Reflections in a time of stillness

Reflections in time of stillness, social distancing during corona virus

What a strange time we are in. 2020 started as per normal, new year solutions made, anticipation for what the year will bring and nothing of the sort of concern which revolves around a world wide pandemic of the Coronavirus and restricted movements for most parts of the world and here in Singapore.

What’s more, to be pregnant during this time and looking to shift into our new BTO! The start of the year was a steep learning curve for me as I had to adjust to the new life of being pregnant.

The circuit breaker period is a time of pause for me, an opportunity to take a break from rushing around trying to maximise the time to do everything possible. It’s a sudden shift of pace from the previous months during which every weekend we were out looking for things related to our house.

The first week of not leaving the house for non-essential needs felt stifling and hectic as I had to adjust to a new way of working. I wasn’t unfamiliar with working from home, but working from home for 5 days a week for weeks was a different matter. Personal and work time seem to blend into one and I have to intentionally try to draw distinctions between work and off work. There wasn’t the usual commute to help with the transition. So I made sure that I had to set up my work station every morning and close shop in the evening to give myself the signal that work has ended.

It was also strange to work in an environment where everyone was home. Fortunately, we had enough space in the house for everyone to have their personal space to do their own things for most parts of the day. Though I do find myself with lesser personal space and time to unwind and think.

To top things off, add the entire department trying to adjust to the new working style and making sure business is as usual, that is a whole set of challenges all together.

Now in this seemingly standstill, there are different things to do but no places to rush too. All at once, there seems to be more and less things to do. Because we are home all the time, I decided to cook more often to make sure we didn’t indulge in too much unhealthy food. (Also delivery fees really do add up quite a bit and there is only so many times a week I can eat from the same shop.)

So there was a lot more of washing, cleaning and preparing meals for not just myself. Something I am not used to do on a daily basis.

Time passes as fast even though I am not physically moving anywhere and I have gotten used to the rhythm of staying home most of the time. This week as we finish the month of April, I find myself more settled down and using the pockets of time that I have for reflection.

Tips for Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck issue

Tips for Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck issue

Cooked up a storm only to find that you can’t get the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid to open? Here’s what worked for me in getting the lid unstuck.

I have been using the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 for a year or so now in my kitchen. It is a digital pressure cooker with multi-cooking functions like saute/searing, baking or even making yogurt. The cooker has been a great help because I can leave the food to cook unsupervised while I do other tasks like laundry or chill out at the sofa. Definitely helps me to save time when it comes to cooking.

There are some draw backs though, it is not great at cooking too complicated dishes. It is tricky to manage the cooking time for different ingredients, and it takes some trial and error to get the dish to taste the way I want it to because I cannot just pop open the lid to check how the dish is doing. It shines the best when it comes to cooking one pot meals like stews or soups.

Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck?

Recently, I ran into the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck issue. Even though the pressure inside the pot was released to zero, I was unable to open the lid.

Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck

When I turned the cooker on-and-off, the screen showed that the pressure was at 1kpa. Despite letting the cooker cool for an hour and the pressure in the pot had dropped to zero after the cooling, I was still unable to pop the lid open.

I tried to reset the digital settings in the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 by using the steaming function and releasing the pressure manually by cancelling the process mid-way once the pressure cooker was releasing some pressure. But that did not work as well.

Tips to resolve the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck issue

1. Get help from Philips Whatsapp Customer Care

Thankfully the Philips WhatsApp customer care was still available, so I reached out and the tip they provided was to unplug the unit, let it cool for a few minutes. After it cools down, plug the unit and set it to sauté for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes let it cool again for a few minutes and try to open the lid.

Unfortunately, that did not work and because my soup was still stuck inside I tried to pressurise the cooker up a few times in hopes that the pressure will force the blockage or reset the cooker, but it still did not work.

2. Trial and error with the multi-cooking functions

Searching online showed that some customers have had similar problems but there was no listed solution except for one customer sharing that the lid opened up after he/she experimented with the multi-coking function. The other solution was this YouTube video showing how to open up the lid with tools (in worst case scenario) and to try first using the sauté function for 10 minutes.

I left the pot to cool off for the night before trying again the next morning, and this time I tried the above YouTube video method and sadly it did not work. I had an appointment so left the cooker alone for 3 hours and when I came back, it still did not open.

Gave it one more shot by turning it on manual to 20kpa and cancelling the cooking half-way and TADAH it opened!! What a relief! I was really thankful that the Philips customer care service was very patient in trying to help me schedule a pick up service and for providing assistance through out the entire process.

I wonder if the issue happened because the valves may have been clogged up due to the congee I was cooking earlier in the afternoon before my soup. The other users who faced the same the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck issue did not mention what they were cooking during the process so it is hard to determine the reason.

Hopefully this is just a rare occurrence as the Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 has been reliable so far!

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Tips for Philips all-in-one cooker HD2145 lid stuck issue

5 Key Takeaways from the Freelancer Impacthon (Apr 2019 Edition)

5 Key Takeaways from the Freelancer Impacthon,

What do you get when you put a room full of diverse freelancers with real-world issues to be solved? You get a night filled with creative problem solving and zealous exchange of knowledge.

Intrigued by the idea of creating workable solutions to social problems, support communities and helping the environment, I took part in the Freelancer Impacthon organised by CreativesAtWork.


Here are my five key takeaways from the Freelancer Impacthon

1. Use creativity to make marketing work on a low budget

During the guest sharing by Stanley Kan, a digital marketing strategist, he touched on how to creatively run affordable marketing campaign. Founder of his own marketing companies, Stanley drew examples from his personal journey and provided valuable insights on how to make the most of one’s budget.

The stories he shared dispelled my misconception that marketing requires a large budget and it was beyond an average person’s reach. Fellow freelancers also shared their experiences on using marketing for personal branding. Encouraged by everyone’s sharing and actionable ideas, I was keen to explore how marketing would enable me to enhance my personal brand.

on how to creatively run affordable marketing campaign,

2. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life

The Impacthon challenges came from ComCorp and Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR). Peter from ComCorp wanted to look into changing Singaporean’s mindset of purchasing vegetables that did not look perfect because they are grown pesticides-free. Matt and Sarah from CMCR were exploring ways to integrate their mission and values of championing quality coffee and sustainability practices into their new product launch.

Motivated by the companies’ determination to do good for the environment and our community despite the business challenges faced, we were buzzing with energy to come up workable solutions for the challenges.

Even though it was close to 10pm on a weekday, the teams were reluctant to end our discussions. We had to be herded into the room by the organisers to pitch our solutions. After the event ended, many of us remained behind to continue the discussion with the companies and fellow freelancers.

Issue of challenge by ComCorp and Common Man Coffee Roasters

3. Diversity sparks great ideation

To stimulate a real-world freelance working environment, we were spilt up into random teams and assigned to work with one of the companies on their challenge. My team and I were tasked to work on CMRC’s challenge. Coming from different backgrounds, we were able to tap on each other’s expertise and view the challenge from various perspectives.

I was surprised by the wide range of ideas generated. The younger teammates came up with high tech ideas such as using augmented reality to create buzz and educate consumers about the coffee production journey. The more experienced teammates provided feedback on the ideas generated based on experiences from past projects. Despite working on similar problems, each team came up with unique viewpoints and solutions for the companies.

freelance impacthaon pitching,

4. Always keep the goal in mind

At the end of our pitch, the companies took the opportunity to provide us with valuable feedback on how we can fine tune it. I appreciated Matt from CMCR generous sharing of his perspective as a client and what he was looking out for in a pitch. He reminded us to assure clients that their needs were understood and to focus on one or two ideas during the pitch.

5. Have Fun and Make Friends

The Impacthon was a warm and friendly environment to connect with like-minded individuals. It was also an opportunity to get to meet and learn from people whom I would not have the chance to meet outside of this event. I had fun exchanging information and learning about different industries from fellow attendees.

I was also super excited to catch up with fellow courses mates from the previous Freelancing 101 Bootcamp. Even though the bootcamp was only two days, because of the interactive activities that were integrated into the programme, a sense of camaraderie had formed between us.

At the end of the night, I was inspired by the passion and sincerity of the group. The challenges brought up by the companies had me thinking about how we can step up to do more for our community as well as the environment.


Freelancing and Parenthood: Lessons Learnt from the Freelancing 101 Bootcamp

Freelancing and Parenthood,

Stepping into the world of freelancing is intimidating when you are not from a typical freelancing industry, and none of your friends are doing so. Especially in Singapore where according to the 2018 statistics, only 8.4% of Singapore’s resident workforce are primary freelancers who depended on self-employment as their livelihood.

I have always been attracted to the concept of freelancing because of the autonomy it provides. Being able to decide when and where to work, is even more important to me now that I am looking to start a family.

Having grown up with parents who work full time, our family spent most of the time apart from each other. Not wanting the same for my children, I see freelancing as an opportunity to continue working as well as have the ability to adjust my schedule accordingly to suit my family’s needs. This is a flexibility which a traditional 9 to 5 job is unable to provide.

However, being a freelancer would mean dealing with an unstable income and giving up other paid benefits like medical leave and vacation leave. Compared to the assurance of being paid a fixed salary monthly, freelancing is a daunting prospect with Singapore’s high cost of living.

Caught in a dilemma, I tried searching online for more information about freelancing in Singapore. The information available was not particularly helpful as most of the content are catered for western countries. Fortunately, one of the search results was the Freelance 101 Bootcamp organsied by CreativesAtWork. Thinking the boot camp would be a good way to start exploring the option of freelancing, I signed up for it with much anticipation.

Here are the 5 things I learnt about becoming a freelancer as a parent-to-be from the Freelancing 101 Bootcamp:

1) Have a right mindset

The media paints a sensational image of freelancing – it leads us to think that freelancing is all about hanging out at the beach with your laptop. In reality, being a freelancer means you have to work harder and work smarter than the rest of the pack. Having the tenacity and taking action despite fear are the two top qualities needed to achieve success.

2) Have a proper financial plan before starting

Realistically, it takes up to a year before things stabilise, so it is essential to have enough savings and insurance policies set in place to weather the storms. Furthermore, starting a family would require more cash flow, and it is paramount to ensure adequate inflow of money especially during the periods of waiting to be paid after the completion of projects.

3) Take time out to make friends

Networking although arduous is crucial to getting visibility and standing out in a competitive market place. It is also an opportunity to make new friends and collaborate on projects. I met a few mothers during the boot camp and between talks about parenthood, we shared our concerns about becoming a freelancer. It was reassuring to know that I was not the only one feeling this way.

Being a freelancer means not having colleagues and working on your own most of the time. It gets lonely, so by getting to know others who are working in the same environment, it widens one’s social support. Having social support keeps us motivated and helps us deal with stress better.

Fun fact! A poll during the boot camp revealed that freelancers do their work mostly in Starbucks. The next time I am at Starbucks, I definitely will check out who’s working next to me and say hi!

4) Price yourself right

Take into consideration all the factors when determining one’s rates. Even include things like expenses and how many days of holiday you want. Not shortchanging yourself is crucial. That means raising your fees too when required. As parents, because there will be more expenses which we will need to deal with, it is essential that we factor them in.

5) Create your value

Having a good portfolio will catch the eye of potential clients, but the key to clinching a deal is to highlight the value we bring to the table. It is the pre-requisite now to enter the freelance market with excellent skills, so communicating our value will give us an advantage in winning the client over.

At the end of the two days, I was more confident about my decision to become a freelancer. The Freelancing 101 Bootcamp gave me the foundation I needed to start my journey. I was inspired by my talented course mates and their passion for their craft. The interactive activities were great ice breakers and helped me to build friendships.

I am sure that freelancing would be an option not just for individuals who do not fancy working in an office, but also for parents who desire more flexibility in their work to customise the way they spend time with their family. Although the concept of freelancing is still developing in Singapore, there are growing communities such as CreativesAtWork who are making it happen and supporting each other. I am thrilled to be a part of this movement and look forward to being a freelancer mom!

Thoughts on being a parent in Singapore

Thoughts on Being a Parent in Singapore,

A mixed bag of feelings accompanies me on our journey to set up a family.

The decision to be a parent is never an easy one. Especially in an affluent society like Singapore where the majority of us are fortunate enough to not worry about putting food on the table. Our general concerns in life revolve around where to go for our next holiday and what shows to watch. We have the flexibility to be free, both economically and with our time.

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The Hard Truth of Financial Freedom: Are We Willing to Pay the Price?

The Hard Truth of Financial Freedom

Many of us want to be rich, but most of us are not willing to pay the price of being rich Mr. Loo Cheng Chuan, founder of the 1M65 (1 Million by 65) movement, shared this hard truth at the Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2019. His message is also my key take away for my journey towards financial freedom.

Achieving financial freedom requires hard work and sacrifices

Mr. Loo Cheng Chuan shared his origin story about how he strived and worked hard to make his mark despite the setbacks from the financial crisis. It is an inspiring story because so much of today’s news is about how successful individuals make money from quick wins: starting and selling profitable businesses or investing in high risks instruments like cryptocurrency. We tend to forget that these are rare and exceptional cases and most of the time, to achieve financial freedom, hard work and sacrifice are required to pave the way.

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Hidden Gems in Woodlands: Admiralty Park & Woodlands Waterfront

Hidden Gems in Woodlands,

Sometimes all it takes is a little adventure to discover a different side of the city. Beyond the popularity of Hort Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, there are two hidden gems in the highly urbanised estate of Woodlands.

Mention Woodlands, and the typical reaction you get is “Wah! So near Malaysia!” Besides the usual association with traffic jams at the Causeway, most would also think of industrial buildings and HDB flats.

Seldom would one think of a view like this:

Admiralty Park Mangrove,

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No Prep Kale Chips in 12 Minutes!

no prep kale chips recipe

Kale chips – the perfect guilt free snack: salty, crunchy and a REAL VEGETABLE! (Looking at all you bogus vegetable chips that are marketed as being made from “vegetables” 😛) The down side is store bought kale chips are crazy expensive. $6 for a handful, gulp! Not really guilt free for the wallet. 😭 A fresh bunch of kale thought cost about $5, and that makes about 3 – 4 serving of kale chips. Here’s an easy kale chips recipe that is guilt free, wallet friendly and best of all, no preparation required! No reason to reach for that unhealthy snack because making a healthy snack takes time. Get your kale chips in 12 minutes with this recipe.

➡️ Recipe: No Prep Kale Chips in 12 Minutes ⬅️

All you need is just fresh kale, olive oil and salt!

Cooking time: 12 minutes


– Handful of fresh kale

– Olive oil Spinach

– Salt (I use pink Himalaya salt)


1. Separate the kale leaves from the stem by roughly tearing it by hand. Wash the leaves and pat dry or shake the water off the leaves. Place the leaves in a baking tray.

2. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Don’t sprinkle too much salt as the leaves will shrivel up in the baking process and the salt gets concentrated on the leaves.

kale chips preparation

3. Bake the leaves in the oven at 180 degrees celcius for 12 minutes or until crispy.

Enjoy the kale chips while it pipping hot or it stays crunchy when cooled too. Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think of it or tag @everydaychooselove on instagram! 

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Save your wallet and time with this no prep 12 minutes kale chips recipe


What I learnt from a month of the no spend challenge

What I Learnt From The No Spend Challenge, spending detox

I constantly struggle with frivolous spending, so I am starting the new year with a no spend detox: no spend challenge for the month of January! Aside from the essential necessities like groceries and food, I am not to spend on anything else, including things like clothes, cooking accessories, tech toys, etc.

It’s now three weeks past January and here’s what I learnt:

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“Instant noodles” healthy hack

Speedy Healthy Noodles, instant noodles healthy hack

What?! Am I sharing a recipe for instant noodles on the first week of 2019 just as I declared that my #2019goals were to get healthier and eat better? No way!

Sometimes you just need a quick win in life, and also a gentle introduction to the rest of the family that healthy food ≠ death of all comfort food and joys of life. 😆

After a crazy day of running errands, I needed a fast meal to feed everyone. So the “instant noodles” used is not the usual chemical and addictive laden instant noodles that most of us grew up with. There are now various options in the grocery store for non-fried, no preservative noodles. 

With more consumers taking a stand for their health, manufacturers have tried to capitalise on this trend and started pushing out healthier alternatives to our comfort foods. (Although never believe what you see on the packaging, always read the nutrition label. Just because it says it is healthy, doesn’t mean it is healthy. 🤔)

➡️ Recipe: Speedy Healthy Noodles ⬅️

This dish makes use of what you have in your fridge, and it’s versatile enough to change up the flavours to suit the tastebuds of everyone in the family.

Cooking time: 20 minutes


– Cubed chicken filet or protein of your choice

– Spinach, shiitake mushrooms, baby China wongbok or vegetables of your choice

– Non-fried, no preservative noodles. This time, I tried Koka Fat Free Plain Noodles as it cooks fast and the nutrition label seems pretty decent? (< 400mg per 100g of sodium and <5g per 100g of sugar.)

– Soy sauce, dark soy sauce, ginger paste, sesame oil, chilli (optional) 


1. Stir fry chicken fillets (or protein of choice) with olive oil, soy sauce, sesame sauce.

2. Add some chilli sauce for a spicy kick. (I use Mekhala Organic Issan Thai Chilli Hot Sauce)

3. Remove the cooked chicken if you want to serve it separately and in the same pot, stir fry vegetables of your choice with olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil. I use an easy to wash and chop mixture of spinach, shiitake mushroom and baby China wongbok.

4. In another pot (or the same pot if you like, but do remove the cooked ingredients first!) cook the noodles of your choice according to the directions on the packaging. If you’re good at multi-tasking you can cook your noodles concurrently while stir-frying the rest of the ingredients. Drain the water from the noodles when it is cooked.

5. For the dressing of the noodles, mix together soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger paste (and chili sauce if preferred) to give the sauce more flavour.

6. For a richer taste, stir fry the noodles with the dressing. Alternatively, pour the dressing over the noodles and mix well.

7. Serve with the stir-fry dishes.

Saved the day with your version of this dish? Tag @everydaychooselove on instagram and let me know how it went! 

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Busy day? No problem! Dish out a meal with this speedy healthy instant noodles recipe.