I can’t believe she’s 3 months old! I mean, already! It feels just like yesterday I was at the hospital giving birth to her. You can read about her birth story here. She has more than doubled in weight since then – her birth weight was 2.8kg and now she’s over 6! She’s also grown out of her tiny baby, newborn and 0-3 month clothing and is now wearing pampers size 3. She can’t yet hold her head steady on her own but she’s getting there – I’m hoping that as she becomes more and more interested in her surrounding, she’d start to move her head around more often and work those neck muscles of hers. Other than that, I think she’s doing very well both physically and temperamentally. She loves to play. She smiles, coos and chuckles a lot, which is always a delight to watch. She’s also quite happy to be left alone in her rocker or gym mat – she could entertain herself for a good hour or two before she cries for attention. Yes, lucky me! She’s exclusively formula-fed; she feeds 5 times a day: 5 ounces at 9am and 5 to 6 ounces at 12.30pm, 3.30pm, 7pm and 10.30pm, after which she’d go to sleep until about 9am the next day. Again, lucky me! Apart from her feeding time, she doesn’t really have a fixed routine to go by – she naps and plays throughout the day as she wishes; although I’ve noticed that she’s developed a habit of her own, that is, she’d stay awake for the first hour after each feed, and then she’d take a nap for about 45 minutes to an hour before waking up again for the next hour or so until her next feed. It works very well for both of us, so I’m really happy. In the evening, again, apart from her feeding time, anything goes – I don’t bathe her every day, but on days that I don’t, I ‘rinse’ her with Mustela PhysiObébé no rinse cleansing water (something I can’t live without!) before changing her into her pyjama and feeding her; I do try to always give her last feed in the bedroom with dim lighting and soft music playing in the background – I think she knows that when that happens, it’s time to sleep for longer! So… so far so good. Now I can’t wait for her to reach her next milestone.
Baby G – Week 0 to Week 6
Baby G – Week 7 to Week 12
Mummy (yes, dear old me)
My recovery from childbirth has been amazing. I was really lucky to have a straightforward and quick labour and so didn’t really have much to recover from. In fact, I felt completely normal and was able to move around just hours after giving birth to Baby G. I’ve also managed to get out of my pregnancy without any stretch marks, which is great – perhaps because my bump was really small; I only gained 5kg when I was pregnant and I shed them all within a week post-baby. The only thing that’s still there is my linea negra, but I suppose it will fade over time. I haven’t gone back to exercising though. I know, I really should! I’ve been meaning to join a ‘mum and baby’ yoga class but I just keep putting it off! Maybe when she’s 4 months old? Haha… Taking care of Baby G wasn’t hard – I’m not going to lie; of course it’s tiring and it was pretty overwhelming in the beginning, but it wasn’t hard, and what everyone says is true: it does get better and easier with time. At 3 months, my day usually goes like this: I’d wake up around 9am when Baby G wakes up, I’d feed her, play with her for a while and then do some house chores or go online and eat a heavy brunch; at around noon, I’d feed Baby G again and we’d go out right after – we’d go shopping or meet my friends for lunch (in which case, I’d skip my brunch of course) or coffee, etc, etc… ;at 3.30pm, if we’re still out, I’d feed her outside, otherwise, I’d feed her at home, and after that, I’d do my own thing whilst she plays by herself or sleeps; at night, I’d hand her over to my husband – if she’s happy to be held then he’d hold her in his arms whilst we watch something on the TV or Netflix, otherwise, we’d both play with her on the bed until it’s time for her last feed. Not too bad, right? Oh, and I’m no longer breastfeeding – I stopped before she reached 2 months old; it was entirely my decision to stop and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made since I had her. I’ve been happier since and that rubs off on Baby G!
Daddy is fully hands-on when it comes to parenting! He’s truly an amazing husband and an outstanding father. I’m not saying that because he ‘helps me out’ with Baby G and housework – that just makes it sound like it’s my job to take care of Baby G, etc, and it isn’t!; I believe that parenting is a shared responsibility and it’s important for dads to embrace their role – so I’m saying that because I think my husband is doing a great job at it. He’s mainly responsible for Baby G at night and on weekends – he’d feed her, change her, play with her, and he also does things around the house. We make a great team, truly… we help each other out and I couldn’t be prouder of us (and him of course)! *beaming with pride*
Over the last few months, I subscribed to four different beauty boxes from four of the most popular subscription box companies – Birchbox, Love Lula, My Littlebox and Glossybox. My plan was to find one or two that’s worth subscribing to long term. Naturally, I want a box that offers good value for money, a good range of products to try on, and most importantly, products that actually fit my profile. Having compared all the four boxes, I’ve finally decided to go with Love Lula. If you’re interested to know what I think of any (or all) of the boxes, please do click on the appropriate link(s) above. Otherwise, let’s go see what’s inside my May 2015 Love Lula beauty box:
What’s in the box:
1. Ren V-Cense Youth Vitality Day Cream, 15ml
I’ve always wanted to try Ren products; I’ve only ever heard good things about them. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t actually tried them – I just kept putting off buying them for some reasons. So when I saw this in my box, I was really happy, and I’m not disappointed with the cream either. I love the fruity smell and the texture – it’s creamy yet it absorbs so quickly into the skin I can almost apply my make-up instantly. It’s also very moisturising but not at all oily; in fact, it leaves the skin feeling soft and rather silky. I can’t comment on whether it really reduces fine lines and wrinkles or not – I haven’t used it long enough to find out, but overall, I think it’s a good cream.
2. Salcura Skin Repair Moisturiser, full size, 50 ml
I’ve never heard of this product before, but it’s a moisturiser and I’m always up to give moisturiser a try. The cream is formulated specifically for people who are prone to eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, dry and itchy skin, and contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and itch relief properties. It’s perfect for me as I suffer from very dry and sometimes itchy skin! Again, I really like the texture – it’s fast absorbing, it’s not oily but I do find that if you applied too much, it feels rather sticky – so, a little goes along the way.
3. John Masters Exfoliating Body Bar, full size
I love natural bar soap and sometimes, I prefer it over shower gel. I don’t know, I just feel like it’s easier to wash off and it makes me feel cleaner; not to mention that bar soaps are also generally cheaper than shower gels. Anyway, this one is really nice – it’s got amazing smell, it doesn’t dry my skin out (unlike a lot of other bar soaps out there) and it’s grainy so it does have an exfoliating effect. So as you can probably tell, I’m really glad I got this.
4. Teatox Skinny Detox Morning Tea
This tea contains lemon grass, dandelion herbs, yerba mate, goji berries, sencha green tea, ginger root, birch leaves, nettle leaves, goldenrod herbs and horsetail herbs. Sounds delicious. I haven’t actually tried it but can’t wait to do so.
5. Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose Balm, full size, 17ml
Again, I’ve never heard of this product before, but I love this balm. It smells wonderful and very nourishing. It says it’s multitasking – so you can apply it on your lips, body and face, but I’m using it as a lip balm mainly and also around my cuticles sometimes.
Verdict: I love this month’s box as I love my first Love Lula box. It always contain products that I actually like and would buy again. That’s why I chose Love Lula over the others, and so far, I’m very happy with my choice, and I’m really looking forward to receiving next month’s box.
I know… I missed posting on ‘discoveries’ in February and March, but I’ve got a very good reason – I gave birth to my baby girl last month and as you can probably guessed, she’s been keeping me really busy! Seriously! But now that she’s almost 2 months old, things do get better, and I hope it will continue to get better so that I can go back to blogging regularly. Anyway, enough about that… after all, this post is supposed to be about the things that have caught my attention this month; so, here they are:
1. Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer
I got a sample of this foundation from one of the magazines I subscribed to and I took a liking to it immediately. That’s saying a lot considering that I’m not fond of liquid foundations – they always look greasy on my face and they never last all day (not on me at least). But this one is different. The texture is lovely – very easy to blend; it provides great coverage (medium to full) but it doesn’t feel at all heavy on the skin – in fact, for the level of coverage it offers, it gives you a surprisingly natural matte finish with a subtle glow; it also lasts all day without caking-up or making your face looks like a greaseball. That said, if you’re after a foundation that offers sheer coverage, then this one is probably not for you, but otherwise, I’d say, go grab one for yourself.
2. bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation SPF 20
Another new foundation on the market and this one is from one of my favourite brands, bareMinerals. It’s a mineral foundation and skincare serum in one – now we’re talking… whoever said make-up can’t be good for the skin, right?! It’s lighter than the Clinique one above, very natural looking and it also gives you a soft, silky finish, but coverage-wise, not as good in my opinion – which could be a good thing (or not) depending on what you want out of your foundation really. But it also doesn’t last as long, which is quite disappointing (but that could be just me and my problem with liquid foundations in general). To be fair, you’re supposed to apply the foundation with their special brush and I didn’t, I just use my fingers, and maybe that’s why. I might just give it another try because I really like bareMinerals products, and I do like how this foundation feels on my skin.
3. Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate
I’m obsessed with aromatherapy and organic products, especially when it comes to skincare – the power of plants on your skin… what could be better than that? And I love Neal’s Yard Remedies’ products – sure, they’re quite pricey but they actually work (and they smell amazing). I’ve been using their almond moisturiser for quite a while now and it’s one of the best moisturisers I’ve ever tried. So when I wanted to buy a new night cream, I looked no further than their website and decided to get one of these. Again, it’s one my best beauty buy so far. It’s thicker than your average moisturiser, but then again, it’s a night cream so I do want something heavier. Neal’s Yard claims that it supports your skin’s night time recovery and helps prevent premature skin ageing. Is it true? Hey, I’m no expert, but I can certainly say that my skin feels more hydrated and actually looks plumper in the morning, and that’s good enough for me. And because it’s packed with a lot of essential oils, it smells amazing and I find that it also helps me sleep better (although, this might just be psychological).
4. Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz
Yes, we’re still talking about the power of plants and this time it’s about flower water – I love flower water; I always use it no matter what the season, wherever I am, wherever I go. And most mornings, I ‘wash’ my face with it (after all, your face doesn’t get dirty when you sleep at night so I don’t see the need to cleanse it with cleanser and/or water in the morning). Anyway, one of my favourites is Kats Kalma’s Geranium flower water, which you can get online or at Greenwich market. Unfortunately, she doesn’t produce flower water in winter, so I had to shop around for an alternative. I never realised how much people charge for flower water – some carry a price tag of more than £20! Needless to say, I decided to wait, until I saw one of these in Boots. It costs £3.99 for 150ml and it’s 100% organic. Perfect!
5. Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
This is a mask from another one of my favourite brands, Balance Me. Their Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm is divine (hands to heart!), and this mask doesn’t disappoint either. They claim that it’s quick to boost tired, lack-lustre, dry skin and not only that, it also gives you instant pick-me-up visible results thanks to a bespoke blend of purifying kaolin clay and a skin-brightening fruit acid complex. And they’re right – the first time I used it, my skin instantly looked brighter, felt smoother, fresher and more hydrated. Also, unlike most clay-based masks, it doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils (so you don’t end up with skin that feels awfully tight and looks awfully dry), plus it doesn’t ‘cling’ to the skin, so it’s really easy to wash off – I don’t know about you but I really dislike having to rub my skin raw just to remove my mask.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Uber. In fact I think almost everyone has, including me – I’ve heard of it for quite sometime now but only fairly recently I had the opportunity to use its service. In a nutshell, Uber is a private cab company, but unlike the conventional cab companies, you can’t hail Uber drivers on the street nor can you order your cab by calling the cab company with your phone. Instead, you have to download the Uber app from the App Store, Google Play or Windows Phone Store and request your cab through one of those apps. Don’t let that turn you off though – the apps are really simple and easy to use, and once you’ve set up an account, you can request a cab with literally one click. What more… you get an estimate of how much your trip is going to cost before hand (so no surprises when it comes to paying), you can link your credit card / PayPal account details to your Uber account (so no stumbling around for cash when you reach your destination), it’s much cheaper than the competition, and you can track where your driver is and his route on the map. That said, Uber is not perfect, and its drivers certainly do not know London as well as London Black Cab drivers who, after all, have to spend 3 years mastering its streets. In fact, the last time I ride with Uber, I had to use my Google Map and navigate along with my driver! Not ideal really. But it’s no secret that black cabs are expensive – of course, being a Londoner, I still use them; I think it’s the safest and most convenient way to get around London when you’re already out and need a cab (you simply need to hail down one) or if you don’t have a map of some sort and don’t know where you’re going. But otherwise, I’d say Uber is a winner. Plus, when you refer your friend to Uber, both of you will each get £10 Uber credit – refer enough friends and you could potentially ride for free everytime! Of course, if you’re thinking of signing up to Uber, please do use my code to get your free credit: e2qoc!
Yes, I know… I haven’t been blogging for almost a month now. February just flew by! I was house-hunting (to no avail), preparing for Baby G’s arrival (that is, setting up the nursery in my tiny little apartment, shopping for last minute essentials, learning how to use the pram, car seat, etc, etc…). I thought I’d write something before the end of February or by the first week of March at the latest – after all, Baby G wasn’t due until 17 March! Little did I know the little angel decided to come early! It’s a good thing of course – I couldn’t wait to meet her, and I was already pretty bored with being pregnant. In fact, I made many attempts to induce labour naturally at home – I increased my raspberry tea leaf intake, I stayed active and did a lot of things around the house (hey, I heard gravity helps), I ate a lot of spicy food, and of course, I had sex. The day before my waters broke, I actually did all of those (including taking a nice long walk in the neighbourhood)… I guess, something must have kicked start the whole process.
Anyway, I was 37+1 when my waters broke in the early morning of 2 March 2015. There was no sign of labour, but I was advised by the Birth Centre to come in and get my pregnancy and baby’s health assessed. Everything was well and I was told that I should go into labour spontaneously within the next 24 to 48 hours. If I didn’t, I had the option to get an induction to ‘jump start’ labour. Obviously, I didn’t want to have to do that… I wanted everything to happen naturally and I wanted to give birth at the Birth Centre and not the Labour Ward! So I did everything I could that day to get my contractions starting – I walked around, I vacuumed, I bounced on my gym ball, etc, etc… and it worked (or maybe it was just a coincidence… but who cares)… I felt my first contraction at around 10pm (nearly 16 hours after my waters broke). It felt like cramps but more painful than your usual cramps – I remember telling my husband “this is bad” (although, looking back, it was actually very mild in comparison to the contractions I was getting at the ‘active labour‘ stage (that’s when your cervix begins to dilate more rapidly and contractions are longer, stronger and closer together)). My husband was a dear; he’s got this ‘contractions app’ on his phone, which I personally think helped us a lot in keeping track on how my labour was progressing. We called the Birth Centre at around midnight when I was having a 1 in 5/6 (that is, 1 contraction in 5 or 6 minutes) and was told to come in when I had a 1 in 2/3. That happened around 2am and by 2.30am, we were booked into our room.
My labour progressed very quickly. I’m guessing within an hour of being booked into our room, I went into ‘active labour‘. The pain was excruciating! It’s nothing like I’ve ever felt before! And the contractions were so close together I didn’t have time to catch my breath! I asked for painkillers and was put on Gas and Air (a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas)… it helped regulate my breathing but no, it didn’t take the pain away! So I asked for my birthing pool to be filled up – the warm water helped for a while, but it didn’t last. Towards the end (that is, during the ‘transition and second stage of labour‘) nothing helped! That was when I screamed for Epidural. I had to be transferred to the Labour Ward if I really wanted one, but I remember screaming “I don’t care, I want an Epidural!” But, I was actually already in the ‘pushing’ stage, so really, there was no point of getting an Epidural… I couldn’t at that stage have gotten out of the pool anyway. So I just got on with it… throughout the entire process, I somehow was able to remember everything I learnt from my antenatal classes with the NHS (not with the NCT!) and as a result, I was able to give birth to Baby G at exactly 6.49am without any assistance, interventions and drugs to help with the pain. I had a straightforward tear which required minor stitches, but again, I didn’t need any drugs to help with the pain and was able to move about the same day.
So, everything was over in 8-9 hours… not bad for a first timer, huh? And by the way, I didn’t have a Birth Plan written out – I personally think it’s overrated. The things that really helped me out throughout the entire process are: the NHS antenatal classes (especially the session on what to do and how to push during labour), hydrotherapy (seriously, water birth is amazing and I highly recommended it), the environment at the Birth Centre, the brilliant midwives at Lewisham Hospital, and of course, my dearest husband who’s been nothing but great the entire time.
Baby G was 38 weeks when she was born and she weighed 2.8kg. She’s my little angel who completes my life.
This month’s beauty box is from Glossybox – it’s my fourth box after Birchbox, Love Lula and My Little Box, and it’s probably going to be my last ‘trial’ box before deciding which one I’m going to subscribe to regularly. So, without further ado, here’s what’s inside my Glossybox:
Price: £10.00 + £3.25 P+P per month
First impression: I like the box. I think it’s really pretty. But never judge a book by its cover! Honestly, when I opened my box and saw what’s inside, I was (still am) very disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, all of the products seem to be of good value and they’re all full size products! But they’re just not for me – I don’t know why because I filled up my beauty profile before subscribing and they promised that my box will be “full of products that fit” my “desired needs and lifestyle”. Erm… not very true. Also, I guess my expectations were higher having had 3 other boxes to compare it with. As you can see, there’s nothing much inside and this is supposed to be their special love edition box! Not very amorous in my opinion. I’m not sure what they usually put inside their normal box, but I don’t think I’m going to stick around to find out.
What’s in the box:
1. Wilkinson Sword Hydro Silk, full size, £9.99
A shaver… oh well… why not… at least it’s useful. I’ve tested it out actually and it’s pretty good – it glides easily on the skin and does give a close shave, and although I’m not too sure about the hydrating effect it claims to give, I honestly think that it’s a good shaver and I’d happily buy it again.
2. Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow – Fifty Shades, full size, £14.49
Fifty Shades eyeshadow! Fitting, considering that the movie will be released on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, I have very sensitive eyes that get red and irritated really easily so I tend to avoid eye make-up. So no, I wasn’t very excited to receive this eyeshadow. But I do like the fact that it’s 100% natural, so I will give it a try if only to see how it’ll fare with my eyes.
3. Royal Apothic Tinties, full size, $14
It’s a lip tint and I think it’s okay. It’s a bit too sticky for me and it doesn’t seem to be very hydrating. I’m also not too sure about the colour – the one I got is really orangey and it really doesn’t match my skin tone. I think they should have given something more neutral. At least then I would actually use it and who knows, I might change my mind after a while. But sadly, this one is just going to sit on my dresser.
4. So Susan Rose Quartet Lip & Cheek Palette, full size, £8
I would have loved this lip and cheek cream if not for its colour (again!). It’s too pink for my liking. I’m starting to think why did I bother filling up my ‘beauty profile’ if I wasn’t going to receive products that actually fit my profile? Anyway…
5. B. Cosmetics Mascara, full size, £9.99
Yes, every woman needs the perfect mascara in her life. And most companies promise that their mascaras would give you longer, fuller, more luscious, etc etc lashes. But unless you’re one of the blessed ones who already has that kind of lashes to start with, chances are, you’d be disappointed. This mascara promises the same thing, and guess what… just like any other mascaras out there, it doesn’t really deliver. But hey, that doesn’t mean that it’s not useful. Mascaras are always useful, aren’t they? So I’m glad I got this. Would I buy it again in the future? Perhaps. But I’m just not sure that I’d pick this one on purpose instead of any of its competitions.