Welcome to My Blog

A multi -faceted look at one Chinese woman's life. including musings about travelling and family life...

Thursday, 23 December 2010


Forget to mention, I did very well at my first Latin assignment.....woohoo!!   Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) we are having a Mongolian Hotpot dinner with my cousin John and his family.    Can't wait!!   The second in two weeks!   (I'm so lucky  - the last time I had it was over 15 years ago.  My dad used to make M. hotpots al the time)..it's a Chinese get-together type of thing...  (More info).

Christmas is here

So , here I am putting the final touches to the preparations for Christmas day....just hope it is all worth it.
I did some sums and between my partner and I , we have spent an equivalent of a week's holiday in expenses for Christmas gifts, food, drinks.  I KNOW it will be worth it, to see the look on my son's face when he opens the presents.    It seems year after year, there is always more people to buy for.  Of course Christmas isn't just about the presents.   It is about family, spending time together, being nice, catching up  plus lots more...

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Swot not?!

Finally, I think I have mastered the interrogative pronouns/adjectives I've been learning all fortnight, and am now moving onto 3rd/4th conjugation verbs.  I've never been so committed to my studies as I am now...in fact it is a joy to learn grammar and consolidate all that Latin vocabulary.
Andrew's parents are coming up for their weekly visit tonight;  they spent 6 days in Glasgow, Scotland & came home on Monday.  My other half and I have visited this city three times since 2006.   There is a cool shopping street there called Sauchiehall Street, which is in close proximity to the Buchanan Galleries, considered to be the best shopping centre in Glasgow.  
Snow is forecast for the next few days, hope it's not too heavy though....
                                  Here is our tree

And our poinsettia.... 

Dominus regit me ....

I now know the meaning of the phrase 'Dominus regit me' after so many weeks of learning Latin.  I almost couldn't believe my ears when I heard that some of my co-students were already attempting to translate parts of the bible...gosh, ( I think to myself) now that would definitely be a challenge.  Turns out it means 'The Lord is my shepherd'  -  one of  the most famous verses in existence from Psalm 23. 
I was having a little difficulty with the interrogative pronouns/adjectives as I could not distinguish between the various forms of 'who?' or 'what?'...but after seeking help from my tutor it is a little less daunting.
And dear readers, I hope all this talk about Latin does not send you to boredom city....

Really, I do need to speed up my search for my next module with the OU. Should I do the level 3 'Mises au point' French or continue with the Latin ? Only thing is the 'Continuing Latin' module contains more literature-based study which I must admit is not my strong point!     But then again, I did pass all the assignments that tested my literature knowledge in my past studies at uni.    My essay-writing skills are a bit rusty I have to say....

A thought just popped into my head - quite peculiar actually. I used to have a crush on Hong Kong movie star Canti Lau (Lau Shek Ming) where is he now?!    I had friends in Hong Kong that belonged to his fan club and whenever he was out filming on location or doing functions, my friend Fiona used to take volumes of pictures for me.    The last time I heard she'd moved to Sydney in Australia.  I wonder if she still remembers

Life is funny sometimes - things seem to go round in circles or a pattern of repetition, like the seasons, like the tide.   That's the feeling I get from listening to Helene Segara's number 'Je vous aime adieu', it's a song that reminds me of breezy summer days (feel free to listen to it on my 'French related' blog http://www.cannyfrancophile.blogspot.com/ ).

These days I alternate between childcare responsibilities/study/shopping/crafts, although not necessarily in that order - I couldn't sleep and my computer was calling me to write.   My cousin John was supposed to call up with a toy car for Ryan tonight, perhaps he had to work overtime?    He's a busy lad though.  His daughter Eta is doing well in P.1, she has the looks of a real China doll, really pretty face on her.   She could pass for being a child model.     Lucy the hamster is chewing away at her nibbles - it's amazing how you can hear everything once the night is still and quiet.

I know I have come a long way in terms of my own psychological 'growth', I loved to read and I still do, nothing can take me away from my books.  What books do you like to read ?   And who is your favourite author/authoress?

On Saturday past there, my son , his daddy and I went to see the Christmas tree lights being switched on in the neighbouring village, well we TRIED to.  I'd parked my car in a space where there was a clamping warning sign, not wise I know but everywhere else was full.    As a result we only hung about for 25 minutes and not for an hour.   My son was happy nevertheless as he'd got himself a 'nice' machine gun 'toy', we don't believe in guns really even if they are only toys - but I'd rather he had the toy or else there would've been a screaming match in front of 120 people.         Some would say I need to assert myself as a parent, but I don't think I am a 'bad' parent.    As Lousie Hay once said, forgive your parents because they were only doing their 'best', so I tell myself I am also doing the best.    Self encouragement is big in my book, it makes sense, I learnt to be 'gentle' with self talk to myself after years of reading self help psychology books.  Perhaps I talk too much though??!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Winter is here!

I woke up today to a bitter cold morning. Thought I'd cracked my windscreen whilst trying to remove the ice, but thankfully I didn't....
I applied for a job with Royal Mail today -  I'm gonna register at the agency in town tomorrow - and have got to take a Royal Mail test  -wish me luck !!  (Really am optimistic about getting it, even though the girl told me 200 candidates have applied so far)....

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I am reading a novel called The Last Samurai by Helen De Witt (see left); normally I'm not one for  novels but this work by De Witt is very captivating, and has renewed my interest in reading.    Highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

5 reasons why we should be more compassionate as a race....

  • Ever hear of the phrase 'Today, give a stranger one of your smiles, it might be the only sunshine he sees all day long'?   - Well, I believe in it strongly.  I truly do.    I know what some of you are thinking, perhaps you have some grievances of your own....the last thing you wanna do is smile at a stranger - but, compassion and love are qualities that need to be cultivated in one's life in order to achieve inner peace.
  • Being kind and considerate doesn't cost a penny (or cent).
  • Thoughts are like a magnet - this theory in the 'self help psychology' department has become an important point.  When I was a lot younger the American authoress Louise Hay (of the famous book 'You can heal your life') influenced my life and saved me from the darkest depths of depression...her theory is simple, if you think happy thoughts, you have more chance of being happy, if you think dishonest thoughts, then you will not acheive real honesty in life and so on.  So, in a nutshell your thoughts will come back to you like a boomerang!
  • We are all equal...yet different. We are all like counterparts of huge gigantic kaleidoscope.  So, everybody has their own unique qualities.  (Lousie Hay's books radiate love and I highly recommend her works to anybody who is in need of  any form of 'healing').  What I'm saying is...do we really gain anything by judging people?
  • I dislike violence/crime/war of any sort.    I grew up seeing my parents go through an unhappy marriage and often domestic violence was a problem.  And, it disturbs me greatly to see such suffering in the world. Why can't we all get along?  World peace can become reality if we believe in it enough, in fact anything is possible!..Therefore becoming more compassionate should be compulsory for everybody.
What do you think of these ideas?

My living space....

The entrance hall (I think the scroll means something like 'thousands & thousands of good fortune wishes'or something like that,if anybody knows the exact translation, I'd love to know!)                 


Monday, 18 October 2010

Sunset near my home

We went for a walk down by Belfast Lough last night; as you can see the sunset is lovely.
It was quite a pleasant night; Ryan enjoyed the kid's park.

I love to take pictures, it's like an addiction for me.
I don't often feel the urge to be snap happy, but when I do, it's a perfect way of expressing myself.

Saturday tutorial & Christmas memories....

I will be attending the Latin day school (for my OU course) for two hours on Saturday and am actually glad to say...I am rather looking forward to it.    However I just don't hope it's just myself who's going as I have been following the Latin Forum online and it seems I am the only one who is doing it in N.Ireland (well, who has posted on the forum anyway)

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I bought a Christmas tree at the weekend.
I LOVE Christmas....that magical time of the year - can't wait 'til it comes, Andrew says I'm a kid and I don't deny that I'm a big kid at heart.   And, why not?

Friday, 8 October 2010

My lunch today......

 Well, an example of this anyway. 

I treated myself to mouthwatering siu mai dumplings (very popular and generally made from shrimps, mushrooms and pork), scrumptious lo mai gai (click here for info), squid with garlic sauce and more!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Believe in yourself!

“Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, & always, always, always believe in yourself. Because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high. Keep your chin up, & most importantly, keep smiling. Because life’s a beautiful thing & there’s so much more to smile about.”

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A new month, a fresh start!

My Open University course in Latin I must say is pretty challenging....I have mastered the 1st and 2nd Declension nouns (grammar) and now tackling the 3rd.   The course started on the 2nd October and it gives you two weeks to do the first section , all of which I have completed four days ago. Speedy Gonzalez?  Yep, that's me. (But, I know I gotta be careful I am not doing too much too soon, yet my only worry is not being able to memorise all the essential vocabulary on time). Being able to pace myself and learning by the method 'little and often' is the key to success.

My youngest sister has been going out steadily with a guy for about six months now;  I have never seen her so happy.  It must be love.     He is in fact an expert in archery and is currently taking part in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.    I must say the opening ceremony of the 2010 Games looked spectacular from what I saw of it on the news.  I think he is very lucky because he returns next Tuesday and plans to visit the Taj Mahal before departure from India - I'm envious!  

Agenda for this Friday : Chinese dim sum lunch with my sis - really should be getting my hair cut this week, but it can wait a while.    My sister dyed her hair black for a change from blonde, I jokingly told her she looks like a 'goth'.

I accompanied my sister Diana on her shopping trip to get her son, wee Peter's birthday presents today , he will be 8 in two days time. I bumped into an old friend of my dad's - she's called 'Ah Len' and is from the same village as my parents came from (in Hong Kong - Hakka speaking)  and I had a good lengthy chat with her and she revealed a few interesting facts to me. She remembered when my dad was healthy many years ago, he used to bring me to visit his friends' in the many businesses that existed in N.Ireland. She told me my dad adored and doted on me.   It was touching to know that, especially as now my dad can't speak or express himself.     Meeting her was like 'going back to my roots', I still had the linguistic ability in me.   (Just like you never forget learning to ride a bicycle!)              
Anyway, sorry for going off topic there.  At such a young age, my nephew already has a Nintendo DS, a PsP (thingy) and was asking for an X Box recently. We were never as privileged when we were younger.    I suppose the mass bombardment of constant televised advertisements doesn't help towards minimising a culture of 'see it, want it, have it'. I personally am guilty of this habit. Most recently, my shopping habits need to be curtailed.   My main weakness is clothes!!   Especially lace & black tops.   ( I hope I'M not turning into a goth!!!)       Continuing on the subject of tv adverts, my son always says to me during the ad break between Fireman Sam episodes, 'mummy can I have that? And, this ?'....it can't be good and I guess it encourages greed, not charity.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Wow time flies....

It's been nearly a year since I started taking my blog seriously.
Nine months since I had a compelling urge to write down all my random thoughts, innermost musings...I still consider myself a novice at it actually.   Looking back, I don't think I've done too badly...

The 29th August 2010 was my dear dad's 64th birthday.  It has become more and more difficult for me to visit him - not that I have lack of transport or anything like that.   Well, my mum rang me on my dad's birthday and asked me if I would like a lift to see him.  I really felt the resistance coming up in me...and tears welled up in my eyes.  It really is hard to explain how hard it is to cope with seeing a loved one like the way my dad is; bed bound and unable to see, speak or take food properly.  To say it is heartbreaking is an understatement.   But I took courage, and went to see him.  After all he is my dad.

I believe that God is by my side at such difficult times.   The 'Footprints In The Sand' verse is my favourite of all time (Click here)  This poem uplifts me at times of anxiety and I know that I'm not alone

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Ryan's first day at school - 31st August 2010

Ryan started Primary School on Tuesday 31st August;  his teacher is Miss McDonald.
I was so proud of him!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A special birthday...

I went in and did my usual charity shop shift today and quite truthfully I actually enjoyed it!  Janette the colleague I work with is very friendly and easy going (also she is a grandmum to three little ones).
My boyfriend Andrew's grandmother is 90 today.   It is a grand age that I'm sure not many of us will ever reach.   To celebrate we all met up at the local Thunderdome restaurant (American style diner), all close family were present.  There were 10 of us.   The birthday cake was very nice and fresh too.  

Time of arrival:  7.15pm      
Time of departure:   9.20pm

Ryan was fascinated by all the motorbike pictures on the wall and the Betty Boop figurines.

Granny Violet's 90th birthday cake

Family photo

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

My diet is a success!

You wouldn't believe it in a million years...I started calorie counting over a month ago , keeping a food diary and cutting crisps, chocolate and almost all bread out of my diet and have lost 17lbs so far.
Before I even started I felt low in energy, and motivation....and, now I feel SO much fitter thanks to the 'Nutracheck' online food diary !!  (nutracheck.co.uk)

My only dilemma now is what to do with all my size 16 clothes that are far too baggy for me...I have switched to a 14 wardrobe, so tonight I started to list some clothes on Ebay.   Here is what I put on:

I have only worn these twice and I love them so much - sadly they have to go.
Then there was my lovely check coat that I bought last year which is also TOO big for me now (it even has the tags on still)

The New me (first left)

Here are the steps to my weight loss:
  • Drink lots of water especially whenever you feel hungry( most of the time it is thirst and NOT hunger which needs to be remedied)
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Limit as much as possible the consumption of sweets, biscuits & cakes as these contain empty calories.
  • Do more exercise (the more you do, the more your weight loss is speeded up, especially if you are eating fewer calories than your body needs)
I hope some readers will find these tips helpful - remember , persistence pays off.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Back home from Barcelona

We were in Barcelona for 5 days. Highlights of our trip included:

1)  Las Ramblas
2)  Sitges & Girona day trips by train
3)  Cable cars to Montjuic Castle
4)  Golondrina boat trip......

          Barcelona was hot!!   The food was great and we had a good time.

Spanish Menu

La Boqueria fruit market

Arc De Triomf

Barcelona port



Maremagnum shopping centre

Cable cars to Montjuic

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Books I recommend

'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' - by Jean Dominique Bauby. The Frenchman suffered a massive stroke and ended up physically paralyzed.  . He wrote the entire book by blinking his left eyelid.

'The Joy Luck Club' - by Amy Tan is based on the story of four Chinese mothers and their very Americanized daughters.   (translated into 35 languages).

'Watching The Tree' - by Adeline Yen Mah, a book about Chinese traditions.

Anything by Michael Palin (travel writer)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Dublin here we come..

Yesterday, my family and I went down to Dublin for the day (a total of 102 miles driving each way).
I always wanted to go back to Henry St.. We  had expected the old Chinese tea room to be there but sadly it was gone......There is also a good shopping centre there with a huge variety of shops. My favourite is the Pagoda gift store that sells all sorts of unique eastern products - two blocks away is a fast food shop, selling burgers and hot food in vending machines.    Then, there is the colourful outdoor fruit stalls lining the street off the shopping centre - I love walking through it.
My boyfriend and I had previously visited Dublin three times, I proposed to him the 2nd visit (Valentine's Day) while we stayed at the North Star City near the train station. 

We passed this viaduct on the way to Dublin.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Leona Lewis, Belfast , 1 July 2010 (Labyrinth Tour)

My other half and I went to see Leona Lewis in concert last night.   She was AMAZING!!!    To be honest, I always preferred Snow Patrol's version of 'Run' instead of Leona's but after seeing her perform last night, I can only say she was stunning!

Leona is a pop and R & B singer, she became famous in 2006 after winning the X Factor (British Singing talent TV show).



Wednesday, 30 June 2010

My son finishes playgroup

Yesterday was my son Ryan's graduation from nursery school.  Family from Andrew's side and my own came to see the ceremony held at Newtownabbey Methodist Mission church.     Ryan looked so cute in his robe and hat, and he did great walking up to the podium and collecting his certificate!!
Along with the joy of the day, came the sadness and realisation that my baby is no longer a 'baby'....
I am so proud of him!!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Joy Luck Club......best film ever.

I have been feeling rather tired as of late and wondering whether it is the warm weather that is making me feel this way.  Andrew suggested that I make an appointment to see the doctor.  I don't feel however , in this moment in time that it is necessary.    I know there is a condition known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  - I hope I haven't got that...

My favourite movie of all time is The Joy Luck Club - it is a film based on the experiences of four Chinese mothers who fled China in the 1940's  and their very Americanized daughters.  I first watched it way back in 1994 and it moved me to tears every time I used to watch it.  It is a story of tragedy, personal sacrifice, bravery and strength.  The film is based on a novel by author Amy Tan which became a phenomenal success worldwide..   Amy herself as a child was not happy with her outward Chinese appearance as she was growing up.....and felt she did not fit in as far as American society was concerned.              Anyone who is interested in Chinese culture should definitely watch this film! (See bottom of page for trailer.)

Monday, 7 June 2010

Some recent family photos....

Lisa, Diana & I

Ryan & mummy

Lisa, Ryan & I

Ryan with Auntie Yvonne

Ryan with Lisa

Friday, 4 June 2010

Night Out....

My close cousin Lisa is over here for a 10 day visit from Manchester and I have got the honour of being hostess.  
Last night we all went out for a drink - Lisa, my cousin John, his mate Robert & I...   the place we went to was quite a posh bar/restaurant/hotel that serves good food, etc. and was in a handy location...    I didn't want to visit hangover city, and I actually didn't,  but just trying to overcome this feeling of being dehydrated.   Oh how I detest that feeling.
Robert works as a sushi chef in Belfast & he's the spitting image of Sylvester Stallone except he has a pony tail.   John my cousin hadn't changed, still his fun old self!  We talked about tattoos, football, music, smoking .....you name it.     Quite an enlightening night out....                                       

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Back to the 80's!!

Anybody remember this?    The Rubik's Cube was THE toy of the 80's.
How many of us also remember Lolo balls, Cabbage patch kids & Care Bears too?
I grew up playing with these toys......

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Just to let you know folks, I have started a new blog entitled THE LAU CHRONICLES.  So,  if I blog less on this you'll know why!!  Check it out at http://www.thelauchronicles.blogspot.com/

Monday, 3 May 2010

65 miles to Portrush

We set off on Friday morning up the Antrim Coast Road  (Causeway coastal route) for our 3 day trip to Portrush. The weather for the first two days was forecast to be rain.  However when we got there it was not even very cloudy which was nice. 

Portrush Beach - East Strand
Dunluce Castle
White Rocks

As can be seen the views were amazing.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Yesterday I waited and waited for the postman.  No sign of that letter.   Today it came and boy was it good news!   

Dear Parents
I am pleased to inform you that your son is to be admitted to this school (Abbot's Cross) in the 2010/2011 school year. I would like to welcome your child and trust that he will have many happy and beneficial experiences whilst attending our school.      I will be communicating further with you at a later date to advise you of the actual arrangements for admission.

                                                                                            Yours sincerely

I've got to say it was well worth the nerves and the long wait. I was afraid Ryan might not get into the school with the demand for places at nursery school being so high last year, I thought the same thing would happen with the primary schools in our area.     But I am thrilled to say the least , really and it is a huge milestone in my little baby's journey.

We now have a new addition to the family - Tommy the hamster!! He is a Roborovski male hamster.  I can safely say our house now ressembles a zoo.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Rain Rain Rain!!

So it's Easter Tuesday...basically we nearly had a whole week of rain.     I'd hoped for better weather for our trip up north, instead with the unpleasant forecast we were forced to cancel it...
I bought a book called 'Superfeast' by Michael Van Straten and got stuck into it.   

We visited Shaws Bridge on Sunday ( a riverside walk that is part of the Ulster Way), we walked for a good 3 - 4 miles.  By bedtime I was suffering from rheumatism.  It was quite bad but disappeared as soon as I got a good night's sleep.

Countdown to the arrival of  Ryan's letter of acceptance at primary school : 8 days to go
We are nervous.  Very nervous!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Delicious Chinese Dumpling Recipe Tutorial (makes about 48)

500g cooked minced pork
2 eggs - beaten
120 g mushrooms - finely chopped
3 single spring onions - finely shredded
2 slices fresh root ginger - finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
some beaten egg in dish
2 packets Chinese round dumpling pastry sheets (see picture below - available from good Chinese food stores) - approx. 48

So here's what you do:

1. To make the dumpling mix, take a large bowl and mix together the minced pork , mushrooms, spring onion, ginger and 2 beaten eggs.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and blend well.

2. Take a dumpling pastry sheet;  dab a little of the beaten egg and moisten the perimeter of the dumpling sheet (this is to ensure the pastry sticks together when sealing)

3. Place approx. one tablespoon of the dumpling mix in the centre of the wrapper & carefully fold into a
semicircle; crimp the edge of the dumpling with your fingertips so that it is all sealed and looks like the following:
4. Repeat this process with the remainder of the sheets and mixture.
5. Place the dumplings in a large steamer, bring the water to the boil and steam moderately for about 25 minutes.   Once ready, serve with a soya sauce/chilli sauce or Chinese vinegar dip.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I got a call from Tim Lewis recruitment agency offering me a temping job down at Whiteabbey Primary School (where I did a few weeks work last autumn).  They left a message on my answerphone at 12.05 pm, I rang back at 12.20 pm and the job was taken by somebody else. I was rather miffed at that, but I know I'll probably get offered something better.   Hopefully they'll ring me again soon - my fingers are crossed!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Picnic time!

The weather forecast for this morning was dry and sunny...so we headed off early up the north Antrim Coast . First stop was Carnfunnock, that had a fun children's park. We had our picnic here.

Ryan had plenty of fun

Daddy on a fortress

View of the north Antrim Coast, N.Ireland


Ryan sings......