Mr and Mrs Woon

6 months ago, a little kitten was led out of the wedding bag.  This was the day we were preparing for.  It went by quick like with all happy occasions and here’s my recap of the day.  It started early for the most of the wedding party, getting into peak hour traffic to get to church on time.  I’m happy to report no one hit any major snags and we were there all ready to get the day going.  The groomsmen had the ever gorgeous bridesmaid, Nis looking over them and were all working hard when I got there 2 minutes after 9.  We settled in and of course, I started taking pictures.

From the top left hand corner, that’s Michelle and Nis getting the front table ready.  Then me and Bernie taking a pause for a picture.  Next up, Michelle and Nis when I said, “Look here girls!!”  At the bottom left, that’s Perry in between Nis and me.  I’d say, he’s in awe of how beautiful Nis looks but that’s just me 🙂  Then it’s me and Cheryl, director extraordinaire.  One of my favourite part of weddings is watching the nervous groom before the bride arrives.  Mat was playing the part well 🙂  He was well supported by his boys but the nervous buzz coupled with unbridled happiness was clear on his face that morning.

You can tell from the picture I made him take with me.  He must have been thinking,”Crazy bridesmaid Carlene, I have better things to do than take a picture with you.” but yesiree, I document almost everything.  So there’s me with the happy groom and if you didn’t think he could be happier, he did get very much more happy when his bride arrived.  I wish I had a camera while I was walking down the aisle but I didn’t and remembered looking at Mat, the smile he had when Gen walked in with her Dad.  He even teared up a little and melted my heart.

The wedding mass went smoothly and beautifully without a hitch and as simple as that Gen and Mat became Mr and Mrs Woon.  Up next was the party bit and once the photo taking in church was done, it was wrapping up and moving to our next location, Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens.

When we got there the wedding decorators were already going to town with the place.  We helped out and arranged the other odds and ends with about 45minutes to spare.  The guests started arriving and we pinged the newly weds that the anticipation for their arrival was steadily growing.

I managed to catch a shot with the bride just before her walk in and the party started.  With loving speeches, dancing, cheers, laughter and lots of chattering, it was a room full of love and warm wishes for the newly minted Mr and Mrs Woon.  I couldn’t be happier for my dear friend, Gen.  Mat is a sweet sweet guy and perfect for her.  For Mat, Gen’s big heart is all he is going to need for the rest of his life.  I can’t wait for their little ones who I know will have all they need in their parents to face this crazy world we live in 🙂

Haze-a-pore

I know I’ve been blessed all my life and in case I forget, God reminded me again by letting the haze envelop Singapore just as I got on a plane to head to Perth.  Ok ok ok, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love my sister who’s had to battle the crazy haze with the rest of Singapore.  I know I just got lucky this time around.  Very lucky as I read and kept in touch with daily PSI readings till it went into the hazardous stages.

Here’s a picture my friend sent me where the Singapore Flyer is completely shrouded by the haze earlier today.  I truly don’t know what can be done because I don’t know enough about what’s happening in Indonesia to have a seriously considered comment about how they do things.  I have been busy in Perth :p  However, I bet I have a teenage neighbour who smokes from his bedroom window because it faces mine so occasionally I smell cigarette smoke in my room.  I may not have satellite images revealing the fire and the smoke from his bedroom and even if I did, I do understand the need for a diplomacy dance.  We live side by side and everyday we’re going to have to share other common areas and air being one of them.  Fortunately there are things I can do, close the window, switch on the fan and blow it in his direction, politely let them know and hope they react positively.

The haze, on the other hand, isn’t quite within Singapore’s control but each and every one of us can also do our level best.  Close the windows, share what we can afford to those who cannot and be part of the solution rather than be part of the problem.  Easy for me to say, I’m not home.  I’d like to think I could be that way if I was home too and not hoard masks, blame everyone else and use the haze as an excuse to laze.  I’m sure I’ll be put to the test when I’m back home … according to everything I’ve read, it’s likely to stay for a couple of months.

I’m not the only lucky one though.  I think for the first time ever, my friends, Cherry, Gerie, Claire, Lynn and I are not in Singapore at the EXACT same time.  Over this crazy haze weekend, we were in different parts of the world.

Ah got to love these 6 kids 🙂  Aren’t they adorable?  If there was a good time for being in different parts of the world at the same time, this would have been it.

See everyone back in Singapore in July!!

Not So Little Saffy

Today a little friend of mine turns 10 and I still remember going to her first month celebrations.  It’s amazing how fast time flies and how quickly the little ones in our lives grow.  Due to her family and friends being everywhere around the world today, we all got together a little earlier to celebrate in style with the birthday girl.

The neon theme party threw me for a slight loop till I remembered my very bright neon yellow sandals my sister bought me for Christmas.  I also forgot I actually have a neon pink top somewhere in my closet.  Oh well, there I was decked out in black with my neon sandals with my munchkins who will miss Saffy when she moves to New York.  They had a whale of a time.  For my nephew in particular, he usually finds himself in the minority with more girls than boys.  This time, he played rough, didn’t have to watch out for anyone because he was one of the boys and they were in the majority.

My niece had fun too and enjoyed hanging out with girls and of course, Renn.  It’s so nice to watch them grow up together.  Maybe they’ll stay friends and maybe they won’t but I do hope they get as lucky as I’ve been with friends.  It wasn’t always this way and in the past, I’ve had a couple of toxic friends myself.  Learnt the hard way and while they aren’t bad people themselves, I now know I can choose not to allow people to treat me badly.  Here’s 3 women, sans Lynn who we miss dearly (thank goodness for Whatsapp and FaceTime) and living it up in Maui.  So it’s actually 4 women who have showed me what real friendships mean.

In some ways we’re so different and yet in others so very similar.  I don’t know if they realise how much they’ve each inspire me to be better and that’s what real friendship means.  Supporting you when you need it most and being genuinely happy at your successes.  They’ve done it for me so often and for each other, showing that it is possible to put people who you aren’t related to before yourself. I’m so thankful for our seemingly inane conversations to quiet times when we lean on each other for strength.  Each time they make the difficult but right choices in life, they give me the courage to make the same hard choices in mine.  Our friendship always makes me think of this Dad’s advice to his children “Never ever let a friend down. I would bury bodies for my friends, if they asked me to . . . which is why I have chosen them carefully.”

So today on your 10th birthday dearest Saffy, I wish you a lifetime of wonderful friendships.  Happy Birthday angel!!

Bali Blues

Last week this time, I was just back from Bali and thriving on a Bali high but it’s been a week since I got home from a very relaxing time with possibly the best bunch of people to go away with.  So the Bali blues are setting in and this post is me taking a stroll down memory lane and reliving the 5 days in Bali.

Some of us got there by budget and others got upgraded to business.  Either way we took off from rain in Singapore to sunny skies in Bali and landed pretty much at the same time.  First life lesson from the trip, it really doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there 🙂  As usual the drive to Seminyak, which actually isn’t far from the Denpasar airport, took about an hour … I promptly fell asleep for a nap and woke up to our lovely villa.

This was home for 5 days in Bali.  It was a large enough pool with just enough space for 4 people to lounge around.  It was a lovely spot hang out, do a little work, get in some skipping, talk, hang out some more, swim and basically just chill.  It was close to the main road but secluded enough to be quiet.  It isn’t very known yet so taxis may have a hard time looking for it.  Yet with all things in Bali, the minute you step out of your pretty villa, it’s messy everywhere.

This is what we have to walk through to get to the main road, which is maybe 2 minutes away.  This is the part about Bali that puts people off but for me, it is strangely intriguing.  I can’t quite explain it.  Something about chaos makes me wonder about people and their possible stories.  How people live through chaos?  Settle into living through mess?  I guess the luxury of growing up with needs met gives you coloured glasses to look through.  Makes me grateful for my first world problems I face, like the water pressure in the villa being weak to say the least :p

Water pressure aside, the beautiful villa is a bonus and I have nothing to complain about but it’s always the company that makes the difference in any experience.  With friendships, I’ve been really blessed with people who make simple dinners to beach holidays so much more wonderful.

Even better, I had a circle of friends collision 🙂  As the stars aligned, my other friend, Mia who lives in Melbourne was in Bali for a wedding and we all caught up for dinner.  Crazy people gathered around a table is formula for nonsense conversations and a fun night, which is exactly what it was.

Needless to say, I had a great time in Bali.  We even ventured out of Seminyak, which is rare for us and caught a sunset by Jimbaran.

Pretty, isn’t it?  That’s the only reason why I’ll go to Jimbaran.  Other than that, the seafood restaurants along the coast are all tourist traps and I’ve had better food elsewhere in Bali.   Suffice to say, I had a good time in Bali.  We stayed for 5 days this time and a little longer than our usual and I’ve realised I can stay a week in Bali.  5 days was a great length of time though.  Enough time to settle in, do the usual and try something new.  Like this:-

Yep, don’t mess with me 🙂  I can pull out the Street Fighter move when I want to.  Ok ok ok I’m not that delusional, the impressive one is Zack who is doing the jump and Resh who is taking the photo.  I just got into pose … that took work too :p

I’m already planning for the next Bali getaway.  I can’t wait.

Growing Old Together

Last month one of my dearest friend sent me this:-

And it’s oh so true!!  I really can’t wait to grow old with my friends that I have.  It’s something to do with growing older and knowing that toxic friends are a complete waste of time.  I never knew this growing up.  True story, as a young child I thought as long as you are strong to your own values, it doesn’t matter what kind of friends you have.  Both my grandmas always told me to hang around good people.  Never knew how true that was till I was half way through my 30s.  Really good friends make you want to be better versions of yourselves, never worse.  I also read this somewhere so I can’t take credit for it, I’ll bury bodies for my friends so I choose them carefully.  Couldn’t be more true 🙂

Happy to say, the friends I have now are just the kind I know will bury bodies for me and I will for them.  They are truly good people, with good hearts who are just trying their best everyday.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my friends who in their own different ways taught me that blood may be thicker than water but it is just as nourishing when you need it.

In 6 Months

I know exactly where I’ll be on 19th July 2012 🙂  Mat and Gen are going to say ‘I do’.

I’ve been really blessed with some really wonderful friendships.  One of them is with Gen who I met some 12 years ago when we produced a children’s series for Channel 8.  Yes, you’re reading it right, it was Channel 8.  I bet her Chinese teacher and mine are laughing their heads off at that fact but yes, we, 2 convent girls, did produce a Channel 8 program a long time ago.  Through the years we’ve seen each other through tough times and shared many joyful moments with never ending bantering and laughter.  Like a little sister, Gen and I share parallel experiences that’s quite uncanny.  She gets me and I can always count on her to be honest with me when I need it most.  So I was extremely honoured when she asked if I’ll be one of her bridesmaids and I replied, of course 🙂

I couldn’t be happier that she’s found Mat.  A sweet chef who’s been a hoot to get to know.  He’s perfect for Gen and grounds her like no one I’ve known to be able to do before 🙂  Besides their wedding, I can’t wait for the beautiful babies they’re going to make :p

It’s going to be a fun 6months coming up!!  Stay tune for wedding progress.

bLAh bLAh bLAh

Last year, big brother Renn had his solo exhibition – Renn Lim by Renn Lim.  This year his little sister, Aira joins him and together they let music inspire them and their creations for bLAh bLAh bLAh.

In the midst of a crazy work week and after a little detour, do not confuse Tanjong Katong with Tanjong Pagar, I made it in time for their opening night!!

Part of the charm of the night was the kids.  Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for little people.  When you put a bunch of them in one space and I’m a happy camper 🙂

 The littlest of them all was dear Lucy who gave me a big wave when I first saw her on the way to the bathroom.  She was inspired enough to do a little drawing herself.  Potted around and climbed up next to Shell all on her own.  She even had, what I suspect is a first date 😉

If your mothers are standing by and watching, is it still considered a first date?

Even with the kids around, I managed to find my favourite pieces for the night.  I’m amazed how much Renn has grown as an artist.

You can see the improvement on his skills and the maturity of his vision.  He may not eventually choose to be an artist as a career but he’ll always be an artist in his heart.  Sure, he’s a kid and for now, given a choice will choose the iPad over his brushes but when you see the world like he does, whether it’s a wacom stylus, a traditional paint brush or just imagination, it’s a little more fun to navigate 🙂

His 6 year old sister impressed me too!!  We always knew she had a flair for the dramatics and may possibly be a pop icon in her own time but now we know she can control a pencil  and yields it to no one.

I had such a blast that I brought my munchkins back on another night.

I love that I can bring them to an art gallery where they get to see their friends, hang out and get to learn about art too.  I think they were all mostly having fun playing in an art gallery, which doesn’t always happen for them :p  While the big ones hung out and chased each other around.  Little Rach was inspired and chose to keep herself busy being an artist herself.

One of Aira’s classmate came by while we were there too and guess what? Lo and behold, she shares the same birthday as Aira and Mabes!!

They are no means the same but have a similar energy and a penchant for dramatics 🙂  You just might be looking at the first picture of Singapore’s girl group hit!!  We can call them July 17 :p  Ok ok ok, as a bias aunt I can get carried away.  They all had so much fun hanging out that my munchkins asked when were the next time we’ll be seeing R+A again 🙂

I live for moments like these.

Well done R+A!!  Your diligence and talents to make bLAh bLAh bLAh possible are rare and inspire me to get my own film done.  Thank you both so much and congratulations on a wonderful exhibition!!

More Lunch Time Dates

Yes yes yes, my lunch time dates are working out nicely 🙂  Last week this time I caught up with little Miss Su.

She got a little tired at the end of lunch, which explains the picture of her bundled to her Mummy who was trying to put her down for a little nap.  She tried but rather go for a wander around the shop where she got acquainted with old school toys like a paper ball.  After all, we were after having lunch at Old School Delights.  They sell toys from days gone by and served good ‘ole goodies like Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Chicken Curry, Chicken Macaroni, Mee Siam.  So what did vegetarian me have?

The chef nicely did a vegetarian hor fun for me 🙂  For that, they get a thumbs up from me!!  It also tasted decent.  Lulu seemed to like her chicken macaroni, no eggs please with a couple of carrots from Auntie Cherry and me.  We also had the chendol that was sweetened with gula melaka so in our books it was pretty authentic.

Can’t wait till my next lunch time buddy is up for lunch again 🙂

Lunch Time Babies

I think I’m going to do this more often, make lunch dates with little young’uns.  It breaks the day up and gives me a reason to smile 🙂

Carlene’s blog world, please meet little Mirabelle.  Niece and goddaughter to my dear angel friend, Gen.  The last time I saw Mirabelle, she was a tiny baby.  At nearly 20 months, she definitely has her family wrapped around her little finger.  She’s a cutie with a great laugh!! Godma Gen is no different from me though :p  It’s boot camp mentality or it’s back home.  Actually Gen and I have more in common than we realise.

Lunch was at Food For Thought Botanic Gardens, which has a branch just opposite my office so I’m well acquainted with their menu.  It’s veggie and kid friendly.  The Botanic Garden branch is a much better location.  Wider spaces and much better parking but the food is better at the Queen’s Street branch.  I’ll definitely be coming back more for my family oriented outings where the kids can run free with a playground to boot.  Mirabelle, her Godma and I had a whale of a time and I suspect we’ll be doing lunch again.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about my next lunch time date buddy 🙂

New Babies

There’s something about new babies that makes everyone happy.  Ok, maybe not everyone but me for sure 🙂  It’s been awhile since Mummy Shools and I caught up.  Work and life has a way of getting into keeping in contact.  With the occasional text and news from common friends, we’ve managed to keep up to date but nothing beats hanging out for a bit.  To make things better I get to meet her second little angel 🙂

Isn’t she such a cute one?  She has a lovely lovely disposition … kinda like her Mummy and Daddy actually.  Shools and Mos are possibly one of the calmest couples I’ve met in my life.  I’ve worked with Mummy Shools and nothing seems to faze her and I learnt a lot from that 🙂

We caught up over lunch, talked about work, husbands, her girls, work and then some while little Kayleigh potted around smiling, fed a little and took a nap!!  Pretty perfect for a nearly 6month old.

Next up on my to do, plan a play date with Kayleigh and her big sister Kaitlyn 🙂