Easter Baskets

Now my girls are older, I thought that this year they would not want an Easter egg hunt. How wrong I was! After I had hidden the eggs, they had fun looking for the stash. Me? I had fun arranging their findings afterwards in the baskets they have used for ten egg hunts:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
This year’s Easter Baskets. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I arranged their collection so that they could enjoy the sight of their chocolate while they are eating it. A few years ago, my husband and I decided to spend the money on buying the better quality chocolate even though it means the children have less chocolate to hunt. The result? The girls get a Lindt bunny, carrot, chicken and ladybug with a few little eggs thrown in. Thought that this year I would buy an Aero egg and a KitKat bar for them to try in addition to the solid bunny.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Close-up of Easter chocolate. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

To continue the tradition I started so many years ago, the girls found a little something else to put in their basket. My one daughter loves Pikachu so when I saw the small stuffy, I knew I had to get it for her. Unfortunately there were no other Pokemon available in the store, so I matched the adorable pokemon with a Hello Kitty stuffed toy.

photo 2 (1)
Pickachu and Easter chocolate. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My girls have their baskets on display on their dresser and are slowly eating their chocolate. I guess I will not have to organise dessert for a while 🙂

Do you still arrange Easter egg hunts?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt this week: Easter)


Flute playing

I have shared with you a little about my daughter who plays the violin. My oldest daughter chose the flute as her instrument  and I often hear her practising her music. Makes me proud to know that my girls are learning how to play a musical instrument, especially as I never learned to do so.

When my eldest has her flute lessons at school, she often leaves her instrument and music book lying on the table until she is ready to leave for school:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Flute and music boo. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

When she has a lesson, I can expect to hear her practise afterwards. At the moment she is learning the song Demons:

I love that the teacher is teaching them a piece of modern music. Sounds a little difficult – but she is slowly getting better with practise. Here is the piece played by a futist accompanied by piano:

I look forward to hearing the piece played by the class at the year end school concert.

Do you enjoy flute music?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Musical Instrument)

Mauritian Billboards

I am used to the sight of billboards along the highways that advertise a range of products. In Mauritius, however, there are no highways as are seen in large countries. Instead billboards are placed in most unusual settings. On top of walls that separate neighbouring houses:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (1). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

In the space between the road and a house:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (2). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

On the side of 3 storey buildings:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (3). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

On the roof of a home:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (4). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Or the roof of an abandoned building:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (5). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

On the roof of a store:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (6). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

And, of course, at the entrance into the city:

 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mauritian Billboards (7). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The small island of Mauritius has made efficient use of its space in order to advertise its products. As a visitor, I found it interesting and innovative.

Have you seen innovative ways of placing billboards?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: billboard)

Relaxing to Music

This week Jake’s prompt includes the word “relax”. The first thing that popped into my head was a song I used to hear on the radio often: Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

The song is full of energy and is the antithesis of what relaxing music should be. Mika’s song Relax, Take It Easy is a little slower – but still encourages your feet to do a little tap dance.

To truly relax, I lie on my bed (or sofa) and imagine myself lying on the beach of a gently rolling sea. While doing so, I listen to music that calms me and does not increase my heartbeat. For me, the best music to do this with is Classical music. My favourite compositions are those by Beethoven:

What I love most about music is that you can find something to suit your mood and your needs – whether you want to relax, or create a little energy boost.

What music do you listen to in order to relax?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s Sunday Post prompt)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The Voortrekker’s Wagon

When the Voortrekker’s (pilgrims) left the Cape in the 1830s for The Great Trek (journey), their mode of transport was the large wagon which was pulled by oxen.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A display of the Voortrekker wagon. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

These wagons became the homes of the men and women who were looking for land on which to settle.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The cooking pot. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The oxen were driven by the men over land that had never felt the rumbling of large wooden wheels.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Voortrekker man. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The wagon was large and had plenty of space inside.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The wagon used by the Voortrekkers. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The women and children would ride in the back of the wagon that also carried their supplies and belongings.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Voortrekker woman and child. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My family and I had the opportunity to look at these wagons when we visited the Voortrekker Monument. It was interesting to see these lifelike displays of a moment in South African history.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The Voortrekker Wagon. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

These men and women travelled great distances using this mode of transport. It was not always easy: wheels broke as they traversed rocky land, and difficulties occurred as they crossed rivers and climbed mountains. Today, motorists can cross the same distance in cars using smooth highways and roads that have been carved into the landscape.

Would you have ventures out in these wagons?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Transport)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Other posts I have written on the Voortrekker Monument:

The Voortrekker Monument

A Unique Monument

Looking from above

A Unique Monument

The Voortrekker Monument in South Africa is a unique building that was built as a reminder of the experiences of the early voortrekkers (pioneers) who left the safety of the Cape colony for the unknown lands of the interior between 1835 and 1854.

The Voortrekker Monument. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
The Voortrekker Monument. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Looking like a huge cube, this monument is 40 meters high with a base that is 40m x 40m. It does not look like a regular square though, as pictures have been carved into the stone and statues adorn each corner.

A statue on a corner of the monument. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
A statue on a corner of the monument. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Another unique feature of this monument is the historical frieze that adorns the four walls – a frieze that is made entirely in marble.

The Voortrekkers preparing to leave the Cape colony. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
The Voortrekkers preparing to leave the Cape colony. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

To see more photos of this monument, you are welcome to visit a previous post: The Voortrekker Monument.

What unique buildings have you seen?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: unique)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A Winter Reality

This year Winter arrived early on and for the first time I experienced an ice storm. Freezing rain drizzled gently down and, because it was so cold, froze on trees, plants, and everything else it fell on.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An icy scene. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

When we stepped out in the morning, the scene before us looked beautiful. The world was icy white and the ice sparkled when the light fell on it.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An iced branch. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The roads looked icy and slippery. Looking closer at branches and leaves, we saw that they were encased in ice.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Leaves encased in ice. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The trees looked like the artificial Christmas trees that they were currently selling in stores for Christmas with their tips dripping with white.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Icy plants. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Not only were the trees encased in ice, but so were the plants. The ice made the leaves heavy and they lay close to the ground. Even the bushes were wrapped in icy cold:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Iced bushes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Benches that had been put out for people to sit on and enjoy the outside, did not look inviting at all.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An iced bench. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Ice dripped from the benches and encased the decorative plant holders -whether they were near the benches, or placed on the side of the roads.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An iced Decoration. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The ice certainly gave a new meaning to the words “winter decorations”.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An icy planter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Objects such as benches and iron-wrought fences were strong enough to withstand the weight of the ice:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An iced fence. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

However, many trees in our neighbourhood bowed under the icy weight. Branches broke with the added kilograms and many fell down.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A broken tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As the branches fell from trees, the ice scattered looking like shards of glass. Many branches fell on power lines, cars, and in the roads.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A fallen branch. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Luckily we were not affected by these falls and we continued to have power. The only inconvenience we had was the difficulties experienced while doing Christmas shopping: some stores were closed due to power outages, and many parts of the subway were not running.

The ice from the storm has since been covered with snow. Yet it is still there, waiting to be uncovered to create a slippery surface.

Have you ever experienced an ice storm?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Reality)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Christmas Trees

I love the sense of celebration and festivity that a Christmas tree brings to the season. There are a few Christmas trees I see on a regular basis and their beauty always brings joy to my heart. The first is the tree I see in the lobby as I enter the apartment building where I live:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A lobby Christmas tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

This year I am working at a school that puts up a Christmas tree – even though many of the students are non-Christian. The children enjoy looking at the tree every time we pass it on the way to assembly, gym, music or the library. I appreciate seeing it as I come into work as it helps to remind me that, even though we are busy, we can take time to reflect on what the season is about.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A school Christmas tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

When I walk down one of the streets within my neighbourhood, I pass an outdoor Christmas tree. The tree lights up the street and brings a sense of colour to a cold, winter’s night.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
An outdoor Christmas tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The best tree I see each day is the one we have at home. It is small and yet has been lovingly decorated each year by my children. The tree definitely brings  the season’s atmosphere into our home.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A homely Christmas tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I enjoy looking at Christmas trees and the ways in which they have been decorated.

Do you enjoy looking at Christmas trees? Share the ones you have captured and posted on your blog in the comments below. 

(This post was inspired by the stunning graphics over at Jake’s blog)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 1)
Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our son introduced us to Aang and the other characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an animé TV series by NickelodeonThe introduction to this epic story began slowly at first with the children watching episodes on a laptop via the internet. I remember them waiting for an episode to download so that they could watch it at the table, or seated three-in-a-row on a bed. Our young daughters loved the series: the characters, the humour, and the story itself.

Three years ago on Christmas day, our son offered the girls a gift  – a gift which ended up being one to the whole family. The girls ripped off the Christmas paper to reveal Season 1 and Season 2 of the animé-style TV series. We made the decision to watch the series together beginning that day. My husband, who is not a lover of animation, agreed to this as he wished to please his children.

Aang from the tv series Avatar: The last airbender
Aang from the tv series Avatar: The last airbender (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After breakfast, we began watching the story which takes place in a world that has been divided into four: Air, Water, Fire and Earth. The Avatar, Aang, is the one who is the bridge between the physical and the spiritual worlds. He is the one who has the ability to master all four of the world’s elements. He had been missing for a 100 years and, in the first episode, we find out why. We also realise that, during the Avatar’s absence, the world has changed: the Fire nation began a war against the other nations in a desire to control the world; the Air nation has been killed off by the Fire nation; the Water tribe is near extinction; and the Earth kingdom has colonised extensively. The story focuses on the ways in which Aang and his group of helpers work towards bringing balance back to their world.

Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The series was gripping – even for my husband who normally falls asleep during animation films. The action in the film sated his desire for fast-paced action movies. We enjoyed the humour, the story, and the sense of companionship we felt while we were all watching together. The only breaks we took from watching were when I was preparing the meals, when we were eating (dessert had to be eaten in front of the TV though!), and when we went to sleep (which was always very late). The story has many unexpected twists and turns so we were always kept wondering what was going to happen. As the animé was originally a television series, each episode ended with us wanting more.

Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, the creators of this universe, have brought us a lot of pleasure with their work. The fighting styles of each nation reflect the various styles of martial arts that we know are used by various disciplines. The drawings are perfectly executed, and the dialogue natural. The characters they created were “real” and behaved as a person would in similar situations. In 2008, the series was awarded a Peabody for recognition of the series’ excellence in quality; and for its complex characters and the character development that occurs within the story.

The Christmas holiday ended with me going to buy season 3 so that we could finish watching the epic story. My daughters have watched the DVDs many times over. This is one story they will not shove to the back of the bookshelf.

Do you enjoy watching animé?

(This post was inspired by Jake. Yay! He is back 🙂 )

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Urban Design

The arms of the city where I live are spreading outward, its fingers filling green spaces and taking over smaller buildings. Skyscrapers are slowly reaching skyward in the neighbourhood I live in, as can be testified by the signs announcing the erection of condos in our street and beyond.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
An Urban Landscape. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

As city planners work on the plans for our streets and accommodation, they change the landscape of our environment. We look out of our windows and see grey and glass buildings reaching towards the sky, blocking out the sun and the view a of blue sky. As we look out from our balcony, not much of nature’s green bounty is seen. Instead we see the hint of other people’s lives that they leave outside on their balconies that others can see.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
An Urban View. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The urban design I live with everyday is not a beautiful sight; but it is a sight that I have had to grow accustomed to.

What urban design do you experience everyday? The design of the city, or the one of the suburbs?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Urban Design)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013