Category Archives: Singapore

I Can’t Say No to Pretty Jewellery

I have a love affair with Pinwheel Jewels, a multi-label designer jewellery online boutique. I really do. You know how my hands are glued to the phone whenever I get some me-time? Well, a lot of those times, I’m stalking Pinwheel Jewels for the latest prettiness to add to my growing collection of accessories. And when I do, I tilt my phone away from the unsuspecting husband, so he doesn’t catch me ogling at yet another pretty thing that he doesn’t quite get.

It’s not hard to understand why I’m infatuated with the store. I’m a woman. I like beautiful things. But I’m unfortunately neither fashion-forward nor willing to spend on racks and racks of good-looking clothes to look put together or remotely interesting. Let’s face it. I have always been fairly unadventurous with my dress sense. But as I get older, and naturally vainer (motherhood may or may not have played a part in upping the ante), I start to pay a teensy bit more attention to my outfits and I find that accessories are the most cost-effective, versatile ways to pull any look together. It wasn’t always the case, of course. When my daughter was younger, she would pull at my earrings, necklaces and her bum would sit right on top of the arm parties I tried to get going on; accessories just didn’t work for either of us. Now that she is a little older, I’m welcoming pretty jewellery back into my life with open arms. I usually have four or five easy-to-wear pieces that I don in rotation; I find that these are enough to keep my outfits interesting and to make me feel a little more chic without burning a giant hole in my pocket, as opposed to spending on tonnes of clothes.

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Gemma necklace by Meredith Hahn

I had already purchased two necklaces from Pinwheel Jewels this year, the Gemma necklace by Meredith Hahn and the Taner Pave Bar necklace by Gorjana, and both pieces have earned me lots of compliments! I particularly love the Gemma necklace for how smooth the pendant feels and how it has a good weight to it. It does not feel cheap at all, unlike the truly inexpensive (think $30!) alternatives that I had previously purchased from other vendors. It looks good on its own, but I am also dreaming up ways to layer it with longer, complementary options, such as the Cori lariat necklace, also by Meredith Hahn. An early birthday present for myself, perhaps? *hint hint*

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Taner Pave Bar necklace layered with the Aurora large necklace, both by Gorjana

The Taner Pave Bar stole my heart with its simplicity, and yet it stands out with that tiny bit of bling embedded across the length of the pendant. I like wearing this on its own for a daintier look, but there are ways to jazz it up a little. For my recent trip to Sydney, I was hard-pressed to travel light as the weather was slightly cold and we needed to pack boring but easy-to-match layers. Lianne, founder of Pinwheel Jewels, kindly had me pick out two pieces (Aurora large necklace by Gorjana and Skipper necklace in gold by Shlomit Ofir Jewelry Design) to accessorise my otherwise plain outfits, and just look how pretty the Taner Pave looks with the Aurora large necklace!

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I also loved pairing the Aurora large necklace with a pre-layered piece that I had purchased from another store. The possibilities are endless!

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Skipper necklace in gold by Shlomit Ofir Jewelry Design

Travelling with a kid inevitably means that we often started the day late in Sydney and rushed to leave the hotel. On those days, I was thankful to have the pre-layered Skipper necklace with me and instead of brainstorming ways to layer my accessories, I simply pop the Skipper on and  chic is me! An absolutely fabulous piece to add to your stash, if you ask me.

PROMOTION FOR MY READERS:

Now, here’s a sweet deal for you (and for me…I might just buy myself a couple of birthday gifts…). Get 10% off a minimum purchase of $100 with the coupon code PLEASURE10 (not valid with other coupon codes) from now until 30 November (ends 2359h)! The end of the year is coming, and everyone needs some pampering, so I’d say reward yourself with a piece (or two) of prettiness. For those of you who are getting married, the bridal collection is TO DIE FOR. I wish I had these options when I got married!

*I was gifted the Aurora large necklace and Skipper necklace in gold. No additional monetary compensation has been received and I do not stand to gain any commission arising from sales using the discount code given to my readers. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

You can now shop online at Pinwheel Jewels! Like Pinwheel Jewels on Facebook for more updates!

Playing Dress Up with The Lady General

 

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[SPONSORED POST*] I am terribly picky when it comes to fashion, and that’s not because I’m a clotheshorse or a fashionista. In fact, I’m the total opposite. I can’t quite carry off the latest trends, and am far from willing to plonk large sums of money on a wardrobe of clothes that would make Anna Wintour beam with pride. For casual days out, I ONLY go for baggy and loose and shapeless and cooling outfits, which is why I’m mostly sloppy on days when I don’t have to dress up. Unfortunately, the body-hugging thing seems to be all the rage these few years and oh my, I end up having to purchase pieces that are two sizes up just because I am not comfortable and know that I don’t look good in fitting clothes. For smart casual or formal days, I prefer to go for well-cut pieces that hide the flaws which I’d like to think have been hidden pretty well, especially these two years after I became a mother. I mean, I was a whale for 9 months and pushed a baby out of that pelvis. I don’t feel that great when everything jiggles more than before I was pregnant, so I’ve resorted to a little trickery on the eye with cleverly cut outfits. 201409 The Lady General cheongsam 2

It is, however, incredibly difficult to find pieces that give me that much-needed boost. More often than not, I walk out of shops feeling frustrated over the lack of suitable sizes or cuts. The pretty clothes only come in small sizes that I can’t zip up, or in cuts that only flatter Heidi Klum (bareback, crop top, low cut, too short, OMG). I’ve also encountered one too many sales assistants who threw me are-you-sure-you-can-wear-that glances whenever they see me browse the racks with a baby strapped onto me. Yes, that’s the mummy-stereotype we are talking about here. GAH. After many failed attempts to spruce up my wardrobe over the past few years, believe it or not, I have practically stopped shopping for clothes.

For half a year now, I’ve been feeling a little frumpy. I put on some weight and can’t fit into my old clothes without looking like a stuffed dumpling. Whilst I’m not oversized, I knew I needed clothes in a new size, what with some gatherings coming up. I didn’t want to show up in clothes that are zipped up halfway; that would be such an eyesore. So I scouted for a while before chancing upon The Lady General. All I can say is, WHAT A GODSEND.

201409 The Lady General cheongsam 4The Lady General carries beautifully designed, and well-cut modern cheongsams to flatter all shapes and sizes. Unlike many boutiques that churn out one skin-tight cheongsam after another, The Lady General offers three styles to cater to our whims and fancies. Fit and Flare which is generously cut at the hips (MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE because I have a very generously-sized pelvis too), Column styles which are wonderful at hiding the tummy whilst still giving some room at the hips, in addition to the Classic Fit (as the term suggests, in the style of a classic cheongsam).

I am wearing the Jia cheongsam in size M, which is cut in the Fit and Flare style. It has a full skirt that hides my child-bearing hips (I’m not trying to boast, but I can’t tell I have a generous bottom in this dress!). I did send the cheongsam to be altered at the waist but even after taking the waist in, the skirt still skims over my hips nicely. The sky blue stripes are cleverly orientated to instantly slim one down (I rarely take a full-frontal shot because that’s the most unflattering angle, but it wasn’t a problem in this dress), and the skirt reveals a beautiful blush-pink lining when one twirls (I tried to capture the blush peeking out from under by twirling around and taking a selfie, but the most highly skilled selfie expert AND octopus would be stumped, so check out the photos on the listing for Jia to have a look at that gorgeous lining). I can’t capture the pink coming through the blue layer on the outside, but trust me on this, you’d see this in real life and you will fall in love with the pink-hued blue! The seersucker cotton is perfectly lightweight and cooling for a substantial, full-skirted, high-neck dress such as this, and I feel absolutely comfortable in it. The full skirt comes in a good length, and lets me run after my toddler without compromising my modesty. WIN-WIN-WIN!

There are a few ways to wear this dress, of course. You can wear it alone, with a nice pair of flats of heels, or belt it up with a tan-coloured one like what I did in the photos for a more neutral take. I thought a fun way of jazzing up the cheongsam would be to pair it with a red belt with cute pumps, but I don’t have the said accessories in such strong hues, so I couldn’t try that out. I reckon that it would look very cute, and slightly retro!

I’m lusting after a few other designs too, the Kyoto Cheongsam in Clouds (which is sadly out of stock) and Hui and Mi (in neutral tones). Every design comes in a very limited quantity (so the chances of you bumping into someone wearing the same thing are pretty slim) and I would urge you to like their page on Facebook to stay updated on their collection before everything gets sold out!

*I was gifted a Jia cheongsam for the review. No monetary gift was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored items, should I find the products unsuitable.

You can now shop online at The Lady General!

ME 1 : CREEPY CRAWLIES 0

{SPONSORED POST*} I am a real chicken when it comes to creepy crawlies. Spiders, ROACHES (OMG, those really freak me out ESPECIALLY if they fly), beetles, lizards, you name it. They creep up on me when I’m peeing, or shampoo-ing my hair with my eyes closed, about to go to bed, and always, always, always, when M is working late and I’m all alone and absolutely defenceless, save for a stupid can of smelly, toxic insecticide and/or the occasional super-thick, rolled-up wad of newspapers, which are completely useless in hands that are quicker to retract than offend. I still remember the night when I was heavily pregnant, alone at home, and TWO humongous cockroaches and a giant lizard attacked me in the bedroom, SIMULTANEOUSLY. All I could think of was what I did to deserve that. *shudders*

I cannot even begin to tell you how much my home was like the Shrieking Shack for the past few years shortly after I moved back to Singapore. I mean, London has NO creepy crawlies that invade our home like that. They have rats, yes, but rats run away from us (and none has ever barged into our home); they don’t fly in our direction, leap from across the table and land on our shoulders. Ants don’t even attack my bakes, when I leave them out in the open on the mid-island for days! I don’t get it, but in the five years I was living in London, I did not see an ant (uh huh, I’m using the singular term here). Houseflies, yes, in summer (but houseflies are more annoying than scary), and the occasional bee that visits us when the flowers bloom, but nothing, NOTHING made me scream like I did after I moved back to Singapore. Back here, we snack a fair bit upstairs in the living area outside our room, and F being a toddler, walks around, goes all Gretel on me and drops crumbs that attract armies of ants within twenty minutes. Then the lizards start visiting us upstairs because of the whole food-chain thing, and they leave their droppings on our pristine white walls, jump out at us when we adjust the drapes…what a complete nightmare! Roaches creep out from the drainage in the bathroom (at least that’s where I think they came from), and I remember how one would suddenly appear from its cosy hideout under the armchair, where I sat nursing F in the dead of the night. It totally freaked me out!

Don’t even get me started on mosquitoes. I am some kind of a magnet for them, and so are M and F. The worst thing is F develops rather severe insect bite reactions that will make any mother weep. Think shiny, bulbous blisters, ooozing pus from all that scratching. I am fiercely protective as a result (also because of the high incidence of dengue fever, and it doesn’t help that a new house is being built right across ours), and went on a mission to insect-proof our lives as much as possible.

And…I found a solution!

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We started using the Automated KONK® I Flying Insect Killer Starter Kit, which is such a godsend and works incredibly well to keep creepy crawlies away. We have not been terrorised by cockroaches, ants, mozzies, or any other insects since October 2013. Once the bugs were gone, the four-legged rubbery lizards packed their bags too because there wasn’t any food lurking around for them. In the past eight months, I have only seen, at most, four to five lizards (rather infrequent, given that I used to see two to three every night, in various sizes, meaning there was a nest of them lurking somewhere). One might say that we could use the usual insecticides to keep them away, but get this, I invested (yes, the system and refills are a wee bit expensive) in the kit because KONK® I is as non-toxic as it is effective. The main ingredient in KONK® I is pyrethrin, which is a natural extract in chrysanthemum flowers. It is a perfectly safe, natural deterrent that keeps ‘em nasty bugs away and leaves no residue whatsoever, save for the faint scent of chrysanthemum. I like that we are not breathing in toxic fumes and skidding around on oily surfaces unlike the days when we used the old-school insecticide, especially so as Faith is in our lives now and touching everything she can get her hands on. We don’t mind paying more for a non-toxic way of keeping our home bug-free!

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It also helps that the AG dispenser is incredibly easy to use. It operates on a single 9 volt alkaline battery and is a no-brainer to assemble and disassemble when the time comes to change the refill for the KONK® I Flying Insect Killer. It is as simple as removing the empty canister, and screwing in a fresh refill. The dispenser is very light and portable too, so you can move it anywhere you want, as long as you place it at a decent height (so no one gets squirted in the face, obviously, and KONK® I gets dispersed as evenly as possible). But of course, I consider the AG dispenser a big (albeit one-time) purchase, and it can be a strain on one’s budget to fit the entire home with multiple dispensers (especially if you have a huge home with many rooms that often have doors shut). For us, we only bought one dispenser to be placed upstairs in our living area, and it has worked well to keep bugs away, even from the bathroom and our bedroom, which are adjacent to the living area.

There have been times when I forgot to purchase extra refills before the existing canister in the dispenser ran out, and ants came creeping back to snack on crumbs that were overlooked when we cleaned up after our ‘picnics’ upstairs. In this case, we use the KONK® I HH (short for handheld), give the dark corners and offending areas a good spritz (again, no residue, no oiliness, no toxic fumes whatsoever), and the insects are gone in a jiffy. It is basically the KONK® I Flying Insect Killer that is used in the dispenser, but in the handheld form which is very useful for driving out bugs and keeping them away from hard-to-reach areas like the drainage, under the sink, etc, a lovely complement or even alternative (if you don’t mind doing some spritzing every 2-3 days) to the AG dispenser (which works for you all-day long). We keep both in the house, and the bugs don’t stand a chance!

PROMOTION FOR MY READERS:

Our LifeStyle Shop is inviting you to give KONK® I a try by offering 5% off all purchases for the readers of The Pleasure Monger. Simply enter the promotional code pleasuremonger (vaild from 1 July to 31 July 2014) when you check out. Happy shopping!

*I was gifted one can of KONK I HH. I paid for all other items reviewed out of my own pocket. No additional monetary compensation has been received and I do not stand to gain any commission arising from sales using the discount code given to my readers. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

— You can now shop online at Our LifeStyle Shop! Like Our LifeStyle Shop on Facebook to be updated on promotions and what’s going on in-store!

Mother’s Day Feature: My Interview with The New Age Parents

The editors of the online parenting magazine, The New Age Parents, kindly featured me on the Mother’s Day lineup as one of ‘10 Mummy Bloggers We Love‘. I did an interview with them as well.

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The questions got me thinking about how I felt when I started penning my thoughts on the blog, and they jolted bittersweet memories that I had of life in London back then. It’s amazing how the blog has evolved with changes in my life, moving back to Singapore, becoming a mother…I don’t think I qualify as a ‘Mummy Blogger’ per se, as the blog is still a mish-mash of things and people who matter very much to me, but yes, my daughter is a large part of my life now, and that invariably means that I yak way too much about her over here (sorry to all the foodies who used to follow me, I don’t cook or bake or photograph food as much now due to the lack of time…and energy).

I’ve also noticed that my writing has taken on a less sprightly (read: YOUTHFUL) tone, and is more reflective and solemn. But one thing remains, I still tell it as it is. I don’t want to get out there and say I LOVE BEING A MOTHER ALL THE TIME, or OH LOOK HOW HAPPY I AM ALL THE TIME, because the truth is there is no such thing as ALL THE TIME. Everything is fleeting – joy, sadness, fights, tender moments, kid not sleeping, kid finally eating – EVERYTHING. So, even though I don’t fill this space with the most beautiful pictures, the most well-written stories, and the most positive of outlooks, I thank all those who have stopped by and said hello, those who didn’t mind the occasional melancholy or sporadic bitchiness, those who have told me that I am not alone in feeling a certain way when something happens. and those who have extended their friendship and invited me into their lives.

Here’s to keeping it real!

Oh! And here’s my interview with the good people of The New Age Parents. Don’t forget to check out the other Mummy Bloggers too!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! x

 

I Have My Eye On: Affordable Reads from The Groovy Giraffe + A Promotion!

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a mother to a little girl, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks.

In the series ‘I Have My Eye On‘, I share my favourite finds for my daughter.

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[SPONSORED POST*] We have been reading to Faith since the day she was born, and she has grown to be very fond of books. We read all day long, in the mornings, in between sessions of active play, and in the evenings as part of her bedtime routine. At times, Faith would sit on my lap and listen intently as I read to her. Others, she would seize a book and flip through the pages very enthusiastically. Lately, she has even progressed to reading the stories out loud (in her sing-song toddlerish-gibberish English), complete with the most theatrical gestures you can think of – a super adorable sight to behold!

Building a library isn’t easy on the pocket though; you should know that children’s books these days can get really expensive, let alone the board-book versions which are hardy and can withstand wear and tear in the hands of a young child. I DO love the experience of walking into a charming bookstore, feeling the weight of a good tome and leafing through its pages, but I have had to sacrifice that rite of passage in order to save considerable sums of money by shopping at online bookstores…not.

WHO AM I KIDDING? I simply spend my time browsing at my favourite brick-and-mortar stores, make a mental note of the books I want to purchase, before heading straight to my favourite online stores to cart them. Sigh, I sound like a complete cheapo now, huh? But, hey, I need to save ‘em pennies to raise my toddler!

The Groovy Giraffe is a really good site that stocks super affordable books for children and boasts a rather comprehensive range whilst bringing huge discounts to book-lovers! Picture books, pop-up books, board books, activity books, audio books, cloth books, you name it, and these cater to different age groups.

My picks for Faith, who is almost 19 months old now, include Baby’s First Bible in a Slipcase (4 Books) (S$14.90 instead of S$20.31, 27% off) and Charlie and Lola’s Opposites (S$6.90 instead of S$8.74, 21% off). As she will be off to pre-school soon for a few days a week, I picked out Charlie and Lola’s I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (S$9.90 instead of S$21.24, 53% off) as well to prepare her for the change in her daily activities. As you can see, these are heavily discounted and I saved about S$18 simply by purchasing them from The Groovy Giraffe! You might wonder why these books are heavily marked down as compared to those sold at brick-and-mortar stores. Well, The Groovy Giraffe stocks overprint and overstock books, otherwise known as remainder books, but rest assured that all these books are brand new. The curators are very transparent about the condition of the books too – remainder markings and minor shelf wear (sustained from moving to and from shelves) are clearly stated on the description of individual books on the site, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. The book on Charlie and Lola’s Opposites that we received, for instance, was specified to have gone through minor shelf wear; it was only very slightly noticeable on the spine and didn’t bother me at all.

You would be glad to know that The Groovy Giraffe does not just stock children’s books; we, adults, get a real kick out of browsing at this site too! Books on parenting, self-help, hobbies, craft, puzzles, and my absolute favourite, COOKBOOKS *gasp*, are carried on the site at much lower prices. Think cookbooks by Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, and all sorts of books on bread-making and baking, these make such wonderful gifts. I’d be delighted to receive them!

By the way, Faith ABSOLUTELY loves her new books, especially Baby’s First Bible in a Slipcase (4 Books). She climbs onto the couch, pulls the slipcase off the shelf and reads all four books from page to page, exclaiming ‘babeeeee!’ when she sees baby Moses, or ‘apple!’ in the story of Adam and Eve, or ‘zeezus!’ in the story of Jesus. Too cute!

PROMOTION FOR MY READERS:

Here’s the best part for you. The Groovy Giraffe is offering a 10% discount (not applicable for bargains) for the readers of The Pleasure Monger until 30 April 2014. Simply enter the promotional code RachelTPM when you check out. Happy shopping!

*I was gifted a S$20 voucher and 10% discount on my purchase (discount not applicable for bargains) to try out the service for the review. I paid for the remaining sum, including shipping, out of my own pocket. No additional monetary compensation has been received and I do not stand to gain any commission arising from sales using the discount code given to my readers. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

You can now shop online at The Groovy Giraffe!

Like The Groovy Giraffe on Facebook to be updated on promotions and what’s-what in-store!

May We Sing and Dance Forever More

As I pen the final entry for 2013 on New Year’s Eve, the not-so-little one naps by my side. Her chest rises and falls with every breath, her silky, fine hair tangled in a sweaty mess at the nape of her neck, and her long limbs stretched in peaceful slumber. How she has grown.

How I have grown.

This time last year, I was an excited, frazzled and tired new mother. Today, I am tired, still, as a mother to an active toddler but I am happier, more calm, collected and composed than I have ever been in my life.

2013 was a year of change.

Sure, there were losses. Freedom, friends who are allergic to kids, couple time, me-time. I have lamented over these more than I should over the past year and have come to realise that it is normal to weather these changes once one becomes a parent. The little one needs me; yet, we try to balance ourselves on that high beam, whilst juggling a dizzying myriad of multi-coloured balls, and at times, we dodge Bludgers whilst doing so. It’s not easy, but the beauty of this is how I have been challenged to sieve out what’s important, and hold that dear to my heart.

Like old friends who stay by my side even though we can’t hang out as often as before. Like new friends who bring good tidings and wish nothing but the best for me, who invite me into their lives and share their stories with me, even though I am a stranger. Like my family, who has loved me unconditionally and given selflessly, as always. Like my husband, who loves me and believes in me so very much, and whom I love more everyday, even through the fights and doubts that are such commonplace in newfound parenthood. Like my daughter, whom I do everything and nothing with, who kicks my sorry ass with tantrums and 4am wakings, who surprises me everyday with a new word, and lately, with new songs that she bursts into whenever she feels like it, who strokes me gently when I am down, and kisses and hugs me just because.

I cannot ask for more. And I wouldn’t change the world for what I have been given, good and bad. It has been a stunning year full of joy and tears.

As I watch my daughter stir from her sleep, knowing what is to come in a matter of minutes when she wakes, that she would tug at my hands for us to play…I wish for one thing. That we may sing and dance together forever more.

I wish this for you, and you, too.

Blessed 2014, my friends.

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