Brickvention 2016

We have been going to the annual Brickvention event at Royal Exhibition Building for about 3 years now. This year was fantastic with lots of new original pieces that are not out of a box. The kids always have a good time but this year we banned any new purchases. My house is turning into a Lego store!!

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I did not take many pictures this year. I think everyone is sick of me posting to Instagram and Facebook on Brickvention day. But the Titanic was pretty special this year!

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And everyone loves Kylo Ren’s light sabre I am sure! As expected there was a large number of Star Wars themed displays.

Make sure you register for Brickention’s emails as they will let you know when the expo tickets are open for sale. This event is pre-sale tickets only and none will be sold at the door. They also sell out all the time, make sure you get in early so that you can choose a time slot that you want.

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This is the boys’ invention. They call this their cinema. The white square is the cinema projector. And there are little figurines infront of the iPad screen. They had to measure and build the pieces that would hold the iPad in place. It’s so cute!!

Stalk my New Year: Strawberry Picking

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The kids are going crazy at home during the school holidays. They miss their routines, friends and not knowing what they are doing each day is driving them mad. Heck, it drives me mad when I do not have a routine for too long. It was the last day of our Christmas closure before I returned back to work and the weather in Melbourne was really pleasant for a change. We just barely survived the heat on New Years Eve this year. As I promised the boys ages ago that I would take them strawberry picking, I decided to give them (including Mick) a surprise and take them to a farm.

I decided to go to Naturipe in Bacchus Marsh as every man and his dog would be in Mornington at this time of the year. It is also closer and easier to get to from where we live. This was the first time we have gone fruit picking and definitely a first for me as well. I had to give the boys warning not to eat any fruit while picking as this farm does not charge an entry fee. You should have seen the dirty looks D gave other people who were munching away. We were just in time for the last of the cherry season and picked about 500g of cherries. The fruit was $10/kg and it was absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to go back!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. As I said on my Facebook post I hope to have the time to blog more often! Talk soon!

LG Cordzero Handstick Final Thoughts

Happy Sunday night! One final wrap up post on my thoughts of the LG CordZero 2-in-1 handstick vacuum. As I am a serial bargain hunter, I jumped online to check how much it costs from different retailers. The RRP is $449 on LG but I found it on Harvey Norman for $379.

Here’s a video of the handheld in action.

The pros for this vacuum is that it is a 2-in-1 feature. You can clip the handheld back into the main body with one hand. I did it while filming with one hand. I love the charging stand and the fact that it is easy to store this and it is put away compactly. The light function is really good, you can see pieces of Lego on the floor before you suck it up especially when you are cleaning in the evening when the kids have gone to bed. There is also a reserve battery which is soooo handy, if anyone here has ever tried to vacuuming and suddenly your handheld is out of battery, the backup would save the day.

One thing that I tried to show in the video of my previous post is how well the vacuum handles. You can turn the vacuum around and swivel it easily.

What I didn’t like about it was, the unit felt heavy when I had to lift it up compared to other brands I have tried. This is why I wondered about using it on stairs. I guess if you go downwards you will not have a problem. Having said that about the weight, when you are using it on flat surfaces, the weight makes it feel sturdy.

The container for dust collection is quite small. We had to empty after one use when I vacuumed my 2 bedroom house. Did I just admit that my house is filthy? 😛 I felt that the suction power was not as strong as I would like and I had to go over my rug a few times.

I would purchase this vacuum if I had a small place to vacuum as storing this unit takes up very little space. You will not need a big dust container and you can have a handheld at the same time for hard to reach places. The handheld functions well to clean the car as well, I tried it out on the car seat to pick up crumbs the kids left. For the price, it’s not a bad purchase and a well thought out design.

Using the LG Cordzero Handstick

Hey guys, hope you had a great Cup Day and is not feeling too bad today!

So guess what, I cleaned my house on my day off. LOL! Living on the edge here unfortunately. I am not sure if you guys are still interested in my stalk my weekends. We recently stopped Chinese school and are back to actually doing things and not just sitting at a school and waiting for the boys to finish their class. YAY! Let me know ok!

I took some pictures and a video of the LG Cordzero stick vacuum when I was using it recently. When you turn on the vacuum, there is a light at the front so if the room is not brightly lit, it lights up the front of where you are vacuuming. It would help with under the sofa when you get someone to help lift up those large furniture items.

Overall, the noise factor was not too bad. It is not as noisy and the boys did not protest. I also used the detachable handheld to get into corners between the wall and a shelf in the kitchen. It slots easily in and out without much difficulty.

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I have floorboards throughout the house and it was easy and smooth when the handstick vacuum is in ‘action’ to glide through the house. Lifting it to different surfaces as I have a small uneven ledge between the kitchen and dining, I felt it was a little heavy.

Let me know what you think compared to your handstick vacuum and if there are any features of the LG Cordzero handstick that you want me to test!

Introducing the LG CordFree Handstick Vacuum

Thanks to Social Soup and LG, I was given the LG 2-in-1 handstick vaccum to review. This package arrived safe and sound in the box before my holidays, sorry folks! :) First impressions is that the handstick looks slick and compact. It also stands up by itself and storage is not a hassle. There’s also a recharge dock that I like and it does not take up too much space. This is a huge factor of consideration for me as I have a small house.

LG Cordfree Stick

Another first impression that I like is that there is a detachable handheld vacuum and battery pack that you can detach and use it on your car or around smaller areas.

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So far, I am liking the 2-in-1 design. But let’s see how it works around the house. The good thing is that I have hardwood floors and I can easily see how well it works on floors. I also like the colour that LG had kindly sent me, it’s black and red. It also comes in a Silver and Lime model. The RRP for this model is $449 which would give you a household vacuum and one mobile one for on the go. Most branded handheld vacuums would be about $50-100. Which makes this a reasonable purchase.

The boys have taken it for a whirl around the house already, as you can tell from the closeup of the dust container. Next post will be my thoughts while using the vacuum.

Port Douglas Family Holiday

 

 

If you stalk me on Instagram, you might have known that I was in Port Douglas recently. I am not quite sure why I decided on going there. But I think it was because I walked into Flight Centre to look for a place that was warmer than Melbourne. That left me with a lot of choices but I asked the consultant where was Palm Cove as there was a promotion poster at the front door. He said it would have a lot for the kids to do and compared to say somewhere like Fiji, you are not trapped in your resort. I spoke to a few colleagues and basically told Mick that we are going, he just had to give me a date that he could make it. If you have been following me, you’ll know that we haven’t done a lot of holidays as we go back to Singapore once a year. And really Singapore is that much of a holiday even though you might disagree!

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and would not stop telling unsuspecting people at work about it. I basically ambushed them and said HELLO! GUESS WHAT I JUST GOT BACK FROM PORT DOUGLAS. They are usually polite and would ask about my trip and they would be stuck listening to me and was forced to look at pictures for a few minutes. The picture above is Cassowary Falls which is part of a half day tour that I did with Daintree Discovery Tours. I highly recommend this trip and loved that 4wd drive in a zebra striped vehicle.

Mossman Gorge

A must-do for me is the Mossman Gorge. It is very close to Port Douglas if you are staying there. The water is clear and the walk is very easy with trails if you want to go off on a longer walk… i skipped this part as I am unfit and lazy. Compared to Cassowary Falls, the water here is clear and just beautiful!

LowIslesI did the Sailaway Full Day Low Isles trip which is not cheap compared to Wavedancer which is a Quicksilver cruise. I wanted something for a smaller group and this boat just had a better luxury sailboat feel to it. I chose this instead of the outer reef tour as we did not have to get into the water in the middle of nowhere. I thought the boys would be freaking out. I have to say that when I saw the boats at the marina, I knew that I made the right choice. The food was fantastic and great quality.

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I skipped Hartley’s Crocodile farm and went down the Daintree River cruise twice at 2 different locations. I did Solar Whisper and another one which was part of the Daintree Discovery tour. Their philosophy is we leave the crocodiles alone and they leave us alone. That’s totally fine with me! No jumping crocodile feeding shows here but I prefer seeing them in their environment.

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And finally this is Four Mile beach in Port Douglas. We stayed at the Portsea Mantra which was a short walk through Garrick Street path. It was beautiful once the wind calmed down and D loved running along the shore. There were still heaps of attractions that I could do such as Cape Tribulation and the Kuranda Scenic Railway. I definitely want to go back there again! Make sure you get your fill of seafood and most definitely prawns if you are a seafood fan like me!

Airtasker – anyone used this yet?

I first heard of Airtasker as my friend was talking about how she won an online job to list items on eBay. I thought ok, I might have a look. Since then, I periodically log in and have a look to see if there was anything worth bidding on. Then you sort of have a giggle at the offers of fake reviews and facebook likes etc. I was offered Airtasker credits for a cleaner so that I would review the service. I thought why not? I was in between my regular cleaner leaving and they could only send a replacement the following week.

It was easy enough posting the task and adding the details that were required. You pay via Airtasker credits which means you do not have to have cash on hand. If you are like me, I hardly ever have cash in my wallet as my friends will know.

My task only received 2 bids and one had no reviews. I found the selection process quite difficult. For a newbie just starting out, you will most likely be overlooked. I also relied on profile pictures to choose the bidder. So if you look like a serial killer, take a new profile picture. There is no way for a task poster to contact bidders and this feature would probably help with tasks that require more background checks than say mow a lawn. I decided to bid on a task as well just to see if there are options to contact the task offer and there was none. I guess you need to fit in everything to 500 characters in your pitch. You can respond to the bidder on the board, but I would prefer a private message – that’s just me.

I found that Airtasker is good if you need someone to bid on an urgent job. You can get a response pretty much straight away as people set up keyword search. There is no time wasting from quotes from trades people. But I find that there is not much scope to verify if someone is really competent to perform the task.

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I saw someone looking for an accountant and I sort of got a bit worried. I hope they search for someone who is actually qualified. Have you used Airtasker? And should i bidding on jobs? Does anyone get work from Airtasker and want to tell me more about it?

Escape Hunt Melbourne Experience

Earlier this year, I was appointed team leader for a team building group. We get a budget and we are told to organise events for the team. I have done one so far, which was to make everyone go in the cold to get The Lab gelato. So it was excellent timing when Melbourne Escape Hunt asked if I wanted to head down and have an experience their puzzle solving rooms. I rounded up the troops and booked about a month ahead for this. We were really excited to get to their venue on Queens Street. There’s nothing quite like being trapped in a room to bring out the worse or best in people you work with

There were a few people who told me that their team did not make it out of the room. They spent ages sitting there and basically gave up. So I went there in anticipation that I would not get out. Yes, I have little faith in my puzzle solving ability.

WP_20150717_15_25_38_Pro (1024x578)We are not allowed to take pictures inside the room, so I can’t share any of the puzzles with you. But after cracking the first one, we were on a roll! I found myself running around the room like a headless chicken. Whereas other colleague would sit and just play with the combinations on the lock. There were others that did not have the patience to try all combinations of 3 numbers and went onto another trail for the clue. I felt very lost at the first puzzle and I thought to myself. Oh great, we are going to sit here for 40 minutes and stare at each other. We did not realise that we could ask for clues through the intercom, we were told that they were watching and listening in case we needed a hand. It’s a little bit like Big Brother isn’t it?

I am proud to say that we made it out in around 40 minutes and all of us were first timers at the escape room game. All of us agreed that it was a great team building experience. One of the members in my team said her friends had participated in this with their friends and she was keen to do another one with them after some drinks. That would be very interesting…. oh I’m locked in. Don’t worry about it man…

It seems like a lot more people have tried this, let me know what you thought about your experience in the room. Did you escape? Or did you get stuck and spent a lot of time in an enclosed space with people in your team?

National Ice Cream Month

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Hello everyone! Long time no post and I apologise for that. I feel like I am in hibernation mode except we did participate in the kids’ 3km Run Melbourne event last weekend. Well I come out of hibernation to brrrrr-ing you International Ice Cream month in July. Harry’s Ice Cream asked if I could feature their yummy ice cream in a recipe. As my work colleagues would say, it is always ice cream weather.

I wanted to try to make deep fried ice cream at home and thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase Harry’s Ice Cream flavours. I bought the Triple Choc Brownie for my deep fried ice cream attempt. I say attempt as it ends in hilarious fails, so bear with me on this post.

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I thought I would coat the ice cream with panko crumbs as I LOVE panko crumbs. I should also investigate and read in greater detail recipes before attempting to do variations of my own. I shaped the ice cream balls and froze them. I thought that would be sufficient.. yeah… famous last words. I coated the balls in egg wash and then crumbed them. Mick took over and plunged the misshaped balls into the hot oil. Disaster number 1 ball, failed to hold the coating and our ice cream melted into a puddle on the paper towel. Mick was undeterred and still ate it… off the paper towel.

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So I thought that the crumbs were too dry and switched to digestive biscuits instead. Who loves digestive biscuits? Me! Second attempt out of 4 balls that we shaped and froze. Into the hot oil it went and again it was a hot mess. Off to google deep fried ice cream. Surely the common deep fried ice cream at every Aussie-Chinese restaurant cannot be that difficult to make?

Right so I had missed the memo where you have to do multiple coatings. So we coated the first layer and popped the balls back into the freezer. And waited an hour to coat the second coat. So this whole process took longer than I had anticipated. Our deep fried ice cream did not get into the hot oil until after dinner.

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Ready, set and plunge. Mick was the brave one who deep fried this until the crumbs changed colour. It did not take long, about 20 seconds?

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As you can see, we ended up with these two tiny balls. LOL! And it was really late in the night so my picture looks terrible.. oopss.. What I have learnt is. It is probably best to make the balls bigger. Do not rush it and it could probably benefit from another layer of crumbs. I would also ideally freeze them overnight as well. Hope you enjoyed laughing at my fail and keep eating that ice cream!

Warped Piggies and Bento

I have not been out and about much on the weekends. Hence the lack of updated Stalk my Weekend posts. Last week we did go to the NGV to see an exhibition “QianLong Emperor” and we hibernated the rest of the Sunday. I did have time to test out a few kawaii food recipes and methods that I had been wanting to try. WP_20150614_16_34_32_Pro 1 (726x1024)

 

I made japanese mushi pan which are steamed cakes in a piggy face shaped. I need to leave this here so that all of you can have a laugh at this. When I lifted the rice cooker steamer, I laughed so hard. Mick asked if they had puffed up incredibly and I was shocked at the size. Yes, they did. But they also looked warped and skewed. I did not put the muffin liners in ramekins (oops) and did not have the right solid wax cupcake holders. Oops.. This is what happens when you do not pipe your piggy face features and don’t use the right equipment! Inspiration for the piggy face and what it should look like is here on Bento Monsters.

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I was inspired by EmmyMadeinJapan YouTube channel with her quail egg chicks ages ago when I first watched bento videos. She made heart shaped tomatos and these super cute quail eggs in one of her videos. SO CUTE! It took a while to hunt down fresh quail eggs as I could only find canned in my area. Honestly, I was just lazy to walk two blocks to Chinatown from my office. I know, there are no excuses here! I would like to pretend that I am super busy but it is more to do with being lazy. I finally picked some up at Box Hill market and made these little chicks last Sunday. They are so adorable but the boys did not eat them (sigh!).

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Those two pictures are the completed boxes. I included creepy sausage men as they make me laugh. I only make them on the weekend as it takes about 45minutes to an hour to put this together. This is my new hobby and “makes me happy” activity. What’s your make you happy fun thing that you do on the weekends?

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