Category Archives: Singapore

Miracle for My Skin: Love Organic, Love Botáni

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In the third trimester that I was pregnant with Ethan, three eczema patches showed up on my face that left me wondering what went wrong with my skincare regime. At first, I thought it was just pregnancy hormones messing my skin up, but when the three scaly, itchy, dry patches grew larger, even long after I have given birth, I had a hunch that my body was reacting to the chemicals in the skincare products I was using and that it was time to overhaul my beauty regime. Yes, I was on a mission to clean things up, quite literally, because I am convinced my skin was suffering from the effects of harsh chemicals slathered on my face.

For many months, I used calendula on my skin. The formulation we had worked wonders to get rid of Faith’s eczema, and I applied the calendula ointment on my face to see if it might help with the patches. The wonderful bit is two of the three patches cleared right up. The bad thing is one stubborn patch remained on my left cheek. That patch annoyed me to no end, as it looked red if I didn’t put on any makeup, and if I did paint my face, the patch showed up dry and flaky and there was nothing I could do to conceal it.

After this, I tried different organic and natural skincare products from local and international brands in an attempt to improve the condition of my skin. Whilst the products have been excellent at really nourishing my sensitive skin without stinging or causing itch, none could get rid of the third eczema patch on my face. I was about to give up on the search and cave into using steroids when I stumbled upon the Botáni range of natural and organic Australian skincare carried by a local store, Love Organic.

Karen, of Love Organic, very generously sent me a couple of Botáni products to try, and one and a half months after using them, I am completely sold. Yes, COMPLETELY, you read that right.

Just a little background on Botáni products before I go into the details of how the products helped me. All ingredients used in Botáni products are Eco-Cert approved, and do not contain petrochemicals, mineral oils, PEGS, silicones, paragons, artificial fragrances or colours, animal derived ingredients, propylene glycol and sulphates. The signature ingredient of Botáni skincare products is Olive Squalene – nature’s only biocompatible ingredient which bears the closest resemblance to human squalene, our body’s in-built moisturiser. We are all born with 12% squalene and this starts to decrease from the age of 25 onwards, leading to premature ageing, dry skin and fine lines among others. In short, olive squalene should be your new best friend, even if the ravaging effects of time isn’t.

The Olive Skin Serum is my favourite of all the products that I have been given (or my favourite of all skincare products I have ever used in my life, for that matter). I would go as far as to call it a Miracle for my skin because the third eczema patch has been banished to oblivion two weeks after applying this serum on my face. My skin feels extremely nourished, and is so much suppler and smoother than before.  I noticed that my skin looks more radiant too and I feel more confident about going out without putting on makeup. This is unsurprising, given that the serum is infused with highly concentrated 100% phyto-active Olive Squalene, vitamins C and E. The serum has been clinically proven to increase moisture levels by 50% within 24 hours, to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production, and is ideal for sensitive/eczema skin. I have been told that it doubles up as a makeup primer too; in my case, it’s good for holding my makeup in place for about 4-5 hours. A little goes a very long way when it comes to this serum. I use it once in the morning and once at night, and only require two drops each time for my entire face and neck area. The best way to use it is to pat the drops onto damp skin (fresh from toning, don’t wait until the toner dries out) until it is completely absorbed. Because the serum is incredibly hydrating, I don’t always apply moisturiser after that (not even if I am about to go to bed in an air-conditioned room) and only do so if I want to give my skin a little extra pampering. The serum alone is enough to keep my skin nourished and hydrated, and I wake up with clearer, suppler and smoother skin even after a night in an air-conditioned room. This workhorse is a must-have for me. Case in point below.

This is a photo of me taken first thing in the morning under natural lighting. I just woke up half an hour before the photo was taken, was bare-faced and the photo is not filtered or altered in anyway. My skin is not perfect but it’s so, so, SO much better than before I started using Botáni skincare! I would never publish a selfie taken in broad daylight if my skin were looking battered like before. (Note: The two red blobs on the bridge of my nose are tell-tale signs of nose-pads from my glasses. Had to point that out as it’s nothing harmful caused by the products.)

The Rescue Eye Treatment, enriched with anti-inflammatory plant actives such as Arnica Root, Licorice Root, Acacia Senegal Gum and Olive leaf extract, works wonderfully to hydrate my awfully-dry undereye area. I used to sport fine lines not unlike wrinkled crepe paper and dark circles that were telling of the lack of restful sleep. Half a pump is more than enough to take care of my eyes and whilst the gel feels slightly tacky at first, once it’s absorbed into the skin, it no longer feels sticky. I would say that my dark circles have lightened by up to 40%-50%, and the lines are not so pronounced now. I highly recommend giving this a shot!

I absolutely love the Soothing Facial Mist too. It is alcohol-free and refreshingly scented with Rose Damascena, and makes me feel so good on a hot day or when I just need to perk up! I did use this as a toner before patting on the Olive Skin Serum, but it smells like such a luxury (and is much more expensive than the toner I have been using, which works well for me) that I like to keep it for critical moments throughout the day instead (like kids driving me nuts and I’m completely flat out of battery, or when I am feeling irritable and sticky, or when I am on the road and want to feel energised). I also spray this on to set my makeup, and…have I mentioned how refreshing this is?! Okay, I think you get the point.

The Olive Soothing Cleanser is a cream-based cleanser that is absolutely wonderful at cleansing my skin. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean, without stripping its moisture, or weighing it down like some cleansing oils do. It was also effective at removing non-waterproof makeup. Just 2-3 pumps for the entire face should suffice and it can be applied directly on dry skin before you wash it off when you are done massaging your face! Unfortunately, this is a little expensive for me as a daily cleanser but I would definitely purchase it to remove non-waterproof makeup because I know I’m in good hands when I use this. I mean, I had enough with gentle cleansers claiming to remove non-waterproof makeup AND not working.

Two other product samples that I was given were the Boost Balancing Moisturiser and the Olive Repair Cream. The former is very lightweight and easily absorbed, and works wonderfully to hydrate my skin as a day moisturiser. But what I really adore and will purchase again is the Olive Repair Cream which packs a punch when it comes to delivering moisture to my skin. I’m reaching my mid-thirties soon and I do appreciate intense hydration and healing properties of a good moisturiser, and the Olive Repair Cream, which is an ideal treatment for eczema, psoriasis,  redness and irritated skin, does just that. It is touted to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of scars and even out skin tone, but the sample I received was only good for 2-3 applications, so I can’t vouch for that but I am eager to test that out when I purchase the full-sized product!

So there you have it! I know this review is a little lengthy, but if you have made it down to the last lines, I hope my thoughts and experience with the different Botáni products will help you in some way! I have experienced the benefits of green beauty (I’m only months into cleaning up my regime) and  I must say that I am loving how nourished, clean and unburdened my skin feels now. Botáni has proven to be an excellent choice for me, and the products are mostly very affordable, so I’m definitely making it a huge part of my regime now. It doesn’t hurt that Love Organic is an online store based in Singapore, and there several stockists island wide too if you want to touch and feel the products. Please let me know if you have tried the other products and seen real benefits from using them! I would love to give the rest a try too.

*I was given the Botáni products for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. 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.

BoxGreen: Delicious and Healthy Snacking

[*SPONSORED POST] Mothering is hard work and I often find myself starved of time for a proper meal. It’s non-stop action from daybreak in this home and I often have to wolf down a slice of plain bread and a glass of water whilst trying to stop my incredibly active toddler from diving off the high chair at breakfast, and then have pathetic morsels of lunch whilst carry out the same heroic act of saving said toddler from potential injury. The only time when I can really sit down in peace is after E has gone to bed. That’s when I have dinner with my preschooler, F, who is quite good at staying put during mealtimes, and my husband, M. It comes as no surprise that I have been eating the less healthy way, as I load up on disproportionately larger dinner portions than that for breakfast and lunch.

Owing to a lack of fuel from pathetic breakfasts and lunches, I usually am famished by the time the clock strikes three. That’s also when E is done napping by my side (yes, little one can’t nap without me), and when we need to leave home to pick F up from school, so I only have time to manage a few sips of water and wolf down some individually wrapped pieces of chocolate or biscuits. Nope, I don’t like to have fruits on a near-empty stomach as I tend to feel nauseated and gassy after that, so I only munch on fruits at dinner. And the lack of solid meals in the earlier part of the day has left me craving for sinful foods.

Often times, I dream of having a good tea break. I know it will get me through the day in a much better mood to last until the kids’ bedtimes, but there just isn’t any time to stop for a breather, lack alone for some healthy grub. I know the sugar from biscuits or chocolates doesn’t help in stabilising my glucose levels, but they are the most convenient AND yummy snacks I have!

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When BoxGreen contacted me to try out their healthy, portion-controlled snacks, I agreed, more for my husband than for myself though, because I thought they would be blander than the sinful stuff I like to munch on. Who knew that I wound up liking the snacks so much that I told my husband off for finishing everything that came in my subscription box?!
BoxGreen2 Each subscription box (for individuals; $19.90 per box) comes with 4 types of snacks made with natural ingredients, with 3 controlled, nutritionist-approved portions each. All packs are sealed for the snacks to stay fresh, and they are super handy to bring around. One can choose from over 3o types of snacks (they really do sound delicious; I wish I could have tried When Life Gives You Yuzu, Smoky BBQ Crunch, Rocky Pecan Brittle, just to name a few) and can opt to have the box delivered to you once a week, once every fortnight, or once a month! Here’s a rundown of what I received:

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1. Quirky Quinoa Puffs & Friends (Organic quinoa puff, honey sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, baked almond; 30g ; 154.0 cal): These taste like rice crispies but are obviously healthier as the puffs are made from protein-rich quinoa. I love, love the slightly salted honey sunflower seeds which add good flavour to the toasty bits.

2. Raspberry Choco Rhapsody (Freeze dried raspberry, baked almond, white chocolate; 25g ; 139.4 cal): I absolutely love this! The slightly tart raspberries tempers the sweet white chocolate, bitter cocoa and nutty almonds. An exploration of flavours was what this was! The chocolate-coated freeze-dried raspberries were melty, and provides a lovely textural contrast to the crunchy almonds. Thumbs up for this one.

3. The Amazing Amaranth Cluster (Puffed amaranth, raisin, raw sugar, gum Arabic; 20g; 68.2 cal): To be honest,  I am little skeptical about this as I don’t appreciate the flavour of amaranth and I am not a fan of raisins, but the textural contrast between brittle amaranth clusters and nougaty raisin is its saving grace. But husband and kids love this, and the biggest of the lot says it tastes good with yogurt. The youn rugrats were fighting over the last clusters. Well, not for me.

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4. Twilight Cherry Express (Freeze dried cherry, dark chocolate; 30g; 156.6 cal): The cherries are wonderfully tart and the freeze-dried texture encased in melty dark chocolate is right up my alley. I can’t decide if I like this more than Raspberry Choco Rhapsody!

The portions are nutritionist-approved and controlled for. They are on the smaller side for someone who eats with wild abandon like me, so I’d imagine pairing them with yogurt would work better for me until I get used to having smaller snack portions.

For people who are looking for convenient and healthy ways to snack, whilst taking the brainwork out of going through what is actually healthy in the market, I reckon the BoxGreen subscription box service will work wonderfully. It is inexpensive, and one can control the frequency of subscription. It doesn’t hurt, at all, that the snacks are actually delicious and that they are far, far removed from tasting like hamster feed. BoxGreen has convinced me that healthy snacking can be delicious too, and that we don’t have to succumb to sugary or sinful treats to satiate our appetite for tasty food! You would be glad to know that with every BoxGreen sold, the company donates a meal equivalent to Willing Hearts, a soup kitchen that helps out the less privileged in Singapore. Double win! You can also pool your resources with your colleagues or friends and get the BoxGreen Team Box; it can be a group or custom one, and everyone can get snacking together!

If you would like to give BoxGreen a try, use my code pleasuremonger to get 30% off your first subscription box. This code does not ever expire and applies only for your first box, and if you are getting the individual subscription, your first box only amounts to $13.93 for 12 packs of snacks. Seems like a pretty good and wholesome deal to me!

*I was gifted a BoxGreen subscription box for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. 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.

How I Protect My Skin From The Sun: NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen

[*SPONSORED POST] When I was in lower primary, I was often teased for having fair skin. I was called all sorts of things, including a vampire, and man, did I detest having a fair complexion.

When I grew older, I was still at the receiving end of this mockery and I didn’t embrace what I have until I was in my mid-twenties. I remember going out to the beach on weekends during my late teens, just to get a tan, but funnily, all I did was to turn into a lobster and then revert to channeling Morticia Addams. I must add that I sunbathed without sun protection, and I regret it because I do have a few spots on my face now that I am in my thirties. Had I known that exposure to the sun will cause hyper-pigmentation later in life, I would have been more consistent about sun protection when I was younger.

It’s a little late to start anti-ageing skincare routines in my late twenties it seems, because those spots had shown up on my face by then, but I guess it’s better late than never! I apply sunscreen on my face and body everyday, even when I stay at home; reason being our apartment is flooded with natural light and I get exposed to UV rays even when I am indoors. I also make school runs and the sun hits my arms and the right side of my face whenever I drive, so I am rather strict about applying sunscreen before I leave home.

For years, I wasn’t too concerned about using chemical sunscreens and I have unconsciously leaned towards those that do not leave a white cast (which means they are likely to be made with chemical UV filters), but lately, I have been reading up on greener and safer skincare options and realised that it is just better to use physical sunscreens (stable in sunlight, good balance between UVA and UVB protection especially if it contains zinc oxide, generally do not contain harmful additives). You can have a read about the general differences between a physical and chemical sunscreen over here. The dreadful thing is physical sunscreens are thick and opaque, and are known to leave a white cast even after you have had a good workout rubbing the product into your skin. I don’t mind it at all if I were just going for a swim but I don’t really want to be walking around looking like a splotchy plaster wall when I am out and about.

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About two months ago, Tim invited me to give the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen a try. It boasts an SPF of 50 and protects from both UVA and UVB rays with its physical filters (15% zinc oxide, 5% titanium dioxide), is preservative-free, and is touted to be incredibly moisturising. I couldn’t say no after learning about its benefits, and it helps to know that the NAÏF line of skincare products is formulated with babies in mind, are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, pH skin neutral and the products are made without any harmful ingredients. Yes, you heard right. The products do not contain mineral oil, parabens, phenoxyethanol, SLS/SLES and harsh chemicals. Indeed, a quick check on the EWG site reveals that the ingredients of the Protecting Sunscreen are ranked low in hazard scores.

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I have been using the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen on my body since then and it is amazing! It is runny, wonderfully emollient and incredibly easy to apply compared to other physical sunscreens I have tried; seriously, it takes only ten seconds to rub it in and the sunscreen does not leave a white cast. It keeps my skin moisturised, and I come off smelling clean and fresh. Have I mentioned that I am super-sensitive to smells and feel dizzy upon inhaling most scents? This, I have no qualms whatsoever!

The NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen really is a godsend, and I will purchase it once I run out as it is remarkable and convenient for daily use. Baby Pure Singapore, exclusive distributor of NAÏF products, also gives back – the company sponsored $10 vouchers for approximately 6500 Hair for Hope participants and it also donates a dollar to the Children Cancer Foundation for each Protecting Sunscreen sold. I can’t think of a better way to protect myself against the sun AND to do good at the same time.

NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen retails for a very reasonable $35.90 online and you’d be happy to know that one gets free delivery within Singapore with a minimum purchase of $60!

*I was gifted the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. 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.

Imagine|Native: Creative Fest for Kids

ALL HAIL THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!

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When school is out, I reckon that parents and caregivers have to gear up. We all know how cabin fever turns holidays into ‘horri-days’, and I thought it’s the perfect opportunity to share our experience at Imagine|Native, a creative festival for kids at the Maritime Experiential Museum (also home to the S.E.A. Aquarium) well-worth visiting this school holidays!

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Sharing a moment with the Ang Ku Kueh Girl. How adorable is she?!

Imagine|Native runs from 27 May to 12 June 2016; it hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, book reading sessions, talks, educational activities all set to a marine theme, as well as a sizeable book fair featuring many titles from the local book scene. This educational fiesta aims to promote the love for reading among children and to inspire them to learn more about marine life and conservation.

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“Courtesy, it begins with me!”

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Edmund Chen, sharing about his book, My Little Red Dot

We were treated to a performance by the Fin-tastic Fishy Friends, got up close and personal with Ang Ku Kueh Girl and Singa the Courtesy Lion, sat in while local children’s book author, David Seow narrated Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di: At the S.E.A. Aquarium to children beneficiaries and the media, and actor-turned-illustrator, Edmund Chen shared about his book, My Little Red Dot, and even had a go at the touch pools (sea cucumbers, starfish, etc). We also stood in awe of the staggering display of the 10,000 books donated by the public and RWS staff in a book donation drive organised by RWS and People’s Association, and were heartened to learn that these books will go to children of low-income families in Singapore.

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The activities at Imagine|Native differ daily and I can’t list everything down to the last detail because there’s so much going on. One can expect guided craft workshops, colouring sessions, storytelling by local authors, book launches and book signing, photo ops with mascots of our local icons, and more! It’s best to check the Event Calendar, so you can identify the activities (and authors/characters) that you are most interested in before making a trip down at the timings suggested.

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It doesn’t look it but Faith was thoroughly enjoying the activity at the S.E.A.A Babies station! She just didn’t want her photo taken and gave the poor attendant the stink-eye.

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Learn more about the Manta Rays and head over to the aquarium after to take what you have learnt further!

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Meet Mai the Manta!

There are also a few interactive stations at Imagine|Native. The touch pools are wonderful for all who would like to get up close with marine animals such as the starfish and sea cucumber. The Manta Station educates one on how best to identify Manta Rays and I love that one can pick some information up over here and head to the aquarium after (tickets sold separately or in a bundle, more information below) to spot Manta Rays for real! Don’t forget to take part in the lucky draw at the ‘Name the Manta’ station to stand a chance of winning the grand prize of a Ocean Suite staycation for two and two S.E.A. Aquarium passes. One can also colour the marine animals on the mural, and learn more about the new marine babies bred by the aquarium and the life cycles. Again, a perfect prelude to the S.E.A. Aquarium if you are planning to visit the latter.

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Great local book fair with books going at 15% off!

The book fair is a must-visit, with books from various local authors going at 15% off. The admission tickets for adults come with vouchers that can be used to offset your purchases (terms and conditions apply), so it’s an absolute win-win situation! I spotted the Timmy & Tammy series, which we love, the books by David Seow which are beautifully illustrated by Soefara Jafney, The Magical Dragon Playground, a new book by Wang Shijia detailing the adventures of Ang Ku Kueh Girl & Friends, and many more!

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Rounded off the festival with a visit to the S.E.A. Aquarium. Don’t forget to purchase the bundle if you want to head to the aquarium too!

Judging from what we experienced at the launch, it’s well-worth stopping by Imagine|Native, especially if you were planning to visit the S.E.A Aquarium during the school holidays. It’s a great way to tie in what your child can learn from workshops, book readings and the interactive stations at Imagine|Native, and putting it in context for them at the aquarium. Simply pick out the events that you would like to be part of, and purchase your tickets online or onsite for your day of visit!

TICKETS TO IMAGINE|NATIVE (do not include admission to S.E.A. Aquarium):

Adult One-Day Pass: $6 (onsite), $5 (online). Includes 1 $5 Imagine|Native voucher

Child One-Day Pass (4 to 12 years old): $3. Includes $25 Goodie Bag

There are bundle promotions for tickets to S.E.A. Aquarium + Imagine|Native, Adventure Cove Waterpark + Imagine|Native, as well as discounts for Maybank Card Holders.

More information on tickets can be found by clicking the Promotion tab over here.

Thank you, RWS, for inviting us to Imagine|Native and the S.E.A. Aquarium!

Christmas Bundles For Your Home At Our Lifestyle Shop

[*SPONSORED POST] You heard about the Christmas Sale over at Our Lifestyle Shop, and the time is finally here for you to cart your favourite green products at more than 25% off! The private sale will run from 24th to 29th November, before it opens to the public, so shop away before the bundles run out!

**Don’t forget, you will need the code christmas to access the Christmas Sale**

Here are the Christmas bundles available:

  1. SAVE $10 when you purchase 1x KONK 1 Auto Flying Insect Killer Twin Pack (retail: $199.00) and get 1x add-on refill for only $32 instead of $42.
  2. SAVE $20 when you purchase 1x KONK 1 Auto Flying Insect Killer Twin Pack (retail: $199.00) and get 1x add-on GES PLUS for only $50 instead of $79.90.
  3. SAVE 25% when you purchase a bundle of 1x GES PLUS and 1x KONK I HH at $91.43 (usual price: $121.90)
  4. SAVE 25% when you purchase a bundle of 1x safeHANDS 7oz Bundle Pack and 1x KONK I HH at $76.27 (usual price: $101.70)
  5. SAVE 25% when you purchase a bundle of 1x safeHANDS 7oz Bundle Pack and 1x B-sanitized at $74.85 (usual price: $99.80)
  6. Save more than 25% when you purchase the Our Lifestyle Shop Starter Kit comprising 1x safeHANDS 7oz Bundle Pack, 1x B-sanitized and 1x KONK I HH at $99.60 (usual price: $141.60)

Run, don’t walk!

*No monetary compensation has been received. This post was written as part of the Ambassadors Program. I would also like to take this opportunity to notify all readers that I will no longer be taking on the role of an Ambassador to Our Lifestyle Shop come end of November 2015.

Christmas Sale at Our Lifestyle Shop: Enjoy More Than 25% Savings!

[*SPONSORED POST] The year is coming to an end! Whilst you zip around stores to search for perfect Christmas gifts for your loved ones, don’t forget to stock up on essentials for your home…because you are about to enjoy massive savings on your favourite green household products, such as the non-toxic Flying Insect Killer KONK I and its handheld version, safeHands alcohol-free hand sanitiser and  clogged-drain-buster GES PLUS from Our Lifestyle Shop!

Look out for upcoming announcements on the Christmas bundles available AND the code to enjoy savings during the private sale that will run from 24 to 29 November 2015. It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up or try out the products at great prices before the sale opens to public!

Just in case you miss the updates on the blog, do get on the mailing list to receive the reminders for when the private sale starts!

 *No monetary compensation has been received. This post was written as part of the Ambassadors Program.

Kiddy Packs: Party Favours, Sorted

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[SPONSORED POST*] So. The angels from Kiddy Packs descended and gave us much needed help with the party favours for F’s 3rd birthday party. I AM EXTREMELY THANKFUL FOR THAT. We had 29 kids over for the party, 25 above the age of 1 and 4 under the age of 1. I was struggling to keep my children alive amidst chores, cooking, and party planning, let alone sort out decent party favours for our pint-sized guests! Kiddy Packs took all that stress off!

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Samantha, owner of Kiddy Packs, made it much too simple for me. All I had to do was pick out what I wanted, and she would have them packed and delivered to my specifications! I didn’t keep to the party theme when it came to choosing the favours; I was more concerned about getting things that the kids would love and use, ones that are age-appropriate as well, given that we have some babies in our midst. Samantha was very accommodating and let me pick out two different types of favours to cater for kids of different ages. Knowing that most of the children love Peppa Pig, I thought the Peppa Pig Sticker Pack, which includes 1 booklet of 200 (!!) stickers, 2 colouring pages and a set of 3 markers, would be a real crowd-pleaser! F was thoroughly enamoured with the sticker pack even though she isn’t familiar with Peppa Pig; I mean 200 stickers, for crying out loud! The sticker pack was of excellent quality too, nothing like the nonsense I have bought for cheaps on a certain mass-purchase site (those don’t last and they annoy the hell out of me). As for the younger ones, I thought some sensory play might be good and I got them a Maraca and Finger Puppet each! Turned out that I made a faaaaab choice because F, at a grand old age of three, loved them too, so I guess those are good toys to grow into!201510 Faith's 3rd Birthday 15 201510 Faith's 3rd Birthday 16Missy, it’s a Maraca, not a microphone…(F obviously doesn’t care because she loves to sing and would turn anything into a mic!)

I am very particular when it comes to aesthetics, so I turned into a ribbon Nazi and asked Samantha if she could deck the packs out in blue and yellow bows, and she obliged! I’m relieved that she doesn’t dress the favours in tacky packaging; there is no way I would allow that at any of my parties…I would fight to the last breath..okay, don’t mind me going off-tangent there.

Anyway, the packs were promptly delivered on the day that I requested and they arrived in perfect condition! They looked good on the dessert table and were well-received by the kids, according to the parents, and I am glad that Kiddy Packs extended the invitation to review to us! I wouldn’t have known of such a service otherwise, and would have wound up getting crap for the kids, yet again, this year, so…thank you, Kiddy Packs!

You can shop online at Kiddy Packs.

*I was gifted 29 packs of party favours for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. 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.

Calling All Clean Freaks and Insect-Phobes!

[SPONSORED POST*] I’m pleased to share some good news with you! First up, The Pleasure Monger has been appointed one of the Ambassadors of Our Lifestyle Shop. It wasn’t a tough decision to agree to Su-Lin’s invitation because we genuinely love the products that we have been sponsored by and purchasing from the shop; some of the products, I have been using for over two years ever since F was born as I endeavour to keep our exposure to toxins to a minimum whilst keeping our home clean, safe and insect-free. Second, the festive season is just around the corner and the store is offering some pretty amazing Christmas bundles for all you clean freaks and insect-phobes like myself!

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Just two of my favourite products!

The bundles are permutations of four of my favourite products that I use to keep my home clean and insect-free, and now is a good time as any to stock up on these babies!

1. ‘Deck the Halls with Clean & Merry’ at $79.90

The bundle consists of:

One KONK® I HH Flying Insect Killer (one of the most effective and safest insecticides known to man, and I have been using this for more than two years ever since F was born, to keep our exposure to toxins to a minimum while killing those pesky insects such as roaches and mozzies)

One B-Sanitized™ (a simple one-step solution for environmental protection against viral, bacterial fungal and mould contaminants, and yes, we used this to contain the spread of HFMD after F got infected at school)

– FREEBIE: Receive one SafeHands® Hand Sanitizer (Unscented) for free when you purchase this bundle

– Enter cleanmerry during checkout to enjoy this promotion!

2. ‘Jingle Bell KONK’ at only $126

The bundle consists of:

– Three KONK® I Flying Insect Killer Refills (used in the KONK® I patented Automatic Air Guard Timed Release Mister, it regularly releases metered doses of KONK® I, providing consistent, 24 hour round-the-clock protection against these flying and crawling insects, keeping your loved ones safe)

– FREEBIE: Receive one KONK® I HH Flying Insect Killer for free when you purchase this bundle

– Enter jinglebellkonk during checkout to enjoy this promotion!

3. ‘Santa’s Christmas TWIN pack’ at $199

The bundle consists of:

– One Automatic Air Guard Timed Release Mister

– Two KONK® I Flying Insect Killer Refills (used in the Mister, it regularly releases metered doses of KONK® I, providing you consistent, 24 hour round-the-clock protection against these flying and crawling insects, keeping your loved ones safe)

– FREEBIE: Receive one KONK® I HH Flying Insect Killer for free when you purchase this bundle

– Enter twinpack during checkout to enjoy this promotion!

4. NEW: ‘Wishing U a SafeHands Christmas ‘ at $59.70

The latest product to grace the inventory of Our Lifestyle Shop, the SafeHands® Hand Sanitizer is non-toxic, non-drying, non-flammable, non-irritating and alcohol-free. You’d be glad to know that it is the only hand sanitizer that kills MRSA, VRE and C-diff. Our Lifestyle Shop has rolled out a new bundle which consists of:

– Three SafeHands® Hand Sanitizer (one each of Unscented, Cucumber Mint and Clean Linen; my review will be out in January 2015)

– No promotional code needed. SImply click on this link to purchase.

All offers are valid until 31 December 2014. Don’t forget to enter the promotional codes when you check out to receive the bundles with the freebies that come with it! Now, go load up your shopping carts!

 *No monetary compensation has been received. This post was written as part of the Ambassadors Program.

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!