Weekly roundup – 29 April to 3 May

So I decided to use a new format in my weekly round-up. Instead of using the week number, I would be using the date. I didn’t do a round-up last week so I would be writing everything for the past 2 weeks!

What have I been busy with?
So I couldn’t write an round-up last week as I have been rather busy. Firstly it was work. I came home slightly late everyday. It took my energy away and I just want to rest and do nothing else!

Then I was distracted by….. TV! I don’t watch much Korean drama but I do catch a bit here and there during my dinner time. I like to watch something while having my meals. This is very bad for health but it is a habit I simply cannot change. So last week or so, I found out the channel that I was watching my Korean drama on has extended the time for an extra hour. An full extra hour! which means originally it is supposed to be ending at 8pm but instead it will end at 9pm! Not only that, they also broadcasted a Japanese drama which I wanted to watch for a long time. So I couldn’t resist keeping myself free for television from 10-11pm!

My usual schedule is like this:
7-8pm: Dinner, TV, after work resting
8-8.30pm: Bath
8.30pm-bedtime: Stuffs I need to do.

My now schedule:
7-9pm: Dinner, TV, after work resting
9-9.30pm: Bath
9.30pm: Stuffs I need to do
10-11pm: TV time (again)
… and straight to bed!

So you can imagine the past few days on weekdays hasn’t been very useful! I have done much lesser work. Uh this is really bad as I don’t like to be doing less things. But the good news is the Japanese show is ending soon! So I will go back to less hectic schedule. Hoping I would catch up with my work soon!

Other than that I have been busy reading on…… NORTH KOREA! I don’t know how but a couple of days ago, I came across something which prompted me to read up on NK. I am fascinated by everything I have read. I know they are a country that are mysterious but I didn’t know about so many stuffs – e.g. how the citizen is unable to access the internet as freely. There is a couple of books on this mysterious which I am interested to read 🙂

World Book Day
So 23 April was World Book Day so I took my morning off from work to visit Kinokuniya. They are giving out a free Black Penguin Classic to all members.

I was expecting the store to be crowded at opening. But only a couple of people dropped by to get their free copy. I guess next time I shall come by after work? 🙂


I also decided to purchase one of Stephen King’s books as it is the last day of their 20% discount! I was eyeing at Christine originally but the book is too thick as I wanted a new book for my upcoming holiday! Btw my favourite Stephen King’s books are 11/22/63 followed by The Shining and Carrie! I thought I will enjoy Under the Dome but I keep stopping it 😦 But I guess at some point of my life, I will finish that book!!

They have a similar event for yesterday’s Free Comic Book Day. But I am not really a fan of comic/manga etc. So I didn’t go down. And its on a Saturday so probably there would be crowd.

On the same subject, I backed this wonderful SciFi project a while back… Scifi book is just so WOW. So I got myself a lifetime subscription! I got my code last week and have signed up for an account. I am probably going to start reading something soon.

Face to face promotion
Can I say I hate such promotion? I do get it once in a while. But recently I feel like there is too much of them and  it started to get on my nerve. I mean bothering people at the mall is fine as it is a public space. But visiting people at their house is like really just plain annoying. People could be in the middle of something important – e.g. a phone-call. I noticed they never ask if you are okay for a small chat. They just went straight to the topic. Yesterday yet another “company” came to visit my house. Originally I thought it was the deliveryman. Some courier company do deliver on weekend now. So I went to answer the door. Turn out to be some insurance agent people promoting some insurance stuffs. If I want insurance, I will go get one. I do not need people to “brainwash” me into buying one. So in order to get out of the conversation I just say 1) I am not working.(I look young anyway) 2) I never work not even part time. (They can’t tell anyway) 3) My parents are not in. (Truth). One of the sale person even ask me about my age. I gave her the “none-of-your-business” look. I think they don’t really believe it as she asked me to confirm again. I was in the middle of doing some work so I really can’t bother to chat with these annoying people. I know it is their job. But really I am sure they are grown up who knows there are better jobs out there.

Minimalism, To do
Last week I finally threw away some expired snack. I got some muesli bars from Australia last year when I visited. I realise they were expired when I wanted to eat a couple of months ago. They were cheaper as Australia is the manufacturing country. Anyway since they are cheaper, I got greedy and bought too much. I went online and check – Some website claimed that such dry snack are actually still okay even after expired date. The snack will just lose the flavour and maybe much less crunchier. I did have 1 or 2 even though they are expired. Ya, it tasted all right. But soon I forgot about them again. Last week i realise they are expired for a few months. So it is really not safe to eat them anymore. A self-note to myself not to get greedy and buy too much snack. I am not really a snack person. I going eat snack when I feel hungry at work. I can go by months without having snack!

Next is my to do, planning stuffs…
Firstly the budgeting I started a couple of weeks back is officially fail 😛 1) I am suppose to do this on Sunday but Sunday is my busy day as my nieces are always around. So I don’t really have much time. 2) I always run out of $2 notes which I am suppose to be using. :/ But I am happy to say that this is just a concept that do not need actual action for it to work. I keep this in my mind everyday and I spend less than what I wanted to budget! I need to think of a way to fix this system again!

Secondly, It almost come naturally…. but I stop using my passion planner. It has been a week? I kinda stop bringing to work. I don’t know. I just feel the A6 organiser I am using as my daily notebook seems to be enough for me. It is pointless for me to write something and ultimately I have a similar schedule almost everyday. Furthermore I uses the bigger A5 organiser at home. So I am kinda used to the system. Oh well I will try to write something in my passion planner and see how it goes for next week.

Scented candles

Okay, the other day I was doing some research for my company. Then I came across a holistic healing website. that sort of stuffs. I don’t know… but it somehow leads me to looking at scented candles online. Don’t tell my boss that!!

Anyway un-surprisedly there are many brand of candles online and they are not exactly cheap! Yankee Candles from US have several outlets in Singapore. Wow It seems like only yesterday that I read about their first outlet was opened at Great World City. And yes I haven’t visit any of the shops (No surprise again) after so long. For lazy people like me who buy EVERYTHING online, they have an online store yay! Just order at least S$50 to get it shipped for free. It is easily achievable since Yankee Candles aren’t exactly cheap. Anyway the website doesn’t feel like its updated. The collection is still reading “2014….” I don’t know just feel that there isn’t much stuffs as compared to the main US site. I found out that Yankee Candle in Singapore is operated by an local sole distributor. This is probably why the website isn’t that updated. A google search – “Candle Singapore” bought up another brand called Woodwick. Again, free shipping for S$50. Otherwise there is a whole bunch of places you can pop by to get. As compare, Woodwick do not have their own stores. They are slightly cheaper also.

Then finally there is some other Singapore based online candles shop. But I didn’t know any of their brands and they aren’t cheap.

Alternatively, iHerb that ship to Singapore very cheaply or free have a small collection. But the stuffs on iHerb are usually brands that I have never heard of and they are organic, natural. The flavour they have doesn’t look appealing 😛

Anyway I didn’t purchase online cos you need to go smell it before buying? And I don’t want to get too many yet. See I still remember my minimalism goal!

So I took an morning off last Thursday to celebrate World Book Day by visiting Kinokuniya. I thought I could take a chance to find an scented candle!

I wasn’t really look for an scented candle in Precious Thots. But I found it anyway!
They were having Mother Day promotion. It cost only $15.90 instead of $19.90! This is one of the cheapest I saw so far. So I decided to buy one. Originally I picked berries flavoured but after that I decided to get Sweet Orange and Grapefruit which have the strongest smell. They also have Gardenia flavour which I don’t really like.

I couldn’t find any information online. I thought Ashlyn Anne could be an in-house brand from Precious Thots. They have other products like bags, pouch, hand cream so this is a brand that combines like Cath Kidston and Crabtree and Evelyn.



I love the packaging. It seems like an gift box! So elegance! It is made of thick box so it could double up as an gift box. No wrapping is required. Or you can keep and recycled it when you need to wrap gift 🙂


I was expecting the sale assistant to wrap my candle in bubblewrap or something. I mean how am I suppose to be carrying it (I was using my baggu backpack on that day. That’s right no cushion and always messy… but she only put it in a plastic bag. I left and went to a restaurant for lunch and quickly open up to see the packaging. I feel like an idiot. But they are packaged in such a way that the candle jar itself would be secure! The top part is covered in a wood cover.


There wasn’t any information about the candle on the packaging. The sign at the shop shown that it is soy wax candle. Well, I guess it is a mixture of orange and grapefruit. I asked the sale assistant how long it last. She say if I burn every night, it could be up to 2 months. Seriously? I don’t know if I hear right?! Anyway I will return with review when I start burning it.

Backpack

This week I am going to talk about BACKPACK!
Firstly, why I need to talk about this? I am planning my vacation as mentioned. So naturally, I was planning “what to bring” that sort of stuffs. After traveling to several places, I realise…. a backpack is the right way to travel. I sort of borrowed my mum’s backpack when I was at taiwan a couple of years ago. And it was really really really much easier. But somehow I didn’t use one when I went to a 2 weeks trip to Australia last year. I regretted it everyday. Anyway, I decided that I would bring one for my upcoming trip.
And personally I hate anything that distracted me when using escalator. It is that sort of thing that make me feel even more nervous when I am already very nervous! I NEVER carries anything on my hand and tuck all extra straps/anything that will distract me into my pocket. A backpack would definitely help as NOTHING would be distracting me.

What is the main consideration when buying a backpack? The design, the functions or something else?
Well, I would say the backpack in the market aren’t very much different from one another. Most of them looks like the same. It is either the “Jansport” style or laptop bag style with slight variation in design/function or that cooler bag style.

So last year or so, I saw an interesting backpack design on Kickstarter.

I was blown away. I was minutes away from the campaign closing but I decided not to get it as it only comes in GREY. GREY, GREY, GREY…. I don’t know I just don’t like GREY. It make my stuffs look dull and boring. I do love the leather clutch by Popbasic. It is in GREY. But just not for backpack.

Then I saw PX! Another I was blown away. I mean the video look soooo good.

I don’t go gym, I don’t bring laptop but I do want a backpack that look good.

Now wait…. didn’t I want to go minimalism? That was before I started. Anyway…I have my reason(s)!

Baggu I do love Baggu, everything! (except the leather stuffs okay I am ACTUALLY secretly in love with the leathery stuffs.) But truth is… their backpack is really painful to be carried. I always cannot find things. There is no pocket and no compartment at all (The later version (as pictured below) have compartment at the front though and the one on their website now – Features two front pockets with concealed zippers, and two open front pockets for easy access). There is no padding so I always have to adjust the stuffs in order not to make my back ache! The shoulder strap is painful to be carried also. So in conclusion, Baggu Backpack is really just a pretty backpack! But being canvas cotton – it should be much lasting!

Mine is the old backpack in the very popular nutmeg colour! Mine do not have any front compartment. 

Photo from Karmaloop 

Muji Again, I am a big fan of Muji. But they pretty much have the same problem. It is a backpack, a normal backpack…. so there is nothing interesting about it. I got one in red though which is a beautiful red. But in reality it doesn’t have much functionality.

Photo from ShiftEast

So after thinking, considering, rethinking and reconsidering, I decided to BUY the PX bag.
After waiting and waiting, I am so happy to finally received it.

But……….. damn, its so big! (I am really petite) so no I don’t like it at first impression.

Hey but really its just me who don’t look at the measurement. Uh yes, I don’t have the habit of looking at measurement. This habit has since been changed.

Then they uses leather at some part. damn, It was stated in the details. But… somehow I ignored it. It was only recently that I realise I should be really really stop using real leather products too.

Anyway the damage is done. Overall it is a beautiful backpack. I still love it. The thing about kickstarter products? yeah, they are good (some of them anyway!) but you cannot really sell it away cos they are mainly new startup. I mean who would spend 100bucks to get a backpack that you have never heard of. If you are into crowdfunding and stuffs, maybe you will. But majority of the people aren’t.

Now I am going to talk about how I feel after using it for 1 day. Yesterday I decided to carry this to work.
On the previous night, I tried putting my MacBook Pro 15″ (old model without retina) but it is not comfortable at all if I place it at the designated area. I moved it to the main compartment. It feels MUCH better.

So the designated area for laptop might be better for document? anyway other than that the bag is comfortable. It does not add on too much weight so I don’t feel tired. It is huge so you can really put lots of stuffs in it. Being a big bag, you keep people away from you which is important if you are on a crowded train. There are poster around asking you to “bag down” but really using a backpack is a good way to keep people from a distance. I don’t know about you – but I hate it when people literally just stand very close to you. It irritates me when their back lean against mine. ARGH. Sometimes I use my bag to push people away. But sometimes some people just don’t care! Space, people!

There is different compartments so I will not experience the “cannot find things” situation which I always do with my Baggu or Muji backpack. My umbrella are tucked neatly into the ‘secret” side pocket. My iPad Mini which I often take out on commuting to work are placed in the side pocket which is accessible without taking off the bag. If I needed to, I can just slide it to the side EASY! The rest of the small stuffs are in the front compartment whereas important stuffs like wallet are in the main compartment.

It would even better if….
1) Not THAT big.
2) Have inner compartment such as this:

This!
I have been looking at eBags for the past couple of days. But they do not ship internationally (Argh?!) so shipping does not make sense!
I am so into organising this year. So having inner organisation compartment really really helps.

So conclusion, I need another bag…. HAHAHAHA!

Weekly roundup: Third week of April

Work
I have been busy at work working on a proposal. So I am rather tired this week! Admitting that not much work have been done due to this. This week my colleague and I have a couple of private discussion regarding our work environment. I feel like things are changing ever since one of our colleagues left and we don’t like it. But I guess we have to get used to it. Things aren’t used to be the way they are. I guess we need to buckle up.

Television and reading
So I completed House of Cards and started on Better call Saul. I love the spinoff! It has the same vibe as Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad is not really one of my all-time favourite shows. But I do enjoyed it 🙂 Although I don’t have an favourite character but I do like Saul and Mike. They are interesting in their own ways. It is interesting they are in this spinoff together.


Well, This is my 2015 Reading Challenge. Yes it is a lot lesser as compare to last 2 years. But I do want to take things slowly.

I completed reading Shopaholic to the Stars yesterday when I returned home from my trip to Kinokuniya.
I have been wanting to read this. The reviews aren’t that good everywhere on the internet. But strangely, I still do enjoy that book. How do I determined whether I like the book or not? Very often it is how long I taken to read it. I completed it in a few hours and couldn’t go to sleep without finishing it. It has the same format as the previous books – Becky trying to change > Becky have some thoughts/things to do > Becky screwed up > Becky put things right. I don’t see how bad it is. Ya maybe she is a mother. She ought to grow up a little bit and you know not thinking about shopping all the times. But it is who she is. The book ended up in a cliffhanger. Damn, I got to buy the book via Kindle when it has been released.

Vacation
I feel very sad that I am going to miss our second family vacation! Due to the nation turning 50, we have one extra day of holiday on 7 August and the national day itself fall on a Sunday which means Monday is an holiday. My family planned for a short get-away to Malaysia. But I am stuck in Singapore as I need to attend a friend’s wedding on the 8th. I wished that I could skip this but she is really like my best friend in the world. It is strange that we don’t keep in contact much in my daily life. But she is someone who I always turn to when I need help. especially for work! So there is no way I am not attending her wedding. 😦

My Taiwan planning is on a hold until I get a firm confirmation from my sister. Anyway there is little to be done as I just need to find the direction and book a couple of transports and we are good to go.

But I have a little secret. I am hoping to overcome my fear of escalator by then. 😦

To-do, Minimalism
I was going to write an detailed post of this. But one of my shipments went missing and it is taking its time to be shipped again. So I am just going to write a short post without going into too much details of the product. What I am using is a FauxFilofax from Taobao! This is the exact same agenda/planner/organiser thing from Filofax or Kikki K.

Once again this is how it look like. It is an A5 size which is probably too big to be carried in my daily bag! So I kept it on my desk.

The planner itself comes with a divider which is really much more useful for a planner. Since I have a daily planner, I don’t use this as a planner. But it doesn’t mean the divider is not useful! I could have get a new divider but it would cost at least 3-4bucks and it may not be necessary. But anyway I am going to consider it again in a month time. In the meantime, This is how I am making use of the dividers!


Monthly – Notes for the month. For my case, I am using it to write my vacation plan as this is something I doing this month.


Weekly – things I am need to do weekly – task list. One thing about my planner? I don’t like the limited space it has. So this would comes useful.


Today – Minimalism note. To me, minimalism is a daily affair. So it should be always be in my Today agenda 🙂 I have pages where I just write my thoughts on my buying decision.


List & To Do – Shopping list, To Do etc. All kinds of list.
(I missed the picture for this)
Favorite – Kickstarter tracker, online purchase etc


Account – What I have spend.

I have another size in A6. I bought it for comparison purposes (it would be in detail in that post I am doing)

The size is great. Its not too heavy for me to bring out. In fact, was happily writing on the bus until someone came to sit beside. She was very inconsiderate as she position her arm against my arm to play with her cellphone. That obstructed my thoughts so I gave up writing. Thanks Inconsiderate stranger! One good thing about such planner is that you can always take out the paper! This was this big problem in my previous daily notebook as my notes were all over the place. I need divider. I need to rip off pages that I no longer need! With this, I can write and take out the pages and put in my A5 planner when I reach home. So it sort of transfer over.
Now maybe I should just stick on one? Maybe I should. But I decided to get both (okay there is another one coming) as I wanted to do a product review. So yeah. I will stick to one next time.

Kinokuniya Members’ Sale

Kinokuniya is my all-time favourite bookstores for books! They have a wide range of English, Chinese and Japanese books. While other local bookstores seems to have trouble with keeping their stores open, Kinokuniya have been expanding. There was a very long time that they only have 3 outlets. But in the recent years, 1 new more new outlet was opened. I read that they do have plan to expand more!

A couple of years ago, I decided to sign up for their membership as their newer outlet is close to where I am staying. Their membership isn’t exactly cheap –  a 2 years-membership which I choose costs S$38.50.  It is very expensive if you seldom buy books. But it is really a good deal if you buy a lot of books as you can get discount throughout the year. And…. they have members’ sale several times a year. They are usually 15% if I am not wrong. But occasionally they have 20%. So yesterday was the starting of their 20% sale to celebrate World Book Day which is on 23 April (last day of the sale). They are also giving a Penguin Little Black Classic on Thursday for their members 🙂 I will be taking half day off. haha 🙂 Anyway I couldn’t resist visiting the store for the 20% discount! Sometimes they extended the sale to their online webstore. I purchased it once and it was delivered very promptly by Ta-Q-Bin. I didn’t have to pay for shipping.

Instead of visiting my usual outlet, I decided to go to the main outlet. I used to go there like every week with a friend who was obsessed with Japanese magazines a couple years back. (Back-story: She cannot read Japanese. But they have nice freebie! Of course obsession dies down. Me? I am doing minimalism. So no thank you!)

Early this year or was it last year?, they moved to a level up. I have not been visiting. So I thought yesterday was a good time for me to go visit. The new store look a little confusing at first as some of the sections are different – for e.g. the Japanese books and Chinese books section are too close! The exit is not at all obvious. I walked in circle before I realise I missed the exit. But it is a good place to get lost in :O It seems smaller? But then I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at every corner as the store was rather crowded. 

Like I said they have a wide range of books! Their price isn’t exactly cheap. I mean it is still slightly expensive if you compare to buying online. But hey I got to support the local bookstores once in a while. I don’t want to ended up like having to get everything online. 😦

I haven’t notice it before. But they do have a wide range of Filofax. I resisted asking the Sales Assistant to open up the display for me to touch 😛 But I will put this in my note. I would probably go back to them if I ever need a Filofax again. I am now using FauxFilofax HAHA!

They also have Midori Traveller Notebook and the refills. Despite the fact that the refill of the fauxdori from china are much cheaper, but I decided to get another one of the authentic refill as they are Made In Japan. I got a kraft pouch also as I wanted to put my confirmations in it. I noticed they have the limited Edition Pam Am stuffs. But I didn’t bother with them as they are probably expensive. But urgh they are pretty! And they have really nice, beautiful notebooks/notepads from Japan. It is hard to resist so I ended up buying one notepad in my favourite cartoon character – Rilakumma. I just couldn’t resist Strawberry + France 😀


Lastly, pen! I must say it is a blessing that I don’t visit this main store often.  First thing I look for when I visit the pen area? The Zebra Chupa Chups that I have eyeing! It is really the cheapest in town. Believe me, I compared! After the 10% discount (for stationary), it cost SGD21.19! That’s not all. They have other designs which I couldn’t resist. Well, I didn’t buy all. So it is still cut down in some sense 😛 They carried a widest range of Kawaii pens – from Japan. There is others like Minnie Mouse, Hello Kitty etc. Why am I tempted by Kawaii pens? = = This is why I cannot visit Japan! Kawaii stationaries will kill me. I didn’t see Platinum Preppy but I do see Pilot Kakuno. But I need to ask the Sale Assistant to get it out for me. So I decided to skip it as that area was crowded.

Recycle old stuffs instead of buying

I did came across a couple of times during my minimalism that I kinda wish I haven’t throw away something.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a tray/container/something to store a pile of stuffs I have on my cabinet. I remembered I have something like this but threw away as I thought I wouldn’t need it.
Then there was this one time I was looking for a top or dress but I realise I threw it away 😦 But then I have so many other apparel that I quickly forget about it!

When it come to such scenario, the best thing to do is always find something from your house instead of getting a new one! So I made use of the boxes that memebox shipped my subscription box with. I didn’t throw them away as they are in hot pink – the exact shade of pink that I love. I knew I would find them useful someday…. I quickly found a couple of use for it. I have another box storing my sticky notes 🙂

What I did was to cut off the top (the closing part), tape the cut edge with simple tape, use a sharpie to create label on a sticky note and paste it on the box. Well, of course if I spend a little more time I could have decorate the box beautifully. But It works like just I wanted.

Recycling is definitely a useful technique in minimalism. Because if you get new things, you might know if they ended up being used or just laying around waiting for your attention. It is wasting money and you “own” more things than you need. For recycled stuffs, you can easily throw them away if they ended up not being used or no longer required.

Face to face donation

A couple of times I came across people who came to my doorstep to explain about a charity cause. They always say that they are not here to “sell” something. But ultimately they want you to …. donate…. I rejected them both times! Sorry, but I will do charity at my own time!

So today, out of curiosity, I googled them. It turned out that they are a professional fund-raising company being outsourced by the charity organisation. Huh.

1) They are being paid to do a job. Okay, poor them. Running around at night and in the sun. But I am just not so comfortable with that idea. It should be made known to me when they start talking?
2) They expected you to donate monthly. It sounds really just like a newspaper subscription where you get billed monthly. I asked if its possible to stop the billing anytime I wanted to. They were vague about details…. It is possible but they prefer not to….
I am much more comfortable if I can donated one month and you know not being billed again. until I kinda want to.
3) They want you to make decision instantly. One thing about me – I weight in all factors before making any decision. Moreover this concern MONEY. I am not rich or earn a lot.

I would have donate if I get to donate one-time at any amount I wanted to. I would even be gladly to donate much more than I would normally do. But this just doesn’t make me feel comfortable. Sorry kids.