How Is It Travelling With A Toddler

Difficult. Is an understatement.

It's exhausting and frustrating at times.

If I end with that 2 lines above, I think it's intimidating enough, right? Don't worry. I'll elaborate more.

I think the main reasons why this trip to Japan was so much more challenging than our 2 previous local trips to Kelantan and Langkawi are as follow:

1. She's more demanding now.

She demands to be carried ALL. THE. TIME. instead of going into the stroller, which she has never find fondness in it before.

And since she's bigger now, she's also heavier in weight. As much as I love to carry her around in a carrier, I couldn't. I would if I could, really. But after doing it for 2 days in a roll, several hours straight a day, I hurt my back. I couldn't walk or stand up straight after the second day so I had no choice but to strap her to the stroller, no matter how she cried bloody murder.

2. She's/ wants to be more mobile now.

It was sooooooooooooooooo easy to bring her around before she could walk. All I need to do was to just strap her in the carrier and go. She loves it in there. And I think she still does.

Why not just let her roam around herself since she's a walking toddler? One might ask.

Sure. She would LOVE to, too! And if I could put them in position, she would prefer to walk around herself than to be carried.

And trust me, it is so much more easier if she could walk on her on. BUT! She doesn't like to hold on to our hands.

No strings attach, mummy! I want no string attach!

The thing is, her parents (read: the husband and I) aren't that willing to chase her around a crowded touristy place. And when she roams around herself, she would spend most of the time back and forth at one spot she finds interesting, which is fine when we need a break from walking cause I do think that she needs to release her energy, too. But when we need to leave to get to the next destination, say, 10 minutes later, that's my least favorite part, as she will start to twist and spin like a struggling crocodile when we try to take her away. The energy consumption within that 3 minutes just trying to stop her from struggling and strap her back into the stroller is equivalent to 2 hours of walking running.

3. She wants to be in control.

She wants to push the stroller instead of going in the stroller.

She wants to hold MY milk carton and drinks all by herself instead of having me holding it for her. And then later spill the milk all over herself 😒

She wants to hold the utensils and feed (read: soil) herself.
She wants to press the elevator's button herself.
She wants to hold the umbrella 2 times her size herself.
She wants to walk on her own in a crowded place without holding our hands.
She wants to walk up and down the stairs herself and repeat 1000 times.

People might say that she's stepping into her terrible-two phase, hence all the melt-downs and tantrums when she can't get things done her way. But if you understand what terrible-two is and why it happens, you should be more forgiving and try your very best to help her overcome that.

To sum-up what "terrible-two" is, it's actually a normal stage in which toddlers begin to struggle between their reliance on adults and their desire for independence. One minute your child might be clinging to you, and the next he or she is running in the opposite direction.

So during the trip, we struggled many times to calm down tantrums and melt downs. And because her speech development is not that advanced as compared to some of her peers, it's really hard for her to understand why we can't allow her to do things she wanna do no matter how hard we try to explain to her. The only way to stop her is to distract her. Most of the time, with food.

Hence, the big tummy.

So if given a chance, will I do it again?

Yes. I would.

It's an experience and an opportunity to learn about myself, of how much I'm capable as a parent. And from this trip, I know that it's a long way to go for me to do better in parenting. There're times when my tiredness and emotional got hold of me and I let my frustration out on a little human being who is not as comprehensive as an adult. Yet after all the scolding and shouting, she'd still smile back after awhile and plant kisses all over my face willingly and generously. And then my guilt level just shoot sky-high 💔

There are also a lot of happy moments, regardless.

Like eating melts-in-your-mouth wagyu beef 💕

Looking down on this breath-taking (and ¥1500 costing per pax) from 300m above the ground.

Spending great time with ignorant deer.

Laughing at funny sleeping position the toddler insist on (we tried to put her back down but she would wake back up and continue to sleep in that position).

And just taking a break from our busy life and stay together as a little family.

I hope this post doesn't discourage you to travel with a toddler. But more like a head's up of what might happen. It is normal, after all, for a toddler to behave like one - curious and adventurous. It will be tiring, but it's the experience that will imprint in your memory forever.


(image from The Egg Yolks)

如果你还没听说,今年的农历新年崛起了一块哥和三块姐/ Top Up 姐。














(image from Google)

Renewing/ Applying Passport in Putrajaya

Our little family is going on a vacay this February to the land of the rising sun.
*throws confetti
*bunny hopping

Boy oh boy, you don't know how excited I am *cue tears of joy.
It's my first oversea trip since motherhood! The last time I went overseas was before I got pregnant. That's like, more than 2 years ago!?

So, what's the one thing you need before flying aboard?

✔ Passport

Mine was already expired and Charlotte needs to apply one. So since I was on mandatory leave, on the 29th of Dec 2016, I took Charlotte to the Immigration Office in Putrajaya to renew/ apply a new passport.

Here are the list of things you need.

Documents needed to renew passport for adults

  1. ♥ RM200 cash (valid for 5 years)
  2. ♥ Expiring/ expired passport
  3. ♥ MyKad

I'm not sure about other immigration offices but if you’re renewing your passport in Putrajaya, there’s no need to bring your photo anymore as they are now equipped with sophisticated Canon digital camera facility. Kindly wear a dark-coloured top as your photo will be shown as black and white in the passport. If you wear a light-coloured top, you will be requested to wear a blazer that they prepared for you to take the photo.

I wore a dark-coloured Superman shirt that day 😁

Documents needed to apply passport for your kid below 12

  1. ♥ RM100 cash (valid for 5 years)
  2. ♥ Birth certificate
  3. ♥ MyKid (just in case)
  4. ♥ 1 hard-copy passport photo with white background. Forehead and ears must be visible in the photo.

If you forget to get your child(ren)'s photo taken, you can go to the building just across the road from Menara Ikhlas. Take the elevator and go up to the 2nd floor. There is a little shop with photo-taking service. It cost RM15 for 4 photos.

Charlotte's first passport photo ❤

**Note (Passport price)-
60 years old & above: RM100
12 years old & below: RM100
Students studying abroad: RM100

The Immigration Office in Putrajaya is in Menara Ikhlas.

If you're driving there, you can search for the location using Waze. Just simply key in Menara Ikhlas, Putrajaya. There's plenty of free parking around there so don't worry about not being able to find a parking spot.

Once you enter the building, you will see Gloria Jean's coffee and myeg at the lobby. Take the elevator up to the 3rd floor.

There're 2 immigration offices on that floor. Make sure you go to Bahagian Pasport.

I was told by a couple of friends that the new system has improved and the service is more effective. They basically waited less 2 hours to get everything done including collection of passpport. So I went there hopeful as I had a movie marathon plan later that day.

Unfortunately, we had no such luck.

The office opens at 7.30am. When we reached there at 8.15am, it was already very crowded. Maybe it's end of the year and everyone's on leave, too?

I still had my hopes high cause I have Charlotte with me. Since she's under 12, we would be attended by Kaunter Khas (special counters for children and senior citizens).

We waited almost an hour before our numbers were called. Maybe they had 2 counters opened instead of 3 (counter 8, 9 and 10)?

While waiting, I had a very unsettled toddler struggling to get off me all. the. time.

After our number was called, the process was pretty fast. Thumbprint, verify, verify, take photo, verify, sign, thumbprint, done lol if I'm not mistaken. But then comes another waiting time - to wait for our (same) numbers being called to make payment at counter 23 or 24. Sigh 😒

I think we waited another half an hour. Luckily, since Charlotte is under 2 years old, she doesn't need to be present during the collection. So after I made the payment, I quickly sent her to her nursery in Cyberjaya and we made it just in time for her lunch.

I then had my first meal somewhere nearby while waiting for the hour to pass.

I went back 10 minutes past an hour and hallelujah, our passport were ready to be collected. But there were no officer at the window so I had to wait 😑 Counter for collection is at counter 19, 20 or 21.

How my passport photos evolved throughout the years lol (top to bottom : the latest to the oldest)

The place is actually equipped with a play area for kids.

And a nursing room for breastfeeding moms. Have to give credit for these facilities.

By the time I collected our passport, it was already 12pm. I expected to get everything done by 11am but oh well. I still got to catch 2 movies with my husband who met up with me at the mall later.

Hope this info is useful if you're planning to renew your passport at Putrajaya.

Brow and Eyeliner Embroidery by Jasimin Juliet De Silva

Nowadays it seems like every other girl have had eyebrow embroidery done! It's like a beauty trend that makes your life so much easier without having to wake up an extra 20 minutes just to get those brows drawn perfectly.

I started trimming my brows when I was 16. I went to those beauty saloon where the beautician would plug and shave the brows and charges rm5 for each service. I used to go every 2 months. Before the next visit, I would try to do it myself at home until I feel they're obviously imbalanced lol.

At the age of 18, I naively went to get my brows tattooed. And boy, one side was extremely thin and has an high arch, it looked horrible! The beautician who tattooed for me blamed it on the shape of my brow, saying it was higher hence she couldn't draw properly and balance the 2 brows so it has to be that way. ç„¡å¾—æ•‘ already. BULL SHIT LA! I didn't know why I kept myself quiet but I should have asked for another beautician to do it for me. When I went for touch up later, her other colleague was also shocked to see how imbalanced my brows were and tried her best to help me balance them out. But she couldn't as my right brow's arch was really high.

Taken in 2012. Can you see how the brow on the left is higher than the right side?

So for the longest time, my hair is side parted just so I could cover the right brow with my hair.

Now you know.

The brow tattoos had already faded after a few years to reddish tone but I'm lucky to have thick (and messy) brows. I'd trim them myself but now with a baby, I really have no extra time for that (read: lazy).

And when Korean brows are in trend, I feel so weird looking at my own red thin narrowed brows.

This was taken in July 2015. It's like I have almost no brows!

So one day, I was looking through an FB group that has ladies promoting their service and I came across Jasimin's post. The pictures of her work look promising. Let me show you some.




Natural and nice right?

So I contacted her, got the information I needed and made an appointment with her.

Jasimin is a home-based beautician so the serviced took place at her own home. 

She uses really good numbing cream and it was not painful! At certain areas I felt a bit of discomfort like if someone is scratching me. If you feel pain, just ask Jasimin for more numbing cream.

For 3D embroidery, she uses a thin, fine blade to imbue the ink instead of the traditional vibrating tattoo needle to tattoo "hair" like strokes on your brows.

And here's the result!

Right side. See the high arch before the 3D embroidery? Jasimin added thickness to try to balance the shape out.

Left side.

After the embroidery, it is natural for the brows to look a little harsh. The ink will scab over and fall off, leaving a lighter color.

For a few days I walked around with more severe looking brows, but nothing bad. The skin around the brows will also be dry, but Jasimin will give you a cream for that.

You can see from the 2 pictures above that I did eyeliner embroidery too. For eyeliner, she uses the traditional vibrating needle to draw the line but it's not painful at all thanks to that cream.

Here's how I look now. With more refined brows :)

You can see the brow on the right side is still slightly higher but Jasimin had tried her best and I think they're better now as compare to before I did the embroidery.

So if you like what you see, give Jasimin a call. By the way, it's pronounce as Jas-min. Not Je-see-min lolol. You can ask her why if you decided to engage her with her service. Or else, you can also call her Juliet as that's her middle name.

Charges for eyebrow/  eyeliner  embroidery are as follow:

Eyebrow embroidery - RM850 (1 FOC touch up)
Eyeliner embroidery - RM400 (1 FOC touch up)

If you wanna look prettier for the new year, call her at 012 - 290 8938

10 Things I Don't Need in Welcoming a New Baby

Being a new parent is often overwhelming and exciting. Before the baby comes, we want to make sure that we're well prepared - financially, mentally and environmentally haha. But let's face it, not everyone can be financially and mentally well prepared all the time. So most of us will try our very best to be environmentally prepared for the baby.

Charlotte is very blessed with a lot of hand-me-downs so it really saves us a lot. Yet I thought that there're plenty more to prepare to welcome this little baby, who actually doesn't need so many things! If I could do it all over again, here are 10 things I wouldn't buy to welcome a new baby.

1. Sterilizer

My lactation consultant once told me that I don't have to sterilize the bottles everyday or after every use. Same goes to those pumping parts. All you need to do is to clean them throughly and let them air-dry. It's advisable to only strilize the bottles once a week. Or, if you still wanna sterilize it, just pour in some hot water and swirl it in the bottle before using. I bought this Little Bean Sterilizer cause it has an upper tray that I could sterilize my freemie. Also because it comes with a milk bottle warmer (kiam, I know). Which brings me to my second point.

2. Milk Bottle Warmer

This is quite useless if you're a lactating mother who feeds your child directly from the breast all the time. Even when Charlotte was with a nanny for a while, I didn't need to bring it to the nanny cause she would warm the milk the conventional way by placing the milk bottle that contains thawed milk in a cup of warm water for about 10 minutes  until you don't feel a temperature when you place the bottle on your palm as that's the right temperature of the milk for your baby. Sometimes she even thawed it until room temperate before feeding, which works fine as well. I did use it to warm up all Charlotte's frozen puree, though, when she started solids. Until one day I accidentally dropped it and it has a crack and cannot hold water anymore. Then I just reheat her puree by defrosting the puree in the fridge over night and then steam it the conventional way the next morning for 10 minutes.

3. Cot

If only I listened to one of my friends' advise earlier, I could really save on this cost. When Charlotte was able to roll over, especially in her sleep, she'd be awaken by herself when she hit herself on the panel.

Imagine this happening every. single. hour. throughout the night. RIP sleep.

Then when she was able to hold on the panel to stand up, we had to lower the mattress so she wouldn't trip over and fall.

We also removed one side of the panel so that it's easier for me to pick her up for mid night feeding. But this IKEA cot was not designed to be that way.

In January when she was 9 months old, we decided to get her a Queen size mattress so she could sleep on the floor. With a body so small and with pillows to baricade, she could still fall off her bed and it happens almost every week. Graceful, Charlotte. Graceful.

Her cot is now placed in another room that's intended for her.

We wanted to sell it off but I hold that thought cause... well, who knows, maybe we'll have another one in the future and it may come in handy?

The reason why I bought this cot was because I was convinced that I could use it for a very long time. When Charlotte has out grown the cot, I thought I could do some recreational work with it.

Like converting it into a study table for her! I like the idea but it's always easier said than done. We'll see.

4. Bouncer

The bouncer is useful BEFORE the baby learns how to roll over. This is useful because it's mobilazable. My cousin lent me the conventional one as shown below.

But Charlotte keeps falling down even when I put her in the "belt".

And there's no support to her head and neck so her head is always tilted to a side.

Smirking 😏😏😏

Judging me for watching TV lol.

So most of the time when I need to do something, I just place her in her cot. When I need to watch some tv shows, I just carry her cause that's all I wanted to do than to have her lying in the boucer staring at me with that judging look lol.

5. Baby Body Talc

Talcum dusting powder is commonly used to reduce rashes and diaper irritation in babies and infants. But this practice is dangerous as it can result in the inhalation of significant amounts of powder, causing acute or chronic lung irritation, known as talcosis.

But I'm sure you'll be given this as a gift during your baby shower or full moon celebration. Well, keep calm as here are 7 Suprising Uses For Baby Powder.

Dry Shampoo Your Hair. Extend a great blowout, enhance bohemian waves, or soak up shine by using our baby powder as a chemical- and talc-free dry shampoo. The arrowroot powder and cornstarch won’t strip your hair, leaving it fresh and voluminous even after an afternoon yoga session. Lift your hair and sprinkle powder underneath the section you’re styling. Gently rub it into your scalp to absorb excess oil. And, after a few short minutes, brush out any powder remaining on your strands.

Ready, Set, Makeup. Go ahead, leave your makeup bag behind and carry that chic clutch to your dinner date. Opt for a dusting powder made without talc, phthalates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. Extend the staying power of your lipstick by dusting your lips before you apply your fave color. Then set your foundation to create a flawless finish.

After-Shave Alternative. Post shave, gently rub on baby powder to soothe and soften your skin.

Beat the heat. Use baby powder to absorb sweat and leave your skin soft and dry. Some people even recommend it as an alternative to deodorant! Apply it following a shower and you’ll be set for the day.

Get Fresh Kicks. Keep your shoes and feet feeling fresh, especially after taking them on a summer run. Sprinkle baby powder on your insoles, let it stand overnight, and dump it out in the morning for airy smelling shoes.

Magically Repel Sand. Leave the sand at the shore by sprinkling some baby powder over sand-covered kids to wick away excess moisture and easily brush off any traces of the beach.

Be a Cool Camper. Sprinkle baby powder over your sheets to keep them cool when you sleep. But what about when you move your “bed” outdoors? Enjoy a refreshing night camping under the stars by similarly dusting the interior of your sleeping bag with powder — a hot summer night won’t put a damper on your great (or backyard) adventure.

(Source from Honestly)

6. Stroller

We bought a stroller from taobao. The stroller was nice and all but it's very troublesome to get around. You have to take the elevator in the mall just to get from one floor to another. And since I'm out and about with Charlotte alone most of the time, it was quite difficult for me to carry a 10kg+ stroller around. It was even difficult enough just to get it out of the car.

But if you really need a decent (and affordable stroller), I would recommend you this.

The Seebaby QQ series. They're good for travelling as they're light-weighted (less than 5kg).

7. Kangaroo Hip Seat Carrier

Another reason why I despite the stroller is because I was introduced to the wonders of a carrier. I have long decided that attachment parenting is for me and a carrier is very much essential. But before I was introduced to the different type of carriers, the prices already pull me back. So when I saw this at the baby fair at the price of RM79, I bought it there and then.

Wrong move.

Though I have no issue carrying Charlotte in this Kangaroo Hip Seat Carrier, I have major issues carrying her in it when I was still teaching as a tutor cause it was difficult for me to sit down with it strapped on me.

If you think having a carrier is for you, my advise is to try them on before deciding on one as there're so many type of carriers out there. I've tried Wraps, Ring Slings, Pouch Slings and Buckle/Soft Structured Carriers. I'll be writing a review on all of them soon so stay tuned if you're interested to know the differences. There's a group on Facebook that allows parents to swap and exchange carriers but it's now a private group. But if you have friend who could lend you any carrier to try, please test out first before deciding which one suits you. It's advisable to get a carrier after your baby is born so you could try them on with your baby. You really don't have to rush in getting one. And trust me, even though it's kinda pricey, it's one of my best investments.

8. Baby Swaddle Sleeping Bag

The picture you see here is a happy baby being swaddled but you should know very well that this is just a marketing gimmick. Baby this big (assuming 3 to 5 months old) would already prefer having his hands and legs free for movements. Swaddling is no doubt an excellent tool for comforting babies especially during their newborn days because babies startle a lot. Swaddling helps to keep them calm. You can read more about swaddling HERE.

I swaddle Charlotte all the time during her newborn days.

It really calms her down and she tends to sleep longer.

But what I'm saying is, you don't have to buy a swaddle sleeping bag. Instead, get a swaddle blanket, which is like a bigger piece of cloth. Besides swaddling, you could also use it as a burp cloth, tummy time blanket, nursing cover, stroller cover or even a changing table cover when you're at a public baby room.

9. Loads of baby clothes

Disclaimer: Image taken from the internet. Not Charlotte's lolol.

Charlotte is really lucky to have a lot of hand-me-down clothes from her second cousins. And since she's out with me to work almost everyday, she only changes 2 outfits throughout the day - one for going out and one pajamas. And it really isn't that neccessary to buy clothes in all sizes given that there are options from 0-3 months, 3-6 months, so on and so forth. Some babies pack on weight fast and might be bursting 6-9 months old outfits at just 4 months old.

I change Charlotte's wardrobe every 3 to 4 months. She'd have 9 rompers (2 as extras just in case of emergency) and 7 pajamas. Now that her growth is not as rapid as before, she has 5 pair of outfits (shirt and pants), 3 dresses for going out and 5 pajamas (I don't change them everyday now. If it's clean, I'll let her wear again the next day). I know there are really a lot of pretty and cute outfit out there for kids. Just remember that they really don't need that many.

But do you know what you could never have enough? Handkerchief and towels lol. You'll know what I mean when you're a parent.

10. Expensive Toys

Really. Whatever age-appropriate stated on the box... is a lie. Your kids will be more interested in the wet wipes packet, keys, remote control, fragile decorations and your hair.