Friday, April 29, 2011

Makeup Tips for Busy Moms

As moms, especially first time moms like myself, the lack of time (and sleep!) is a common challenge many of us face. In between working, looking after the kids, managing household chores and other responsibilities, makeup and fashion are likely among the last things on our agendas.  

But looking good doesn’t have to be time-consuming, nor do you have to spend a bomb on tons of makeup. All you need is to apply a few key items and you will be able to look fresh and glowing! Read on for some great tips gleaned from Singapore makeup artist, Fionna Lau.

Essential makeup

1. Concealer
Concealer helps camouflage skin imperfections. Dot a bit of concealer on blemishes, spots and dark eye circles and blend in. Concealing the dark circles will instantly brighten your eyes and make you look more fresh.

And do you know that you can mix concealer with moisturiser to become a foundation? Yes, it’s true. This is supposed to offer superior coverage compared to traditional foundation, and seems like many makeup artists like to do this. So the next time you run out of foundation, you know what to do. Plus it saves money as well.

If you prefer to also use foundation, here's some recommendations for the different skin types:

Dry skin – Covermark Foundation Essence Liquid
Oily Skin – Chanel Mat Lumiere
Combination – RMK Gel Foundation

2. Eyeshadow
Apply eyeshadow in the crease of your eyes for colours, or line the upper eyelids to define and open up your eyes. Or using a brown eyeshadow, you can quickly shade your eyebrows to frame the face.

3. Blush
Immediately add a healthy glow to your face by applying pink or rose blush on the apples of your cheeks.

4. Tinted lip balm
Complete your look with a tinted lip balm. It gives colour, adds shine like a lip gloss and moisturises as well – so it’s effectively a 3-in-1! It can also double up as blush, just rub some of it on your cheeks if you run out of the actual thing.

With these easy steps, you can look fresh and put together effortlessly, and you don't need a full face of makeup for that!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interesting Finds at Daiso Part 2: For the Boots Lovers

If you love boots but have problem keeping them in shape while in storage, here's something you can get from Daiso to solve your problem - 'Boots Keeper'. The boots keepers come in two sizes: one for medium-cut boots and one for high-cut boots.

All you have to do is to inflate them and put inside your boots. They can help maintain the shape of your boots and prevent creases  and wrinkles on the leather.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk - A Visit in the Day

Over the Easter weekend, we found ourselves back to Punggol Riverside Walk. We were there in the morning, about ten-ish, and saw quite alot of people. It appeared that many  had gone there for their morning exercise - jogging, walking and cycling, with quite a lot of them making their way home already. And we  realised why - there wasn't much shade available (much to my dismay; I had thought it would be like the East Coast beach!) and the sun beat down mercilessly on us. So we didn't stay long, just enough for Kenan to explore nature a bit.

There are lots of plants along the riverbank so Kenan had fun looking, poking and pulling at them. He was also fascinated by the ants on the ground and we even spotted a millipede.

In my previous post, I mentioned about three eateries - Popeyes, Frienzie and Xian that are in operation in the area. This time round, we discovered there's actually two more new restaurants and other amenities that are opening soon.

Shin Nichi - a new Japanese restaurant; looks like it has opened for business.

Another seafood restaurant; not sure if it's already opened. Saw recruitment ad on its door.

Pond under construction - most likely for fishing or prawn fishing.

This buidling houses a sports centre with facilities for pool (probably billiard too.. can't see too clearly from the window) and street soccer. I think the fishing pond is owned by them as well.

Frienzie Bistro & Bar - the sitting area near the riverbank offer a great view of nature

 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen - a day view

Like Frienzie, Xian Seafood Restaurant & Bar also has a sitting area near the riverbank

I think the place has great potential to become a popular spot - especially for residents in the north-east of Singapore. But parking will likely become an issue. After all, there's only two car parks and given the number of restaurants and facilities here, I doubt the parkings lots will be enough. We will see.

Anyway, I would recommend coming here either early  in the morning or the late afternoon to early evening, and for a nice dinner at night in a rustic setting.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Interesting Finds at Daiso Part One: A Handy Toy to Have In Your Bag

I chanced upon this magic drawing board at Daiso a while ago and bought it for Kenan.

At that time, he had just turned 13 months and didn't quite fancy it. Recently, I took it out again for him to play with and he got hooked.

I initially wanted to get a bigger one for him from places like Kiddy Palace but when I saw this, I decided it would be a better choice, because I really don't know if he will like it and I don't want to waste the money. So at only $2, this is a steal.

It's also a handy size - at about 20cm x 15cm in dimension, it's a great toy to carry around in your bag. It keeps my boy entertained on the highchair when we are eating out.

But watch out for the two small red magnets - one in heart-shape and the other a triangle (see the left of the magic board in photo). I only let him play with them under close supervision as they can end up as choking hazards.

Friday, April 22, 2011

These Books Are Cheap!

Was at Nex shopping mall this morning and happened to pop into FairPrice Xtra to grab something and saw some children's books on sale. They were so cheap I couldn't stop myself from getting a few titles. It might be a while before Kenan gets to read them all - he has a tendency to rip pages off and it's not really suited for his age so I got to 'ration' his reading, but I think it's worth stocking up!

Here are the books I got:

Disney's Little Einsteins Series: Christmas Wish ($1.90)

Little Einsteins Series: Incredible Shrinking Adventure ($1.90)

Little Einsteins Series: Dinosaurs After Dark ($1.90)

Little Einsteins Series: Farmer Annie's Garden ($3.90)

Little Einsteins My First Picture Dictionary: Arts and Music ($3.90)

A few Chinese books, all at $1.90 each

Inside one of the Chinese books; these are board books, so Kenan will get to read them now.

My First Learning Card Series: Daily Necessities ($6.90).
Also saw transportation, animals, fruits and vegetables. 

The back of the box of cards

I overheard someone asked about the sale and was told it started yesterday and will be on for two weeks. My husband stopped me from getting more, but I might just go and grab another few!

Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk

A friend living in Punggol told me about the Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk recently and we decided to check out the place on one of the nights when my hubby happened to come home early.

Introducing Punggol Promenade

Located on the western bank of the Serangoon reservoir, the Riverside Walk is part of the 4.9km Punggol Promenade designed for sports, recreational and leisure activities for residents in the north-eastern part of Singapore.

The Promenade comprises three thematic zones: Punggol Point Walk, Nature Walk, and Riverside Walk.
  • Punggol Point Walk - will have a 0.6ha park which serves as a gateway to the Promenade and is supposed to have an elevated viewing deck that offers breathtaking view of the sea and Coney Island.
  • Nature Walk - offers a walk in nature; there are also fishing points and rest stops along the way.
  • Riverside Walk - designed with fitness stations, dedicated cycling and jogging tracks, as well as lookout points so visitors can get close to the water's edge.

The Promenade is still undergoing construction and is expected to complete by the end of the year.

By the way, the Promenade is linked by a bridge to the Lorong Halus Wetland that is on the eastern side of the Serangoon reservoir. The Wetland, formerly a landfill, is transformed into an educational site and biodiversity haven for plants, animals and other wildlife.

Eat, Drink and Relax

The Riverside Walk has a rustic, laid-back feel that is both refreshing and welcoming. Somehow, it reminded me of Dempsey. There are currently three restaurants with a fourth one coming up. The eateries include Popeyes, Xian (seafood) Restaurant & Bar, and Frienzie Bistro & Bar.

We had wanted to try Frienzie but it was packed - mainly with groups of working adults. We didn't see anyone with young kids there. So in the end, we found ourselves at Popeye's having a drink and some fries (we already had dinner, if not, the seafood restaurant would have been our choice). We also bought corn for Kenan in case he starts to get restless or worse, asks for the fries.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Xian Restaurant & Bar

Frienzie Bistro & Bar

My friend told me it's a great place to come during the day for walks and recreational activities. We will definitely be back again and bring Kenan for a walk; we hope to expose him to more of nature, which he really enjoys.

More reads:
Punggolians heart Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk
Lorong Halus Wetland and Riverside Walk of the Punggol Promenade
Frienzie Bistro & Bar - Dine along the riverbank

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh So Pretty Eyeshadow!

This should have gone with the post on my makeup lesson with Fionna but I didn't manage to take a photo of it until now:

This is an eyeshadow I got from Fionna - I bought it because the palette has such cool, pretty hues! This eyeshadow is by RMK, which I think isn't so commonly used here. But it is supposed to be one of the most popular brands in Japan. From what I've found online, local makeup artist Clarence Lee and Andy Lee are fans of the brand, as well as many Japanese models.

Here are some online information about RMK makeup .. some are quite dated though.

RMK official website
Comeback kits
RMK Cosmetics is Coming Back!

I have yet to try the eyeshadow. Shall try to review it after I've used it. According to Fionna, RMK cosmetics are great for people with oily skin. Blogger Nicola did a review of the RMK primer and foundation and raved about it. She has oily skin and the foundation lasted the whole day (from 8am to 11pm). Now, that is really tempting me to give RMK foundation a try. By the way, RMK is available at Takashimaya.

Has any of you tried RMK cosmetics? What do you like or dislike about it?

By the way, next week I'll share some great makeup tips for busy moms from Fionna. Be back to find out more!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011










Monday, April 18, 2011

Making Myself Over

After months of maternity wear and even more months of nursing tops, I had fallen into a fashion rut. Not only that, with constant sleep deprivation and lack of personal time, I was just too tired most of the time to be bothered with looking good. I ended up feeling lousy about myself, my confidence took a plunge and on some days, I didn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror as I thought I looked real awful. 

So when Kenan stopped breastfeeding and I could finally put away all the nursing tops, I didn’t know what to wear anymore. Besides the classic pieces, my wardrobe is pretty much outdated as I haven’t bought much new clothes in about two years that are not related to me being a mom ie. non-maternity, non-nursing wear.

In fact, I have kind of forgotten what it was like to have fun dolling myself up. I hate to admit it but instead of turning into the yummy mommy I aspired to be, I find myself in a “mommy slump”.

But I decided it’s time to get out of it. I don’t want to continue the spiral downward. I wanted to reconnect with myself, to get in touch again with those parts of me that are sort of buried after baby came along. And to kick start this, I’m adopting an outside-in approach by having a ‘Make Myself Over’ project!

Well, I have wanted to work on my makeup skills for quite a while but never got down to it. I do enjoy putting on makeup but since becoming a mom, I don’t really have much time for it. It’s often drawing the eyebrows, putting on mascara, dabbing some lipstick and off I go.

So I surfed the net for makeup courses and finally settled for a one-to-one course with Fionna Lau.

One-to-One Makeup Class

Fionna's easy-going, friendly nature immediately put me at ease.

She started off with understanding about my skin type and the concerns I have and then taught  about proper skincare before going into makeup.

Throughout the lesson, what I really appreciated about Fionna was that she didn’t dictate that I must follow her ways. Instead she tried to combine her techniques with what I am used to doing so that applying makeup becomes really easy.

And when it comes to what looks good, she certainly has the eye for it. At one point, I was commenting that the eyebrows are drawn a bit too thick and she kept assuring me that when the rest of the eye makeup goes on, it will not look thick at all as everything will be balanced out. True enough, she was right. In fact, it won't look good if the eyebrows were any thinner.

Fionna is also very knowledgeable about cosmetics and made some very good recommendations. For example, through her, I have found a really good makeup base - Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse. I bought the makeup base from her after the class and have been using it ever since. It’s really one of the best buys I’ve ever made because not only does it help my foundation to go on smoothly, it also allows the foundation to last the whole day! I also tried HABA Velvet Touch Base II as a primer for my eyelids during the makeup class and I loved it. It gives a soft velvety, powdery finishing and is perfect for my eyelids. I observed that the eye makeup last many hours that day - usually my eyeliner (I'm a fan of Bobby Brown's gel eyeliner) will start to smudge after about five hours.  Fionna even helped me buy the primer, which is really sweet of her. I can't wait to start using it.

During the lesson, Fionna also asked me if I have any makeup that I bought but am not too sure how to use them. I showed the items to her and she gave me some very good tips! So now I can finally put those cosmetics to use instead of having them sit in the drawer.

Oh yes, I also finally learnt how to put on false eyelashes. I’ve never used it except during my wedding, which was done by the makeup artist anyway. I thought it’s really hard to stick the false eyelashes on but Fionna taught me how to do it and I fixed it on perfectly at the first try. Fionna said it must have been ‘beginner’s luck’... haha! But I have yet to put on the false eyelashes again since the makeup class. I much prefer the au naturel look, so most of the time, I just use mascara. Since I bought a whole box of it from Fionna, I better get started with them soon. Perhaps for the next date with my hubby.. I can’t wait!

That's me and Fionna- I absolutely love the look Fionna has helped create!

Do you also like the makeup? What’s your makeup routine? What are some of your favourite cosmetic products?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Old Hong Kong Legend -Tantalising Canto Indulgence

Some guests are coming to town and hubby is wondering where to bring them. The first restaurant that came to my mind was Old Hong Kong Legend.

We were there about two months ago for dinner and I have been wanting to make a return - now there's a good reason to do so (we try not to go back to a restaurant too soon as there are so many we haven't tried!).

It was a Saturday night and the restaurant was surprisingly quiet (so was the shopping mall actually). We are usually hesitant about eating in any restaurant that doesn't have much customers but on that day, I made the decision to give it a try - simply because it was part of the Old Hong Kong group.

Some years back, I interviewed the owner Victoria for a Singapore Women's Weekly article on parenting. At that time, she only has one cafe, the Old Hong Kong Tea House at Katong Village. She impressed me as an articulate, fiesty woman - characteristic of many Hong Kong women I suppose, and since then, I have been watching how she expanded her business from one to currently four restaurants. I would certainly love to interview her again some day to learn about her entrepreneurial journey.

Anyway, back to the dinner. We ordered seven dishes, including desserts; every item except one of the desserts, impressed us with their taste and presentation.

Chinese Yam Paste with Blueberry Sauce
The finely pureed Chinese yam combined with watermelon and topped with blueberry sauce gave this cold dish a delicate, refreshing taste which wasn't too sweet. I thought it might be suitable as a dessert. The dish is also a pretty sight to behold. 

Deep Fried Fish Skin Served with Superior Soup
Ths is probably my favourite dish of the night – the fish skin was very crispy; tasted like fish keropok and when you dip it into the soup you can even hear a soft crackling sound!

Diced Beef with Homemade Sauce

The diced beef, served in three soup spoons, was tender and juicy. The beef was topped with few slices of fried garlic (looked like almond) and gave it that added fragrance.

Baked Rack of Lamb with Black Pepper Sauce
The lamb turned out a bit tough but was tasty nonetheless. Surprisingly, one of the best lamb rack I had eaten was from Jumbo (Dempsey outlet) the seafood restaurant. I still crave for it occasionally.

Chilled Avocado Cream with Ice Cream
The avocado cream was yummy and being not too sweet, it went well with vanilla ice cream. The dessert was served with dry ice and Kenan was so excited when he saw the smoke from the dry ice.

Mashed Pumpkin Cream with Little Dumplings
Didn't enjoy this dessert - it's presentation pale in comparison to the rest of the items we had earlier and there were just two small tiny dumplings with no fillings inside. Being a dessert lover, I was disappointed with this one.

Overall, we were pleased with our dining experience. We could tell that menu has been thoughfully prepared and many of the traditional Cantonese dishes are infused with a modern twist. Eating at Old Hong Kong Legend has been as much a feast for the taste buds as for the eyes. Even our little boy enjoyed himself!

Old Hong Kong Legend
#02-18 Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Tel: 63977023

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Home-Made Playdough

As a WAHM, one of my greatest challenges is in keeping Kenan occupied.

Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), he is not into toys, so that makes my task even more challenging. But yes, we don't have to burn a hole in our pocket buying toys. However, sometimes I wonder if I'm depriving him, especially after going to playdate with another kid whose place is almost brimming over with toys. But experience tells me it's wiser not to succumb to the sense of guilt.

Often, Kenan would appear thrilled with a certain toy at the store, but once we buy it home, he would probably play it a while and then chuck it aside. Then he will go back to some simple toys like balls, or he will fiddle with bottles, empty boxes and whatever knick knacks he can lay his tiny hands on. When that's done, he will go on an exploration trip around the house, attempting to open drawers or cupboard doors and emptying the contents. But often, he will be happy just to 'read' his books or our magazines (books are possibly our best buys as he really loves them).

Here are some photos I found of him playing with a balloon. These were taken when he was about eight months old (he looks so different now ya? Was such a chubby boy then!).

Day 1 - Happy balloon time!

Day 2 - Balloon burst. Nevermind, let me play with the string then!

As you can see, one simple balloon like this keeps him occupied for two days. Even on the second day after the balloon had burst, he was happily playing with the string tied to it. So that's my boy for you.

Anyway, recently I thought of letting him try out some craft work and decided to make playdough for him.

I searched the internet for recipes and followed one found on Kaboose which I adapted for my purpose. Here's how I made the playdough:

2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of salt
Food colouring

1. Mix the flour and salt together in a big bowl.
2. Put a few drops of the food colouring into the water and stir well.
3. Slowly add water into the flour and salt and knead thoroughly until it's a firm, stretchy dough, add more water if necessary.
4. Store the playdough in an airtight container.

I chose this recipe because it doesn't require any cooking, unlike many other recipes I came across (I think cooking is supposed to help the playdough last longer).

To make it more interesting, you can make use of cookie cutters to cut out different shapes.

Kenan wasn't really fascinated with the playdough, think he doesn't quite like the feel of it. He would kind of pinch the dough or squash whatever I made for him but he has not attempted to make anything yet. Guess it's beyond his age for now. Anyway, my purpose was to give him a new experience, which I think is what's more important at this stage of his development.

By the way, it's been about two weeks since I first made the playdough and it turned moist and sticky. So what I did was to add some flour and knead it back to the right texture again.

Do you have some interesting activities you do with your toddler at home? Hope you can share with me your ideas!

Check Out the Resources Page

Dear readers, I've just added a 'Resources' page to share with you resources that I have found helpful in my parenting journey. There are also a few which I have not used before but thought they will be useful for moms in general. Been wanting to do this for the longest time and finally got the list compiled - I hope you will find it useful. Please note that this resource list is not my recommendation for any services or products.

If you have some really good resources that are not in my list, please do share with me, thanks!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First Zoo Trip

Last Saturday, we took Kenan to the zoo - it was his first trip to the world renowned tourist attraction. We thought he would enjoy it, as he seems to like animals a lot. He can recognise about 20 kinds of animals and insects, is able to mimic a pig snorting, horse galloping, frog jumping and lion roaring. He can also make the sound of a cat, chicken, mouse and elephant, and sign 'rabbit' as well. So we hoped he will be delighted to see the real animals.

We arrived at the zoo pass noon and had a quick meal at the Ah Meng Cafe near the entrance; we also fed Kenan his lunch.

Laksa from Ah Meng Cafe - refuelling before the many hours of walking

Then it was off to Kenan's animal adventure. Hubby decided to get the ticket that comes with unlimited boat and tram rides, which cost $27/adult. Yet in the end, we only took one boat ride and zilch tram ride.

Throughout the trip, he seemed to be intrigued by the animals he saw. He especially enjoyed himself at the Rainforest Kidzworld as some of his favourites animals were there  ie. the horse and rabbit. There was also the spacious, colourful water play area, which if given a chance, he would have happily explored the place (he's into playing with water now, so it's often a battle taking him out of the bathtub these days).

It rained during our trip, so there were some animals that we didn't get to see. We'll definitely be back again, but meanwhile, we'll probably be going to the Bird Park and some other places. By the way, I'm really looking forward to seeing the pandas, which Kenan likes too.

Kenan got to see more riding on daddy's shoulders - and it was a lot more fun too!

Gee.. how can I get Kenan to cooperate for a photo shoot?

A family photo - finally everyone's looking at the camera!

Waiting for the animal show to start - in the end, Kenan slept
and we didn't like the show either

Hubby and I on the boat ride - Kenan was sleeping throughout the trip


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