At the end of the tunnel…


Trigger warning: suicide thoughts…

Imagine one day, when everything and everyone let you down…

Rejection after rejection…

And you are feeling worthless…

And nothing can hold you back…

Not your family, not your loved ones…

Not things you love, or things you hate…

Everything is just too hard and you cannot take it anymore…

You want to go…away, for good.

You see the tunnel, dark and narrow…

The tunnel is calling you…

You get there, and walk through the tunnel, hoping there will be light at the end of it…

There is no light…

Just a dark, dark pit.

And you go, and you go, and you go…

Thoughts firstly come through mind. The brain and the mind, they are conscious, they are radical. They judge and criticize, questioning your abilities to do things successfully. They compare you to your peers on every occasion. They tell you when you look good, how you should look good, when you need to do well, how you need to do well… The constant and instant pressures you are under continuously affect you and your body. These thoughts trap your body, stop it from moving, and make it surrender. You lie there, you cannot move. You are trapped. And the thoughts come like tides, overwhelming you. It builds second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week… Until one day, you give up! …

Suicide is preventable. That’s what I read in research articles and the press. Finding a safe space to talk it through and walk through the rough paths is important. That’s what I heard. Here’s what I believe:

To prevent suicide, you need to fight the thoughts by making movements on your body. To get that thought out of your mind – move. Do not let it trap you. Move. Run. Scream. Cry. Do not let your body stop. Every single muscle on your body has movements. Do not think about big movements like running, dancing, exercising. Think of micro movements like the flicking of your finger tip, your breath, your eye lids. Focus on those tiny little movements. They should not be ignored. They should be given more attention. Because when you learn to listen to your body and hear its voice, you silence those dark thoughts. You survive.

@Writer notes: If you love to hear more from me about how movements can help keep the deep dark thoughts at bay, please leave a comment. I am here to talk to you and listen to your stories.


If it is an emergency click here to find the number for your local crisis assessment team. In a life-threatening situation call 111.


With love,

The Night Owl

Coming back, blogging!



The rose represents love. Flowers often represent beauty, grace, and purity, but the Prince’s rose also is vain and demanding. The Prince’s problem in the book is his quest to understand the Rose, and to understand how to love it.

I guess it happens. That’s the reason why I stopped blogging for 2 years. I have lost my rose…

I hope to pick up some pieces and start to write again. Beginning now! Water my rose!

@Night Owl

Tet is coming! Tết tết tết đến rồi…


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This is how Vietnamese call their Lunar New Year! Happy Tết!

Tết is divided into three periods, known as Tất Niên (penultimate New Year’s Eve), Giao Thừa (New Year’s Eve), and Tân Niên (the New Year), representing the preparation before Tết, the eve of Tết, and the days of and following Tết, respectively.

Since Manuka is getting older and understanding more about Tet, we try our best to keep the tradition and custom. We provide anything within our reach so she can absorb as much as the Viet in hers.

Tomorrow when the girl wakes up, it will be a new year, a new day and a new life ahead. So are we. May the New Year 2017 brings to us health, love and prosperity.

Cũng hơn cả năm Cú Mèo không đụng tới blog. Một phần là vì bận rộn với trường lớp, con trẻ. Phần khác là cái sự viết tự nhiên giảm thiểu đáng kể, còn cái sự đọc thì tăng lên vô hạn. Nhiều khi đọc vài điều hay, Cú cũng muốn viết vài dòng chia sẻ rồi quanh đi quẩn lại thế là lại thôi.

Nguyên năm 2016 đầy biến động, bão táp, mưa gió dập dùi mà Cú Mèo thân không tàn, tim không dại, vẫn trụ được trên cái đảo hoang ở cái xứ tận cùng trái đất này. Âu cũng là duyên nợ.

Năm nay con gái đã biết đòi hỏi, biết Tết nên cũng phãi ráng làm cái Tết cho nó vui, mặc dù bản thân thì đuối hơn trái chuối. Bài cuối năm chưa trả nợ xong, đêm đêm phải chong đèn với cà phê và máy tính. Con gái ngày nào nó cũng hát “bánh chưng xanh bên dưa hấu đỏ”; “tết tết tết đến rồi”.

Mấy ngày trước Tết, ba Gấu chặt cây mai về cho Ka gắn bông hoa. Mẹ Cú đem đồ trang trí cho Ka treo. Nhà cửa tự nhiên rộn rộn ràng ràng.


Tết tết tết đến rồi! #23Tet The little girl decorates her Tet tree (cây mai)

23 Tháng Chạp cúng ông Táo.


Cúng ông Táo bà Táo #23Tet Offering for the Kitchen’s Gods and Goddess

28 Tết, mẹ Cú trưng mâm ngũ quả. Dừa, xoài, thơm, cam, dưa hấu và hương thảo. Thiên nhiên cho mình có gì hưởng đó.


Mâm ngũ quả #28Tet This five-fruit tray is a kind of food offering being put on display to show gratitude to their ancestors as well as to show aspiration for prosperity.

29 Tết, ba Gấu leo máy bay vào thành phố mua cho 2 cái bánh chưng và 2 đòn bánh tét. Tiền bánh có 12$ một cái còn tiền vé máy bay mất hết 200$.


Bánh chưng, bánh tét và bao lì xì! Earth cake, Tet cake and lucky money! #29Tet

Sáng 30 Tết, nấu nồi thịt kho, không có khổ qua nên nấu một nồi canh thịt viên rau củ, chiên vài cuốn chả giò, cắt đòn bánh tét làm một bữa cỗ cúng tất niên. Ka lăng xăng chạy vô chạy ra hỏi “lì xì là gì hả mẹ?”


Mâm cơm tất niên #30Tet The last supper of 2016

Giao thừa tới New Zealand rồi. Ba Gấu làm con gà nướng, mẹ Cú nấu nồi cháo cúng ông bà đêm giao thừa. Thế là Tết ở trong tim mình rồi đó, Ka ơi.


Cúng giao thừa #30Tet

Chúc ông bà, cha mẹ, bạn bè gần xa năm con Gà lộc tài đầy nhà, hoan hỉ toàn gia.


Giao thừ tới rồi! #30Tet Tet’s Eve offering

Mừng Tết từ đảo xanh xa xôi!


A stormy New Year 2016


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Hello 2016!

2015 had been an up and down to us. Matt left his company in Bangkok and started up a new eco technology business in this tranquility island. I am still a stay-home mom, trying to manage two studies in Dance Therapy and Early Childhood Education online as well as running a lodge and helping husband as much as I can in his business side. We meet and make friends with lots of interested intelligent and talent people. Manuka is growing very fast. She is just over 3years old and she is a chatter box. Her vocabulary has impressed us all.

We still do not sure what the new year brings to us. At the bright side, we are looking for a glorious marvelous wonderful and joyful year. We will try all our best. We had a great but wet Christmas with our families and another great but wet New Year.

It had been raining since NYE. Lots of estranged tourists got stuck in the island. In the 1st day of 2016, we let 2 kids stay at our chalet, gave them some food and a bank account as promised they will pay online cause they have no money, no food and no where to stay while their boat trip has been cancelled by severe weather.

Yesterday, a Spanish couple and 3 kids walked in, luckily we got 2 chalets available for them and gave extra airbed for the kids. In the main house, we still have one guest room empty but my mind just went blank when a guy pop in and asked for accommodation. When I finally got myself back and ran after him, he vanished in thin air!!! Let’s hope someone takes him in kindly.

The 3rd day of 2016, rain stopped. Sun comes up and the birds fly around happily. I spot a wood pigeon comes out after the rain and dries himself on the tree. Now, we have our quite tranquility rural island back. All the guests are flying or boating home!


1st day of 2016, view from the upstair living room


view from the roof


Wood pigeon comes out after the rain


Nice tranquil spot to contemplate with my fav cup of tea


Hydrangea from the garden!


What can you do when you have lots of rose?


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rose 2

Roses are blooming in the garden!

rose 4

Lovely flower arrangement!

rose toner water

Making your own rose toner water!

This is how I love Spring! Flowers are everywhere! This weekend, we are having Great Barrier Island Garden tour and Best Rose competition for all the gardeners and rose lovers!
Made my own rose toner water today and felt blessing that we are living in such a wonderful place, the paradise on earth! Blessing with love!


Apple Roses!


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Found this wonderful recipe on CookingwithManuela

Manuela’s recipe is just simply yet marvelous. I was looking ideas to decorate cakes for my daughter’s birthday and here, i found it.

It’s lovely to serve warm or cold with few scoops of ice-cream. Yummy!!!

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Apple rose puff pastries

Tìm được cách làm hoa hồng với táo và pastries (không nhớ pastries tiếng Việt kêu sao nữa.) Cách làm cũng rất dễ. Táo cắt lát mỏng, ngâm với nước chanh (tỉ lệ 1 nước : 1 nước chanh) rồi nấu bằng microwave trong vòng 3 phút. Mứt dâu, mứt táo, mứt mơ, thích loai nào thì xài loại nấy, cứ 3 muỗng mứt pha với 1 muỗng nước. Pastries mua ở tiệm, thường là lát hình vuông, 1 bịch có 5 lát. Nếu đông lạnh thì rã đông khoảng 30 là dùng được. Cán mỏng pastries, cắt thành hình chữ nhật dài, thoa mứt ở giữa bề mặt rồi xếp lát táo lên nửa trên của lát pastries. Gấp nửa còn lại qua phần táo, rồi cuộn tròn từ đầu này sang đầu kia. Xếp hoa hồng táo vào khuôn bánh muffin nướng ở 160oC hay 375oF trong vòng 45 phút.

Xem cách làm cụ thể của Manuela trên youtube.

The little girl will be pleased. Thank you Manuela for this lovely sharing recipe!

#nightowlartlovetobake #newzealand #pigeonslodgekitchen

Pigeons Lodge!


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Finally the spring has come. We has changed to Day Saving Time last night. We are happy to announce that Pigeons Lodge Accommodation in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand opens for summer holiday booking now! Inquires please call +6494290437 (Matt & Ann)

We took a walk around the property today for some fresh photos. It has been a lovely winter but we can not wait longer to see the sun and the beaches and sun hats and shorts and bikinis 😉

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Pah beach, our favourite spot for summer

Pah beach, our favourite spot for summer

Mùa xuân tới rồi. Đêm qua chuyển từ giờ mùa đông sang giờ mùa hè. Sáng nay, hai vợ chồng dẫn con ra biển chơi một vòng rồi về đi một vòng khu đất để kiểm tra cây cối, đường mòn sống sót ra sao qua một mùa đông giông bão. Cây cối bắt đầu đâm chồi nở lộc, đám cỏ đầy hoa cúc dại. Nhà Bồ Câu bắt đầu mở cửa đón khách nghỉ mùa hè!!! Chuẩn bị mần việc kiếm tiền thôi!!!

@NightOwlArtinNewZealand #pigeonslodge #summer

Glenfern blossom! 

Glenfern blossom! This beautiful photo is taken while Matt, Scott and Gian meet at Glenfern yesterday. Scott Sambell is the manager of Glenfern Sanctary and Gian Baudran is the winner of the Conservation Innovation Award for 2014 and owner of MicroSystemsResearch 

at Glenfern Sanctary, Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand


From previous years, Matt & I used our skills to serve the Oil & Gas industry. We now decide to go Green! We luckily found a project that we are working with enthusiasm and fascination, with a great enjoyable team. Wishing us luck and like the product page TrapMinder

At the moment the TrapMinder system is being used at Glenfern Sanctuary, Great Barrier Island as an early warning system for rodent incursions around the pest-proof fence ends. Gian Baudran – the winner of the Conservation Innovation Award for 2014, locally known as ‘The Wizard’, has developed ‘TrapMinder’ an automatic ‘surveillance’ system for determining if a rodent has visited a trap, tunnel or other ‘device’.

Vợ chồng nhà Cú chuyển sang mần việc có liên quan tới cây cối rừng rú, bảo tồn động vật thiên nhiên nha mấy bạn. Bạn Gấu đang làm việc chung với một nhóm bạn ở trên đảo xanh thân yêu, nhận được tài trợ của WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) sáng chế ra các loại bẫy diệt chuột bọ, giúp bảo vệ môi trường. Bạn Cú mời các bạn thân yêu vào like trang product TrapMinder nếu thích & ủng hộ vợ chồng nhà Cú. Cám ơn các bạn!!!  

@NightOwlArtgogreen #trapminder #automated #conservationtechnology



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It is disgusting to see this happened in a country where my husband is in his business and I have been considered as foreigner home, a city that I have known so long, a place I used to walk pass every day twice! A place is where all my friends and families are. Keep safe, guys! #prayforbangkok #prayforthailand


#prayforbangkok (internet source)

BBC News capture

BBC News

Got a message from him last night when he heard the explosion. He is safe at least as well as beloved friends. But it is really disgusting that someone could do that, right in the heart of Bangkok, right at the rush hour when everyone are heading home after work, dinning with their families in the area or sight-seeing around with their love ones.

In peace and stay safe, Bangkok!