Spark Joy – A story of flowers and plants

My newest score from Little Flower Hut sits prettily on my coffee table now. Since we’ve moved last December, I’ve been wanting to get something for the coffee table but I couldn’t find anything suitable. And now it’s finally done!:

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Up till 2016, I didn’t like flowers in particular, and plants even less so. It was not until I got my hands on Marie Kondo’s books that changed my opinion. 

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In fact, reading her books changed my life, transformed the way that I arranged things in my home and what I decided to keep in my home. Although some people don’t find that the books have a lasting impact on them, I have, however, been able to maintain the KonMarie way of life till now. My husband used to have a good laugh about it because I tidied up the entire house and changed my life because I read two books.

Her books are nothing about flowers or plants, in case you have never read them. It’s more about tidying and organising, keeping only what sparks joy in you.

Somehow after I cleared the clutter, and in particular, the kitchen counter top, I found that it was so spick and span that I found myself wanting some flowers or something to spruce up the place. The moment that I bought and placed my first flowers in the kitchen, I knew that I needed to have more of them in my home. Not just the kitchen.

And so gerberas, sunflowers and orchids quickly found their way to my home.

Occasionally, I opt for something more special – my favourite hydrangeas.

abetterfloristI even attended a flower arrangement course with my Skills Future credit!

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When I moved, my mum’s gift for us was plants in my house because my new place had more sunlight and I could finally have a proper place for them.

I don’t have green fingers, so I’m sad to say that some of the original plants have not survived me. But after some rescue work by my aunt, we managed to salvage two. Now with a full planter again of plants, I’ve cast my sights on plants or flower arrangements that can survive with little or no care.

That’s why I’ve started to get preserved flowers (seriously, we don’t earn enough to have fresh flowers in the house all year long!) and flower arrangements that can last longer.


Floral Garage Review

One of the reasons I chose that new flower arrangement for my coffee table is because I believe that it should be able to last quite a while.

And well, I’ve finally documented how I fell in love with flowers on the blog, something I’ve been meaning to do since 2016. I have, actually, in storage, photos of how I changed various aspects of my life after KonMarie, but I think I’ll leave that for another day, another post. Hopefully, it won’t take me another year.

 

Disclosure: I received a flower arrangement for the post. No monetary compensation was received.

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3 destinations to check out in Thailand

It’s that time of the year. If you haven’t already booked your year-end holiday by now, you should start to think about it seriously before all the flights and choice hotels are booked. 

We used to only go on simple road trips or settle for staycations back when the kids were very young. More recently in these couple of years, we have been going for Royal Caribbean cruises because we just wanted to chillax and hang out with the kids and not worry about where to go, what to do or what to eat.  

Since staycations aren’t cheap for us anymore as the kids are older and we have to get two rooms, we decided that we should start thinking about making other holiday plans. Last year when we met an ex-colleague at a baby shower, she suggested that we give Thailand a try. It’s relatively near, it’s affordable (AirAsia Booking Online tickets to Bangkok go as low as $179 in December!) and it offers more than we thought it does. Prior to this, the thought of Thailand brings to mind either the touristy Phuket beach or Bangkok shopping. But after some research this year, we have decided to start off with just one destination this December and slowly explore the rest in time.  

Here are the three destinations in Thailand we hope to check out in the next few holidays!: 

  1. Khao Kho 

I don’t want to experience living in a sea of fluffy clouds, said no one ever. A five-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangkok, Khao Kho is nothing like the Thailand I thought I knew. Due to the higher altitude, the all-day sweater temperature also offers a cool respite from the heat in Singapore.  

I first fell in love with this place when I saw this photo online: 

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Source: chanomworld-4

The view if you camp overnight at Phu Thap Boek Mountain is amazing: 

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Source: chanomworld-2

I would have said gamely that we’d go there and camp it out with the kids, but then I read that there’s no heater and in that climate, I don’t think we are ready to shower in the cold with the kids anytime now. I am weak like that. 

We’ll probably just settle for something less at the moment. So maybe glamping at Lake Hill is a good compromise. 

I’m thinking maybe we could do both Lake Hill and The Sense Resort. We are staying several nights in Khao Kho after all, so why not just try them all? 😀 

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A room with a view that comes with amenities? Yes, I’ll take that anytime, thank you. Starry night sky – bonus!

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Boasting not merely a mystical atmosphere, Khao Kho offers other activities that we would love to do, such as checking out the National Park where there are cherry blossoms (no need to go to Japan!), the B.N Farm’s famous super sweet strawberries (and other fruits and desserts), and the artillery and weaponry (used in major battles) at Itthi Military Base.  

We could easily spend 3-4 days at Khao Kho! 

Side-note – Phuket, Samet Nangshe, Phang Nga 

I just had to add this in because although it’s not in my top 3 destinations, I hope that one day we will make it there to view the gorgeous sunrise. If you are a seasoned camper, check out this destination, about 90 minutes drive from Phuket. 

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Samet Nagshe Viewpoint – Traveller photo submitted by Stephane Q (Aug 2018)

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Sunrise (Traveller photo submitted by blueboxphuket (Jun 2018)

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We’ll go there when we are ready for the hike and when the children are old enough to appreciate the scenery!

 2. Pai, Mae Hong Son 

Relatively off the beaten track, Pai caught my attention when I saw this picture:

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It’s Thailand’s little Venice. While I have read some negative reviews about the Oia Pai, there was also a vast majority who enjoyed the place. My personal view is that it does seem pictureseque enough and the concept is worth a go. After all, I don’t really foresee my family going to Venice anytime soon, although I hope we would make it to Venice before it actually goes under.

At Pai, we can also look forward to enjoying hot springs. While you can actually look for hot springs in the natural setting, you can always opt for a more resort style one, which is what I think we would settle for at this moment with younger children. If you are travelling with teenagers, I’m sure there are many other options for other activities too, such as hiking to see the waterfalls.

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Pai Hot Spring Spa Resort

Apart from soaking in the sights (couldn’t resist the pun), there’s also bamboo rafting. I’m not sure if there are any age restrictions. I shall have to read up more about that! 

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3. Khao Yai 

And this is our holiday destination this December! We had our trip booked in June and surprisingly, a few of our choice hotels had already been booked or had their special themed rooms booked! So the moral of the story is, if you are intending to go to Khao Yai, it seems that half a year in advance is still not enough. 

Khao Yai is an idyllic, magical town about 3 hours drive from Bangkok and it has surprisingly much to offer! 

This December, we will be checking out quite a few places at Khao Yai, such as Baan Suan Noi  (Hobbit Thailand). Even though we booked this accommodation in June, we still didn’t manage to get the themed room of our choice. Looks like we would have to make a second trip back. No money to go New Zealand for the real thing so settle for second best for now. 🙂 

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Other attractions we’ll be visiting include PB Wine Valley and Farm ChokChai among others. We will update with a blog post (or more) after our December trip so I won’t spam you with stock photos now!

Meanwhile, we (and you too!) can start dreaming about the aforementioned destinations. We’ll be doing more research and checking out the cheap flight tickets because it’s worth it to save on air tickets for short flights. Every dollar saved on air tickets is a dollar earned for the shopping budget.

Remember, it’s never too early to start planning for your trip!

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