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Seriously Blogged Up

14 June 2013

My 4 year old and I went for a long cycle the other day.

We rode through parks and playgrounds, and eventually we stopped at the top of a little hill, looking down into a small pond. Our eyes widened.

We know this pond quite well. The edge is usually full of green water reeds, and it is teaming with ducks, water birds and insects.

Today however, the pond looked as if there was some major construction or dredging going on. The water was gross, brown and septic looking. It was dirty, muddy and messy.

“Whoa! What’s going on??” The both of us exclaimed.

Pond Blogged

Upon careful observation, it looked like the local gardeners had dug up a whole lot of dying water reeds and made piles of the rotten debris. It was not a pretty sight. Or smell.

I was going to turn around and explain my observations to my 4 year old, when he asked,

“Mum what happened to the pond? Why is it all blogged up like that? It looks seriously blogged. Yuck I hate all this blogging stuff. Hang on. Don’t you have a blog? Is this what you do?”

I stood there looking at the pond. At that exact scene in the photo above.

And number of thoughts ran through my head.

Yes. The word “BLOG” is not a very pretty word.

Yes. If you join the words “Blocked” and “Bog” you do get the word “Blogged”.

After 13 years of running my blog, I think my 4yo had possibly pinpointed the most natural-sounding meaning for the word.

I wanted to laugh and cry.

And I just said, “Yep, it looks seriously blogged.”

Nikon School for Fashion Photographers and Bloggers

9 September 2011

The good folks at My Nikon Life want to spread the word about some fashion photography courses coming up as part of the Perth Fashion Festival – both of which I’ll be a part of this year!

To find out more and to book classes, go to Nikon School at Perth Fashion Festival.

Nikon School at Perth Fashion FestivalFashion Photography MasterClass
With Nationally Acclaimed Fashion Photographer Christian Blanchard

Learn from one of the leaders amongst Australian fashion photographers. Named as one of Capture Magazine’s Top Ten Photographers, Perth native Christian Blanchard has quickly risen to the top in the fast paced and competitive world of fashion photography.

Gain experience and insight into what it takes to make a shoot magic through lighting, direction, creative narrative and post-production. A rare opportunity not to be missed!

Sunday 25 September, 2011
Tickets $349

Nikon School at Perth Fashion FestivalFashion Bloggers: Shooting the Look
Fashion Blog Photography and Street Portraiture, with Photographer Christian Blanchard

Think Sartorialist meets Subiaco! Not to be missed, this special workshop will see you photographing street style with live models, while gaining expert insights into portraiture and street fashion. A fun filled few hours that will bring your abilities to the next level.

Friday 23rd September, 2011 (Invitation Only)

Saturday 24 September, 2011
10am – 1pm
Tickets $119

Nikon School at Perth Fashion FestivalRocking the Runway
Lighting and Technique with Renowned Runway Photographer Stefan Gosatti

Learn how to shoot the runway, while capturing and composing brilliant images and fashion at its very best. Official Perth Fashion Festival Photographer Stefan Gosatti offers insight into the composition, lighting and etiquette it takes to successfully shoot the glamorous and high intensity world of Runway Fashion.

Participants will get the opportunity to practice their technique with an in-class runway, live model and guidance from one of Australia’s best.

Saturday 24 September, 2011
Tickets $149

How Glamorous, Not!- Being a Fashion Blogger

18 October 2010

I’ve had a few e-mails from readers regarding my post a couple of weeks ago about my trip to Sydney to attend the Stella McCartney for Target launch. The readers comments were all along the lines of “how lucky you are” and “how glamorous!”

Well…I won’t deny, it was very cool to attend the launch party, see some fabulous clothes, and have the opportunity to meet so many people in the fashion business.

But the actual event only took 3 hours, and I was away from home for over 48 hours.

So here is a fast summary of my other, very un-glamorous 45 hours.

Taxi to airport. Checked-in my baggage. Met up with another Perth fashion blogger going to the same event – Emma of Dropstitch. We spent 2 hours gossiping about fashion and blogging while waiting for the plane.

As we boarded the budget airliner for the 5 hour flight, I realised I was quite tired, so I tried to sleep. But I was also excited and impatient. If I had been sitting near the pilot of the plane, I would have been saying “Are we nearly there yet? Are we nearly there yet?”

I also realised that I was hungry, so I bought an economy meal from the economy airline.


Emma and I finally arrived in Sydney at 10pm, and we were delivered by taxi to our very, very, VERY nice 5 STAR hotel on Sydney Harbour. In fact, my room was so perfect I was scared to sit on the bed in case I ruined how well made it was. I was like – “Is this really for me?”

It was 12am and I was really hungry. Just order room service, right? After all, the hotel has a super-chef downstairs just waiting to cook us a la carte meals.


The FIVE STAR hotel was being paid for by Target, and the deal was that we had to pay for any FIVE STAR extras ourselves. The mini-bar had a “condoms and personal lubricant” kit that cost $18. If just two condoms can cost that much, I was sure that room service would cost at least $50.

So I rang Emma, and we went out and found an all night hot dog place.


We sat next to a service station on a busy road to eat them.

The hot dog was soooo yummy, and cost a lot less than two mini-bar condoms.


But I admit, it was not very glamorous.

Back to the hotel room, I was so tired that I crashed into bed.

I still couldn’t sleep, because I was probably over excited. All the noises were different, the smells were different, the bed was too bouncy and big, I felt lonely, I missed my husband, and I was worried that my children could be in danger. What will the event be like? Did I pack my toothpaste? I hope I didn’t forget to take my silver earrings!  And I kept waking up from my “sleep” thinking that I missed my plane.

The next day was just a blur, especially since I hadn’t slept properly.

I decided to have a morning bath, hoping to calm myself down. But again I couldn’t relax properly, because I wanted to make the most of the day.

I took another taxi and zoomed across town to have  lunch with a friend. I had only been to Sydney twice before, very briefly, and I was keen to check out a whole range of things. But there just wasn’t enough time.

This is what Sydney’s Botanic Gardens looks like from a fast moving taxi.

Apparently, it is simply beautiful in there (sigh). Oh well, maybe next time.

Took another taxi after lunch.  As I was standing outside my hotel, I realised that I actually had half an hour before I needed to get ready for the launch event. So I took a short walk along the harbour.

Even though I am from Perth, a city which has a massive, beautiful river running right through it, Sydney Harbour is also pretty spectacular. For a few moments, I felt calm and content, and I wanted to get a picture of myself with the harbour in the background. I set the camera up exactly like I wanted it. I asked a random person walking by, a European guy, to take the picture, and I explained that I wanted my whole body in the picture.

As he was framing me up, I noticed he reset the zoom completely. When he showed me the picture, I was just head and shoulders with some trees in the background, and I could have been anywhere on planet Earth that had trees. He offered to take the picture again, and I reset the zoom, and asked him to make sure that all of me was in the frame. So he immediately played with the zoom again, and I just knew he was going to get it wrong. And he did. So the third time, I carefully explained to him that he didn’t need to adjust the zoom, and I pointed to my shoes, and said that I wanted them in the frame as well.

He played with the zoom AGAIN, and took another picture. I thanked him, took my camera, and headed back to the hotel. Here is the picture.


He completely missed my shoes. Arghh! At least it looks like I’m in Sydney in this photo. My smile is completely fake. I was so irritated with the guy.

Back at the hotel – shower, make-up, get dressed.


I don’t usually like to use products provided by the hotel. Not to mention, you can never tell which item are not complimentary. Thus the sinktop was totally covered with all my girlie crap. I was not looking forward to packing it all up again later.

Since the location for the event was a WATERSIDE MANSION, I thought it would be super fun to catch a water taxi to the event, not to mention, give us the opportunity to take some awesome photos of the harbour at sunset! So I organised for all the other bloggers, who were also going to the event, to meet up at the hotel so we could catch a water taxi together!

I imagined that the water taxi would pull up to a set of steps leading down to the water, and that we would all simply step onto the boat like royal princesses.

But no. Five of us, all girls, had to STEP BACKWARDS down a step ladder, like in a swimming pool, to get to the boat. So down we went, one at a time, very, very carefully. Thankfully, I was wearing full-soled platforms, but most of the other fashion bloggers were wearing high heels. Oh how glamorous!


Notice in the background, a handbag, which we had to hand down to the driver, which he placed precariously on the very edge of the bobbing boat, ready to spill all the camera gear into the harbour!

The party was fun, and fabulous and glamorous, and the clothes were great. I met celebrities, and chatted to heaps of people. All good. The party ended.

But rather than limousines to whisk us away from the mansion, we had to queue for normal taxis that seemed to take forever to arrive on a cool Friday night. Not so glamorous! My feet were killing me!

My deal with Target was that I could say whatever I liked about the event and the clothes, but I had to agree to submit whatever I wrote by midday the next day!

Since I was flying back to Perth early the next morning, I had to write up my story immediately after the event.

So while all the models and other beautiful people were off at the inevitable fashion after-event party having wild sex and snorting cocaine with rock stars, I was headed back to my hotel room.

(NOTE: I have never actually been to a fashion after party. In fact, I’ve never met anyone who has ever claimed to be at one of these legendary parties. And I have no evidence that they even happen. But I am absolutely sure that’s what they are all doing, after every fashion event. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, right?!)

As soon as I got back to my room, I called my husband in Perth. I wanted to gush about the event, but he just wanted to know where I kept the spare nappies and how to get poo stains out of the couch covers.

It was like hitting a brick wall of reality for me, and I was suddenly very, very tired.

But I still had to write up the story.


So this was me, exhausted, alone, in a huge, luxury bed with four different kinds of pillows and silk sheets, trying to do my homework.

But then I realised I was not completely alone.

I head the noise of two voices coming through the wall behind me, from the room next door. After a few minutes, the noise changed, and it quickly becomes obvious that the room next door was the honeymoon suite, and a just-married couple were making good use of their $18 condom kit.

The man must have been an athlete, because he had a LOT of stamina, and the woman was probably an actress, because she was very, very expressive – with no vocal inhibitions. It went on for a LOOOOOOOONG time, and there was a lot of sounds of furniture thumping against the walls, and it ALL MADE IT VERY HARD FOR ME TO CONCENTRATE on finishing my homework.

It was totally like a scene in a comedy movie. I was sitting there, with the noise and thumping going on, and I’m rolling my eyes going, FOR GOODNESS SAKE JUST FINISH ALREADY!!!

Oh, the glamour!!

And again I hardly slept, because I was so scared of oversleeping and missing my morning flight home.

As I checkout out the next morning, the hotel handed me a bill.


They had got me with the phone call I made to my husband. I slapped my head with my hand as I realised I had used the hotel’s landline rather than my mobile phone. ARGH!!

Taxi to the airport. Check-in. Expensive and not very nice airport breakfast.

I was so looking forward to sleep on the economy flight home.

But, I found that I was on the same flight as the Australian Youth Choir, who were doing free recitals for the whole plane. They were heavenly, their combined voices transcending the merely human – but I didn’t give a damn, I just wanted to sleep.


This finally finished, and as they went back to their seats, I realised their seats were dotted all around me, and when these kids were not singing like angels, they were just a bunch of bratty, snotty nosed teenagers, talking, gossiping, jumping, laughing, and kicking the back of my seat.

Did I mention there were a few crying babies on the same flight? I love babies, and I always feel bad for parents when their babies cry during a flight. So I shall refrain from complaining. But it was awful!

So I couldn’t sleep, and I reluctantly decided to buy a $9 movie to watch. It was “Eclipse” from the Twilight series. I had resolved never, ever to watch any of this trashy romance rubbish, but I was emotionally vulnerable and weak willed.


Now, I’m hooked. I want to see all the movies, read all the novels, become facebook friends with Robert Pattinson, and change all my background wallpapers to that warewolf guy.

And when I got home (in yet another taxi), I discovered that my husband and three children were still wearing exactly the same clothes as they had been when I left home two nights before!

(But I slept like a baby that night. As Dorothy said – There’s no place like home).

Sportsgirl Fashion Blogger Challenge: 1 Dress, 2 Outfits

6 August 2010

Sportsgirl Fashion Blogger Challenge

A few weeks ago, the online team at Sportsgirl asked me whether I’d like to be featured on their blog and participate in a fashion challenge – I said sure!!

They sent over a dress and when I opened the package, I went – ARGH I HATE FLORAL!

My results were published on their Sportsgirl Blog, along with outfits from two other Australian fashion bloggers. Check it out!

Basically I was trying to play down the DELICATE, FEMININE FLORAL print, by mixing the dress with “tough chick” items, and then “boyfriend style” items.

First Outfit
Dress: Candice Tunic Dress from Sportsgirl
Jacket: Tuxedo Style Blazer from Cue
Shoes: Over the Knee Boots from Betts
Belt: Leather Studded Belt from Warehouse London

Second Outfit (worn as a top)
Top: Candice Tunic Dress from Sportsgirl
Jacket: Rayon Twill Blazer from AL&ALICIA
Shorts: Boy Washed Shorts from AL&ALICIA
Shoes: Suede Heeled Lace Ups from Betts

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.

Ten Years Of Blogging

13 October 2009

Ten years ago, in 1999, I published the first ever version of my website. Since I receive so many emails from people asking me how I got started, what software I use, and if I make any money, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on a decade of blogging!

Please be warned, this is quite a long post, because it is covering a whole decade!

My first ever glimpse of the impending Internet world was at high school in 1995. I studied a subject called “Applied Computing”. My teacher told me about “e-mail” and how you can send messages from one computer to another – I thought she was kidding! I had no idea that computers – in different locations – could be connected to each other.

It is a good example of how amazingly fast the Internet developed that only four years later, I published my own website.

Although I was addicted to IRC chat and message boards while studying design and advertising at university, it was not until 1999, that I taught myself how to make a website, in order to show off my portfolio of work.

I was 21. I was single, irresponsible, a spoilt rich kid, emotionally insecure, in and out of relationships, a creative but naïve young woman, working in the crazy rat race of advertising – and I was trying to find happiness.

I became absolutely OBSESSED with the Internet and all things related to personal websites.

I would spend literally 20 hours a day online, sleeping at 4am, and then waking at 8am to check my email, before breakfast! Personal websites were like an underground community – running rampant with page counters, guestbooks, comment boxes, link-backs, webrings, countless internet awards, and small and large online groups.

I was astounded that I could get to know people living in the US, UK, Europe and Asia – people who had the same interests as I did, living similar lives, but all over the world. It was all very, very exciting. I loved the fact that I could communicate directly with my readers. And for it to happen in real time, was pretty amazing. In the early days, I had a hit counter on my site. I was thrilled when 100 people visited my site in a day!


My site in 1999, was essentially an online portfolio, with lots of extra information about me. I had lots of different sections for my resume, photos, contacts, my likes and dislikes. The most popular section was my “Soapbox”. It was like a daily news section, where I updated every day and I ran it like an e-zine.

Becoming Popular
Things started to take off when my website began to get featured in some newspapers, and I won some web awards. From there, it spread by word of mouth – and word of internet. People online and offline were telling their friends about my site. My readership grew and grew, which was completely unexpected to me.

I think one of the main reasons my blog developed a strong following is because I am a designer. I wanted to create a unique experience for my readers. I was very interested in visual communication and interface design. I was meticulous with its presentation and style. I loved experimenting with my visual layout (eg. 3 columns vs 2 columns vs 1) and I always analysed how (and why) others were doing it, and set out to do things differently.

I hand-coded my whole site. I created all my graphics and images myself. I took photos, sent them to be developed (yes, it was all on film back then!), scanned them in (so slow!), and photo edited them.

I also really enjoyed writing in a “personal voice” – seeing how voice and identity could be crafted with words and pictures, and how it affected the overall feel of the site. My focus was always to tell a great story, or share a feeling, or a moment, in a way that left readers feeling refreshed.

The effect of all of this is that my blog has unique content, and that content is presented in a distinctive way, making for an experience that cannot be found anywhere else.


This is what I see in the WordPress software I use to manage my blog: 1,313 post…and that’s just since 2003!

How Blogging has Changed in Ten Years
The Internet is HUGE now. Back in 1999, it was small, but growing rapidly. And there was no spam or advertising on it. The Internet was like a cool café then, with a nice atmosphere, where you might bump into friends. Now, the Internet and blogs are part of the “social-media” phenomenon where everyone is connected to everyone else and everything by so many different software and devices that it feels like everyone in the whole world is shouting out at the same time. And advertising is EVERYWHERE!

The Internet is FAST now. Back in 1999, most of my posts didn’t have a picture at all, and if they did, the picture was the size of what is now called a “thumbnail” image. Remember, this was in the days of “dial-up” modems that made that awful “screeeeech-boing-boing-boing” noise. Your service provider cut the connection if you weren’t actively surfing, so you had to re-connect if you stopped to read something long and interesting. Sometimes, your service provider would cut you off in the middle of a big file upload, to remind you that bandwidth was PRECIOUS. So people were very careful about what they uploaded, and what they clicked on.

Digital cameras, combined with faster bandwidth, have made high quality photos an important part of the internet, and my blog too, because digital is so easy and cheap compared to film. As a result, I have had to improve the standard of my photography a lot over the years, a challenge I really enjoy. But I still choose images very, very carefully. One good image is worth a thousand words, but fifty well chosen words is much better than any bad picture.

I’ve used the very popular “Wordpress” software to manage my blog since 2007. Before that, I hand-coded every post in HTML.

I do all my photo editing with Photoshop. I customize my blog interface by coding my own CSS templates. I store all my images on Flickr, so I don’t have to pay for serving out all the images. And I am still using the same computer I bought in 2002 (with the money I was supposed to use to buy my engagement ring).

Upside of Being a 10 Year old Blogger
One of the best things about having been online for so long, is feeling like I’m talking to a huge bunch of girlfriends, and I love it. I know that I have quite a few male readers, but they never email me. Come on guys, don’t be shy!

Almost everyday I get email from people who thank me for the words and pictures I share, and say they are inspired by my attitude and outlook on life. This is really, really rewarding. It keeps me going. I take all these things to heart, and I find them both fulfilling, and humbling.

Because of my large readership, I can draw attention to issues I believe are important.

I also get asked to support or endorse various entities or products. People offer to fly me to places to do stuff that would undoubtedly be a very cool experience. But I have an even more important job – I am mother to three little children…so I almost never go. Maybe one day!

Downside of being a 10 year blogger
The biggest downside of having such a large readership is being unable to reply to all the email that comes in. Everyday my inbox is filled up, and everyday, I’m really saddened that I can’t speak to each person individually.

After 10 years of having my email address on the internet, it is now on a huge number of spamming lists. Everyday, I delete literally dozens of emails offering me the opportunity to have my sex organs enlarged, to buy insanely cheap drugs or watches, to get rich by helping Nigerian royalty move their money to a safe place, and to marry lonely Russian super-babes with exotic names. It is so bad I am considering changing my e-mail address. But I like being “karen” at “”, so I stick with it, even though the word “delete” is getting worn off the “delete” key on my keyboard.

In the last couple of years, marketing people have decided that the best way to get something for nothing is to offer free stuff to bloggers. Thus, I get endless offers to try out mind-control medication on my children, weirdly flavoured mineral water, cosmetics that will take 15 years off my age, etc, etc. At first, I thought all these friendly emails from marketing people meant that they really loved me, and they promised to only send me stuff that was relevant to me, but now they send me anything they are trying to promote. Argh!

The strangest thing to happen to me because of blogging is being a (very minor) celebrity. I still haven’t gotten used to being spotted in the streets or at the shops. But I am slowly getting better at talking to complete strangers, who walk up to me and say: “Oh my God! You’re Karen Cheng!!” Since I am actually quite shy with people I don’t know, these moments are often awkward for me, especially when I am holding a baby with a pooey nappy, a tin of mixed beans and a cauliflower, and I am dressed in an old tracksuit.

The Next Ten Years?
In late 1999, I was living the high-life in the peak of the dot-com boom. Then, in rapid succession, I fell in love, travelled a lot, got made redundant in the dot-com crash, got married, and then had my first son.

My life was a dream till my husband had cancer. It was a year of doubt, fear, surgery, chemotherapy, more surgery, and praying. We were very, very lucky that he was successfully treated. While all that was happening, I had my second son. I was 26 by then. Life seemed so much more precious, and my blog has become even more of a celebration of the everyday moments of life.

So, after ten years, and thousands of readers everyday, what am I going to do?

I have invested 10 years of my life into blogging. I don’t know if most of my readers will ever realise how much of my day-to-day life it takes up. It takes a real discipline to post five times a week, each one with original content, and this continues to be a challenge for me, and doubly so with three kids.

Things have come to a point where I was investing so much into my site, that I had to decide on it’s future, and my future. I had to decide to give it up to pursue a more regular career, or try to make an income from blogging.

So I am now what bloggers call a “Pro-Blogger”, which means that I am trying to make an income from my blog. My mission is to show my readers things that they might actually be interested in, without bothering them with advertising spam. I want to keep my blog as a really nice place to come to. I’m still working out how to do this, and I regard it as a long-term project. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Something that will always stay the same for me is that I will keep blogging about the things that I love and that inspire me. Beautiful things, and important things. I have became very interested in increasing cancer awareness and research (a very important topic), and fashion (also a very important topic, but in a different way).

So I’m looking forward to the adventure of the next ten years!

Perth Bloggers Meet Up – January 2009

23 January 2009

Perth Bloggers Meet Up - Jan 2009

The other night we attended a Perth Bloggers Meet Up. It was really nice to see heaps of news and old faces.

I had an excellent time meeting different people from all walks of life! There was a really nice vibe in the air and I had some great conversations. It was a good night!

Perth Bloggers Meet Up - Jan 2009

I also met David and Ming, from Nuffnang, who kindly sponsored the event.

If you’re interested in attending future meetups in Perth, feel free to join the Perth Bloggers Meetup Facebook Group!

Nuffnang Bloggers Meetup – Perth

14 January 2009

For those of you who are bloggers in Perth…

On Wednesday night, 21 January 2009, NuffNang Australia are putting on drinks and nibbles at The Brass Monkey Wine Bar.

Nuffnang is Asia Pacific’s first (and possibly largest) blog advertising network and community. They have 80,000 bloggers under their wing from Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines – they have recently launched here in Australia. Nuffnang Australia are keen to let Aussie bloggers know about them and spread the word.

Me, Davienne and Ming (from Nuffnang)

Nuffnang also prides itself for nurturing a strong, local blogging community – spoiling their members with competitions, prizes, giveaways, movie tickets, and seasonal events. I especially like that they are charity minded too – donating advertising space to charities for free.

During my trip to Singapore in July, I met two of the Nuffnang crew, Ming (pictured right), co-founder of Nuffnang, and the lovely Davienne (pictured middle). Ming is coming to Perth just to attend this meetup, as is David, the Sydney based Nuffnang Australia Manager.

The agenda for the meetup is just a quick welcome and introduction by Nuffnang, and then everyone can indulge in some free drinks, food and friendly chat.

So if you’ve never been to a bloggers meetup, or have always thought about attending one… you should definitely not miss this one! Please pass the word around the blogging community.

I hope to see some of you there!

Event: Perth Bloggers Meetup sponsored by Nuffnang

Date: Wednesday, 21st January 2009

Time: 6pm

Venue: The Wine Room (The Brass Monkey) at the rear of the Grapeskin Wine Bar, Corner of James and William Street Northbridge.

Theme: Nuffnang New Years Welcome

Food platters and a drinks tab provided.

No RSVP necessary.

Meet Lifestyle Blogger: Joyce Wong

12 August 2008

Joyce Wong from Kinky Blue Fairy

Years ago I stumbled across a blog who linked to me, Kinky Blue Fairy. I found Joyce Wong, a hot, pixie-faced chick, with attitude, who seemed to party non-stop!

Over the years of popping in and out of her site, I’ve found myself quite entertained and deeply fascinated – for me it’s seeing how the other side lives. Ah, so that’s what real party girls get up to! What a jam packed life! She has so much energy! And I love her outfits!

Tongue in Chic Fashion BlogJoyce’s pet project is Tongue in Chic, a very cool fashion blog based in Malaysia (such a great name!). It’s definitely a regular stop for me when keeping in touch with fashion in the Asia region.

I just love the range of stuff that she and her team covers. Everything from fashion shows, fashion events, bargain hunting, latest trends, sales, designers, fashion ideas, fashion scouting in Hong Kong, Bangkok, China and more.

Tongue in Chic are launching the new version of their site on the 20th August 2008, complete with a rocking launch party! Wish I was there!

I also asked Joyce if she was interested in “Doing The Karen Cheng”, she laughed and said SURE!

So you can see her pics on her Kinky Blue Fairy site, and on the Doing The Karen Cheng Facebook Group. Enjoy!

Talking About Blogging

16 May 2008

This morning a Channel 10 film crew and reporter arrived at my house.

They were covering a story on blogging, and they were here to interview me and feature my blog.

A film crew! In my house! For an interview! Eeeeek! How exciting! You should have seen my lounge room, it was spotless. I had fresh flowers and throw rugs. There was not a crumb to be seen.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so FLUTTERY AND FLOATY IN MY STOMACH.

The crew was absolutely lovely. It was actually quite fun. I think I did ok.

I know this sounds a bit silly, but I really felt so honoured to be talking about blogging, being a blogger, mummy blogs, and why I love blogging. I’m so excited to see what this feature does for bloggers in Australia.

Blogger Meetup and Updates

12 March 2008

Perth Bloggers Meetup March 2008

I had a really nice time at the Perth Bloggers Meetup! I met, talked and hung out with some lovely people, chatted to old net friends, took photos, drank a bit, and received gifts (thanks girls!). More photos here.

I also managed to get some online bits and pieces up and running again. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep them updated now!

> My Wishlist (Amazon)
A few very sweet people were asking for my wishlist. So I’ve finally updated it and made a separate list for the kids!

> My Twitter
Interested to know what a SAHM does all day? Ha ha maybe not? Well you can now follow me on Twitter. And you have to check out the tiling grass.gif I made 9 years ago. It’s SO 1999!

Me elsewhere:

> Facebook

> My Flickr

> Stumble Upon

> Technorati

Perth Bloggers Meetup – March

5 March 2008

I made a promise to the lovely Simone of EnjoyPerth!, that I’ll be joining her and a bunch of other people (that I know by name and profile avatar) for the Perth Bloggers Meetup.

It’ll be my first time at a blogger meetup!

I mentioned that I’d write about it on my site, but I forgot to mention that I don’t actually KNOW how many people in Perth read my site.

I know three. My husband, my mother and my Aunty Flo. And I’m not sure if they can make it. They’d bring chicken curry for everyone, I’m sure of it.

So please come! Would love to see you there!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008.


Upstairs at The Brass Monkey
Corner of James and William Street, Northbridge

Perth Bloggers I want to meet : Cellobella, TFP, Kitta, Mooiness, Rodney, Krissy, Bronwen, Duncan, Priscilla, Nat. (Ok I’ve met some of you before, but it’d be good to catch up!)

Blog Loving – MetroDad

29 January 2008

As part of my regular posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

MetroDad PicIn the blogging universe of Mummy Bloggers, Metrodad is my shining star. He’s my all time favourite Daddy Blogger.

Metrodad is written by Pierre Kim, Asian-American, ethnically Korean with a French name, fashion executive living in New York, with his wife and 3 year old daughter.

My goodness, he’s so funny. I love his snappy ramblings about his daughter and fatherhood. His writing is refreshing, wickedly funny, yet oozes with warmth and love. It’s all good.

My favourite posts (just so happens all of them are parenting posts):

The Lazy List of Fives

The Eight Types of Playground Parents

An Open Letter to All Toddlers

Tales of Future Past

5-1, I guess she really is my daughter

I managed to ask Pierre some friendly questions.


Karen: When you’re having a really bad day, what are some of the things that will definitely cheer you up?

Pierre: Hugs from my daughter, kisses from my wife, a plate of homemade gnocchi from my favorite local Italian restaurant, and a nice old-school bottle of Montepulciano table wine.

Karen: What kind of father was your father? How much are you like him now?

Pierre: My father was a traditionally strict immigrant father who was raised in an absolutely horrible home environment. He was mentally and physically abused by his parents until he ran away as a teenager. Like many other Korean men of his generation, he was very shut off from his emotions. Hence, his idea of playing a role in my life generally consisted of being a provider and a disciplinarian. We did not have a very close relationship when I was growing up. Now, as we’ve both gotten older and mellower, we’ve learned to coexist peacefully for the sake of the family.

Suffice it to say, we are not very much alike. However, because of his hard work and sacrifices, I was afforded luxuries in life that have allowed me to become the person that I am today. For that, I am forever grateful.

Karen: What inspires you?

Pierre: Travel. Seeing as much of the world around me while I’m still here on this planet. I’ve been to 56 countries during my lifetime and I hope to visit many more. For me personally, there’s nothing more inspiring than exploring a strange city by yourself and meeting people who are never quite as different from yourself as you might presume.

Karen: What’s your favourite way to spend time with your daughter?

Pierre: Without a doubt, going out to eat with her. Food is a great passion of mine and I’m constantly tasting the amazing diversity of incredible food that can be found in a city like New York. Sharing this passion with my daughter is incredible. When my wife works late, my daughter and I will go out to dinner together and these have always been some of my favorite father-daughter memories. Not only does she love having Daddy all to herself but she’s also loves going to new restaurants. Blessedly, she’s an adventurous eater. She’s the only 3-year-old I know who has eaten everything from foie gras to raw sea urchin to clams casino.

Karen: What are 5 things you are working on right now?

Pierre: Becoming a better husband, father, and son.
Getting more involved in volunteer work.
Learning how to cook.
A television show.
Quitting smoking.

Karen: I can’t believe you buy clothes for your wife! And she likes it! What is the one thing that you bought for her, that backfired on you?

Pierre: My overall track record of buying clothes for my wife is pretty good. However, I apparently lack the gene that gives one the ability to choose handbags. For her past birthday, I spent over a month researching Vogue magazines and scouring all the handbag sites. I was absolutely 100% convinced that she would love the bag I selected for her. Totally backfired. She hated it. Thank god for generous return policies.

Now, I’m in full training mode. My wife will show me a handbag and ask me whether she’d like it or not and I have to answer right away. It’s futile. I’m a lost cause. What is it with you women and your handbags?

Nominations for The Bloggies 2008

2 January 2008

Nomination for The 8th Annual Blog Awards are on!

Every year I wonder how I should approach the “blog awards season”. Sure, they are always such a great way to discover new blogs, support my favourite blogs, and visit blogs that have dropped off my list during the year. But in terms of being nominated and voted for, I’ve learnt that it pays to beg shamefully and promise lots of love and eternal sunshine.

This is just nomination stage, so it’s really exciting to be one of the finalists. So please please nominate me! Thank you thank you thank you!

Go to the awards site and fill in the URLs!

You don’t have to register, but you do need to give your email (at the end) to validate the nomination.

You also have to make sure that at least three different blogs in total must be nominated throughout your whole nomination form.

And you have to nominate by Friday, January 11 2008. Quick quick!

So can fit into these categories :

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
Best Asian Weblog
Best Writing of a Weblog
Best-Designed Weblog
Weblog of the Year

These are my nominates (I’ve left out some categories, because I don’t know of any blogs in that category or I just can’t decide right now! Will update later!) :

Best Web Application for Weblogs
Wordpress –

Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
Karen Cheng –

Best Asian Weblog
Karen Cheng –

Best African Weblog
Tertia –

Best Photography of a Weblog
The Pioneer Woman –

Best Food Weblog
The Food Pornographer –

Best Topical Weblog
Tree Hugger –

Best Entertainment Weblog
The Superficial –

Best Writing of a Weblog
Karen Cheng –

Best Community Weblog
Postsecret –

Best-Designed Weblog
Karen Cheng –

Weblog of the Year
Karen Cheng –

Blog Loving – Chookoolonks

17 December 2007


As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

I was first introduced to Karen Walrond several years ago, when she was a writer for I clicked over to her personal site, Chookooloonks, and I fell in love with her daily pictures, words, and most of all her love for her daughter.

Not only is she stunning and a beautiful person, her daily writing is refreshing and she captures such a lyrical richness of her life through her photography.

Her site Chookooloonks (a Trinidadian term of endearment) is now a photography blog, but she used to write at her old site about parenting, motherhood, adoption, being a writer and being a pro blogger.

I managed to grab some of her time and ask her a few questions :


Me: Tell us a bit about yourself.

KW: In a nutshell, I’m a Trinidadian, wife to a Brit, mother to an American, lawyer, photographer, 40-year-old analytical extrovert with the soul of an struggling artist. More or less. I also make a mean rum punch.

Me: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

KW: There were several professions I was pretty intent on becoming when I was a kid. My mother tells me that when I was five, my earliest aspirations were to marry the garbage man (I’m told he was very nice to me). I then wanted to be a geologist, an archeologist, a paleontologist (I call that my “gist” period). Then I wanted to be a linguist. Then an architect. My father convinced me that my talent was in mathematics (it really wasn’t), and so I instead became an engineer. Then a lawyer.

I may do something else, yet. For the record, I never did marry the garbage man.

Me: When you’re having a really bad day, what are some things that will most certainly cheer you up?

KW: My three-year-old daughter, Alex, has an amazing sense of humour for her age, and is sensitive enough to know just what to say to get me to laugh. I have a kind husband who calms me down in a heartbeat. And of course, there’s always my camera, if I need to just get away and focus (hah!) on something else.

Me: You’re from Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve never been there before, can you describe it in a sentence?

KW: The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is a country of great beauty, friendship, warmth, tropical Caribbean beaches, fabulous food, and incredible music. And I miss it terribly.

Me: A good and bad thing about living in Texas?

KW: A good thing: Texas, and in particular, Houston, is a very easy place to live. It’s really inexpensive, the people are quite friendly, the availability of culture — ballet, symphony, theatre, sports of all kinds — is impressive, and Houston’s variety of truly first class restaurants is its best kept secret.

A bad thing: Texas is a relatively conservative state, and for a multiracial, liberal family like ours, living here can sometimes be challenging.

Me: How did your love for photography begin?

KW: Well, many years (and many pounds!) ago, I used to model. I loved the magic that the photographers could make with their cameras, and I befriended one particular fashion photographer who gave me advice on buying my first camera, and helped me get started. I love shooting pretty much everything, but my first love, largely because of this photographer, is portraiture.

Me: What’s your favourite way to spend time with your daughter?

KW: Alex is actually a pretty great model, so we have a great time playing around with my camera. Lately, we’ve also taken to having chats at coffeehouses (I have cappuccino, she has very weak, milky, sweet tea), and we “discuss what’s going on in our lives.” I tell people that “language” is her superpower, because she’s always had a real facility with communication — so hanging out and talking with her is my absolute favourite thing to do.

Vote for Chookooloonks

Karen’s site has also been nominated for “Best Photography Blog” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Go vote for her!

Blog Loving – So Close

10 December 2007

So Close, by Tertia Albertyn

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

Tertia Albertyn writes at So Close – a website that charts her life after infertility, with twins!

She battled through 4 years of infertility and went through nine IVFs. In Jan 2004, her son Ben was born prematurely at 26 weeks, and passed away 10 days later. In Jan 2005, she gave birth to twins, Adam and Kate, who are now almost 3 years old.

She writes about her daily adventures as mother, wife, author, blogger – her writing makes me choke with laughter, her everyday activities make me chuckle with recognition, and her infertility story breaks my heart and makes every molecule in me weep bitterly.

It’s a shattering and devastating journey, yet hilarious, wonderful, mischievous, and full of everyday joy.

As I pour through her site, my god, the way she tackles the issues and realities of her life, the way she bares her soul to the world… makes me pale with respect and awe. I truly am inspired.

Tertia has written a book about her journey, entitled So Close : Infertile and addicted to hope. It’s coming out on Amazon in April 2008. But I’ve found her book on Fishpond and Amazon UK, where you can place a pre-order.

I managed to grab some of her time and ask her a few questions :


Karen: On your blog, you write about your “life after infertility”. Sharing such an incredible, powerful, moving story with the world must have some blessings/rewards! What is the best thing that has ever happened because of your blog?

Tertia: Wow, so many good things. I guess the obvious best thing was getting a book deal out of it. A South African publisher read my blog and decided they liked the way I wrote and felt that I had a compelling story to tell, and offered me a book deal. I use the phrase ‘book deal’ in its figurative sense because in South Africa you do not write a book for money, you write it for love. There is NO money in writing a book in this country. But that’s ok, I wanted to share my story.

The real ‘best thing’ about my blog is the amazing connections I have made with people from all over the world. I thrive on it; it inspires me, motivates me, grounds me, connects me, teaches me, humbles me. Having a blog is like a 24 hour on call best friend, nurse, doctor, shrink, shoulder to cry on and friend to rant to. I have ‘met’ the most amazing people. After my babies were born, I got gifts from all over the world, the USA, Europe, Japan, Israel, New Zealand… it was amazing.

Karen: When you’re having a crap day, what are the things most likely to crack a smile on your face?

Tertia: The crazy things my kids say. They come up with the funniest things. Three is a damn cute age. They are naughty little shits, but they are damn cute too. I think I will keep them.

Karen: I know almost nothing about South Africa, except that you’ve got hot rugby players. Please summarise South Africa in one sentence!

Tertia: We also have hot bloggers.
South Africa is a country is country of intense contrasts, so much opportunity alongside so much poverty, so much optimism alongside so much fear (crime), so new yet so old, so first world, yet so ‘third world’, so sophisticated yet so rural. Black and white. Old and young. Rich valleys, lush forests, dry plains. Such contrasts. A painful past, a hopeful future.

Oh, you wanted just a sentence. So difficult. I am so passionate about my country. South Africa is a land of hope and opportunity.

Karen: What is the best and worst thing about being living in South Africa?

Tertia: The best thing – being in Africa. The rich earth, the space, the weather. This is a beautiful country.

The worst thing – without doubt, the crime. We have a terrible problem with crime here. Just about the worst in the world.

Karen: Do you speak any other languages than English?

Tertia: When I grew up in the apartheid years, we were forced to do Afrikaans at school. So I speak English and Afrikaans (which is very similar to Dutch / Flemish)

Karen: I haven’t read your book “So Close : Infertile and addicted to hope” yet, but I loved reading your thoughts on it. What made you decide to write a book and share your story?

Tertia: As I mentioned above, a publisher approached me with an offer. Everyone had been telling me for years to write a book, but I could only write it when I had my ‘happily ever after’. I started writing the book when my twins were a few months old. It was only once I had my final chapter that I could start the book.

The really exciting news is that the book should be released in the UK next April. Which means it will EVENTUALLY be on Amazon.

Vote for So Close

Tertia’s site has also been nominated for “Best Parenting Blog” and “Hottest Mommy Blogger” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Vote for her! She needs some love!

(I’m also nominated for Best Parenting Blog, Best Design Blog, Best Blog of All Time, and Hottest Mommy Blogger – but you can vote for more than one person in each category!)

Blog Loving – The Food Pornographer

26 November 2007

The Food Pornographer

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

Although I don’t blog exclusively about food, I am most certainly a foodie at heart. I LOVE MY FOOD, and I just LOVE food blogs. So, I’d like you to meet The Food Pornographer.

If you’re looking for super-stylised, magazine-perfect, unblemished photography – you won’t find it here. This site is about REAL FOOD. Real food sitting on a plate, steaming and glistening, dripping with oil and sauces. Real food that you can actually buy, or cook.

As I scroll through her photographs, every olfactory gland in my body erupts with a craving desire. My eyes swell as large as my stomach. I can SMELL that plate of hot fried noodles. I can TASTE that steak burger.

Things I love about this blog

I love the name of the blog. It’s hilarious. And as you look through her photos, there’s that extra dimension that adds originality, humour and a tongue-in-cheek wit that you don’t find in most food blogs.

I love her spontaneous photography – all pictures are taken with a completely ordinary camera. No special lenses or fancy lights.

I love her quirky everyday stories – with everything pretty much centred on FOOD!

I love her honesty. She tells it like it is. If the meal was awful, she’ll say so and explain why. Likewise, if it’s great, she’ll rave about it, and your mouth will water.

So here are a few questions that I’ve been dying to ask her!


Karen: You obviously take a lot of pictures of your food while you are eating out. Does anyone ever ask you what you are doing? Do they think you are a government health inspector? Or a spy from another restaurant? What do you usually tell them?

TFP: Funnily enough, no one’s ever asked me! I do get strange looks from customers at adjacent tables. Occasionally I get laughed at by people who notice what I’m doing. But as long as they’re not getting in the way of my shots, I can put up with it.

I do my thing, then put the camera away and eat my food. I try not to take photos when I know staff are watching though, just in case they get paranoid for whatever reason and tell me to stop.

As long as no one prevents me from taking photos, I don’t really care what they think. If anyone were to ask me what I was doing though, I would tell them I have a food blog (as I do when people at parties ask).

Karen: What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

TFP: I bought a Filet O Fish from a McDonalds recently – the fish was all shrivelled up and BROWN – it smelled absolutely revolting.

Karen: The beautiful way you write about your food reveals you are a woman of deep passions. Do you make noises – when you eat?

TFP: I think I eat very quietly. But I do tend to eat too quickly and burn my tongue on hot food.

Karen: Do you get to eat for free because you do reviews?

TFP: I was given a freebie meal once by a restaurant, but then I felt like I couldn’t write freely about what I thought of the meal. I didn’t like that feeling of being ethically compromised – feeling obliged to only write good things.

I’d love to be paid to write my reviews, but so far that hasn’t happened. I just write for my own pleasure and the pleasure of my readers – for free!

Karen: At your funeral, what meal will be served to the guests?

TFP: Hmmm. Hard to decide if it would be Western or Asian food. It would be cool to have guests eat some of my favourite dishes from childhood – lotus root soup, pongteh, minchee, Malaysian-style chicken curry and rice pork chok with all the trimmings.

But then a barbecue would be great too. A very meaty barbie, with sausages, lamp chops, pork chops, marinated chicken thighs, barbecued onions and garlic field mushrooms. Mmmmm.

Vote for The Food Pornographer!

The Food Pornographer has been nominated for “Best Food Blog” and “Best Photography Blog” in the 2008 round of the Bloggers Choice Awards (where I’ve also been nominated in four categories).

If you’d like to vote for The Food Pornographer, or me, or just surf some amazing blogs in a wide range of categories, then:

1) Go to
NOTE: If you have already voted for me you won’t need to create a new user account – just skip to step 3.

2) Create an account – you do have to fill in everything, except the “choose a picture”, and you do have to give a real e-mail address. A message will appear telling you to check your e-mail for a confirmation message. Mine arrived in less than thirty seconds, and you click on the link in the message.

3) On the right hand side of the screen is a “search” box. Type in the word “FoodPornographer” or “KarenCheng” (all one word).

4) Click on the drop down menu called “Choose a Category to View this Blog” and you will see a list of all the different categories we’ve have been nominated for. Choose any one of the four nominations.

5) It will load up a little profile of the website, and there will be a yellow “vote” button. Hit the vote button! It will turn to a set of question marks, and then you can just quickly click on the other categories as well.

Next week – more blog loving!

Out and about the blogosphere

19 April 2007

Since everyone’s talking about it…

I’ve been quite fascinated by the recent Top 100 Australian Blogs Index. An index calculated by a site’s Alexa Australia rank, Alexa Global rank and Technorati rank. Turns out I’m ranked at 14! How cool!!

What’s more interesting is uncovering some awesome Australian blogs!

Next is the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Very different to other awards – in that the votes are calculated in real time, all nominations are listed, and you can see who’s voting for who. Great for browsing new blogs too.

I’ve been nominated for Best Blog Design, Best Blog of All Time, Best Parenting Blog, and err.. Hottest Mommy Blogger. I’m doing rather badly at the moment, oh well. Maybe I should ease off the birthday cakes and start posting some naughty pics? Bwahaha.

Lots of people are emailing me, asking me about all kinds of stuff. I’m terribly sorry if I don’t reply. The guilt is really getting me down.

If it helps you, I’ve put up a Google Search (to search my site). It’s on my side bar, you might have to scroll down to see it.

4th in Australia’s Best Blog!!

6 December 2005

Big congratulations to Jodi Rose of Singing Bridges for winning the title of Australia’s Best Blog and $10,000 in cash!

Her blog is a travel diary, creating a “sonic sculpture, playing the cables of stay-cabled and suspension bridges as musical instruments” and her blog was announced as “an excellent example of the unlimited nature of blogs”. How cool!

The winner and finalists :


There’s an article at the Sydney Morning Herald and commentary about the awards and judging process at Razor (The Age).

Blogday in Perth

1 September 2005

Last night I dragged myself into Northbridge to join the Perth event for Blogday. I was feeling pretty crook and didn’t stay too long.
But it was fun. I met a few familiar faces. Chatted briefly. Had a few laughs. Had a drink. And even picked up an award + silver platter trophy! It was all very casual and tongue in cheek. Very funny.

So I thought I’d give my “5 recommended blogs” a Perth flavour.

Robert – Delicious insight into Australian politics. Brilliantly laced with his dark humour and wit. He also picked up the Lifetime Achievement award and silver teapot trophy (of which I was rather envious).

Man That Cooks – Local food blogger. Very entertaining writing. Very yummy photos. And he makes me laugh and laugh.

Decaffeinated – Another very entertaining, very funny, well written site that’s full of great stories about macs, geek stuff and life.

Simon – A stunning photoblog capturing the breathtaking colours, shapes and forms of Perth.

Natalija – Lovely friend of mine. Beautiful writing, observations and reflections about life, people, art and design. Inspiring.

Bag Blogs

24 February 2005

Oooh I love it! – A blog site completely and utterly about purses, handbags, totes, clutches! Complete with pics, links and a little write up. Updated regularly too.

The Bag Blog is also pretty cool.

Creating Holiday Moments with Stayz

9 October 2015

Brought to you by Stayz

Hi everyone!

I have recently been working with Stayz (Australia’s largest holiday rental website) to help inspire families to create new holiday memories.

I love this idea. It is so inline with how my husband and I raise our kids. We love taking any opportunity to get away from our daily routine and to create family experiences that we’ll remember forever.

Last week, we took a trip to Dunsborough, a very popular holiday spot in the South West region of Western Australia (and one of our favourite places) – filled with beaches, wineries, forests, caves, bush and cafes. We also invited some good friends – another family – to join us.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

And yes, we stayed at a Stayz house, right next to the beach!

The coolest thing about Stayz accommodation is that you can rent the WHOLE house.

They have over 40,000 properties across Australia, in 1,700 locations so there are lots of options for groups of any size. That means, you can holiday with your family, your extended family, or even multiple families.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

This particular house had enough beds for 8 people, two living areas, a fully equipped modern kitchen, air conditioning, all bedding and towels provided, a washing machine, a clothes dryer, a front yard for the kids to play, a balcony, and much more. It was just fabulous.

To put things into perspective for you… the last time we went on a family holiday, we went into the BUSH, where there was no running water, I didn’t shower for 3 days and er… I had to dig my own toilet!

So you could say that I am not accustomed to this level of luxury! I was really pinching myself and counting all my blessings!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

There was no formal check-in; the key was hidden in a safe box on the property.

We simply arrived, unlocked the house, we were greeted by a beautiful, spacious home, a bottle of local white wine and we cracked open the cheese and crackers to celebrate!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

The kids immediately went downstairs to play, in the separate living room, and some started a soccer game on the front lawn.

What did the adults do?

Within 5 minutes of arrival, we were sitting on the balcony and watching the sun set in the peace and quiet. Ahhhhhh!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

That night I cooked a big dinner, fed all the kids and set up a DVD for them to watch downstairs.

Us adults were able to sit and have a quiet dinner! With loooong conversations!

It was so lovely and relaxing.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

The next morning, my husband (bless him) woke up early and made pancakes for everyone. What a treat.

Again I sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sunshine, while chatting to my friends and kids.

Oh my, it was bliss.

Such simple pleasures!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

During the day, we took a long walk on the footpath which ran along Geographe Bay.

The kids took turns to scoot or walk. In fact they were falling over themselves to walk and talk with an adult, just to hear our stories and get some undivided attention.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

We headed over to Meelup Beach, which was still and calm.

The sky was cloudy and the water was a bit too cold for a swim.

Nonetheless, the colour of the water turned into a brilliant turquoise everytime the sun peeked out from behind a cloud and hit the ocean.

We saw whales! About 9 of them swimming across the bay!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

My kids and I ran around, making sand castles, playing chasey, writing our names in the sand and taking photos (yes I took selfies and snapchats with my 12 year old!).

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

There was also a fresh water stream next to the beach, which trickled into the ocean.

My husband started a “dam building project”, which excited ALL the kids, including 8 other random kids who were also on the beach and also wanted to join in.

They worked on that dam for 2 hours!

I think that was the highlight for all the kids.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

That night, I made a 6-hour, slow-cooked Moroccan lamb shank stew with potatoes, carrots and brown rice.

I brought along my extra-large slow cooker just so I could make it. But I was also very pleased that the kitchen had everything I needed; even little things like olive oil, salt and ground cumin – which I forgot to bring.

It was soooooo delicious! And of course, we had to wash it down with more local wine.

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

Next morning, my friend made perfect eggs, bacon and homemade bread, for breakfast.

Again, I was pinching myself on the balcony – I was so happy!

Oh and you know what else made me happy?

Although I told everyone that the beach was my favourite part of the trip, I have to admit that HAVING A DISHWASHER was my most favourite thing haha!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

The kids played and played.

There was a stash of books, board games and card games in house, including our old favourite – Twister!

Stayz Holiday in Dunsborough 2015

We also enjoyed heaps of local cafes, art galleries, the shops and the bakery.

Overall, it was a such an easy and effortless holiday!

We didn’t have to wash the bed sheets or towels before we left. We just had to give the place a quick sweep and wipe down the kitchen surfaces.

I loved that there were so many things that we didn’t have to stress and worry about – towels, wifi, hair dryer, iron, washing machine, dust pan, matches, candles – it was a whole house, filled with household items. It made life sooooo much easier.

It felt much more homey, spacious and private than a caravan park, motel, hotel or even a Bed and Breakfast.

And because of all that, I absolutely loved that we had so much time to be together as a family, enjoy each other’s company and just have fun.

Renting a house like this, for two families, was perfect for us!

So here’s a big, big thanks to Stayz!

If you’re thinking of heading off to find a house to stay in, you might be interested in this…

*Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition*

Win a $1500 Visa Gift Card to put towards your next holiday, or towards a new designer handbag – that’s kind of like a holiday right? :)

You DO need a blog to enter – Write a blog post about your favourite childhood holiday and then fill out the entry form here.

If you DON’T have a blog, that’s okay, you can post your favourite holiday throwback photo on the Stayz Facebook Page or on your own Instagram account (with the #Stayz and #HTB tags) and you could win a $100 Westfield gift card.

Check out more information about the Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition here.

Win $1500 with Stayz Holiday Accommodation

30 September 2015

Brought to you by Stayz

Hi everyone! I have some super exciting news to share!

I’m teaming up with Stayz, Australia’s largest holiday rental website, to showcase a few fun projects coming up.

Stayz, Dunsborough


Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition!

Win a $1500 Visa Gift Card to put towards your next holiday, or towards a new designer handbag – that’s kind of like a holiday right?? Haha!

You DO need a blog to enter – Write a blog post about your favourite childhood holiday and then fill out the entry form here.

If you DON’T have a blog, that’s okay, you can post your favourite holiday throwback photo on the Stayz Facebook Page or on your own Instagram account (with the #Stayz and #HTB tags) and you could win a $100 Westfield gift card.

Check out more information about the Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition here. It’s really easy!

Yallingup, Wyadup Rocks


I’ll be showcasing a few Stayz holiday accommodations around Australia, over the next few months! Wayhey!

I have so many friends who have used Stayz, who rave about the houses they rented and their holidays. I’m so excited to be road testing and featuring some of these places for myself!

I love the idea that you can rent a whole home, big or small, most often with a capacity for multiple families – this suits our holiday style perfectly.

If you’ve been a long time reader, you probably know we love our camping and holiday trips with friends. We love to be social, we love to create memories, we love our family time, and we love having new adventures and experiences with our kids.

Here’s to new family adventures! Starting next week!

Follow me on Instagram (@karenlycheng) or Snapchat (heykarencheng) to keep up with our holiday antics!


(Photos are some of my favourite holiday memories. First one was in 2012 while holidaying at Geographe Bay, Western Australia. Second photos taken in 2015 at Wyadup Rocks, Western Australia.)

Everyday Styling: Camel and Denim

24 September 2015

Camel and Denim
Wearing Hello Parry off shoulder top, Jeanswest jeans, Betts sandals, ECCO bag, GAP coat.

Ahhh, with fashion week over, life has settled back to normal… and casual dressing can resume!

I actually wore this outfit and took this photo a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t going to post it because I thought it was too simple.

Turns out I’m still loving the camel, white + denim vibe weeks later – so it made the blog after all!

Other reasons I wanted to share it…

It’s such a great colour combination, the mix-and-match-ability is endless.

Camel brings a bit of colour and warmth to all the monochrome and neutral outfits I’ve been wearing.

There’s something simple, polished, yet everyday about the outfit. I guess simplicity wins!

It also turns out that you guys have been asking for me to post more “real and everyday” outfits. So I’ll remember to take a snap of what I’m wearing before I head out the door!

Have a gorgeous day!


Fashion Week Day 1 – Outfit, Makeup, Hair

22 September 2015

TPFF Day 1 - Wearing 33Poets

During the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival, I was given some pretty amazing media tickets to many of the big shows. I felt quite honoured, nervous, thrilled, grateful and entrusted… that they chose me as one of the local bloggers to cover the shows. Eeeep!

So to show my support for the designers, producers and organisers, I figured that I’d try a bit harder and organise my outfit, hair and makeup! I rarely do that!

The first show for the festival was by Dilettante, featuring Yang Li, 33Poets and Toni Maticevski.

I have admired the label 33Poets and Rebecca Paterson’s textile work for a number of years, and I have previously borrowed a 3-way Japanese Shibori Silk Dress from her, which I reviewed here. So it was a no-brainer who I was going to contact – I literally begged Rebecca to wear something from her old collection!

She was so happy that I asked (although a bit busy prepping for her show). I popped into Tu Boutique (who stocks 33Poets) and I came away with this stunning dress you see above. It doesn’t really have a name, but it is made from the same Japanese Shibori Silk as the 3-way dress. It was amazing to wear. It was so grand and unique. I felt like a dark princess.

TPFF Day 1 - Pamper package at Generics

Next, I contacted the team at Generics, who have a brand new shop in Northbridge (corner of William St and Aberdeen St). They have expanded their products to include vegan beauty and lifestyle products, gorgeous fragrances, marble decor, express facials, and pamper packages (with a team of hair artists and makeup artists).

I booked myself in for makeup, sent them a photo of my dress and told them I wanted something DRAMATIC!

I had the ever so lovely Hanh Ngo, a professional makeup artist (who also works for MAC), do my makeup. She did a wonderful job!

I actually wanted a “Very smokey eye, with nude lips” look. But at the end, we thought I looked a bit “flat”, so Hahn gave me RED LIPS instead – which totally transformed my look for the better!

TPFF Day 1 - Hair by Game of Braids

I also booked to have my hair braided by Bec of Game of Braids.

You can get a single side braid for $35 or a full blown quadruple braid for $120! Check out the link. It is SO. COOL.

Can you believe that I’ve never had my hair braided before? My mum was never the hair braiding type. And I’ve always had such thick, long hair that no one would even attempt to braid it.

I asked Bec for my hair to be up, and for the braid to come down to one side. She did a great job, and the most amazing bit – it stayed up for the whole night!

Lisa from Generics styled me with some colourful bling earrings (I didn’t even THINK about my jewellery. I was just going to wear nothing!) which matched my red lips, my red clutch and (incidentally) my dark pink toe nails. They gave me some fragrance, organic body glow cream… all the finishing touches and more… and my goodness, I looked and felt so complete!

By the end of it, I was in a HUGE RUSH (which was my fault because I arrived 30 minutes late). I only had 15 minutes to get to the show, and I was so so SO thankful to all of them for making me look great!!

TPFF Day 1 - Sitting Front Row Yo!

I arrived and found myself a seat on the front row WOAH!

TPFF2015 Day 1 - Silly Photos with the Fash Squad

(Two photos by Ryan Ammon)

As I wrote before, the Dilettante show was stunning and one of the best I’ve seen.

After the show, I found a stack of my fashion friends and we took so many silly photos. You can have a peak on my Facebook Page.

TPFF2015 Day 1 - At home with makeup

This is me back at home. It was around 11:30pm and I was feeling tired, hungry but super pumped for another day of fashion!

(My hair came out because when I drove home, the pony tail bit rubbed against the head rest. But my makeup didn’t smudge or sweat off at all. I was so pleased with the result! Thank you so much guys!)

I have 5 more days of grooming and outfits, so keep popping by for more updates!


A Little Catch Up With Sandals and Flowers

21 September 2015

Schutz Flatlay

Happy Monday everyone!

As I mentioned a few posts ago, it’s fashion week season… and I had the pleasure of attending 8 different events in 5 days.

Sounds a bit intense? Yeah it was, but I’m not complaining! It was fun! I made so many new contacts and friends, saw some great shows, I exercised my networking and conversation skills, plus I really wanted to support the local designers, talented creatives and small business owners again.

Also… I guess I wanted to announce to everyone that I was back in the blogging scene again.

Last year I took a break from the fashion scene because I wanted to concentrate on the business side of my blog.

That has worked out really well, as I have been inundated with heaps of new, fun, interesting, paid work over the year; possibly too much for my schedule, but I think I’m now a bit of a pro at sayin’ NO, choosing work that suits me, and making sure it doesn’t affect my work life balance.

I still want to cook delicious meals for my family, have coffee with friends, go shopping with my mum, have long conversations with each of my kids, be a kind of rock for my boys as they grow up and head off to high school, go for runs in the sunshine, volunteer for charity, bake treats, vacuum my own house and grow my own vegetables in my garden.

I won’t be a millionaire, I won’t be famous, but hey I’m happy doing my own thing.

I feel successful!? That’s all that matters right?

So I’m very thankful and grateful for how everything has been going in the last 12 months.

Blogging is a very different landscape now.

I’m more of a freelance digital creative now, busily creating visual and editorial content for my blog and social media, and selling media space across my platform. Ha, that sounds so formal. I prefer to say, “I just write about stuff and take photos.” Haha!

I hope to do a lot more writing here.

I know it goes against the new social media and Instagram culture. I know it goes against all the stunning, image-driven, picture-heavy websites that gets all the eyeballs these days (which is a talent and art in itself!). Everyone says, “People don’t like to read lots of words these days. No one reads blogs anymore.”

That may be true. But as much as I love visual style, art, design and appreciate the creative geniuses behind it all… there’s something about the written word, a voice that cuts through everything else, that truly inspires me.

I have been working on rolling out a few things on my blog. Hopefully it will all be finished soon!

Thank you for reading! Hope you have a fantastic week!

In the photograph: My new Schutz Sandals from Shopbop, Stripe top from Love Bonito, Skirt from Base by Ben, and some roses from my garden.

Commissioning Artwork from Around the World – Easy, Affordable and Exciting

16 September 2015

Brought to you by The Commissioned

The Commissioned
(Photo from The Commissioned)

I was recently introduced to The Commissioned and invited to experience their art commission services.

Having a background in art, design and photography; having a lot of friends who purchase art for their homes; and having bought my own art, I was really drawn to the whole concept of the website.

I was excited beyond belief!

What is it?

The Commissioned has a large selection of talented artist from all over the world. You can look through their bio, browse through their works, and then start a direct conversation with an artist to commission a work of art for yourself.

You can chose colours that will suit the décor of your house. You can choose a subject that will celebrate a special moment in your life. You can capture a special message as a gift to a friend. The scope is endless!

My Commissioning Experience

I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted.

I wanted an abstract painting inspired by one of our family walks through a beautiful forest.

I took some lovely photos during the walk and wanted to capture the moment somehow. I also wanted the painting to have blurry figures of my 3 children, just to remind me of that happy moment as I looked at them through the leaves.

Sign up and Browse!

I signed up to the site and began to browse through the hundreds of artists, view their works and read about a bit about them (you can actually browse without signing up).

When you sign up, you get to see all the artists’ indicative prices and the size of their paintings, such as: Small Canvas (11×14 inch) USD123.20 or Medium Canvas (24×36 inch) USD691.20.
You can also “Favourite” the artists whose works catch your eye, so you can view them again later.

I was quite fascinated to discover artists from all over the world – United States, Asia, Europe, Philipines, Japan, Moscow, Finland, Poland, Russia, Spain, Argentina and more.

In the end, I utterly fell in love with artist, Deusa Blumke’s work.

Art by Deusa Blumke

She was born in Brazil and currently pursuing Masters Degree in Singapore. She has a looooong list of exhibited works in her portfolio, has won a few awards for her art… but most of all I loved her style. I loved her spontaneous strokes, her bold colours, her blobs, splatters and unique layering.

Art by Deusa Blumke

Examples of Deusa Blumke’s work (courtesy of the artist).

So I sent her a message to start a conversation.

I requested that I was keen for an abstract painting based on the theme of “A Forest Walk”. I’d like the painting to look more like a forest, not a path in a forest.

I enclosed some photos I took while on our recent forest walk. I told her that I would love for her to use them as inspiration for shapes and colour, in particular greens, blues, greys, browns, whites, black (but not too much black!)

Forest walk in Boranup

Forest walk in Boranup

I told her I loved the colours, strokes, movement and spontaneity of her featured artworks and would like the painting to have the same strokes, blobs, movement and spontaneity. I don’t really like the use of hard lines/edges and geometric shapes.

Forest walk in Boranup

I also mentioned to her that I would like the painting to include 3 little abstract figures in the background, dressed in a navy/grey blue (much like the photo above). However I didn’t want them to be the focus of the picture; they are just playing within the scenery.

Forest walk in Boranup

She loved the photos! She agreed to the collaboration, we settled the price, I made the payment and she set to work.

(I was given a promo code to use at The Commissioned for this review.)

I was super, super, super excited, and a bit nervous!

I couldn’t believe I was going to own one of her paintings! But what if I don’t like it? What if it’s not quite what I wanted? I guess I can ask her to tweak it a bit?

Updates: Work in Progress

A week later, Deusa sent me an update: A photo of her work in progress!

Work in Progress by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

Holy cow! Amazing! – Was my first response!

Usually a sketch is adequate for the first stage of communication, but all artists, designers and creatives work in different ways… and it can be a bit risky for a client to see an unfinished photo of the artwork. I had to keep that in mind.

It’s like a wedding cake maker sending a photo of their fruitcake; A car paint shop sending a photo of their first coat; A chef sending a photo of their chopping board. The masterpiece is not yet revealed! It’s still in progress!

I have to admit that I stared at the unfinished painting a bit more than I should have. I got a bit worried. The graphic designer in me kicked in and I was concerned that there was too much brown, and not enough bright colours, and maybe I should send a message to direct her?

I probably could have done that. The website has a “Creative Studio” section, which brings together all your conversations with artists, all your current and past commissioned works, and any photos sent back and forth.

The site basically makes it very open and easy to have a conversation with the artist.

But I wanted to see the whole process through, being respectful to the artist, being true to the art process and having confidence in her talent.

So I didn’t ask her to change anything. I knew she would deliver something amazing in the end.

It would be like me telling a master chef, halfway through making my meal, to “OH REMEMBER TO ADD SOME SALT TO MAKE IT TASTY OK?”

Out of curiosity, I asked if she could send over some photos of her workspace, so I could publish it on my blog. Seeing photos of the work in progress, within the workspace, was pretty exciting! But this might not be a typical step in the commissioning process.

Work in Progress by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

So cool!

A few days later, she sent some more photo of her work in progress.

Then a few days later, she sent a few more.

Finally, 12 days after we agreed to collaborate, she sent over her final photos and a message, part of it saying, “Unless you would like to have some more of a certain colour or adjustments, I’m finished :)”

I didn’t want her to do anything else to it! I was absolutely thrilled with her final work!

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

I was so so so happy with it!

I pinched myself, as I couldn’t believe that it was MINE and that Deusa had painted it for me, based on my photos.

She did such an amazing job! Her layers of dots make the leaves and lights look like they are dancing and sparkling. The watery brown blobs make me smile, remembering how fun it was to stomp through the mud. She had captured that perfectly.

And can you see the 3 little figures? How gorgeous!
OK I know that it was my idea, but I love that they are there in the landscape and I have to search for them a bit with my eyes. And I love that they are in a kind of glowing spotlight on the ground. The visual balance of green dots all over the painting is just wonderful. It’s an absolutely gorgeous artwork to look and STARE at :)

I was gushing! I couldn’t wait to have it delivered.

I finalised the details on the website. The project was complete and it was published into my personal art gallery (on the site), along with a direct URL and details.

(You can view mine here: Karen Cheng’s Gallery )

Next, I paid a bit extra for secure international delivery, and after a few days, the painting arrived at my doorstep, wrapped up in lots of bubble wrap, sticky tape and a secure box.

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

I made a special little space in my home for it.

But then I felt that it got lost (visually) next to all my objects, so I hung it on the wall instead.

A Forest Walk by Deusa Blumke - The Commissioned

To be honest, I was very unsure whether this whole experience would run smoothly, and I was worried that I would have a poor experience. I mean, the whole IDEA of buying art online, sounds fraught with danger, dodgy sellers and con-artists!

But I was very, very pleased with the whole process. The customer service was excellent. There was an online chat function, and team members were all incredibly helpful.

I have already told 5-6 good friends about this site. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut about it. Okay, I may have raved about it.

I also pointed them to another client review on the site, because I know lots of grandmothers, aunties, mothers who would LOVE to get something similar for their special girls. Basically she commissioned a watercolour illustration of her daughter dancing through a forest, with cute little forest creatures! So cute!

As for me, I am tempted to get another painting commissioned, as I have another two ideas:

1) A unique, abstract family portrait, with 5 abstract figures playing at the beach. I liked the idea of bright blue sky, blue-green ocean and yellow sand. I liked the idea of a bright, bold painting to remember all my family’s trips to the beach.

2) A still life of some pale pink roses in a crystal glass jar. I wanted pastel pinks, pale greens, lots of white and black. Basically I wanted a stylish, moody painting to hang above a small white table and add a colourful lift to a corner in my house.

What do you think??

Do pop over to The Commissioned for a peek!


My Mediocre Attempts at Cooking

6 September 2015

So according to my blog, it must seem that everything I cook is just FABULOUS DARLING!

I don’t feature my mediocre stuff, because reeeeally, as much as people say that it’s trending to #KEEPITREAL, who actually wants to click on and read about someone’s mediocre attempts at cooking? Not me.

Sure, I can see appeal of featuring EPIC FAILED COOKING ATTEMPTS. That would be funny!

But mediocre is just so, mediocre. Right?

What? Did I hear you say no?

Alrighty then!

Tart Fail

1. Raw Coconut Chia Pudding on Hazelnut Tart  (Like eating squishy cardboard!)

Ok so I made a “semi raw” Chocolate Raspberry Tart last week. I thought I would be clever and make a proper “raw” version, with zero added sugar (except for a few dates).

Tart Fail

Looks so pretty right? Styled so nicely right?

Nope. Ugh, it was so bland and weird!

It was as if I had a head cold and I lost my sense of taste – I could feel the interesting textures in my mouth, but there was ZERO flavour haha!

Plus I was trying to do too much by combining two desserts (chia pudding and hazelnut crust). Lesson learned: keep it simple.

No diary, no gluten, no sugar, no cooking and… no taste! Ha!

Pancakes Fail

2. Gluten Free Pancakes (Tough like rubber!)

I don’t know where I got this recipe. No doubt some hipster hippy healthy food blog. Hmm, it wasn’t exactly a winner.

I bought some crazy expensive gluten-free flour and mixed it with a weird ratio of potato flour, brown rice flour and coconut flour. It was just a bit silly and complicated. Too painful for Sunday morning pancakes if you ask me.

They’d make a great underlay for your wooden floors!

Ribs Fail

3. Honey Pork Ribs (Hello Heart Disease!)

Maybe I bought the wrong kind of ribs. Maybe I added too much soy sauce.

Whatever the case, it felt like I was eating big rectangles of rubber fat coated in salt.

I could feel my arteries clogging up with each bite. Aakkk.

Frozen Buns Fail

4. Re-baked Homemade Bread rolls (Or, How To make rocks!)

I recently found a fantastic bread recipe and have been making lots of bread for my family.

But I really wanted to try half-baking the bread, freezing it, then re-baking them at another time.

This was my second attempt and I still couldn’t get it right. They came out under-cooked and tasting like warmed up play dough – gross!

Inspired? I bet you are!

Happy cooking!

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

31 August 2015

A few weeks ago, I made something a little special for dessert!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe was originally a mish mash of several RAW Gluten Free Chocolate Tart recipes that I found on the internet (pure and simple, rawmazing, bare root girl).

But my tart isn’t raw, because I use roasted nuts (they taste better!), I baked the base (roasted nuts and coconut is HEAVEN) and raw desserts use a lot of dates (I hate dates!).

The base is so delicious! Almost like a protein ball crossed with chocolate granola and it holds together really well. You can pick up a slice and it’ll stay in one piece. It is biscuity, crunchy and I have been baking it with sliced fruit on top to make simple fruit tarts.


Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoon on cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon on vanilla essence

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
250ml coconut milk

1 cup of frozen raspberries
1/2 of frozen raspberries (to serve)

*Chocolate Filling Alternative
(I often run out of cacao powder, so I sometimes use this, plus it’s much simpler)
150g of dark chocolate
250ml coconut milk

1) Preheat oven to 180C.

2) Use a food processor to blend the crust ingredients. I don’t suggest using a high speed blender, because you don’t want the crust to be so fine and powdery. I think the crust looks better with chunky bits!

3) Press into a 24cm flan tine, or 21cm spring base tin. Work into the bottom and up the sides to create an even crust lip. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool.

4) Gently melt the coconut oil (or chocolate) then add cacao and maple syrup. Let it cool.

5) Pour filling into base, spread out the raspberries evenly over the top. It’s OK if they sink into the filling. Put into freezer to set for 2 hours. Leave in fridge to defrost for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle more raspberries over the top to serve.

I loved the sharp tang of the raspberries with the mellow chocolate filling! But my children found the raspberries a bit too sour and would only eat it if I put a bit of ice cream or maple syrup on top.

Seriously Cute Tees!

30 August 2015

Cute Tees from Shopbop

With the warm weather on its way, I’ve been trying to find some good quality, white t-shirts with a cute print.

These are my top picks:

Left: Chaser Heart Stamp Tee
Such a nice, over-sized, relaxed top with a burnout look.

This will be perfect with jeans shorts and sandals! The Chaser brand has heaps of cool punk rock tees (think lipsticks, cheetahs and Pink Floyd). Check out more Chaser t-shirts here.

Middle: Sincerely Jules Lips & Lashes Tee
LA based stylist and popular blogger Julie Sarinana (from Sincerely, Jules) has a collection of nice simple tees that hits under the US$50 mark. I absolutely adore these lips and lashes print! So simple and cute!

Her label has been going since 2013 and seems to be going strong. See more from Sincerely, Jules.

Right: Surf Bazaar Pineapple Square Tee
I like the boxy cut of this t-shirt. And you can’t go wrong with pineapples! A perfect hang-by-the-pool tee.

Surf Bazaar is a NY brand with styles inspired by the colors and symbolism of Tibetan prayer flags.

Hope you all enjoy the last of your weekend!


Healthy Strawberry Smoothies!

27 August 2015

Strawberry & Raspberry Smoothie

After school, I usually make smoothies for my kids (so that’s about 4-5 times a week).

Each time I make about 750ml (3 x 250ml) of one batch; then I make a smaller batch for myself, because I like my smoothies with nuts, coconut, spinach and other weird, healthy stuff.

I use a NutriBullet, however I think any high speed blender will do the trick. My mum bought it for me and it was kind of a surprise/unwanted present, because I already had a (non-high-speed) blender. Initially I was very reluctant to use it, and it sat on my shelf for months. Why? Because I hated the TV infomercials! The marketing people say the blades breakdown the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, unlocks nutrients, and makes women prettier?!? Ugh I couldn’t stand it.

Anyway, the blender and I are friends now.

So… I’ve been sharing a few of my smoothie photos on instagram (@karenlycheng) and a few people have asked me to share the recipes on my blog.

Er, I don’t actually have an actual recipe! I just throw stuff together and play with proportions. If I put more raspberries, it’s going to taste more like raspberries!

The other day I made a concoction that I shall call: A Healthy Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries, blueberries or mixed berries.
1 banana
1/2 green apple
1 cup of coconut water
1/4 cup natural plain yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey (optional)

(This makes about 750ml)

I don’t believe in adding extra sugar to my smoothies. I think the sugar from the fruit is enough. But sometimes my apples or berries are so sour and tart that my kids refuse to drink the resulting smoothie, so I add a bit sweeter fruit like grapes, frozen mango, and if nothing else works, I add honey or maple syrup to make it a bit more palatable.