Horseback Riding on the beach of Mornington Peninsula

I’m quite convinced there is no better way to see a beach than to ride on a majestic horse across the soft sand during twilight.

I’ve always wanted to try out horseback riding, and when I was in Australia, I figured it was the perfect time to do it. Great weather and scenery – Australia has arguably some of the best beaches in the world. 
Hi little pony!
When Sam and I arrived at Gunnamatta Horse Trails located in the Mornington Peninsula (about 2 hours drive from Melbourne), we really weren’t quite sure of what to expect. I mean, how  difficult can riding a horse be? You just haul your ass onto the big beast, and hold on tight so that you don’t fall off and embarrass / injure yourself. Right? 

Wrong.
I think horseback riding is anything but easy.
Daunting, tiring, challenging, gratifying, exhilarating, yes… but it’s nowhere near as simple as it looks. 

Before our 2 hour ++ horse trail ride into the Australian outback and beach started, we were given forms to sign (something along the lines of, “If you die, that’s not our fault.”) and we had to pick our helmets. That’s when I realize Sam and I had massive heads! Random but true. We had to use some of their biggest sizes.
When we were ushered into the stables area, I was literally shitting my pants. These horses were HUGE, and some of them didn’t look that friendly, or obliging. I’m uncomfortable and skittish even around little doggies when I visit people’s homes, imagine me in front of big giant beasts. Ok maybe I shouldn’t call them beasts, that’s a little unfair since they didn’t hurt no one that day and don’t have a record for being evil, but they sure are strong, and intimidating. Yeah, they look big and horse-like in the picture, but they’re really fucking ginormous in real life. I almost considered backing out at the last second. I asked Sam in a wimpy voice, “Can we not do this please?” but he ignored me. I’m glad he did, because horseback riding must be one of the most thrilling events of my life!
We were in a group of about 7 people. When they asked, “Who has zero experience in horse riding prior to this?” Sam and I were the only ones who raised our hands. Great, so everyone else knows what they’re doing, and the nerdy asian kids are gonna be the clueless ones again…

“Now, who is nervous about today’s experience?”

My hand shot straight up without hesitation. I thought they were going to go easy on me, but to my UTMOST horror, they went, “Okay, it’s Jess right? Jess, you can have our biggest horse today, her name is Audrey.” 

Mortified. You should’ve seen my face.

They then led the LARGEST horse in their stables that looked like it weighed 2 full tonnes over to my direction. I gave Sam the ?!?!?! look, and asked the tour people why I was getting the biggest horse when I’m the newcomer.
Her reply: “Oh, don’t you worry! Audrey here is very gentle. Sometimes the bigger the horse, the better it is for nervous people. It’s not in the best interest for large horses to make sudden movements because they’re so big. It’s the small horses that can be pretty mischievous. Come on up here, I’ll show you how to saddle a horse.”
The next few minutes were a blur. I vaguely remember trying to get onto Audrey’s back, but she was so dang TALL, all I had a was a stumpy stool below my feet to lift myself off the ground from – I failed the first couple of times trying to get onto the horse. I was really scared to haul my weight onto the horse. I know a big horse like that wouldn’t mind my weight, but if I asked you to climb onto an animal, wouldn’t you be worried about their reaction as well? What if it doesn’t like me, and throws me off??? With some help from the tour guides, I was finally on the horse. I turned around to look at Sam, who was already on his horse as well.



And the horseback riding officially begun.

We formed a single line, all of us on our horses, and set off into the bushes. It was the first time I had really been IN the Australian bush – I’ve taken road trips into the countryside, but always remained where there were roads and beaches, so our paths were quite urbanized. Now we were crossing serious rural farmland – there were no roads, but instead, what we saw were hordes of mooing COWS grazing on lush grass right next to us, barely a meter away as we trotted right past them! How about that. I don’t know why I haven’t experienced this part of Australia sooner.

I think I’m quite the retard. I tend to mimic animal sounds when I see them, as if to solicit some kind of response from the animal. For example, when I see a cat on the streets, I’d walk up to it and go “meow.” Or, if I walk past a person’s house and their dog is barking at me, I’d sometimes shout “Woof woof!” back. I have even gone “churp churp” to a bird before. DON’T ASK ME WHY I DO IT. I just do. So, out of nowhere, I decided to turn my head and go “moooooo” at a black cow that was startlingly close to me, just for the heck of it. To my complete freaking amusement, it actually moo-ed back at me, in a very deep, LOUD and trembling tone, and moved towards me. LOL I was so surprised and partly terrified, I almost fell off my horse. Can you believe that?! I can speak cow!!! I am gifted. I tried moo-ing at other cows that we passed, but none of them spoke Cow as fluently as that big black one.
I couldn’t take any pictures during the bush ride because I had to hold onto my saddle tightly, but I wish I could, because it was such a unique experience! I’ve never seen Australia like this before – being surrounded by this much flora and fauna. I was grinning from ear to ear, and 20 minutes into the ride I was a lot more relaxed, instead of holding onto my saddle for real life I’d be looking around at the scenery, truly appreciating my environment. Reasons like this is why I love Australia. So much freedom, so much beauty! The terrain was also fun and exciting for horseback riding. We had all these little downward slopes, upward hills, nooks and crannies that we had to maneuver through, which was pretty thrilling for a first-timer.
So, the actual act of riding a horse wasn’t so bad – you just have to balance yourself on the saddle and move “in tune” with the horse, and bear the discomfort in between your legs. The difficult part is really controlling your horse and making it listen to you. Make the thing go where you want to go. It was hard to keep up with the pace of the other more experienced horse riders because somehow my horse Audrey seemed to know that I was a noob. Perhaps I wasn’t dominating enough. Because she would constantly bend down, stop in the middle of our paths to graze on grass. My tour guide would look over with a disapproving look and shout at me, “No!!!! Please don’t let Audrey eat, she knows she’s not supposed to do that. Kick her!!!! Kick kick kick!” 
That stressed me out. I don’t like kicking horses, but she meant it when she asked me to kick the dang horse. They instructed me to dig my heels a couple of times (HARD) into the horse’s abdomen (stomach? dunno what part of the horse that was) whenever it was doing something wrong like grazing on grass, or when it’s not going fast enough, etc. Basically, kicking it gets it’s attention. The tour guides said it doesn’t hurt them, because they’re so strong… if we just pat them, they won’t feel it. I was unconvinced. When they bend their heads down to graze on grass, you’re meant to tug hard back on the reigns, to stop it from eating. I failed at this because Audrey seemed really hungry and stopped for grass ALL the time. I think I held up the group awhile because they had to wait for Audrey a lot, but what do you want me to do?!  Look, this wasn’t a machine. It’s a living breathing thing, who is a hell of a lot stronger than me and probably knows it. I tried to pull back on the reigns with all my might, but of course this horse is stronger than me! Sometimes when I tug too hard, Audrey gets a little pissed off and neighs / snorts suddenly. I did finally man up, and used a lot more force eventually, and Audrey seemed to be better behaved after the first hour passed.
Just when I thought my horsey troubles were over, the tour guide informed everyone that we were going to learn how to trot.
Trotting is like jogging for us humans. It’s faster than a walk, but slower than a run. So to properly do horse trotting, you have to….. man I can’t even put this into the proper words. It’s like you have to learn forward, but not too far forward because you might lose your balance and fall off the horse. Then you have to sort of stand and squat, alternating between those two motions as when your horse trots, it will bounce you up and down, up and down, so you go up and down with it. You’re not meant to be just plainly SITTING your ass down on the horse as it trots, as that is uncomfortable and difficult for the horse, apparently it strains their back. You also don’t just stand and squat, stand and squat, I was told you have to stand, then squat (ass lifted off the horse without touching it) for like 3 seconds, then stand, repeat process. It requires a LOT of strength and co-ordination to do it properly!!! Not my two best qualities. Seriously, doing squats while riding on the back of a giant trotting horse that you still have to guide and trying not to lose your balance while the instructor shouts at you for doing it wrong was very very demanding. We didn’t do this for 5 minutes, think we did trotting on and off for half an hour. 

The aftermath of horse riding, pictures taken the very next morning!
I posted this picture on Instagram and this was my caption: “Patches of bruises over my inner thighs, which I forsee them turning surer and darker colored in days to come, my legs literally don’t work anymore, I can’t walk 3 steps without groaning.. And my back feels like an obese giant sat on it the whole entire night.”
Yeah… not gonna lie. One of the hardest physical things I’ve had to do, like rock climbing when I was in Vegas. Guess I’m just not cut out for sports, huh? But I’d do it all over again if I had the chance, any day! In fact, as I’m writing this post, I’m looking forward to the next time I go horseback riding. I’ll be more mentally prepared, and hopefully they will want to trot less!
The best part about the tour was when we rode our horses out of the warm Australian bush, and onto the beach. It was nothing short of breath taking, and to feel that sea breeze on my face was priceless. It is regrettable that my camera didn’t capture the full beauty of the beach, but it seemed to stretch on for miles, and the twilight sky was lit beautifully.

This is me, on ma horse, Audrey! Say hi to everyone, Aud!!! I’m almost 1.7m, so imagine how tall Audrey really is.
Don’t laugh at how I look like!! I was wearing leggings + a random dress + Sam’s hoodie over my dress… and I had zero make up on, I was wearing my glasses (transition lenses that turn black to protect my sensitive eyes from sun light) and also had my hair tied up. And I was wearing a helmet. In short, I looked like a boy from China.

This is Sam’s horse, Jet! Jet likes to pee and poop a lot. I think I’ve seen Jet pee twice and poop once during our 2 hour trail ride. I could have lived my life without seeing a giant horse penis having urine splash out of it, or lived my life without smelling fresh horse poop. But, well, that’s life for you.

Sam didn’t do so well with Jet either… apparently when he tried to stop Jet from eating grass (glad to know Audrey wasn’t the only one), Jet got pissed off and yanked the reigns out of Sam’s hand, which cut him! Yikes.

Guess the smaller ones are more feisty, Audrey turned out to be quite a darling at the end of the day. A hungry, slightly stubborn darling, but a darling nevertheless. I found myself stroking her mane and going, “There’s a good Audrey.”

Just two horses hanging out!

Horseback riding on the beach was so, so nice. The horses seemed to like the breeze as well, and were easier to handle. Their pace was relaxed and easy as they dipped their hooves into the sea water… and I had the complete luxury of soaking up the experience at ease. Like I said, there ain’t no better way to check out a beach than on a horse. It looks different from up there.
I love how empty and quiet the beach was, away from civilization, just Mother Nature in her true form. The sand wasn’t the whitest or the softest I’ve seen, the waters not a sparkling blue, but it was so raw, and real.

I cut out my face coz I looked beyond spastic but here’s a slightly closer shot of Audrey & I!

I can’t believe all the adventures Sam and I get up to. Looking at this pic reminds me of us riding ATV vehicles and elephants in Thailand a few years ago. We sure do like to ride on strange things!
On our ride back to the stables, I was thankful that this awesome opportunity happened to me, but at the same time, also thankful that it was going to be over soon. Couldn’t wait to be on solid ground again, walking on my own two solid feet, instead of bobbing up and down on Audrey’s back. Riding for more than 2 hours straight was more than my body could handle, I was exhausted, especially since we had to drive a long way to get here earlier in the day. I was so knackered, I just FELL off my horse. I tried to use my leg muscles to lift myself off the horse and glide down, but I just fell, ungracefully, and ever so clumsily. Thank god Sam was there to catch me, otherwise I would’ve landed straight into a pile of sand that was covered in copious amounts of horse poo & pee, for real.
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We ended off this epic day with soaking in Mornington Peninsula’s Hot Springs. 

Soaking in a 35 degrees natural hot springs pool after a day like that…. JUST what we needed!!! I was floating in bliss. Something about that warm, natural spring water seemed to have magical healing abilities – I was feeling good as new after soaking in it for 45 minutes.

I was also really happy to get all that horse smell off me, and that I didn’t need to endure the 2 hour drive back to Sam’s home in Melbourne smelling of horse. The hot springs were only 15 minutes away from the horse riding place, and it was so so good – I’m going back there the next time I pop by Melbourne. They have different pools of different temperatures, and the whole set up and scenery was pretty mind-blowing. Too bad it was already relatively dark by the time we reached, I think it would’ve been the most beautiful around 5pm. 

Check out pictures of the hot springs here – and be very jealous!!! 
My favorite hot springs pool was at the top, where Sam and I gazed into the vast openness and the starry night sky…

The moon looked really round and red that night. It was lovely and serene out there.

It would’ve been more romantic if there wasn’t hordes of people around, but considering it’s such a nice place to be and that it was perfect weather to be out, I don’t blame those people for having the same idea as us.

xoxo,
Jess
xoxo,
Jess

What’s Bakin’? #11

On days like these, I am really thankful for my job.

It’s not easy, or as fun and relaxing as people think it is, baking is anything but a piece of cake. It is actually incredibly stressful most of the time, rushing to meet deadlines and customer’s expectations. But at the very least, it is extremely gratifying, allowing me to express my creativity and not a work day goes by that I find mundane or boring. I have never once looked at the clock and wished it moved a little faster. When I’m working, time just flies by, and they say when time flies, you know you’re having a good time. I love my job because it is always challenging, always new, and I am constantly learning new lessons, with regards to advancing my baking skills and discovering more about life itself.

So thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to make a living doing what I love, because without other people who also love what I do, my life as is would not be possible.

All creations done by Shiberty’s Sweets @ shibertys.blogspot.com – where diet goes to die and delectable dreams come true ♥
Please do not re-distribute my images and work without proper crediting (a link back to my site) or permission. :)
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
Minnie mouse will never go out of style!
Go on…
Take a bite of the rainbow. You know you want to.
Another icon that will also never go out of style ;)
This particular Chanel bag design was requested by a customer. We could do the classic flag bags as well!
2 tiered Rilakkuma cake – it was too cute, I just had to add special effects on the border!
The recipient of this cake kindly sent me this photo of her matching rainbow Rilakkuma cupcakes & rainbow cake being served at her 21st party! Love the way she sets up the cakes, a tiered cake looks the best when surrounded by cupcakes as well. It’s like a shrine of cuteness. 
Or, if you can’t decide to get a cake or cupcakes… Get 2 in 1! A giant cupcake cake!!!!
A panda cake design that was requested – I think it looks a little ghostly with the hollow white eyes, but cute nonetheless :P
You can never go wrong with present cakes!
One for the macho men – the girl who ordered this cake was so sweet and sent me this message the following day:
There are few color combinations in this world that looks better than white, black and red. 
As I was saying…….
It amazes me how many different types of hello kitty cakes we’ve done. I see this cat even when I close my eyes now.
Nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan Nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan Nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan Nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan Nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan ~~~
So you can’t tell, but this whole Barney cake was decorated with hearts & kisses!
I adore the deep wine red color, and how clean cut this cake is.
For a princessy girl who loves the color lime green, blue, ribbons & stars. Even if you don’t have any particular design in mind, you can just let me know the key elements you’d like to see on your cake and I’ll come up with something for ya! 
If only Aliens were this cute in movies.
Every time I see a cute turtle, I think of Finding Nemo. The best animated movie ever!!!
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So, the following project is something new.
I’ve decided that soon enough, I will be releasing a new cupcake series that offers ZERO customization, but focuses fully on the taste. You see, when we offer customized cakes, we can’t give you super soft sponge cake because the fondant is heavy and the soft cake will get squashed underneath. We need something of substantial density and compactness so that it holds the crazy designs we pile onto it.
Same thing goes for cupcakes and the cream we use, we can’t use super smooth or soft frosting (like cream cheese frosting which tastes amazeballs, or the really light and non-sweet cream that neighbourhood bakeries use) because it melts faster and is less reliable in consistency than the buttercream we use. I think our cupcakes now are yummy, but I also think they can be even YUMMIER if the taste wasn’t restricted by the design.
Now what I wanna do is come up with a new range of cupcakes that is 100% about the taste!!! That means you can’t customize it – what you see is what you get. The recipe will be different from our normal cupcakes.  The toppings will be insanely finger-licking good.
For example, these amazingly light & fluffy lemon cupcakes baked with lemon juice & zest is topped off with fresh fruit. The strawberry one was kept simple with classic cream cheese frosting (SO SO GOOD SERIOUSLY) and the blueberries one has raspberry cream cheese frosting instead!!! No artificial flavors in these ones, all real fresh fruit!!! :D
The real surprise is when you bite into the cupcake and juicy blueberries burst with flavor. :D:D:D
And how incredible do these red velvet cupcakes look?! Also topped off with cream cheese frosting, and dusted with cocoa powder! It does not get any moister or richer than this. I think this is the epitome of red velvet. It tastes completely different from the red velvet that we are offering currently. My friend ate 7 of this at one go, wtf. 
Warning: it’s stupidly addictive. I never understood the craze about red velvet, until I had this. It took a while  and several tries to perfect the recipe, but I’m glad I did, because I dare say it’ll blow your mind right off. Red velvet lovers, STAY TUNED. 
Well so that’s all I’m going to show you for now, I’m still experimenting with new recipes & more exciting flavors will be coming your way soon, but I don’t wanna reveal all my goodies right away!!!! Hint: There’s going to be caramelized bananas, peanut butter & nutella, to name a few combinations. If you have a gourmet flavor to suggest, let me know as well!
For the chocolate lovers I’m thinking of doing something with kinder buenos / maltesers / nutella. I mean, COME ON, does chocolate get any better than those 3 items?!?!?!
xoxo,
Jess
xoxo,
Jess

How To Not Impress A Girl

Out of sheer boredom a month ago, I downloaded this free networking app on my iPhone called “Skout.”

Technically it’s labelled as a “Flirt” app, but since I had zero intention to flirt with the people on there, I’ll call it a networking app.. so I don’t feel like such a sleaze. So I pretty much knew that I was going to get bombarded with desperate messages the moment I signed up for an account, which I’m sure every other female on there experiences as well, but what I didn’t know was how entertaining fail pick up lines can be!!! Honestly, it’s amused me to no end, every single time I open the app there’s bound to be comic gold lying around somewhere, I just have to keep reading the mundane “Hi how are you? Care to make friends?”s until I find a funny one. Somewhere along the way I decided to screen shot the epically funny ones and whatsapp my friend and we’d go “LOLOL” (I know I’m so mean deal with it) and now my screenshot list has grown so big, I thought I’d make a blog post out of it!

Just so we’re clear, my Skout profile clearly states that I am “in a relationship”, “looking for friends”, and my description goes… “If you can’t be bothered to say more than just hi, chances are I can’t be bothered to reply you either. But if you can hold a decent conversation, well then I’d be pleased to chat with you!”

I have this haughty sounding profile because the amount of 2 lettered “Hi.”s I get is shocking. Do you walk up to someone on the street and just go, “Hi”? You introduce yourself, you ask them how’s their day, you don’t say one word and expect a response.

And may I present to you - ten thousand and one ways to not impress a girl! 

Singaporean guys, watch and learn from this. Btw.. If you know anyone that has their blurry picture posted here, please don’t tell them. LOL. Take this post with a pinch of salt. I don’t mean the mean things I say… I think.

Laughing at the things people say around here, I hope you don’t mind.

Apparently asking for some common sense these days is too much to ask for..

Hahahaha I guess he couldn’t think of what else to say besides “Hi” or “Hello” and decided an elongated “Helllloooooooo” would sound more impressive! Every time I read long words stretched out, I read it in a retarded deep whale voice ala Ellen Degeneres in Finding Nemo.

Oh, come on. If you’re going to compliment me, at least spell it right. If he spells Pretty as Pretyy, I dare not think how he’d spell Gorgeous or Beautiful. And I’m sure that heart shaped latte in your profile pic shows how much of a deep romantic you are.

LOL at least this one has a clue! Unfortunately he said more than just “Hi” and got ignored anyway.

Not sure if this is funny, or sad. Quite funny actually lol I like the “moshi moshi” part

I kind of liked the first message, but who else felt annoyed just by reading his 2nd message about not being irritating? Who has to self declare and promise that they are not annoying? People who constantly get told they’re annoying, I reckon. Sorry Posh Boy!

Doing more with my life than wasting time fUcKiNg wItH mY sHiFt & cApS lOcK bUtToN. yOu??? gEeZ tHiS iS tIrInG. hOw dO pEoPlE fInD tHe pAtIeNcE tO dO tHiS??

HAHAHAHAHA this is one of my favourite!!!!!!!   Dafuq?!

I’m going to include that in my profile’s “About Me.” the next time I update it because I think that is a fantastic summary of myself. Well done friend, that is my best compliment I’ve received in my life, probably. His solemn expression in the background makes it all that much funnier. I give him 10 points for trying and for being at least funny.

…Check what???! Check out my backside to see if it’s luscious or not? Seriously. Sure, hold on while I strip off my clothes, take a picture of my bare back and then send it to you because you asked me to.

I’m not your darling, and to sidetrack, they should make camwhoring while driving totally illegal. It’s just as bad as text-driving!

HAHAHAHA men. So gullible. This was when I was sick and waiting for my turn at Changi Hospital’s A&E… totes bored and then I remembered I had Skout!

Another hospital one. I like catching people by surprise and watching their awkward response :P You will not believe the amount of people who agreed to have a “date” with me at Changi Hospital…

Yes, sure, some other time will be great. Like in my next life. A picture would not be necessary, I’m convinced anyone half decent looking would already have their picture as their profile display because it’s the normal and sensible thing to do. Everyone else who CMI would choose to have their dogs, cars, heart shaped lattes or worse, a default avatar to represent them instead.

Apparently this picture looks like a tough, strong and determined person.

How do I look strong?! Because I’m not getting blown over by the wind? I kind of thought my pic just meant “vain asian girl with wind in hair in front of beach”, but okay, I’ll take those compliments, thank you kind sir.

Lololol. Random ass compliments that are seemingly part-psychic appear to be a relatively popular method.

BAHAHAHA ANOTHER FAVOURITE!!!!!!! Omg I crack myself up. As you can tell from the screenshot, it was 3am. I felt kind of bad afterwards.

This one actually sounded sincere-ish and sweet, but I found the angel and praying hands at the end of his message hilarious. Not sure what it means but I imagine he’s praying to the gods “PLEASEEEE GOD MAKE THIS ONE REPLY ME!!! *puts hand together in praying pose* SHE’S AN ANGEL!” – am I full of shit or am I full of shit?? LOL.

I have no words. But probably not.

I COULDN’T RESIST

What’s good on a humid Sunday?? WHAT’S GOOD ON A HUMID SUNDAY?????????? e_e…… Talk about cringe worthy introductions.

I hope that’s some messed up jumbled version of “Hi Jessica! It’s a humid Sunday today, but I hope it’s going good for you.” BUT I’m not terribly convinced.

I am honestly horrified and disgusted by the amount of people who seem unable to string together simple sentences. Also, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to enjoy… his linguistic skills? I sure hope, for his own sake, they are more impressive in real life.

Interesting question. I’ll take being an actual princess, so that I’d be rolling in riches, when you’re that rich it doesn’t matter what you look like because there’s always make up and surgery, which money can buy you a lot of.

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To end off this awkward and hilarious post, here’s one that’s not so bad. (I had to scroll through quite a few messages to finally find a decent one)

There we go. A normal message with smiley faces, accurate spelling and a non-creepy compliment. Well done, kiddo!

I was almost going to reply you, but then I saw the picture of you clutching a red carebear plushie in what appears to be your school uniform…. I suddenly felt a lot like a pedophile, and hastily closed the app. Sorry hun, but I don’t do boys younger than me. But you seem to have potential, just lose the care bear next time.

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess