Embracing the past, appreciating the present, looking forward to the future!

“Ups and downs”

I know that is normal in life but for me, they are often magnified and blown out of proportions in my head.

I don’t think I am ill anymore, but it is just something that I will need to continuously work on in order to improve the way I handle situations in life.

It is in me to feel like I’m responsible for everything, it is in me to feel that everything is urgent, it is who I am to cry over things that I feel attached to, it is also sometimes in me to feel like disappearing will make all the problems go away.

I know “…but that’s who I am!” is not an excuse because we grow as a person after every single experience. However, I also know that evolving something fundamental takes time.

I’ve been told that I am too harsh on myself, and after quite some battle, I think I finally agree.

It doesn’t matter what title I give myself, a daughter, a girlfriend, a friend or a chef, I am still human, and it is normal to be able to feel emotions and be affected by them.

So I guess at times where I feel overwhelmed by something, I should:

  1. step back, look up and appreciate the fact that I am still breathing;
  2. calm down, think logically and see the big picture; and
  3. know that it is okay, because I can only get better from here.

🙂

Time to stop overthinking too much

I have this tendency of overthinking.


It is very much under control these days and I don’t go crazy anymore (haha), but it is inevitable to have doubts, fears and uncertainty. 

I guess I can say that I’m constantly discovering and rediscovering myself. Like I mentioned before, I like planning & routine. However, life does not happen according to any rigid plans. 

There are moments where I am more conscious about myself than other days – my mind is clearer, my work is better, and I am happier. 

However, when life gets overwhelming, I lose track of what I learnt, momentarily, struggle a little, try too hard to normalise things, and then I get a little upset with myself. 

It is then that I need to always remember to breathe, step back and re-prioritise. This is when yoga comes in for me. The practice really helps clear my mind and I wish I have more time to go more often. 

I shouldtrust my instincts and just do it sometimes… Otherwise I’ll never know what the outcome will be. This applies even more when I’m scared because it means that I’m learning and stepping out of my comfort zone!

Anyway – this post is just yet another reminder for myself to really live properly and not be clouded by the impurities that can come with all the adventures and challenges in life. 

:) 

Realising the meaning of empathy

English wasn’t my first language and I don’t think Mandarin was either. However, I feel that sometimes, I understand the Chinese language (dialects included) better even though I have been 100% English educated from 2005 until 2013. 

The word that I think people often misunderstand is “empathy”. It is easy to mistake it as a synonym of “sympathy”. To me, when I learned those words, it was difficult to understand. Language is a beautiful thing, it is easy to understand once you start looking at the broader perspective of the origin of the word. 

To me, the difference between empathy and sympathy just did not fully make sense. However, once I have had a little more life experience as well as time to really think about the meaning (with the help of the equivalent in Chinese), I realised the differences and I suppose, the true meaning of those words and how we can actually apply in our daily lives. 

I believe that empathy is equivalent to 包容 and sympathy is 同情 in Chinese. 

For my own circumstances, I felt that people didn’t “understand” me, I felt more “sorry” from the others rather than empathy. 

I used to be angry, frustrated and even blamed the people closest to me for not understanding my situation and where I was coming from. 

But now I don’t anymore. 

It was unreasonable for me to expect others who were from different walks of life to understand me the way I wanted them to. The fact that they cared enough to try, was good enough. 

I’m not saying that I’m always calm and collected these days, but I feel that I have grown up slightly and that I am able to also be more understanding of others today.

When in doubt, just take deep breaths, step back (literally & figuratively), and think. Smile, and be grateful for the positives out of the situation and try to understand. 

🙂

chamomile tea – calming


Have a great week ahead, everyone. Smile more :) 

When life gets in the way of plans…

I’m a visual planner, you see. I love making lists and plan my days out. This applies in my personal life as well as at work and for this website. It just makes it easier for me to visualise what things need to be done and I can also prioritise my tasks visually.

At the start of this year, I had so much planned for this website. I had recipes and techniques I wanted try and to then share the experiences here, as well as other general “life things” to write about. I had a list.

However, things started to get busy at work and I was also quite overwhelmed by other things in my life that it didn’t really go to plan. In the end, I just decided to let it go for a bit and not be so rigid. I had to stop being so harsh on myself for not posting regularly.

I have learned from my recent experiences and through my ex-colleagues that, sometimes, “plans will need to catch up with the changes in our lives”. I translated that from a Chinese phrase I saw at work. The phrase was “计划要赶得上变化”, it is what my ex-colleagues wrote on their white board and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

I could plan and make endless lists but at the end of the day, I need to learn to be flexible enough to not resist change. I’ve slowly managed to embrace changes in certain aspects of my life rather than being scared of them. Obviously, there are some areas of my life that I am holding on to the status quo a lot firmer but we have to take small steps.

While I did not update this space, I did actually bake some stuff here and there on my days off work. Here are some snippets:

Earl Grey Lemon Opera Petite Patissiere

Earl Grey Lavender Opera with a hint of Lemon

Chocolate Shells Petite Patissiere

Practising my chocolate tempering skills

Lavender Macarons Petite Patissiere

Lavender Dark Chocolate Macarons

Vanilla Bean Macaron Shells Petite Patissiere

Plain Macaron Shells with Vanilla Bean Specks

Roasted Milk Chocolate Macaron Petite Patissiere

Roasted Milk Chocolate Macaron

That’s it for now, my friends. Have a nice week ahead!

An Organised chaos. 

“Oh that is pretty common.”

The above quote is almost what people say when they hear that I have a condition called bipolar disorder (depression & mania). It is true that the mental disorder is quite common, but that doesn’t make it easier. 

Can you just picture this: 

You’re inside your body. Your mind is racing. You can hear everything that everyone is saying around you. You can see everything that is happening. You just can’t seem to do anything “right”. You’re stuck inside your own body. 

And then when you get around to explaining things, the mechanics of your mouth can only convey so much that everything comes out like a blabber. It is so unclear but yet everything makes sense to you. 

In your head, you KNOW you’re meant to relax, you KNOW you’re meant to take deep breaths, you KNOW all these common sense and yet you cannot control your mind. 

This is how I feel whenever I’m manic. 

I’ve gotten a lot better now and each time I have one of these episodes, I am in control of my mind more. 

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far is: stay true to yourself, you’re the only person who know yourself the best. 

Let’s take a look at this yoga analogy: imagine yourself in a group class, surrounded by people of all levels and also full length mirrors. This is a great environment for comparing yourself with others YET it is an activity which requires full focus and mindfulness. 

The positions you have to hold are adjustable based on your own level. All you need to do is know yourself, do the best you can and not compare yourself with others. 

Imagine balancing on one leg and your arms stretched. This pose requires focus. Once your mind wander off to compare yourself to those who are “worse” or “better” than yourself, your attention is divided and you will start to lose balance. 

This is exactly what we need to remember in our daily lives. Everyone has their own progress and there really isn’t a benchmark to measure life. Don’t compare. You will need to first fix your thinking before you can work on other parts of your life- be it work, school or other skills. 

As for those of us with mental disorders – just rememeber that YOU are still in there. You just need help and more time to realise that, in all the chaos, there is an organised mess that is life. 

Just keep going, don’t doubt yourself, and focus. 

Happy 2nd Birthday, “Petite Patissiere”!

I’ve been so consumed by what’s been happening in my life that I’ve completely forgotten to do a celebratory blog post for my website’s 2nd anniversary! (Not that it is crucial but I do like celebrations.)

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for the month of May, it was an unplanned one but I decided to just let it flow. Some things happened in my life which distracted me from baking on the weekends but it is all good now! 

The “tart” pictured above marks my return in baking on my days off and I’m happy to say that it feels great.

What I can say for now is that you really do have to do the things you truly enjoy to be able to feel motivated and happy about yourself everyday. That’s not to say it solves all the problems. Sometimes courage and timing both need to coincide to enable things to happen and passion definitely makes it slightly easier. 

Happy belated Birthday, PetitePatissiere.com. Thank you for being a great platform for me to share my thoughts and ideas. Thank you for helping me meet one of my closest friends through blogging. 

As for all of you who are reading, thanks for all your support for the past two years! I apologise for my on & off hiatus but sometimes unpredictable things happen in life so I am grateful for your continuous readership! 

I have grown and changed together with my website and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the both of us. Sounds so cheesy but it is true. 

🙂

Making: Matcha Choux Puff

I think I’ve documented my struggles with choux puff on this blog a couple of times and I’m happy to announce that I finally produced something of a standard I can accept a few weekends ago! 

My craquelin layer was thin, my puff was hollow and dry on the inside and my custard cream was smooth and delicious. All the criteria that I think are important, were met to a certain standard. 

Obviously, there are still a lot of room for improvements but for now, I’m happy. 


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Hush… Hush… 

Hello, 

I don’t really have much to share today besides the following lessons that I’ve learned in the past few week: 

  1. Look forward – what “has happened” is in the past. Dwelling on it will not make you better, looking forward and making changes, will. 
  2. Respect yourself – don’t let your emotions affect your work. If you turn up, you need to respect the job & yourself and give it your best. 
  3. Be passionate the right way – it’s not about being stubborn, it’s about the perseverance to make things right. 

That’s all I have for today and I think these 3 points are enough for me to digest for now. :) 

I will come back with some baking related posts when I feel better. Have a great week ahead, everyone! 

Standing up against my own thoughts 

I know I write a lot on how to stay positive and the importance of it but there are days where I feel like I can no longer keep my head up high and stay positive. It’s not that something has happened in my life but sometimes, it’s just too difficult to fight against the negative thoughts that linger in my head. 

“I’m not good enough!”

“I don’t have the skill!”

“I don’t know what to do!”

“I’m not the right person!”

made shiny chocolates after many doubts

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Making: Almost There Triple Caramel Tart

You know the thing with baking? It can take you anywhere.

It always starts with an idea, and then it plays out and you never know where it’ll take you until you’ve completed the whole product. This isn’t always the case since baking is a science and everything happens according to plan if you follow a recipe, but if you’re creating something as you go, then it is interesting to see where an idea can take you.

SAM_3483

A couple of Sundays ago, I had an idea in mind – I wanted to make a tart. I didn’t know exactly what tart to make but I knew I wanted to make a tart for sure. I played with the idea of making a raspberry chocolate tart because that is a flavour combination that I was familiar with and also had the ingredients for, but as the day went by, my ideas changed and this “Almost There Triple Caramel Tart” was born.

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