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Little Free Library

I recently discovered the amazing idea of Little Free Library. It’s wet dream for bookworm like me…

What is Little Free Library?

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.
Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

via About Little Free Library | Little Free Library

I am very tempted to make one myself. But knowing the vandalism problem in the inner city area I live in, it might not be variable. I can only admire the beautiful Little Free Library from afar for now. Check out their Instagram account so you can join me to admire these little adorable libraries.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your area? Show us some photos! 

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Filofax Tricks: reoccurring reminders

I have taken using post-in notes quite a bit recently as reoccurring reminders.

My son is having 5 weeks of swimming lessons at the moment and I needed a ‘packing list’ to help me pack for his class.

Instead of writing the same packing list again and again every week, I wrote it on a post-in note and move it from week to week.

IMG_3263.JPGOn the other hand, I recently discovered a local cafe serves pancakes for brunch every other Sunday. My husband is Canadian and love pancakes (stereotype I know…) I thought it would be lovely to incorporate that into our Sunday morning routine after baby swimming class.

Problem is, every other Sunday is a bit difficult to remember, so post-in note comes into play again. I just move it week after week so I know which week is ‘pancake Sunday’.

What’s your Filofax tricks? Share in the comment! I would love to know! 

 

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Things about Ireland – “he/she is very bold”

When I first got offered a job in Dublin, my original plan was to ‘see’ Ireland for 2-3 years. Obviously, we didn’t stick to the plan.

One thing led to another, I started my own business and found my calling to work with cats and cat people. After having a baby with an Irish passport, we now feel pretty ‘settled’ here.

After living here for 7 enjoyable years, it still never ceases to amaze me how much I have learned about this country, and yet there is so much more to learn. So I thought it might be an interesting idea to start a series here to talk about Ireland. I call it – ‘Things about Ireland’.


As a foreigner living in Ireland, it took a while for us to understand the kind of English we speak here.

First, there is the accent. But that can be resolved by hearing the language often and eventually getting used to it.

Then, you have the different use of word, slang, sentence structure and so on.

So today, we will talk about “he/she is very bold”.

I work with cats and customers often tell me their cat is very bold. Initially, I thought they meant their cat is very confident and determined.

Eventually, I realise the meaning is slight different in Irish-English.

Accordingly to Oxford Dictionaries,

Irish (Especially of a child) naughty; badly behaved:

Example: Like a bold boy at a children’s party, he still insists on being the centre of attention even though it’s not his birthday.

 

Have you lived in a foreign country? Have you any experience with funny cultural misunderstandings? Share in the comments below.

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What’s in my Filofax – Part 5 Finale

Continued from last post, today I am going to show you the ‘Financial’ section of my Filofax.

First, I have ‘Payment Receipt’. I made these inserts myself to record cash and cheque payment I received from my customers during cat sitting. There are more and more customers moving to use PayPal to pay me but the majority of my customers still stick with leaving cash and cheques on the table. So I need to record when and for what I receive payment.

1.payment

Here is a closer look.

Payment Receipt copy

I doubt anyone would be interested in these inserts. But in case you are doing a job that deals with cash payment from customers, it might be helpful to you, so I have made this available for your FREE download here.

Then I have a very old Hong Kong dollar banknote as a souvenir to remind me for my home country and to go with the financial theme.

2. old money

Then there is the trusty Filofax sticker insert, everyone seems to have them.

3. filofax stickers

Then I got this Day Runner folder insert to hold some loose bits. Usually notepapers and vouchers.

4. note paper

On the right hand side, you will see the Filofax Multi Purpose Holder. It’s one of the best Filofax inserts, it does serve multi purposes! I have some of my business cards in the small slot, some stickers in the medium slots and…

5. multpurpose insert

…nothing in the big slot right now. But I usually put customer’s cheques in there when I got them. In the back pocket, I have some stencils which I have yet found a perfect way to use them. Some vouchers to get refunds from Dublin Bus and a single lodgment slip in case I need it.

6. back pocket

So that’s everything. You have seen everything inside my personal “everyday-carry” Filofax.

Do you use a Filofax too? Do you want to show us what’s in yours? Put your link in the comment below, I would love to see it! 

 

 

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Review: LED Lenser K3 Mini Torch

You might not realise, but being a cat sitter, we do have to deal with looking for a key hole in the dark occasionally.

Or at other times, we need to look for a light switch at someone’s home…

So a torch would come in handy. And a small one at that would be even better!

Today, I am going to introduce you to my constant companion – LED Lenser K3 Mini Torch…

 

What do they say it does:

Weighing a mere 1.2 ounces and measuring less than three inches in length, this mini flashlight may be small – but don’t let the size fool you. The K3 features the Blue Moon Focus System™ which casts a mellow blue circle around a homogenous light cone. Perfect for walking to and from the car, home or office at night.

Here is how it looks in the packaging…

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And the cool thing about this is, it will actually let to ‘test’ the torch before you buy it, so you can see its claim of 15 lumens.

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Pretty powerful for such a small torch right?

How small you might ask…

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As you can see, it’s about the size of a key. (And yes, the Swiss Army Knife is another constant companion of mine, review will be coming up soon…FOLLOW my blog if you are interested.)

What I think it does:

Very powerful light comes out from such small torch. I feel like a security guard whenever I turn that on. It’s so strong I am a little worried people thought I am a cop. Super handy for locating your key hole, looking for your steps in the cinema (very rarely happen to me as I always arrive on time for that, going to cinema is a treat for me as I rarely go these days, I will make damn sure I have the whole day open for such occasion!), or BLACK OUT, of which I have the fortune to experience last week!

During the black out, it really proves how handy it is to have a keychain torch with you. I manage to locate the candles, other bigger torches (!), alarm keypad (which was screaming due to power cut), all of these sorted in 5 minutes. I imagine my house is up and running with candles before my neighbours can locate their torches.

This torch is a life-saver.

I got mine for 16 Euro at Base Camp on Abbey Street, Dublin. Lovely shop with very personalised customer service. Tell the shop owner the Cat Lady sent you, sure he remembers me, he is a cat person too!

 

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What’s in my Filofax – Part 4

Continued from last post, today I am going to show you the ‘Information’ section of my Filofax.

I am an ‘information’ nerd and a sucker of useless knowledge. As a result, I do have a decent size ‘Information’ section, so that I can entertain myself on the bus if I forget to bring a book or something…

(Funny trivia about me: I was once working as a researcher for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” show in Hong Kong. I did that when I was in university, it was ok money. It was funny to see questions I wrote show up on TV…)

Anyway, let’s dive in….

First, I have some handy information for new mothers (which I currently am) – breastfeeding support groups, classes, etc.

1. Breastfeeding Info

As a new mother, I need to deal with the immunisation of my baby. I photocopied the Immunisation Schedule magnet given by HSE, punched it and put in here. I, of course, have entered a ‘reminder’ on the relevant part of my main calendar. You will notice I have washi taped the border for easy access.

2. Immunisation

More baby stuff (sorry to bore you if you are not a baby-person) – safety information on using a sling. Then I punched the ink cartridge number card for my printer and put it in there.

3. Sling and ink

I love books. And I love libraries. But it can be a bit difficult to keep track of the opening hours of all the libraries I frequent. So I made a chart for the opening hours of the few libraries I visit regularly…

4. Library

Filofax tip No. 16 – (previous tips are here, here and here) Use post-in to note temporary closure of the library. One of the libraries I go to was closed for renovation, so I put a post-in note on it. Since it’s not permanent information, there is no point to print new charts.

Then there are a list of library books I want to read.

5. Library

And list of books that I want to read that are not available in the library. Of course, I have GoodRead for that but sometimes it’s handy to just write the name down quickly when I see a book in the bookshop.

Take a closer look at the Library Books Reading List insert…

Library Books Reading List copy

If you are like me and use the libraries a lot, you might want to use this insert to keep track of which book to check out next. You can download my insert for FREE here.

6. Book to read

Next I got some inspirational quotes…

7. Quote

And then some random informations…

8. Random

Of course, some trusty standard ‘file-of-facts’ that come with the Filofax would be interesting to an ‘information nerd’ like me…

9. Filofax info

Gift ideas in case I need to…well, buy gifts.

10. Gift ideas

This is probably my favourite part of the ‘Information’ section – a variety of maps.

First on the left you have the map of Ireland. I hope I can know better about the geography of the country I am living. On the right, I  have the Dart map.

11. Map

Then, we have Luas maps and sizing information on the left, and a folded up Paris metro map on the right.

12. Luas

There is absolutely no reason for me to carry a Paris metro map to be honest. Except I love Paris and living there for 5 years changed my life. Paris is still closed to my heart. So I carry “Paris” with me everywhere I go.

13. Map

Then a Paris street map..

14. Map

They both fold up nicely…

15. Map

A map of France – my second home country….

16. Map

I love to look at it occasionally and memorise new cities and regions…

17. Map

You can see here the back of the French map on the left, world map on the right…

18. Map

Everyone seems to have one of these world maps, but just to show you how it looks when it’s pulled out anyway…

19. Map

Then I have a list of miscellaneous numbers for myself and my family. e.g. PPS numbers, frequent flyer numbers, GP reference numbers, etc.

20. Misc

Lastly, I have a Filofax business card insert to hold my most frequently used business cards – GP, allergy doctor, life insurance agent, on one side…

21. Business Cards

…vet where we buy cat food, vet where we actually see the vet and our agent at the bank, on the other side.

22. Business cards

And that concludes ‘What’s in my Filofax – Part 4’.

Next week, it will be the last part of this series. We will be looking at the ‘Finance’ part of my Filofax. If you are a small business owner like me, you might want to know how I keep track of payment from customers. Stay tune.

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I want my son to be a human, not a man

Today, I was on Amazon looking for something for my 5-month-old son, then I saw these…

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I didn’t know we need to colour code our baby bottles these days – blue and green for boys, pink, purple for girls.

Suddenly, frustration from having difficulty to purchase non-gender-specific stuff for my son reminds me I need to rant about this.

Look, he doesn’t know he is a boy.

Oh no, he doesn’t.

Even if he does, he doesn’t know what it means.

What does it mean anyway?

According to all these baby companies, apparently it means blue and green. It means spiderman and superman. It means cars and loud stuff (I once saw a T-shirt that said “BAM”, the poor product designer probably ran out of idea at 16:30 on a Friday and really needed to poop something out before heading home).

What does it mean to be a boy really? What does it mean to be a man?

My husband was raised by a woman with very modern thinking. He was never told to ‘be a man’. He was told to be kind, to be polite, to respect everyone (men and women and people with different colour). He was told to love his food and finish his dish. He was told to use the library. He was never told he can’t do X or Y because it’s for ‘girls’.

You might think, so what? What’s the big deal?

The big deal is, if you are doing like me (and to some extent my lovely late-mother-in-law), you want to raise your son without telling him to ‘be a man’, you will have huge difficulty these days.

Because we are now living in a world where you can’t even eat a fucking chocolate egg without people reminding you you are a boy or a girl coz it’s soooooooo bloody important to remember that EVERY.SINGLE.MINUTE. I am talking about this here…

kinder-surprise-blue-pink

By the way, you might want to click on the image to go into a great article on Beauty de Beauvoir discussing this ‘Kinder situation’ in greater details.

For 5 months, my husband and I are trying to avoid ‘boy stuff’ as much as possible – no car (we hate car as a mean of transportation to start with), no violent stuff, no Disney stuff (that’s another can of worm I will open another day), no stupid stuff (the “BAM” T-shirt for example). We try to get neutral colour if it is available.

As it turns out, there are only animal stuff left in the market that’s not (apologies for the lack of better terminology) – “dude stuff”.

I feel so sad to know my son will grow up in a world where he will be told, sorry, he is ALREADY being told every day that he is a boy. And being a boy means blue, green, and “BAM”.

Is it so difficult to raise my son as a human first, a man the second?

 

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Review: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Xerand Hand Repair Cream

As a professional cat sitter, one of the occupational drawbacks is – my hands are wracked.

Not only from the occasional cat scratch, but also from the constant hand washing after dealing with cat litter and cat food.

From this post, you learnt I am a big fan of certain products from La Roche-Posay. Today, I am going to introduce you to another magic product from this brand – Lipikar Xerand Hand Repair Cream.

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What do they say it does:

Daily care for dry, very dry and chapped hands. Helps to restore the protective hydrolipidic film, leaving skin feeling soft and supple. For increased comfort, it leaves a light, non-greasy film that penetrates immediately. Lipikar Xerand for Hands is water-resistant and helps to protect the epidermis against daily aggressions. It contains La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.

What I think it does:

As a cat sitter, I have tried MANY, I mean MANY, hand creams. And nothing compares to this one. It is creamy enough that it smooths my hands immediately, while at the same time not sticky. And trust me, the non-sticky part is very important considering I will usually be patting cat(s) right after putting on some hand cream. See what I mean? Stickiness and cat hair…not good.

Another advantage is, this cream do not ‘ball up’ if I reapply. In winter, when my hands are particularly bad, I apply more than one layer occasionally and it goes into the skin without the cream building up any thickness and feeling uncomfortable.

Whenever this cream runs low, I started to panic and must repurchase immediately.

In fact, I once ran out of this cream for 3 days, my hands were suffering so much I would make sure I will never be without this again.

I usually purchase this cream at Boots. It’s 5.89 Euro. But it was out of stock at Boots last time so I went to McCabe Pharmacy (I was in panic! I just told you I can’t be without this cream!!!) I went into McCabe and discovered it is a tiny bit cheaper at a grand total of 5 Euro. Some might find it a bit expensive for a hand cream while there are cheaper ones in the market. But a REAL non-sticky hand cream that actually works and not too fragrant-y? Trust me, it’s very difficult to find. And I HAVE looked.

INGREDIENT LIST:

AQUA / WATER
GLYCERIN
OCTYLDODECANOL
STEARIC ACID
PEG-100 STEARATE
GLYCERYL STEARATE
PALMITIC ACID
STEARETH-10
PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM / MINERAL OIL
DIMETHICONE
ALLANTOIN
TETRASODIUM EDTA
CITRIC ACID
XANTHAN GUM
CETYL ALCOHOL
MYRISTIC ACID
PHENOXYETHANOL
METHYLPARABEN
PROPYLPARABEN
SODIUM BENZOATE
PARFUM / FRAGRANCE

More information on the official website here.

Do you have a recommendation on a hand cream? I am really happy with Lipikar Xerand at the moment, but I am open to suggestion! As I said, I do watch my hands all day and a tube of good hand cream is absolutely crucial. If you have any suggestion below, please leave a comment below. Thank you. 

 

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What’s in my Filofax – Part 3

Continued from last post, we are going to look at the “Project” session of my Filofax today.

First up, you will see my “Waiting For” inserts. They are part of my GTD (Getting Things Done) time management system. If you haven’t heard of the GTD time management method, you really should check out on here.

I will do a separate review about what I think about GTD.

I have been obsessed with time management since I was pregnant as I was conscious that I will have to stop goofing around and well…Getting Things Done. Not only do I have to get things done but I have to do it in an efficient matter due to lack of time and energy once I had the baby.

Filofax tip No.12 – (tip No. 1 to 11 are on this post and this post) If you are not familiar with the GTD method, the “Waiting For” inserts are for items that we need to remember to ‘chase’ so to speak. Sometimes, a project can’t progress because you are waiting for another person to finish their part. So I made this insert to serve this purpose. I intentionally left some details on this picture so that you can see how I use this insert.

1. Waiting For

On this picture, you can see I entered an item on 3rd May for a baby chair I ordered. Not only I entered an item to remind me I was waiting for the chair to be delivered, I also entered the order number and the phone number of the shop. All the information I will need when I have to ‘chase’ the item. It might not sound significant to you, but the few minutes I saved from searching for the order number and the phone number of the shop is the few minutes I don’t have when I am holding a baby on my lap…

Filofax tip No. 13 – When you enter something in your Filofax, always think of what ‘additional information’ you might need when you need to take action for such entry. Reference number, phone number, contact person’s name, etc, are very handy to have. Of course you can dig around to find those information at the time, but you just wasted a few minutes that way.

On the right hand side of the picture, you can see another interesting item. Yes, I am renewing my British passport at the moment and it’s outstanding (and will probably be outstanding for a while because of this), so you see I put a highlighter strip on the entry. It helps the item to stand out among all the other items who have been crossed out after it has been done. I do colour-code the items here. Same colour coding system with the rest of the Filofax.

Purple – personal stuff
Black – work
Dark blue – husband
Light blue – baby
Green – household
Red – record
Pink – study
Light green – very rarely use because the colour is too light

You might also notice I use my ‘typewriter’ paperclip to mark the current page on the “Waiting For” insert for easy access.

There are a few ongoing ‘projects’ here after ‘Waiting For’ section.

Change of Address! It’s been a year we moved and there are STILL places where we have yet informed them the change of address. So I keep the list here until I am 100% sure our address is up to date with everyone. I will probably keep this list in the archives so that if I move again one day, I can just work the same list!

2. Change of Address

I am currently trying to get a packing list together for a particular trip. Whenever I think of an item I must bring for this trip, I put it on this list. Ideas can pop up at all time whenever and wherever I am, so it’s handy to have one centralised place to write them down. By the time I am going on the trip, I can just follow the list and pack accordingly.

3. Projects

On the right hand side, you will see the ‘real’ project pages where I keep track of all the on-going projects. I am using the GTD method by listing out a few steps of each projects. I find breaking down a project into smaller chunk/steps help me to virtualise better and avoid procrastination. A big project can feel very overwhelming at times. For example, ‘update website’. Gasp! But instead, if we put ‘make a wishlist of all the changes to the website’…suddenly feel manageable.

4. Someday Maybe

As you can see, I need to go to dentist and optician for regular check ups. (Note to self: Do not want to deal with that…)

Then you will see the lovely Someday/Maybe list, once again from the GTD method. It’s great to have a place to write down all the inspirations for things I might want to do someday. These are not on-going projects. If they are on-going, they go to the ‘Projects’ list.

5. Goals

Filofax tip No. 14 – Location specific ‘Someday’ items. Some of the stuff I need to do ‘someday’ are location specific. For example, I have no idea when I will go to Hong Kong next time so it’s not technically an ongoing project. But I want to keep track of what I need to do when I do go to Hong Kong next time, so when I think of something, I write them down here in a separate section of the ‘Someday/Maybe’ list.

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Then you have the ‘Goals’ list. For 2014, I have two main goals – spend time of my newborn baby and launch my blogs. And so far, I have achieved both of them! YEAH!

6. The end

Filofax tip No. 15 – you will notice I use washi tapes on the border of “Someday/Maybe” list and “Goal” list. It helps me to access to these pages quickly as it stands out among all the other papers when I flip through my Filofax.

And that concludes “What’s in my Filofax – Part 3”.

Next week, we will look at the “Information” section of my Filofax. It’s going to be a picture heavy post as I am an “information junkie”. I love information and useless knowledge, so I do keep quite a bit of useless stuff in my Filofax so that I can flip through them when I am on the bus.

Don’t forget to FOLLOW my blog so you won’t miss it when it goes up.

Are you a Filofax user? If you are, please leave a comment below to bring me to your blog! I would love to know how you use your Filofax too!

 

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Things about Ireland – “Your man/woman”

When I first got offered a job in Dublin, my original plan was to ‘see’ Ireland for 2-3 years. Obviously, we didn’t stick to the plan.

One thing led to another, I started my own business and found my calling to work with cats and cat people. After having a baby with an Irish passport, we now feel pretty ‘settled’ here.

After living here for 7 enjoyable years, it still never ceases to amaze me how much I have learned about this country, and yet there is so much more to learn. So I thought it might be an interesting idea to start a series here to talk about Ireland. I call it – ‘Things about Ireland’.


As a foreigner living in Ireland, it took a while for us to understand the kind of English we speak here.

First, there is the accent. But that can be resolved by hearing the language often and eventually getting used to it.

Then, you have the different use of word, slang, sentence structure and so on.

So today, we will talk about “your man/woman” issue.

Initially, when people said “your man” to me, I thought they meant my husband. I mean, literally MY MAN.

Eventually, I realise when an Irish person said “your man/woman”, it actually has nothing to do with YOU.

Accordingly to Slang.ie,

Your man/woman

n.
That man/woman.
“Your man’s a total wally.”

 

Have you lived in a foreign country? Have you any experience with funny cultural misunderstandings? Share in the comments below.