family love

Mum’s Home Cooked Food is ALWAYS the Best!

Having my Mum here in the latter stages of pregnancy has been a godsend. ¬†As you may remember, I had a crazy and hectic but fun maternity leave for 2 weeks but since I blogged about that, everything went tits up and I physically could not manage to keep all my social appointments ūüôĀ ¬†It kinda sucks but it’s my body telling me to slow down and rest because there won’t be any of that with a newborn! ¬†Anyway, my Mum has been pampering me with the BEST home cooked food EVERRRRRR! ¬†It’s simple plain Chinese cooking but there’s just something so comforting about my Mum’s cooking…and I know she has prepared and cooked the food with love. ¬†I feel truly blessed! ¬†#ilovemymum

So naturally, I wanted to showcase my Mum’s amazing home cooked food…except I realised that I’ve been gulping down the food more often than bringing out my camera to take photos. ¬†Oopsie. ¬†I’ve only got 3 photos here but oh well… ¬†Have a look and drool…

chicken chow mein, chicken veg stir fry noodles, chicken noodles, stir fry

This was a yummy chicken and vegetables stir fried noodles (chicken chow mein). ¬†My Mum painstakingly finely chopped all the julienned carrots and vegetables – how on earth did she get them so thin? ¬†I said to her that she could have used the food processor to whizz it down in seconds but then she replied it wouldn’t have been made with love… ¬†As for the pan in the picture, she actually bought me a few new pans from Scotland and brought them all the way to Melbourne!! ¬†Even though I can easily buy cookware in Melbourne, it warms my heart to know she bought things over in Scotland just for me…means she’s thinking of me! ¬†#ilovemymum

roast pork, roast pork crackling

This is Chinese roast pork with crackling (siew yoke) – like ZOMG!!! ¬†It was AMAZING!!! ¬†The meat was flavoured perfectly with Chinese five-spice and whatever herbs and it wasn’t fatty plus the crackling was beautifully crunchy. ¬†I want to eat this again! ¬†Mum, are you reading this??!! ¬†She took 2 days to prep the meat… ¬†I will watch her like a hawk next time and get the recipe so I can replicate this so that my child(ren) can enjoy MY home cooked food ūüôā

ginger sweet soup, sweet potato soup

I had a Princess moment one night after dinner. ¬†My Mum’s eyelids were growing heavy due to jet lag but I snapped her out of it by DEMANDING she make me Chinese sweet soup (tong sui) dessert. ¬†Those unfamiliar with Chinese desserts will not like this concoction. ¬†It is sweet potato ginger sweet soup with peanut butter glutinous rice balls (tong yune) served hot. ¬†A lot of love is required to make this sweet soup and to get the ginger and sweet balance just right. ¬†Plus the dough for the glutinous rice balls and to incorporate the peanut butter (Skippy Crunchy from Costco if you were wondering) filling. ¬†It was delish!

Okay, I am not an uber diva daughter with pregnancy Princess moments because I have also been catering to my Mum’s needs too. ¬†She LOVES carrot cake so I made her the Bourke Street Bakery version and she devoured HALF THE CAKE within 24 hours! ¬†I baked another one yesterday with a different recipe but she (and Hubby) didn’t like it as much so I guess the BSB carrot cake will be the signature one I make from now on ūüôā

best carrot cake

Costco Ringwood Opened On The Same Day My Mum Arrived In Melbourne

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Remember this crazy woman aka my Mum? ¬†Yeah well, she’s back in Melbourne! ¬†Let the #mommainoz adventures begin!

With around 4 weeks to go for the impending arrival of bubs, my Mum flew into Melbourne from Glasgow (city in Scotland) to take care of me before, during and after birth.  (Okay, after birth, all the attention will be taken away from me so I better enjoy it while I can :P)  The night before she flew, I specifically reminded her to bring TWO important items to Melbourne :-

1. ¬†“Bring your Driver’s Licence so you can drive me to my weekly hospital appointments and in case my waters break and the Husband is at work.”

  • Guess what? ¬†She did NOT bring it! ¬†Initially, her lame excuse was, “I’m too scared to drive in Australia!” ¬†Everyone who knows my Mum knows that is TOTAL BS because she has basically chauffeured me and my 6 siblings around Scotland for years…in a 9 seater van – and she is FEARLESS!! ¬†The REAL TRUTH is that she didn’t know where she put her licence!!! ¬†*ahem* And that explains why I NEVER know where my passport / important documents are and go into panic mode – I INHERITED IT FROM HER!!!

2. ¬†“Bring your Costco card because Costco is opening up in Ringwood, a suburb near me. ¬†We can save 3 months membership by using your card as Costco cards are international.”

  • Guess what? ¬†We spent half an hour looking through her TEN TONS OF LUGGAGE for her Costco card. ¬†“Nope. ¬†Can’t find it. ¬†I totally blame Mrs Chow. ¬†I TOLD HER to pack my Costco card but she forgot. ¬†Don’t worry, I will yell at her FOR YOU!” ¬†“Mum, I TOLD YOU to pack it. ¬†You should not get your friends to pack your bags!!” ¬†“I told Mrs Chow! ¬†Don’t worry, I’m going to KILL HER for you!’ – she joked. ¬†Five seconds later, “FOUND OUT! ¬†See, I knew Mrs Chow would do the right thing!” ¬†*rolls eyes*

And with that, we went off to the Costco Ringwood opening day…

We got there before 10am, but the car park was already busy. ¬†Finding a place to park was slightly more difficult without those red / green light aids. ¬†I also didn’t spot any Parent Priority Parking spots so it may prove difficult when bubs arrives…

Costco is relatively new to Melbourne (even though there is another one in Docklands) but back in Scotland, we’ve had Costco for 10 years (I think) and coming from a big family, the bulk buying was totally worth it and we went there almost every week to shop and eat at the cafe. ¬†Mum and I both thought the layout was quite similar to the one we have in Glasgow and for a moment, I was hit with nostalgia as it brought me back to my younger years…

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For all those unfamiliar with Costco, you can only enter Costco with :-

1. ¬†A Costco membership card. ¬†You cannot just go in and browse. ¬†There is an annual fee for the card and in Australia, it is $60. ¬†Two people in the same household can use that card and they will take a photo of you so you can’t even pass it to a friend to use.

2.  Or alternatively, you can go in with a friend who has a Costco card.  With a Costco card, you can bring along two friends.  BUT ONLY THE COSTCO MEMBER CAN BUY THINGS!

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Costco Ringwood were VERY STRICT because when we went to pay for our Costco shopping haul, the cashier said that they couldn’t accept my Husband’s credit card and that MY MUM had to pay since she was the Costco member. ¬†“Only the Costco member can purchase things in here. ¬†No-one else can pay for this!”

I was like – “WTF? ¬†That’s dumb! ¬†She just arrived today from Scotland and does not have any Australian money on her! ¬†I am her daughter and he is my husband. ¬†That is RIDICULOUS!” ¬†(I don’t usually have outbursts like that but it must be my pregnancy hormones or something which made me get angry…! ¬†Oops!)

Not knowing what to say, the cashier called over some floor manager dude. ¬†And he was like – “OH! ¬†Let me just check with HQ.”

Meanwhile, I was still ranting and raving at the checkout to my Mum (but secretly yelling at the checkout girl even though it’s not her who makes up the rules). ¬†“So if we have cash, does it mean that you would have to PERSONALLY hand it over to pay. ¬†Or can I touch the cash? ¬†That’s just DUMB DUMB DUMB! ¬†Why is Australia so stupid and strict?? ¬†It doesn’t even make sense!! ¬†As long as someone is willing to pay, right?”

Floor manager dude returns and says it is okay this time under special circumstances.

So yeah, if you saw a Chinese preggo chick causing a scene at Costco Ringwood at the checkout on the opening day, it was ME!  But I blame my preggo hormones.  I am usually a shy, sweet-smiling kinda gal!

Apart from that unfortunate incident, I am still a big advocate of Costco. ¬†Coming from America, Costco obviously features a lot of US brands and Costco’s own brand, Kirkland Signature…but I think it’s great that they have locally sourced Australian goods too. ¬†I have been encouraging all my friends and colleagues to become a Costco member and that the $60 annual membership is totally worth it! ¬†But seeing as some people have never been inside Costco, I decided to take some photos to show whoever is interested in what you can buy in Costco.

Things You Can Buy In Costco

1.  Electrical goods including TVs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, speakers

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  • Photo shows the Samsung 75″ LED Smart TV at $6999.99 – is it cheaper in shops such as JB Hi Fi? ¬†I don’t know! ¬†I know you can bargain at JB Hi Fi though… ¬†However, I know refunds are SUPER EASY in Scotland (not too sure about anal Australian rules) and I have previously refunded an iPod Touch with no receipt and my Mum returned a TV she bought a few years ago (with no box / packaging / receipt) which suddenly stopped working and there were no questions asked as they have a fantastic refund / warranty policy. ¬†Best to check Australian guidelines anyway.

2.  Supersized items from teddy bears to food and condiments

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  • Even if you don’t buy these supersized items, it makes a great photo prop ūüėõ

3.  Freshly baked goodies including croissants, danish pastries, cakes, bagels, muffins

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  • I am ABSOLUTELY gutted though because I love Costco danish pastries in Scotland and I can eat SO MANY in one sitting…but the ones in Australia have custard in the pastry crusts and that’s a BIG no no for lactose-intolerant-dairy-hating me. ¬†GAHHHH!!! ¬†(Yes, I HATE custard and cheese and milk!)

4.  Big food platters including sandwiches, buffalo wings, prawns, salads

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  • Perfect for all occasions including barbecues, staff meetings, house parties – saves you doing all the hard work!!

5.  Fresh seafood

  • Now that’s something new we haven’t got in Scotland so it was interesting for us to see a Fresh Seafood section in the middle of the food department

6.  Rotisserie with roast chicken, chicken wings and ribs

  • I am not usually a big fan of rotisserie chickens because I think I can make a better roast…but Costco roast chickens are YUMMYBALLS!! ¬†And only cost $7.99 (if memory serves me right)

7.  Fish and meat

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  • We bought the big salmon fillet and short rib beef for dinner that night and it was DELICIOUS – but it may be because I have missed my Mum’s homecooked food *hehe*

8.  Optical department sells contacts lenses, glasses, sunglasses, contact lens solution

  • Not tried the optical services in Australia but back in Scotland, we get our optical shizz in Costco and get our eyes tested there too (not sure if we can do that here as I forgot to look)

9.  Other stuff like bath tubs, garden sheds, clothes, household gadgets (KitchenAid РI want one!), beauty products, nappies, toilet rolls, books, DVDs, American snacks, etc, etc.

costco ringwood, costco australia, what to buy in costco,

  • I can spend hours browsing Costco but it gets a bit hectic when there’s a big crowd of people.

costco ringwood, costco australia, what to buy in costco

There are also many pop-up stalls to let you sample food and drink which I think is a great idea. ¬†That’s me about to eat some Poppycock – candied popcorn which is pretty yum.

Back in the Glasgow branch, Costco provides customers breakfast (before 11am, I think) when they are shopping with a cup of tea or coffee and half a muffin or croissant.  Ahhh, I miss that so much!

After a spot of shopping, you can head to the cafe where they sell a small selection of food – Pizza, Hot Dogs, Salads, Chicken Bakes. ¬†Unfortunately, in Australia, they don’t sell my favourite Baked Potatoes!!! ¬†Have to fly back to Scotland to get my Costco Baked Potato fix ūüėõ

Anyway, I can’t believe I just wrote a post dedicated to my love for Costco! ¬†That is NUTS! ¬†OMG…is it a sign that I am turning into a Mummy Blogger or something??!! ¬†Somebody stop meeeeee!!!!

Wordless Wednesday : Turning On The Waterworks

Been bawling my eyes out non-stop since my parents left Australia this morning after their 2 week visit. ¬†Some people look beautiful when they cry. ¬†I looked in the mirror and realised that I am an ugly cry-er…which made me cry even more!!!

What makes you turn on the waterworks?  And any tips on how I can cry beautifully?