As soon as the clock struck 12 on the morning of his second birthday, I thought we were already experiencing the infamous 'terrible twos' but little did I know the difficulty level went up a few notches. Now... I don't like calling it 'terrible' because I'm sure they have reasons for screaming and rolling on the floor and the loud fake cries. I feel... it's mostly terrible for the parent because we feel awful not being able to understand what exactly it is they want.



Now, fast forward to a month and a bit, everyday has been a battle between giving in to his tantrums or being mentally strong and deafening the ears to the wailing. I don't have a lot in me, let's just put it out there--I'm not patient, I'm not calm, I'm not a walk in the park either. But let me also tell you that being a mother has trained me to become all those things... and although I am no way near being a perfect mom, I love what he is teaching me. I am amazed sometimes how long I can endure the ear-piercing sounds my little angel can make.

One night, he threw the biggest, loudest... strongest tantrum and I gave in. I gave him his iPad in bed... something I really don't like him doing. In that moment, I was exhausted from a long day at work and I just needed some peace and quiet. I felt defeated and I just let him do whatever he wanted.  Ironically, I also felt... relieved. Like I had just extinguished a dark cloud that was raining on me. That night, I realized that we have to pick our battles. Some battles we lose, and that's okay because we're human. 

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I lose. I think it's the pressure I put on myself. I mean... this is the time when we start teaching our kids what's right and wrong, what not to do, what's counted as good or bad behavior... and it's actually tough. It's a lot of hard work both mentally and physically. It's a lot of responsibility raising a child and making sure they turn out to be respectful, kind, brave, smart, wise human beings etc. 

I hope you didn't come here looking for advice because I don't have any. I'm looking for tips myself so please share them. Help a sister out. I'm still figuring it all out and I think I'm going to continue to figure it out forever. Everyday is a new day and an entirely new level but we become better and better. It's a fulfilling and satisfying journey nonetheless.

Gotta go. He's going to wake up any second now.

Love,

The Umair Takeover: Battling the Twos

Friday, 8 November 2019

As soon as the clock struck 12 on the morning of his second birthday, I thought we were already experiencing the infamous 'terrible twos' but little did I know the difficulty level went up a few notches. Now... I don't like calling it 'terrible' because I'm sure they have reasons for screaming and rolling on the floor and the loud fake cries. I feel... it's mostly terrible for the parent because we feel awful not being able to understand what exactly it is they want.



Now, fast forward to a month and a bit, everyday has been a battle between giving in to his tantrums or being mentally strong and deafening the ears to the wailing. I don't have a lot in me, let's just put it out there--I'm not patient, I'm not calm, I'm not a walk in the park either. But let me also tell you that being a mother has trained me to become all those things... and although I am no way near being a perfect mom, I love what he is teaching me. I am amazed sometimes how long I can endure the ear-piercing sounds my little angel can make.

One night, he threw the biggest, loudest... strongest tantrum and I gave in. I gave him his iPad in bed... something I really don't like him doing. In that moment, I was exhausted from a long day at work and I just needed some peace and quiet. I felt defeated and I just let him do whatever he wanted.  Ironically, I also felt... relieved. Like I had just extinguished a dark cloud that was raining on me. That night, I realized that we have to pick our battles. Some battles we lose, and that's okay because we're human. 

Sometimes I get really frustrated when I lose. I think it's the pressure I put on myself. I mean... this is the time when we start teaching our kids what's right and wrong, what not to do, what's counted as good or bad behavior... and it's actually tough. It's a lot of hard work both mentally and physically. It's a lot of responsibility raising a child and making sure they turn out to be respectful, kind, brave, smart, wise human beings etc. 

I hope you didn't come here looking for advice because I don't have any. I'm looking for tips myself so please share them. Help a sister out. I'm still figuring it all out and I think I'm going to continue to figure it out forever. Everyday is a new day and an entirely new level but we become better and better. It's a fulfilling and satisfying journey nonetheless.

Gotta go. He's going to wake up any second now.

Love,

Dear Nabeela,

You are probably freaking out right now and stressing out over your O' Levels. It will be okay. I'm glad you had fun in school and I'm glad you found some of your bestest friends there. They will be your pillars of strength growing up. Almost 15 years later, they are still people you run to. About your exam results, they were a little below your expectations. You studied hard and did your best and I know we sort of blanked out during additional math on a particular question that we've done over and over again. It happens... and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. It's honestly quite funny now.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes it. What's important is you try and keep trying. Actually, I'm not too worried about that. You're a dreamer... you're driven... you're ambitious. You had fire... honestly, a lot more fire than I have now. Along the way I sort of got discouraged but that's another story. I hope you never get discouraged... no matter what anyone says or does to you.

You are beautiful. I know we're not... Kendall Jenner beautiful haha (not sure if KUWTK are on air already back then but if it is... yes... Kendall will become the hottest Kardashian). We're not the obvious kind, no. I know this sounds cliche but... everybody IS beautiful in their own special way. Beauty in their smile, in their eyes, in the way they talk, in the way they walk, in the way they think. And kid you not, we just did two Bobbi Brown campaigns this year. Can you even believe that? I can't wrap my head around it sometimes. I'm just holding on to it for as long as I can... given the fast pace of the digital world. One day you're in, the next day you're out. But that's okay. We'll adapt.


You also meet the love of your life this year. It will be an amazing journey. You'll get married and it will be wonderful. There will be a little heartbreak along the way at the doctor's hospital but it ends well. I won't spoil it for you. But trust me... everything will be okay. About the love of your life... he will soon prove to be the sincerest and kindest and most loving man you'll ever meet. No one else comes close. 

Travel more. You would think when you get a job, you'll have more money to fly. My darling, the problem is we don't have a lot of time. Plus it was definitely cheaper to travel around Europe from UK... so do it during your University years. You will not regret it. Spend less on materialistic goods if you can. I know those Balenciaga bags come in yummy colours... but you hardly use them now. 

Make wiser decisions especially with regards to the people you let in your life. I want to tell you to also think hard before making a commitment for example... your choice of Uni, or your degree, or your job... but I suppose that's something you have to go through yourself to understand. But if I could stop you from doing one thing... do not take Time Series Econometrics... that is so abstract it does not make any sense. You end up extremely stressed out the night before the exam (you passed btw) and had a few Redbulls. It was probably the last time you had it. You met more bestfriends in Nottingham... and darling, over the years you will understand why God gave them to you and why you have each other.

Lastly, do not let the heartbreaks and the evils of the world... and the horrendous online trolls... change your heart. I know you always want to do good, you always mean well... stay that way. We can't let disappointments get to us. Our heart can't harden just because we want to protect it. 

Live fully. Love deeply. Laugh harder. Worry less.

Love,
You

A Letter to my 15 Year Old Self

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Dear Nabeela,

You are probably freaking out right now and stressing out over your O' Levels. It will be okay. I'm glad you had fun in school and I'm glad you found some of your bestest friends there. They will be your pillars of strength growing up. Almost 15 years later, they are still people you run to. About your exam results, they were a little below your expectations. You studied hard and did your best and I know we sort of blanked out during additional math on a particular question that we've done over and over again. It happens... and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. It's honestly quite funny now.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes it. What's important is you try and keep trying. Actually, I'm not too worried about that. You're a dreamer... you're driven... you're ambitious. You had fire... honestly, a lot more fire than I have now. Along the way I sort of got discouraged but that's another story. I hope you never get discouraged... no matter what anyone says or does to you.

You are beautiful. I know we're not... Kendall Jenner beautiful haha (not sure if KUWTK are on air already back then but if it is... yes... Kendall will become the hottest Kardashian). We're not the obvious kind, no. I know this sounds cliche but... everybody IS beautiful in their own special way. Beauty in their smile, in their eyes, in the way they talk, in the way they walk, in the way they think. And kid you not, we just did two Bobbi Brown campaigns this year. Can you even believe that? I can't wrap my head around it sometimes. I'm just holding on to it for as long as I can... given the fast pace of the digital world. One day you're in, the next day you're out. But that's okay. We'll adapt.


You also meet the love of your life this year. It will be an amazing journey. You'll get married and it will be wonderful. There will be a little heartbreak along the way at the doctor's hospital but it ends well. I won't spoil it for you. But trust me... everything will be okay. About the love of your life... he will soon prove to be the sincerest and kindest and most loving man you'll ever meet. No one else comes close. 

Travel more. You would think when you get a job, you'll have more money to fly. My darling, the problem is we don't have a lot of time. Plus it was definitely cheaper to travel around Europe from UK... so do it during your University years. You will not regret it. Spend less on materialistic goods if you can. I know those Balenciaga bags come in yummy colours... but you hardly use them now. 

Make wiser decisions especially with regards to the people you let in your life. I want to tell you to also think hard before making a commitment for example... your choice of Uni, or your degree, or your job... but I suppose that's something you have to go through yourself to understand. But if I could stop you from doing one thing... do not take Time Series Econometrics... that is so abstract it does not make any sense. You end up extremely stressed out the night before the exam (you passed btw) and had a few Redbulls. It was probably the last time you had it. You met more bestfriends in Nottingham... and darling, over the years you will understand why God gave them to you and why you have each other.

Lastly, do not let the heartbreaks and the evils of the world... and the horrendous online trolls... change your heart. I know you always want to do good, you always mean well... stay that way. We can't let disappointments get to us. Our heart can't harden just because we want to protect it. 

Live fully. Love deeply. Laugh harder. Worry less.

Love,
You

I woke up 4am one morning just thinking and talking to myself. So here I am putting down my thoughts... I have a habit of doing that. Mind you I’m feeling a bit whoozy since I had only three hours of sleep before my brain started her motivational pep talk (at the time of writing this). I may be talking nonsense here and it isn't even the full version that was going through my mind. This is sort of a spin-off. 

Welcome to my Ted Talk.

I was never the patient kind. I can never sit still for long periods of time and I’m always itching to learn new things. The thought of leaving my development and progress up to luck and fate gives me anxiety. That pushed me to take the online fashion course back in 2015, which eventually led to the birth of my social media life and LMN. 

Some people probably wonder why the sudden deviation from finance. I mean... let’s be real here, some of you think being a blogger just means splashing our vanity across social media... but being active on social media has taught me a lot. 

Five main things I learnt from social media:

1. Entrepreneurial skills


When you're paid to showcase a product on your platform, you essentially become a standalone advertising and marketing company. You become a service provider but not just for your client but to the end-users as well. Your job is to reach as much audience as you can while providing them accurate information and sincere thoughts with regards to the product. You learn about the strategies that work best which includes, the type of marketing that gets the best engagement, the best time to post such photos (probably a bit less of a factor now thanks to the unhelpful algorithm changes), etc. 

2. More confident in valuing my work

Initially when I started getting inquiries about potential collaborations, I did a lot of work for free because I found it hard and uncomfortable to put a value on my work. Eventually after you realize how much it was worth especially when you use up your free time to think of a theme, put a story together, edit it, or take time away from your family, you're more confident to put a figure down. If they value you, then they'll agree.

3. Branding

Building that marketing platform is a form of personal branding. After going through a few collaborations, the definition of your brand becomes clearer and clearer. You would know who your target market is. You would know if you're specialized towards a niche market or you're a general one who caters to the wider market. You learn that being true to your brand is important. 



4. Being less wary about what people think, makes you more productive

At the beginning I used to really care about what people thought of me and what I do but I realize that if we learn to care less about other people and put more focus on what you love... your creativity just flows and your product on social media improves. Like in the real world, the moment you stop caring about what others think or say, you'll be happier. You wouldn't be able to be productive at work every time you took a bad comment to heart. Just focus on your work, your art... focus on developing yourself and delivering the best you can. If others don't see it... then going back to #2... if they don't see your value, they're not your target market... and that's okay.


5. People love realness

I feel like a lot of businesses haven't mastered the art of story-telling nor do they understand the importance of having a story behind the products they sell. I love this about people. We love realness and human connection despite living in such a disconnected world. 



Love,

5 things I learnt from Social Media

Monday, 30 September 2019


I woke up 4am one morning just thinking and talking to myself. So here I am putting down my thoughts... I have a habit of doing that. Mind you I’m feeling a bit whoozy since I had only three hours of sleep before my brain started her motivational pep talk (at the time of writing this). I may be talking nonsense here and it isn't even the full version that was going through my mind. This is sort of a spin-off. 

Welcome to my Ted Talk.

I was never the patient kind. I can never sit still for long periods of time and I’m always itching to learn new things. The thought of leaving my development and progress up to luck and fate gives me anxiety. That pushed me to take the online fashion course back in 2015, which eventually led to the birth of my social media life and LMN. 

Some people probably wonder why the sudden deviation from finance. I mean... let’s be real here, some of you think being a blogger just means splashing our vanity across social media... but being active on social media has taught me a lot. 

Five main things I learnt from social media:

1. Entrepreneurial skills


When you're paid to showcase a product on your platform, you essentially become a standalone advertising and marketing company. You become a service provider but not just for your client but to the end-users as well. Your job is to reach as much audience as you can while providing them accurate information and sincere thoughts with regards to the product. You learn about the strategies that work best which includes, the type of marketing that gets the best engagement, the best time to post such photos (probably a bit less of a factor now thanks to the unhelpful algorithm changes), etc. 

2. More confident in valuing my work

Initially when I started getting inquiries about potential collaborations, I did a lot of work for free because I found it hard and uncomfortable to put a value on my work. Eventually after you realize how much it was worth especially when you use up your free time to think of a theme, put a story together, edit it, or take time away from your family, you're more confident to put a figure down. If they value you, then they'll agree.

3. Branding

Building that marketing platform is a form of personal branding. After going through a few collaborations, the definition of your brand becomes clearer and clearer. You would know who your target market is. You would know if you're specialized towards a niche market or you're a general one who caters to the wider market. You learn that being true to your brand is important. 



4. Being less wary about what people think, makes you more productive

At the beginning I used to really care about what people thought of me and what I do but I realize that if we learn to care less about other people and put more focus on what you love... your creativity just flows and your product on social media improves. Like in the real world, the moment you stop caring about what others think or say, you'll be happier. You wouldn't be able to be productive at work every time you took a bad comment to heart. Just focus on your work, your art... focus on developing yourself and delivering the best you can. If others don't see it... then going back to #2... if they don't see your value, they're not your target market... and that's okay.


5. People love realness

I feel like a lot of businesses haven't mastered the art of story-telling nor do they understand the importance of having a story behind the products they sell. I love this about people. We love realness and human connection despite living in such a disconnected world. 



Love,

I'm experiencing major travel withdrawals and in the spirit of celebrating our anniversary, why not walk down memory lane and think about some travel moments with Mr. LMN. This is a fun exercise for my memory too... some holidays date back to a decade ago and isn't it great to just reflect and think about the good ol' times? Makes you feel more grateful because sometimes you just forget about them entirely. 

Hawaii and LA:
Favourite memory of this trip has definitely got to be snorkeling in the open water with manta rays at night while we were in Hawaii. It's actually in the list of top 100 things you have to see before you die. It's true. It's like watching ballet underwater by these huge graceful creatures. Trust me, you have to go see it for yourself. We also went on a helicopter over the whole island, including an active volcano.






Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane:
I remember loving the yummy brunch cafes in Melbourne and was totally in love with our trip down Great Ocean Road, but looking back I would go back for the fresh seafood at the Sydney Fish Market. That was the crunchiest grilled octopus we've ever had. However, the funniest moment of the trip was when we climbed up Sydney Harbour Bridge and a bird shat on my shoulder. There was a large area of space underneath, you guys... but nooooo, it decided to take a crap right above me. At that moment, it was horrible but I can laugh at it now.



Bangkok and Koh Phi Phi:
This was such a beautiful island. I was blown away with Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio. I hope our future generations are able to experience this kind of beauty because it truly is phenomenal. Despite the beauty, however, I was the most cranky person on this trip because it was super hot and humid, and I constantly had sand in my feet... even in our hotel room! We laugh about it now but hahaha I was not a fun travel companion on this trip. Sorry babe.



Umrah:
This was a beautiful trip. Madinah was a magical place that really makes you forget about all your worries and all the worldly things that are temporary. It made me feel calm and at peace at a much needed time of my life. Funny moment? That bird in the photo... yup it pooped on me. Another city, another poop story.



Paris (2009):
This was us at Disneyland on Alifah's birthday. In honor of celebrating her birthday, she made me go on the ride at the back called Space Mountain. Now I hate rides. I'm always anxious so I don't understand people who consciously choose to have that feeling. But I went on it anyway to prove our friendship. I cried. I cried a few seconds in and then another 5-10 minutes after I got off. It was hilarious but I'm never getting on a ride ever again. I love Paris... it really is the city of love. We went again in 2015 with our families.





New York and Washington:
This was a fun trip! We flew with our friends and stayed in beautiful Air BnBs. We've flown to New York City before in 2011 for 3 days as students and we absolutely loved it. This time we went for two weeks and got to experience more things. We watched plays--one of which had Josh Groban in it. We queued up 4 hours in the rain to go see Statue of Liberty for like 4 seconds--quite surprised we didn't catch a cold. BUT FUNNY STORY (of course this would happen to me)... on the way back from Statue of Liberty, I fell on my bum in a puddle of mud in front of a billion tourists (and I swear I heard a little laughing). Still loving this trip though. We had so much fun trying to watch the ball drop live (total failure btw and this was the one where Mariah Carey had that blunder) but ended up having a cozy dinner. We cycled up a hill in Washington and I realized that my resistance was at the fullest which explained why everyone was cycling faster than me. I was in suede and wearing heeled boots too. Fashion over safety.




Mallorca:
A spontaneous trip with friends. It was just for a few nights to escape thesis-writing. We went snorkeling, I had the worse experience of motion-sickness, puked on our raft, fell asleep while everyone else was swimming with fishes and then woke up having the worse sunburn. I was 10 shades darker, not lying!



Istanbul:
No funny stories here but it was our first trip with both our families so that was special. We did hang around at this area outside a mosque until a local told us it was where they washed dead bodies. So... really really sorry about that. We should have known. The food there was scrumptious! No bird pooped on me.



Now we get to fly with a third-wheeler and yes the dynamics have changed. It's a little trickier but we wouldn't have it any other way. To many more adventures, my love. InshaAllah. Happy Anniversary.

Love,


Adventures with You

Monday, 16 September 2019

I'm experiencing major travel withdrawals and in the spirit of celebrating our anniversary, why not walk down memory lane and think about some travel moments with Mr. LMN. This is a fun exercise for my memory too... some holidays date back to a decade ago and isn't it great to just reflect and think about the good ol' times? Makes you feel more grateful because sometimes you just forget about them entirely. 

Hawaii and LA:
Favourite memory of this trip has definitely got to be snorkeling in the open water with manta rays at night while we were in Hawaii. It's actually in the list of top 100 things you have to see before you die. It's true. It's like watching ballet underwater by these huge graceful creatures. Trust me, you have to go see it for yourself. We also went on a helicopter over the whole island, including an active volcano.






Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane:
I remember loving the yummy brunch cafes in Melbourne and was totally in love with our trip down Great Ocean Road, but looking back I would go back for the fresh seafood at the Sydney Fish Market. That was the crunchiest grilled octopus we've ever had. However, the funniest moment of the trip was when we climbed up Sydney Harbour Bridge and a bird shat on my shoulder. There was a large area of space underneath, you guys... but nooooo, it decided to take a crap right above me. At that moment, it was horrible but I can laugh at it now.



Bangkok and Koh Phi Phi:
This was such a beautiful island. I was blown away with Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio. I hope our future generations are able to experience this kind of beauty because it truly is phenomenal. Despite the beauty, however, I was the most cranky person on this trip because it was super hot and humid, and I constantly had sand in my feet... even in our hotel room! We laugh about it now but hahaha I was not a fun travel companion on this trip. Sorry babe.



Umrah:
This was a beautiful trip. Madinah was a magical place that really makes you forget about all your worries and all the worldly things that are temporary. It made me feel calm and at peace at a much needed time of my life. Funny moment? That bird in the photo... yup it pooped on me. Another city, another poop story.



Paris (2009):
This was us at Disneyland on Alifah's birthday. In honor of celebrating her birthday, she made me go on the ride at the back called Space Mountain. Now I hate rides. I'm always anxious so I don't understand people who consciously choose to have that feeling. But I went on it anyway to prove our friendship. I cried. I cried a few seconds in and then another 5-10 minutes after I got off. It was hilarious but I'm never getting on a ride ever again. I love Paris... it really is the city of love. We went again in 2015 with our families.





New York and Washington:
This was a fun trip! We flew with our friends and stayed in beautiful Air BnBs. We've flown to New York City before in 2011 for 3 days as students and we absolutely loved it. This time we went for two weeks and got to experience more things. We watched plays--one of which had Josh Groban in it. We queued up 4 hours in the rain to go see Statue of Liberty for like 4 seconds--quite surprised we didn't catch a cold. BUT FUNNY STORY (of course this would happen to me)... on the way back from Statue of Liberty, I fell on my bum in a puddle of mud in front of a billion tourists (and I swear I heard a little laughing). Still loving this trip though. We had so much fun trying to watch the ball drop live (total failure btw and this was the one where Mariah Carey had that blunder) but ended up having a cozy dinner. We cycled up a hill in Washington and I realized that my resistance was at the fullest which explained why everyone was cycling faster than me. I was in suede and wearing heeled boots too. Fashion over safety.




Mallorca:
A spontaneous trip with friends. It was just for a few nights to escape thesis-writing. We went snorkeling, I had the worse experience of motion-sickness, puked on our raft, fell asleep while everyone else was swimming with fishes and then woke up having the worse sunburn. I was 10 shades darker, not lying!



Istanbul:
No funny stories here but it was our first trip with both our families so that was special. We did hang around at this area outside a mosque until a local told us it was where they washed dead bodies. So... really really sorry about that. We should have known. The food there was scrumptious! No bird pooped on me.



Now we get to fly with a third-wheeler and yes the dynamics have changed. It's a little trickier but we wouldn't have it any other way. To many more adventures, my love. InshaAllah. Happy Anniversary.

Love,


Before I became a mom, I had this entire parenting plan all worked out. Then the baby came and the plan magically turned into dust and you learn to live life precariously and spontaneously. Everyday is just unpredictable and you start making decisions you never thought you would. How to handle youtube is one of them. So last week, I asked my Instagram family whether they limited their children's screen times and if they did, how do they distract them away from it and when do they allow it. About 310 people responded, of which 90% limit their children's screen time.




Now, being a mom... I hate it when other people mom-shame other moms. Every mom is just doing their best trying to stay sane while keeping their babies happy and safe. So whichever you prefer, you do you, boo. You are doing absolutely amazing and you're kicking total ass. Don't let other people put you down and judge you for being a working mom, a SAHM, for not fully breastfeeding, for giving them the pacifier, for allowing screen time, for taking hours away to do your nails or whatever because you have your reasons and it's none of their business.

Anyway, pulling myself out of that mom-shaming rant now to get on with the main point of this post: Youtube. It's obviously different for each and every child, and obviously you know what's best for your own kid. With my little prince, we try to limit his screen time for various reasons. Firstly, his eyesight. I'm a bit worried that the glare from the screen would ruin his eyesight quite early in his life. Secondly, (we realized this at the beginning) he does not respond to us when he's engrossed with these videos on Youtube. Initially, this worried me so much, I was worried about his attention and concentration span, as well as his ability to interact with other people. So we limited his exposure, read him books and entertained him with flashcards and toys... and Alhamdulillah that's when he began to start speaking.

Those who have responded typically allowed for screen time when we want them to just stay put i.e. during diaper changes, when they're eating, when we're eating (lol so true), when we're getting ready to go to work, on the plane, at restaurants while waiting for food to arrive and when they've resorted to emotional blackmail and thrown out tantrums on full blast (while sometimes I probably shouldn't give in to this, other times it's a survival mechanism for us to stay sane hahaha those who don't agree with me are lying). 

While I'm sharing your responses, let me just share a bit more... a lot of you limit the screen times to only 2 hours a week or only during term holidays. Faye (hi!) plays Youtube on TV so her son doesn't get to choose and eventually gets bored of it. One even changed her phone's wallpaper to a photo of the Joker so her nieces never touch her phone anymore hahaha. Genius. Another mommy also just downloads the videos and switches off the wifi, and that way her son isn't able to fall into the Youtube rabbit hole which we are all guilty of. 

What do we distract them with? You guys responded with a bunch of stuff, mainly toys, puzzles, books, giving them our attention by playing with them and introducing them to more outdoor activities etc. I totally agree with this. I think with Umair, you have to just quickly distract him with something else. I am in love with whoever made Pinkfong song books though. You guys are awesome. That helped us a lot because Umair loves them and it basically makes our car trips more peaceful. He has other books too now but his Baby Shark and Dinosaur song books are still the saviors... and now he knows the names of some dinosaurs which is amazing. At 1 and 10 months, I don't think I knew what a Stegosaurus was. In fact, mom told me I only started talking when I was 3... and now I can't ever seem to shut up that I even felt the need to open a blog to write down my thoughts!

When he wants Youtube in our room, we play it on the big screen and he does eventually get bored and starts playing with his football and slide (and suddenly there's a big mess of my lotion on the floor and he's totally dismembered the insides of his dad's wallet). I do love it for the songs and music though. Umair loves to dance to them and the other day we were so shocked to hear him singing to all these songs. We've also downloaded apps that we'd prefer him use other than Youtube like Dave and Ava's Numbers & Counting and Alphabets. He learnt numbers and alphabets mostly from there. There are some good and bad in giving screen time, I suppose. Good is like when he rejects a call I don't want to pick up haha bless. Anyway, jokes aside... thank you everyone who's shared their stories. Like I said before, the mommy community online rocks. Sending love to each and every one of you!

Love,

The Umair Takeover: Youtube

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Before I became a mom, I had this entire parenting plan all worked out. Then the baby came and the plan magically turned into dust and you learn to live life precariously and spontaneously. Everyday is just unpredictable and you start making decisions you never thought you would. How to handle youtube is one of them. So last week, I asked my Instagram family whether they limited their children's screen times and if they did, how do they distract them away from it and when do they allow it. About 310 people responded, of which 90% limit their children's screen time.




Now, being a mom... I hate it when other people mom-shame other moms. Every mom is just doing their best trying to stay sane while keeping their babies happy and safe. So whichever you prefer, you do you, boo. You are doing absolutely amazing and you're kicking total ass. Don't let other people put you down and judge you for being a working mom, a SAHM, for not fully breastfeeding, for giving them the pacifier, for allowing screen time, for taking hours away to do your nails or whatever because you have your reasons and it's none of their business.

Anyway, pulling myself out of that mom-shaming rant now to get on with the main point of this post: Youtube. It's obviously different for each and every child, and obviously you know what's best for your own kid. With my little prince, we try to limit his screen time for various reasons. Firstly, his eyesight. I'm a bit worried that the glare from the screen would ruin his eyesight quite early in his life. Secondly, (we realized this at the beginning) he does not respond to us when he's engrossed with these videos on Youtube. Initially, this worried me so much, I was worried about his attention and concentration span, as well as his ability to interact with other people. So we limited his exposure, read him books and entertained him with flashcards and toys... and Alhamdulillah that's when he began to start speaking.

Those who have responded typically allowed for screen time when we want them to just stay put i.e. during diaper changes, when they're eating, when we're eating (lol so true), when we're getting ready to go to work, on the plane, at restaurants while waiting for food to arrive and when they've resorted to emotional blackmail and thrown out tantrums on full blast (while sometimes I probably shouldn't give in to this, other times it's a survival mechanism for us to stay sane hahaha those who don't agree with me are lying). 

While I'm sharing your responses, let me just share a bit more... a lot of you limit the screen times to only 2 hours a week or only during term holidays. Faye (hi!) plays Youtube on TV so her son doesn't get to choose and eventually gets bored of it. One even changed her phone's wallpaper to a photo of the Joker so her nieces never touch her phone anymore hahaha. Genius. Another mommy also just downloads the videos and switches off the wifi, and that way her son isn't able to fall into the Youtube rabbit hole which we are all guilty of. 

What do we distract them with? You guys responded with a bunch of stuff, mainly toys, puzzles, books, giving them our attention by playing with them and introducing them to more outdoor activities etc. I totally agree with this. I think with Umair, you have to just quickly distract him with something else. I am in love with whoever made Pinkfong song books though. You guys are awesome. That helped us a lot because Umair loves them and it basically makes our car trips more peaceful. He has other books too now but his Baby Shark and Dinosaur song books are still the saviors... and now he knows the names of some dinosaurs which is amazing. At 1 and 10 months, I don't think I knew what a Stegosaurus was. In fact, mom told me I only started talking when I was 3... and now I can't ever seem to shut up that I even felt the need to open a blog to write down my thoughts!

When he wants Youtube in our room, we play it on the big screen and he does eventually get bored and starts playing with his football and slide (and suddenly there's a big mess of my lotion on the floor and he's totally dismembered the insides of his dad's wallet). I do love it for the songs and music though. Umair loves to dance to them and the other day we were so shocked to hear him singing to all these songs. We've also downloaded apps that we'd prefer him use other than Youtube like Dave and Ava's Numbers & Counting and Alphabets. He learnt numbers and alphabets mostly from there. There are some good and bad in giving screen time, I suppose. Good is like when he rejects a call I don't want to pick up haha bless. Anyway, jokes aside... thank you everyone who's shared their stories. Like I said before, the mommy community online rocks. Sending love to each and every one of you!

Love,

I've had this drafted for a while. Since it's Eid (Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha!) and it's the season of forgiveness, I thought I'd release this post. It's just a short snippet of my thoughts about making mistake. I know it sort of ends abruptly, but my mind kind of decided to think about something else while I was typing. Tell me that happens to everyone?



I've had my fair share of mistakes. I've been the villain in someone else's movie. I've made bad decisions after bad decisions (had bubble tea three days in a row now and I'm feeling awful about it). Like anybody else, I have tons of regrets... but you can't deny the lessons they teach. There is no lesson greater than from your own mistakes and failures that I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't made any. If everything was just clear blue skies and not a dark cloud over my head... would I have learnt how to pick myself up, take my shattered heart and put it back together? Would I be strong enough to deal with pain, humiliation and self-doubt, and still move forward? Would I be judgmental of others who continuously make mistakes?

I feel like... when I was younger... it was easier to judge someone who was in the wrong. We were little and everything was simple. But growing up, you begin to realize that you can never really know why people do the things they do. Every decision was based on a sequence of events that led up to the day the decision was made. They carry stories of their own... that you do not have purview of. Sometimes we hear people (even ourselves!) judge others' choices or actions when we know absolutely nothing that's going on in their minds or their hearts. Everyone goes through tests and hardships that are not more than what he/she can bear. If He never put you through such tests, maybe your choices and actions would have been far worse. "Have you ever thought about that?"--is what I ask myself when I feel like I'm about to question someone's choices.

And while everyone is responsible and accountable for our own mistakes, it does not define us. It does not define who we were, who we are and who we're going to be. What matters is your response after the storm and what lesson you're going to take from it. 

Do you realize that our mistakes have also made us more understanding of others? I think that's the best power one can have. When you try to understand other people, you become more emphatic and less judgmental. You're less likely to be upset by what they choose to do. You're likely to be more aware of the words you choose when you speak to them (or when it's your friend and he/she has come to you looking for advice). I hope our mistakes has made us better people in this aspect. You really do start to walk in other peoples' shoes and it's truly humbling. 

Anyway, in the spirit of forgiveness and forgiving, I think I've said this before, but don't forget to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes. To err is human--a lot of people forget that. I'd also like to take the opportunity to apologize for all my wrongdoings, whether on purpose or not, and may we all be better versions of ourselves every single day. Have a blessed Eid, everyone.



 Love,


Learning From Mistakes

Monday, 12 August 2019

I've had this drafted for a while. Since it's Eid (Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha!) and it's the season of forgiveness, I thought I'd release this post. It's just a short snippet of my thoughts about making mistake. I know it sort of ends abruptly, but my mind kind of decided to think about something else while I was typing. Tell me that happens to everyone?



I've had my fair share of mistakes. I've been the villain in someone else's movie. I've made bad decisions after bad decisions (had bubble tea three days in a row now and I'm feeling awful about it). Like anybody else, I have tons of regrets... but you can't deny the lessons they teach. There is no lesson greater than from your own mistakes and failures that I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't made any. If everything was just clear blue skies and not a dark cloud over my head... would I have learnt how to pick myself up, take my shattered heart and put it back together? Would I be strong enough to deal with pain, humiliation and self-doubt, and still move forward? Would I be judgmental of others who continuously make mistakes?

I feel like... when I was younger... it was easier to judge someone who was in the wrong. We were little and everything was simple. But growing up, you begin to realize that you can never really know why people do the things they do. Every decision was based on a sequence of events that led up to the day the decision was made. They carry stories of their own... that you do not have purview of. Sometimes we hear people (even ourselves!) judge others' choices or actions when we know absolutely nothing that's going on in their minds or their hearts. Everyone goes through tests and hardships that are not more than what he/she can bear. If He never put you through such tests, maybe your choices and actions would have been far worse. "Have you ever thought about that?"--is what I ask myself when I feel like I'm about to question someone's choices.

And while everyone is responsible and accountable for our own mistakes, it does not define us. It does not define who we were, who we are and who we're going to be. What matters is your response after the storm and what lesson you're going to take from it. 

Do you realize that our mistakes have also made us more understanding of others? I think that's the best power one can have. When you try to understand other people, you become more emphatic and less judgmental. You're less likely to be upset by what they choose to do. You're likely to be more aware of the words you choose when you speak to them (or when it's your friend and he/she has come to you looking for advice). I hope our mistakes has made us better people in this aspect. You really do start to walk in other peoples' shoes and it's truly humbling. 

Anyway, in the spirit of forgiveness and forgiving, I think I've said this before, but don't forget to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes. To err is human--a lot of people forget that. I'd also like to take the opportunity to apologize for all my wrongdoings, whether on purpose or not, and may we all be better versions of ourselves every single day. Have a blessed Eid, everyone.



 Love,


I think I should start a new series that focuses on everything Umair. Maybe post it during the weekend and call it TGIU or Umaiyay (brain is obviously not feeling so creative tonight! Haha). I've received so many requests for me to churn out more content on my darling son. Initially, I really did not want to. I didn't want to turn into a mom-blogger and wanted LMN to still concentrate on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, and I wanted to attract that target audience. Let's be clear, LMN will always be about fashion, beauty and lifestyle, but I guess once in a while (maybe once in two weeks if I can?), I can share bits and bobs of this wonderful boy that changed my life.



Let's just ease into it shall we. I'll share with you his current developments, some of which you may have seen on my stories. U is a year and 9 months already. I look back at old photos and my heart saddens at the thought of him growing up so fast but at the same time I'm excited for what's ahead. At 21 months, he's done the following:

  1. Count from 1 to 10;
  2. Prefers to feed himself (albeit terribly as he still hasn't mastered the art of using a spoon);
  3. Obsessed with dinosaurs and has started to sing and dance along to the dino songs on Pink Fong;
  4. Knows colors (gets them wrong sometimes but that's okay... grown-ups sometimes argue whether something is blue or green);
  5. Knows the difference between cars, trucks, trains and buses;
  6. Knows a lot of the names of his great uncles (and Hazim has a lot of uncles btw);
  7. Can point out numbers from 11 to 20 but can't say them yet;
  8. Knows how to ask for hugs and kisses (guys... this melts my heart completely, I wish I could record it to have forever but he always does it out of the blue);
  9. Started to say 'I love you';
  10. Started to understand what it means when we go on business trips without him (cause he was terribly sad when we both had to leave for work on consecutive weeks);
  11. Loves playing football with his left foot;
  12. Loves sticking his dinosaurs stickers everywhere! (Hazim found one on his luggage when he landed in London hahaha);
  13. Loves strumming the guitar;
  14. More cheeky than ever i.e. gives side-eye glances, teases his little cousin, makes funny faces, sulks like a teenage girl when we get mad at him etc;
  15. Knows the difference between biscuits, 'keropok' and cakes (he loves them all... thanks to the festive season);
  16. Knows how to say 'brush teeth' and 'comb hair' (and he loves to show people that he can do both... 'kambang' like mommy it seems);  
  17. Tells us when he poops or wants to poop;
  18. Knows all of the words from his flashcard deck;
  19. Knows how to say 'Youtube' - not particularly proud of this I have to say;
  20. Knows a lot of animals and the sounds they make; and
  21. Joins us when we pray.


Watching him grow has been the absolute best. Kids really do fill your days with joy because seeing them learn and discover new things make you so proud as a parent (also applicable to proud aunts/uncles and proud pet owners). Seeing them curious and watching them pick up new words... it's such a thrill (a bit like Russian Roulette sometimes because you never know which word they're going to pick up next... it also makes me worry about what I say in front of him now!). However, it makes me realize that I'm getting older and my brain is no longer a sponge that can absorb a lot of information anymore. Isn't it fun being a kid? But anyway, that can be another topic for another day!

More TGIU posts coming up! Hmm... I'm not feeling that name..... 

//Series is called The Umair Takeover now. I do realize that the abbreviation is TUT but... we'll just roll with it! Let me know what else you'd like to read about!




Love,

The Umair Takeover: 21 things at 21 months

Friday, 5 July 2019

I think I should start a new series that focuses on everything Umair. Maybe post it during the weekend and call it TGIU or Umaiyay (brain is obviously not feeling so creative tonight! Haha). I've received so many requests for me to churn out more content on my darling son. Initially, I really did not want to. I didn't want to turn into a mom-blogger and wanted LMN to still concentrate on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, and I wanted to attract that target audience. Let's be clear, LMN will always be about fashion, beauty and lifestyle, but I guess once in a while (maybe once in two weeks if I can?), I can share bits and bobs of this wonderful boy that changed my life.



Let's just ease into it shall we. I'll share with you his current developments, some of which you may have seen on my stories. U is a year and 9 months already. I look back at old photos and my heart saddens at the thought of him growing up so fast but at the same time I'm excited for what's ahead. At 21 months, he's done the following:

  1. Count from 1 to 10;
  2. Prefers to feed himself (albeit terribly as he still hasn't mastered the art of using a spoon);
  3. Obsessed with dinosaurs and has started to sing and dance along to the dino songs on Pink Fong;
  4. Knows colors (gets them wrong sometimes but that's okay... grown-ups sometimes argue whether something is blue or green);
  5. Knows the difference between cars, trucks, trains and buses;
  6. Knows a lot of the names of his great uncles (and Hazim has a lot of uncles btw);
  7. Can point out numbers from 11 to 20 but can't say them yet;
  8. Knows how to ask for hugs and kisses (guys... this melts my heart completely, I wish I could record it to have forever but he always does it out of the blue);
  9. Started to say 'I love you';
  10. Started to understand what it means when we go on business trips without him (cause he was terribly sad when we both had to leave for work on consecutive weeks);
  11. Loves playing football with his left foot;
  12. Loves sticking his dinosaurs stickers everywhere! (Hazim found one on his luggage when he landed in London hahaha);
  13. Loves strumming the guitar;
  14. More cheeky than ever i.e. gives side-eye glances, teases his little cousin, makes funny faces, sulks like a teenage girl when we get mad at him etc;
  15. Knows the difference between biscuits, 'keropok' and cakes (he loves them all... thanks to the festive season);
  16. Knows how to say 'brush teeth' and 'comb hair' (and he loves to show people that he can do both... 'kambang' like mommy it seems);  
  17. Tells us when he poops or wants to poop;
  18. Knows all of the words from his flashcard deck;
  19. Knows how to say 'Youtube' - not particularly proud of this I have to say;
  20. Knows a lot of animals and the sounds they make; and
  21. Joins us when we pray.


Watching him grow has been the absolute best. Kids really do fill your days with joy because seeing them learn and discover new things make you so proud as a parent (also applicable to proud aunts/uncles and proud pet owners). Seeing them curious and watching them pick up new words... it's such a thrill (a bit like Russian Roulette sometimes because you never know which word they're going to pick up next... it also makes me worry about what I say in front of him now!). However, it makes me realize that I'm getting older and my brain is no longer a sponge that can absorb a lot of information anymore. Isn't it fun being a kid? But anyway, that can be another topic for another day!

More TGIU posts coming up! Hmm... I'm not feeling that name..... 

//Series is called The Umair Takeover now. I do realize that the abbreviation is TUT but... we'll just roll with it! Let me know what else you'd like to read about!




Love,

I know it's hard to not enter a Zara store when you're walking past one... just like how it's hard for me to resist stopping by a McDonald's drive thru when I'm in Jerudong. I fell into the trap of fast fashion being a University student who loved keeping up with the latest trends. Brands like Zara and H&M were relatively cheaper and less brutal on the pockets. But with fashion being one of the biggest polluting industries, there's more to just buying cheap clothes that go out of fashion (and won't last that long anyway).

Edit: As I was re-reading that, I don't want you to think that I think Zara is cheap or neither do I want you to think that I feel like I'm too cool for Zara. Let's just all agree that Zara churns out amazing clothes. Zara is one of my weaknesses. I love the colors and the style pieces of Zara and the entire Inditex Group. When I talk about cheap clothes... I meant fast fashion in general. Primark. Boohoo. Missguided. Anything that does mass production of RELATIVELY cheaper clothes and has a high rate of wastage. Hope that clears things.


Carcel is one of my favorite ethical brands made with sustainable material by women who are imprisoned for poverty-related crimes.

I dedicated my Masters Degree to research on the sustainability of fast fashion. The amount of resources used (like water), the high carbon emissions, the amount of waste not bought and thrown out when the seasons change, the unfair treatment towards garment makers in developing/underdeveloped countries... are so ugly that you gotta think twice before you make a purchase. I haven't walked into a Zara store for over a year... and I don't remember the last time I shopped at H&M. While having started to make a move into the ethical direction with more climate positive goals and by having their own 'conscious' lines that use recycled polyester and organic cotton, these two biggest fast fashion retailers are still not doing enough.

The incident at a garment factory in Bangladesh that happened 6 years ago today, took around 1,134 lives and injured around 2,500 people. That really affected me. I never understood the magnitude of the matter until photos started circulating around. Cheap clothes mean that the supply chain must be relatively cheap too. How could I ever feel good wearing something knowing that it was made by someone who was underpaid (in some cases NOT paid. Sources: here and here but you can just look it up to read a plethora of sources that discuss this issue) and not taken care of? I haven't even gotten to the environmental impact of the entire industry. All the chemicals and microfibers that end up in the oceans and even the water we drink. But we only have ourselves to blame... these big companies are driven by the consumer culture.




My dear shopaholic friends, it's time we be wiser and start shopping consciously.

1. Buy classics.
Buy pieces that can withstand the test of time. White, black and neutral colored basics are staples in my wardrobe. A good, durable and resilient pair of jeans. A black blazer. You could come up with multiple outfits just by having that alone.

2. Don't submit to trends.
I'm getting better at this. I don't follow trends anymore. At least, not a lot of them. Plus I'm too old for them sometimes. Love the look of socks in heels and colored eyeshadows in editorial magazines and fashion week... but I'm not cool enough for that. I do still follow trends when a season comes out with a great color though... like Lilac in 2018. But purchase it in something you'd wear even after the trend dies down. This all goes back to #1. Sticking to the classics.

3. Sleep on it.
Avoid impulse purchases. Give it a few days/weeks. If you still want it by then, then you can get it. 

4. Increase the number of uses per wash.
Our clothes shed a lot of plastic microfibers in the washing machine. Plus... save energy. Unless you just rolled around in mud and perspired buckets... I say... reuse those pair of jeans for tomorrow. 

5. Do your research and support brands that care about being sustainable and ethical. 
You can always read more about your favorite brands to know where your money goes. (Unfortunately, Uniqlo isn't that transparent. You would think that a company who doesn't really follow the conventional fast fashion model could easily set up something more sustainable... but you still hear news about them not paying their workers. Read here but just google it to find out more. So I'm not sure about this one.) Caring about workers' welfare and the environment are not easy tasks. They're not cheap either. Wherever you can, let's try and support these wonderful brands that don't get enough love. 

I hope to move LMN into that direction. Gradually but surely. We have no choice. We need to be better.







Love,

Avoiding Fast Fashion and 5 Ways to be Fashionably Eco-Conscious.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

I know it's hard to not enter a Zara store when you're walking past one... just like how it's hard for me to resist stopping by a McDonald's drive thru when I'm in Jerudong. I fell into the trap of fast fashion being a University student who loved keeping up with the latest trends. Brands like Zara and H&M were relatively cheaper and less brutal on the pockets. But with fashion being one of the biggest polluting industries, there's more to just buying cheap clothes that go out of fashion (and won't last that long anyway).

Edit: As I was re-reading that, I don't want you to think that I think Zara is cheap or neither do I want you to think that I feel like I'm too cool for Zara. Let's just all agree that Zara churns out amazing clothes. Zara is one of my weaknesses. I love the colors and the style pieces of Zara and the entire Inditex Group. When I talk about cheap clothes... I meant fast fashion in general. Primark. Boohoo. Missguided. Anything that does mass production of RELATIVELY cheaper clothes and has a high rate of wastage. Hope that clears things.


Carcel is one of my favorite ethical brands made with sustainable material by women who are imprisoned for poverty-related crimes.

I dedicated my Masters Degree to research on the sustainability of fast fashion. The amount of resources used (like water), the high carbon emissions, the amount of waste not bought and thrown out when the seasons change, the unfair treatment towards garment makers in developing/underdeveloped countries... are so ugly that you gotta think twice before you make a purchase. I haven't walked into a Zara store for over a year... and I don't remember the last time I shopped at H&M. While having started to make a move into the ethical direction with more climate positive goals and by having their own 'conscious' lines that use recycled polyester and organic cotton, these two biggest fast fashion retailers are still not doing enough.

The incident at a garment factory in Bangladesh that happened 6 years ago today, took around 1,134 lives and injured around 2,500 people. That really affected me. I never understood the magnitude of the matter until photos started circulating around. Cheap clothes mean that the supply chain must be relatively cheap too. How could I ever feel good wearing something knowing that it was made by someone who was underpaid (in some cases NOT paid. Sources: here and here but you can just look it up to read a plethora of sources that discuss this issue) and not taken care of? I haven't even gotten to the environmental impact of the entire industry. All the chemicals and microfibers that end up in the oceans and even the water we drink. But we only have ourselves to blame... these big companies are driven by the consumer culture.




My dear shopaholic friends, it's time we be wiser and start shopping consciously.

1. Buy classics.
Buy pieces that can withstand the test of time. White, black and neutral colored basics are staples in my wardrobe. A good, durable and resilient pair of jeans. A black blazer. You could come up with multiple outfits just by having that alone.

2. Don't submit to trends.
I'm getting better at this. I don't follow trends anymore. At least, not a lot of them. Plus I'm too old for them sometimes. Love the look of socks in heels and colored eyeshadows in editorial magazines and fashion week... but I'm not cool enough for that. I do still follow trends when a season comes out with a great color though... like Lilac in 2018. But purchase it in something you'd wear even after the trend dies down. This all goes back to #1. Sticking to the classics.

3. Sleep on it.
Avoid impulse purchases. Give it a few days/weeks. If you still want it by then, then you can get it. 

4. Increase the number of uses per wash.
Our clothes shed a lot of plastic microfibers in the washing machine. Plus... save energy. Unless you just rolled around in mud and perspired buckets... I say... reuse those pair of jeans for tomorrow. 

5. Do your research and support brands that care about being sustainable and ethical. 
You can always read more about your favorite brands to know where your money goes. (Unfortunately, Uniqlo isn't that transparent. You would think that a company who doesn't really follow the conventional fast fashion model could easily set up something more sustainable... but you still hear news about them not paying their workers. Read here but just google it to find out more. So I'm not sure about this one.) Caring about workers' welfare and the environment are not easy tasks. They're not cheap either. Wherever you can, let's try and support these wonderful brands that don't get enough love. 

I hope to move LMN into that direction. Gradually but surely. We have no choice. We need to be better.







Love,

I've had many people ask about my current skincare routine and I've finally found time to blog about it! I've been using this brand since November when I went to Seoul and went a little crazy at the Sulwhasoo flagship store. I bought myself an entire new routine. I do still use some of my old loves such as Glossier's Milk Jelly Cleanser (can't stay away from that... no other cleanser will ever do) and my Pixi Glow Tonic (because I can't seem to find out whether my Sulwhasoo stuff has any AHA/acid in them).




Sulwhasoo is a k-beauty brand under AmorePacific Corporation alongside 32 other brands including Laneige, Innisfree, Annick Goutal and Etude House. The price range is a little on the high side so it was definitely a treat for myself when I bought it. I was trying to see whether it was cruelty-free. I read that the ones sold in China have to go through animal testing but the ones sold outside particularly in South Korea are cruelty-free. Going forward, I definitely see myself repurchasing because my skin feels softer and less sallow/dull (which was my ultimate goal anyway).




For cleanser, I still use the Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser. That's total holy grail status and everything else seem to pale in comparison. It's just perfect--simple, lightly-scented and non-greasy. I know it isn't the case for one of my best friends who much prefers the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (that one made my face super greasy and it was quite heavily scented for my liking). I don't know... if this didn't work for you, let me know why because I really love this stuff.

Then, the first thing I put on my face is the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum or the Pixi Glow Tonic (if i feel like my skin needs extra exfoliation). They both create the perfect canvas to layer on the subsequent products. It allows for better penetration and absorption.

Next, is either the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Water or Fresh's Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence and then the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Emulsion. The Snowise range is a brightening range which targets unevenness and any discoloration. The kind lady at Sulwhasoo recommended I try them out. I can't say it has done wonders for my dark spots to be honest, but I think this is the main reason why I'm not looking as dull as I used to. On a side note, I recently purchased the Snowise Brightening Spot Serum that supposedly fades and prevents any dark spots. I have yet to use this religiously so I cannot say whether it works or not.




Ah... the expensive serum that I pray will make me look 25 at 35--Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Serum EX. This is a premium anti-aging serum using ingredients from deep inside red pine leaves. Absolutely no clue what that is or what it does. They have a lower range for anti-aging that I also love-- the Concentrated Ginseng smells like a luxurious tree.........idk that's the best I got but you really smell like a spa when putting that stuff on your face. On days where zits show up, I use The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1%. HG. Really works. I then continue with the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum. I bought it with the Golden Eye Care Massager which comes with steps on how to use it around your eyes. It's so luxe, I tell you. 

I use the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream for my moisturiser. They have a gel version which is lighter but I used the cream because I have dehydrated skin and I usually powder after anyway. To finish off I use the Glossier Invisible Shield SPF35 as my daily sunscreen during the day. This formula is total genius. I love it and I wish it came in a higher SPF value because I don't think SPF35 will do for the amount of sun we get here in Brunei.



Anyway, that's all. I'm actually on Cult Beauty picking out a retinol. Most probably going to repurchase The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. Skincare junkie, signing out!


Love,


Skincare: Sulwhasoo

Sunday, 21 April 2019

I've had many people ask about my current skincare routine and I've finally found time to blog about it! I've been using this brand since November when I went to Seoul and went a little crazy at the Sulwhasoo flagship store. I bought myself an entire new routine. I do still use some of my old loves such as Glossier's Milk Jelly Cleanser (can't stay away from that... no other cleanser will ever do) and my Pixi Glow Tonic (because I can't seem to find out whether my Sulwhasoo stuff has any AHA/acid in them).




Sulwhasoo is a k-beauty brand under AmorePacific Corporation alongside 32 other brands including Laneige, Innisfree, Annick Goutal and Etude House. The price range is a little on the high side so it was definitely a treat for myself when I bought it. I was trying to see whether it was cruelty-free. I read that the ones sold in China have to go through animal testing but the ones sold outside particularly in South Korea are cruelty-free. Going forward, I definitely see myself repurchasing because my skin feels softer and less sallow/dull (which was my ultimate goal anyway).




For cleanser, I still use the Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser. That's total holy grail status and everything else seem to pale in comparison. It's just perfect--simple, lightly-scented and non-greasy. I know it isn't the case for one of my best friends who much prefers the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (that one made my face super greasy and it was quite heavily scented for my liking). I don't know... if this didn't work for you, let me know why because I really love this stuff.

Then, the first thing I put on my face is the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum or the Pixi Glow Tonic (if i feel like my skin needs extra exfoliation). They both create the perfect canvas to layer on the subsequent products. It allows for better penetration and absorption.

Next, is either the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Water or Fresh's Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence and then the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Emulsion. The Snowise range is a brightening range which targets unevenness and any discoloration. The kind lady at Sulwhasoo recommended I try them out. I can't say it has done wonders for my dark spots to be honest, but I think this is the main reason why I'm not looking as dull as I used to. On a side note, I recently purchased the Snowise Brightening Spot Serum that supposedly fades and prevents any dark spots. I have yet to use this religiously so I cannot say whether it works or not.




Ah... the expensive serum that I pray will make me look 25 at 35--Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Serum EX. This is a premium anti-aging serum using ingredients from deep inside red pine leaves. Absolutely no clue what that is or what it does. They have a lower range for anti-aging that I also love-- the Concentrated Ginseng smells like a luxurious tree.........idk that's the best I got but you really smell like a spa when putting that stuff on your face. On days where zits show up, I use The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1%. HG. Really works. I then continue with the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum. I bought it with the Golden Eye Care Massager which comes with steps on how to use it around your eyes. It's so luxe, I tell you. 

I use the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream for my moisturiser. They have a gel version which is lighter but I used the cream because I have dehydrated skin and I usually powder after anyway. To finish off I use the Glossier Invisible Shield SPF35 as my daily sunscreen during the day. This formula is total genius. I love it and I wish it came in a higher SPF value because I don't think SPF35 will do for the amount of sun we get here in Brunei.



Anyway, that's all. I'm actually on Cult Beauty picking out a retinol. Most probably going to repurchase The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. Skincare junkie, signing out!


Love,


Hi.

I just want to talk... about a lot of things on my mind lately.



This past week has been emotional. I'm completely shattered over the recent events in New Zealand. I'm also completely baffled and hurt by all the hatred popping up in the news to not just Muslims but  other races, other religions, people with other beliefs. I cannot understand why people can't just coexist. It doesn't matter who or what you believe in or who you love. What matters is you're kind and respectful of others. Everyone's fighting their own battles. I mean... how true is that phrase? Every single one of us have battles of our own. Why would you want to add to anyone's misery? You're not perfect. You don't have a guaranteed ticket to heaven. Calm down.

I recently read an article and the writer being adopted describes her families as 'her family' and 'her real family'. I hear that a lot actually. People asking me about U's 'real' mom. I'm going to be honest here. I'm a bit triggered by the term 'real' mom. As innocent as it is, I mean I totally understand that people don't mean it that way... but what does that make me? A fake one? I am as real as it gets. I may be in tact (down there), and I don't have scars on my belly, but I try my best everyday to be the best mom I can be. I breastfed him, I did go through all the late nights, the tears, I did go through a period of feeling lost, I am constantly worrying about him, the late night visits to the outpatient clinic, we save for him monthly, we've registered him at a good school. The term 'real' mom really hurts but again I know people don't mean it that way. But maybe you could use the term 'mom' and 'birthmom'. That would be really nice and I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

We also lost one of the kindest people over the weekend--Hazim's aunt who had been unwell for a few years already. She was sort of like the glue that kept everyone together. She was kind, and sweet and graceful. I'm so lucky to have had her in my life and to be able to call her Aunty. When she passed away, I read our text msgs and she never failed to greet me on my birthday with her long sweet doas. Someone also passed away yesterday (at the time of writing) was a relative of a colleague who apparently just collapsed. She was only a few years older than me. It's scary, isn't it? You never know when's your time to go. And you start thinking about the lack of good deeds you've done and all the times you chose dunya over the afterlife. I mean... that's gotta change.

Those are the main 'tabs' that have been active in my brain. It feels good to write it down every now and then. Anyway, hope my readers are doing well. Do I still have readers? Haha


Love,




A Wave of Thoughts

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Hi.

I just want to talk... about a lot of things on my mind lately.



This past week has been emotional. I'm completely shattered over the recent events in New Zealand. I'm also completely baffled and hurt by all the hatred popping up in the news to not just Muslims but  other races, other religions, people with other beliefs. I cannot understand why people can't just coexist. It doesn't matter who or what you believe in or who you love. What matters is you're kind and respectful of others. Everyone's fighting their own battles. I mean... how true is that phrase? Every single one of us have battles of our own. Why would you want to add to anyone's misery? You're not perfect. You don't have a guaranteed ticket to heaven. Calm down.

I recently read an article and the writer being adopted describes her families as 'her family' and 'her real family'. I hear that a lot actually. People asking me about U's 'real' mom. I'm going to be honest here. I'm a bit triggered by the term 'real' mom. As innocent as it is, I mean I totally understand that people don't mean it that way... but what does that make me? A fake one? I am as real as it gets. I may be in tact (down there), and I don't have scars on my belly, but I try my best everyday to be the best mom I can be. I breastfed him, I did go through all the late nights, the tears, I did go through a period of feeling lost, I am constantly worrying about him, the late night visits to the outpatient clinic, we save for him monthly, we've registered him at a good school. The term 'real' mom really hurts but again I know people don't mean it that way. But maybe you could use the term 'mom' and 'birthmom'. That would be really nice and I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

We also lost one of the kindest people over the weekend--Hazim's aunt who had been unwell for a few years already. She was sort of like the glue that kept everyone together. She was kind, and sweet and graceful. I'm so lucky to have had her in my life and to be able to call her Aunty. When she passed away, I read our text msgs and she never failed to greet me on my birthday with her long sweet doas. Someone also passed away yesterday (at the time of writing) was a relative of a colleague who apparently just collapsed. She was only a few years older than me. It's scary, isn't it? You never know when's your time to go. And you start thinking about the lack of good deeds you've done and all the times you chose dunya over the afterlife. I mean... that's gotta change.

Those are the main 'tabs' that have been active in my brain. It feels good to write it down every now and then. Anyway, hope my readers are doing well. Do I still have readers? Haha


Love,




“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”

― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City

Before we had boyfriends or husbands, we had our gal pals. They stuck by us through all the storms that came our way, and we knew we would be okay because they were just a call away. I'm so lucky to have best friends like these. They finish off my sentences and they know what I'm thinking about by just giving them a look. When I need them, they show up with comfort food. When they need me, I drop everything to be there for them. Soulmates. I can't imagine living life without them.



8th March marks International Womens' Day and today I would like to not only celebrate our fight for gender equality... but I would like to celebrate these women in my life. They were there for me through love and heartbreaks, tears, babies, secrets, uncontrollable laughter, bad days, great days, highs and lows and internet trolls. They helped build me to be the person I am today. They made me stronger, wiser and more courageous than I could have ever been.



I wanted to share my favourite hilarious stories with my girlfriends with you but after thinking about all the things we've done (and we're ridiculous silly idiots btw), I don't think I could ever disclose them! I just spent the past two hours laughing at all these un-share-able stories that I have with them. OMG. WHAT IN THE WORLD? HAHAHA. Believe me when I say we had so much fun pre-wife days. After some filtering, these are the bearable ones (btw I've used their fake names to conceal their identities):

1. The One Where Lily Peed In The Kitchen 
Lily had been holding her pee while cooking/cleaning in the kitchen. Out of no where (that's how I remember it), her leg had pins and needles. One of us (we're pretty mean), started kicking her poor leg and soon after, we almost had a puddle in the kitchen. Love you, Lily. But we did not want to clean that mess up. HAHAHAHA.


2. The One Where We Followed Our Cute Landlord And He Made Us Walk Home
Our landlord arrived pretty early one day to sign some papers for the house. I don't know why we were in a rush or why we had to go to his office, but we left in our PJs and slippers, in our cute landlord's car. When we arrived at his house and signed off our agreements, he said bye and we were like um hello, how do we get home? It was a hilarious walk back. In our PJs. In our slippers. In the SNOW. On my birthday.... I swear when we got home, my feet were blue.

3. The One Where My Wedding Dress Ripped On Stage
During my sanding, as I was sitting down on my pelamin, my back zipper tore from the top to my bum. Thank god the top was secured with a hook because the front part of the dress was super heavy from all the beading. My girls rushed to the reception to get a sewing kit and before the night ended and I had to stand in front of cameras for photos, they've had resurrected my dress. (POORLY BTW BUT I LOVE THEM STILL.... HAHAHA I SAY POORLY BECAUSE THAT NIGHT IT TOOK US 2 HOURS TO GET ME OUT OF THAT THING! They stitched that thing back together permanently!)

4. The One Where We Were Third-Wheeling On Many Awkward Dates (I'm not going to give details but my besties know this)
a. The guy who wore a raincoat.
b. The guy who was either really nervous or really cold in the cinema that he was vibrating like a phone on his seat.
c. The guy who wore flip flops on the first date.
d. This list is endless.

5. The One Where Fiona Wore Heels To The Park And Fell On Her Knees. Twice.
She doesn't usually where heels but Kurt Geiger was on sale and we bought a million shoes. We decided to walk around in the park with our new shoes and as we were walking on the sidewalk, Fiona fell on her knees. It was so funny. It was like a cartoon moment. We all just stared at her until we broke into fits of laughter. She was literally praying (sujud) on the ground in front of cars. You had to be there. HAHA. Fiona broke up with those shoes that day.

Ahh. Where would I be without you girls?

Happy International Womens' Day, Queens. May we all lift each other and celebrate each others' successes, always. 

Love,

Gal Pals

Friday, 8 March 2019

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”

― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City

Before we had boyfriends or husbands, we had our gal pals. They stuck by us through all the storms that came our way, and we knew we would be okay because they were just a call away. I'm so lucky to have best friends like these. They finish off my sentences and they know what I'm thinking about by just giving them a look. When I need them, they show up with comfort food. When they need me, I drop everything to be there for them. Soulmates. I can't imagine living life without them.



8th March marks International Womens' Day and today I would like to not only celebrate our fight for gender equality... but I would like to celebrate these women in my life. They were there for me through love and heartbreaks, tears, babies, secrets, uncontrollable laughter, bad days, great days, highs and lows and internet trolls. They helped build me to be the person I am today. They made me stronger, wiser and more courageous than I could have ever been.



I wanted to share my favourite hilarious stories with my girlfriends with you but after thinking about all the things we've done (and we're ridiculous silly idiots btw), I don't think I could ever disclose them! I just spent the past two hours laughing at all these un-share-able stories that I have with them. OMG. WHAT IN THE WORLD? HAHAHA. Believe me when I say we had so much fun pre-wife days. After some filtering, these are the bearable ones (btw I've used their fake names to conceal their identities):

1. The One Where Lily Peed In The Kitchen 
Lily had been holding her pee while cooking/cleaning in the kitchen. Out of no where (that's how I remember it), her leg had pins and needles. One of us (we're pretty mean), started kicking her poor leg and soon after, we almost had a puddle in the kitchen. Love you, Lily. But we did not want to clean that mess up. HAHAHAHA.


2. The One Where We Followed Our Cute Landlord And He Made Us Walk Home
Our landlord arrived pretty early one day to sign some papers for the house. I don't know why we were in a rush or why we had to go to his office, but we left in our PJs and slippers, in our cute landlord's car. When we arrived at his house and signed off our agreements, he said bye and we were like um hello, how do we get home? It was a hilarious walk back. In our PJs. In our slippers. In the SNOW. On my birthday.... I swear when we got home, my feet were blue.

3. The One Where My Wedding Dress Ripped On Stage
During my sanding, as I was sitting down on my pelamin, my back zipper tore from the top to my bum. Thank god the top was secured with a hook because the front part of the dress was super heavy from all the beading. My girls rushed to the reception to get a sewing kit and before the night ended and I had to stand in front of cameras for photos, they've had resurrected my dress. (POORLY BTW BUT I LOVE THEM STILL.... HAHAHA I SAY POORLY BECAUSE THAT NIGHT IT TOOK US 2 HOURS TO GET ME OUT OF THAT THING! They stitched that thing back together permanently!)

4. The One Where We Were Third-Wheeling On Many Awkward Dates (I'm not going to give details but my besties know this)
a. The guy who wore a raincoat.
b. The guy who was either really nervous or really cold in the cinema that he was vibrating like a phone on his seat.
c. The guy who wore flip flops on the first date.
d. This list is endless.

5. The One Where Fiona Wore Heels To The Park And Fell On Her Knees. Twice.
She doesn't usually where heels but Kurt Geiger was on sale and we bought a million shoes. We decided to walk around in the park with our new shoes and as we were walking on the sidewalk, Fiona fell on her knees. It was so funny. It was like a cartoon moment. We all just stared at her until we broke into fits of laughter. She was literally praying (sujud) on the ground in front of cars. You had to be there. HAHA. Fiona broke up with those shoes that day.

Ahh. Where would I be without you girls?

Happy International Womens' Day, Queens. May we all lift each other and celebrate each others' successes, always. 

Love,

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