Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Must-Follow InstaShops

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When I discovered the magical world of instashops, I was hooked. Not only are they selling cheaper than normal retail shops, they are also selling things you simply can’t find anywhere else in Malaysia! Most of them also deliver to your front step, making it super convenient. Of course since I’m a mom, most of my favorite shops are mom-centric.

My criteria for this list are 3 things--updated almost daily, very niche items, and having good feedback.

Let’s begin!

1. RTW Store

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My favorite among favorites! Cheaper than retail strollers and travel systems, with a variety of brands to choose from. No wonder they have almost close to 30,000 followers!

Sells: Cosatto, Babyjogger, bugaboo, babyzen yoyo, maxi cosi, nuna etc. There’s too many to name! Just give them a visit and you’ll see!

2. The Posh Poufs

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My favorite among all headband makers. Gorgeous, carefully made headbands for your little princesses. Custom made and ready made alike.

3. Bebe Bundo

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They recently launched their webstore. The premier baby and kids moccasin shoe makers in Malaysia! A batch of new collections just came out and I wanna cry at their fabulousness.

4. LilMunchkin Store

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Look out for USA baby brands like Carter’s, Old Navy, Baby Gap, Ralph Lauren and Timberland. You buy on pre-order basis, but the cheaper price justifies waiting.

5. Charms & Beads

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First of the non-mommy variety! I know Pandora is already in Malaysia but have you seen the prices? One word—cut throat! This instashop solves your woes .. get a bracelet or charm at a fraction of the price in Malaysia! Yes, it’s pre-order basis.

6. Sweettoothville

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I was getting bored of the usual cakes when I stumbled upon this inspiring instashop! The cakes are made to order and they can sculpt almost anything. They’ve made custom cakes for Nora Danish, and the king!

7. SJ World of Babycakes

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Who doesn’t love macarons? and homemade? Enough said.

8. EZ Diet

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Healthy 7 day meals sent to your doorstep. Endorsed by Sazzy Falak, the fitness enthusiast.

9. Kufi On Kanvas

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Gorgeous gorgeous Islamic artwork from very talented people. Price ranges from RM 200 and above.

10. Lisda Home Spa

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This last one is so awesome because let’s face it, after a massage session, you really just wanna sleep. You can, because they’ll come over to your house for the massage.

Hope the list was useful to you. Give them a try and let’s support small businesses.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Penang

Last month, me, hubs and baby went on our first 4 hour travel together to the north of Malaysia, in Penang.

The last time I was in Penang was maybe 8 years ago. The Penang I remember then is nothing like the Penang now. First I have to say Penang is so awesome!! It’s so different from KL or any other city in Malaysia.

The drive to Penang went quite smoothly despite having a baby on board who has no sense of time or patience. There was only one meltdown that required us to stop the car. Other than that it was good. Upon arrival in Penang, it was already nighttime and we decided to get a bite to eat hawker style at Gurney Drive.

If you went to Penang, there is a list of food that you must try. One of them is Pasembor, or we call it rojak in KL. There’s this one particular hawker that was so popular that we had to try. His stall is stall no 9. The gravy is sweet with just the right hint of spiciness. It was so good that the following morning we went out looking for more pasembor, only to learn that pasembor is an evening dish and rarely do they serve them in the morning. As my dad put it, ‘no one opens their pasembor stall in the morning. People will just laugh if you go looking for it.”

Usually our travel itinerary is a very straightforward mantra--- we do what we wanna do. But since baby is on tow, our itinerary is dictated by our ability to lug around baby and by the position of the sun. With that in mind, we decided to take on botanical gardens and bukit bendera in the morning.

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For the record, we love gardens and parks. For someone who has been to several botanical gardens in and out of the country, I would say Malaysia has one of the best botanical gardens. And out of my favorite botanical gardens, this is one of the best in terms of variety and upkeep.

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We met the fern garden keeper and he invited us in to give a short tour. Every now and then they will climb up to Gunung Jerai and other jungles to pick up a new plant for the botanical gardens.

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Penang Botanical Garden also known as Taman Kebun Bunga with Bukit Bendera as backdrop.

The next place we went to was Bukit Bendera. I’ve been on the hill previously. What’s different this time is it’s new funicular train. Also the love lock wall on top of Bukit Bendera.

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Also worth mentioning up here we get to check another food off the must try list. Penang Char Kuey Tiaw. It was so good me and hubs had to order a second serving.

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A good baby carrier is a travelling must-have!

Later that evening, we decided to explore Georgetown itself. Around 4pm, the sun was still hot outside. So the only option was to hire a trishaw. Walking may be fun but riding a trishaw around Georgetown beats anything and it was the highlight of the trip.

We got assigned to an uncle who looked about 70. He insisted on taking us on a one hour tour, so we took it. At one point I honestly wanted to kick hubs out to replace the poor uncle but he looked fine throughout.

Georgetown is a beautiful city. Old colonial buildings line the streets unlike other modern cities. The roadside was clean. The shops were unique and most looked like they’ve survived decades.

Besides Kuala Terengganu, I gotta say Georgetown is my other favorite city in Malaysia.

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Anyway, I highly recommend touring Georgetown on a trishaw!

Georgetown has lots to offer. The beach area, Batu Feringghi is also highly popular but honestly, I find it a little overrated. I’d say skip the beach and explore Penang city instead.

Okay that’s it for Penang. I would definitely come back for the city and food!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: Babyjogger City Mini

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All I can say about the Babyjogger City Mini is wow. I can only sing praises for it. We started using the Babyjogger City Mini when Naila was about 3 months old. The back can be reclined almost flat and 3 month old Naila had no problem being comfortable in it.

The first thing I notice about it compared to other ‘everyday’ stroller is how sturdy it is. The build is strong unlike most easy-fold lightweight strollers. It weights approximately 7kg—which is on the heavier side of the lightweight category but unlike most, this stroller is suitable for baby from birth up to 22 kg.

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At first I thought the seat could use a little more padding, but then we started using it at the park where it was really hot and humid so we thought it was perfect. Just that to make the baby more comfortable, we added the infant insert.

We used the stroller on all sorts of surface—pebbled sidewalks, brick roads, tar roads, wooden floors, in the mall.. you name it. The big tires just glided over them smoothly. These are not air pumped tires like the F.I.T. jogging strollers but they are just as durable.

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Another thing we loved about the stroller is the huge sunshade. In fact, that was the push to buy the stroller. Living in Malaysia, we knew that we were going to be outdoors or walking out in the hot sun, so the sunshade is so important for us. There are two levels of shade coverage. When you push down the shade it totally covers the baby inside that only her legs are exposed.

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Then there’s the fact that the stroller can be folded up and opened with just one hand. I can’t begin to tell you how important this is especially when you’re alone with the baby and you don’t wanna spend another second to figure out how to open the stroller.

The stroller folds flat, and fits our compact car boot. I mean how awesome is that? If there isn’t enough space, the back tires can be taken off.

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The stroller has all the basic features such as tire brakes, luggage basket, swivel front tires and it comes in many colors. Add-ons include cup tray, belly bar, weather shield, glider board and a parent console.

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To sum it up, we love, love the Babyjogger City Mini! It’s compact enough, lightweight, sturdy and pretty much fits our active lifestyle. Plus the baby is loves it too. Totally recommended from birth.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Point of Motherhood

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The other day me and my friend got talking about how things have changed in our lives. We’ve known each other for 9 years and have been through all the stages… the fun uni times, the stressful exams and projects, the ‘boyfriend’ drama, the first job drama, getting engaged, married life and finally motherhood.

Motherhood is unlike other stages, you go into motherhood like submerging yourself in water; fully and whole and there’s no turning back ever. Truthfully you’ll go into shock in the beginning but I’m not sure I’ve even recovered.

Anyway we promised each other to always be fun even though we have kids. I might barf at that now like it’s the most ridiculous thing that’s not possible. We promised to meet every other week and play tennis. Okay, double barf. And to leave the children with the husband to hang out sometimes. Triple barf.

I also naively promised myself not to change after having children. There are some things that might have semblance to my past life, I mean like still brushing teeth and taking a bath. Other than that, you know, I’m hanging on. I decided while I was pregnant that I would like to sort of take a year off my work and because of the nature of my work, I’m ‘sort of’ able to be a stay-at-home-mom while working. I thought it’ll be a pretty slow and enjoyable year. Boy am I wrong.

How do I describe my day? Wow it’s pretty complicated actually. To an outsider I look like I’m doing nothing the whole day. Even when hubs asked about my day, I have a hard time to explain.

The conversation:

Hubs: How was your day?

Me: *Cricket sounds* Yeah it was okay. I’m alive, I ate, I’m healthy. Naila’s happy. I’m grateful.

I used to launch into a 20 minutes monologue, you know, telling hubs how during bathtime Naila loved it but cried when I try putting on the diaper, then she looked at Chanel, she screams a lot. She bites her hands, I think she’s teething. Owh you know she made a big mess and I had to clean it up and I’m so tired. She made a mess when I was feeding her, the mess is still there, I’m sorry if the house looks like a dumpsite when you come back. She cries when I leave her, my milk is not enough! She also tore the peekaboo owl page, I’m so tired, but she doesn’t wanna nap yet! Bla bla bla.

You get the gist.

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After a while, I felt it was pointless to describe. Because in a work setting, these things are called ‘petty’. Not the ‘bottom line’ or goal.

Then I tried to think about what was the bottom line of this whole mommyhood fiasco. I call it fiasco because honestly it feels like one. Like a mess. Why is mommyhood so hard?

I looked forward to when Naila is one year old, but this isn’t the long tern goal. Then I realize that it’s when Naila is ready to have her own life. To be able to make wise decisions by herself. Frankly speaking I’m looking at a 23 year project in the making. So everything that I’m doing is simply setting the stage to help her become the best human being and Allah’s servant :-)

Then I felt at peace.

xoxo.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Look Fab with Running Shoes

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I must admit, when it comes to footwear, at most I can boast about having one row of black leather shoes. Maybe some crocs mary janes in between. Yup. That’s me. When my hubs actually took me to shop for shoes, I’ll be the one like, OH YEAH and headed straight for the monochrome section. More so now that I’m a mom and monochrome is the easiest to match outfits! You know how Steve Jobs has hundreds of the same black sweater? I’m like that with shoes.

But there’s an exception. When it comes to sports shoes, I go wild! My pick is always running shoes because they’re so versatile. You know how sports wear can be a bit drab? I thought, why not spice up the whole outfit with fabulous running shoes?

How do you choose a good running shoe?

1. Must be COMFORTABLE. Exercise is no walk in the park I tell you. (No pun intended!)

2. Choose the correct size

3. Matches your personality

Some girls might prefer a pink colored running shoe…

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while others might adore another colour.

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However, do not wear a running shoe too tight or loose as it could cause an aggravated problem.

One of the problems caused by wearing a shoe smaller than your foot size are blisters. The painful blisters are formed with the frequent friction of a rough spot from the shoe to sensitive areas of your foot. For example, the part normally forms blisters are the back of your feet. Once you have the blisters, it would be very hard for you to walk. The pain just isn’t worth it.

I walk a lot but the ladies and men who participate in marathon events will surely acknowledge that a good comfortable pair of running shoes is what contributes to the confidence of the wearer. Well, even running in the park needs a really good pair of shoes!

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Sublime Lime.

A person’s energy level may quickly decrease if the shoe for running does not provide comfort and support. The lack of support will bring feet and ankle pain. This is because long distance walking and running adds pressure to our tired feet especially if the shoe has thin padding.

Due to the same reason, you will experience heel pain which is the inflammation of your heel and sometimes your whole foot sole. The inflammation is mainly caused when you haven’t been active for quite some time or a dramatic increase in your physical activity routine.

Take it down a notch and do not put pressure on your feet especially when you are slowly starting to be active. Rest them well and follow your own pace when exercising.

It’s also important to change your running shoes after a while, because believe it or not, shoes have mileage in them. And like a car with high mileage, sometimes it’s time to say bye bye and change to a new one.

Soo the big question is, where do I find these fabulous running shoes? Your answer is Zalora. I’m sure you’ve heard of Zalora. They’re everywhere! Try and have a look at Zalora website as they provide a wide range of running shoes suitable for both men and women. They have local and international brands made available so you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

My personal favorite?

These!

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Purplicious they say.

Take care and happy shopping at Zalora!

xoxo.

-This is a sponsored post-

-All shoe photos are taken off the Zalora website-

Friday, June 6, 2014

Family-friendly Parks in KL

Me and hubs love walking and occasionally trekking. Before we had Naila, we already had a momentum going with the park visits. The first few months after baby, we were just trying to get the hang of the new ‘normal’. Every outing is a big event and requires a minimum of two manpower, so we never really thought of resuming the park outings.

Then the time came when Naila got just a little bit bigger and a bit easier to manage. There was the time when my parents went to the park and it sounded nice and we went. Never stopped since then.

Post-baby is a little bit different though. There’s the stroller, the heat and other things you gotta think about. So here’s my personal review on the parks around KL!

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa

This was the first park we took Naila to, and it’s really nice (partly because I myself have nice memories running wild as a kid in this same park). It’s stroller friendly, with wide lanes to maneuver. When it gets too hot, there’s shade everywhere. Also this is the park to try out a lot of things, like kayaking, tennis, badminton, in line skating. At one time there was a Zorb ball. This park has the most kids running around so I would say this is the most fun park for families with children. Babies have a lot to see. Not forgetting to mention there’s a cafĂ© too.

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Baby friendly rating: 8/10 (points deducted for noise and heat)

Kid friendly rating: 10/10

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)

Our favorite spot on weekend mornings pre-baby. So how does it fare post-baby? The walkways are decidedly small, but we manage to make a big round with our stroller without any problems. We haven’t tried hiking with the baby yet—that’s a whole different planet to consider. It feels humid but we’ve always loved the natural shade provided by the canopy of trees. Once we got here at 10AM when the sun was already high, but inside FRIM it felt like 7AM! This park has a totally different vibe from Tasik Titiwangsa. You’ll see bicycle enthusiasts in full gear zooming past, going up the jungle tracks; people jogging lost in their mp3 players. There aren’t that many children, must less activities because they cater more towards the hikers. But we love the natural jungle setting.

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Baby friendly rating: 9/10 (walkway could be a bit wider)

Kid friendly rating: 6/10 (could be more, depending on what you expect of a park)

Taman Botani Putrajaya

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We heard soo much about this place prior to going there ourselves. One thing people always mention about Taman Botani is their bike ride. Sadly that’s the one thing we can’t do yet with baby.

We loved the wide walkways that are wide enough for bikes AND for joggers and walkers and strollers. There are shady trees, really good spots for photos and an eatery. We’ll definitely be back.

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Baby friendly rating: 9/10

Kid friendly rating: 9/10 (run wildly, cycle wildly)

Taman Wetland Putrajaya

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Wetland is a little bit hit and miss. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s that time of the year or maybe it’s just the rainy season. Maybe it’s the landscape. Pros: wide walkways like Taman Botani, information centre. Cons: SO much mosquitoes. Poor baby was swarmed by mosquitos, the horror. Otherwise it’s a nice recreation place. I’m not sure if we’ll be back though, because Taman Botani is just 5 minutes away.

Baby friendly rating: 5/10

Kid friendly rating: 9/10 (run wildly, cycle wildly)

Do you love hanging out at the park? Do you take baby? What are the preparations that you do before heading out? Surprising necessity is actually an insect repellant!

Till next time.

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