NSW Australia Vouchers and Freebies

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Creative Kids Voucher - save $100 for each of you school aged kids

Today we received these crafting goodies from Craftkids.com.au. Perfect! Just in time for the school holidays to keep the girls entertained aside from their gadgets.

Craft boxes for Demi & Daisy πŸ’—

The Slime & Paint Craft Box (for Daisy) and the Paint & Create Craft Box (for Demi) are both $100 each but I paid nothing for them, not even a cent. Even the shipping costed us ZERO.

Instead, we used our Creative Kids Voucher, worth $100 each for school-aged girls. I wrote about it on my post last December. In case you missed it, here's how to apply. It's really easy.

You just need to have an account with Service NSW which by now, most of us already have. Then once you click the link below, just key in your identification details (get at least 2 government issued IDs) and just follow the prompts. 

To apply for Creative Kids Voucher, click the image to take you to the Service NSW website.

Click here

Once you have received your voucher details in your email, you can redeem them by purchasing one of the Craft Boxes from CraftKids.com.au. The link will take you to their online store where you can choose a craft box for your kid(s).

Their craft boxes include:

  • Crafty Craft Box
  • Paint & Create Craft Box
  • Slime & Paint Craft Box
  • Bright Ideas Craft Box

Dine & Discover NSW Voucher - save $100 for dining and entertainment

The NSW Government also launched Dine & Discover NSW vouchers for use on restaurants and entertainment venues.

NSW residents aged 18 and over can apply for 4 x $25 vouchers, worth $100 in total. 

  • 2 x $25 Dine NSW Vouchers to be used for dining in at restaurants, cafΓ©s, bars, wineries, pubs or clubs. 
  • 2 x $25 Discover NSW Vouchers  to be used for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues. 

Check out now if your area is already eligible for these vouchers.

To apply for Dine & Discover NSW Vouchers, click the image to take you to the Service NSW website.

The vouchers have an expiration date until 30 June 2021. It might be a good idea to get them now so you can use them during the easter break if you have plans of going anywhere with the family.

Be safe and hope you all have a lovely holiday! πŸ’—

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement post. I am not getting any payments for sharing these. I just thought it would be nice to put in all information here to help those who are interested with the above benefits. These vouchers are issued by the NSW government to help families and also stimulate economy by encouraging the community to support dining, arts & tourism businesses.
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We're Not Everyone's Cup Of Tea - And That's Okay

Thursday, March 25, 2021

This morning, I was surprised by a lovely email from my colleague. She's a dear friend who's a lot older than me and she's so motherly that it's hard for anyone not to love her at all.

She remembered me because recently, there were 7/8 positions advertised and she encourages me to apply because she wants me to make my mark now. How sweet, I was emotional after reading her message.

However, promotions and studying are the last things on my mind now. Besides my hands being full with a toddler, work and side hustles, I just don't feel very capable and confident right now. 

I told her so and coaxed her to give the opportunities a go. We both got promoted at the same time, but I'd be very happy to see her advance ahead of me. Then she can mentor me hehehe.

But then she replied that she wasn't interested because she's retiring soon. Then she further said, "You are very smart Jenny - there is no need for any one to mentor you. I have told your [TL] that." Her message really lifted up my spirits.

I was flattered, of course, but mostly just thankful because she gave me some self-confidence when I felt like I am failing at everything at the moment. 

I'm a bad mom, I am slow at my work, I am this and that... that's what I think most of the times recently. But mostly it all boils down to me being a very unpleasant person. I don't why, but my mind has been mostly occupied with negative self-talk lately.

Then it dawned on me and I realised that our circumstances have a great impact on what we think, but we can change that. It's hard to say things out but the reality is, there will be some people in your life who wouldn't like you or hold grudge and have something against you and they'd make a point of making you feel that. 

I know I should do myself a favour and live the life lessons I often share on my Page - focus on the good and forget about the ones who make you feel bad for no reason - but it's just so hard.

I think a lot about these people. I think a lot but mostly the "why's." What's so abhorrent about me? I know I am not perfect, but is there ever one? I could be quiet most times but I think a lot, to the point of sometimes hurting myself inside.

So my friend's message was like a gift, a blessing. Peace to my exhausted mind. It reminded me that there are people - silent and distant as they may be - who secretly wishes us well. 

Sometimes, we forget about them because we don't see them a lot. We don't live closeby or they aren't in our social media. But they're there.

Think about these people instead. People who build you up instead of talking ill about you behind your back. They are the ones happy to see you succeed and they cry with you when you're down.

I think I should add in my crafting list to make a Photo Book of Lovely People. I'll include everyone's faces, starting from my husband, my children, my relatives and then the friends who I can trust my life with. This shall help me shift my wondering mind from asking too much WHYs because the truth is, there might not even be an answer.

It just so happened that we are not everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. The good news is, there will always be some people who will secretly pray for you too despite your flaws and shortcomings. Think more of them and make them your role model. Actually, a better idea would be to secretly pray for them too... πŸ’—

Cup of tea inspirational quote
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Did you get picked? March #hugsinacard

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hello hello! It's that time of the month again.

I have finally picked our random winners for this month. Watch the random picking below. 

Congratulations to all the winners!

And my thanks go to all of you who share your time reading my blog. Love you all! πŸ’—

I will continue posting contents (that are hopefully helpful, inspiring or valuable) and sharing more hugs in a card, God willing. Until next month.

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Easy Budgeting for Families

Friday, March 19, 2021

This is the second part of my post from previous month regarding finance management for families. I aim to help people like me, to get in control with their finances because once upon a time, I suffered with money management too. I relied so much on credit cards until I find myself sinking slowly in financial quicksand.

It's very stressful. So I've developed a system to manage our income (this is particularly helpful for low and middle income earners who struggle with making ends meet). Anyway, if you haven't read my previous post, it's essential that you browse through it because this post is just the second step. 

To do the first step, head over to Practical Money Management for Everyone.

Disclaimer: I am not a finance expert. I'm just sharing what I learned after I read the Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. I recommend you buy the book too. What I'm sharing is not 100% taken from the book but this is what's working for me now.

First of all, you need to fill out the budgeting spreadsheet. You can make your own or download this template I created HERE.

Why you need to put into spreadsheet your income and expense

The spreadsheet helped me see where we currently stand and what we can afford. Before, I used to give in to all whims because as a parent, I felt guilty not being able to buy this or afford that for my children. When you have a credit card, it's easy to say "I can afford this." In reality, I was already spending more than my means.

I didn't get buried in debts immediately but that meant, I did not have enough savings for emergency. That emergency hit when I got pregnant with our 3rd child. Going on maternity leave, we had to live off on one income. Without enough buffer, we ended up with maxed out credit cards.

No more skimping to save

Anyway, I don't agree with skimping to the point of depriving the children. But a disciplined kind of splurging is what I'm after and filling out the spreadsheet helped a lot. 

Now, I don't have to spend hours per week to manage the finances. I just go into my bank account and I can see right away if we have enough to splurge on something or for family holidays. I've also included "GIVING" in the spreadsheet because the Filipino culture is heavy on this. 

It's not a bad thing. But you also have to watch out that you aren't eating up the money intended for your utilities and other necessities. You have to give with a happy heart and the only way to do this is to make sure that you are not abandoning your other responsibilities. 

Most people were shocked to hear that Filipino families send financial support to their families of origin. Especially since they understand how hard it is to work for money here. But with disciplined budgeting, it's possible - without being detrimental.

Zero out your credit cards

This exercise also helped me zero out all my credit cards. And I'm happy to say, that only last month, I have finally gotten rid off all of them - TOTALLY. Yes, ZERO balances in all credit cards since last month. It's such 

Anyway, without further ado, let's dive in to step 2.

Set up your bank accounts

Scott Pape recommended ING in his book but even before I've read this book, I have been using ING. I have already set up an Everyday Orange Account and Savings Maximiser for each of us since around 2016.

Three reasons: 

  1. I wanted to benefit from their referral codes. For setting up both accounts, I was rewarded $100. That was in 2016. Now they pay only $50. If you want to enjoy this referral bonus too, you can use this code when prompted: EXO285 - they don't hold this bonus constantly now but currently, there is one running until 31st of March 2021.
  2. They don't have bank fees for withdrawing at other ATMs. Initially, you will be charged, but the withdrawal fees are reimbursed in your bank account. In saying that, there are criteria to benefit from this feature. I think you need to deposit at least $1000 monthly and then spend 5 transactions. I've never had issues because I use both accounts regularly anyway. But please read the fine prints so you're not missing the advantages.
  3. Savings maximiser, as the name depicts, offers a higher interest rate than most savings account (and even term deposits). It's at 1.35% at the moment. Again there are criteria (like monthly deposits of at least $1,000, 5 settled card transactions, and you also need to outdo your last month's balance - well the idea of savings in the first place is that you top it up. So I don't see an issue with these 3). 
Currently, these are the bank accounts I keep (combined with my husband) and for which purpose:

2 x NAB Everyday Account
  • These were our original bank accounts and this is our usual payroll accounts. Our salaries are deposited here. My account is used for paying the rent and the car loan. Let's call this account as "RENT&CAR."
  • My husband's account is used for groceries. So let's call this account "GROCERIES."
1 x NAB Personal Savings 
  • I keep one for my MOJO account. A MOJO account is like an emergency fund of $2,000. When you have a MOJO account, you can choose to have a higher excess fees on insurances for lower monthly premiums.
3 x ING Everyday Orange 
  • My husband's account is used for our auto-debit expenses: utilities, internet, etc. - I name this "AUTO-DEBITS"
  • My account is used for splurge - when we go out for shopping and the kids had an urge to buy trinkets here and there, bubble milk tea, yoghurt ice cream... for those stuff that are not too expensive to deny. But it's only limited to a set budget weekly so when it runs out, that means the kids (everyone in the family that is!) will have to wait for the next budget to splurge again. I name this account "SPLURGE."

2 x ING Savings Maximiser

  • My ING Everyday is linked with 1 ING Savings Maximiser. This account is intended for mid and long term wants and needs. Things I consider under this account are holidays, big toys, parties, clothes and even furniture and fixtures needed around the house. Some necessary expenses that are not urgent are also budgeted under this account. For this account, I borrowed Scott Pape's term, "SMILE", and rightly so. Because these goals give a smile to our face when we think of them.
  • Another ING Savings Maximiser is linked with my husband's account. This one is for savings and are usually long term, like home deposit for instance. ING's interest is quite competitive compared to a lot of term deposits. For this account, I call it "FIRE EXT" taking from Scott Pape's book, Fire Extinguisher. If you read the book, you will understand why Pape refer's to fire - but what it means is that these are for the big purposes in your life.
While building your target amount, preferably 20% of the value of house you're looking at, you may choose to diversify a part of your savings to investments (for higher earnings) but that's for another post. Right now, our concentration is to budget wisely, so that our hard earned money does not feel like burning in ashes! 

1 x Bankwest Easy Transaction
  • This account is for charitable purposes like financial assistance to families, church donations, anything that is about giving. I have a small time side hustle that helps me earn a bit of extra from time to time which is linked to this account so that also helps fund it. My hugs in a card mission is also budgeted through this account. This account is personal to me. I don't know if my husband keeps one like this himself but that's all up to him too. πŸ˜„ Let's call this last account as "GIVE."

With all the bank accounts we are using, there really were no particular reason except for ING, which I have stated above. So feel free to choose your own bank accounts. The idea is to just separate your salary every time it comes so that you don't OVERSPEND unconsciously.

From spreadsheet to bank accounts

Now let's move on from our spreadsheet to actually putting the plan into action. Exciting!

Let's base from our example spreadsheet below:

Barefoot investor template income vs expense
Start by grouping up all your expenses and figure out which ones should go under which account:

As a recap we have 8 accounts at the top. Sounds like a lot but that is only because some accounts were savings linked to main accounts. Plus also because, I have mine and my husband's account separated. So don't get overwhelmed.

We'll match the expenses with the accounts. I have chosen the weekly amounts to make it easy. You can use color coding to make it easier. We just need to know how much amount needs to be transferred to each bank accounts every time your salary comes.

Barefoot investor excel template bucket
This sample spreadsheet allocates all expenses to each bank accounts - color coding makes the process easier

Set up auto deposits and auto debits

Once you have all expenses sorted out to which bank account they should go, now you should schedule your auto deposits. Say for example your salary comes in on Wednesday, then you should schedule your auto deposits on a Thursday.

If your salary comes in every month, then it will be a little bit tricky. You may want to set up your auto-deposits (especially for the groceries and splurge) on a weekly basis still. For me, I would do this because it's easier to create a trigger on a weekly basis. 

For instance, in this example, the weekly amount is $192.50 per week. If you have this amount on a Thursday and by Sunday only $50 is left, that means you only have $50 to spend until the next Thursday. Time to tighten the belt! It's easier to tighten your belt for only 3 days then for a whole month!

Setting up auto deposits is easy. Just go through the normal procedures of transferring money online. Once you get to the Frequency portion, choose periodic instead of one-off. Then just check the calendar to make it coincide with your salary payments.

Periodic transfer will let you choose cycle (weekly, fortnightly, etc) and the first transfer date. 

Auto-debits are for those expenses that are billed by cycle. For instance, monthly internet, monthly phone plans... you may still transfer to the AUTO-DEBIT bank account weekly, that's not a problem. The money will just sit there until the auto-debit is scheduled.

Setting up auto-debits may be done online or you can call your provider (ie. Vodafone, AGL Energy & Gas, etc.) then just give out the account details of your chosen AUTO-DEBIT account (in my case, my husband's ING Everyday account.)

Finally, the best part

In the beginning, you may encounter some bumps like a missed out auto-debit charge. And for things like SMILE (mid and long term wants), you may start with ZERO so you may need to say NO to some plans. But don't worry, that's not going to last long.

Time is our valuable friend. God willing, if we still live tomorrow, chances are, the deposits will accumulate before you even knowing it.

The best part is choosing a day in a week to have a date with your partner (or a time out for yourself). You can be creative and do it at home like what I and my husband did because we have a toddler - see post here

If you are the Finance Manager in the family hehehe, bring your spreadsheets with you and explain it to your partner. You can both choose your mid and long term plans (how you'd want to spend your SMILE account), or check if there were any other expenses you've missed that weren't budgeted. In any case, it's always best to work as a team.

And that's it... so many birds hit in one stone, I believe (but please don't literally hit birds with stones πŸ˜‰). Managing your finances will give you a huge relief down the track. I hope this exercise will help some families out there. 

This journey entails a lot of sacrifices, especially in the beginning, but with discipline, you'll discover that it gets easier in time...

Again, you may download the budgeting template featured in this post by clicking the image below:

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Separation Anxiety with Toddlers

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Gloomy view from the office today

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year, we have been working from home full time. I'm grateful for the opportunity to keep my job at the same time not be exposed to the virus. Working from home has really been a blessing to me.

We are one of the luckiest here in Australia and now, in just a year, the number of cases has been kept to zero - at least here in NSW. It's been months since we have kept it down and when we do have cases, it's usually just one or a couple.

Now we're slowly easing back into normal as businesses start to spring back too. I don't think we'll ever go back to being FULL time in the office. But this week, we've started to go at least once a week in the office.

Our team's landing day is every Thursdays, and today is the first of that weekly work at the office.

I'm not complaining. A lot of people think it's a good break for me. And to be honest, I think I probably need it too. Darla's been super attached to me since we started working from home full time. And come to think of it, it's because I never really ever went out of the house just by myself since lockdown. I'm such a homebody to a fault.

When I did need to go out, on seldom occasions I'd ask my husband to take me out of the house, I'd be with the whole family and always, always with Darla. 

I didn't realise this was going to cause a massive problem for my toddler: separation anxiety.

I have read about it before going back to work after maternity leave. Darla was only 1.25 years old that time, it would definitely be a challenge. 

On my first day back at work, I was expecting the worse. But it turned out okay. Everyone was okay. My husband was okay when he video called later in the day to show a smiling baby. 

But today feels very different. From the moment I woke up this morning, nothing feels like going right.

I have been suffering from hyperacidity for about a week now. I can tell that it's because of stress, not just with Darla being so clingy but about so many things. It's just one of those phases when you feel overwhelmed, you know like when it rains it pours? 

I know this will pass and all, so I don't really feel the need to tell anyone about what I'm going through except now that I'm sharing it here. But the truth is every time Darla cries for me, at night, in the morning, every waking hour... my stomach hurts. I don't think anyone will understand me anyway.

Last night, I slept feeling ill. This morning, I was apprehensive about going to work. Should I just call in sick because of my hyperacidity?

I was already in the bathroom washing, brushing my teeth... then Darla cried and demanded for me to go back to bed. She knows I was going to work this morning. Immediately, my stomach churned and my head hurt.

Husband sent a video of her crying for mommy by the front door. 

I won't to go through the parts where I turned into a monster lest somebody feels like judging me. In any case, judger, you don't have to bother, I've already got a lot of guilt and negative self-talk going on in my mind so whatever it is you're going to say, I probably have told myself.

But I feel like my head is about to explode now. Thinking, over-thinking. Will she be okay for today? Will she still cry? How are they gonna last this day without me. This guilt eating me up even though I know I HAVE TO DO THIS. I have to go to work. 

Heck, I have to be alone too... and it really doesn't help that even my own husband doesn't understand me. He keeps on saying, "Ako na ang bahala," but... I don't know what to think because in the past year that I was working from home, I feel like both of them have become attached to my presence.

So even though I am by myself now, the whole day my mind was consumed by thoughts of them. I spent majority of my break time buying toys for Darla and just got myself the saddest-looking fillet-o-fish from McDonalds (I probably should have taken a photo of the burnt fish and tiny cheese falling off the side of the bread as evidence that I'm not being dramatic here) for a QUICK lunch. 

Everything I do, I feel like I need to it quickly. That's how it has been going for years now.

Toys I bought this lunch time

Anyway, enough of my bitterness... Right now (2pm), she's sleeping. Later on when she wakes up, I hope the pictures of the toys would appease her.

To be honest, I had been debating from lunch time whether I'd pack my bags now, go home and continue working late tonight. I feel guilty for not making things easy between my husband and baby.

But, part of me says, stick it out. Tough love.

Meanwhile, I'm curled up inside my  mind, hugging both of my legs while saying over and over, "things will get better next week, the week after that, and the week after that..."

Slept at 1:30pm after crying endlessly. 
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March Cards - Simple Floral and Autumn Themed Cards

Monday, March 15, 2021

Autumn is officially here! I'm excited to finally share with you these cards I will be sending away for this month.

So for my March cards, I decided to create 2 autumn themed cards. Hello Bluebird has this really cute stamp set I've been wanting to use. It's called "Fall Friends," and the cute gazelle, fox and bunny give out the most cozy feel of autumn with their cardigans and flying scarves

I used the same design template for both except that the one on the left has a window on the front so that the sentiment you can see at the front is actually the inside of the card. I just used the die cut piece and colored it with autumn shades then added some embellishments to add the glistening effect.

Gazelle was kind of covering part of the sentiment at the front but that's okay. You can flip the card open and read the greetings without obstructions. That was the idea of the window card hehehe.

Inside, you can write a small message under the sentiment that shows through the window.

For the other card, I created a shaker. Sad to say, I couldn't use the gazelle with this one because she was too tall and would cover the sentiment. So it's a little bit bare compared to the other one. But that's okay, because simple is beautiful too. 😊

And here are the cards, side by side. Which one's your favourite? πŸ’“

I will share the process how I made these two in a later post. 

I'm also excited to share the other 3 cards I made. As mentioned in my previous Hugs in a Card post, I really wanted to recreate the floral card. 

I already started painting 3 embossed cardstocks when I realised that I've ran out of the coral pink card base. 

There's no time to run to Spotlight to buy now so I'll just reserve them for April give away may be. It's not the same using a different coloured card base so I decided to postpone them instead.

For now, I've created these simple pastel coloured cards to make some people happy. πŸ˜€

If you want to join the mailing list to receive free cards, sign up here and like my FaceBook page for updates. πŸ’—

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Greek Yoghurt Garlic Sauce - 5 Minute Recipe

Friday, March 12, 2021

Greek yoghurt garlic Sauce with pita bread for a quick snack or light lunch

I love garlic sauce, but they're very hard to make. If you will Google it, garlic sauce needs only 3 main ingredients: garlic, vegetable oil and lemon juice. 

I'm pretty okay with making food. With most recipes, especially ones I have already tried to eat, I only need to know the ingredients and then I can remake it. It's not the best, but it's decent enough hehehe.

However, I'm really bad with processes and if the cooking involves folding or steaming, then chances are I'll fail that recipe hahaha. I think I like chemistry only in theory.

Besides, I'm too impatient to perfect the method. Perhaps someday, when I have more time to spare, I'll try complex cooking methods but for now, I'll simplify things.

The case with authentic garlic sauce is that it needs emulsification - that's the process of mixing liquids that don't normally go together, like oil and lemon juice in this case. The process requires combining the two slowly while beating the mixture vigorously but also trying not to cause too much heat because that will also alter the texture of the garlic sauce.

That's a bit too much for me, so I decided to be resourceful and came up with my own recipe of Yoghurt Garlic Sauce.

It's very easy, as long you have these ingredients in your pantry, then just whip it out in 5 minutes. Make sure you're heating up your pita bread too. Multi-tasking and time management at their best hehehe. πŸ˜‰


  • 3 tsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Masterfoods garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Masterfoods oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Masterfoods chopped chives

Mix Greek yoghurt, lemon juice and garlic powder together. Then add the oregano leaves and chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper and you're done.

Yummy alternative to the authentic garlic sauce :)

Enjoy with your pita bread.

These ingredients are easily available from Woolies or Coles too. 

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Behind Her Eyes Book VS Netflix Review

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Behind Her Eyes is a novel written by Sarah Pinborough. The book was published in 2017. It's one of those stories that make you spellbound for weeks. Too bad, I wish I had read it before seeing the Netflix version. The whole experience had been gravely watered down, the ending totally spoiled... πŸ˜‚ But then again, I wouldn't have known about the novel if not for the series. 

In fairness, the TV version had closely represented what was in the book, but there are just elements in a novel that are impossible to portrait in a movie, such as a character's intentions behind her actions. Then there are also details that can't be given justice on screen.

I won't be reiterating the plot here. I have written about it on my previous post, "Behind Her Eyes Netflix: You'll Never Guess The Ending." If you have either watched the Netflix series or read the book (or both), it is my pleasure to compare notes with you. πŸ˜‰

First of all, I like the book better but that's because I am just generally inclined to like the book versions. After all, I love reading but not very much watching. 

But I really love the casting of the Netflix series. The actors/actresses portrayed their characters very well that it was hard to imagine otherwise while reading the book. There were huge variances though, such as Louise who was described to be blonde instead of Jamaican like the actress, Simona Brown. Rob had long dark hair and was spotty and skinny in the book in contrast to Robert Aramayo's skin head and buff built. But for me, Eve Hewson was perfect for Adele and she was versatile enough to be the gentle and beautiful young Adele as well as the sinister but still beautiful older Adele.

One of the glaring differences I found was how the stories started. In the Netflix series, emphasis was given to the chance meeting between Louise and David, their first meeting. In the book, this scene was just a shadow in the form of conversation between Louise and her friend. The movie created a bigger impact to the audience and I think that this is important because it sets the foundation for us to understand Louise and David's characters.

Then there were scenes that made more sense to me after reading the book, the part where Adele got a black-eye in particular. Up to the end, I had to guess what really happened? Did Adele do that to create suspicions over David? What was she doing there anyway?

You wouldn't find out in the book too, but it was intentionally left that way until the last parts when the author slowly pieced together the clues. And I was like, "Ohhh so that's what happened," nodding my head while reading every word of the thrilling last chapters. Adele, or rather Rob, was buying heroin because she was already planning to steal Louise's body.

Chapter 27 - Louise was shocked to see the bruise on Adele's eye

One other part that was clearer in the book than the movie was the accidental meeting between Louise and Adele. It was easier to explain in the book that the meeting was actually staged by Adele whereas these details become unimportant in the movie.

In the book it had to be emphasized . At first, she was just planning to scare Louise, just like she did to Marianne, knowing about the attraction David had on her. But after she heard about Louise's night terrors, she changed her plans and decided that taking over Louise's body would be a better idea. That makes more sense why she "befriended" her husband's potential mistress.

I find this the creepiest scene in the entire series hahaha.

This scene was one of my faves in the series. I was waiting for a jump scare and it's really tense. Knowing that Adele's personality was so unpredictable, she could just jump anytime and plunge a knife on Louise's heart but none of that happened - she was actually just very weak from the heroin. As explained in the book, Adele was already "practicing" for the time when she will swap bodies again, this time with Louise.

After everything, I still give the book 5 stars - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

I gave 5 stars to the series as well, due to it's shocking double twisted ending. I was inclined to deduct 1 star though because Louise's character also took a double twist at the end from being the funny, bubbly and no-nonsense single mom to a foolish, stubborn, silly woman who plunged to her own demise.

However, I never felt any of those in the book. Again, as I have mentioned above, there are intentions that are impossible to portray on screen. Then time constraints - whereas you can lay down as much incidents in a book leading to the end, you don't have that liberty on screen.

So the folly of Louise's actions that caused her death in the end (and the consummation of Rob's plans) became a bit more realistic to me after reading the book. And poor Adam, he can tell something was off about her mom. Finally, at the last pages of the book, Rob, now in Louise's body, was actually planning to kill Adam soon. 

That made me hate Rob a little bit more in the book than in the show.

Still, who's gonna tell David? 

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Catch Up With Old & New Pals

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Photo credits to Lanie's darling daughter - not a bad shot from a 7-year-old little girl 😁
From L to R: My hubby, me, Lanie, Val and Bong

Last Saturday, we hosted lunch for my old pals from USA&Co. and their common friend. 

Intros first: USA (Uy Singson Abella) &Co. CPAs is a public accounting firm by former SGV partners. I had my first job there (for about 5 years) as Junior Auditor and then Senior later on. Such fun times and good friends I made there! I just found out that it's now known as M.F. Padernal and Co.

I met Lanie there, when I was assigned under her to assist with a BPO client in Kapitolyo, Pasig. She soon left for a private company and then Val joined the firm. They didn't meet at USA&Co. Val and I left in the same year (2009). I was later employed at Philex Mining while Val moved to the same company where Lanie was working. That's how they knew each other.

Bong and Val met in PNG later. And then it turned out that Bong was Lanie's classmate in college.

So much coincidence, it's amazing hahaha. I haven't even mentioned that when my hubby was working in Saudi Arabia, he was colleagues with Lanie's childhood friend too. 

Lives intertwined... small world. Clichè. I thought it only happens in books. 🀣

I haven't seen them in a while. Well, more than a decade for Val and not ever before for Bong hehehe and so a grand feast it was.

Hubby cooked seafood marinara pasta, Shanghai chicken spring rolls, fried chicken, spaghetti and grilled stuffed fish (I know, I am so lucky to have a wonderful hubby) plus my friends surprised us with pork chops, daing na bangus, charcoal chicken and cassava and leche flan for dessert. 

Too bad, I wasn't even able to capture any of it hahaha. We just kind of dug as it was past lunch time. I was late from my supposedly short trip to the park with Darla because I took her there while waiting for my visitors. Unfortunately, she needed a looooot of convincing before I could make her come back home.

Anyway, I really had fun catching up with them. Naturally, being old friends, I felt comfortable with both Lanie and Val. But even if I haven't met Bong before, I immediately liked him too. 

When Val and Bong left, Lanie stayed a bit longer so we could still chat. Her lovely kids had fun playing with Darla and the neighbours.

Happy children 

The catch up was definitely a much needed highlight for my week. I'm not complaining but after our weekend fun everything just went downhill from busy to stressful! 

Beginning of the month meant case updates but the level of busy-ness was just crazy. Plus, there's this bad client feedback which, my boss assured me, didn't hold water but that still dampened my mood. Then there's this complex case that's giving me a huge headache but a lot of learning. Thanks to my really supportive TL I see a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel now. 

That was the work side of life. As for the family life, Darla was back to her disruptive sleep patterns, which made me sleepless for nights too. My eyes are always feeling sleepy and dark circles under them are screaming for attention. Then my husband and I are having misunderstandings with budgeting. Time for another "date night" this Thursday to update my student abouy finance 101.

Rant over hehehe.

So now we're ending our weekend relaxing at the park.  

How about you? Have you ever experienced reuniting with old pals?

PS: I can't wait to find time this week and create cards for the March giveaway. I hope I can post it just in time. I really need to unwind soon and what better way to do it than crafting! 

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Weekend Fun

Monday, March 1, 2021

I am feeling a bit sleepy today - probably from the hangover of an exhausting but fun-filled weekend. My husband actually did most of the work and preparation but I'm just naturally incapable of storing much energy maybe hehehe.

Anyway, I took a flex leave last Friday so it was a long weekend for me. I just wanted to spend a day with Darla - all for her. I've been wanting to take her to Max Webber library for the Story Time. Besides, 2 of the books I have reserved were already available and I can't wait to pick them up. 

But before we headed for the library, we stopped by sis Erl's house to pick up her gift for Darla. She's told me about it months ago but our schedules hardly meet. Someone else handed it to us last Friday and Darla was very pleased when she saw her new toy. 

While in the car, she couldn't wait to get her hands on the toys hehehe πŸ’—

She couldn't quite get that it was from "sis Erl," as I repeatedly told her. So when I was telling her, "That's from sis Erl," to her it registered as "That's sis Erl's" and so she protested, "no, Darla..." because she wouldn't part from it as soon as I handed it to her hehehe.

At the library, she did enjoy the Story Time but she much preferred playing "floor is lava" with the square pieces of carpet they should sit on. She participated every now and then, occasionally clapping when something's funny or when she liked the nursery rhyme. 

But for the most part, she'd jump from one square piece to another. At one point, she made herself a bed. 😩

She was lying down on the square pieces of carpet but would sit up and clap if something piqued her interest

She reminded me so much of her older sister, Demi. I was worried she'd find it difficult to socialise being always inside the house. But when her Lola and Lolo (Grandma and Grandpa) took her to daycare, she teamed up with the oldest child in the class and together, they made their own program barely listening to the teacher.

After library, she was ready for her afternoon nap and while she was sleeping, we drove to Costco and Woolies to do the normal groceries and also buy stuff we need for Sunday. 

Next stop, we took Darla to Nurragingy Reserve Park so she could play at the water park and also ride her "new" bike. I was running out of battery so by past 4pm, we drove home.

Darla remembered her new toy so that kept her occupied the rest of the evening. She reckons the girl is "Anna" because of her braided pigtails and the guy automatically becomes "Kristoff." So whenever she wanted to play with sis Erl's gift, she would tell me, "Anna, Kristoff." Hehehehe.

Breakfast served by chef Darla

I was impressed by the quality and details in this wooden toy set 😍

Saturday was still busy for hubby. He still had some things to buy at Strathfield and I decided not to go so he can accomplish things more quickly. While the toy continued to occupy Darla, the book I borrowed also occupied me hehehe. Maybe this was another reason I'm sleepy. I couldn't put it down no matter how sleepy I was!

Hubby couldn't believe I finished the book in 2 days - I could have finished it in 1 day without interruptions πŸ˜‚

By Sunday, we were definitely busy so I had to set aside the book. We have some visitors in the afternoon - for my February Sabbath anniversary, for our new house welcoming (which was really lame because we moved here for about 5 months now hahaha) - for whatever reasons. It's just nice to get together with friends once in a while.

With my fellow February celebrant, sis Laurice

The young ladies enjoying a Korean barbecue fest

There's so much to be thankful for in those 3 days of weekend fun. First, the realisation that someone loves and cares for your children, that's really heart warming. Being able to enjoy a day off from work to spend time with my family is another thing I am grateful for. 

The little kids playing in the backyard

Having a husband who helps out  does everything for you. He did everything, the groceries, cleaning up the house, tidying after. Having food on the table - good food on the table actually - it's one of the things I sometimes forget to be thankful for.

Also, celebrating my years in faith and having friends in church to celebrate it with are also big blessings for me. The bonus of a perfect weather yesterday was like icing on the cake. 

On top of it all, these sweet babies had fun and to see the joy on their faces just makes your heart full!

Such sweet babies! 
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