Monday, 25 July 2016

MiaMily HIPSTER Baby Carrier

It has been a long time since I had reviewed a carrier. However, I couldn't resist trying out the MiaMily Hipster, which has been tested and approved by The International Hip Dysplasia Institute and Baby Carrier Industry Alliance as a hip healthy product. I've often gotten feedback that Hip Carriers are not good for baby's hips so this intrigued me to give it a try.

MiaMily Hipster
(Retail price: S$199)
Swiss brand MiaMily's 2-in-1 Baby Hip Carrier

I was given the ruby red, which was really striking and great for carrying both boys and girls.

The MiaMily Hipster, laid out horizontally
The hip seat, which can be attached to the double shoulder strap
Small pocket on the waist belt for putting tiny stuff
Inner portion of the waist belt is well cushioned for your comfort
Front pocket of the double shoulder strap
(it'll be better if the pocket has a zip on top though otherwise things such as cards or phones might drop out)
The pocket can be removed to give your child greater ventilation
(but that would mean no pocket for your things)
A simple white hood for projecting your child's head
These white strap pads aren't the prettiest but they get the job down by protecting your straps from a teething baby or giving you additional support on your shoulders should you need it.
Would be better if they were of a nicer colour or design though.
The MiaMily Hipster comes with a foldable bag to put your carrier when you don't need it and folds up when you do. I thought that this was something very useful that other hip seat carriers do not come with.

This is not my first time using a hip seat carrier so I'm quite familiar with all the different ways that you can carry your child with it. There are 9 different ways you can carry your child with a MiaMily Hipster but these are my favourites:

1) Front Face-to-Face

Carrying my boy at Koh Samui International Airport while waiting to clear immigration

2) Front-Facing

I know this position isn't the best for his hips but my super active boy loves it as he gets to see things other than my chin.
I try to limit carrying him in this position for short periods of time.

3) Back

Carrying him like a backpack. Great on the shoulders for me but not so comfortable for him because my hair keeps flying into his face
(you can tell he's not really happy about it)

When using the MiaMily Hipster, I did notice that it does provide more support for my boy's legs as compared to my other hip seat carrier (which causes my boy's legs to droop more). However, I also acknowledged that the support is still less than other cloth carriers so do weigh the pros and cons when deciding between the different types of carriers. Do also note that hip seat carriers are not suitable for very young babies who are not able to sit up by themselves.

Well as you can see, all my favourite positions require the shoulder straps as I prefer to go hands-free. However, you may prefer to use it without the straps as some kids don't like to be strapped in.

With my boy getting more and more active and climbing out of our strollers even though we had strapped him in, it's useful to strap him tightly into a carrier so that he can't get away (this is especially useful if you're shopping in a store full of breakables and you don't want your hyperactive toddler to destroy anything). One of the reasons why I still put my boy in a carrier even though he's getting almost too big for it.

The other reason is that I really love having him so close to me! I really miss the days when he used to breastfeed and sleep in the carrier! Nowadays he's only in it when we need to restraint him. Ah well, at least I can still carry him in the MiaMily Hipster. I think that I will really cry when I can no longer carry my boy in a carrier any more. They really grow up too fast!! *sigh*


P.S: Follow My Baby Carrier Reviews as I personally put various baby carriers to the ultimate test! Do also keep yourself informed of Babywearing Safety tips when buying or using baby carriers =)

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Disclosure: A complimentary baby carrier was received from MiaMily for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Monday, 18 July 2016

My 2.5 Years Postpartum Weight Loss Report

Let's be honest, I'm probably the least likely person to give advice on this but seeing as I had gained a grand total of 28kg after two pregnancies and have lost 23kg (back to my pre-baby-number-2 weight), I should probably share so that you'll be encouraged =)

The first 18kg in the first 6 months after I had given birth to Baby Boy was relatively easy for me. I was breastfeeding and doing pilates regularly.

And then my weight loss stalled and try as I might, I didn't make much progress after one year. In fact, I sometimes gained some of the weight I had lost (which is not surprising since muscles are heavier than fat).

Me at Phuket last year, struggling to continue the weight loss

To encourage myself, I told myself that I should love my body because decades down the road when menopause hits, I'm going to want this body back.

So I did. I stopped fretting about absolute weight loss and focused on training my abs. God also encouraged me that if I had lost the weight too quickly, I would gain them back quickly too.

And slowly but surely, I had lost a grand total of.. 2kg (actually more like 4kg since I had gained some weight). After all that effort of limiting the amount of CNY goodies that I ate this Chinese New Year too! Well, at least I am now in the acceptable weight range and no longer overweight! *cheers*

20kg down, 8kg to go

Then my weight loss started to speed up to my surprise, I had lost 3kg more since Chinese New Year! It may not sound like a lot but it was enough to get me from XL/L to L/M! Time to buy new clothes! =)

Many of you have asked me what I did to reach this point in my weight loss journey so here's sharing the changes I made in the last 6 months:

1) EAT BROWN RICE

I was having a conversation with a health-conscious-gym-nut colleague (packs his own lunch every single day! *gasp*) who convinced me that white noodles (which I love so much!) is worse than white rice in terms of calories! That thought bothered me a lot, hence, I bought brown rice and started to eat it everyday.

The brown rice that I eat every evening for dinner.
As brown rice is a lot more filling, you don't need to eat a lot of it to feel full (unlike white rice).

The awesome Chef Grandma (the mum-in-law) also packed lunch for me to eat at work. This saved me a lot of money as I had recently started work in Orchard and the food here is crazy expensive.

My homecooked meal that I bring to work at least twice a week

It's not easy to find brown rice in Singapore so I've had to eat white rice or noodles whenever I can't find brown rice. As much as possible though, I eat brown rice because not only is it more nutritious, it keeps you full for longer (which means less snacking!).


2) REDUCE PORTION SIZE

Share a bowl of noodles or rice with your child whenever possible so that you can reduce your food intake. Over time your stomach will shrink and won't be able to eat anything more even if you wanted to (this happened to me!). It helps to tell yourself, "that's enough, I can't eat any more" so that your brain gets the message. We really don't need all the calories that we eat anyway!


3) REDUCE INTAKE OF DIET COKE

For those of you who know me, you'd know that I love Coke Light!! I love it so much that I drank it everyday, even during confinement when I wasn't allowed to. Everyone keeps telling me that even though there are no calories in Coke, it will still lead to weight loss because of the high salt content. It causes A LOT if water retention, especially at the belly area! But did I listen? No.

Not until I switched to brown rice. I found that I craved for Coke Light less and less. To the point that I don't stock my fridge with them any more and whatever is in my fridge has expired!

Of course, there are moments of weakness when I caved but c'mon, I'm human. Let's get real *laughs*


4) DRINK WATER WHEN YOU'RE HUNGRY

My huge 1.5 litre pink water bottle

If you've just had a heavy meal and minutes later you're hungry (should not be the case if you had brown rice), drink water! Sometimes your body misinterprets thirst for hunger. I brought my huge 1.5 litre bottle to work and drink whenever I feel hungry or stressed.


5) INTENSIFY YOUR WORKOUT

I now know, having discovered my love for Pilates, that the key to consistent exercise is finding one that you love and sticking with it. Nobody could believe that it has been almost 3 years since I had started Pilates, and I'm still going strong. I love it!

However, you'd stagnate over time if you keep doing the same movement over and over again. If you've been doing the same exercises for a while now, it is time to up the tempo.

A fellow Pilates friend took this photo of me doing a plank on the reformer.
This is actually the easiest plank; we do a lot harder ones during Weight Loss Plus, which includes lifting our legs and moving our arms up and down while in the plank position.

For me, I signed myself up for Weight Loss Plus Pilates classes instead of the usual Weight Loss classes, which had gotten too easy for me. The exercises really pushed me and at the end of most classes, I was panting like crazy and wondering why I put myself through such torture.

Well, this. That's what!

I've got abs! Think the last time I had them was in Junior College!
(Yes I know, I still have some fats on my tummy to lose but for now I'm going to celebrate! Step by step *grin*)
I never dared to wear a midriff ever since I've given birth until now.
After 2.5 years, I finally feel like I'm confident enough to wear a bikini again =)

Of course, what worked for me may not necessarily work for you. And it did take me 2.5 years to lose all the weight from Baby #2 (you may need longer or shorter) *pfffft to all of you who lost weight simply by sneezing!!!!*

And, it's ok for your weight to stagnate. Muscles weigh more than fats and it will take a while for your muscles to build up. Just remember that once you have developed the muscles, you will lose weight just sitting because the muscles are still consuming calories. It will be worth it in the end!

25kg down, 5kg to go!

To tell you the truth, I'd be happy if I had just lost 3kg! Break the mould that you'd be stuck at a certain weight and all that. It's time to up my exercises at home! Will update you again, hopefully with a good report =)

Monday, 4 July 2016

Girl's Lego Friends 6th Birthday

The best thing about having a girl is being able to dress her in our favourite Disney Princess outfit for her birthday every year. This year was supposed to be Ariel in The Little Mermaid but I couldn't find an outfit that both of us could agree on (on hindsight, I probably should have bought an outfit when we visited Tokyo DisneySea last year). Eventually we decided to go with Lego Friends since she has more than 10 boxes of them and counting (I know right?! *laughs*).

Of course I Googled for ideas and decided to use a few that I think is doable for a time-strapped FTWM like me.

The first idea was to create DIY Lego necklaces for the kids to make themselves.

Bought a box of Lego Classics for the materials
(kept the rest for my kids to play with hehe)
Pick out the pieces that have holes in them so that you can thread the string through
Mix and match different shapes and sizes for the necklaces!

Here's a TIP from personal experience after observing the kids:
1) More Lego pieces does NOT mean it's better - the kids dropped a lot of the bigger pieces.
2) Small and flat pieces worked the best. If they had interesting details even better!

Packed them up into plastic bags and viola! =)
(the string I used was a simple elastic string that you can get anywhere)


Next was the Lego Goodie Bags, which were in the Lego Friends colours of pink and purple.

Got thick paper and colourful paper bags
(ideally the paper should not match the paper bag so that there will be enough contrast)
Drew circles with a water bottle I've got at home
Clockwise from left: Girl helped me to cut out the circles;
Stuck 6 of them on the bag and viola!;
All the bags ready for the party!

I thought it would also be fun to make Lego Jelly but since this mama is terrible in the kitchen, it was up to Chef Grandma to work her magic on this one.

The Lego Bricks mould I bought from Bricksworld
Chef Grandma pouring in the melted agar agar mixture

As I had only one mould, the whole process was super tedious!! Patient Chef Grandma took a few days before she was finally done. And the kids loved it!

The finished products all ready for the kids to savour
(could have been better presented but well who cares?
Nice to eat good enough right? *laughs*)

Finally, the cake! I decided the easiest will be to buy a simple rainbow cake and put my girl's Lego Friends on top! Cheap and good! =)

Washing the Lego parts with baby dishwashing liquid

I used the smallest structure I could find that could fit on the cake, added my girl's favourite character (Stephanie) and made a J out of pink Lego bricks. I think my girl was satisfied with the overall effect! =)

The end product! Love it =)
All ready for a party!

We started the kids with a short activity where they got to make their own Lego Necklaces. Most of them had fun =)

Putting the necklace together with instructions from the teachers
All done! Looks great right? =)
Singing happy birthday to my girl, after which she was more than eager to cut her own cake

We decided to let her wear a simple Lego Friends t-shirt to keep with the theme. There's always time for Disney next year.

The kids loving their rainbow cake and Lego agar agar jelly

I will greatly miss celebrating the girl's birthday in a small setting like this. Next year onwards, I'll have to find a venue to hold it (if the hubby allows me to hold a party for her that is).

She got new boxes of Lego Friends for her birthday present!

And her daddy got her a brand new pink bike! My kids are extremely blessed!!


I can't believe this is her last year in preschool and that she will be going to formal schooling next year! *gasp*

Happy 6th Birthday Darling!
Mummy loves you very, very much! *kisses*


Please don't grow up so quickly! =(

Monday, 27 June 2016

Dream Big Princess Academy

When I informed the girl that we were going to Singtel TV & Disney's Dream Big Princess Academy, she was beyond thrilled. This was an awesome opportunity for both of us, ardent Disney fans.

Dream Big Princess Academy held at Fort Canning Hotel
Presented by Disney Junior and Disney Channel on Singtel TV
Tables where the princesses-in-training get a makeover

My girl was dressed in Cinderella of course. She had wanted to go as Ariel but it wasn't easy to find a mermaid outfit you know.

Cinderella-in-training

We were ushered to our table, which was decorated with lovely goodies!

Cookies, cakes, cupcakes and marshmallows =)
Princess cupcakes and crown-shaped sandwiches
The Cinderella cupcake and crown cookie were my favourite

My girl told me she had a stomachache on the way to the event but the minute she laid eyes on the table and its contents, her stomachache suddenly "disappeared" (-_-").


The event was hosted by Vivien Tan-Vaca (a familiar face), who was also the fairy godmother-in-training.

The first to make her appearance was Sophia the First, followed by the very beautiful Cinderella!

Kids crowding at the stage to get a glimpse of their favourite princesses

Cinderella has always been one of my favourite Disney Princesses (after Belle of course), so I was just as excited as everyone to take pictures with her. The event organisers were quite smart about managing the process I must say. They arranged for the people to take pictures with the Disney Princess table by table. Those who were waiting for their turn will work on an activity related to the princess at their table. And it was a super fun activity too =)

To show kindness, the princesses-in-training were to decorate a cookie to give to someone they love
My girl did this herself with almost no help from me
(this mummy was happily instagram-ing hehe)
A box to keep the decorated cookie

Soon it was finally our turn to take pictures with Cinderella. My girl was a bit crossed that I wanted to be in the picture too (she wanted it to be just her and Cinderella). I told her that if I'm not in it she can't take the photo (after all, I was the one who brought her there!!) so she agreed somewhat reluctantly *laughs*.

See her awed face when she meant Cinderella! Probably couldn't believe that was happening =)
A staff helped us to take this photo. The lady playing Cinderella looks so much like the cartoon doesn't she? Confirm imported directly from Disneyland! *laughs*
The event organisers printed a photo for each family and also gave us a link to download the softcopies online

My girl loves the photos so much that I had to frame them when we got home so that she can bring it to school and show (more like show off) her teachers and school friends.

Next, it was time for Rapunzel to make her appearance!

Kids crowding the front stage again to get a closer look at her

If you're observant like I am, you'd notice that they had changed the background scene to match the princess. Trust Disney to pay so much attention to detail! =)

Photo-taking with Rapunzel

The princesses-in-training had to complete a lantern to demostrate creativity like Rapunzel.

Colouring her lantern
Due to the short time that was given, I had to help her colour and paste the stickers
Putting the light and fixing up the lantern
Her final product, done by both princess and mummy =)

Despite having just taken pictures with two very beautiful princesses, the greedy girl kept questioning me, "Mummy, what about Princess Sofia?!" when I asked her if she enjoyed meeting Cinderella and Rapunzel.

Well she got her wish. After getting her certificate of "Princess-ship", the #everydayprincesses got to take pictures with Sofia the First.

She was beaming with happiness =)
The official photo taken by the event photographer

Gotta hand it to Disney to always make dreams come true! =)

As we left, the princesses were each given a goody bag and three cupcakes (one of each princess) to take home. My girl was thrilled!

With her certificate and souvenirs to bring home!
Disney Princess cupcakes!
The goody bag contained a super duper cute Cinderella soft toy, Sofia the First amulet and a Disney cup. Had to threaten my girl to share the Cinderella!!
(no, I don't believe in giving in to my girl's whim and desire at the expense of me. Plus she needs to learn to share right?! *laughs*)

It was definitely a lovely event worth taking leave for (if I take leave for something, it better be worthwhile)!=)

Thanks to Singtel TV, Disney Junior and Disney Channel

I'm so glad that the new Singtel TV packages have Disney channels. This way the hubby and I can sign up for Singtel Fibre and TV (we're already their mobile subscribers) and join their Singtel Circle where members get to enjoy perks such as free data every Sunday. The hubby and I have always been Singtel fans so it was a no brainer for us to subscribe with Singtel for our new house. Looking forward to more Singtel events! =)


Disclosure: Media invitation to Dream Big Princess Academy was received from Singtel and Disney for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions and text are my own.

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Check out other fun playgrounds and attractions at my Fun in Singapore Guide=)


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