Zipping in and out of Bali

The Man was invited to Bali for a golf trip and other halves were included as part of the invite, so I decided to tag along with him on this quick 3D/2N trip. Of course the hardest part of going on a couple holiday now is leaving the kid behind, but we know that she will be dearly cared for back home and it was nice just to relax and not worry about running after a child while on holiday. Yeah, holidays with kids don’t quite count, in fact, it’s a round-the-clock job when you go on holiday with a child. But we wouldn’t quite give that up yet as the amount of bonding time we get with Bub is priceless.

The Man and I mused about when was the last couple trip we took and it was probably 1.5 years ago when we went on our ski/snowboard holiday for about 1 week sans Bubba. This was a much shorter trip with different agendas – golf for the Man and for me, it’s purely to rest and relax. I’ve been so tired and basically feeling so burnt out that I was really looking forward to doing nothing at all.Our hosts booked us into the very swanky W Hotel situated at Seminyak. The location was perfect, close to several popular eateries, cool cafes and a stone’s throw away from quaint spas (highly recommend Spring Spa – we spent 3 hours doing various treatments there!). My plan of reading, chilling by the pool with a bottle of beer in hand literally went out of the window. I spent more than half the time lying horizontally on the spa bed. Yes, I take my spa massages very seriously! I also spent a couple of hours exploring the different eclectic shops around Seminyak Square. The Man and I certainly did not plan on shopping much but I was pleasantly surprised by the finds and managed to bag home some outfits for both the Bub and myself and two really cute bags that would be perfect for our upcoming Summer vacation in Corsica.

This is a kid’s straw bag with the cutest pom pom bag charm found at Kidsagogo! My new-found fave Australian/ Balinese brand. Prices are slightly more than what you can find from the street stalls but I assure for the price and the quality that you are paying, it’s really worth paying.

I also bagged two super comfy and soft Summer Kaftans for our upcoming Summer vacation. The prints on these were quite fun and I loved the tassel accessory that came with the outfit. The price was even more attractive at about $15 a piece.

On places to eat, our event hosts booked the group for dinner at Merah Putih Restaurant (serving modern fusion Indonesian food) as well as Kudeta during our stay. The food at both places were divine. In fact, we loved Merah Putih loads that we ditched our lunch reservation at Fat Turtle the last day and headed back to the restaurant again. Well, the men in our group were not going to be satisfied with pancakes and lattes.

Speaking of coffee. The coffee culture in Bali has gained quite a stronghold. There were so many cafes (big and small) scattered around Seminyak. Sisterfields, Fat Turtle, Revolver Coffee all came highly recommended by friends. We only managed to fit in a spot of coffee at Revolver Coffee – a hole in the wall joint walking distance from our hotel. It made for a good afternoon break watching the cars go by.

And when the Man played golf, I signed myself up for a mixologist class hosted by the W Hotel as part of our trip. I learned how to make three cocktails that very afternoon. The group that attended the cocktail session was also pretty small but I guess alcohol does loosen people up a little and we started chatted candidly when our lesson ended. All I can say after learning how to make these three cocktails is that I better stick to my day job!

Our trip ended with an All White Summer Party but we obviously didn’t make it past midnight, preferring to retreat back to our hotel to head back to sleep. Yes, sleep is a precious commodity when you become a parent!

The trip wasn’t a specific couple trip per se for we had friends along with us most times but it was a good break from being parents (for a few days). For me, actually it was important for me to recharge, calibrate and to think about what the future holds. I had a lot going on my plate of late and juggling them was challenging. Of course, it’s nice to be able to just sit with the Man and do the things we enjoy very much quietly. We do hold onto our phones tightly too to wait for messages and photo updates from my Mom about what the Bub is doing at home. So thank you Mummy (I know you are reading this) for taking such good care of Sophie when we are away.

Thank you Boo for insisting that I go along the trip and thank you for your many attempts to take nice photos for me! Hehe.. I sure had fun on this short but restful break!

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Bedtime convo with the Bub

Last night, I tucked the Bub into bed, laid down beside her, hugged her as she chatted about what happened during the day. She’s getting bigger for sure and her weight on my arm is not something I can probably take much longer, worse when she wriggled around,  adding more weight on to my arm.

Me: Sophie, stop moving please. Mama’s arm hurts.
Bub: Why, Mama?
Me: Cos Mama is old already, I can’t take so much pain these days.
Bub: <whimpers> I don’t want Mama to grow old!

Well, neither do I, Sophie, neither do I.

At that moment when I heard my child say she doesn’t want me to grow old, I wished I had the power to stop time so that she will remain as my little girl as well.

Time indeed is so very precious.

Spending the morning at 705 Craft with KSisters

Recently won a contest that was organised by KSisters (one of my fave Korean brands here in Singapore for women’s fashion and mama + daughter twinning outfits) and was treated to a bracelet making workshop by 705 Craft one Saturday morning with a few moms who are all fans of KSisters. 🙂

The leather bracelet making workshop was supposed to be for 3 hours but we took 4 hours to complete 2 twinning bracelets in total, from picking of the leather, to cutting, glueing and then putting the finishes touches for both the bracelets. One for me and one for the Bub with our names customised on the bracelets.

I have to add that I now have the utmost respect plus appreciation for the amount of work that goes into making these hand-crafted pieces. I guess there’s a reason why the brands charge the amount that they do, especially if it’s handmade and not churned out from a machine. That said, this is a memorable keepsake, one that I will cherish for I made it on my own. The Bub also loves her mini bracelet that I made for her and she proudly shares that her bracelet is made by Mama. Aww…she definitely knows what to say to pull my heart-strings.

Here’s a close-up shot of the “Kelly Double Tour” bracelet that I made. I chose a beige calfskin leather with a pink inner leather lining and gold hardware. For the Bub’s bracelet, she specifically asked for pink, so I decided to fulfill her heart’s desire.

I’ve been shopping with KSisters for over a year now and I love how Mama Jungmin (founder of KSisters) connect with her customers. This little gathering that she kindly hosted was a lovely way to get to know other Mamas who all share a common bond for fashion and style. In our case, shopping at KSisters! That’s not all, us Mamas received the star treatment with a video-shoot as well as a photoshoot.

Shopping still remains as one of my fave activities to do. With a young toddler, shopping in the shops does feel like a luxury so I turn to online shopping for a quick fix. So glad to have found KSisters for Jungmin curates the collection and brings in only the best labels in Korean fashion. Love that the fabrics are ideal for the Singapore weather with the styles being very current and aligned with what’s trending in the world of K-fashion.

Be warned though, you might end up falling into a deep rabbit hole. Well, that’s bascially how I ended up being such a fan with repeat purchases back at KSisters because I would be cursing under my breath if I missed out on one of the lovely dresses. ;p This was a group shot with other Mamas who also attended the workshop. Loved how natural all of us looked here in our lovely outfits.

Thanks again Jungmin for organising this lovely gathering with the Mamas… look how happy we all are decked in our fave KSisters outfits!

72 hours in Hong Kong

After nearly 3 to 4 years of not visiting Hong Kong, I think I’ve hit my annual quota of visiting Hong Kong with a whirlwind weekend trip in under 6 months. I’m not entirely crazy about the country but the first was with my cousin in March, the second was with the Bub in May to check out Disney and the recent one was with Mama Libby for bizz-ness – totally legit.

Because our trip was booked rather last minute, flights to Hong Kong were sky high! $900 on SQ, $700 on Cathay. The only reasonable airfare that we were going to pay for was about $300+ and it was a toss between United Airlines (does not have the best rep at the moment) or Tiger Airways. We chose the former and hoped that we will not be dragged off the plane. Thankfully, we made it there and back in one piece.

Coffee is always a good idea especially at 4am in the morning. A most ungodly hour but our spirits were high as we are excited with all the plans that we have for Cote Maison. Since we technically don’t have to run around after our kids, ditched our Mom bags for a second and swapped them with not-so-friendly kid bag.

Fresh off the plane, filled our tummies with some food and headed to work almost straight away. This was us checking out the not-so-popular part of Hong Kong but it was definitely an eye-opening one, we needed to understand the basics.

While our short trip was rather jam-packed with meetings as well as site visits to check out displays, it wasn’t all work and no play. Thanks to some pushing from the Teos, I got to check out the Peak walk with the pair on Saturday and ticked off one of the things to do in Hong Kong on my list.
The short nature walk was rather enjoyable except that it was kinda stressful as minutes before we embarked on the nature trail, I dropped my portable mobile wifi device in the cab. My heart sank horribly as I feared the worst that it would be lost and I would have to end up paying the penalties for this. But thankfully, we managed to locate the name of the cab company and eventually the driver and retrieved the device. Phew! I guess there’s a reason why insurance for such items are loaded in the rental. Might be worth looking at this in future.

And in the evening or rather night when we are done with all the business talk, we would head to the nearest supermarket, grabbed a bottle of wine/ cans of beers, head back home and then select a movie where the 3 of us would huddle around and watch along with some junk food. The 2 movies we watched over 2 nights were 30 Days of Night (zombie genre) and Spectral (sci-fi genre).

On food while I would love to go on a food trail and gain all those calories, time wasn’t particularly on our side. But I must add that we did pretty well with majority of the restaurants that we headed to to fill our tummies for our core meals. Egg noodles with parboiled liver with noodles that were springy at Ho Hung Kee (1 Michelin Star) as well as a scrumptious dinner of glammed up dim sum at Dim Sum Library.

The cocktails were a killer. One glass was all it took for Mama Libby and I to be grinning widely for the rest of the evening. Well, all’s not a lost for we each scored a new pair of Repettos on sale!

With one precious day left in Hong Kong, we thought we will be able to squeeze in most of the things that we had planned on doing before scooting off to the airport at 5.30pm. We had grand plans – a leisurely morning walk at Dragon’s Back followed by brunch with egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery, a spot of shopping and ending off with high-tea at Upper House. We didn’t get to realise our plans. We woke up to grey skies and an alert of Typhoon 8 hoisted over Hong Kong on Sunday morning.

Hike at Dragon’s Back were shelved and exchanged for brunch. We were going to be good Sunday Catholics and attend mass but when we reached church, we saw a sign displayed to say that mass services have been temporarily halted due to the Typhoon warning. The shops were pretty much closed and that’s when Libby turned around and said “Guys, this is bad! We need to head home, pack our bags for the airport else we may not get a cab down!

Well, we procrastinated and ended up doing Sun Salutations relicating the stance by these round male figurines found at her place and I guess it worked. The rain somewhat stopped and we saw the sun peeking out.  We decided that this was probably our last chance to head out and play before we go back home. After much persuasion from Papa Teo who was very eager to bring us ladies to Sai Wan Swimming Shed for that perfect Instagram shot, we decided to YOLO and head there. Afterall, he was the one driving!

The drive there was short but the walk down to get this shot was scary and as you get close to this structure, you will notice water leeches on the ground. Beware and keep on moving! We were creeped out but all it took was a couple of seconds to snap 3-4 pics before we huffed on up the flight of ancient stairs.

And the weather eventually cleared up for us to head to Tai Cheong Bakery to grab some yummy and buttery egg custard tarts. Yum! Thanks Teos for being such great travel companions with and without kids! 🙂 The Man was very pleased that both Mama Libby and I had a baby-sitter along for the trip for he will definitely have no patience for this.

Now that the trip is over, there are loads to be done for Cote Maison.. watch this space… 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Trash and Treasure : Upcycling a used kids furniture set

I was itching to embark on another upcycling project having successfully painted our IKEA Step Stool. This time round, I was a little more ambitious and decided to add a kid’s table with chairs to our living room. The Man was not pleased when he heard it. The immediate words that came out of his mouth was “It’s going to be a white elephant. We don’t have room in the living room for this! We already have a small table for her in her room and she doesn’t even use it!”

Well, it was partially true but having a kid’s table with chairs in the living room meant that the Bub could sit and have her meals with her friend if we do host families with young children. She could also sit there for a spot of reading/ crafting/ playing if she fancied. So I decided to stick to my guns and hunt for a sturdy and reasonably-priced kid’s table with chairs to be upcycled.

This was quite a gem-of-a-find! Priced at $50, I found this set on Carousell. It looked sturdy and the owner said that she had it imported from UK and paid way more for it. It was lovingly used in their home for about 5 years. The price seemed fair and yes, it looked scratched but I thought a fresh coat of paint should do the trick nicely. So one Saturday morning, I drove down to the home and lugged these set back home. I was worried that it could not fit into my boot but after some shoving and shifting, it eventually did. Phew!

So what did I do with it now that it’s home? According to upcycling pro – Libby, you would have to first sun the furniture. I guess this is important because in a humid country like Singapore and particularly if you are not sure how the furniture was once kept, the sunning process would help to “drive out” unwanted inhabitants (hopefully, no mites! YIKES!). On our end, we also disinfected the table/ chairs with Be Sanitised and Konk, just wanted to be doubly sure because the items are to be used by the Bub at the end of the day.

After sunning, we sand down the surface of the table and the chairs. This will help remove the layer of varnish (if any) so that the paint will go on evenly on the surface.

On colour, we decided to go with a colour theme that would match her Stokke high-chair. It was hard deciding between the Mother Duck and Anguilla. In the end, we went with the Anguilla which was a slightly darlker shade of seafoam. It did still match our colour scheme eventually.

I wanted to achieve a Shabby Chic look so decided to play around with the Copper powder from the Frensheen collection.

Think it looked pretty okay after putting the finishing touches on the grooves of the table. It wasn’t too much I guess and it had a very Marie Antoinette look and feel that I was trying to achieve.

For the chairs, we went with the Nougat which is a lovely shade of dusty rose pink. A little subtle but complemented the Anguilla table and our surroundings.

The finished product which took us about 3-4 hours to paint and complete. It wasn’t all too difficult and the sunning of the furniture took us about a week before I applied the paint on the items. I have to add that our helper who’s actually quite creative was the extra pair of hands that I relied on for this upcycling project.

Super pleased now we have a proper kids table with chairs to host our little friends when they come over to play. 🙂

Can’t quite believe that we’ve already completed 2 upcycling projects in the course of a couple of months. The Man thinks this is pretty simple stuff, so he said he will take on an upcycling project in the form a shoe rack. I’ve got the shoe rack but it’s still sitting in its original form on our porch. I reckon I probably be the one to do this up again. Let’s see!

Show and tell: Memory Project

The June holidays are typically a long break for Primary going school children or for some younger kids, their schools would be closed during this period as well. As the Bub goes to full-day childcare, her centre is open almost a good part of the year. That said, her June’s Show and Tell is centered around what the child did for the month of June. Submission of photos for the project would suffice but I wanted to make something memorable for the kid while she did her story-telling to her friends.

I guess June is also extra special since it’s her birthday month so after an idea suggested by Mama Gwen to draw a cake and then get the Bub to stick the photos of what she did using the stickers created by the Sticker Maker from Stickie Mail, I decided to embark on a cake craft project for the Bub instead (another idea seeded by the bf@w).

Majority of the cake craft photo project can be sourced from Daiso, the trusty shop to head to if you needed to get craft materials readily. As the Bub’s favourite Disney Princess is Belle, I deliberately chose the styrofoam bricks in blue and yellow, stuck them together to form her Belle Birthday Cake.

For embellishments or rather the icing on her cake, I got a box of these decorative pom pom balls and basically stuck them around the cake. The Bub helped me out here and we had fun coming up with the colour scheme – pink, followed by white, yellow, etc, on how her craft birthday cake should look. It’s not easy to get these decorative balls to be stuck o the styrofoam boards, I think I must have used up a bottle of craft glue for this project alone!

I also printed some photos (passport sized) so that it would fit nicely into the sticker maker. The Bub helped to then stick these stickers all over her craft cake. As we stuck the photo memories on the cake, I also took the opportunity to ask the Bub what are some of the actions or the people she hung out with in the pictures to jolt her memory a little.

I guessed that worked and looks like she was all excited about sharing her tales and adventures with her little friends. 🙂

Try it.. this does make quite a fun bonding project to do with your child.

Looking for a gift to delight new moms or parents?

An ex-colleague welcomed a baby boy into their little family and “boy was I happy for her! So the BF@W and I scratched our heads wondering what we should get her little bundle of joy. There are no lack of brands that have sprung up over the last couple of years but one of the baby gifts that I really like gifting to new moms and parents is the baby gift hamper from My Baby Gift.

So they were pretty much my first port-of-call when deciding what to gift new parents. Love the whole personalisation of the baby’s name on blankets, bibs, towels and to this very day, Sophie is still using her personalised blanket for school (we have 2!) and her hooded towel for the home.

We are talking about nearly 3 years of daily use of her blankets (given that she goes to school from Mondays to Fridays) and despite the blankets being subjected to daily use by an active toddler who doesn’t quite care about keeping her stuff properly, her name blankets are still in a rather good condition (no loose threads coming out of the embroidery). I think that really is a true testament of a quality product. The day will come when these blankets will eventually have to go and I will be sad to see that day come. 😦

I came to realise as well while drafting this post that My Baby Gift recently started to expand their product offering to selling single products (not just hampers) to their customers. This demand was a result from their customers’ feedback on wanting a single product as a keepsake for their child or as a gift to another child. Makes sense especially if you are as sentimental as I am. They now offer the option of purchasing a single customised product in their “Gifts and educational toys” section where they offer gifts to children of up to 7 years. Best part? It’s fuss-free ordering (don’t have to specially head to the shops), beautifully wrapped and delivered to your home or the recipient’s home.

As you can see, personalised baby gifts really do have a special place in a new parent’s heart.  So if you are thinking about gifting a new mom or a new parent a unique gift for their little bundle of joy, I would really recommend getting a baby gift hamper from My Baby Gift.

special deal for my readers

This is not a sponsored review but the team at My Baby Gift has very kindly extended a 10% off all personalised baby hampers above $150 on www.mybabygift.com.sg for my readers with the coupon code LADYJ10 (valid until 31 December 2017).

Edit as at 19 July:  Came home to a lovely surprise from My Baby Gift for the Bub! I’ve been wanting to replace the Bub’s blanket for like I said, it’s been used and abused over the past few years. That said, the embroidery is still very hardy and we throw these blankets into the washing machine (not washed by hand).  Thank you Liron for the thoughtful gift in replacing the blanket for Sophie. Super love the stars blanket (have a major weakness for all things stars) and I’ve noticed that the embroidery has also been updated. It’s slightly larger compared to the older one and a lot more vibrant in pink.

Note:
This post is in response to the kind offer of 10% discount by mybabygift.com for my readers. All opinions are my own. Just sharing the good stuff!