There’s this thing about old-school style blogging that I love, and it is, that it doesn’t always have to be so compartmentalized. It doesn’t always have to be a full blown dedicated review post, or a full blown post dedicated to any one thing. It doesn’t always have to be optimized for SEO and trying to game the system.
Sometimes, it is just about the flow, about writing whatever comes to mind on this space we call ours, and sometimes, it is just about being random.
With this in mind, that’s what today’s post is really about. I’m just not in the right frame of mind to write about any one thing in particular, or do any in-depth research into anything. Instead, I’ll let the flow take me where it wants to go, and you can come along for the ride if you like 😀
What I love – Reading
I’m quite a voracious reader, and quite easily devour quite a few books in a year. Sometimes, I re-read a particular book or series of books, especially, if they are by my favourite authors.
I’ve recently started taking to sharing the books I read on Instagram – look for the hashtag #pbreadsbooks – and it’s been great fun, because it allows me to get creative with my photos, and to incorporate different aspects of what I enjoy.
What I love is that it’s brought out the readers in many, and I also love getting book recommendations from everyone! 🙂
A recent book I finished, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading was This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay. A non-fictional look at the trials and tribulations of a junior doctor serving in the NHS (National Health Service – UK) from the time he begam life as a resident, until he left the service.
It was mostly amusing, written in easily digestible short anecdotes culled from his diaries. But underlying the humour was a much darker thread exposing the unglamorous lives of doctors in the NHS, the long hours, the poor pay and the underfunding. All that affects their judgment, the quality of service, and the quality of life outside the hospital.
It is in turns thought-provoking, and laugh-out-loud funny. Absolutely worth a read! 🙂
What I love – makeup
Nothing new in this category I’m afraid. I’m still in love and loving the Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint! Still wearing it so often that I swear, it will be a base makeup I’ll actually finish very soon!
It truly is an amazing item and one that’s put Chanel makeup back on the radar of many, if the feedback I’m receiving is any gauge. Well done, Chanel!
RELATED READING: Read about the Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint foundation and why you NEED it! READ HERE
What I love – Eating/Cooking
Love is a little debatable, but once a year, I gather up my resources and energy, to channel it into making zong zi (or bak chang) – glutinous rice dumplings.
Glutinous rice dumplings are made of glutinous rice, filled into bamboo leaf cases, and then stuffed with various fillings that include dried chestnuts, mushrooms, meat, dried oysters and dried shrimp. The whole flavoursome package is then wrapped into a pyramidal shape, tied and boiled. This takes skill! 😀
It is a time-consuming affair (I spread the prep work over 3 days!) and one that few people want to learn or do anymore. It’s easy to buy, and if you don’t eat it often, the price doesn’t put as many people off.
However, I decided to learn how to make it from my aunt about 3 years ago, because a) I enjoy cooking, and it’s a new skill to master, b) some traditions must be preserved and c) I can fill it to bursting with filling and cut back on the rice! 😀
Glutinous rice dumplings are eaten on the Dragon Boat festival, which is on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. I haven’t quite perfected the taste, but man, can I tie a mean little dumpling, perfect peaks and all! 😀
What I love – Life
Over the long festive break last week, I took time off practically everything – social media, social life – and just spent time with family. It helped of course, that where we were, connection was a little patchy LOL! 😀
But it is something I highly recommend for everyone. Not necessarily to spend time with family (Heaven knows, that can be stressful in itself!) but to disconnect periodically.
There is a lot going on out there and these days, it seems that every cause demands our attention and/or a response. In this black and white world, a lot of rational thought and compromise is put aside in favour of being either ‘for’ or ‘against’ a cause. Truth to tell, it’s very tiring.
I occasionally like to disconnect from the world for a while. Stop checking social media (especially Twitter, which for me, is my news source) and stop engaging for a while.
Remind yourself this : Not everything demands a response. Not every cause is black or white – sometimes, it’s all just a muddy grey and we just have to accept that.
Discoonecting and clearing your head helps you see that grey a little better 🙂
What I Love – Perfume
This may seem trite to many, but for some reason, I’m really really loving the Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin cologne right now. I was going to dedicate a proper post to it, but hey, life’s too short to live according to plan 😛
While 154 cologne remains my favourite Jo Malone scent, Lime Basil & Mandarin has grown on me as an everyday scent.
I did not always like it. When I first got it, I used it only to layer over heavier perfumes to lighten it. I wasn’t big on citrus notes, and light fragrances back then.
RELATED READING: My perfume preferences have changed over time and it’s been an interesting ride READ HERE
Now however, due to my current lifestyle, light fragrances are what I reach for most of the time. The fresh citrus notes of Lime and Mandarin, tempered with the green herbaceous scent of basil lifts my mood, and makes me smell and feel fresh and clean. It makes me feel cool, like I’ve just stepped out from a shower.
Importantly, it lifts my mood and makes me feel happy. If the price of the perfume feels prohibitive to you, I suggest that you kick off with the body wash. The scent grew on me when I was using the body wash, and it does last a little while on skin.
Lime Basil & Mandarin is a Jo Malone classic, and I’m loving using it 🙂
Would you share your 5 things you love with me too?
Feel free to adopt my categories which I’ve summarized below. I’d love to know what you are enjoying right now, because goodness knows, I’m as impressionable as the next person! 😀
What I’m Loving – Reading, Eating/Cooking, Makeup, Life, Perfume
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I LOVE this post. And because I have the time, I can sit down with my coffee and type an epic comment ?
Like you, I’d found my first love in reading. Nothing like losing yourself in a good book transporting you to another world. This time off has been amazing. I’d killed off the entire Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. That’s about 35 or so books. There are a few other authors I’d discovered along the way. It’s amazing. A luxury indeed to sit quietly and be entertained by words.
2. Being creative
I’d always known that I’m a creative person when it comes to solving technical problems. After all, that’s why they pay me the big bucks. (Being sarcastic, totally). But having some down time has allowed me to get in touch with my artistically creative side. I’ve knitted and made up patterns/stuff along the way. I’ve crafted a few interesting hair accessories simply by putting together bits and bobs. I’ve choreographed a few mini ballets. I always have a knack of “seeing” the flow of movements when I hear music pieces but I’d never put it down to paper before. I’ve got 0 music training but I seem to have an ear/head for musicality and can put together seemingly pleasing movement to go with music to tell a story. There are far too few women choreographers in the ballet world. I long to be one of the rare few.
3. Enjoying just being in the moment. I’ve sat in the park for a while in the sunshine just appreciating the fact that I could. I was a stresshead and was often buzzing from one thing to another without really slowing down. I’ve learnt to calm TF down and not let every single thing get to me. It’s easy to say and do when you have clarity in life.
4. Enjoying nature trails. This crazy country I’ve chosen to move to is amazing. Coco and I have enjoyed discovering new walking trails and sniffing the fresh air. For someone who’s terrified of bugs and still holds strong to the belief that everything wild in Australia is out to kill her, this is a major breakthrough 😛
5. Ballet. Ballet. Ballet. As much as the body can take. There’s something comforting in being in touch with this age old art. There’s something amazing in taking hold of a step and making it truly mine by a slight tilt of the head or the eyeline. And when you nail that pirouette with complete control and land with grace, it’s something no amount of money can buy. Or when you’re able to balance on the ball of your feet for as long as the music goes on for – that one time makes up for the rest of the 20 times that you’re just not strong enough to balance properly. That top of the world feeling is indescribable.
Paris B says
Thanks for your epic comment and for weighing in 😀 I have a couple of Harry Bosch novels, but I didn’t feel as much of a connection with it as you have. Perhaps I should re-read them, cos sometimes, we detect different nuances at different times. And I think it’s great to be able to slow down and just relax being in the now. Our lives today are quite highly charged, and there is a certain drive to keep looking ahead to see what else is out there that you might be missing. What you might be missing however, is the now 🙂 Stay safe on your nature trails!
What a fun topic! I can totally relate to disconnecting. Not easy, though, because the spirit is willing but the flesh, oh it’s so weak! So I force it upon myself by heading somewhere for a few days where there is weak phone reception and no WiFi (yup, in Malaysia…imagine that!) and I bring with me my catch-up reading list/art supplies/ingredients to cook/sunscreen and I chill. Back in KL with high speed internet, my not-so-secret obsession is Netflix. Sighhhhhhh.
Paris B says
HAHA on weekends I’m usually found lounging on the couch, surfing or binging something or another on Netflix. I’ve been toying with the idea of subscribing to Amazon Prime, just to watch Good Omens, but am afraid I might get sucked into another rabbit hole! 😛 Disconnection in this overly connected world is underrated, for peace of mind and just being. And being surrounded by nature helps too!
I love this post so much! I think when I was beauty blogging before, it started to feel like an obligation and I wasn’t enjoying it. But now that I’ve rebooted my blog after so many years, I think I’m going the whatever-comes route and just blog about whatever the heck I feel. I’m taking the same view with social media. I think it keeps me sane this way.
1. Craft – I love to do anything crafty, be it sewing, knitting, cardmaking, painting, designing, etc. It keeps my hands busy and my mind fresh. Although it can be frustrating when something turns out like crap but there’s still a sense of accomplishment.
2. Beauty – Kinda rediscovered my love for all things beauty. Especially now that my skin is finally improving, I think makeup tends to sit and look better too. Maybe this is why my Sephora Black membership is still ticking? I must have been buying some stuff there every year to keep it active.
3. Cook – I try to make at least 5 meals a week but I haven’t been particularly experimental lately. I’ve just been cooking our household favorites. Still good but nothing to shout about.
4. YouTube – I leave it in the background whenever I’m sewing. It feels like someone’s there to keep me company. Usually I turn to news or movie review channels, things that I can just sorta listen to without having to look at the screen.
5. Reading – Admittedly I haven’t been reading very extensively in recent years and I’m currently re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire (I read up to book 2 before). I will pick up a Bill Bryson every once a while. I think I’ll re-read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (I heard they are doing a tv adaptation) because I was in high school when I read it and need a refresher.
Paris B says
Yes, beauty blogging took on a very editorial vibe that I found hard to reconcile with the raw consumer opinions that used to rule the internet. The best way to ease back into it, is to just ignore the noise, and do/write what you want, how you want it, when you want it. Once you remove that pressure, it is actually quite fun! I still can’t handle YouTube though. I find it very distracting. For white noise, I usually have something from Netflix on, and that’s especially helpful when i’m ironing! LOL!
I recently read the book “Also human: the inner lives of doctors“ (Caroline Elton). It’s a very sobering book about the high rates of suicide, depression and addiction among resident doctors, because of the appalling conditions they have to work in. Not amusing at all, unfortunately. For me, it was an eye-opener because I’m a doctor and I had suffered quite a bit in my first years. I thought I was just not tough enough, and now I understand just how impossible and awful some of the situations were. 🙁
At the moment I am reading “Last stop Tokyo“ ( James Buckler) because I’m going to Tokyo pretty soon. It’s a good thriller, as far as I can tell. 🙂
Paris B says
Thank you for the book recommendation, Maja! I always love checking out books that others enjoy or find thought-provoking, because I might never learn of it otherwise.
Not really here to share the things I love (next time ok? =P). Just want to leave a comment that such a random post is actually very engaging and relatable.
How I wish I can write anything I want too and not have to adjust the flow such that the keyword appears in the first para; or to delete my original post title and change it to an SEO-optimized one (which sometimes can end up changing the original intent/focus). 😉
But I guess that’s needed if we want to gain free recommendation from Google. Well, perhaps once in a while, I can contemplate writing something random too, just for a mix of things. Thanks for the inspiration.
Lastly, I like to walk away with one advice that you have mentioned, i.e. not all demands require a response. This is an area that I’m particularly weak in. I’ll complement yours with this, “Focus on impact.”. Thanks and chat soon! :0)
Paris B says
Time to take it back to the way it was, Nicole 🙂 I think it’s refreshing and fun, and gives us a break too! I’ve had enough of thinking about SEO or positions and how to game the system. It’s hard, and it’s so much work that sometimes, doesn’t reap the results you may expect because algorithmns change so often! But the best advise I’ve taken away from the big G is this – write for your readers, not for the search engines, and you’ll be rewarded 🙂
Totally understand the work that goes behind it and how it’ll all be in vain should Google decide to change the algorithm. I do however think both can be aligned (writing for SEO and writing for readers) because Google kinda likes to please the readers.
Just have to pray hard Google doesn’t change how it feels what the readers like.
Noted your takeaway from the big G. I think in a way, Google forced people to write for readers because in the past, blog used to be in diary format where one probably writes for oneself. 🙂 Glad to be able to share our thoughts on this.
Hello there PB, it’s been quite some time since I dropped you a message – I love how you put it – sometimes we spend time chasing for things which are technically not important and forget to see our rainbows and butterflies – I dropped everything over the long Hari Raya break – took a long road trip with the boys and had so much fun – even with limited holiday budget.
I came home and a couple of days later saw twin rainbows and caught the most magnificent sunset just outside my house – randomness is to be embraced and cherish becoz it can be absolutely about nothing but means everything – even if it’s for that one moment in life.
Paris B says
Hello! Thanks for dropping by! 😀 Glad that you managed to decompress over the Raya break. This year’s was a good one wasn’t it?! I hope you weren’t caught in traffic though. You know what I’ve figured out from years of travel? Sometimes, local travel is best. You don’t have to stress about having to change money, you are quite comfortable with the weather and food and people, and packing is much easier! LOL! 😀 Besides, we do have a lovely country, if we can appreciate it a little better 😉
Wow , didn’t know that u know how to make bak zhang! nowadays it is hard to get really nice one…so i guess home made is always the best!
Paris B says
Haha yes I do! I forced myself to learn about 3 years ago, and I’ve gotten my technique down to an art by now. Taste is still a work in progress though! 😛 And yes, I got tired of buying expensive zhang that doesn’t have a lot of filling, and that are so salty or filled with MSG. So, making it myself serves a dual purpose of keeping traditions alive, and packing it to the brim with delicious filling! 😀