Le Cordon Bleu

Cooking was never my forte and the kitchen was never my territory. But when I moved out from home, it was clear to me: don’t cook = no food. I tried surviving on pizza delivery and chap fan (economic rice). It wasn’t a good idea. So I started to spend more time in the kitchen!

Le Cordon Bleu

If you told me years ago I would voluntary pay to cook, I would laugh at your absurdity. But today, I eagerly ingest all the cooking techniques a professional chef taught me. We made curry paste and Asian sauces. I ask heaps of questions such as whether using a pestle and mortar instead of a blender to pound curry paste results in better taste (The answer is ‘no’). I happily trim extra fats on duck breasts which before was icky to me. I enthusiastically pounded spices and roast shrimp paste.  Oh, what happened to me?

le cordon bleu

A few students ask me if I came for business or passion. The true answer is ‘family’.  My intention is always clear: to be able to cook better for my love ones. No one can take better care of myself and my family. Perhaps affected by Daddy’s passing, I no longer think it’s wise to depend my family’s well being on doctors or anyone else for that matter. I do hope that learning cooking from the best school will help makes people I care about want to eat healthy homecooked food more!


Facebook ‘Like’ magnets

I’m very selective over a lot of things, including what kind of magnets I put on my fridge (?!). Each and every of them carry a special meaning to me and bring back fond memories. I have:


  • Monalisa from The Lourve – it’s on my favourite postcard
  • Coronation of Napoleon from The Lourve Paris-  I adore Napoleon love towards the underserving Josephine. His last words were ‘France, Army, Josephine’ aww
  •  Gold bar from European Union Museum in Belgium – EU is a subject I took back in law school and gold is my favourite metal
  • Oxford Road street – my favourite street in London (which we spend too many days at)
  • Love Lane – One of our first few dating places

and my favourite….

  •  ‘Like’ magnet from Facebook headquarter in Silicon Valley.

20140518-092541.jpgIsn’t it extremely apt to put notes of food such as ‘bedtime snacks’ and secure it with a thumbs-up magnet? I sure think so! So, when the Boyfan left to Silicon Valley last month, I asked for another ‘Like’ magnet. Upon getting it, I thought one is quite enough and asked if I could give it away

“Can I give it to my (JewelPie) readers?”


“Why cannooottt?”

“I specifically asked for one for you. They are given for free for employees. It’s disguting to give something I get for free away to someone else!”

“I wish I can buy one. Facebook should set up a merchandise shop!”


Oh, I wish I can buy a dozen and give some away to JewelPie readers. It would be nice to see what kind of recipe/notes on food they paste on their fridge! Facebook should really start a shop. Evernote has one, Angry Birds has one, why not Facebook? And yes, the Boyfan is ethical/stubborn like that…


The slow, steady and quiet tortoise

Looks can be deceiving. Despite appearing outgoing, deep inside, I am an introvert. I recharge through quiet activities like reading, writing, cooking, home spa, doodling and daydreaming. Though I enjoy being with people, I prefer their company through meaningful conversations instead of rowdy activities. This TED talk ‘QUIET: The power of introverts’ by Susan Cain, striked not just one but many chords:

It’s an irony that I choose to be in the media; an industry that shouts “Look at me!” through any means i.e annoying link baits and gossips. I didn’t expect this at all. I didn’t know that media is essentially a game of popularity. I just had an idea and I wanted the idea to be known.

As naive as it may sound, I believe if you have something important and truly useful to say,  people will naturally and gradually listen. Sure there are a lot of quick and easy ways to get clicks and coverage, but no thanks. I want to attract the kind of people who find value in my ideas and trust what I say.


Though it took much longer time than usual, sticking to my ideals is slowly working out. Google analytics showed that we have built a readership that is on par with popular print magazines. I plan to continue to grow the numbers through nothing but compelling content and positive messages.

Slow, steady and quiet win the race!


Learning the ukulele in 20 hours?

Since watching Josh Kaufman’s TED talk about how to learn anything in 20 hours, I was curious and inspired. Kaufman managed to play and sing hundreds of pop songs in 20 hours! The trick is to learn four versatile chords in this sequence: G, D Em and C.

I love to read, pick up new skills, experiment and…I have always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. I don’t have much time, but 45 minutes a day for a month is feasible. Who needs 10,000 hours to be an expert? (a theory popularised by Malcolm Gladwell).

So I put this goal at the back of my mind and waited for the right time to execute it. I almost believe it would never happen since I’ve taken up a few important projects this year which slowly eat their way into my personal schedule.

20140514-192810.jpgLucky for me, Imran of Narmi Adventures came to Colin’s birthday party with his ukulele! I showed him the video and he taught me the said chords and more. He told me quite a lot of things I didn’t know before such as using a digital tuner to tune a guitar, the existence and use of a metronome, definition of beat/rhythm, criterias of a good song, etc.

Rubs, another good guitar player, dispensed some knowledge too. Though most are memorable, they are rather useless…

Me: What kind of ukulele should I get?
Rubs: A six strings one.

Rubs: You need to give more feelings.
Me: I’m more logical than emotional.
Rubs: You’re a girl. It’s good enough.



Anyway, after about 45 minutes of practice, I managed to

  • Identify, memorize and play the four chords (G, D, Em, C)
  • Change chords
  • Strum
  • Learn basics of ukulele e.g names of strings (GCEA), etc.

Though I do all the above quite badly…

If I didn’t watch Josh Kaufman speak, I would have given up, believing I am a music retard. Well, not really. Being a productive person who is sensitive with time, I need to know whether the amount of time I invest is worthy and would truly yield results. I can totally do 20 hours if it means I can play more than a few songs!


Can’t wait till Im and Rubs take me to the music shop to get my first ukulele!



JewelPie In Swedish tabloid newspaper

Not many famous international sites contacted me and ask for permission before using JewelPie’s content/photos e.g Lifehacker. Even worst, 9gag stole my content, removed JewelPie’s logo and pass of as theirs. I have emailed them a take down notice but to no avail.


But Expressen, one of the two nationwide tabloid newspaper in Sweden politely asked. I’m impressed. (The Huffington Post too, to be fair).




I like Scandinavia already. Would love to visit Sweden or Finland one day!

Everybody needs reminders to slow-down

The last few weeks, I was in a trance-like state. I have been working like a robot, as soon as I wake-up and until I had no choice but to sleep. Eating is for survival and sleeping is to regain energy to work.

Then I remember how JewelPie started; I’m prone to overworking and needed a work-life balance. The worst part of it all? I’m super happy working and I don’t want to do anything else (?!)

It was madness. It was what JewelPie is not about. But it also made me understand that even the most discipline fails to eat well, exercise and stay calm in this fast-paced world. We all constantly need reminders to slow down.

Today I had a good swim, long lunch and now I’m giving myself some time to reflect. Can’t wait for a little escape at my favourite beach to celebrate the birthday of someone very special to me!



Five things I’ve learned in the past weeks

1. Often, you don’t expect to do what you need to do. Be prepared. Opportunities don’t wait.

2. Never put complete trust in anyone or anything. Double check it yourself.

3. Perfection can cause procrastination. While quality is important, it’s better to achieve 80% of what you aim to do than not do it at all.

4. Never let anyone think your time is worth less than theirs.

5. When possible, please everyone. When not, learn to be immune to those who cannot be pleased.