Friday, 30 July 2010

CassaStar - a Sci-Fi Book by Alex Cavanaugh

Thank you for reading my last blog post and to those who left a comment.  It was one of those days... and I needed to say something about what I heard.  I respect people's opinions and I also have mine.  I love blogging and it does me a lot of good when I blog, hence I had to write that out.

I did mention about new friends that blogging has introduced to me.  One of them is Alex Cavanaugh, a sci-fi writer who is launching his first book, CassaStar!  He is currently holding a contest on his blog - a contest in which I am joining! *winks*

For those of you who love sci-fi books, here's the link to Alex's blog:

It will lead you to the trailer of his book, please watch it:

I do remember the first time I read a book, back to back.  It was a sci-fi book and the title was Swords of Mars.  I was about 12 I think.  My father gave it to me.  I couldn't stop reading after that.  So, this book reminds me so much of that first time. 

PS. Thank you, Alex, for telling me how to attach a video from youtube!  I just hope this works for everyone!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Blogs and Bloggery by Talli Roland

Guest Blogger:  Talli Roland.

I have a new blog-friend and feel honoured to get connected with her.  It happened on my blog-hopping.  I've discovered her blog and found out that she's on Facebook, too.  It's only been a few weeks but I have become addicted to her blog posts - click on her name above to find out why!

One of her posts, 'Ten for Tuesday:  Of Blogs and Bloggery' was spot on.  It was just what bloggers needed to know.  Perhaps bloggers, including myself, already know them, but needed to hear them.  Thanks to Talli for bravely writing them all out.  I think I must now shut up and just give the space to Talli.

Here goes:

By Talli Roland
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanks to everyone for weighing in on the cover debate yesterday! It was interesting reading all the responses and seeing everyone's reactions to the two different covers.

Today's Ten for Tuesday will be something a little bit different. In the past two years, I've read a lot of blogs and slowly come to figure out what makes a blog 'work' for me, and how to grow your following. I'm no expert so please feel free to chime in with your own bloggery loves and hates; I'd love to hear them!

1. If you want to increase your followers, follow others! This may seem like a no-brainer, but I'm always surprised when people ask me how to get followers. Follow blogs, and usually people will follow you back. Which brings me to my next point: if someone follows you, follow them back (unless, of course, it's something you don't agree with on a philosophical basis). If you don't want to add the blog to your Google Reader (which happens automatically now if you follow with a Blogger account), sign in and follow using a Twitter account. I think it's just good blog etiquette.

2. Comment on other people's blogs, and return comments. I have two blogs: one that I started almost two years ago and this blog, which I started in March. On my other blog, I don't usually return comments and I don't comment on other blogs (I didn't really 'get' the importance of it at the time). After almost two years, that blog has 108 followers. When I started this blog, I made a decision to comment, to return all comments, and to proactively follow blogs. After four months, this blog has 340 followers! A massive difference!

3. Make your blog posts short and try to limit them to one subject. I have a Netbook and I hate scrolling through screens and screens of text. I understand posting extracts of work every now and then but if your blog posts are long all the time, I may resort to skimming. I also find myself more drawn to those posts that keep to one subject and pose a question I can answer in the comments. Make it easy for people to comment.

4. Use easy-to-read fonts on plain backgrounds. One of my blogs is white text on a black background and I got emails from readers complaining it was difficult to read. I must admit I hate struggling to read text when it's faded or covered in swirly designs. Also, be aware that if people read you in Google Reader, using a strange-coloured font (i.e., pink, yellow) will show up as pink or yellow in Google Reader, making it very difficult to read.

5. Have a 'Followers' gadget! I'm amazed that some people with Blogger blogs don't have this! I want to follow you! I could be wrong, but I think Wordpress lets you have this gadget now, too?

6. Put your 'Followers' gadget towards the top of your page. I don't want to scroll through loads of awards to find it.

7. Make your page easy and quick to load. If you have tons of videos and heavy photos sometimes it takes ages. I don't like waiting.

8. Turn off word verification! Argh! I know, I know, there are spammers out there, yes. But how many do you really get? And it is possible to moderate commments that are older than whatever date you choose, so you can eliminate the threat of spammers on your older posts. I detest word verification. If I'm returning 40-70 blog comments each night, it just takes SO much time to type in those silly silly words.

I have failed yet again to come up with ten, but I probably sound curmudgeonly enough without any more! I'd love to hear any other tips or pet peeves others may have!

The above was written by Talli Roland on 20 July 2010

Note:  Talli's debut novel, 'The Hating Game', will be out soon.  She also writes the '24 Hours' travel series under the name Marsha Moore.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Let's talk about Weddings!

Husband and I will be celebrating our 5th year wedding anniversary at the end of this year.  Sometime ago, I posted some photos of my wedding dress but not proper ones as I wanted to thank the person who made it for me - a very good friend of mine, (Ate) Adora.  I call her 'Ate' meaning 'big sister.'  In the Philippines, it's a sign of respect.  I would like to thank her once again for creating for me a beautiful wedding dress.  It's a Maria-Clara-inspired wedding top made of white lace embellished with pearls and long chiffon skirt, with a Maria-Clara shawl to match.

Ate Adora has a great story to tell.  A lot of people can learn a lesson or two from her.  She got married in 1980 to Tony and is mother to six children. Sadly, her husband passed away in 1992, she was then 34 and pregnant with Anton, the youngest of the children. She was left alone to raise 6 children!  Yes - SIX!  All on her own.

I find Ate Adora to be an admirable woman, one of the so many unsung heroes of my lifetime I must say.  She's never married again.  She is a very responsible woman.  She doesn't waste time going out at night partying, instead she uses all her time rushing home to tend to the children and her dressmaking business.  It was even more difficult when she still had the 9 to 5 job in the corporate world.

Ate Adora worked as an Executive Secretary for many years whilst also accepting dressmaking jobs, mostly bridal gowns.  Now Earl, the eldest, is already working.  He graduated with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering.  There's still Therese and Anton to finish studying.  Therese is currently on 4th year at the University of the Philippines, taking up Industrial Engineering and Anton at San Beda on his 1st year, taking up Enterpreneurship.  Like Earl, the other 3 girls - Kay, Rea and Eva have now graduated with a bachelor's degree (well done, Ate Adora!  I am so proud of you and your children!).

Ate Adora left her corporate life a few years ago and is now succeeding in her business!  I'm inviting you all to see how beautiful her creations are.  She has a website, Adora's Creations.  If you have a Facebook account, you can also add her up, her business account name is the same, Adora's Creations.  If you are on my Facebook account, she's on my friends' list.

Me and my husband at Lydia's, a Filipino restaurant where we had our wedding reception.

My husband was wearing a pina-jusi barong with chinese collar
This photo shows the shawl I was wearing.

You will find that my wedding photos are not as good as the ones below, which are also created by Ate Adora.  It's because we did not use a digital camera.  The photos above are scanned copies.  To make up for that, I am showing you some really divine creations that can only make you want to wear them and get married - if you already are, they will make you want to get married again! Ha!

By the way, Adora's Creations not only make bridal gowns, it's the whole entourage!  I almost forgot to mention that she also used to make my long evening dresses for me when I was working as events presenter.

Adora's Creations accept jobs from overseas so if you are interested, feel free to email Adora at or  She will send an instruction on how you to get your measurements so you can send it to her.

If you are planning for your big day or you know someone who is, please feel free to forward this post's link to your friends.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

'Round and About Wroxham

Sharing with you photos taken the last time husband and I were in Wroxham.  It's actually confusing if it's Wroxham or Hoveton.  Although everybody calls it Wroxham, the village sign there says 'Hoveton.'  I think that the town centre might be in the middle of these two towns.

Look at the array of hanging baskets! Aren't they beautiful?

Bridge Tea Rooms - they serve the most sumptuous cheese bacon burger I've ever tasted!

This is my favourite spot.  You can just sit there and relax...ahhhhhh!

Wroxham and Hoveton are located in Norfolk, the East of England.  There's lots to do aside from shopping.  The place is very near the broads so you can go boating or birdwatching. 

Come - visit!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

My love for bags

If there is anything that my mother and I have in common - it is the love for bags.  Ladies out there, I am sure like me and my Mum, you also love bags.  So today I thought I'd talk about my love for bags...and share with you my small collection, if you can call it that.

Now, don't expect for any LV, Fendi, Prada, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Christian Dior or any designer label.  Whilst I know I've just told you the designer labels I like, the truth is mine are just from the high street.  But then what's wrong with bags from the high street?  They provide me of what I need.  But what is it really that you want from a bag?  I know we use different bags for different occassions but on an ordinary day-out or when you go to work, what bag do you usually use?  Or when you go in a shop and see a display of beautiful, yummy bags...what's your impulse?  If your impulse is to look around and end up buying one, what is it that make you buy it?

Me?  I usually look for a bag with the right size, the right colour, durability and it must always be a 'shoulder bag.'  I like handbags as well but it is not very convenient for me, especially if I'm travelling with my boy and I have to carry a lot of things with me and also attend to him at the same time.  I need my both hands to be free.  This is why I admire Victoria Beckham for being able to carry a designer bag on her arm with her 3 kids in tow.  Oh wait, she's got assistants and I don't.  Yes, that's the difference. 

Australian, bought in 2004
Now wait! Yes, I've got a handbag.  This one is about 6 years old.  It is a handbag but I can use the rings to attach a longer sling.

Marks and Spencers, bought in 2008
Now this is my favourite!  This is a square bag that is big enough for documents if I need to carry any with me, together with my other paraphernalias.  The only thing that I find not-so-convenient is that instead of a zipper, it's got a flap.  I find it so much of a hassle to open the flap when I'm in a shop and in a hurry.

Clarks, bought in 2007
This brown bag is very efficient!  It's got 3 compartments inside.  My only problem with this one is the lining.  I keep mending it, it's just not durable enough.

from a bag shop in Sheringham, bought in 2008
This is the most efficient of all.  The shape is like that of a doctor's bag and it is big inside.  It's amazing sometimes when I put too much in it and it gets too heavy and yet it still has more room for more things!  It is also mistaken to be a designer bag but it's not.  I wonder if the pattern is a copy of any designer label? It's beginning to look worn out now but I still love it!

Don't you love bags? I'm sure you do!  What is it that you look for when buying a bag?  Share with me your thoughts and let me know what you've got in your collection!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Loving Horning

Note: This post is dedicated to 4 special women in my life: my sister, Jeen and my two Ninangs, Jill and Ruby and my Nanay. Wish you were with me to enjoy this place.

Have you been to a place in England called Horning? If you haven't, you should come and see. It is a small beautiful village with stunning country houses and if you go near the small lake (dike), you wouldn't want to leave the is just picturesque.

I'm sharing with you some photos I've taken with my husband. Forgive me for lack of lighting, it was sunset when I was taking the photos and my old digital camera was playing up. I didn't realise they weren't that good until I saw them on my computer.

I won't say much on this post as the pictures speak for themselves.  I will take some new photos today and make sure they are better ones then post them again for you all to see.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

New Face

Conversations with Self has a new face.  I've decided it needs a make-over.  I got tired of the pink background and very plain template.  I've discovered the Blogger has recently launched new design templates so I gave it a try.

How does it look?  Please tell me if the design is okay or if it hurts the eye.  I want the readers to like the template and for easy reading for everybody.  Please be honest and let me know.  Would really appreciate it!

Feel free to also email me at


Trash or Treasure?

My husband likes antiques but strangely enough, he doesn't like me getting clothes from the charity shop....until recently, he seemed to change his mind.

I have started a small collection of decorative plates. The one on the left (above) was a Christmas gift from my friend in Cromer who is an antique dealer. It's a Coalport - Rose Cluster 1994 collection. The one on the right was also a gift from a friend which she got from a second-hand shop, an Edwardian (no date on it).

I have a friend, based in Norfolk, who is an antique dealer and hubby's childhood friend who is based in Lancashire is also an antique dealer so we are really not new to the knowledge that there is value in old things! Husband seems to have changed his mind about me buying clothes when I mentioned to him about a lovely lady who used to be a work colleague and now runs her own on-line business selling previously owned and vintage clothes. (If you wish to visit her blog, please click here.)

So the past few weeks, we have been combing all of Norwich for charity shops and found really beautiful items that I'd like to share with you!

I've started collecting decorative covered jars like this (above) I've now got two!
This jar costs a mere £1.50 if I remember it right!

I found this lovely F&F red floral skirt and bought it for £2.60

This black TM Lewin skirt is, surprisingly, brand new in a charity shop for £3.40!

I got a pink blanket for £2.50! Look, I can also use it as a bedspread!

So far, this is my husband's favourite - a Welsh dresser which we bought for £35! Shocking, eh?
It was stained with a funny reddish brown woodstain.
We plan to paint it with something a little bit on the browner side but not yet.
It looks good as it is, don't you think?

One's trash is another person's treasure!

I have learnt from my antique-dealer-lady-friend that I must not buy brand new china as she finds it to be a rip-off. She is now looking out for a good china set for me which will not cost me a fortune. She also told me to buy gold jewelry from car boot fairs and charity shops, not the high street. Whilst it is nice to shop for brand new things and I must admit, I get excited shopping on the high street for brand new clothes but my question is - why spend a fortune from shops for something that you can get for only a fraction of the price somewhere else? Don't get me wrong, I still shop brand new clothes majority of the time but sometimes you can find really nice things in charity shops!

I know charity and second-hand shops can sometimes look like they are full of rubbish, useless small things. But if you try just a little bit harder, you may find nice things like what I did!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Potted plants and Tiny garden (again!)

Sharing with you some more photos of my potted plants with flowers blooming!!!! This is my yellow gerbera in a pot. This plant doesn't look so happy. I don't know what to do anymore. It looks so sad when there's too much sun or when I water it a little bit too much. I don't know though how much is just enough. *Sigh*
My lovely begonias!!!! These plants look so happy and just keep producing more an dmore and more flowers!!!! I love them!!!
Also a glimpse of a bench surrounded by potted plants and flowers - a beautiful resting place that my husband and I created. We sit there and just go quiet...sometimes we watch the sunset or wait there for Jurell coming home from school.
Husband's hanging plants attached to the wall outside the house are beautifully producing lots of flowers! These are geraniums...I so love them! We also have a white rose bush!
This is now the array of my potted plants on the windowsill in the living room. I have from left: ficus, orange gerbera, red begonia, yellow begonia, pink pointsettia, another yellow begonia and flaming katy. They are all so beautiful! I do hope you are enjoying all the colours of summer! It is so hot today and everybody is enjoying it over here where I am. In a couple of months, it will be autumn so let's enjoy the sun whilst it lasts!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Love Yourself - Love Others - The Retrochick Challenge Part 2

A few days ago, I took on Retrochick's challenge to list five things I like about myself. This time, I am going to give you a list of 5 people on the blogosphere and something that I like about each of them. It took me a few days to finish this post due to the fact that I do not have photographs of the friends that I want to feature on this post. Since I still haven't gotten around to emailing them to ask for photos, I am putting a link to the blogsite instead. I have decided to give two lovely things about each of my blog friends. These people are not just people that I know over the internet. I call them my friends due to the fact that when my husband was working on nights - for 3 years - and I was alone at home, they kept me company - yes, on line. We emailed each other, chatted away on YM or over the phone. To be honest, there are more than five. But since the challenge says five, I'm doing only that. I have picked the ones that have recently been active on line - on Facebook or blog. To those I have not picked, you know you are still very dear to know who you are! Here's my list: I love MJ's hair - that is shiny, soft and black. I always look at her photos and admire just how shiny they are....and I love MJ for her sweetness. She always has something very nice to say when she writes to me or says something on my FB wall. Here's a link to her blogsite: It's a Beautiful Life. I love Ruthi's lips -that they are full and that a little bit pouty. Maybe it's just me but when I look at Ruthi's lips, they resemble Angelina Jolie's pouted lips just a little bit....and I love Ruthi for tirelessly offering help on my blog, giving me tips on things like possibilities of making money (which I still haven't gotten around to doing!), taking photographs, links that will give me more tips on blogging, etc. She's such a darling! Here's a link to one of her blogsites: A Carpenter's Wife's Tool Box. I love Wen's eyes - that they are beautiful and brown. I love looking at her face and those tantalizing brown eyes. Wen is a very good friend of mine and I feel so blessed for her. Here's a link to her blogsite: Life in the Northwest Town. I love Makis' figure - that she's so slim and I envy her! She doesn't seem to have any flabs at all! And when I saw a photo of her in a bathing suit, I was breathless!!!! I also love Maki's wit. She's just so clever and I enjoy reading all of her blog posts. Here's a link to her blogsite: A Relative World. I love Gina's smile - that it is almost innocent and childlike. I like looking at her photos with that smile of hers - the kind that seems to capture anyone she meets. Gina is a very amiable and lovable person. Here's a link to her blogsite: Not From the Peanut Gallery. Apologies for not being able to show photos of my beautiful friends but you can look at their photos by clicking on the link to their blog. That also gives you the chance to have a look what they've recently posted. I hope you enjoy reading their posts because I do! To MJ, Ruthi, Wen, Makis, Gina and all of my friends out there who have blessed my life and continue to bless it, thank you for being there!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What do you do to relax?

My yellow gerbera. Very sensitive plant. Just a little excess water will make it droopy. My yellow begonia. I have red begonia as well. I love them. They are so beautiful. They just produce flowers and more flowers!
Do you go out and see a film? Do you go to the beach? Do you go out with friends to have a good laugh? You can actually do any of the above. My husband and I do different things like getting a DVD that we like. I get mine and he gets his - we like different films. I watch films on my own in the bedroom because I like girly flicks. He likes documentaries and war films. We also go to the beach and just sit there and relax. We go to a Thai treatment centre - I get a back, neck and shoulder massage which is completely heaven and husband gets a foot massage. But going to treatment centres to get this is luxury. With a tight budget, you cannot do this as often as you want it! Relaxing doesn't have to cost any of us a fortune. There is one thing that I have started doing and that truly helps me. Flower gardening!
Flower Gardening is therapeutic! I haven't done gardening my whole life. I am a beginner in this sort of thing. I had to buy books to help me. Even my husband who used to plant tomatoes and potatoes in his past life isn't very knowledgeable when it comes to flower gardening. So we both have to learn together. I'm finding it very interesting indeed. The potted plants above are the ones that are on my windowsill in the livingroom. I got them from a garden centre and the flowers were already blooming when I got them so I really didn't have to do much except to keep the compost moist at all times and to make sure they are fed. Watching the flowers bloom in the summer gives me the most relaxing feeling. We have a small garden in the front and back of the house that we try to maintain in whatever spare time we have. All the flowers are currently in bloom as well! An hour a day! And get some sleep! I have recently read in a magazine that we all have to get at least an hour a day to take our minds off things, forget all the worries and just sit and relax. It is not easy for me to do this especially when my boy is unwell. Husband and I have to be watchful 24/7. We get a little bit of rest when he is well enough to be at school. I make sure that I catch up on my sleep when I can. If my son is at home and he is ok and sleeping, I also go to bed and sleep. Husband sometimes doesn't feel like doing this. He finds it difficult to get some sleep just like that so he goes birdwatching when he can and he loves this so much. Lastly, Just do nothing. Remember when we were children when we would be outside doing nothing. Just looking blankly in space perhaps. Or looking at absolutely nothing. We probably looked like we were daydreaming but really it's doing nothing. If you have read one of Richard Templar's books, The Rules of Life, Rule No 24 is 'Leave a little space for yourself each day.' On the second paragraph, he asked, 'So what are you going to do with that time?' His answer: absolutely nothing. But in this busy world, as grown-ups, we are no longer used to doing nothing. My husband once said to my GP during one of my check-ups, 'My wife, as soon as she wakes up, she starts to do something. She never sits down. She is always doing something! Washing the dishes, hoovering, doing the laundry. I have to ask her to sit down with me in the lounge and just watch the telly!' My GP just looked at me and shrugged her shoulders, then said, 'You've got to relax a little bit.' She is right. My husband is right. Richard Templar is right. I have to stop and relax. We all do. So after posting this, I'm going to sit in the living room and do nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Love Yourself - The Retrochick Challenge

What do you love about yourself? One of my favourite blogs, Retrochick, posted a challenge to list 5 good things we love about ourselves. I wasn't tagged but would like to take up the challenge! I think Retrochick and us women have things we don't like about ourselves. But it's true what Retrochick said, we don't usually say the good things about ourselves. That's why this is a challenge! This is Retrochick's challenge: Love yourself for who you are and what you really look like under all of those vintage clothes. Pick out 5 things about yourself that you think are beautiful and post them on your blog, facebook, whatever. Then, pick 5 other people in blogland and post one thing about that person that you love (and really envy them for!) - this one I will do on next post. I don't know if it's got something to do with age but these days, I don't spend hours in front of the mirror like I did when I was younger. Don't get me wrong, I am not that old, ha! But I do remember the days when I'd take every chance I could get to look at myself in the mirror, even checking my reflection out when I'd walk past a glass panel or a shop window! That's how vain I was in my past life. I also used to practice my best smile, that kind of smile where the tiny dimple on my left cheek would show...I'm not sure if it was a dimple though...more like a tiny wrinkle to me. Anyways, before I forget the main purpose of this post, I must begin! What I like about goes: My nose. I like my nose that it isn't too flat and it isn't too pointed. Just right. In the Philippines, they call it 'matangos', meaning 'pointed.' But really when you move to a place where everybody has a pointed nose, mine becomes flat. When you look at Filipino women and I'm one of them, I will not look different. We all look alike. But I still like my nose. My husband doesn't seem to think it's different from other noses but I like it. Full stop. My skin. I like it that it is light brown. I like it that I don't have to go to get a tan. I like it that in my teenage years, I didn't suffer from lots of pimples. I like it this way. This reminds me of an ex-boyfriend who made me feel like I was ugly because I was light brown. He'd be so angry with me when I'd expose myself in the sun and would annoyingly get an umbrella for me to use - just because I was already brown! He wanted me to have lighter skin because he thought the lighter your skin is, the prettier you are! Yes, girls, I dumped him. My lips. I like them that they are full. My husband says they are nice because they are not too full, just right. My hair. I like it that it is dark brown. I can colour it jet black or light brown. But I cannot get any more colour other than black or brown. I don't want experimenting too much on hair colour. I just like the colour of my hair as it is. Although these days, I have to start hiding the grey hair that's starting to appear! Hmp! My Eyes. I like them that they are brown. They look black from afar but if you look closer, they are brown. My mother told me that when I was born, my eyes were blue! Now I don't know if I'd believe that or not but the colour changed as I was growing up. Can you imagine a brown woman with blue eyes! I wonder if my eyes were blue today, would I look normal??? I have not been blessed with long eyelashes like other women. My friend Nisha has the most beautiful long eyelashes...and I just love looking at her big brown eyes and long lashes! Sadly, I don't have that. But not to worry, I can always get false eyelashes if I want to! Now, I must tag 5 friends to do the same! I am tagging Gemma, Ruthi, Betchai, Wen and MJ to do the same! You can do this by posting this on your blog or on your wall on Facebook or Twitter...whichever or whatever way you wish to do it. You can do it too even if I have not tagged you! I will be posting my 5 favourite bloggers on next post and list things I love about them! I'd like to repeat what Retro Chick said at the end of her post: We are all fabulous!