Food Friday: Detox Time…Sort Of

Hello fellow foodies, I have not done one of these in a while as food has not really been on the top of my mind in a way.

I do think about cooking and eating on a daily basis but I just have not been my usual snap-happy self. Each meal time is quite a circus and time-consuming with the bub on solids three times a day so I’ve been forgetting to take photos of food I’m eating. Maybe the title of this blog post should be “Food Friday: Busy Mum Edition (Photos May Not Be Included)“.

These are the photos that I did remember to take…

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So remember I said I’ve embarked on a cleaner diet? For the first three weeks, I was pretty hardcore — oatmeal or Weetbix or granola for breakfast with some fruit and almond milk, lunch was either a soup and salad combo or just a salad, and dinner was very veggie centred with a small portion of lean meat, e.g. green curry with loads of vegetables on quinoa (pictured above — not pretty but very yummy). I had no desserts, except on my cheat days, and just drank herbal tea and water (not even decaf coffee). Snacks were either a green smoothie or some cheese on whole wheat crackers, nuts, and olives.

My fave go-to green smoothie recipe now is orange or apple, kiwi, cucumber, lemon, a handful of greens, coconut oil, chia seeds, and oatmeal flour. Oh and loads of ice. This citrusy drink quenches thirst and feeds my body much-needed nutrients while cutting down on calories.

But then, we had a couple of guests staying with us in the fourth week so I’ve been having more than one cheat day a week. In fact, I feel like I just had a whole cheat weekend haha. When I go out, I do try to choose healthier options, like chirasu don which is a rice bowl topped with sashimi (pictured above).

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I also went for a play date at The Dome in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine 60 building last week. This restaurant caters to mums and bubs so there’s a huge play mat in the middle of the restaurant with tables and chairs for mothers on the side.

The course is 2000JPY and you get a sashimi salad, a pasta dish, a meat main, and a dessert. I chose the linguine pesto dish with octopus which was so savoury and delicious and the grilled chicken was equally mouthwatering. We were marvelling at the quality of the food for such a place.

It is a chaotic experience to say the least but that’s part and parcel of a play date. I found myself tucking into my pasta but spotting Charles crawling towards the drink bar so I shot out of my chair and pulled him away or I would spy him pulling some other baby’s hair so I rushed over to apologize to the mother.

But it was a fun day with other mummies and we stopped by Babies ‘R’ Us to see what would be interesting to buy. I got Charles a sippy cup that helps to teach babies how to suck from a straw — there’s a button you can press so water shoots up the straw.

If you noticed some of my pictures are blurry, it’s because Charles was chewing on my phone and I think his little fingers must have smudged the camera lens.

Perhaps the “lesson” of this post is that it’s okay to indulge once in a while but it’s important to keep to the program most of the time.

What do you have when you want to detox a little or eat cleaner?

July Faves: Summer Essentials

Hi my lovelies, I’m finally back with a beauty post – yaaaaay! I had a particularly long weekend because we went to Fuji Rock Festival last Thursday and brought lil C long. Were we crazy? A little. But you know, there were many families with young children so it’s family-oriented to some degree. We had a blast but it was so tiring that we spent the weekend recovering.

This monthly favourites edition is really all about combating the heat and feeling comfortable. Although I’m from a tropical island, summer in Tokyo is my least favourite season as it feels never-ending (lasts at least four months), and feeling hot and looking sweaty definitely presses my hot buttons beauty-wise.

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Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial has become my summer night cream. When I first got it, I loved it as a weekly treatment but it feels so good that I use it every single day. It was also a favourite back in March and it’s true love when it keeps appearing on the blog! I don’t have a back up but I have the Yogurt version which I cannot wait to try.

Korres Wild Rose Daily Brightening & Refining Buff Cleanser had fine rice grain as the scrubbing base which felt a little rough but I liked it that it had exfoliating oomph. I loved using this with my Clarisonic after a hot sweaty day to remove all traces of makeup and grime. I’m a St Ives Apricot scrub fan so I’m used to paying drug store prices for a scrub but this Korres one had a touch of luxury with its subtle rose scent and effectiveness so I would like to repurchase this.

Clarins White Plus HP Whitening Soft Aqua-Milk is seriously the bomb for this sizzling weather. It’s hard to wear a moisturizer with oily skin so this treatment essence/toner variety hydrates without leaving that icky shiny residue. I might use a gel moisturizer on top of it if I feel it’s not so hot but it’s great on its own.

Lush Charity Pot has been my go-to body lotion this summer as its light-weight texture is just a dream to slather on. It sinks into the skin very quickly so I feel comfortable putting on my clothes and lying on the couch. The ingredients include cocoa butter, almond oil, and ylang ylang — all my favourite things in a bodycare product — which are moisturizing enough if I sleep in air-conditioning. Surprisingly, the scent is almost non-existent. There is a hint of something but it’s so subtle which is great for muggy days when you don’t want to drown yourself in strong fragrance. For Lush-haters, do give their body lotions a go because they are not strongly scented at all.

L’Oreal Infallible Tender Caramel has been getting a good workout as my go-to single eyeshadow look. If I have only five minutes to put on makeup, I just slap on sunscreen, liquid foundation, blush, eyeliner, and this eyeshadow and then run out the door. What I love about this shade is that it’s a neutral but has enough sheen and depth to be a bit dressy.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is a life-saver in more ways than one. It gives a lovely matte appearance with decent coverage but yet looks natural. I can skip face powder and the oilies only look obvious 5-6 hours in. I don’t like using powder to set my foundation in humid weather because not only does it look patchy, it settles in your pores, and then the sweat from my face would transfer onto the compact which creates these yucky discoloured ridges on the powder. Do you ever get that? It is even better than the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in terms of mattifying power. But if you prefer a way more dewy look, the Velvet version would not be your cup of tea. For my skin, it makes even the mattest of matte foundations dewy in summer. ;)

Dejavu Keep Style Mascara has the weirdest name ever haha but I like its lengthening prowess, does not smudge (in Japanese, “panda” refers to mascara smudges – very cute), does not need a primer, and is easy to wash off. I used to love Majolica Majorca mascaras but of late, I don’t really like the way it clumps a little and they are not completely smudge proof on their own and need a primer but the primer contributes to the clumpiness and is very difficult to remove although it says hot water is enough to wash it off.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® Liquid Daily Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70 could very well topple my beloved Diorsnow as my HG sunscreen. I think this Neutrogena product ticks all the boxes as a facial sunscreen — extremely high SPF, feels invisible, a dream to apply, and does not make you look shiny. The Diorsnow one is great for cooler, drier weather and I like the fact that it is a chemical-physical sunscreen hybrid as I prefer physical sunscreens in principle. But in practice for summer, I need something that wouldn’t feel like a film on my skin or speed up oil production. The only downer is that this is only available in the US so I will ration this baby through the remaining hot months here.

What were your favourites in July or your summer beauty must-haves?

2014: My Midyear Stocktake

Hi my dearies, it’s 830am on Sunday — the hubs and the bubs are asleep and I’m sipping on a cup of chamomile tea. Apologies for the lack of beauty posts lately but life has been pretty intense so I thought a fun, easy post is in order. I love blogging and it relaxes me when I find the time to do it.

I read Tine’s version of it and thought it would be nice to share my mid-year update with you all. Here goes!

Making: More textured food for baby Charles. I think it’s time he learns to chew a little bit.

Cooking: Chicken satay for dinner tonight. Thanks to a Prima box, of course.

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Drinking: Herbal tea 24/7 — from fruit blends to chai to rooibos. I usually make a big jug the night before so I would have chilled tea to sip on through these sweltering July days.

Reading: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton — “reading” is a bit of a loose term as I’m barely 3-4 chapters in but when I do have a moment of spare time or need to wind down, I would read a few pages. I am loving it so far and he’s one of my favourite authors.

Wanting: To have Charles sleep through the night so we can get a good night’s rest, too.

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Looking: At the cute mess in our living room that is littered with toys, bibs, burp cloths, baby futons, and the Toy & High Chair Cleaner by Babyganics.

Playing: Stacking toys and peek-a-boo with Charles. I love that his hand-eye coordination is getting better and he just bursts into giggles when I spring out from behind a door.

Deciding: On what to get for my birthday next month for myself. Yes, I’m one of those people who buy themselves birthday gifts LOL! I would love some accessories and a bag from Shopbop.com.

Wishing: For more personal time. As a harried stay-at-home mum who has a business, I’m seriously so time-poor that I cannot seem to find the time to cut my hair. The last time I did so was before I gave birth last August.

Enjoying: Getting ready for the day. When the hubs is in the living room playing with the bub mid-morning or later, I would grab the chance to get dressed and put on makeup. I usually have about 30 minutes or so and if I have more time, I like to slap on a simple manicure. If I have more kitcheny stuff to do, just my toe nails will get done. I just enjoy looking as best as I can which makes me feel productive and ready to face the day.

Waiting: To have more routine and stability in my life. I wonder if I ever would because our lives are so full of things to achieve for the future and we tend to have that carpe diem spirit so we make spontaneous disruptive decisions all the time.

Liking: My latest makeup haul. I just love playing with new products.

Wondering: If I would ever return to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Loving: My little family of three. Despite all the exhaustion and ups and downs, I adore the times when the three of us are chilling on the couch watching a movie (and playing with the baby) or taking a leisurely stroll together at the nearby park. These fleeting moments of bliss are worth all the pain.

Pondering: What kind of relationship Charles and I would have when he becomes older? I want him to see me as an authority figure but also someone he can turn to when he really needs advice or a shoulder to cry on. I shudder when I read about stories of children who hide what is going on in their lives from their parents and they are found murdered or kill themselves in anguish.

Considering: Changing the name of this beloved blog. I’m so over it, especially since beauty box subscriptions are so commonplace, and thus what next?

Watching: Justified. Yes, very strange TV show to be watching for myself (not quite the genre I would normally choose) but the hubs and I take turns choosing TV series to watch and this modern Western-style shoot-em-up show about US marshals chasing fugitives was his choice to be our after-dinner entertainment. We are at Season 4 so two more to go!

Hoping: To expand our family of three with dogs, cats, and more babies.

Marvelling: At how my baby is changing and developing from a baby to a boy.

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Needing: More sleep. Do you sense an on-going theme in my life?

Smelling: Roses. When the weather gets hot, I tend to gravitate to light rose scents. I’m back to digging all my rose fragrances from Jo Malone’s Red Roses to Serge Luten’s Sa Majeste la Rose.

Wearing: A floral Levi’s tank top and a pair of striped Gap shorts.

Following: My instincts more. I tend to over-think things but when I try to follow my gut – it has never let me down.

Noticing: My skin gets stressed when I am less rested. To combat that, I am soaking in hot baths more (we draw a bath for the bubba’s bathtime almost nightly so I sit in the tub since there’s already warm water prepared) and putting on facial masks. I always see a difference the next morning.

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Knowing: That friendships come and go, they morph into something different, become better or worse — and it’s all okay. People change through their lives and I have as well.

Thinking: Whether I should have another diet cheat day for the weekend because it has been tough on the sleep front! Yes, I cannot help but use food as comfort. I love ice-cream too much haha!

Feeling: A moment of peace when the house is slient and I’m just tapping away on my lap top.

Admiring: How other mums are braver, stricter, and more organized than me.

Sorting: Laundry. You will be amazed how much laundry you will do with the addition of just one baby to your household. Even though we have a cleaner who comes in once a week, we still struggle with our mountain of laundry.

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Buying: Less. Or rather I’m trying to cut down on stuff I think I need. I go through cycles of purchasing tons of things on sale and then I go through periods of trying to use stuff up and helping my wallet heal.

Getting: The fact that good things never come easy. Or rather great things are always hard to achieve, but you should always strive to be great. #yolo

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Bookmarking: Annabel Karmel’s baby food recipes. I don’t know if I have the skills to make such gorgeous food but it’s nice to have some inspiration. Thanks, Trishie!

Disliking: My negative moods. I need to choose positivity more. It’s the harder choice but always the better one.

Opening: Packages from online shopping. I hardly buy anything in person anymore because it’s so much easier to get them from websites. I can shop at night when the bub is asleep! Fave stores are Dadway, Gap, The Body Shop, Shopbop, Amazon Japan to name a few.

Giggling: At this video. I just love silliness on Youtube. It reminds me of the time I was in my 20s falling in love with the wrong guys.

Snacking: Cheese, nuts, olives, and whole wheat crackers when I am really famished on this darn diet I put myself on.

Coveting: A more laser-like mental focus. I find it hard to switch from taking care of baby to putting on my lady boss chops. To know I only have 3-4 hours without Charles is a huge relief but also enormous pressure to make full use of the time I have away from him. Sometimes the work I produce is not as good as I like it to be.

Helping: Drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning really helps me stave off early morning hunger pangs and aids digestion. My elder sister introduced this simple habit to me and I picked it up again when I started my diet plan of attack two weeks ago.

Hearing: Music Together tunes in my mind as it’s the bub’s favourite music. It is a music program for babies which has a lovely set of songs each term. We put it on when he gets too clingy and angsty in the late afternoon.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know more about me and where I’m at this mid-year. It was really fun typing this up and I’ll love it if you could let me know if you are blogging this as well. Or if you don’t have a blog, just let me know in the comments below what you are thinking about at this time of the year.

Love ya all – big muaaah!

Post-partum 9-Month Update

Hello my beautiful peeps, how was your weekend? Mine was a mix of cozy family time, work, and lots of cooking. We usually order take-out or get delivery on the weekend but we have been on a health kick lately so I rolled up my sleeves and made some calorie-conscious nosh. I might do a Food Friday post on that soon for those of you interested in my foodie rambles.

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My last Mummy Monday post was on Charles At 7 Months, so I thought I would talk about something a little different — how I’m tracking nine months after giving birth. I’ve not really touched on the topic much, except for this post and it didn’t really shed much light on being a mum or how I feel mentally and physically.

Here goes…

What’s going on in my mind:

♥ I’m loving being a Mummy with a capital ‘L’ — from feeding Charles to bathing him to playing with him. I’m always thinking about how I should encourage him to learn and develop.

♥ Having said that, I can be a little short on patience when it comes to feeding the bub. I get frustrated when he refuses to eat but I keep reminding myself that solids is just a discovery phase in the first 12 months and he’s getting all the nutrition he needs from formula.

♥ Work is ramping up rather quickly so I’m scrambling to hire babysitters and considering day care where Charles would be able to interact with other babies. I feel relieved that I have finally made a decision on the balance of child care versus taking care of him myself.

♥ I’m trying to stave off any feelings of guilt from outsourcing care-giving and stopping breastfeeding. I think we all set certain standards or goals for ourselves in relation to our children but I think I’ve moved on from 100% hands-on care-giving as it’s just not realistic for our family.

♥ I’m also doing my best to follow my instincts and not famous baby how-to books. We still struggle with Charles waking up in the middle of night and I know the root of it all is his daytime sleeps are not the best (i.e. he should be sleeping more). But I will touch on this more in HIS update ;)

♥ I have an eternal mental conflict between loving being a mum and hating looking like a mum. When I catch myself with “mum hair” (limp pony tail) in the mirror, I am so tempted to do something about it. I try (most of the time) to put on something nice and a bit of makeup when I go out with Charles. I think more specifically, I’m afraid of being that middle-aged lady who has a saggy figure with drab shapeless clothes and a dreary complexion. But at the end of the day, what’s wrong with looking like a mum when you are, in fact, a mum? It’s hard to look like a yummy mummy 24/7! Any thoughts, my friends?

What’s going on in my body:

♥ The first thing that comes to mind is my post-pregnancy weight. I put on 17-18kg during my pregnancy and I lost 12kg within the first three months. I had about 6kg to lose which I was a bit blase about because I was still breastfeeding for about 50-60% of Charles’ entire milk intake. Because I had a rather low supply, I took any opportunity to breastfeed and watched over what I could express like a hawk so this really helped to keep my weight in check.

♥ I was still eating rather heartily, i.e. ice-cream for dessert 3-4 times a week, red meat made a frequent appearance on our dinner table, and we ordered in Domino’s when it all got a bit too much to handle.

♥ In May, I stopped taking the Motilium drug that helped with my breast milk supply, so what I could produce plummeted and my weight crept up. Before I went to the US, I’d gained 2kg, and then after the US (that involved lots of unhealthy eating), I realized I gained another 2kg. I hated seeing the numbers on the scale but they sure don’t lie.

♥ Sometimes people think I’m pregnant which is very awkward and embarrassing! My limbs are quite slim and not in proportion to my stomach. I actually wish I was bigger all around so people would just think I’m fat. When you are visibly fat, I don’t think people would come up to you to congratulate you on having your next kid.

♥ With breastfeeding slowly dying off, I’m trying to work out every other day and eating less. No desserts, less meat, more veggies, no bread, no noodles, only unrefined grains like brown rice, millet, and quinoa. No more Starbucks. Lots of salads and soups. I’m also back to drinking green smoothies for breakfast.

♥ I really hate dieting and dare I say it is as painful as trying to give birth. You have this goal in mind but it takes forever to get to it!

♥ My stretch marks are fading in terms of colour (they used to be pink but now they are more like the rest of my skin tone) and the grooves are not as pronounced. I doubt they would ever disappear but at least they are not as hideous as before. Unfortunately, I’m also suffering from a mind-boggling post-partum rash on the stretch marks which gets really itchy, so I have this awful crap on top of awful crap on my belly.

♥ Sleep is definitely elusive as Charles is waking up a few times in the night and he thinks the day begins at 430am when the sun rises in summer. I would take a nap with him around 6-7am for an hour or more, depending when he wakes up. I’m surprised I can function okay with just 5-6 hours of sleep a day because I used to need at least 7 hours a night to feel rested.

My emotional health:

♥ I feel more confident as a mum because I understand Charles’ cues much better now. Since we are together most of the time, I know where he is at in his routine and can sense when he is teething or just wanting attention or tired.

♥ Ironically, I am more insecure as well because of my weight gain. I don’t like putting full length photos of myself on social media, I only wear baggy clothes to hide my tummy, and I shy away from wearing bikinis – also due to visible stretch marks. I still go swimming but I wear tankinis or a one-piece suit.

♥ I sometimes worry if the husband and I are neglecting our relationship because our lives truly revolve around the lil man but I don’t think it would be like this forever, i.e. such high maintenance care for our baby who will grow up eventually. I suppose watching a movie at home after he sleeps or having a candle-lit homemade dinner with some one-on-one conversation keeps us happy and contented. I suppose some folks would think “life is over” for us newbie parents but it’s truly a different kind of existence with changed priorities.

♥ We are so excited about Charles’ little milestones and this new found enthusiasm for teaching (the bub) and learning (how to be a good parent) feels friggin’ awesome.

How did your post-partum days pan out for you? When did you feel like you have reached your stride as a mother?

Big USA Drugstore Makeup Haul + One Luxury Buy (Can You Guess What It Is?)

Hi my dears, I’ve been away for a loooong time but all will be revealed soon enough though. I spent a month in the USA for a project that has been brewing for ages and I’m just waiting for the last finishing touches to be sprinkled on…

I used to travel to the US frequently with the husband on his business trips so I had many opportunities to go shopping for makeup and skincare brands available there, but I’ve not been for a year so needless to say…I went a little crazy. I didn’t even buy everything at once. Everytime I had to top up Charles’ diapers or wet wipes, I would pick up something else for myself. Before I knew it, I had all this stuff! And I did buy some skincare and hair products as well but I think let’s just focus on makeup for now…

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I’ve been really into priming my face before putting on foundation so I have high hopes for the L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur (not a primer or moisturizer but a Skin Smoother, according to the website) and great that it has pretty high SPF as well.

Rimmel’s Fix & Perfect Pro Primer 002 has long been a curiosity as some drugstore makeup fans claim that this is a great primer considering the affordable price (around USD8). I’m all about being matte during the hot summer months so I nabbed the Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation in True Beige which was only USD5. I chanced upon good reviews by itsjudytime and beautybroadcast so the super cheap price tag didn’t deter me. Are you like me, afraid of “too cheap” products for fear that they would be nasty and break you out?

Oh and Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs in Medium went into my shopping basket because I thought it would be good to mix this with my body lotion if I’m going to bare my legs at a special event (though seriously these days, “special” means going out to lunch haha!). It’s actually makeup for your legs and won’t stain your clothes or bedsheets.

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Then I got sucked into the Physician’s Formula sale that was going on at a certain Duane Reade store a couple of weeks ago. They had these coupons stuck onto them that said 40% percent off! Or buy one get one free!

I also have to blame Tati from glamlifeguru because she makes these drugstore products so enticing. I got the Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Face Powder because she raved about it. The Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush was too cute to resist with its pheromone claims and hot pink high heel. And the Nude Wear Glowing Nude Powder looked really girly and pretty as well. The Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Season-to-Season Bronzer seemed like a good idea with its different shades of bronzer for different seasons.

As you can see, I’d already dipped into my new stash of products and I might point the finger back at myself because I packed a very basic set of cosmetics to travel with and I just longed for some variety. I find it hard to strike a balance between packing minimally and packing enough for variety. Sigh, #beautyconundrum?

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I scooped up the Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in Nude because I want to experiment lining the inner rim of my eyes with a nude liner as it’s supposed to brighten your eyes and I got the one in brown because I don’t have that shade.

I’d been looking for a small eyeshadow palette that I wouldn’t mind spoiling when I travel so the solution lay in Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner Nude Collection which looks so easy to tuck into a makeup bag. I love my Urban Decay palettes to death so I always put them in my carry-on bag so they won’t shatter in my check-in luggage but it’s such a pain because my carry-on is always packed to the max especially with Charles’ stuff.

The L’Oreal Infallibles are so great for amping up any eyeshadow look so I got Liquid Diamond and Endless Sea.

Guys, I took forever to try these Wet ‘N Wild Coloricon eight-pan palettes. I’ve tried a few trios and have always thought they were just okay, but Petal Pusher and Comfort Zone are seriously gorgeous in their colour intensity and depth. If you like Urban Decay shadows, you would like these very much. There wasn’t as much fallout as I thought there would be so I was mighty pleased with them. And they are only USD5!

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Again, I’ve heard Tati rave about these Wet ‘N Wild Megalast Lip Color lipsticks. While I’ve to agree that the pigmentation is amazing and the colour shades really pretty, they tend to feather and move out of your lip line like crazy. I’m not sure about these and am just thankful they were just USD2. They don’t taste of anything so I’ll keep trying to see how they might work with different lip balms. Maybe I just used a very glossy lip balm that day – I’ll report back later…

And for the last makeup item I nabbed at duty-free…………..

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….Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in Beige 30 – I’d heard so much about how this is such an awesome foundation for oily-skinned people. It’s supposed to look very natural and has even better mattifying and long-staying power than the Vitalumiere Aqua which I’m a huge fan of. It swatched beautifully at the counter and I know I’m going to love it!

I cannot wait to try all this stuff and dream up of some FOTD posts in the near future.

Let me know your thoughts on any of these products and how they worked or didn’t work for you!

A Heartfelt Thank You To Beautyholics Anonymous

OMG, guys! I literally squealed when I received this in the mail!

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GAAAAHHH! Such gorgeousness in a box full of goodies…

Let me backtrack a little. Over a week ago in New York, I’d just been woken up by Charles at 1am and had soothed him back to sleep with a bottle of formula and a little spooning (btw, he likes to be the big spoon when he cuddles with the hubs…cuteness. But I’m the big spoon when we spoon…awwwwww). I couldn’t go back to sleep so I checked my Instagram account on my iPhone and there was a message from Tine, from Beautyholics Anonymous, who asked me if I’d received her email about her blogaversary giveaway.

I was a little confused because I honestly didn’t remember entering any giveaway so I checked my email account (I’ve got so many email accounts for various things, it’s a little ridiculous) for my blog — and her message was there informing me I had won a prize. I actually checked her blog for the blogaversary post just to re-jog my memory. I seriously thought I was one of the winners for the five mystery gift packs, but no no no my friends, I won the whole shebang.

Tine, thank you so much for making my day. I was so jet lagged and had been struggling with my very grumpy eight-month-old all morning (he wouldn’t sleep in his cot – no surprises there), so this totally brightened the gloom in my heart. I’m such a makeup junkie so to be given such lovely makeup is like being sent to heaven!!!

And you wouldn’t believe this but I’d been considering getting this same House of Harlow necklace (because Shopbop is very good at sending reminder emails about their sales and products of designers you like) especially after seeing it on this lovely vlogger. It is so gorgeous in person and I love the Aztec-like detailing on the pendants.

The chic purse will come in very useful as I always need something to hold jewellery or cards and coins when I travel.

I’ve only ever tried SKII lipsticks (they are moisturizing and creamy) and so I’m dying to play with my new SKII eyeshadows and blush. The teeny NARS eyeshadow single is so cute and such a beautiful shade. I reckon I can try to pull off an FOTD with all these products as they seem to match each other.

Thank you again, Tine! Your card was very sweet and I absolutely adore the hand-painted cosmetics.

Have you ever tried SKII cosmetics? What you do think of them?

Sephora Haul In NYC

Hello my loves, I’m in New York right now with the hubs and bub for a work-related stint. The first week here has been challenging to say the least. We’ve been struggling with jet lag, a grumpy and bewildered baby, daily mummy chores (making baby food in a tiny hotel kitchenette, buying baby wipes, diapers, formula, expressing breast milk out of a body that is very confused over time zones and all that jazz), on top of work stuff.

New York is so great for eating, shopping, people watching, walking, and indulging in culture, but we’re not here for much of that and it’s hard with a baby. Our life right now revolves around his sleeping and eating schedule which was all over the place and lil C went on a hunger strike, too, that was probably due to teething. He flat out refused to eat solids and drank very little milk. We were quite worried but he’s slowly becoming better.

But, being the beauty junkie that I am, I squeezed in a spot of Sephora. We were just killing time in the hotel as we were about to check out — everything had been packed and ready to go for our next move to an apartment (this is always a much better choice than a hotel for longer stays). The bub was fed and changed and was quietly playing, so I zipped out for 45 minutes. That gave me only 25 minutes in Sephora.

I sped through the aisles and ended up with just a few items…

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Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation in Light-Medium Neutral was raved about online (here and here) so I had to try it for myself. I’ve used it twice so far and I am so impressed. In fact, I’m considering buying a backup before I leave because this has probably replaced my beloved Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua for the moment. The only caveat I see is that this may not apply well in Tokyo’s high humidity in summer so I may just revert to Chanel from July to Sept.

I got the Tarte Airbuki Bamboo Powder Foundation Brush although I do have a kabuki brush at home. I figured it might have a better application since it was made for the foundation.

Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial was on my wish list for a long time ever since I tried the wild rose version and it was freakin’ awesome — I woke up with smoother, softer skin the next morning. The texture is light but moisturizing which is something I need for hot summer nights while sleeping in air-conditioning.

The real reason for heading to Sephora was to stock up on the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base which is by far the best sweat-proof eyeshadow primer ever.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Ebony is highly lauded online as well so instead of getting the eyeshadow powder palette this time, I decided to try the pencil version with the little brush head.

This was just a flash haul type of post and I’m toying with the idea of going back again if I have time.

If I do, what should I look at?

Food Friday: Hakone Eats

Hi my dearies, we had quite a special gourmet experience in Hakone last weekend so I thought I would share what our meals were like.

One thing that is very unique about staying in an onsen (hot spring) town in Japan is that guests are encouraged to take the breakfast and dinner option that is packaged together with the room rate. These hotels or ryokans (traditional inns) are usually located in the middle of nowhere so transport is always an issue, so the most convenient option is to eat at what you are staying. But the food is not generic tasteless room service fare — it’s one of the highlights of an onsen getaway.

On our first night, which was the hubs’ actual birthday, we had a delightful French course dinner.

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I had the marinated hairtail fish tomato salad and herb olive sauce which was so refreshing and savoury at the same time. The husband had the duck terrine dish which kind of made my skin crawl – it was probably very good but I just don’t like anything with terrine. I think it’s the jelly and meat combination that I can’t quite get the appetite for.

For the next dish, I chose fish with bread crumbs with Japanese pepper flavour which was a lightly breaded piece of white fish in a clear tasty broth. The pieces of fish in both courses were so small that I didn’t feel like I was overdosing on fish for the meal.

My main was the chicken breast stuffed with foie gras drizzled with a vinegar sauce. It was out-of-this world amazing on my taste buds. If you love foie gras, this will be your dish. It was so rich and earthy as foie gras should taste and a bit more would be overkill so props to tiny Japanese portions.

Dessert was a pistachio “parfait” with vanilla sauce — it didn’t come in a glass layered with goodies but the good sized pistachio ball of ice cream had a dusting of gold on top so it looked very pretty nonetheless, plus it was very satisfying and delicious.

The husband’s lobster was insanely plump and juicy, while his lamb chop tasted very fresh (unlike supermarket chops which get a bit stinky) and moist. The good folks at the Hakone Hyatt decorated a special birthday plate for the hubs and it also came with a candle. It was such a happy moment with both of us singing “Happy Birthday” so I’m glad the waiter offered to snap a photo of us.

Dinner was paired with Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc which is our favourite and we’d always order it when we see it on a menu.

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The next night was not a let down either — our sushi course dinner was the bomb dotcom. The fish was seriously fresh — you know it’s great sushi when the uni (sea urchin) is super creamy and not fishy at all, and the otoro (tuna belly) was simply heavenly.

It wasn’t all raw so I appreciated that — I once had an all-raw sashimi and sushi dinner that was overkill even though it was quite good. We had fried sea bream with salmon eggs, grilled pork, and chawanmushi (steamed egg) as our cooked items.

Dessert was a strange animal of mango tofu pudding with vanilla ice-cream, drenched in white wine and spinkled with colourful sugar balls — weird but delicious all the same.

Have you been to Hakone? Or experienced an onsen getaway in Japan? Do share your travel and gastronomic stories!

Brushless FOTD: Will still wear makeup!

Hi my loves, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something here *blows cobwebs*. Life as an SAHM is certainly all-consuming physically and mentally. The bub has been very erratic in his sleeping and eating patterns ever since our return from Singapore, so it’s been very challenging to say the least.

What made it less painful was our lovely family trip to Hakone for the husband’s birthday last weekend. Hakone is a quaint onsen town just 90 min away from Tokyo and we felt pampered at our hotel. It more than made up for multiple wakings in the middle of the night.

These days, my brain has holes in it so I packed a bunch of my fave makeup from Chanel and NARS, and then forgot to bring along brushes. I chose products that didn’t have brushes in their compacts — note to self: perhaps it’s better tread on the safe side and bring both brush roll and palettes with brushes. I had a very “ARGGGGHHH” moment in our hotel bathroom as I tried to doll up quickly for our fancy French dinner after the bub’s bath.

While the husband tried to put our lil man to sleep, I still tried to make it work by using an earbud and some tissue paper…

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An ear bud acted as a shader brush and I had to blend and blend the two matte neutral colours from my NARS Portobello duo. The only downside is that there are these skinny tracks in my beloved palette.

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I used a piece of tissue to swipe some colour from NARS Love blush which is a matte warm pink shade. I had to be a bit more heavy handed than with a brush to get some colour onto my cheeks. Once the colour was on the apples of my cheeks, I would use the tissue to blend it out.

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Products used:

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige 30
NARS Creamy Concealer in Custard
Majolica Majorca Lash Bone Black Fiber In
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Edgemeister
Heroine Make Smooth Liquie Eyeliner in Black
YSL Glossy Stain in 13 Rose Tempura

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Tada…this is the finished look. I couldn’t powder my face which was my one big gripe but Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua is dewy without looking too shiny. I blotted my face to get rid of any excess oil which helped. I couldn’t do my eyebrows either so they look a little undefined.

But I wore this same look all day the next day as I thought it was nice to sport a bright lip colour on a sunny day. I liked keeping my eyeshadow very natural and minimal and then going bold with a red lippie. I think I might be wearing this look for a while as it’s quite versatile for day and night…

If you forgot to bring makeup brushes with you on a trip, would you go without makeup or make it work?

Here are some photos from our Hakone trip. It was beautiful in a dreamy kinda way…

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Highlights: The lil one loved hanging onto train handles and refused to let go even after falling asleep; lots of matcha soft ice-cream (yummmmm); a cruise around gorgeous Lake Ashi on a pirate boat; and clear views of Mount Fuji.

Charles At 7 Months

Wow, where has the time gone? My sunshine bunny bear is now 7 months old! I am so so so proud of him and we’re just enjoying every day together. Precious moments, indeed…

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♥ He’s 9.3 kg and 74 cm tall so he is actually wearing 12-18 month old clothing now (which usually measures 80 cm). He can still fit into his 6-12 month old togs (70cm) but I can tell he’ll be outgrowing them before long. Yay to more shopping – oh yeah, I love shopping for my bub.

♥ He got his first kiss from gorgeous Holly, a 15-month-old toddler goddess who is also Singaporean-Australian. We think they are made for each other.

♥ He still can’t get crawling but he can take tentative steps if guided. He can’t hold onto furniture and move on his own yet but we think that’ll be real soon.

♥ He is eating loads (roughly three meals a day with milk in between) and back to pooping heaps. Before solids, we were lucky if he went once in 2-3 days but now he’s back to newborn poop schedule which is 2-3 times a day.

♥ He loves prunes and pumpkin together but not separately; green peas, corn, pear, apple, banana, potato, chicken, carrot, spinach, zucchini, and mango.

♥ He laughs when we clap his hands together.

♥ He holds his arms up if he wants to be carried by someone else. E.g. if my mum is holding him and he sees my dad grinning at him, he’ll reach for my dad with both arms.

♥ He pats my hands with both his hands if he wants me to help him stand up.

♥ He has more or less a predictable routine where he sleeps every three hours in the morning and then has a four-hour gap before his late afternoon nap. He only sleeps 30-45 minutes each time which gives me very little time to myself.

♥ He is beginning to understand “no” because I gave him a couple of stern warnings when he chewed on my boob while breastfeeding. Big fat tears rolled down his chubby cheeks and I’ve a feeling there’ll be lots of these scenarios to come.

♥ He has two bottom teeth and the top four are emerging very quickly. It seems like he might be sporting a gap-tooth look from the way his teeth are growing.

♥ He is a joy to bring out to lunch because he would just sit in his highchair or in my arms without fussing. I just need to give him a paper napkin to tear to shreds or a toy to keep him occupied and we’d be all set for the meal.