Excess Baggage

I just want to wish one and all a HAPPY New Year! I wish a brighter 2022 for you.

I have a few points I hope you will consider:
↪ As cliché as it sounds – reach for the stars. Be amongst the stars … shine brightly amongst other stars!

↪ SPARKLE! I have been talking about this for years, so finally, I am taking my own advice.

I valued loyalty and history but if it is hurting my heart, stopping me from BEING and from growing – I will HAPPILY let go of that friendship along with the pain and the hurt and the anger!

↪ There is no better feeling than letting go of unwanted BAGGAGE.

↪ My mantra, I embraced in my 20s up to now – The TRUTH shall set me free. I will be carrying on in the 2022. 🎉

↪ Find the positives in every dark alley. I just had to refer to my 3rd image in this post. It was unexpected find whilst looking for ice-cream for the kids! LoL

⬇ Please leave in the comments below what you are leaving in 2021. And/or the word you will live by in 2022. ⬇

Images by hubby of the year!
Photoshop colour editing by me!

1️⃣ An even tighter alley at The Rocks decorated with multi-coloured hanging stars along it. Ruby – posing – mouth agape in wonder and admiration.
2️⃣ Ruby’s reaching for the so called hanging stars in the tight alley.
3️⃣ Photos of the hanging stars in the alley.

The Paper Mill Liquid Brush Markers

I’m using lockdown as an opportunity to learn new skills. One of which is watercolour painting. Last March I did a course taught by Parika Mahajan – Floral Watercolour Workshop (Yamogu Academy). I enjoyed it so much it’s a new hobby of mine

Obviously, I still have a lot of techniques to learn and practice to do before I enter and win the Archibald.

Above image. Far from perfect but proud of my first attempt to paint eye and lip using the pens. Firstly, I applied the shade in the wrong areas of the lips (LoL) – using black (apparently a no-no). I couldn’t find my brush to fix it. The black ink dried quickly. I tried to cover my mistake by using white from a totally different set.

Above image. There are 10 in a pack. It can be seen here how vivid the hues are. It certainly is good quality material.

Love the vivid colours of the pens and the possibility of hundreds of different shades you can create . I am certainly excited to experiment with the colours.

If you would like to order your own, it is currently 40% off. If you sign up – you get further 10%. Please use this link so Riot Art & Craft knows that I referred you. Click here. I would really appreciate your support.

I have bought all the materials and nothing was gifted. This is an honest review of a novice painter. If you click using my link, I get 5% when customers purchase.


Currently reading @yuval_noah_harari ‘s book – ‘Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind’. It’s quite a thick book so it’s taking a long time to finish.

Someone described it as an entertaining book. I thought that person must love punishment. 😅😂 But It is quite entertaining indeed.

I am enjoying the “fun facts”, studies and arguments ‘Sapien’ is presenting. So fascinating. Like the one above. End suffering by extinguishing the fire of your cravings.

Buddhism was not really a religion but rather a way of life and was founded in 5th Century BC – way before Christianity and Islam.

(As you probably know by now,) I am quite a thinker and a dweller. (I dwell on things.) 😂 I am particularly interested in religion. ‘Sapiens’ have a whole chapter on such.

I had so many questions about the Roman Catholic, the one I am born into.

  • It is so again male exclusive. Yet the worker ants are predominantly women. (My observations in the 80s growing up in Manila). My mum and dad  were very active church members.
  • Also, it was the religion of  the Filipino abusers. We were conquered and suffered in the name of the Catholic faith in the 16th century. Now, Philippines is the largest Catholic nation in Asia and third in the world.
  • God is male and the one and only female divinity of Church is Virgin Mary. Emphasis on VIRGIN. (I wrote an essay on this back at uni. Book reference: Mary and Human Liberation By Tissa Balasuriya)

Well, there you have it folks! A piece of my mind about the Catholic religion. I should say though that I haven’t denounced my faith. The irony is I am quite devout Catholic. I read bible stories to the kids. We almost go to Church every week when there were no covid restriction!

Thank you for your time! R xxx

The Dictionary of Lost Words – Book Review

There is a reason why I love Disney cartoon movies. Plot is always good vs evil. Good wins eventually. Everyone lives happily ever after. I always want the good guys to win because I believe I am a good guy and I win in the end.

The Dictionary of Lost Words is not a Disney Movie. It’s an anime. It has a complicated plot with complicated characters and set in a very complicated world. The good guys did not really win in the end. But did they lose?  

It’s amazingly well researched and a brilliant piece of writing. The story although fictional was set against real world events – compiling of words (publication of) for the Oxford  Dictionary, Women Rights’ Movement and World War I. The story starts in England in the late 1800s and ends in Australia late 1900s. 

If you think the book is about Esme compiling a bunch of rude words or basic everyday words then you need to read the book again.

Is it feminist writing wrapped in sheep’s wool? Maybe!? It does highlight that recorded words to represent civilised, academic or the learned world are words of white men. Frankly, that ‘sux’.

I identified with the different characters. I felt I was a bit of Lizzie  … “feeling like a dandelion just before the wind blows.” These words shook me. I took this as life is fleeting.  

I felt I was Esme, a rebel. I am going to shake up the norm and the establishment with my sweet smile and listening ears of course. Which my female HR manager viewed as weak (when I was employed). I do understand my HR manager  but I can’t change who I am. I love to smile!

I digress. (As I do.) The fictional characters in the book – I felt like I knew a Tilda and a Mabel. I felt too that they were my friends. The embodiment of Gareth exist only in the figment of all women’s imagination. 😂 He is too good.

The Dictionary of Lost Words is an emotional and powerful book. Is it good to mention that I cried when I read it? Thank you Pip Williams for this thought provoking and moving novel. You are a master of words!

The Dictionary of Lost Words
Author: Pip Williams
ISBN: 9781922400277
ISBN-10: 1922400270
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 24th November 2020
Publisher: Affirm
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9  x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.38
Edition Number: 1

Say Hello – Book Review

I finally finished reading Carly’s book. It took awhile for me to finish it. I dreaded reading some of the pages because it’s so horrible what she went through. No wonder she is angry, frustrated and so exhausted. I was angry, frustrated and exhausted just by reading the book. 

My heart broke, I cannot believe what little Carly had to endure – stares, emotional and body pain and medical treatments – and have endured well into adulthood. 

I identified a lot with Carly, especially in her teenage years. I was kind of worried about my weight, maybe I just want attention and/or fishing for compliments. A friend was sick of hearing it and suggested to shut up or do something about it (in a nutshell). I had friends that were insecure about  their appearances too –  small boobs, frizzy hair, buck tooth, flat nose, etc.  So from personal experience, most teenage girls do go through appearance insecurities like Carly. I do understand that Carly’s was far worse than any of our concerns because she has a debilitating medical condition.

Just like Carly, I went  through a stage in life wondering who I am – what am I about, what am I to do and why am I put in this world for? 

Say Hello is just that. Carly unravelling, embracing and loving her being. She found pride. She found her voice. She found her tribe. (Not in any particular order.)

I suggest the book should be rewritten for elementary schools and be part of the syllabus. In high school, students should create plays from the chapters of their choosing. Forget Shakespeare. Forget David Williamson. (Sorry Mr Williamson).

We fall for all this awareness BS on social media. We always tag each other and upload B&W glamour photos of ourselves to create “awareness”. 

Say Hello is a great awareness and educational resource. You will learn terms like microaggression and ableism. It is full of information about how you can actually help people with disability written by a person with disability. 

Also, a lot of these awareness and fundraising initiatives are actually NOT ran by disabled people themselves. These charities see disability as a problem, objects of pity … it doesn’t promote disability pride and acceptance.

If you want to really make a difference? Start by buying Carly’s book Say Hello

Say Hello
Author: Carly Findlay
ISBN: 9781460755037
ISBN-10: 1460755030
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 29th January 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.48

As a Mum

Sure, you can brush my teeth!

When I was a young girl,
I dreamt of greatness. 
I dreamt of changing the world. 
I dreamt of  changing lives. 
God granted me that dream.
I became a mum. 
I learnt greatness means sacrificing what was perfect.
I learnt greatness means learning and growing
I learnt greatness means imperfection.
Greatness is giving when there is none left. 
Greatness is loving when you get nothing in return.
Greatness is unconditional love. 
Greatness is praying for strength.
It is every bit ordinary yet extraordinary.
God has allowed me to shine and show greatness,
as a mum.


NAIDOC Week 2021 will be held from Sunday 4 July to Sunday 11 July.

The theme is #healcountry
To better explain the concept please read from the organisation itself.

I get too passionate and political about racism but I can’t help myself. I have been unfollowed because of my views. It’s easy for those who did not suffer from it to just say “move on” and not validate our hurt from the past.

Why do I care? I have been a victim of the odd racial slur. We need to educate each other learn from our mistakes and make it right for everyone.

I am an ally and obviously not Aboriginal. Although I have been called a sister when I lived and studied in the city. 💕

Memory is stored in cells and are passed on to the next generation according to my university lecturer. (Further support: Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton)

I remember when I was approached in the crowd and the person’s icebreaker was our heritage – him being from Spain and I am from the Philippines.  My immediate reaction was – “Ah yes – you killed our men and raped our women.” 😂 Way to make friends Ruby!

Even when I went to Spain I wasn’t as excited. So funny though that people spoke to me in Spanish. Though I bear a Spanish last name I doubt that there is Spanish blood in me.

My mum further educated me that Kastilas (Spaniards) married each other even when they lived in the Philippines.

I also learnt that there was only a small influx of Spanish people that lived in Philippines compared to South America.

Until now, Filipinos idolised mestizos and mestizas  and use cream to lighten up their skin. They should love and be proud of the skin they are born in.

I want my children  to love their heritage, their skin and everything about them. I want them to love themselves as much as I love them. To my eyes they are perfection.

My husband is so proud that his kids have Filipino blood. He often describes Jack’s clothing (with a bit of humour) – colourful Filipino boy. Jack certainly got his dress sense from my mother. 😂

Okay, this story has now become about me! I am trying to give you background how I identify with Australia’s First Nation.

Naidoc is a platform to set the wrong things RIGHT. Stop the ignorance. Be educated.

Find out more how to celebrate by visiting

#sheconquers #sheempowers #filipinoheritage #racisminaustralia #whiteaustraliapolicy #mumbloggerau #mumblogger #stoptheignorance

Gaysia – Book Review

The yellow cover attracted me as I wander the aisle of Kinokuniya Sydney and the words GAYSIA and then BENJAMIN LAW.

I admire Benjamin Law’s clever writing and reviews in Frankie magazine. My family also watches The Family Law on SBS. The drama series was introduced to me by my husband and I was hooked.

I grabbed the book and I said outloud I must read this book!

What do I think of the book? Benjamin claims that he is lucky being gay in Australia. He wondered what it would have been like if he grew up and lived in Asia. So he went exploring and investigating in Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, Malaysia,  Myanmar and India.

I was wondering why he skipped the Philippines? Maybe he left that part for me. I grew up there and I have a lesbian Aunty who is a Police Sargeant and a distant gay Uncle who is the Who’s Who of the Asingan Town of Pangasinan Province.

The Philippines have popular gay actors, singers, comedians, hairdressers, make-up artists and clothes designer. They are thriving in all industries and very well accepted in society. While being gay/lesbian is ok, it’s not okay if it’s your son or daughter; or if they started going out with your brood. That’s the general view I observe as a child in my neighbourhood in Manila.

I think acceptance of family is the most important of all.

Benjamin IS lucky to be openly gay in Australia. He did not discuss his family’s reaction to his “gayness” in the book. On the TV series which I assume is loosely based on his life story, they were accepting of his sexuality.

In China, they hide their sexuality from their family so much so that they fake weddings. In poor cities, young men (gay and not gay) are exploited by foreigners. There is not a lot of option for these kids and this is an ‘easy way” to earn some money. 

In these poor cities, a lot suffer from AIDS. They get very little help from the government or from anyone. (I must say it is a struggle to survive for all in some of the countries from civil unrest.)

Authorities in charge are also frolicking with the sex workers they are suppose to be educating. There are a lot of sad, helpless and horrific stories in the book.

There are also some stories of hope in some areas. It’s not all horror stories. I am glad I read the book. It expanded my knowledge about the joyful and sorrowful plight of LGBT in some areas of Asia.

NOTE: The booked did not discuss the everyday life of a gay person in Australia. Gay friends have shared bullying experience at school. Also watching RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under revealed some even receive death threats. So, not everyone has the same conclusion as Benjamin about life in Australia for LGBTs.

Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East
ISBN: 9781863956130
ISBN-10: 1863956131
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 19th June 2013
Publisher: Black Inc
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.7  x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1

#bookreview #gaysiabookreview #thefamilylaw #AUMumReview #instamumreview #mumblogger #mumbloggerau #shereads #shereviews #bookloversclub #bookloversofinstagram #booksofinstagram #bookrecommendation #creativespirit #creativeheart #creativeentrepreneur

Pumpkin and Cauliflower Mac

500g pumpkin (small cubes)
500g cauliflower (chopped to your desired size)
1 packet (500g) macaroni
600g cream
Grated cheese (we use Colby)
2-3 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
Optional Nutmeg
Feeds 5-7 people

500g of pumpkin cubes. 500g of cauliflower chopped.


Cube the pumpkin and take skin off. Roast or air fry pumpkin and garlic until brown and soft. Put in a container where you can mash with cream while it’s still hot.  You can manually mash or use a hand held blender. Set aside.

Mash the pumpkin and garlic with the cream.

Cook the macaroni in boiling water with table spoon of salt. When macaroni is al dente, mix in the cauliflower. Cook/boil for 3 to 5 minutes then drain water.

Pour the macaroni in the pot of boiling water to cook.
Place the chopped cauliflower with the al dente macaroni. Boil for another 3-5 minutes.
Drain water from macaroni and cauliflower.

Once water is drained, pour pumpkin and cream mixture in the pot of macaroni and cauliflower. Mix well with the macaroni and cauliflower.

Pour pumpkin and cream in the pot of macaroni and cauliflower. Mix well. Why am I struggling to mix it on video? LoL

Sprinkle grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add grated cheese at this stage to the mixture for more cheesy creamy taste. But my kids do not want cheese and are happy to eat it as is at this stage.

I pour all this in a baking pan and top with grated cheese (not a lot) and pop it in the oven at 180 degrees to further meld the flavours together and to melt the cheese on top.

A healthier version of mac and cheese with pumpkin  and cauliflower.
Delicious pumpkin and cauliflower macaroni

Becoming by Michelle Obama – Book Review

At a glance, Becoming appears to be a fairytale story. “Poor” girl from the Southside of Chicago; married the “prince” of Hawaii and they lived happily ever after in a palace called the White House.

In the early/middle parts of the book I thought Michelle Obama sounded boastful. My thoughts –  “Oh wow, Michelle, good on you!  What a lovely story! What a high achiever you are.” 👏👏👏

I had to dig deeper. There must be more purpose to this book. How is this story relevant to me? What sets it apart from another feel-good/success/romance story?

But I loved every page of this book. Unlike fairytale stories, Michelle is no damsel in distress. She doesn’t need rescuing. In fact, does the rescuing by lifting others.

Michelle is the fairy godmother with no magical powers at all. Just with the hope and the belief that things can be and should be better. Expecting others, corporations/organisations, to care and do the same especially for the next generation. Instilling belief to those who feel left out – they too matter and they too belong. When she utters these words – magic happens in the hearts and minds of the young students (especially).

This book is about so many things. You can get a very different message from it depending on where you are at in life. I am a mother and a wife, so I related to her story with these roles. I have listed below the things that I found I related to the most, found profound and melted my heart.

Defining who you are.
“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

Not all of us are in the public eye, but this apply to all of us. Even when I was a teenager, I did not bow to peer pressure. I don’t care if I am a called a spoil sport or a kill joy. “It ain’t me.”

This is what I am teaching my kids now too. This is what Michelle talks about in front of thousands of students. Don’t allow society to dictate who you are because of the way you look or where you are from. You show them who you are.

You matter
When Michelle was growing up, she was lucky to have a community of people that constantly told her she matters. It is the same message she gives to her daughters and to the new generation. “I was determined to express some version of it to every young person I encountered.” “You belong. You matter. I think highly of you.”

Importance of education and/or mentorship for young individuals.
By encouraging the younger generation especially those underprivileged; believing and investing in them that they belong (in Princeton or Oxford) – they will flourish and they will achieve.

Family matters
The book is also about the importance of family; family love and support.

Excellence over perfection
“They weren’t striving for perfect, but managed somehow to be excellent … dropped any masquerade and were just powerfully, and instructive themselves.” This is how Michelle described Susan and Valerie – two important role models, advisers and definitely friends of hers.

Hope brings miracles
She was particularly disappointed at the outcome of the presidential election when their ‘reign’ ended. Everything that she and her team stood for and fought for looks like it’s going to be undone. However, they are steadfast that they have done enough to keep the so called ‘fire burning’. The most obvious examples being the first black First Family. Others – you have to read the book to find out.

I urge you to read the book. It’s long but I understood the story and her message. I have books that I have to read again as it’s concept I cannot fully grasp.* Becoming is very ‘relatable’ and it can be your story.

⬇️ Please comment below, your thoughts or feelings about Michelle’s book if you have read it. Please share a favourite book you recommend or a book you would like me to read and review. ⬇️

*Written by people with medical and/or scientific background and the later often referring to theories in physics. 😳