Saturday, 23 February 2013

Dry Skin

I cannot live without these 4 products at the moment:

1. Earth Mama Angel Baby - Natural Stretch Oil
Started using this product the minute I found out that I am pregnant this second time round. Somehow it doesn't reduce the dryness of my skin because occasionally I felt the "stretch itch".

I also suffered from some mild eczema in the first trimester so I had to constantly rub the oil in. Best to rub in after a shower. Put clothes on only after the oil has been absorbed. I still use this occasionally to finish whatever is left in the spray bottle.

2. L'Occitane - Firming and Smoothing Supple Skin Oil with Almond Oil
I could not tolerate the sweet smell during my first trimester. At week 16 when the nausea and vomiting eased, I purchased a bottle of this lovely, rich almond oil right away.

Oh, how I love this!

Absorbs quickly into skin right after shower, does not leave any sticky or oily residue. I have been spoiling myself silly, a very tiny form of indulgence twice daily.

3. L'Occitane - Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil with Almond Oil
A small amount goes a long way in lathering up a rich foam that leaves my skin squeaky clean but moisturised and soft. Works like wonder to ease up mild eczema for both The Little Girl and I.

4. Tanamera Cold Press Virgin Coconut Oil - Richer than almond oil for the final trimester all out stretch and perineum massage. Be sure to let all oil absorb into skin before putting clothes on.

What about you? Do share your dry skin combat tips!


One of my "big boo boo" during my first pregnancy was not to have pedicure and relied on The Other Half to cut my toe nails, rub moisturiser nightly etc. once I could not bend low enough to reach my toes.

As a result of that "neglect", I had some dry skin especially at my heels.

The Other Half is not very good with giving pedicure, so he keeps his day job *hehe*.

Now, we all agree that dry heels are not only unattractive, they can be painful, especially if they are cracked!

So, I got wiser.

In this second pregnancy, I am not taking chances. I am not waiting until I can bend no more/can see my toes no more to start taking care of my precious feet. Afterall, they carry precious cargo and a too-lazy-to-walk-I-want-to-carried-almost-3 y.o.!

I now go for my monthly pedicure/feet spa (wish I have more budget to accommodate fortnightly sessions - a girl sure can dream!), and slap on some Du'it Foot & Heel Balm Plus feet balm every night after shower before going to bed.

The results: Much nicer looking toesies and improved skin on heels! Yay!!

From Kate Middleton Style to Short Bob

If you are looking for an independent review dry shampoo during confinement period, go away now. I tried it and it is just not for me.

My hair is all glorious during pregnancy but once I deliver, my hair drops. Another common hormonal pregnancy experience, you'd say.
Some Asians believe that washing hair is taboo during confinement, but not I (see why I chased you away in the very first paragraph?)
I wash my hair daily, otherwise I feel greasy and not able to sleep well.
(I can imagine the disapproving look/daggers some confinement ladies shoot my way).
Confession: During confinement, I tend to wash my hair once daily, towel dry and quickly blow dry to have that clean scalp/better mood to care for newborn mood...
Which is why...
under my head scarf and hijab...
is my short bob!
Oh, I love how fast shampooing, conditioning, rinsing, towelling, blow drying and combing really is with a short bob.
More time to cuddle the newborn and handle The Little Girl, what's not to love about it? *big smile*
Great plus: Hair drop looks less scary when hair is short, easier to pick up with fibre dry mop, and hair stays away from baby's burp!
Not a secret that hair grows again, and I just adore the sense of adventure in anticipating a new hair-do when it all grows back!

Recipe: Fenugreek & Manuka Honey Drink

So, we all have days (and nights!) when we are tired and are looking for short cuts so that we can use those precious extra minutes for some much needed shut eye.

Enter the simple breastmilk booster drink.

1 tablespoon of fenugreek powder or seeds
250 ml hot water
1 tablespoon of manuka honey (to stir well just before serving/drinking)

Easy-peasy steps:
1. Place fenugreek seeds into mug.
2. Add hot water.
3. Wait for about 10 minutes (less if using fenugreek powder).
4. Stir manuka honey in when water is no longer hot (not steaming).
5. Drink when still warm.

Fenugreek powder can be stored airtight for up to a month, a fun project for confinement ladies (if hiring) or even mummies to prepare ahead during the nesting period.

Easy-peasy steps:
1. Rinse fenugreek seeds. I make batches of 500 g each time. Lasts a lifetime, seems like!
2. Drain well.
3. Pat dry with kitchen paper towel.
4. Pan dry without oil in a frying pan over light heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
5. Leave to cool.
6. Mill seeds to powder form in a food processor using the dry mill blades.
7. Store in airtight container in the fridge/pantry away from sunlight.
8. Scoop required amount with dry spoon.
9. Ensure lid is always airtight.

Note: Fenugreek = halba (Malay), and is easily found on the spice racks at local supermarkets as it is widely used in curries.

Bon appetit!
Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bigger Happy Feet

I am one of those women whose feet expand during pregnancy.

My pre-pregnancy shoe size is 6.5 and now at 21 weeks, I am donning size 8!

Before swelling.

Imagine if my feet start to swell in the few final weeks...

Oh well.

Until I return to my petite ballerina flats post-pregnancy, I guess I will have to "heart" my Scholls slip-on in white leather.

I had a red pair the last pregnancy and since this may be my final pregnancy, I thought I may just as well indulge in white shoes...

Squishy Homemade Playdough

The Little Girl loves playdough sessions in the afternoons.
After purchasing a Playdoh kitchen set with tubs of a few colours, I started experimenting with a few homemade playdough recipes.
The best that I have come across so far was published in The Star, Star2 Family Section at page 6 on 25 April 2012.
It is really easy to make, cost effective and has the best texture suitable for Playdoh play-sets (neither too soft nor too hard).
Skill Level: Easy
Time Required: 1 hour 30 minutes (including prep and washing up time)
Stuffs You Will Need:
1. Mixing Bowl
2. Whisk/Mixing Spoon
3. Ziplock Bags
4. Cookie/Bento Cutters/Rolling Pin/Tray/Playdoh Play-sets (The limit is your imagination, really!)
5. Food Colouring (I use Apple Green, Egg Yellow, Cochineal, Orange, Rose Pink, True Blue and Fortuna Red for variety - and only a small drop for each batch! I also mix colours to get new colours - red with blue equals purple, you get the drift.)
6. 1 cup of boiling water
7. 1 cup wheat flour
8. 1/2 cup salt
9. 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
10. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

11. 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (for fragrance, omit if you like)
1. Pour the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
2. Add vegetable oil, (vanilla essence), and carefully pour in hot boiling water.
3. Whisk the mixture until it clumps like mashed potatoes. Let it cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Remove the slimy dough from the mixing bowl once it is cool enough to be handled. Sprinkle some flour on flat, clean surface and start kneading. Add more sprinkles of flour if necessary. Stop kneading when the dough no longer leaves a sticky residue on your fingers.
5. Separate the dough into small, fisy-sized balls. Press a small hole into the middle of a dough ball and add a tiny drop of food colouring. Take care not to add too much food colouring as it will spill out and stain your fingers! To control the amount/ease of dropping the food colouring, measure the liquid using a pipet or short straw. 
6. Fold the tinted part of the dough into the ball. Keep folding till the colour spreads evenly.
7. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 with different food colouring.
8. Keep each playdough colour seprately in ziplock bags.
Ours keeps for up to a month if sealed properly.
We discard used playdough after each play session for hygiene reasons, especially if there has been a playdough playdate.
Here is to hours and hours of fun!
Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Second Pregnancy: Braxton-Hicks

Like clockwork.

The Little Girl first gave me Braxton-Hicks with pelvic cramps when she hit 20 weeks on the dot. Right before a mini family getaway to Penang. At ER in SJMC, a Doppler was placed. No show, go home and rest.

Last week, The Little Bean gave me Braxton-Hicks with pelvic cramps at 20 weeks on the dot too. Right before a mini weekend break to a local hotel adjacent to a popular but ever jam packed shopping mall. At ER in PCMC, a Doppler was placed. No show, go home and rest.

Coincidence, much?

*breathe in deeply, three short puffs out*

B.E.D.   R.E.S.T.

Belated Greetings


I have been busy, really!


Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Year of the Snake it seems. Do you know that I have snake phobia? That is how much I avoid "ulala celebrations". Thanks to ASTRO for making snakes look like croissants, I now look at French breakfast delights minus the carbo-lust.

I will not be using any free entries to any reptile farms either.

By the way, I stopped reading and believing in zodiac and horoscopes many years ago when I learnt about self-fulfilling prophesies/started taking The Holy Bible a bit more seriously. I was semi-obsessed with the horoscope, zodiac and feng shui theories in my teens and had many books for reference.

 All of these books were recycled when I was baptised as a Christian. Further, my practice of not believing in those "new age" stuffs was confirmed when I discovered the Al-Quran. I now regard feng shui like architectural concepts for comfortable and safe living (especially with kids around) instead of placing objects for luck and wealth.

Yes, I was so jahil. I hope Allah forgives my past and accepts my repentence.

Islam does not prohibit the celebrations of new year itself. It is encouraged for families to still gather for reunion dinner (just consume halal food and drinks). Ang pow, if given or accepted, is best regarded as an act of charity/sedekah. It is better to give than to receive *aren't you pleased to hear this?*

The intention/niat is very important. By all means, get together as a family and celebrate being together in harmony. Not more than that.

Things we did this year to introduce The Little Girl to Chinese New Year:

1. Fed her quite a lot of mandarins and tangerines.

2. Gave her an ang pow.

3. Hosted a reunion lunch at home and invited a close friend over.

4. Attended a celebration lunch with close family friends, complete with halal yee sang salad.

5. Dress her in a qibao on first day of Chinese New Year.

6. Participate in play school Chinese New Year open house.

So, again, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Valentine's Day to those celebrating it.

(JAKIM issued a fatwa that it is haram for Muslims to celebrate this event. I love how true it is in Islam that every day is a celebration of love! Before you jump to conclusions, Read source here.)

With that, I will end this post by wishing you love every day *big smile*

Second Pregnancy: Week 17

I met my "intended" ob-gyn for this second pregnancy for the first time at 17 weeks into gestation. When I first rang the clinic of Dr. Seri Suniza Sufian in November 2012, her nurse gave me this "long date" to which I replied,"Thank you. Insya Allah I will still be pregnant by then."

I then prayed hard I would still be, by His Grace!

As you may already know, an ER incident brought me to see Dr. Paul Tay first...and we (The Other Half and I) were upfront about him being our "second choice" to which he agreed and replied cheerfully that it is fine etc. Professionally, he took good care of us until it was time for us to see Dr. Seri Suniza Sufian. We are ever so grateful for such a kind and understanding doctor! May God bless him ever so abundantly.

Back to Dr. Seri.

17 January 2013.

She gave me a "Mum's book" to record details of the first birth and this second pregnancy. She then agreed with Dr. Paul Tay's supplements prescribed for my pregnancy (Pramilet and Neurogain PB Vegicaps). We then had a chit chat discussion over birth plan, family planning etc.

I was pleased to find out that she is pro natural birth, has no objections to epidural if the mother so chooses, practices episiotomy on a need-to-control-too-much-tearing basis, resorts to assisted birth by vacuum and forseps only where necessary and avoids C-sec unless baby is in distress.

She then noticed that I had a chesty cough possibly with phlegm. She was concerned if it is "bronchial" and "troublesome if it gets out of control". So yes, I had been coughing pretty incessantly at that point and she referred me to Dr. Fauzi, a respiratory specialist. The coughing also left me with weaker pelvic muscles, so the other referral was for me to attend ante-natal physiotherapy sessions with Neng to strengthen my round ligament and pelvic muscles.

After what seemed like "forever" in consultation time, we were "treated" to a scan. The Little Bean had grown and fits the average 17 week fetus size with normal heartbeat, weighing an approximate 183g. We saw the black and white, cute, round measurements and Dr. Seri confirmed the sex of The Little Bean for us!

She then switched it to a 4D scan. For the first time, we saw The Little Bean's features - and The Little Bean was busy sucking on left thumb! *awww*

So the visit ended on a high note.

I have been busy since then.

I have seen Dr. Fauzi twice and *yay!* cured from bronchitis. Pulmicort and Bricanyl turbuhalers with 5 days worth of medication were my best friends for about a week. During the follow-up appointment, I was asked to continue Pulmicort and Bricanyl turbuhalers and topped up with antibiotics as the sputum had changed from clear to yellowish. Yikes! Obediently finished my antibiotics, night coughs subsided, everyone slept better.

I am now looking forward to the next check-up with Dr. Seri, and a full scan with Dr. Tan.
Measurements taken by Dr. Seri Suniza Sufian on 17.01.2013:
BPD: 3.64 cm
Head circumference: 13.03 cm
Abdominal circumference: 10.92 cm
Femur length: 2.52 cm 

Stroller & Car Seat for The Little Bean

Option One/Splurge:

I am thinking of this: Bugaboo Bee. See the demo here.

Add Maxi Cosi Pebble car seat and Isofix base.

Add Bugaboo buggyboard for The Little Girl.

For days when I am out alone with 2 kids and using one car (Imagine the madness and sweating!)

Option Two/Save:

Maybe I should just stick to my new Maclaren Quest 2012.

Add Maxi Cosi Pebble car seat and Isofix base.

Add Lascal buggyboard for the Little Girl.

I "dislike" how obvious Option One is more practical/cost effective *yikes!*
An update after a few days of pondering:
Yay! The Other Half agreed to Option One with a small change from Pebble to Cabriofix, and not to the purchase the buggyboard until after The Little Bean is born (just in case The Little Girl prefers to walk and not "surf".
*syukur alhamdulillah!*
We are now awaiting delivery of our sand colour Cabriofix and matching sand Bugaboo!

Stroller for The Little Girl

The Little Girl arrived on the first day she turned 36 weeks in gestation, marginally premature. Her APGAR score was 9/10 and she didn't need admission to NICU much to our relief!

However, her shopping was not completed either so she did not have a stroller ready when we left the hospital. We carried her in our arms during hospital visits, and placed her into her Britax infant car seat during car trips from The House to the hospital and back.

Finally after confinement of 44 days, we "checked out" of The House and returned to The Apartment. Our first stop was KLCC, and desperate for a stroller!

I was nursing The Little Girl inside the baby care room in Isetan KLCC, while The Other Half was sent outside, a few metres away, on a mission.

Read: Purchase a Quinny Zapp with Maxi Cosi Cabrio baby seat and its base. We had been using the Britax infant car seat prior to this and found the rear facing mode a little too tight for entry and exit. There is no way we adults can bend awkwardly until The Little Girl is ready to face forward!

The pair of Maxi Cosi Cabrio with Quinny "legs" were handy for the first 8 months. At 9 months, The Little Girl grew a little taller and her legs stuck out, hanging over the edge of the Maxi Cosi Cabrio. We had to convert the Quinny "legs" to fit the Zapp (the original design) at that point.

She was too small, unfortunately, to sit in the Quinny Zapp without hunching over. In my opinion, that is bad posture. She also could not sleep comfortably in the Quinny Zapp, as she was still falling asleep after meals occasionally.
My tiny discomfort is not being able to fully utilise the tiny triangular shopping basket from the Quinny Zapp design as the aluminium structure gets in the way. It is also a little too tiny for my liking, or perhaps my Carter diaper bag was too large to fit into it.
We had to occasionally hang our Carter diaper bag across the handle bars (against manufacturer's advice!) when I was alone with The Little Girl at the changing room and have no other choice for clean surface. The weight of the diaper bag can tip the stroller over after The Little Girl has been lifted out of the seat - a no no no! Do not hang your diaper bag over the handle bars!!
That was when we decided to get her the Maclaren Quest; and hand down the Quinny Zapp/Maxi Cosi Cabrio/base to a girlfriend who was then expecting a boy.

This time, we measured the length of Maclaren Quest folded into its umbrella mode against my car boot space before paying for the purchase at Mothercare. Thankfully, it fits just barely, diagonally across my tiny boot space (BMW E87).

All was good. The Maclaren Quest travelled well with us to the UK and back. Emirates even loans out the same stroller at the Dubai International Airport so that our stroller can be checked in all the way through our connecting flights.

At some point when The Little Girl started to exert her autonomy (read: terrible twos) by insisting on pushing the Maclaren Quest, instead of sitting in it, we passed the Maclaren Quest over to a the same girlfriend and her son (also grew too tall by then), just as we did before with the Quinny Zapp/Maxi Cosi Cabrio/base.
The shopping basket is big enough to carry some light groceries or shopping but once The Little Girl was put to sleep in low tilt, we could not access those items until she wakes up and be put back to the sitting tilt!
Hanging the diaper bag over the handle bars is also a no no no as the stroller can tilt over backwards if the weight is not countered with a baby/toddler in it. Your best bet is putting the diaper bag into the shopping basket, if your diaper bag is small enough.
Now that The Little Bean is on his way, we have bought Maclaren Quest 2012 updated model and still thinking about the Bugaboo with Maxi Cosi baby seat. More on that to come...