Thursday, 29 October 2015

Washi Washing Cloth from Curetex - Kind of a Konjac Sponge?

In the midst of all the hustle & bustle surrounding the baby (who is lying across my lap as I type this), I've unfortunately put aside a lot of my beauty products, trimming my routine down to just the Clarisonic, DHC Toner, Skin Inc serum and Laneige Emulsion and very basic makeup since I have lesser time and basically don't get out much these days.

One fine morning I was looking for a new Konjac sponge to wash my face but couldn't find one so I broke out the Washi (和紙) washing mitt that I bought from Ippin Cafe Bar during the food tasting session back in April~

Curetex Washi Washing Cloth - approx S$11

So what is Washi (和紙)?

Washi is Japanese Paper and Curetex has a range of products made with Japanese Paper Fiber. The characteristics of this material include being comfortable, anti-bacterial, anti-odour, UV Block and excellent sweat absorbtion. In other words, perfect for summer! Ippin stocks a range of shawls, clothing and accessories from Curetex's Washi range but I remembering finding it a tad pricey...I think $60 for a T-shirt?

So anyway, since this is a washing cloth, a lot of these characteristics don't mean much, probably just the anti-bacterial part I guess (^-^;;)

The cloth comes as a small mitt, big enough to put 4 fingers in, and has 2 sides, 1 with a criss cross design and the other a flatter, smoother surface.

The smoother side of the mitt

The staff explained to me that I should use the rougher side first and then the smoother side. The rougher side would act as a gentle exfoliator and the smoother side as a sort of buffer to smoothen the skin.

The packaging mentions that as wash comes from a natural source, it is gentle for both the skin and the environment. It also lasts very long so it can be used for many washes and has the ability to retain its characteristics (Anti-odour, anti-bacterial, UV Cut etc). Again, characteristics more applicable in the form of clothing.

So how did it perform as a wash cloth? As instructed, I used the rough side and then the smoother side. Undoubtedly it feels really clean after a wash (even without a cleanser) but not unlike the effect of a konjac sponge. =\ I really was expecting abit more...maybe a smoother finish given the supposed buffing from the smooth side.

So in a nutshell, the Curetex Washi Washing Cloth:

  • is an affordable, organic basic skincare tool with very gentle exfoliation.
  • gives a cleansing effect very much like a Konjac sponge.
  • good for people looking to return their skin to it's natural balance.
  • a speedier option compared to a Konjac sponge as you can skip the soaking-in-water step, people who prefer a speedy wash-up routine will appreciate this.
  • doesn't seem like it would absorb excess sebum/oil as well as the Konjac.
  • as far as price goes it's about 2 to 3 times the price of a single sponge and would last much longer I think.
  • Not widely available in Singapore at the moment.

And so, in conclusion, I don't think I would purchase this again since I'm so used to my sponges. (^_^;;)

Friday, 14 August 2015

My New Best Friend~ ꒰⑅ᵕ༚ᵕ꒱˖♡

New category up today~ And given my tendency to ramble I have decided to, very aptly, call it Baby Babble =D *cue awkward applause*

Baby Summer is now 6 weeks old and progressing quite nicely. She's been settling in to a fairly regular routine of feeds, bath time, playtime and naps every 2 or 3 hours in the day and seems to be progressively sleeping better and longer at night~ In the earlier weeks we had to stay up really late and squeeze in an hour or so of sleep between wee hour feedings so that was really tiring. Now, I only occasionally sit at my bed till 3 or 4a.m, expecting her to wake up hungry but she calls my bluff and snoozes all the way till 7a.m.... (-_-;;)

That said, she really is getting more and more adorable as the weeks pass. Now that she's becoming much more responsive, it's a daily highlight for the family whenever she gives us her Mona Lisa half smile and that fabulous open-mouthed smiley face~ I wasn't much of a baby person before, because I never really knew what to do with them, but now I turn to goo every time she laughs and smiles~ (^__^)

One of my favourite moments is when I pat her to sleep and she curls up on my chest, wiggling her way around until she gets herself all scrunched up in her favourite position. It's like crouching real low on all fours on my chest with her head tucked into my neck~ You can't see her legs in the photo but they're all hiked up like a sitting frog =P

And from this point it's hours of uninterrupted sleep.....sometimes for both of us! My Dad has sneaked shots of the both of us concussed in this position before and I love those shots despite the unglam-ness of it all XP (and no I shan't publicise them here.)

Oh! And it was also quite the highlight when she saw her fairy lights above her bed for the first time! She opened her eyes so big and her mouth totally fell open like "OOOoooooo what're these~~~~"

Lapsing into quiet rapture ^^

I love those lights, got them for a steal during the babymoon to Helsinki. They're actually warm lights instead of the cool white in the photos and they're set into felt animal and flower cut-outs. Running on a couple of AA batteries, they were super easy to put up and also super cheap so getting them was a no-brainer.

And then it was off to dreamland after another bout of patting and walking her up and down the living room~

See? I'm turning into goo just looking at the photos and recalling the moment I switched on those fairy lights! ^^

Ok, it's time to squeeze in forty winks again so bye for now! ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My PPP - Post Pregnancy Post =P (Wordy post, sorry!)

So! The pregnancy is over~~~ Hello postpartum woes!

We've embarked on a whole new section of the parenting journey and it largely involves my parents & I slowly but surely turning into a trio of pandas. This is one of those milestones in life when your appreciation for your parents reaches a whole new level and especially towards your mom. Sleeping for 2 hours at a stretch is such a luxury now you would not believe! But this new little button of a housemate is worth it. At the moment anyway. I'm not sure I'll feel the same when going through those turbulent teenage years lol

Messed up sleeping aside, there's the leftover baby weight and kinda saggy paunch to deal with.

The Weight

I gained 14kg over the course of my pregnancy and lost about 5kg through the delivery of little Summer. Without much appetite for the week plus after my delivery, I was eating all 3 meals (confinement cuisine by mom no less) but in smaller portions than I used to. The fact that I was in some pain & discomfort from the episiotomy (the cut made to aid delivery) helped curb any wayward cravings I might have fantasised about.

So through just a lighter diet, I lost another 2 - 3kg. Still have about 6kg to lose but since this is just the 2nd week after my delivery, I'm still fairly optimistic =)

The Paunch

I got quite a shock when I realised there was a big potato sack-looking tummy left after the delivery. I'd expected the reduction in size to be more considerable but I guess one totally underestimates the mass of skin that's left after your baby bump has been deflated. Pfffttttttt.

Engaged a masseuse for the traditional Indonesian postpartum wraps & massage for 10 days and it really helped! The massages hurt (because the lady was on a war against cellulite) and the tight wrap wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world but the majority of the paunch shrunk and only some loose skin on the lower abdomen is bothering me now~ Some toning and tightening is definitely in order.

The Epidural 

I also wanted to share my experience with the epidural though. I think there are quite many people who're rather apprehensive and expect it to be painful so I thought describing the experience might be helpful somehow.

I'd been told I was 1.5 - 2cm dilated at the point of my admission to KKH but they figured I'd take a few hours more before anything exciting was going to happen so The Husband popped out to get some supper. Minutes later, I decided that pacing around my room to distract myself from the contraction pains (about 7 min apart, lasting about 30 sec each by this point) was not working anymore so I trotted myself out and asked if there was some painkiller I could take. As it turned out, I was 3cm dilated and could take the epidural already if I wanted. As a first-timer, I happily thought I could go back to my nice suite and relax with The Husband while waiting to deliver but no. My painkiller request was a one way trip to the delivery room and I'd left my phone up in the suite! Luckily The Husband came back and was directed to the delivery room before anything interesting started.

Sidenote: Take the epidural earlier during labour. You need to be able to stay really still for the anaesthetist in order to get the shot in right. There was another lady delivering some rooms away and she was screaming so loud I had to ask the nurse if that was a delivery with or without epidural. Long story short, she decided she wanted an epidural too late so she couldn't have it.

So how does the epidural feel like? Prior digging around the internet showed that experiences varied so I just went into it with a "what the hell, let's just get this over with" kinda mindset.

I have to say though, that I don't have a huge problem with needles and shots. E.g: A girlfriend had told me that the drip insertion hurt but I was fine with it. Anyway, the anaesthetist artfully kept the needles he was working with out of our prevent unnecessary freaking out I suppose. After asking The Husband to leave the room, I, seated on the bed, was told to bend over to expose my spine as much as possible.

Mr Anaesthetist (a man of few words) went "ok... I'm just going to clean your back first... Alright now injection on 3, 1.....2.....3..injection."

All I felt was a small pressure in my lower back. Then a second stranger, still small, very slightly prickly pressure as the thin tubing was inserted...imagine poking your spine with a fishing line. Moments later the drugs came in and I felt like warm water was being flooded into my stomach. It's like reverse peeing XP A strange feeling but not uncomfortable....just weird. And after that, it was SO GOOD. After almost 48hours of not being able to sleep due to the contractions, I was so happy to finally get some rest.

Just a little extra - As Summer was lying more on the right side of my tummy, the nurse had me lie on my left to encourage her to shift towards the centre. But by doing so, the epidural effects flooded to my left, leaving my lower left body COMPLETELY numb (totally surreal and quite funny) but still mobile. Problem was my right side could feel the contractions again! So I had to keep alternating between lying on my left and my back for a few hours until I was ready to start pushing.

During the delivery, I could move my legs and push very nicely without experiencing any pain from the contractions or the doctor doing the episiotomy so all in all, definitely no regrets on the epidural. Jury's still out on side effects and all, so Time will be the judge of that I guess.

Alright that'll be all for now, duty calls! And after that, hopefully I can squeeze in some sleep (^--^)v

Monday, 1 June 2015

Ippin Cafe Bar @ Mohamed Sultan - Casual Japanese Home Style Dining [Sponsored Review]

First off, apologies for the recent absence! The last leg of my pregnancy has not been as breezy so I've unfortunately spent a fair amount of time feeling kinda bleagh. But let's not go there lol XD 

Back in April, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invite for food tasting at a fairly new Japanese cafe bar that labeled itself a Japanese Makan & Drinks Place~ I rarely blog about lifestyle stuff so I was initially quite baffled why I was included in the mix ^^;; But the press kit was enticing and you know how I love Japan so naturally, I accepted.

Abit of background info:

Ippin Cafe Bar only just opened late last year and, being situated along Mohamed Sultan Rd, is across the road from En Dining Bar at UE Square and thus just a short walk from Liang Court. 

They boast their very own certified sake sommelier Ayumi, who is also the owner, and naturally offer a wide variety of premium sake (Prices range $35 - $95 for 720ml), shochu and craft beers. Ippin's head chef Naomi used to be a culinary teacher in Hong Kong, teaching home style Japanese cooking to the domestic helpers of Japanese expats missing the taste of home and I also heard from my Japanese colleague that she used to teach at a very popular cooking school in Japan too!

Aside from food and drink, Ippin also offers a wide range of Japanese home and food products so you can browse while kicking back after a nice meal that incidentally may have been made using a few in-store products! This cafe bar also holds the occasional cooking workshop, flea market and other little projects so be sure to check with the staff if they have anything coming up~

Oh and may I mention that all the menu prices are NETT? I love not having to factor in taxes and all plus there's free Wifi too!

Let's take a look at the place now shall we~

 Lots of natural sunlight =)

Casual atmosphere all set up for the tasting session

I liked the general feel of the place, lots of wood and white with smatterings of colour....abit of Scandinavian and Japanese...kind of like how I would like my own home to be y'know?

Digging this sofa and table set.....

A look at the simple non-alcoholic drinks menu:

Due to the pregnancy I was unable to try the alcohol and much of the tea selection but from the reactions of my fellow diners it seems to be favourable all around! I had the Hojicha since it had the lowest caffeine content, nice!

Most of the food here comes in a set but they've since expanded the menu to include smaller bites like sandwiches and other appetizers. Sets generally come with salad, Japanese rice (with barley so it's healthier!), Hatcho miso soup, a small side of Nikujaga (pork & potato stew) and dessert so talk about a full meal!

The AWESOME Nikujaga up there that should have a set of its own. Seriously I swear the stew is really really good!

On the food tasting menu that day were:

Grilled Oyster & Veggies in Ponzu Butter Sauce Set $20 NETT

Said oysters hail from Hiroshima, famous for their clean tasting oysters. This was surprisingly light, which sort of set the tone for the rest of the session. The oysters were had a very clean taste but I wish the ponzu taste was stronger. I wouldn't have known that ponzu was in the mix if not for the menu description.

Deep Fried Oyster Set $24 NETT

Here's a closer look at the oysters & the dip (tasting size):

I liked the dip (a light but chunky wasabi mayo I think) very much, it was nice & chunky and not any sort of in-your-face taste so it didn't overwhelm the lightly battered/breaded oysters nicely~ I rarely eat oysters because I'm terribly afraid of any sort of overwhelming sea or fishy taste but these oysters (both the fried and grilled versions) tasted nice and clean. 

Oyakodon Set $15 NETT (this set comes with Miso soup and dessert)

Again, the taste is on the light side so you don't feel overloaded with a whole lot of seasoning and sauce. It's really up to personal preference if you'd like this over the usual heavier versions though. I really like the Japanese rice mixed with barley, it makes the dish less heavy and that much healthier! Also available for purchase in-store if you like ^..^ 

Miso Udon Noodle with Oyster Set $15 NETT

Yes, oysters again!!
This is Aichi Prefecture soul food and uses naturally produced red miso that takes 2 whole years to ferment. This set comes with kobachi (small side dish) and dessert.

This was....ok for me. I prefer my soups thinner so this wasn't really my thing since the soup was on the thick side. Pretty rich overall.

And lastly, the Yakisoba Set $12 NETT (comes with a small side dish and dessert)

For some reason I've never been a fan of this daily Japanese fare but some of the diners liked it very much and even bought the noodles which were available in-store.

Last look at some of the sets that were plated to show the usual serving sizes~

Background - Miso Udon Set, Foreground - Grilled Oysters & Veggie Set

Oyakodon set

I noticed this little note on free rice refills on the menu:

Furikake for the rice refills

I think it's nice that they also provide a small selection of furikake (rice seasonings) to accompany your rice refills =)

Poking around the shopping area:

Some of the food & drink selections

A selection of Washi fiber goods

Curetex Washi fiber from the Fukui Prefecture, a natural fabric with a very high fiber count, is supposedly able to absorb odour, is anti-bacterial and block UV rays while providing coolness. Items made from this fabric range from $11 for a dual-side face mitten to $82 for a T-shirt. 

It started to rain before I left so I hung back to chat and the friendly staff at Ippin let me just sit around while waiting out the rain. So I got to see how the cafe is usually arranged and it really is very cosy and casual.

Looking a tad dim due to the rain

And here's what I brought home at the end of my visit:

Clockwise from top left: Wasabi Dressing, Sudachi Honey juice ($3/280ml), Plum Chazuke (tea rice) mix,
Koji Amazake (Sweet rice juice $18/500ml) and Curetex Washi fiber face mitt ($11).

Items without prices were part of our goodie bag for the day (^__^)v

So at the end of my rather long visit to Ippin, I would say that this cafe bar: 
  • is a nice place to spend an afternoon with the girlfriends or relaxing dinner and drinks after work. 
  • has a nice casual vibe and if you enjoy unpretentious home-style fare cooked with a light touch then Ippin's menu is definately up your alley.
  • boasts a wide range of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks plus even a sake tasting where one can try 3 types of sake from their selection for just $15.
  • has friendly staff who're up for a chat if you feel like it.
Would I go back? Yes~~~ For the Nikujaga and the Fried Oysters!! ( ´͈ ॢꇴ `͈ॢ)♡ 
IPPIN CAFE BAR - Japanese Makan & Drinks Place

18 Mohamed Sultan Rd (Just across the road from En Dining Bar at UE Square)
Tel: 6733 4794
Hours: Mon - Sat 11am - 11pm
NETT prices and FreeWiFi


Last but not least, a big Thank You to Ippin and Hazel for the invite and setting up the tasting session! ♡´・ᴗ・`♡ And thank you too for reading another lengthy post! Hope you've had a good long weekend!