Mummy Monday: Charles’ 10-11 Month Old Update

Hi my loves, thank you for your well wishes at the announcement of my new product. Don’t forget to get your free trial of Sparkle Collagen before Sept 15 (more details here)!

My last update on Charles’ progress was when he was seven months’ old and how things have changed since…

 photo lambshoescollage_zps140ec7b8.jpg

♥ He’s halfway between 10 and 11 months old and is looking like a toddler these days though the lamb shoes are still very “babyish” but I couldn’t find suitable autumn shoes that weren’t too high cut (his fatty ankles couldn’t squeeze through!) and had a nice design.

♥ He started walking around the nine-month mark but only really got his balance in the last two weeks. He still stumbles but he can walk for quite a distance. When we go to our neighbourhood park, he can do laps of the field very happily.

♥ One huge milestone was we sleep-trained him three weeks ago. While it was nerve-wracking, the crying and tantrums were well worth it because not only is he sleeping better, but so are we. We can just pop him into his cot and he will fall asleep on his own now. He might whine a little but he would play with his toys in the cot and eventually drift off. He sleeps from 8pm – 730/8am these days which is such a miracle. I find it amazing that I can wake up at a normal time again – I feel really awesome and productive!

♥ He is wavering between two naps to one nap a day. If he sleeps at 10am, he would only nap for 1.5 hours, which means he would have to sleep for 30-45 minutes in the late afternoon just to tide him over. Sometimes, he is so energetic he would only nap at 11-1130am during which he would sleep for two hours or more, so he wouldn’t need a nap later in the day.

♥ Pre-sleep-training days, he used to feed through the night — maybe once or twice — and thus his appetite in the day time was quite poor for solids. He was a very fussy eater and I had to throw out lots of leftovers but now he would finish his food most of the time. In turn, his weight increased after plateauing for a month (He gained 500g in just two weeks after we sleep trained him). He’s also now 80cm, whereas he was 76cm a few weeks ago.

 photo bigboycollage_zps571beae8.jpg

♥ He can now communicate by pointing. He loves buttons and switches and sometimes would ask the husband to carry him up to a light switch to press it. Well, he kind of goes, “Unnnnnnnnn!” and points meaningfully. He also loves to be cuddled and will run to us with wide open arms and a huge smile.

♥ He’s really into music and loves grooving to his Music Together CD (Hello Song is his fave) and bops to the Peppa Pig opening jingle and the Saccone-Joly’s (an Irish YouTube family) guitar riff.

♥ He’s not really into TV (that photo above was taken when he sat down to watch an episode of Peppa Pig but he slid off the couch after five minutes) or iPad games yet and they would only hold his attention for a max of five minutes. I suppose it’s a good thing.

♥ He’s quite the terror in the sense that he will tear books off their shelves and rip out all the tissues from a box in just mere seconds. We have baby-proofed the house as best we can but he is getting more dextrous and can open the sliding door and step out onto the balcony. We are worried that he would start climbing over the balcony fence which is a wooden grid design perfect for short arms and legs.

Charles is at a stage where he’s keeping us on our toes but the fun is only really beginning as he gets more mobile and I cannot wait for him to start talking. I am blown away that he is going to be almost a year old and we are already thinking of what to do for his first birthday

August Favourites

Hi my fellow beauty junkies, don’t forget to get your free trial of Sparkle Collagen here. If you’d like to read about it in more detail, I’ve written up a post on it here.

I feel so organized for getting out a favourites post before the end of the month today :) I don’t have many products for August but I have a definite few faves that I keep going back to…

 photo aug2014faves_zpsb4fe53af.jpg

L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream Mango Flower seems to have been a limited edition body moisturizer under the shea range. It’s such a pity because it is such a lovely body cream — it really sinks into the skin with only a slight residue and the scent is of an unripe mango. If you love mango fragrances but dislike the almost rotten sweetness that plagues such products, this one is for you. BUT, it’s not sold anymore! I hope they bring this back as I’m savouring the last dregs of this gorgeous moisturizer.

Philosophy Miracle Worker is an anti-aging moisturizer that has reservatrol that promotes firmness and radiance. I actually like the tingly sensation that this cream gives — it’s as if there’re some active ingredients literally working on my skin. For me to find an anti-aging cream that suits my sensitive skin is a rare thing indeed. It doesn’t say it is fragrance-free but it has an almost undetectable scent which is something I look for in a night facial moisturizer. I wouldn’t say my skin has turned around drastically but it hasn’t seen a dull day since I started using this so it’s got a thumbs up from me. It was also very affordable especially at a duty-free shop at Changi Airport in Singapore.

Now Solutions 100% Pure Castor Oil is meant to be a skin softener and has worked wonders on my dry wrinkly feet. I do a lot of walking in Tokyo so my feet tend to get bashed up and dry around the edges of my heels. My toes also get flaky skin so I mix a bit of this with whatever body lotion I’m using after my shower and slather it all over my feet. I actually bought this when I was pregnant in case I had to drink castor oil and orange juice to naturally induce myself but a friend told me not to do it because not only would I suffer from the runs, my baby would too. But you know, he did end up pooping in my belly (sorry TMI) in the end so… Let’s just say you may have the best laid plans but you never know what’s going to happen when it comes to giving birth. Anyway, I thought I was just using up a huge bottle of oil that was lying around but it turned out to be a great solution for my poor feet.

Out of Africa Shea Butter Lemon Verbana Hand Lotion was a punt I took when I saw it on because I was looking for a natural hand cream with a pump applicator for my guest bathroom. I actually use this bathroom often as it is right outside our living room — and with a baby, I’m constantly washing my hands so I need frequent hydration as well. It has a lovely lemony scent that is a dead-ringer for the L’Occitane Verbana range and it’s light-weight which I prefer for a daytime hand lotion.

Addiction Cheek Stick Revenge gives a rosy flush to my face and I can’t get enough of how easy it is to use. I just slick on two strips on both cheeks and blend them out in two seconds. Sometimes I just put on liquid foundation and then slap this on and I’m ready to go. I like the fact that I don’t have to dip my fingers into the product or use a brush with this.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige 40 suits me to a T after getting a tan at Fuji Rock. You guys know my love for this product and I have Beige 30 for paler days too. I’ve been throwing out old foundations and BB creams but this one has remained in my collection after several years.

What are your favourites this August?

Sparkle Collagen: A New Beginning + Free Trial

Hello my dear readers, I can finally unveil the secret project I’ve been working on! It has been quite the labour of love and it combines two great passions of mine — beauty and supplements.

Meet my new baby…

 photo Sparkleproduct_zps85257cf2.png

Sparkle Collagen Peptide Supplement on sale now on our website and Amazon. You can get your FREE trial here.

What does Sparkle Collagen do? It’s a powder dietary supplement that helps to reduce wrinkles and improve elasticity in your skin.

 photo Fernsmoothie_zps9eb7a6ae.png

How do you take Sparkle Collagen? You can mix a scoop in plain water, tea, or smoothies and it’s a beverage that you drink every day to help boost collagen levels in your skin.

 photo Sparkleoffice_zpse1ef9e0f.png

I’m so excited to announce that we are kicking off our 30-Day Sparkle Challenge in September and we would like to invite US residents to participate (apologies to non-US residents but we are only selling our product in the US at the moment).

In order to take part, we’ll send you a FREE tub of Sparkle Collagen, if you:

♥ Like our Facebook page.

♥ Subscribe to our newsletter and fill in your address details here.

♥ You are also welcome to follow us on Twitter (not necessary for the free tub).

What is the 30-Day Sparkle Challenge? To create habits that help you add a sparkle to your life every single day.

And what does it mean to “sparkle everyday”? To add a daily dose of happiness to your life, to have a pep in your step, to have something to smile about at least once a day. We want you to feel better, look better, and be a better person.

The challenge celebrates the little things in life that matter and helps you create a positive routine for yourself. Everyday, we will give you inspiration on how to motivate yourself in all aspects of your life — nutrition, exercise, rest, relationships, and stress.

Once you get your Sparkle Collagen, we hope you’ll enjoy the 30-Day challenge on Facebook, be sure to let us know how it’s going for you during this month.

Mummy Monday: Babyled Weaning Adventures

Hi my dearies, I thought I would share with you my trials and tribulations in trying babyled weaning with the bub. I’ve heard people waxing lyrical about this method of eating for babies (e.g. lamb chops, grapefruit, toast before hitting the one year mark) which did yield some results for us but has been a very long process. That’s probably due to the fact that I chose a middle-of-the-road approach because a mix of purees and babyled weaning made me feel more comfortable about satisfying his daily iron requirements.

I started babyled weaning with Charles when he was about six months old. We’d just kicked him off on fruit and vegetable purees when he hit the five month mark but I also wanted him to learn how to pick food up with his hands, to put it in his mouth, and chew. At that point, he seemed to have a hearty appetite for whatever pureed food I gave him but he didn’t know what to do with actual solid food.

I frequently encountered folks online saying that it takes an average of two weeks for any real eating to happen. Now guys, it took Charles weeks to even put a piece of frozen cucumber in his mouth after days and days of squeezing and throwing food around. I was wavering in my patience for babyled weaning but this gave me a renewed burst of motivation for it.

They said it would be messy but I still marveled at the explosion of food all over his high chair – it is really not fun cleaning up so I decided once a day was my limit and his as well. Charles would be a bit tired and cranky by the end of the day so there was no point in sitting him down with a plate of food.

 photo plate1_zpsfea869c8.jpg

I just gave him steamed veggies and fruit — and tried to make his plate look as colourful as possible. I also included the foods he didn’t like as much as possible, in the hopes that he would some day eat them.

 photo plate2_zps481a3ee1.jpg

When he turned seven months, he suddenly became a fussy eater, or rather he learned how to say no by shaking his head and clamping his mouth shut. He refused most vegetables and fruit, except mango, apple, prunes, chicken, potato, and corn. I would try to puree a combination of these things with each other and sneak in other veggies.

Meal times became a real battle — first with throwing food and then refusing pureed food.

 photo Cfood_zps1693b51e.png

He even learned to detach the plastic cover from the high chair and threw it down on the floor with gusto, as if to say, “Mum, I’ve had enough of this s&%$!”

 photo hadenough_zpsb9318e13.jpg

There were times I had to really step back and laugh at all this because it can get so frustrating. Imagine this — you prepare food for your child three times a day and he just refuses to eat any of it and has so much disdain for the food you painstakingly made.

 photo 5199771F2_zps5996f33c.jpg

Now he is a little over 10 months old and it has been four months of learning what tricks I need up my sleeve. For one, I always have apple sauce or something similarly sweet as a way to get him to eat more of his main meal. If I give him a spoonful of apple sauce, he would likely open his mouth for shepard’s pie. I alternate between the two till he has had enough.

Secondly, I always have two main meals ready in case he refuses one and might accept the other. He has a couple of favourites, like beef stew and lamb pumpkin casserole but he can be unpredictable. One day he might lap up all the salmon I offer him but on other days he would flat out refuse fish or has chicken shepard’s pie every single day for a week. As a side note, I have tried making meals with more Chinese flavours and he really hates them – so sad…

In terms of chewing solids, he doesn’t like big chunky bits and tends to spit them out. He enjoys biting on pear, apple, peach, cucumber, peas, baby corn, tomatoes, avocado, and toast which is a huge progress from a few months ago, but he still spits them out as he hasn’t quite got the hang of chewing and swallowing food.

Another development in the last couple of weeks is that he has a desire to eat the pureed stuff and would polish off more than before and sometimes he would finish all his food. If he is very hungry, he would quickly tire of babyled weaning and whine for food as he is still not able to eat enough on his own to satisfy his hunger.

I’m on the fence about babyled weaning. I do see that your child needs to practice how to pick food up and put it in his mouth, while letting him follow his instincts about what he likes or what his body needs so I sometimes do wonder if feeding him pureed food impedes his progress as he relies on that to fill him up, as opposed to just feeding himself. The messiness is really not for me, too, as the thought of cleaning up three times a day is so off-putting and time-consuming.

Do you have any tips for feeding a fussy eater? What are your thoughts on babyled weaning – any advice on doing it better?

Food Friday: End Of The Week…At Last

Hi my loves, I made a mental note to do a “What I Ate” food diary post and took photos of my meals last Friday. I tend to feel a little naughty on Fridays (and Saturdays….and Sundays – lol!) as it is end of the week and I feel like I need to reward myself for being good from Monday to Thursday.

For my husband and I, Friday nights are usually spent at home so we like to treat ourselves food-wise. I also tend to eat more healthily for breakfast and lunch so the weekend indulgence is not quite three full days but 2.33? ;)

So lately I’d been craving cooked oats although the weather is still hot. Sometimes the mornings are at a cool 25 or 26 degrees Celsius so I actually sometimes like a warm breakfast, as opposed to cold cereal which is my go-to brekkie.

 photo cookedoatsfig_zpsd9b88f80.jpg

I added a teaspoonful of almond butter to water and organic rolled oats which I topped with chopped dried figs, blueberries, and half a banana. It’s so filling and it takes me all the way to noon from 7-ish. Oh and I forgot to take a photo of my lemon water which I chase with a full glass of water which really wakes me up and quenches my thirst.

 photo tunawrapgreensmoothie_zps8f92b680.jpg

For lunch, I wanted to use up the tortilla wraps that had been sitting in the fridge for over a week. I made mine with tuna, celery, onion, hummus, lettuce, and cucumber. I also blended up a pineapple-based green smoothie with some Sparkle Collagen (my new product!) to get in my green nutrition on this busy day.

 photo icedcoffeewithsoy_zps9cf87382.jpg

We hire a babysitter to watch Charles while I work for four hours every Friday (we also put him in day care once a week so I have two afternoons a week to focus on work). To get out of the house, I head to my local Starbucks with my lap top and order an iced decaf coffee with soy milk. I also get a bottle of mineral water to keep myself hydrated while I work.

 photo nigellasteak_zpsb7ff2c32.jpg

I tend to make really simple food on Fridays as my desire to cook wanes a little so I whipped up Nigella Lawson’s Tagliata For Two, steamed asparagus, pumpkin mash, shimeji mushrooms sauteed with butter, garlic, and ponzu, and a naughty bowl of rigatoni pasta with pesto sauce I got from Eataly.

It looks like a lot of food but each of these things only take 10-15 minutes to make and I have three burners on my stove-top so it’s possible to get everything on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Not pictured is our late night dessert with TV — ice-cream! We “celebrated” the completion of Charles’ sleep training and getting back uninterrupted sleep by having a homemade banana split each.

What do you like eating on Friday nights?

The Summer Lovin’ Tag

Hi my dearies, summer is probably almost over for some folks, but in Japan, the scorching weather goes on till the end of October so I feel like I’m still knee-deep in summer. Can you tell I love doing tag posts? So when I read Liz’s Summer Lovin’ Tag, I had to do it.

 photo MACpinklemonade_zps57955b9c.jpg

1. Summer lipstick you’re loving? I’m actually using lip glosses and lip balms more as I prefer a lighter look in hot weather. My current fave is MAC Tinted Lip Glass in Pink Lemonade which looks like a bright coral but looks lighter on the lips.

 photo Findyourpassion_zps84903174.jpg

2. Summer nail polish you’re loving? OPI Nicole’s Find Your Passion is a bright pinky coral that I repeatedly reach for. It kind of reminds me of the lip gloss mentioned above.

 photo chanelnaddictioncreamblush_zps29836b59.jpg

3. Summer blush you’re loving? Chanel cream blush in Chamade and Addiction’s Cheek Stick in African Sunset are my go-to cream blushes as I’m avoiding powder during these humid times. With my oily damp skin, powder just looks patchy and settles in my pores even if I use a primer.

4. Favourite summer Frappuccino from Starbucks? It has to be the matcha frappacino with soy milk from Starbucks which is part of their permanent menu and not seasonal. It’s a rare treat that I allow myself to have and just talking about it makes me want to get one now!

5. Favourite fake tan? I don’t fake tan as I turn dark in just a matter of minutes even with the highest of SPFs.

6. Favourite summer song? Orbital’s Beached. Do you remember the movie, The Beach, with Leonardo Di Caprio where they “discover” Koh Phi Phi in Thailand? It sounds a bit old school electronica now but I still enjoy its lush beats.

7. Favourite summer accessory? I sound so boring but I just wear stud earrings as the sweatiness prevents comfortable wearing of necklaces. The topaz studs I wear are actually from my wedding day which I had to wear five pieces of jewellery (as per Chinese tradition) given to me by my groom and my something blue (according to Western tradition).

 photo summerperfumes_zps4c6d370e.jpg

8. Favourite summer fragrance/perfume? Gosh, it’s so hard to choose as I have a few. Can I list three? Jo Malone’s Cucumber & Earl Grey (an elegant floral that won’t oxidize in that stinky sock way in hot and sticky weather), Caudalie’s Des Vignes (a slightly sweet grape scent that has a soft musky dry down), and Bobbi Brown’s Beach (the ultimate summer fragrance as it smells of Coppertone sunscreen and salt).

9. Summer book you’re loving? The Pleasures & Sorrows Of Work by Alain de Botton which is something I mentioned in this other post. He is one of my favourite authors and I like re-thinking and re-looking at everyday processes or concepts in a deconstructed way – the whys and the hows fascinate me. The first book I read by him was actually The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping, And The Novel which is a quirky perspective on the progress of a love affair between two adults which is really about the psychology of men and women when they fall in love. I highly recommend it if you like reading about relationship dynamics.

Though I must add a cheeky note here that this very same book was the downfall of a first date I had with someone I was very keen on years ago (way before the husband came into the picture). He asked me, “What is your favourite book?” which is a bloody hard question (like favourite perfume or lipstick or song or movie….) and I just fished this one out and he couldn’t help laughing at the title of the book. “SEX AND SHOPPING – hohohohohohoho!!! Your favourite book is about SEX AND SHOPPING???!!!” he kept saying in disbelief. He never asked me out again. Maybe I should’ve said Moby Dick or Hamlet but he would’ve probably thought those were too pretentious. Oh well, who knows? Maybe it wasn’t that at all and the smell of my perfume had turned him off.

10. What are you most excited to do this summer? I think I have already done the most exciting thing this summer — going to Fuji Rock with my two loves. :)

What are you loving this summer, my dears?

Food Friday: Holiday Eats In West Japan

Hi my loves, it has been a long and emotional week here at BB HQ as we have been sleep training the bub. We are definitely getting results but nap times are still a little bit up in the air. It takes longer to correct nap times as the drive to sleep is less than at night, plus lil C is two months shy of being a year old so he is wavering between one to two naps. I will report more on that on Mummy Monday ;)

Anyway, enough baby talk for now. We had an old friend from Sydney come stay with us for two weeks and we went travelling in West Japan. It was a pretty full-on holiday as we truly packed it in — Kyoto, Nara, and Amanohashidate in four short days.

 photo ekiben_zps3e563eca.jpg

It’s been a while since I ate an ekiben (a train bento) and this was very tasty with mostly fish, veggies, and rice. It was a welcome change after noshing on convenient store food as we were jumping from train to train throughout our holiday. If you look carefully, the tamogoyaki (Japanese omelet) has a 50th Anniversary print on it — so yeah, it was a bento to mark the 50th anniversary of the shinkansen (bullet train).

 photo Japparfait_zpsc28430ad.jpg

And no Japanese holiday is complete without a green tea ice cream parfait. The swirl of matcha ice cream, red bean paste, mochi balls and warabi mochi dusted with kinako powder was just divine. I didn’t eat the corn flakes at the bottom though — always thought that was a weird touch.

 photo kyotosoba_zpsc2059ce9.jpg

Just a block away from Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion, this handmade soba joint was a lovely nook to rest our feet and recharge. The marinated and salted grilled mackerel was an acquired taste as it was quite fishy but I do like strong tasting fish so it was delicious to me. And the broth was just so savoury and tasty, I couldn’t stop drinking it although it was so steamy outside.

 photo NaraFrench_zps85436617.jpg

One thing may not be so obvious to first-time travellers to Japan is that French food (and Italian) is really good as I find that Japanese are real Francophiles at heart. The bouillabaisse soup was simply divine with fresh seafood cooked to perfection and yummy soft bread to soak it all up.

 photo Kawashimadinner_zpsb2661ad1.jpg

We stayed in Kawashima Ryokan in Kyoto which was not lavish by any means but comfortable and Japanesey enough to have a great ambience. Dinner was lovely with fresh tuna sashimi (melt-in-your-mouth variety – ’twas simply heavenly), grilled veggies, fish, tofu and miso soup.

 photo Amanohashidatedinner_zps0623128a.jpg

Our kaiseiki spread at our Amanohashidate ryokan in Miyazu Bay was really lovely. The theme of the night was seafood as we were by the water so everything was super fresh. The chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) had bits of prawn and fish in it, too, which is always a down-to-earth Japanese favourite of mine.

The fish ball in sticky clear sauce is something I always see in kaiseiki dinners and this one was a medley of different fish which was lip-smackingly delicious. I gobbled it up and slurped up all the broth. Dessert was canned fruit which was a downer for me as I think fresh fruit trumps that anytime and I don’t think it’s difficult to cut up some fruit nicely.

So for a Kansai holiday, we had quite a few lovely accidental eats — we pretty much just booked our accommodation and chose things to do as each day came.

Do you like planning which restaurants to go to while on holiday or do you just spontaneously try random places?

Mummy Monday: How To Enjoy Fuji Rock Festival With A Nine-Month-Old Baby

Hi my dear readers, I’m so proud to say that we went camping at a music festival with Charles who was only nine months old. I did wonder if we were doing the right thing and it wasn’t without any worry when we decided to go. We have always wanted to go to Fuji Rock but never got round to it (like climbing Mount Fuji) and before we knew it, we got pregnant and had a baby.

But you know, don’t let that stop you from doing what you want to do. I get it — life with baby in tow is already hard with all the creature comforts of home but I think what I learned from this experience is to just be overprepared for any scenario so you can relax and have fun. Plus expect loads of things to go wrong so take with you a good dose of humour.

 photo FujiRockCollage_zpsf9678bc2.jpg

I searched high and low on the Internet for tips on how to enjoy a music festival with a baby and couldn’t really find a straight-up how-to article. However, I did find mummy forums with related discussion threads — which by the way are quite funny with folks taking very extreme stances on taking a baby to such an event. Some felt it was downright irresponsible to let a baby be in such an unsavoury environment but some thought it was totally cool and fun.

Clearly, I’m of the side that thinks it’s fine because I’ve been to music festivals before and had seen lots of young families with babies so what I really wanted to find out was how they did it. Babycentre has a great little post on this but here is my version cobbled together from my experience at Fuji Rock.

♥ Go the glamping option. Get all the mod-cons and a large tent so that you would feel comfortable and also cut down on time to set things up. E.g. we got air mattresses with a battery-operated pump so we could easily blow them up and the bub could play on it while we were busy doing other things, portable chairs for resting our feet, a large tarpe to take with us around the festival, lamps to light up the tent at night, mosquito coils, and a large eski.

Also, we were a bit late in arriving but that turned out to be sort of a blessing in disguise as it was less noisy for the bub. We camped on flat ground quite high up and far from the main area which was near to facilities like the toilets and food. There were lots of folks who would wander around at night or sit outside their tents chatting and drinking.

 photo FujiRock2_zpsfb3f9e1d.jpg

Use diaposables. I brought disposable bowls and spoons for feeding Charles so I won’t have to bother washing anything. I did consider getting disposable bibs but I decided to bring a plastic bib that I could just wipe after each meal. I brought tons of small disposable plastic bags to wrap up used diapers as we had to carry them till we passed a proper garbage disposal area.

I also got sterilized disposable milk bottles but they didn’t work out with our picky little boy because he hated the teet for some reason. He whined and cried so we detoured from our drive to Niigata and bought two milk bottles with the same teet he is used to.

Skip the sterilizing. I was uncertain about this but after going through it, I think it’s fine. Since we only had two milk bottles, we just washed them with mineral water after use and just before making his formula to clean it as best as we could. The little guy didn’t fall sick so there goes to show a little bacteria can’t hurt. I am fully aware that for babies under six months old, this may not work at all but then, I’m not if I would take such a young infant out camping if he was formula fed.

Bring sterilized baby water. I used Wakado’s water for babies as I didn’t feel comfortable making his milk with regular tap water or unboiled mineral water. It’s one thing to clean his bottles with regular mineral water but to have him injest 180ml six to seven times a day is another story. We also gave him a bit more water than usual because it was seriously sweltering and hot and we didn’t want him to dehydrate.

Pack lots of wet wipes for hands, face, and bum. I prefer to use separate wipes for his bum and hands/mouth because I find bum wipes could be a bit harsh for his face (in winter especially – it tends to make his mouth area dry and flaky). I took two of each type even though we were only camping for two days. Since I didn’t pack any burp cloths, I really went through a lot of wipes. And adults can use wet wipes too ;)

Forget bathing. There were hot showers available at Fuji Rock but the environment wasn’t conducive to bathing him as only one of us could take him as they were gendered toilets. And we felt either of us couldn’t handle him being slippery and in a wet, tiled open space which can be dangerous. So we just splashed some mineral water all over him and wiped his bum with wet tissues.

Bring headphones. These Baby Banz noise-reduction headphones were great for when we were at super loud performances and when he needed to nap as we wandered around Fuji Rock.

Try to keep to the same sleep routine. Although we didn’t give him a bath which is part of his bedtime routine, we brought along his sleeping bag so that he could feel some familiarity in a different environment. We fed and napped him according to his usual times so he didn’t feel too off-centre.

Take along your baby’s favourite snacks and food pouches. This is kind of an obvious tip as it’s very hard to make your own baby food while camping. This was a big challenge for us because lil C is a very fussy eater and he doesn’t like the pre-packaged stuff. He did eat mostly the fruit ones but the meat and veggie ones he ignored. I gave him a couple of rice crackers to make up for the lack of eating proper meals which seemed to sit fine with him. I was worried he would wake up more frequently in the middle of night for milk but he didn’t.

Choose the baby carrier over the stroller. For us this worked better because we have a very big stroller so navigating narrow trails and bumpy paths would not be super comfortable and easy. That meant we were more mobile as we had less to carry.

Don’t forget other essentials like insect repellant, sunscreen, baby panadol, bandaids, thermometer and teething gel.

Reapply high SPF sunscreen every two to three hours. All of us adults got sunburnt, except Charles as the sun was simply relentless and there was hardly any shade at Fuji Rock. And that’s because I reapplied his sunscreen that has SPF50 every so often. Sad to say I neglected to do the same for myself lol!

Include rain gear. Although we didn’t experience much rain, I was grateful for rain boots to keep Charles warm on our first night as it rained while we set up the tent. I heard that there was torrential rain after we left so you definitely need to prepare a rain coat and wellies for baby just in case.

 photo Fujirock3_zpsee9b05dd.jpg

Being extra sets of clothes. Charles got wet and dirty from being outdoors so I was glad to have extra clothes to change him into. It gets cool at night so he had warm pants and long sleeved onesies to sleep in under his sleeping bag and another proper camping sleeping bag that was lined with fleece. In the day time, we just put him shorts and singlets.

I think that’s all for what I did baby-wise for Fuji Rock — we packed two nappy bags so we could also tote along his essentials and ours. Charles loved being outdoors and seemed less cranky in the afternoons. He chased after ants, enjoyed the breeze, crawled around the grass and grooved to the music. He was so happy and in his element that we will definitely do this again.

You must also be wondering how we fared as parents at a music festival. We love music but are not hard core about it so we just stumbled upon any music that seemed interesting — and had shade! — so we put Charles’ needs above ours of course.

The husband went off to a night performance while I stayed with Charles in the tent while he was sleeping. I am not a big drinker or too fussed about partying so I was happy to sleep early and take care of our baby. One parent has to hold the fort while the other enjoys and I can imagine you could take turns if you stayed multiple days.

The point to going to Fuji Rock for us was to enjoy the atmosphere, the great outdoors and camping with him, so we totally had a blast.

Have you ever gone camping with a baby? If so, do share your tips!

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…

 photo FoodFridayDetox2_zps11820cea.jpg

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).

 photo FoodFridayDetox_zps51eda91b.jpg

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.

 photo JulyFavesTake2_zps07f3fb0b.png

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?