Thursday, 25 September 2014

Contest: Share the Softness

One act that heals and pleases is the act of eliciting sympathy or tenderness through touching. It is baby's first sense which is developed around 8 weeks in your womb and so powerful is this act, that a mere gentle touch on your belly, allows the baby inside to feel its warmth. So don't you think that this act should be practiced even after birth?

Small gestures like hugging a crying person, wiping off tears, cleaning another person's face or just handing out a soft tissue, can mean a lot to the person in distress. It lets her know, she is not alone at these trying times.

Sometimes when you have no words of comfort to offer, fret not because just by touching the person, let's her know that someone is there and this works wonders in providing some form of comfort and relief.

It works well with kids especially because they are too young to comprehend mere words.
I have seen no matter how angry my child gets, she immediately cools off when I hug her and wipe away her tears, even if the anger was directed at me.

So whether in health or sickness, whether in richness or poorness nothing can beat the softness of a gentle touch accompanied by a soft tissue.
Show an act of kindness by bringing a warm mug of coffee with a smile. You would never know how this simple yet powerful act can make a person's day.
It surely makes my day, when I receive my coffee and I am sipping it away while looking at my first born picture.

What makes your day?


To celebrate Malaysia Day, Kleenex launched 'Share the Softness' campaign. The campaign aims to reach at least 10, 000 posts to create a tidal wave of softness among Malaysians! (7 August to 2 October) 

Every occasion, big and small, can be made meaningful with a touch of softness, and Kleenex® reminds more Malaysians everywhere to make Malaysia a softer place by taking a moment to reach out to their loved ones and share a kind or caring word. From now until September 27, the brand invites Malaysians to express their care via Facebook with a simple tag and stand a chance to be rewarded with prizes worth RM10, 000. 

What’s more, these acts of softness take on a whole new meaning as every Facebook post also helps to contribute towards OrphanCARE, a non-profit organisation that helps abandoned babies and orphans find loving homes.

Every Share the Softness post on Facebook plus every purchase from the Kleenex® CSR product range is equivalent to a RM0.50 donation to OrphanCARE; just SMS in the unique code found in the Kleenex® products.

To participate, all you have to do is ‘Like’ Kleenex® Malaysia’s Facebook page, look out for the “Share The Softness” Facebook contest posts, and start sharing the softness. Tag a spouse, friend, family member, or neighbour in the comments section of the contest posts and let them know how much you care. Do include #kleenexsoftness too!

The most endearing messages will win an exclusive, limited edition Kleenex® Softness Pack and prizes like a Polaroid camera, Longchamp bag, Thomas Sabo bracelet, and more! 

This is my entry;

For more details on how to Share the Softness, just log on to heir Facebook page ( or call Kimberly-Clark Consumer Care-line at 1-800-82-1188 on weekdays from 9am to 5pm.

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Recipe: Easy and yummy minced meat pasta sauce (Philips)

I have had my fair shares of jar baby food which I am not proud off. Even when the jar had a label which read OPEN IN EMERGENCY (which I labelled) or were hidden at the back of my pantry so that I might forget that I even had them in the first place and despite making a promise “I would only reach for it on my crazy days - i.e. when things get out of hand or I am hiding in the toilet crying because I was dealing with post delivery blues - I failed to stay away from them. Maybe because promises are meant to be broken hence I found myself reaching for these jars of baby food more often than I should have.
It's not that I am against jar/tin/pouch baby food but homemade food is much healthier because I know the quality and the hygiene of what goes in it. You save a lot of money by making your own baby food because most ingredients needed to make this food is usually what you already have in your fridge anyway. Another motivator to make my own baby food was the taste test. Have you ever tried processed baby food? I did, all the time and it is not yum people. It has an awful fake food taste which is hard to describe and if it wasn't fit for my taste buds, it would have been very unfair to make my child eat it.

However, there is a downside to making your own baby food and that is, it takes the same amount of time and mess as preparing adult food. Even if you are using just a couple of ingredients, it is a messy affair because of the peeling, steaming, blending etc, and there is no guarantee your baby is going to eat what you painstakingly made for her. This my friends was my biggest challenge.

I enjoyed trying new recipes. Didn't even mind the time and effort that went into preparing it but every time she spat out my food with a big "YUCK!", I found myself staring angrily at the amount of kitchen utensils waiting to be cleaned in the sink. As if that wasn’t enough, she would turn my kitchen wall into a canvas where she'd display her work or art with her food! A Picasso in the making, my husband would humour in a bid to stop me from fuming further.

But all that is in the past thanks to my final small kitchen appliances review by Philips (for my other reviews please go to My Recipes page). I am not saying that this product guarantees 100% success at getting your child to eat but it provides the opportunity for you to prepare baby food in a jiffy with minimal effort as opposed to without it.

Behold, Avent combined steamer and blender which promised nutritious food, made quick and easy with minimal noise, and it did not disappoint!

Within 30 minutes I had delicious baby food ready to serve! This recipe I tweaked from the original recipe that came in a booklet together with the blender was good enough that my older children didn’t mind sharing her meal. This made possible as you are able to control the consistency of your food, from chunky to smooth puree to suit young babies to toddlers and some older children too.

What do you get in your Avent steamer and blender box

You will receive a recipe booklet which comes complete with 12 age appropriate recipes which are separated into 3 weaning stages, information on weaning and some professional advice. It comes complete with picture guides to help you throughout the cooking process although it's rather straight forward to work this little gadget. The only important note is the amount of water used, when steaming your food and it is best if you use the measuring cup that comes with the steamer and blender to avoid any unnecessary fault or damage.

If you have been following me from the beginning of my baby food affair with Philips (Jan 2014 Babytalk issue), you would note my penchant for keeping my kitchen utensils to  bare minimum because I hate washing up, I give this product 5 stars because I steamed and blended in one container! Thanks to its steam and flip jar over to blend ingenuity. How exciting is that!?

Steam, flip, blend and serve. It cannot get any easier than that!

The only additional item is my kitchen knife and chopping board


Minced meat pasta sauce

The recipe

95 gm minced meat of your choice sourced from a reliable supplier/butcher
3 ripe organic tomatoes
1 organic carrot
1/2 organic celery stick
1 organic onion
Some dried Italian herbs
Water for steaming

Measured straight into the bowl/jar

The method

Dice all vegetable and put it into the blender together with the minced meat and the herbs. Add the required amount of water as recommended into the steamer vent and allow it to steam. Once its done steaming, turn the blender over and blitz the food to your choice of consistency. I did mine in two batches - chunky for my older children and removed halt of the sauce into a bowl and the remainder I blended for a further minute so get a fine and smooth sauce.
You may serve this with pasta or rice.

The verdict

I really love this gadget and wished I had known about it much earlier, especially during my child's stage 2 weaning, where mere mashing fruits alone wasn't sufficient and was the right time to introduce meat. 

The steamer is a smart "don't meddle with me when I am working" type of gadget, which freed a lot of my time so I managed to whip up dinner for the whole family at the same time as the steamer was preparing my toddler's food. 
Pictured below my dinner, fish and mushrooms all chopped up, seasoned and ready for the oven.

It was an exciting experience and if you are a mother struggling to keep up with the demands of rearing a child or two, this little nifty gadget might prove to be quite handy where food for baby is concerned.

Some product details
  • safety lock system for lid and bowl
  • 70cm cord length
  • can hold up to 800gm solid / 450ml liquid
  • uses BPA free* material
  • RM459 

Disclosure : I did not receive any compensation writing this review. I did receive a demo steamer and blender from Philips (which has been returned) to help me share my experience using it. This article was featured in Babytalk magazine (September 2014 issue)

For more recipes, please head over to my Recipes page

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

How do you say goodbye?

I have never paid much attention to saying goodbye, every time I take leave after visiting family and friends. It's very common and has became almost cultural to bid your farewells.

But how do you say goodbye to someone who is living on borrowed time? How do you say goodbye to someone that you might not meet again?

Today I witnessed a 90 year old frail mother, consoling her eldest daughter who lay almost lifelessly on bed. Telling her that this is not unfair, not injustice and not bad luck. It is just life. Something none of us have control over. "You've lived a long and prosperous life, surrounded by beautiful people, a loving husband, children and grandchildren. Go in peace, my child."

That broke my heart and tears rolled down my cheeks despite my many attempts to hold it back. I don't think I could have been as calm as the mother - losing a person is just horrendous but losing a child seems to be the worst sort of pain one can bare.

I still recall the pain and agony my uncle felt, when he lost his eldest daughter. A pain so heart wrenchingly terrible, that I would never wish it upon even my worst enemy.

Then how was it possible for her to be so calm looking at her own eldest daughter, I wondered.

What circuit am I missing (or have extra) that has rendered me to be so weak and emotional?

I cry at every sad juncture.
I cry when I see another crying.

So what does this mother have that makes her so strong?
Would I ever get the strength this mother had when she so calmly said goodbye to her child. A goodbye she knew so well might just be her last one.

The saying, if you love someone, you let them go, began playing in my head.
There is no greater love or strength one can posses than letting go.
Letting go of someone or something you loved and cared for. Sounds pretty easy but it is not because once you let go, it may not return and a void would suddenly emerge. Life as you knew it, will no longer be the same.

So how do you say goodbye, when you know this could be your last goodbye?

When life plays its mysterious tricks and takes away someone by surprise, it is painful and those left behind would start questioning "why!?" But you were not given a chance or choice to say goodbye. It happened without any warnings and your chance to say goodbye was stripped away from you.

Unfair, I agree because there is no such thing as timely death. No one wants to lose a loved one, period. Then how do you deal with saying goodbye to someone who is still breathing, eating, talking and responding!?

It changes everything and suddenly you are too aware.
Every act becomes precious because you don't know if it would be your last.
Your mind and emotions start playing with you and suddenly begins flashing life changing scenes. Many what if are converged and you try your best to keep up with it, trying to make sure no leaf is left unturned. It will change you and your focus in life (either short term or long) shifts too.

Each embrace, kiss and squeezing of your interlocked hands could be the last. Each meal made and fed could also be the last and this just makes it harder to say goodbye. But the frail 90 years old mother did it. She said it calmly, without breaking down because she knew, breaking down wasn't required and it was not what her daughter needed.

Could it be, there is no such thing as goodbye? (because she will live on as long as we carry her in our memories)

"Being given birth into this life and later have it taken away, does not define us. What does, is what we do with it, in between the two". Shared a very dear and informed friend.

Perhaps that's why the mother was able to say "go in peace, my child." She knew her daughter has lived and will leave behind many good memories. Her bodily form-life will end but not her legacy. That, will be carried by her children and her children's children. Her stories, her recipes and the way she touched people's heart will be remembered for as long as it is meant to be.

Like a caterpillar that metamorphoses into a butterfly, I suppose she will need to leave her physical form for something greater and her mother knows it.

My goodbye was no where to be found, instead I managed a weak, uncertain, "see you soon." Uncertain because although I will surely return to see her, would she be there?

'The one who sent you, has now recalled you; return to your home now in peace and pleasure. In bliss and ecstasy, sing His Glorious Praises; by this celestial tune, you shall acquire your everlasting kingdom.'
Guru Arjan Dev Ji. (Ang 678. Raag Dhanaasree)

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Big Shoe Drop

I am not a big fan of shoes, bags or makeup. Neither can I tell you which celebrity wears who or what. But I do know a good deal when I see one and today I had an offer, which was pretty darn silly to turn down.

I won a Jump-the-queue pass to The Big Cleo Shoe Drop 2014, which happened at Mid Valley and Sunway Pyramid. One would expect with such pass, you could jump the queue, right? So, I imagined myself waltzing down to the event just minutes before it started and being ushered to the front of the queue, beating many girls who probably had camped out hours before me. Stirring some emotions and gossips amongst those whose line I cut.

But NO.

Instead I was sent to the middle of the queue, behind #69! What utter nonsense! Screamed my mind. "Ermm, excuse me. Aren't I supposed to be somewhere in the front, with this JUMP THE Q pass!?" But nothing I said seemed to register with any of the CLEO team member. Feeling defeated, I waltz my way to #70 instead.

Fortunately, I managed to grab a gorgeous pair of beige/blue Obermain shoes in the end. Even if the fun and excitement of beating everyone who came as early as 6 am was not there. Even after the element of I will be getting privileged treatment as the owner of this special pass was not delivered. Even if it was either a major miscommunication on their part and major misconception on my behalf, I still walked out of the queue, taller - thanks to the added inches on my Obermain.

Although there were only 30 pairs of Obermain, I still saw many pairs longing to be picked up after I took mine. They weren't as sought after as some of the extremely high heels. The heel so high that it was sure to send you to an emergency room if you ever tripped in them!

Yet, it was amazing watching some girls trying to balance themselves in these heels like they were walking a tightrope. But sheer determination to own a high street runway shoes, preceded any fear of injury and they walked out like newly trained shoe models.

Scene at the event

Days prior to this event, I was imagining a scene of women clamouring and fighting to get the perfect pair, as hundreds of shoes came cascading down from a shoe store roof (my literal translation of shoe-drop). But I was pleasantly surprised to see shoes arranged neatly and grouped according size.

They had sizes for all, 5 up to 9(UK) and each size had plenty of pretty designs. Though I must confess, size 5 & 6 had many bold, quirky and a little uncomfortable looking shoes. But as I travelled up the size scale, I noticed more decent and wearable shoes. Shoes that didn't scream (shoes that made the outfit) and caused me to scream (in pain) either.

We were grouped in pairs of 5 and were given five minutes to choose one pair, put it on and walk out with it while holding your older pair in one hand and the shoe box in another. And that was it! It was easier than buying a pair during the Mega Sales that happens every year.

It took me about 20 minutes from the time I got my pass, to me walking out with my first ever Obermain pair, for free! Many came as early as 8am and had waited close to 2 hours before the event began. Imagine 2 hours waiting in a queue where no seat, water or comfort was offered, apart from some cheering. 

Some came with families. But please, avoid this altogether if you are with young children because it was sad to see some children sleeping on the sidewalk curb because mommy HAD to get her pair.

Just saying.

All opinions are mine and mine alone. Please don't let my fashion sense for shoes influence yours because in life, I like everything simple and practical.

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Urban Mom 2014 Road Show - Johnson's Baby

Johnson's Baby and DoktorBudak had a workshop for moms at the Urban Moms 2014 Road Show, titled "Are You Caring for his skin the Right Way?"
This workshop featured two paediatricians, Dr Aileen Wee and Dr Yap Hsiao Ling, who shared the importance of skin care for babies and age appropriate skincare, to a hands-on experience; baby massage demonstration.
Dr Wee stressed the importance of making an informed decision when selecting skincare for babies, as their skin is very delicate, especially during the first year of life. Babies skin is still developing thus it is important parents use products which are specially formulated to care for infants.
Some of the information parents need to be aware before selecting a skincare range for their young is;
  • understand that baby skin is thinner than adult skin and will lose water/moist more quickly*
  • baby's skin is more vulnerable to dryness, irritation and infection which may lead to eczema (15-30% children are affected by eczema)*
  • water alone is not sufficient to clean your baby*
  • a good night's rest will make a huge difference for baby (and mummy too!) so getting a product that encourages sleep will be helpful*
Once you have selected skincare for your baby, follow these tips:
  • after bath, be sure to seal in moisture with a lotion or massage oil*
  • to always be alert for any signs of skin irritants, especially at the folds of the skin such as the neck, inner part of the elbow and behind the knees where dirt, sweat or excessive moisture can become trapped*
  • always wash new clothes and bedding before use, apply repellents or use mosquito screens to prevent insect bites and keep baby out of sun or use sunscreen when out*
Johnson's Baby range was recommended because these products are clinically tested to be safe, mild and effective*.
At the end of the workshop, parents were treated with a hands-on baby massage using Johnson's Baby bedtime range. This range is designed to engage the senses and create a pleasing experience. Natural Calm, an ingredient in their bedtime range, has the essence to soothe baby and promote a more restful sleep.
Dr Yap who led the baby massage session explained, "the sense of touch is essential for human beings, and massage has long been known to have positive benefits. Among babies, research indicates that massage can help reduce colic, encourage better growth and improve sleep."
Urban Mom 201 Road Show, Midvalley


Dr Yap showing the right way to massage an infant and
 explaining the importance of bonding.
*information given at the workshop

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Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for writing this post