cooked meals.  He loves playing with his kitchen playset.  But as he grows up, he prefers to play with his latest toys.  So I packed away some of his old toys to make way for the new ones.  I packed his kitchen playset away.

Spring cleaning of 2012, I got the kitchen playset out and should had sold it to ebay if my son allowed me. But to my surprise, with teary eyes, he expressed his sadness of having the thought that it has to go. He asked me to unpacked it again. From then on he played with it at least once a week. He cooks meal and we pretend to eat it. But for an adult with lots of real work to do, it can be too much. One very busy Saturday, I snapped and said to him, "why not do real cooking so I can truly enjoy eating the real food rather wasting my time in pretending to eat the toys". He gave me a sad, excited and doubted look. I don't how he managed it, but I did understand his expression. He is sad because of my blunt response and the thought, that I will stop playing with him. He is excited because he wants to cook the real food. And doubtful, for he did not know how. The next day, his daddy will be cooking roast as a post valentine celebration treat. Though it is more likely to be slow when things done with a learner, Matthew joined his daddy in cooking.

He measured the ingredients and mixed the Yorkshire pudding. He peeled the potatoes.

For Matthew, a roast meal has to have pigs in a blanket (these are sausages wrapped in bacon). His father could not find good quality ready made pigs-in-a-blanket, so he bought good quality sausages and bacon Matthew volunteered to wrapped the sausages and do more other prepartion. Later everything is cooked. We all sat down and had a good meal with Matthew's happy and proud expression of: "I cooked these!"

And this started all his interest in cooking. If he likes toast, he now toast his own bread in the morning and spread butter by himself. He cooked his favorite chicken in white sauce from the tin using the microwave. He re-invented the toad in the hole, to snug toad in the hole. He even asked us to teach him how to cook chicken pie.

Cooking for us is not just about eating. For Matthew, it is a about gaining more confident by able to do prepare, cook and serve food for himself, which is encouraged and maybe empowered when he is able to do this for his parents (adults).  Also while cooking, he sees and experiences more application of math (in the form of measurement, temperature and time) and science (as food changes in the process). As for me his mother, I would like Matthew to continue to enjoy cooking as another very useful craft, like treasure - for it is a very useful skill that last a lifetime.  On top off all this, we like him to enjoy cooking, so it won't feel like a routine but just fun, fun, fun! As his daddy always say about cooking "the game you could eat".

Looking back, all these started when he was two, when we had given him a cooker so he can copy his mummy and daddy, cooking for him. Now he is very keen to do the same in return. He enjoys cooking and pleased as he is rewarded by our smile while we eat altogether the food that he cooked. I hope, he continue and never stop to enjoy cooking delicious healthy meal as he grows and making this a part of this lifestyle.