Style Essence Makeover Workshop + Giveaway

I came to know this interesting community of mummies’ bloggers over the last 1 year. And last week, Singapore Mom Bloggers (SMB) celebrated its’ 1st Birthday in style with Style Essence which conducted a makeover workshop for the mummies of the group. I was happy to steal some time away from the squishy new-born to attend this event.

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Style Essence is founded by Florinda Tay who was our well-groomed, humorous trainer for the day. She was an ex-leading flight stewardess with Singapore Airlines and currently a master trainer in Mary Kay.

Rachel (founder of SMB) with Florinda:SE3

I remembered attending similar sessions such as this before. Vanity started in schooling days when a trainer came to school and taught us about colours, how to have the right social etiquette and etc.

It seemed ages since I last attended a beautifying workshop like this one. Flo shared many useful tips from dressing, colors to latest trends, skin care and my favourite – make up!

Through the concise workshop, we also learnt about our body shape (“column” or maybe I should say “clown” shape for my post-delivery body!), what colors works for our skin tones and the choice of clothing style which can enhance your look.

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Something quite different in this workshop was the hands on experience with skin care products. This step is not commonly offered elsewhere due to the hassle in logistics.

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Skin care is so important but often neglected by most sleep-deprived-overworked-mummies. I am so guilty of it too!

Among the various products I tried, I fell in love with the following 3 products:

1) TimeWise 3-in-1 Cleanser: This is part of their Miracle series. Meant to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, even skin tone and promote soft supple skin. It was evident in some participants’ faces that their faces were more uplifting after the skin care session.

2) Botanical Effects Mask: what caught my attention is the inclusion of luo han guo (also known as the longevity fruit) as one of it’s antioxidant ingredient. Loved the richness and uplifting effect of the creamy mask.

3) Stain Lips Lip Mask: This contains miniature buffing beads that gently exfoliate dead surface skin cells. Very useful for all the built up of lipstick wear and coffee/tea stains. Love the immediate smooth feel after usage.

I am so going to purchase above reasonably-priced products after my current ones ran out!

The last segment was M.A.K.E U.P!

We had lotsa fun experimenting with various colors. Having taken some make up courses before, I really enjoyed putting colors on my face. It’s amazing how make up can totally brighten up one’s face.

Mummies tend to be really busy machines and we forgotten the usefulness of some colors on our faces. My little tips on a quick make up if you only have 5 to 10 mins:

  • use a good 2 way cake foundation with good coverage so that you can do a dry quick application with sponge. You can save the liquid foundation when you can afford time to blend.
  • use a khol eyebrow pencil so it glides on faster
  • use blusher and lipgloss/lipstick no matter what because these 2 will brighten your face immediately
  • use eye colors and mascara if you can afford a bit more time. Eyeliner helps to define the eyes but it’s probably one of the hardest to manage if you don’t have time. I will normally skip eyeliner for quick make ups
  • lastly: know the best looking feature of your face and pay more attention to that feature as it will be the main focus when you add make up colors to it

Of course, I am sans make up at the market, grocery store and on quick errands. Natural is good; but with age – make up helps a lot!

It was a great girly time with all these beautiful mummies!

group photo

Photo credit: Style Essence

If you are keen to attend such a workshop (worth S$150 per session), Style Essence will generously sponsor 3 readers of this blog! Please leave a comment on this post & winning numbers will be randomly picked. Style Essence will contact you if you are one of the winners.

Closing date of giveaway will be on 14th April 2013; 2359hrs.

A BIG thank you to Style Essence for hosting this workshop and Rachel for organising it!

Happy 1st Birthday SMB! “)

SingaporeMomBloggers

Updates (18th April 2013):

Random draw of this giveaway winners are:

1) Eileen Png

2) Irene Cheng

3) Lynnlly

I have provided your email addresses to Style Essence which will be in contact.

Congratulations!

 

Lunch at Beanstro–The new Bistro

Sponsored Food Review

We were invited for a food tasting last week at Beanstro – a casual dining restaurant by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

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If you go shopping at Ngee Ann City often, it’s hard to miss this restaurant. You will see the familiar brown and woody deco when you glance upwards from the atrium.

This is their second halal-certified Beanstro. The first successful outlet is located at Marina Bay Sands. The company has plans to open up 2 more restaurants in Singapore.

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We were ushered in promptly. The warm lighting and cozy ambience set the mood for a great lunch!
I love restaurants which provide booth-like seats. Beanstro has them in U-shapes; thus making it easier to seat more people comfortably.

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I brought along 2 makan-kakis – Siangling & Maxie – who share common love for food. A senior server attended to us while we pored over the menu; trying to decide what to order from the extensive American-style options.

Finally we decided to share selections from the various categories so as to sample a wider variety. After we placed our orders, Steven – the restaurant manager – came by and apologised that he was away when we arrived. He said that he had a look through our orders and would like to recommend some others as those are the signatures. We were happy to take on his suggestions.

It was a short wait before the drinks and food arrived:

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Our drinks – Sunrise, Mucho Mango Fru Tea & Black Forest. All familiar drinks well mastered by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf; can’t go wrong with it.

First dish served up is one of their rustic soups: French Onion Soup.

Most of the time, it’s not my first choice of soup but I must say this proved me wrong! The piece of cheese toast complemented the soup too. Yumz!

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Next up is one of their signatures: Tuna Nicoise. This is a classic French dish; yellow-fin tuna loin coated with sesame.

The tuna is soft on the inside and slightly pinked on the edges. The accompanying raw onion and cheery tomato went well together with the tuna.

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We had 2 items from their breakfast selections:

One of them was the Classic Eggs Benedict. This was strongly recommended by Steven – a “MUST TRY”.

The poached eggs with hollandaise sauce were my all-time favourite being runny and gooey. However the chicken ham was a little disappointing; taste being too processed and tough. Otherwise, it’s a fair recommendation for a hearty meal.

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2nd breakfast item which we choose was the Breakfast Steak and Eggs.

The accompanying blackcurrant onions were yummy and sweet! Unfortunately, the beef sirloin was overdone and a tad too tough for our liking.

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We also sampled 2 vegetarian options:

1) The Grilled Portobello mushroom with melted Emmental cheese and ragout of capsicum, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula. The mushroom was grilled nicely; a little crunchy on the outside without losing the mushroom flavour on the inside. Perhaps I love a more robust taste; thus felt that further marinates will enhance this dish.

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2) Caprese – Grilled Ciabatta Sandwich with fresh mozzarella cheese and semi-dried tomato & pesto.

I loved this! Simple but oh-so fresh ingredients won my taste buds! This make a quick and light afternoon snack.

Worth a try if you are not in a meat-y mood.

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The mains were next.

A worthy mention is their signature: Vongole – Squid ink spaghetti with New Zealand clams tossed in extra virgin olive oil.

Steven told us that because Beanstro is a halal-certified restaurant, the chef cannot use wine in this dish which is commonly used in the preparation.

Instead, the clever use of chilli-padi gave this dish its’ kick and I love the fact that your mouth won’t be smeared with squid ink on a hot date!

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We also had the Chilean cod fish with mashed potatoes and sautéed greens in a seafood broth.

I am not a fan of fish dishes due to presence of bones and their fishy smell/taste; thus I would normally avoid ordering them.

Our in-house food gourmet commenter (Maxie) said the best way to know if a restaurant does a good job is to order their fishes. And that we did!

I must say the cod is fresh and when served with the seafood broth; there is no fishy taste whatsoever.

Won this non-fish-lover over!

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As all good meals have to be, we had something sweet to end the meal. Steven proposed 2 favourites amongst the rest:

Bread & Butter Pudding (my all-time favourite!) and Cheery Clafouti.

The bread & butter pudding was served in a mug-sized bowl. The buttery sweet bread was a prefect contrast with the tangy-lemony sauce & its’ serving is just nice for a sweet ending.

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My two companions loved the cherry clafouti – it’s sweet/sour taste.

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Overall it was a pleasant dining experience. Thank you Beanstro & my 2 makan-kakis for joining me!

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A conveniently located beanstro with a cozy setting for catch-ups with friends; a place for a cuppa & dessert to rest your legs after shopping the halls or a full hearty course with the family!

Do check it up when you are next in town. Smile

Beanstro – Ngee Ann City

391 Orchard Road

#B1-37 Ngee Ann City

Singapore 238872

Mon – Sun: 8am – 11pm

N.B: This is a sponsored food tasting review. All photos and opinions are based on personal dining experience on premise.

Special Delivery

Following up from my last post, our darling little boy has arrived!

Eizac Chen Kai En – God’s special delivery to our home.

His birth story is not as eventful as his older brother’s (thankfully) but quite an experience by itself. Before my post-delivery cotton brains become more fluffy; here goes the story:

30th January 2013; 9am

It was Week 37 + 3 days of gestation for Baby Eizac. I had the next week planned out before the scheduled caesarean on 6th Feb 2013. There were a million and one more things to complete before Baby Eizac’s arrival. With the pending Chinese New Year festival season; we were trying to get ready for the festive days; settle Xi En into his not-so-new school + get ready the house & resources for Eizac’s arrival.

I drove Xi En to school at 9am and my mum decided to take the day off to visit my nephew in the west.

10:30am

Cleared most of my work-related matters. Passed some documents and keys to my colleague who drove by to take over my work. Settled down at home to finish up on my Korean drama serial. Last few episodes to go; best to finish up before my life is all about washing milk bottles; breastfeeding; soiled diapers and more soiled diapers. 😛

12-2pm

Had my lunch. I recalled it was instant noodles. Was hungry again at 130pm. Ate some chips and chocolates. Finally full by 2pm.

Decided to nap at 2pm. Such luxury is only reserved for the heavily pregnant. 🙂 Before I could even lie down on the bed, I felt a gush of discharge. Experience tells me it’s not too good.

Quick check in the loo to discover a river of unstoppable bleed.

That’s it – I told myself. Eizac must have decided to go heads on with the placenta!

It was a moment of panic. I was A.L.O.N.E at home. The hospital bag which was meant to be packed is still somewhere in my head.

I don’t want to be delivering my baby at home!

Breathe-in; Breathe-out; I told myself. Think straight. Yes – In & Out; In & Out (no, not the burgers!)

While trying to stop the bleed; I called 995. Amidst my panicky voice, I managed to tell the operator my address and explained the situation.

And amazingly; I managed to grab a bag and threw in most of the essential stuff which I might need (told you the hospital bag was “in my head”).

Called Kim next and told him baby’s on his way!

Sent a SMS to my obstetrician next.  I was so worried that she wasn’t back from her travels. She did highlighted that she was travelling during the week and I wasn’t sure if she was back in town.  Thankfully, she replied almost immediately to say she will see me directly at the delivery suite. Phew… it was a huge relief to know that my trusted obstetrician will be delivering Eizac.

210pm

Ambulance arrived with the paramedics in 10 mins flat. I managed to lug the bag, my tummy and myself to the door. The paramedics asked me to get onto the stretcher (propped in a sitting position).

I told them I need to lock the doors first because no one is at home. I wasn’t thinking straight I think. They scolded me and told me they will lock up. Asked me to get on asap.

Errm.. I forgot I called for help, hey. :S

230pm

It was taking so long to get to the hospital. I whipped out my trusty iPhone and turned on the GPS. Found out that the driver was taking a longer route than what I would have taken. Told the paramedics so and they assured me that the driver knew where he’s going. But of course.

Kim reached earlier than me. His cab was faster than the ambulance.

I arrived at the delivery suite by 230/240pm. It’s all so familiar again…. déjà vu. Seemed like just yesterday I was here; struggling with my first pregnancy.

Settled in; CTG machine on. I text Dr again to let her know I reached.

3pm

Dr came and did all the necessary checks. No dilation. CTG readings seemed ok. No distress signs.

She consulted with us and we all agreed to go ahead with the caesarean today. But my last intake of food was at 2pm and a safer guide will be to do the operation 6 hours after last meal.

Because of placenta previa major, she was undecided if we should go with an epidural or a full-on anaesthesia. The concern is – if the loss of blood was heavy during the caesarean; they would need to transfer me to another theatre and put me on anaesthesia to stop the bleeding.

After consultation with the anaesthetist, we opt for the half body epidural… first.

730pm

Dr came in again and said that we need to wait a while more for the operating theatre to be freed and the anaesthetist to finish up with the last operation.

And so we waited; I waited; Eizac waited.

750pm

Finally! Everyone was ready!

The nurses pushed me down the special passage way and handed over to the OT nurses. Kim was led away to another “secret” waiting area for all the daddies. He wasn’t allowed into the OT because we choose to be in a subsided ward + it was considered an emergency caesarean (again). He was happier this way ‘cos he’s not a huge fan of anything bloody (except medium-rare beef). 🙂

8pm

Though it wasn’t my first caesarean operation, I was still a pack of nerves.  There were at least 10 staff buzzing around in the theatre; doing their daily jobs; while I wait like a lamb to be slaughter. Ok; not really. Just almost akin to that. 😛

The anaesthetist was a confident man and called the shots in the theatre. He prepped and started off with the long needle.

One nurse was holding my shoulders to keep me from jerking (it was cold and I was all nerves). Another nurse came over and asked that nurse if she want to go for her break first; she can take over. “NO!” I almost screamed. I asked that 2nd nurse to go away. Leave the first nurse in her position. I can’t guarantee that I won’t move in the midst of the administration of the epidural! Don’t mess with a pregnant woman in the middle of a epidural administration! Grrrggg…..

815 – 830pm

Obstetrician came in her scrubs. Reassured me that she will do her best.

The assistant anaesthetist tested me with an ice pack. This time round, they waited for me to give an all-clear before Dr proceeded with her knife.

During Xi En’s time, I remembered they couldn’t wait for the whole effect of the epidural.

830pm – 850pm

I felt the tugs and nudges. Oh and the familiar coldness of the effect of the epidural.

They tug and pull and pushed. Finally, the anaesthetist (a slightly bigger-built guy) helped to push Baby Eizac from the upper half of my abdomen. Man.. he has some strength!

Wail!!!!!!!! I heard the cries. It’s so relieving to hear him. Dr exclaimed that he’s huge!

The nurses whisked him off for a clean up and checks. But they didn’t bring him back!!!

I thought this time round, I could have a warm fuzzy shot of my newly delivered baby on my chest. Ermm.. not so.

They didn’t tell me what happened. Just said that the doctor was checking him.

9pm

It was taking longer than usual to sew me up. I was staring at the clock and almost dozing off with the calming medicine they pumped into my iv drips.

Subsequently Dr told me that she purposefully waited to see if there were more bleeds before she proceeded with closing me up. Thank God, the bleeds from the placenta weren’t that bad.

Finally I was done. The nurses came back and told me that Eizac was sent to the Special Care Nursery (SCN) due to some breathing issues. My heart skipped a beat while I was sent to the recovery ward.

920pm

Dr came by to see how I was and told me she will help to go to SCN to check on Eizac.

She came back and reassured me that everything seemed fine. Eizac was opening his eyes and drinking milk while she was there.

It’s probably a transient issue.

950pm

I was sent to the post operating area (POA). It’s not the usual ward as Dr decided to be more careful due to my hyperthyroidism issue coupled with placenta previa major.

Kim came by and told me that he saw baby Eizac.

He’s so cute and round! Of a very healthy weight too – 3.235kg! 51cm.

All was good. They just need to keep him in SCN for a night to observe him further.

31st April 2013

Baby Eizac Chen Kai En – our 2nd precious darling boy – was discharged from SCN.

Both of us were finally in the regular wards.

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It’s day 51 today and he went through 6 jaundice and 2 thyroid checks. We were in and out of KKH and the polyclinic throughout Chinese New Year till now.

Finally his prolonged jaundice was cleared up after 1+ month and the doctor gave him an all clear for his thyroid panels as well.

He’s a cute little bundle of joy and I am so happy to celebrate motherhood 2nd time round!

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