The unChinese Boy

Warning: This may give some of you uncontrollable giggles or endless finger-wagging. Consider this an inside joke, and really REALLY funny if you speak Chinese!

These English/Chinese animal flash cards were found in my in-laws house, and is a few years old. Jay used to love animals, and those pictures used to entertain him for a while.

Two years in Australia with zero training in hanyu pinyin has made him quite the unChinese.

The hubby and I were tickled – so much so I videotaped this down, and Jay was also very amused! We also sent this to some close friends and family, and got two separate reactions:

The “WAHAHAHA SO FUNNY!!!” group.

And the “Oh my God, here’s some instructions/apps/books/blah blah blah you should teach him from!” group.

It might be the Aussie laidback-ness in me, but I don’t really see the fuss. Yeah, he can’t pronounce properly to save his life, but well, he HAS been away for 2 years. And he is a smart boy, and I am sure he will pick it up. In due time. Eventually.

dish’d – A Review & Giveaway

This is a product talk brought to you by Nuffnang and dish’d

As a blogger, I get approached a lot by various companies, to review products, attend launches (though as a mom of three, product launches are hardly on the top of my oooh-got-to-do list), write advertorials and more.

This review was one which got me excited.

Have you heard of dish’d?

Well, in a short sentence, they sell yummy, delicious frozen meals. So that is yummy, delicious, frozen meals that I can whip together in minutes? I was cynical – but hey, it would at least mean I could have a lot more time outside the kitchen.

Coming into this, I had a few reservations about using frozen meals. Would it taste all weird and “plasticky”? (Eww! I hate the fake plastic taste that microwaving sometimes causes) Would it be healthy? And most importantly, is it delicious and palatable enough for the three picky eaters in the family?

The dish’d website was simple enough to navigate.

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It was simple, user-friendly – and I loved the way they have a “Chef’s Special”, so if you need some ideas, that is a good place to start to check out the offers and bundles. Use the “Inspiration” tab to get ideas on how to whip up a complete meal with dish’d, and you can even see the best sellers (under “Menu”).

The servings and the method of preparation are all pretty easy and well written out. I had a blast and ordered TOO much stuff – but the great thing is, I can keep and there isn’t any wastage!

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Here’s a sneak peek at my (very messy) freezer, packed to the brim with the items I bought – and more out of shot! The packaging stated clearly how many servings each item had, the cooking times (which is anything from 4 minutes in the microwave to 40 minutes to pan fry), and various methods available (microwave, pan fry or oven bake). I ordered a variety of dishes, to be able to do a proper review. (Plus I get to get away with not making dinner for the week!)

One of the very first things I cooked was the Five Cheese Pizza. Jayvon LOVES pizza and is always begging/bugging us to bring him to a nice pizzeria, but Xavier dislikes the taste of dough, so we aren’t able to eat that as often as Jayvon would love.

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Yum! My almost 7-year-old finished up ¾ of the pizza all by himself!

And the rest of the frozen dishes didn’t disappoint – though of all the meals, my personal favourite were the marinated scallops.

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Fresh, yummy marinated scallops – from the freezer to your mouth in just 4 minutes!

GIVEAWAY I have a $50 dish’d voucher to giveaway to one of you. To enter, answer the following question by leaving a comment below:

“What about the dish’d service appeals to you?”

Terms and Conditions apply. Giveaway ends Tuesday 16 December, open to NSW and VIC Metro residents only.

Update: The winner’s been picked! Congrats to Michelle! <3 An email has been sent to you.

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Sydney for Kids: Wattamolla Beach

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I first got to know about the Wattamolla beach from a Facebook group, as some mummies were asking about a good beach that is under an hour’s drive from Sydney – and this popped up a few times, highly recommended by a few of the mummies!

And so obviously I had to show the hubby. Cos he is the cab driver. *cough*

The mummies were raving about the gorgeous beach, the mini lagoon which was kid-friendly, the lush surroundings.

And they weren’t exaggerating.

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The frantic Mummy in me means that I get very uptight when the boys are near the water. Especially when the tide is rising or when the undercurrent is strong, I will not take my eyes off them. At. All.

And if you are like me, this beach will be right up your alley. There is a gorgeous little lagoon area, shallow enough for kids to walk a distance away!

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As you can see, practically the whole area is shallow enough even for Xavier to wander a few meters in, and the still waters make it very safe for the kids. There are deeper parts, but there is enough shallow for my two boys to enjoy without wandering too far in.

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And boy oh boy, did they enjoy themselves. Rolling around in the shallow waters, practicing some swimming moves, watching the sand twirl and swirl as they walked and walked and jumped and hopped. Splashing and splishing.

It was such a perfect Saturday…

That we went back on Sunday.

Yes. Same beach. Two days in a row.

Liberal sloshes of sunscreen, a tent and loads of liquids sustained us through.

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But as this was our final weekend in Sydney (for the next three months at least), this was probably the perfect ending note for us all!

And Zoie? My little princess, who normally loves a spot of water play, was feeling a little under the weather, so after  taking these quick shots on my iPhone, I had to retire to a shady spot with her!

Address: The Wattamolla Beach is located with the Royal National Park. An $11 entrance fee is payable (cash only), and there is plenty of car park – though you can expect a crowd especially on weekends. Once you get there, it is a good 250-300 metre walk down to the beach, and pram access is not possible – so carry your tots.

Tips If You’re Planning A Trip To This Beach:

– Like everywhere else in Sydney, don’t forgot your hat & sunscreen! Swimwear, towels and a change of clothes would also be useful so you don’t drip water all the way home. Changing rooms available near the car parks, so you can wash up there.

– For the older kids or more adventurous, there are even cliff jumps, and the two days we were there, there were a LOT of young kids (and young at hearts) jumping off a cliff edge that looks to be about 2 1/2 storeys high (and also some shorter 1 metre high ones).

– There is no handphone reception. I repeat. No handphone reception. The moment you enter the park gates, and the 20 minutes or so it takes you to drive in to the beach area (about 17 km away) – you can wave goodbye to civilization and get ready to “tough” it out! But this makes this area even more surreal as you are very literally cut off from the rest of the world and can take in the gorgeous scenery around.

– We bought a cheap tent, and use that as a means to escape the relentless sun. Bring food & drinks too, though there is a small mobile cafe near the car park.

This is part of my ongoing blog series on Our Sydney Adventures – as we call this gorgeous city “home” for the next year or so. Come and Sydney like a local (almost) with us!

Sydney Adventures Badge

30 days to go

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Well, to our trip back to Singapore, of course!

I am so looking forward to going back, catching up with family and friends, good food galore and no housework to do for three months. Okay, the order might be a bit topsy-turvy but needless to say, I am HAPPY to be back.

Can.
Not.
Wait!

We don’t have much stuff planned yet, though there will be some major change. One major change to be exact.

Jayvon will be attending Primary One!

Now, he’s already attended almost two years worth of formal school here in Sydney, so he’s used to the whole school system (of bells ringing to signal the end of class, of ordering his own food, of getting himself ready for school) – so I know in many ways, he is more than prepared for his P1 journey, possibly more so that his peers. He is outspoken, fearless, intelligent, inquisitive – and did I mention outspoken yet? He reads well, writes well, is great in his Maths, and has a natural curiosity for science and nature.

Oh, but I got to admit I have butterflies in my stomach.

How he would take to learning Mandarin all over again. Sitting in a rigid classroom of so many children (compared to his class of 20, and a more relaxed table arrangement which is geared towards group work). Homework, homework, homework.

But we’re taking things one step at a time, and now we look set to have the busiest month of the year yet, as I get my business(es) in order, market stalls to set up, Jayvon pre-birthday-party-cum-farewell for his friends, and cleaning the house and packing our luggage. Oh, it’s going to be a month to remember, alright!

Well, to my Singaporean friends – I’ll be seeing you all soon. And yeah – any Aussie yummies you’d like me to cart home? ;)

SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays



“So I am in an MLM”, and other great conversation enders

There, I’ve said it.

Life in Sydney has always thrown me so many curveballs, this is probably just another one.

What am I referring to? Well, you probably would have seen some posts I made on my Facebook timeline about some “Crazy Wraps” or seen me post some before and after photos (none of the photos are of ME personally… but that’s only because I am seriously shy of it. So maybe when I’ve scaled back a few more dress sizes haha!)

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I must admit… I am a tad wary about using this term “MLM” but only because there’s been a couple of high-profile MLMs that have gone up (and down) in a blazing flame of nothingness, leaving disgruntled “investors” and hardened cynics in their wake. But those “pyramid schemes” have tarnished the name of MLMs who are around to sell a physical product (as opposed to just empty talk of huge returns with zero risk), and we all know word-of-mouth often has the greatest persuasive power. I have personally had friends involved in these so-called pyramid schemes, and they’ve had their fingers burnt and savings drained in those companies.

I am mindful of what I know some of my friends (both online and offline) might be thinking. I’ve had so many supportive messages, which I am so, so thankful for. My ex-colleagues, blogger friends back in Singapore, family. And at the same time, (maybe it’s just my overactive imagination), there’s also that huge awkward pause in the middle of my Facebook conversation where I can sometimes see the other person go, “Oh man, is Sandra going to recruit me or sell things to me or hound me non-stop?”

Okay, you can go ahead and unfriend me now on Facebook.

Still here? Okay, then I can promise the same amount of cutesy updates of my three kids, gorgeous shots of the Sydney coastline, long musings and sometimes grumbling. And yes, the occasional “business” post.

But hey this is me. Me. My family. My kids. And now, yes, my business.

So it’s been an enlightening ride, taking on this mammoth task of selling a product in a foreign land where I don’t have that many friends to start with. My closest friends are all still in Singapore, and when the casual question of “So, what are you doing?” is bandied and I give my honest reply, their “ARGH! Not another one of THOSE people” deer-caught-in-the-headlights look is amusing. No, I don’t need you to “review this product and blog about it” for me. No, I am not gonna hardsell anything to you. But you asked me what I do, so here I am telling you, and hey, you know what, if you have a need for the product, let me be your go-to “wrap person”.

I recently had an encounter where I was talking to this person online, and she went “Oh, but you’re in an MLM, hun.”

Astute, that one. But being in a company that does direct selling doesn’t make me a leper or a pariah, right? Right? It shouldn’t. Oh, but maybe it does to some. It’s my blog so I can rant on it.

For the curious out there, here’s some quick FAQs for you.

Q: Why oh why, Sandra, did you join this MLM?

A: It ain’t a boogey monster. And my friends would know, I don’t lend my name easily to stuff. I tried out the product. And yes – I saw results. I loved. But being a full time homemaker with a barely-there income, there was NO WAY I could spend on this. And then considering I was a full-time homemaker with a barely-there income, I decided… why not TRY this business out? Be a distributor, sell a product that I’ve personally used and love, AND earn money? I don’t know about you, but it sure seemed like a great idea at that time. And still is. There company sells MORE than these wraps, and the hubby and I are slowly (but surely) trying them all out. I recently ordered Greens On The Go, which purports to help detox and balance and yet energize you for the day. It’s Day 7 for us both, and the most significant change I can attest to personally is (1) not needing coffee to start the day, (2) not feeling like I am dying by the afternoon and (3) being able to help the hubby in his transcriptions a tad more effectively. Is it due to the Greens? I don’t see why not, seeing we haven’t made any other lifestyle or diet change! So my faith in the company grows day by day, and with it, my willingness to be more and more associated with it.

Q: But, you know… MLM!?! Can’t you go for a more “traditional” job?

Such a familiar question – oh yeah. my dad asked me the same when he first learnt, many years ago, that I was attending a “contemporary” church. I obviously didn’t listen to him. Why should the contemporary be considered inferior to the traditional?

I’ve been in that 9am-5pm job, remember? And it was enriching, fun… but not possible now that we’re in Sydney, and having to look after the kids all by ourselves. The truth is that if I were so busy working a 9 to 5, then the hubby would not be able to concentrate on his studies, which, d-uh, is why we are even here in the first place. I’m not making an excuse. I am simply acknowledging my complete and utter lack of domestic ability. If I were working, we’d have to eat out every single day. Not much time with the kids. Jay would have to go to after-school care. All of which is NOT what I want, not at this moment. I love the flexibility of what I do now, and it helps me do what I love and spend time on things that matter to me.

Q: All this “upline” and “downline” nonsense sounds so fishy! How can someone earn so much?

I know this might seem unfamiliar to those who draw a regular salary… but this is a commission-based job. You earn more if you work more. Slack, and you won’t get paid. I have friends in the insurance industry who would agree. I know of some who’re raking in the big bucks, and others who’ve struggled to pay their monthly bills. Is the sales line for everybody? I don’t think so. Heck, I don’t even know if it’s for me – seeing how I’ve only just begun. But I’m willing to give it a go.

Q: Okay, after yakking so much, Sandra… Aren’t you going to tell us a little bit more about the product?

What? You mean more than helping me shave off the stubborn centimetres left behind by giving birth to three kids? Who, when they were born stole a chunk of my heart each, but unfortunately left me with the ravages of the “mummy tummy”? That awkward little horrible piece of flab that rears its ugly head when you even think about putting on any form-fitting dress or skirt or pants? Heck, don’t even talk about form-fitting, event figure-skimming clothes are sometimes a no-no. So yeah, I use the body wraps, I sell the body wraps, and I sure hope to earn enough to keep me at home, with my kids.

Well, I hope you’re still willing to be associated with me. I won’t really be blogging about the business much here at sanses.com, but I am in the midst of starting a new blog to share more, and will announce it once it’s up.

Ok… and before I end, you know it’s coming, and I shan’t disappoint you.

Here’s my link to my “official website”, so check it out, watch the videos, read the testimonials, and most importantly – order away!

And yeap – just another typical lengthy Talkative Thursday post here on the blog! If you’d like to link up, grab a button and add your URL below :)

SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays