7 Productive Activities To Fill Up Your Time While You’re Housebound

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Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

So, Malaysians have been ordered to restrict our movement and stay at home from the 18 to 31 March due to the coronavirus 2019 disease that is sweeping the globe. Not only are private and government premises ordered to be closed, non-essential establishments will not be open either.

This includes restaurants and cafes, bookstores, hair and beauty salons, shopping malls, cinemas, theme parks and other places of interest. Thankfully, banks, hospitals and clinics, pharmacies and food supply shops will remain open for us to replenish the necessary.

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Photo by DDP on Unsplash
Basically, with offices closed and no lepak-ing allowed at the mall, we will all be staying at home, and, very possibly, driving each other crazy with boredom. Some of us may be working from home, but there are still many hours to kill in the evenings or during the weekends.
Naturally, most of us would go for the usual drama-bingeing, computer/app game marathons, online shopping or social media scrolling. These are “relaxing” activities that we do all the time even without the virus situation.
But have these pursuits been productive at all?
I put on my thinking cap and brainstormed for seven productive activities that you could fill up your time with. The keyword here is “productive” — they are activities that improve your skill, help you foster better relationships or get your life back in order. I would even tackle some of them and update you on my experiment! 

1. Learn cooking, especially a dish you have wanted to learn.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Nowadays, we are lucky to have cooking channels and Youtube videos with step-by-step instructions. What have you long dreamed of cooking or learning from the maestro in the kitchen?

Grocery stores and supermarkets now have the convenient service of delivering food supplies directly to the comfort of your home.

Keep going and keep trying if it’s your first time cooking the dish. Practice makes perfect!

2. Time to declutter.

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Photos by Sarah Brown and Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Have you been meaning to get rid of unworn clothes, old books or outdated documents?

Now’s the perfect time to do it! Be intentional in your decluttering — put in some thought on where the items will go after you declutter them. Will you donate to charity or give them to gifting groups? Sell it on a second-hand site? Throw them away, recycle or upcycle perhaps?

Prepare a box each for “donation”, “sale” or “throw” so that you know clearly where the items will be headed.

3. Learn a course online.

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Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Sign up for an online course on the many web-based academies available like Udemy, Skillshare and so on. Marketing-related courses are also available on Facebook, Google and Linkedin. You can try single session webinars or tutorials, or longer ones which stretch to several sessions or weeks. Choose from free courses or even paid ones trained by experts.

From a practical skill that will help you in your work or study, to arts and craft courses that help you destress, the e-learning world is your oyster!

4. Make a photobook or video of your favourite memories.

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Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

In this digital age, it’s likely that all your photos are now stored in your smartphone or computer. It’s so easy to forget the details of past events, not to mention digital files may not be easy to sort through.

Why not create a more permanent record of your favourite memories by printing them out? You could do it manually with your home printer, or consider a digital photobook printing service like Photobook or Pixajoy where the finished book is delivered to your phone.

If you prefer videos, try putting together a short recap video of the occasion. Video apps such as Vimeo or InShot are easy to use and provide the appropriate songs. The video can be shared on social media once it’s done!

5. Tackle the hobby you’ve been putting off.

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Photos: Porapak Apichodilok, Thought Catalog, Craig Adderley, Wallace Chuck (Pexels)

Remember those hobbies and activities we used to love when we were younger and had all the time in the world? Have you moaned about the lack of time for your hobby once you started “adulting”? It’s time to reignite the fire for the hobby you once had! Here are some great choices:

  • Reading
  • Sewing
  • Knitting/Cross-stitching
  • Art and craft projects
  • Upcycling furniture
  • Making greeting cards
  • Journalling
  • Wood-working
  • Baking
  • Making music
  • DIY projects
  • … and more!

6. Set up home exercise routines.

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Photo by theformfitness from Pexels

Some of us may be programmed to think that exercising requires a special venue (like a gym or the park) or special equipment (treadmill, bicycle or weights). But when all that is not available for you to explore, it’s good to set up some home exercise routines instead.

Luckily, there are lots of YouTube videos out there to get you started. Most importantly, pick an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s HIIT, Tabata, yoga or dance. It will help you burn off those calories from inactivity and release excess energy from being cooped up at home. Make it fun and enjoyable, and involve the whole family too.

7. Play games to bond with the family.

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

It’s time to bring back an oldie. Games are group activities that could occupy you for hours. Bring on the fun with good ol’ board games, card games, computer games or you could even invent your own. If you don’t have any board games or cards on hand, you could always download and print templates from the Internet. No computer or printer at home? There’s no reason why you can’t DIY your own board game with a marker and piece of paper!

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Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

Staying occupied and busy during the partial lockdown at home will help to pass the time faster.

Inject some creativity and variety to your daily routine to avoid the monotony of being in the same space and with the same people every single day. Who knows, surprising things may emerge and you may learn new things about yourself!

“Creativity doesn’t just love constraints; it thrives under them,” wrote author and business thinker, David Burkus, in his book The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas.

When boredom strikes and limitations are imposed, don’t fret, it’s time to get creative!

Share with me in the comments whether you’ve tried these tips, and what other productive things you are doing to fill up your time?

6 Things I Learned from Kerlijne (and our travels)

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Image source: blog.virtuoso.com

In early May 2018, just after I left my full-time job, I took a few days off to be a tourist in my own country, Malaysia. My travel companion was Kerlijne (pronounced ‘Caroline’), a Belgian colleague who is currently working in China. Kerlijne has worked in China since her Chinese studies in sinology. As I was contributing regularly to the e-newsletter at the China regional office where she is based, I communicated with her regularly via Skype.

Since I started working with her, I found her to be an open, friendly and sometimes comical character and we hit it off straight away. Our friendship deepened over time, and we decided to plan a trip together. It was my lucky day when she decided to come and visit me in Malaysia so that we could explore the sites together!

Continue reading “6 Things I Learned from Kerlijne (and our travels)”

Haiku (Feb – Apr 2017)

16 April 2017

Flowers, forest walk
And a lake, a cute squirrel
Brings me love and joy

I float in the lake
Healed by the sun, sea and sand
Universal bliss


9 April 2017

A power failure
Chance to unplug and focus
On air and stillness


9 April 2017

Girls get together
Games, banter and baked goodies
Grateful for the love


16 March 2017

The body crashes
Into an ill weakened state;
Time for a good rest


5 March 2017

A sudden downpour
Water flows, rises and forms
Large puddles, a flood


22 February 2017

Coconut chips, with
dried and sweet cranberries, stirred
into my warm oats


21 February 2017

Coconut milk rice
Spicy sambal, nuts and egg
Tickle my tastebuds

Our Experience at Cantaloupe Sky Dining’s Big Sunday Lunch

I’ve always had a secret dream to be a food reviewer/blogger, but often find myself failing at taking beautiful photos of food as I just can’t wait to taste it! Good eats, I’ve realised, is something that must look good for the eyes, as well as the palate.

I believe that food reviewers are armed with 3 things: (1) a good camera + decent photography skills (2) an eye for detail (3) a good memory to recall how certain foods apply to the taste buds, not just at present but also in comparison to others they have tasted in the past.

I’m not a professional food reviewer, but sometimes I pretend to be one when I come across great food in a good location. It also serves as my personal recommendation for you to try out some unique cuisine which won’t create a dent in your wallet. Read on for today’s experience.

Continue reading “Our Experience at Cantaloupe Sky Dining’s Big Sunday Lunch”

From Dust to Dusk

Hello readers! I’m back after a short hiatus.

So, what kept me busy? In July, there was a personal trip with friends to celebrate our other halves’ 40th birthday. Following that, my family and I travelled to Phuket for the wedding of my second cousin. September beckoned next with some long holidays, so my hubby and I went on a short getaway to Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. I’ve also been busy writing up a series of articles about my trip to Central Vietnam earlier this year. I plan to feature more Travel posts in my blog, but have been overcome by the procrastinating devil. But rest assured, I’ve saved a few blog posts in the Draft which I will publish very soon!

I have also been busy continuing with my decluttering the KonMari way. I’m glad to say that I managed to get out of my decluttering rut, moved past Kitchen and now I’m onto Accessories/ Jewellery and will move onto Sentimental items soon. (By the way, the reason those words are bold is because these are actually sub-categories in the KonMari method. If you don’t know about the method already, here’s a good intro article by Dr. Christiane Northrup.)

While driving home from work last week, I saw this absolutely gorgeous sunset in my neighbourhood. I am always in awe with sunsets, they make me so happy and wistful at the same time. There’s something about the changing of day to night which is so magical, I think. Right after I took the photo, I wrote a short fictional prose for the photo. Go on, read it and tell me what do you think?

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Sister Day, Brother Night

Day lit up the sky in fiery hues and dressed itself in golden tones in honour of its last hour awake. She will not go without a grand celebration. Soon, she must gently step aside for Night to enter, sashaying in with grace. Night carries with him the velvety blanket of darkness, quickly enshrouding the sky, merely dotting it with pinholes of starlight and reflections of planets afar.

“Have a good run,” Day said to Night, winking her last light at him as she exits gracefully.

“Have a good rest,” Night replied, as he blew a light breeze to cool her down. “I shall see you, sister, in 12 hours,” he whispered. “Sweet dreams.”

Making My Personalised Mala with Moolamala

I got introduced to malas last year through my friend, Shia Lynn Toh, founder of The Artsy Craftsy, who was selling them on her creative shoppe. I was attracted to the colours, unique charms and tassel at the end of the long string of beads, so I bought a few to wear and hang as decoration.

I later discovered that malas are strands of 108 beads plus a “guru” bead, traditionally used for meditation, chanting or prayer. I noticed that yoga teachers and students sometimes like to wear them.

Continue reading “Making My Personalised Mala with Moolamala”

Book Review: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’

‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

Continue reading “Book Review: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell”

2016 Birthday

Well, 2016 has been a really special Chinese New Year first day and birthday, a 2-in-1 celebration.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by on my Facebook wall to wish me Happy Birthday and also to all those who sent personal Whatsapp messages or called. Being such a busy time, I appreciate your messages even more, so thank you!

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Book Review: The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

There’s nothing unusual about the Brockets. Normal, respectable, and proud of it, they turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it’s clear he’s anything but ordinary. To his parents’ horror, Barnaby defies the laws of gravity – and floats.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket”