Hemingway in Love: His Own Story by A. E. Hotchner

Recently I went to the Popular Book Fair, and I came home with more books for Amy than for myself (what’s new). It was my first time going to such a fair though. If you’ve never been, let me just tell you that the sheer amount of books available can make you go mad! I literally didn’t know where to start. And before I was even halfway through, my eyes were seeing stars already.

So, as I told my friend who was with me, I was looking out for books that ‘jumped’ out at me. Books that would catch my attention and give me that connection. It’s almost like looking for a soul mate haha.

In the end, I got several sticker, activity and board books for Amy, and two titles for myself. One of them was this, Hemingway In Love: His Own Story.

I have to confess. Having this book in my hand made me feel somewhat cultured. I mean, I knew the name ‘Ernest Hemingway’. He was an accomplished writer. One of the classics. He was big.

However, I actually had no idea what he was famous for exactly. I haven’t read any of his works. A quick Google would show up some really good quotes by him though, like:

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”

“We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken.” 

“In order to write about life first you must live it.” 

Love him already.

But even though I do not know much about him, it didn’t make this book less inspiring or interesting. I am so happy I got this memoir.

Hemingway in Love: His Own Story is not a complete biography about the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winner. If I’m not mistaken, A. E. Hotchner had already written a few other books that covered the other areas of Hemingway’s life. This particular book zooms in to Hemingway’s joy, loss, regrets and mistakes in love.

As Hotchner was such a close friend of Hemingway’s (he even calls Hemingway ‘Papa’), this book gives the reader the privilege and opportunity to be part of the intimate conversations between the duo.

It gave me a glimpse into how human and real Hemingway was. At times, I felt like hitting his head and asking him to be wise. But my heart also ached with him. And somehow, somewhere along the lines in those pages, I am inspired to be bold and step out to try new things; to appreciate and guard the relationship I have with the one I love; and to be a better writer.

Whether or not this would spur me to pick up Hemingway’s own books I don’t know, but I definitely have no regrets at all adding this to my library.




Robataya @ Publika

Because I am pregnant, whenever I am to meet friends for meals, they would ask me:

“Nat, what do you want to eat? You’re the preggers mama. What are you craving for?”

Well. To be honest, I crave for random things at random times. But one thing I always crave for (whether or not I’m pregnant) is Japanese food!

So when Robataya invited the hubby and I for a meal, I jumped at the opportunity!

Robataya is unlike my usual choice of Japanese dining places, because instead of just sushi and sashimi and bento, they are known for robatayaki, which is a Japanese cooking style where food are slow-grilled on smoking charcoal.

The delicious slow-grilled skewers, from left to right, prices per stick: Momo (chicken) at RM4, sausage at RM6.50, tomato bacon at RM6, Buta Bara (pork belly) at RM6, and Gyu Tan (beef tongue) at RM8.

These are sold individually, so you would have to order them separately.

Besides the skewers, they also serve a variety of the usual Japanese dishes.

Kyushu Ramen, RM22

I loved this. I know how some people like their ramen broth to be super thick. But to me, this was light and just nice.

Goya Champuru, RM18

Fans of bittergourd and egg and pork would enjoy this.

Salmon Oyako Sarada, RM26

Salad, topped with salmon and salmon skin. Perfect as an appetizer or even as a side dish.

Buta Mayo Roll, RM20

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but no Japanese meal is complete to me without some sushi rolls.

Okan Sashimi Moriawase, RM70

I started drooling the moment I saw this platter. Unfortunately, because I am pregnant, I cannot take any sashimi. So my hubby had a great time downing them on my behalf.

Look at that salmon sashimi! I will be back you guys. I will be back once baby has been born. I will be back.

They also have a list of Japanese beer and sake available, for those of you who are not pregnant.

Robataya is also an izakaya restaurant. Izakaya is a type of informal Japanese gastropub, and it is known to serve interesting dishes to go with beer or sake. On the particular day we were there, it was pork uterus.

Yea. You read that right.

If you want to try it, all you have to do is ask for the otsusume menu, and the friendly Robataya waiters will let you know what’s being served that day. Just remember to be adventurous!


Overall, I really enjoyed the different dishes they served. They have a lot of other (delicious-looking) stuff on the menu as well as desserts (!) that I didn’t get to try, so I will definitely go back!

A heads-up: Robataya is quite popular and can be packed during lunch and dinner hours. I would suggest that you go a little earlier than the usual crowd, or be prepared to wait a bit.



Robataya is giving a special offer to NatalieSia.com readers! All you have to do is show the image above when you dine in at Robataya at Publika, and you can get a Banana Bacon skewer and Tomato Bacon skewer free of charge!

This offer expires on 31st October 2016, so do drop by and try them out!

Note: The offer is not available during weekday lunch hours though as the grilling bar is closed during weekday lunch time 


D4-G3-09, Solaris Dutamas Publika
Open Mon-Fri 11am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 11pm, Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 11am – 11pm

Tel: 03-62112785
FB: https://www.facebook.com/robatayaizakaya

8 years after ‘I do’

It was late. I was tired. I was hungry. I had a long day. By the time he picked me up for dinner, it was about 9pm.

We went to TGIF, where I ranted about my day to him as we ate. He seemed a little quieter than usual, but then again, it could be because I was ranting nonstop.

Once we finished our main dishes, he asked if I would like to order dessert. Normally I would jump at that, but on that night, I was physically tired and mentally exhausted, and I felt full enough, so I uncharacteristically passed.

I later found out that that made him a bit more nervous. But he nevertheless bravely began his speech. He said he was sorry he had been unable to get me fancy gifts. He bought me something, and he really hoped that I would like it. I prepared my own expectations, and told myself not to show any signs of disappointment if I indeed did not like the gift. After all, it’s the heart and thought that mattered.

But all my own thoughts evaporated when he put a blue Tiffany & Co box on the table.

Oh. Ma. Gawd.

I think at this point he continued on with his well-prepared speech, but honestly, I can’t recall any of it. I only remember feeling utterly shocked, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the box. I knew what was inside. My heart was beating wildly. I wasn’t sure if I was ready.

Then the question came.

“Will you marry me?”


I looked at him. I looked at the box. I looked at him. And all I could say was, “Really? Are you serious?”

Unlike most girls who fawned and cried and screamed ‘YES!!!’ immediately, I had so many things run through my mind in those few seconds. My answer would be a very important one. It was not going to be just a one-word reply. It was going to be a big decision. For life.

I took a deep breath, and said yes. And he visibly relaxed as he put the (slightly oversized) ring into my shaking finger.

That was the beginning of our journey, which was solidified by our wedding a year later. We said our vows, making a big commitment. For life.


It’s been 8 years since we said ‘I do’. So many things have happened in our relationship.

In my husband’s words, we have lost our firstborn, we have welcomed and are raising a cheerful toddler, and we are now expecting another baby. We have been poor, and then been rich, and then poor again. Hopefully, we are on our way to being rich again *finger crossed*.

We have fought without words, fought with words, and fought on iMessage (which works brilliantly for us by the way).

We have been through quite a rough trail. Honestly, were there moments where I actually thought of bailing? Yes. But the commitment of love means that I will choose to hold on even when I want to flee.

Marriage is a lot of hard work. It is choosing to listen to your spouse when all you want to do is scroll your Facebook timeline (again, my husband’s words). It is choosing to be interested in your spouse’s day even though yours was as sucky as hell. It is choosing to spend time together even though you really crave for some me time after being hounded by a relentless toddler the whole day. It is swallowing down your temporary anger and resentment, and choosing to be kind instead. It is choosing not to keep scores, and to go the extra mile instead.

It is choosing to accept each other in every way, and not be on the lookout for ‘someone better’. It is choosing to overlook and forgive. It is choosing to remember the good times more than the bad times. It is choosing to see things from your spouse’s perspective, especially when you are blinded by rage. It is choosing to hold each other’s hands, and say again and again, ‘I will walk this road with you.’

Feelings come and feelings go. Butterflies appear in your stomach and vanish all the time. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is the real deal.

So how do we stay in love?

We’ve only been married for 8 years. That’s a short time when measured against the years of life. But so far, staying in love to me means making choices and decisions every day.

Choose to remember our vows. Choose to remember what attracted us to each other in the first place. Choose to close an eye on the irritating habits. Choose to talk things out even when it’s difficult. Choose to solve issues even when we don’t want to. Choose to be fair. Choose to be kind. Choose to hold on when times are rough. Choose to create fond memories together. Choose to be completely honest. Choose to say sorry. Choose to dream together.

For better, for worse.

Happy 8th anniversary to my dearest husband. I love you more today than yesterday, despite all your disgusting habits. *winks*




Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

Earlier this year I went to Seoul, South Korea, and, being in the land of beauty, I knew I had to pick up some face care products. So I did some research, and one of the products I decided to get was this Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask.

It is made from clean Jeju volcanic ingredients (like hardened lava), to remove sebum, treat blemishes and purify the skin.

I heard a lot of good things about this, so I was more than excited to try it out. And I love it!

As my TV job requires me to put on a ton of makeup, I really need a good clay mask to cleanse out all impurities, tighten my pores, restore and brighten my skin. This clay mask glides on my skin so smoothly, which makes application a joy! It also doesn’t sting my face, which is a big bonus. And once I wash it off, I could see an immediate difference – my skin looks brighter, and it feels so much softer and smoother.

Since becoming a mom, time for masks is a luxury though, so I usually just quickly slap on this mask while I’m in the shower and let it dry as much as it can for about 5 minutes before rinsing it off. I try to use it at least once every week… if I remember haha.

Have you tried this mask before? Let me know if you like it!




All The Saints Of Our Lives

Last weekend was the celebration of my church’s 15th anniversary.

The organising team spent one month planning and preparing for the two events – the main one being our gala dinner slash awards night to appreciate our leaders and ministry members on Saturday, and then our actual Sunday service. The bigger focus went to the gala dinner, and it was the hardest, because the goal was that the staff team would do everything, so that our volunteers and church members could just sit back and enjoy.


Picture from CHCKL 

This was the first project I embarked on since joining the church staff team as a part-timer, and also the first time I was part of a organising committee actually. It was really stretching. Not only was I doing this on top of my news reading schedule, I also had to take on things that I wasn’t even sure if I could handle.

I had to help with the conceptualising, planning and supervising of all the videos for the weekend, which probably amounted to about seven or eight. At times I felt that this was so out of my league, but I just had to rely on my guts, instinct, and feels.

I also oversaw the performances for the gala night, although most of my focus went to the drama skit. I wrote the script, did the casting, went through practices with the team, and made sure everything would be OK. It was way more stressful than just acting a role I tell you.

I also decided to appoint different presenters for every award given out. Which meant I had to script their lines a la Oscars style. And we had 11 awards. By the end of it, my brain was fried.

During rehearsals, I had to ensure that everybody knew what to do, especially the stage managers, so that everything would flow well that night.

I also appointed myself as the emcee of the night, because I thought, since I pretty much arranged the flow of the night, I might as well just do it, rather than having to brief and ensure another emcee knew what was going on. (But I am glad I did it, because I really had a lot of fun. Emceeing for church is always a joy!)

In the midst of all this, I was also in my first trimester. So it was a little challenging. My morning/evening sickness was quite bad, that sometimes I struggled to go for rehearsals and even work. And by the end of the day, I would be flat out.

Sometimes late at night, I would suddenly panic, wondering if I over-exerted myself, wondering if baby was OK.

But seeing how the gala night turned out, and how the Sunday service went well, it was all worth it. The team I worked with was more than fabulous, and so very excellent.


Picture from CHCKL

It was truly an honour and my privilege to be able to be part of this big celebration. Thank you CHCKL for believing in me more than I believe in myself. Thank you for helping me discover so much about myself. Thank you for journeying through life with me for the past 11 years. Happy 15th anniversary!

And big love to all the saints of our lives, for all the days of our lives!




Things Amy Says

Amy is now at the age where she begins to say the funniest things.

Example #1: 

She plays and laughs and everyone laughs with her.

Amy: Amy soooooo happy!!!

Me: You’re so happy?

Amy: The end!

Me: The end?

Amy: Correct!

Me: …

Background commentary: My bedtime stories to her always end with “Amy / so-and-so is soooo happy! The end!”. So now every time she hears “so happy” she says “the end”. 

Example #2: 

Since Amy was born, I made it a point not to say things like “shame shame” when she’s naked, because I didn’t want her to start yelling “shame shame” whenever she sees me naked.

Unfortunately, she has learned to say “bogel” (naked in Malay).

So now, whenever she is naked:

Amy: Amy bogel!!!!!

Or when her papa is changing:

Amy: Papa bogel!!!!

Or when I am changing:

Amy: Mama bogel!!!!!

And if I ignore, she would repeat that 10 times and it gets louder each time.

Note to self: It may not be a good idea to bring her into fitting rooms with me at the malls.