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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hello 2018 Goodbye 2017

2016 was a year of major ups, many major downs and many little bumps here and there. So for 2017, I told myself that I would:

1) Try very hard to keep my mind in check and let go of what I can’t control.

2) Undergo deep healing of the mind, body and soul.

3) Cut myself some slack on the many expectations I put upon myself.

4) Practise yoga and exercise regularly.

5) Blog more often even if it means documenting events I hold dear to from a few years back just so I have something to read back on and smile.

6) Count my blessings.

7) Fill my heart with love and positivism.

8) Release things that cause negative attachment.

9) Let go of poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present.

On the last day of 2017, I’m happy to know that other than not fulfilling point 5 and blogging way way way less frequently than in 2016, I’ve achieved all that I’ve told myself to do! Apart from being stricken with Hyperemesis Gravidarum for the last quarter of the year which was something beyond my control, things fell in place when I learnt to do all that I’ve set myself to do.

2018 would be a year of major change with a new addition to the family, hubby being on a yearlong course and lots of new changes at work. But I say, let’s bring it on!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What It Feels Like to Have Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) robbed me of my life the past few months. If morning sickness is a misnomer because it strikes in the morning, afternoon, evening and night, HG is a hell ground that consumes me every day.

I am currently 21 weeks pregnant and after 5 months, I feel like I’m finally getting my life back. I still feel nauseous and queasy. I still suffer from occasional giddiness and severe headache. I still feel like my intellect has gone down and I cannot formulate proper sentences but at least, I can function like a normal person now.

Before I was pregnant, I had always envisioned myself as a happy and healthy pregnant lady. One of my gal pals even said that she could see me being one of those active mummy who would still run about and practise yoga with a big belly. Alas, I never expected to have such a difficult pregnancy when HG struck me.

I could not function like a normal person at all

I vomited so much that I learn that vomit comes in many forms. There is shallow vomiting when I cannot keep anything in. There is deep vomiting that comes with extreme pain, tears and panting. There are the foamy phlegmy ones. There are those that resemble whatever I eat or drink. There are the yellow and green bile that come from deep inside especially when I have nothing else in my guts. There are also the bloody ones when I vomit too much. Due to excessive saliva production, I was also spitting loads of saliva in between vomit sessions.

Other than feeling nauseous and vomiting many times a day, I could not do normal things at all. I was mostly bed-ridden or sofa-ridden. I did not have the strength to stand up for long without feeling giddy, headache or pinking out (blacking out but in my vision, everything is pink). Walking to the toilet many times a day to relieve myself was agonizing and every successful walk out of my room was an achievement.

I could not even look after myself, not to mention looking after my cat, Miyo. Miyo was severely neglected and I had no choice but to send her to my parent’s home. I respect all HG mummies who have to look after their other kids even while suffering.

I could not do simple household chores which really put a toll on my hubby when he had to juggle his busy work schedule and household chores. My parents had to come over to my place to look after me and made sure I get food into my system each time my hubby was on long hours at work or had overnight duties. They also helped me do the daily chores like the dishes, basic cleaning, feeding and clearing Miyo’s litter box, throwing away my many puke bags etc.

There were times when I thought perhaps I was well enough to switch on my laptop and work from home or to catch up on my blog posts but nah, I had never been that well enough to do those.

I spent my days doused with anti-nausea medication and sleeping all the sickness away. My awake time was spent going to the loo, trying to eat, watching mindless TV and replying to messages on my phone. The only places I travelled to were my parents’ home, my OBG clinic and the chiropractic clinic. I even stopped the fortnightly visits to my TCM clinic coz with each long car ride, I needed a few hours before and after to settle my guts.

I was almost handicapped and depended heavily on my hubby and family to get by my daily life.

Drastic weight loss

I vomited everything I consumed and was losing weight when I should had been putting on weight with a human growing in me.

During the initial phase, my weight kept plummeting with every single visit to the OBG. My lowest weight recorded was 45.1kg when I used to weigh 48—50kg before pregnancy. I became so skinny that my parents who saw me every day could not help noticing me growing so thin and frail as the days passed. The bimbo in me liked how my legs looked though. I finally had nice slim legs like my 2nd sis.

I was so weak and dehydrated that each time my gynae saw me, she would ask if I wanted to get myself hospitalized. As I was given home hospitalization leave, I thought it was unnecessary as I was able to rest in the comfort of my home. I did outpatient IV drip as I was too weak and lazy to check myself into hospital. I read that many HG mummies feel better after having IV drip but I felt that it did not really help me much. The drip was cold and made my whole right side so cold in freezing air-conditioned clinic. I felt very nauseous but I could not move to a comfortable position with the added restriction of being hooked up. I don’t like needles being poked on the top part of my bony hand and would bruise badly.

Supersonic sense of smell, taste and hearing

It really sucked to have heightened sense of smell, taste and hearing because everything grated on my nerves and made me even sicker. Everything broke down into layers of disgusting smells and tastes.


Every human, every product and every place has their own unique smell and I could smell them all with this dog nose of mine.

You know how you could smell the lovely scent of someone close to you? I could smell every human’s individual scent and trust me, you wouldn’t want to smell those scent every single minute. I could smell my hubby’s scent many times more than before and it was nauseating to me.

The smell of food is obviously the enemy of anyone who is nauseous and cooked food nauseated me the most. I hated the smell of Chinese cooking which means I could not stand the smell of all my favourite home-cooked food. My parents had to cook everything without garlic because I totally hated garlic then. I could smell all the neighbours’ cooking wafting from their windows and had to close all windows, jump under my comforter and still smell all these disgusting smell. The smell of the stove and blue fire triggered me too so I could not do simple cooking when I was well.

Other than food, every product had a base, middle and top note smell to me and as long as there was a base soap smell, it would trigger me. I puked at what was supposed to be fragrant shower smell. It got so bad that I dread showering. I had to change a few shower foams till I found a fruity one that did not trigger my vomit. I could no longer do the dishes and the laundry because all these smell triggered me even on days when I could function more normally. I stayed over at my parents’ home when the hubby was overseas for a few weeks and also intermittently when he had overnight duties. My sis had to remove the air freshener in her room and seal it in a Ziploc bag just because of me. She had to quickly run to her room after her shower because I hated the shower foam that she used. Heck, I could even smell the shower smell from their neighbours’ home. My dad had to change my sheets and blanket when the softener smell overwhelmed me on the first day I moved back. He took out sheets after sheets from the cupboard to let me sniff for my stamp of approval before changing a new set.

I could smell the unique smell of every place too. I could only rot in the comforting smell of my bed because every room in my home and my family’s home has their unique smell. I could not watch TV in the living room when the smell of dried flowers on the shelf triggered me and I used to love the smell of flowers whether fresh or dried. The carpentry smell in my study room, the mixture of different smell in my parents’ and sis’s room and the unique Miyo smell in the room we keep her in would trigger me badly. Even the bedroom I grew up in in my parents’ home, the very same room I retreated to from disgusting smells didn’t smell the best too. The smell of every place outside the sphere of homes was worse. For example, the lift at my parents’ place has an atomic bomb of smell of many different people, smoke, pee, perfume and products all in one confined space. I used to love the scent of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital which is where my OBG clinic is located. During the last few months, I felt so nauseated by the scent that it was an agony to visit the clinic. I could go on about smell but I guess that by now, you would have gotten the drift.


Moving on to taste, every fresh food had its various layers of taste too. It was so bad that I hated food so much for somebody who used to be a foodie. My body rejected whole real food especially meat, fish and eggs. I retched them out and simply could not swallow them at all. I could taste the urea taste in meat especially pork. Every kind of chicken boiled, fried, steamed, well-marinated etc had a frozen chicken taste. No matter how fresh a fish was, I could taste the pungent fishy taste. I also finally understood why some people dislike eggs. They just had a kind of eggy taste that’s so nauseating.


A lot of sounds grated on my nerves and triggered my nausea and headache. The sound system in my hubby’s car is a little spoilt and the static base sound made me so nauseous that I had to command him to switch off the radio when I could bear it no longer. My pounding severe headache sounded like a troop of galloping horses. I hated the daily tuneless whistling of one my neighbours that I felt like screaming for him or her to shut up. I even wished for the sound of the splashing pool water feature downstairs to stop.


Yeah, if only my vision heightened on top of everything, that would be great. My vision did not improve but perhaps you could say that my sense of sight was heightened because even looking at pictures of food and reading text about food would induce vomit. I could not look at my handphone screen for long as I would get very bad headache and nausea. There was once I puked big time after watching a funny song video about Little India that my colleague sent. It was probably the mixture dynamic colours and food in the video that triggered me.

I started to empathize with those super heroes with heightened senses. Give me normal human senses any time!

Emotional to the point of depression

I cried a lot during my 5 months of pregnancy. I could not control my tears. I was feeling so sick and miserable that I cry myself to sleep while wondering why I was suffering so much.

I cried when I thought about how lousy and useless I was each time I saw people going all out of the way for me.

I cried all 3 times Miyo jumped hard onto my tummy.

I cried and whined a lot to my hubby and he always looked so helpless whenever I did that. Sometimes I would feel like punching him when he said that it was all in my mind, that I should not coop myself indoors, that I should walk around and get some fresh air etc. I feel like punching anyone who said that because it really isn’t all in the mind at all and f*** you I was so weak to even stand, how to walk around and get fresh air? The first time I tried to get fresh air and walked in the reservoir park, I vomited nonstop when I got home till my guts and shoulders hurt badly and cried while thinking why I was so weak and lousy.

I cried for weird reasons. There was once my hubby opened the blinds saying that the darkness was causing me to feel depressed. My tears flowed down uncontrollably at the sight of sunlight streaming in and I begged him nonstop to close the blinds.

My gal pal who went through multiple HG pregnancies would often remind me that "it's the damn hormones". Well, damn those hormones!

Counting my blessings and how I coped with HG

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, certainly brought awareness to HG when she was afflicted by it for the 3rd time this year. If not for her, there would be many people who are still unaware of HG.

There is no known cause of HG, and no proven cure. Tips for alleviating morning sickness do not work on HG patients. Medication only help take away the symptoms and most of the time, we have to suffer while trying to live a normal life. I read somewhere that some HG mummies had to terminate their pregnancy because they are unable to cope with it. Having a kid was difficult for us so I would never ever terminate my pregnancy though I would be lying if I said the thought never crossed my mind.

While most mummies with morning sickness have their symptoms subsiding after 1st trimester, HG mummies take a much longer time. Some HG mummies suffer for the whole 9 months of their pregnancy. Many HG mummies I personally know or whom I got to know from Facebook groups recover from 15 weeks to 20+ weeks with most of them recovering after week 20. And when I say “recover”, it simply means to function more normally. Most of us still continue to have symptoms of nausea and vomit occasionally even after recovery.

I am currently at 21 weeks and have officially returned to work. I started to function better at 20 weeks but with very bad symptoms in between that it was difficult to predict when I was actually recovering. In fact, my symptoms returned while doing this blog post and along with the uncontrollable tears, I moped and sobbed in bed till dinner delivery arrived.

I think I fall in the middle range in terms of HG severity and I am only able to cope with it because I am fortunate in many ways.

Supportive people around me

I have a supportive husband, family, in-laws, friends, bosses and colleagues who empathize with me. I always hear of HG sufferers having people around them who do not understand what they are going through and do not take their predicament seriously. Sometimes, even fellow women with morning sickness discount HG women's suffering thinking that they are exaggerating their condition. I am blessed with kind people around me who empathize with my condition.

Other than empathizing, I am thankful to the people who help me get through the past few months. A HG hubby is a sufferer too. I know I had been a nuisance and huge liability to my hubby with all the added load I gave him at home and how he had to pander about me. The list is too long but I'm sure you get a rough idea.

I am thankful to my mum for coming all the way to my home to buy food or cook for me during the initial phase. I am thankful to my dad who ferried me around when my hubby was not available and cooking for me when I stayed over. I had my regular serving of fresh fruits at my parents’ home because my dad would skin and slice them for my comfortable eating and “served me” while I lazed on the sofa. My hubby never did that until I compared him to how my dad spoils me and forced him to slice apples for me. I am thankful to my 2nd sis for being Miyo’s main caregiver, accommodating to this arrangement without complaints even though she is already very busy. My in laws also helped out in little ways they could like calling me to ask after me and buying food when they visited.

I need not worry about work because my branch colleagues and immediate boss covered for me. They did not bother me about work unless it was really necessary to get urgent information from me. Sometimes the lack of them disturbing me for work made me wonder if I would be asked to leave but to be honest, I was often too sick to worry too much about it. My colleagues had been very sweet and thoughtful and it’s really the people that made me miss going back to work.

I have a Whatsapp group with 2 other gal pals and together, the 3 of us all happen to be pregnant at the same time with our babies being due 2 months apart. Another coincidence is that all 3 of us are HG sufferers! That thread became our support group. We rant and we whine and we “report” our daily suffering on that thread. Most importantly, we encourage one another to hang in there.

Resting at home with home hospitalization leave

I had the privilege of being able to rest at home and managed to avoid undue stress and worry.

With that, I also avoided having too much medication in my system. Before I was pregnant, I had successfully avoided Western medication for a while when I embarked on a journey of healthy lifestyle. No matter how much I suffered, I would feel proud of myself for having abstained from popping pills then. However during pregnancy, I had no choice but to take western medication for my HG symptoms as the suffering was too extreme. Also, I thought that my little one would not grow well if I'm suffering daily, affecting my emotional health and chanelling bad energy.

Nevertheless, I managed to avoid taking too much medication and the very strong ones because I had the liberty to stay at home to sleep it all away. Furthermore, I did not have to get myself hospitalized and hooked up in drips because I could simply rest at home.

Sleep sleep sleep

Despite the dark gruelling days, I caught up with years of lost sleep during this period. I had such a healthy sleeping habit waking up early, sleeping early and having lots of naps in between.

I know I finally have sufficient sleep when years of bloodshot eyes became all white. Yeah, an eye specialist once told me that little capillaries are formed in the sclera (white part of the eye) to obtain as much oxygen for the eye as possible and the only way to get rid of the visible red capillaries is to get enough sleep.

Having sufficient sleep certainly helped tide me over the discomfort I was going through. I also secretly thought that it was the best time get all the sleep I could coz I know how sleep is a precious commodity once the baby pops.

Eat whatever I can and whenever I can

Even though I vomit almost everything I consume, there are moments when I could keep food and water in. Chewing and swallowing very slowly also helped in keeping the stuff in. Since I could not eat whole real food for a period of time, I could only eat processed and dry food. I survived on crackers, chocolates, junk food, milo, oats, maternal milk and whatever that I could stomach. Instead of water which tasted bland, the tanginess and sweetness of processed fruit juices appealed to me and that was how I got myself hydrated. For a while, my gynae gave me the green light to eat unhealthily because at least I was getting some calories even if I was eating and drinking junk.

I used to take prenatal multi vitamins on empty stomach thinking that even if I did not eat, at least I had the vitamins to get me through. Big mistake. Taking any kind of vitamin or pill on an empty stomach can make you feel nauseous. In the case of prenatal multi vitamins, iron is an added culprit and ironically, we need lots of iron during pregnancy. When taking my prenatal vitamins with food did not help, I took it just before I go to bed so that I would be sleeping any sickness away.

Ultrasound scans of my little one kept me strong

Without having witnessed my little one's heartbeat and growth through the monthly ultrasound scans, it was just a "thing" in me that was making me really sick. What kept me going was the 20-week detailed ultrasound scan. I was feeling so sick lying there with the cold gadget pressed onto my belly that the sonographer had to pass me her little container of peppermint paste to keep me from vomiting.

My little one was so cute and active "swimming" here and there, up and down, left and right, kicking about, doing yoga poses and somersaults and then going to sleep just when the sonographer had to take the spine's measurement. I was so thrilled to see all these cute little acts that for a while, my nausea was gone and I forgot about how much I was suffering. Knowing that this thing making me sick is a life... a precious little life... kept me going strong. It made all my suffering worthwhile.

Be thankful for every small step I take ahead

I felt really proud of myself each time I completed something small. For example, when I washed that dirty cup without feeling nauseous, when I cleared Miyo’s poo all by myself, when I ate half my meal without vomiting, when I survived a car ride without feeling too sick, when I walked alone outside etc. They are really insignificant acts to a normal functioning person but to a HG patient, being able to do normal things are all huge achievements that we should be thankful for.


As time passes, I look back to see that I have accomplished a little more than before and have come a long way to battling this dreaded HG. Everything passes and this too shall pass. I still feel nauseous intermittently and vomiting has so far come to a minimum but I have already crawled out from the dumpest dump and I am proud to wear the badge of a HG survivor!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

7 Tips To Gain Instagram Followers

This is a long overdue blog post on how I gain more Instagram followers on my personal Instagram account iamjolene which is currently at about 17k.

Anyone can use my strategy to gain followers if you hustle a little more. I won't call myself a "blogger"; I am just somebody who writes a blog. I don't quite like the term "influencer"; I'm not like those IG influencers who are mini celebrities commanding high rates. Of course, I'm not some actress, model or celebrity too. I'm just an ordinary person who has a personal Instagram account. And if an ordinary person like me could gain 17k followers, you can do it too! :D

When I experienced an exponential growth of Instagram followers and reached 10k followers 2 years back, people noticed and asked me how I did it. I readily shared my tips with close friends and some of them put them into practice and saw growth.

There are lots of articles on the Internet about how to get more Instagram followers. They have got really good tips there, from curating your account to holding contests to using the right hashtags.

I won't be repeating rich information which could readily be found in many articles so in this blog post, I will share with you MY WAY of gaining real Instagram followers ethically without buying fake followers or doing those annoying follow unfollow methods.

The key word here is GOOD ENGAGEMENT. Sincere ongoing engagement leads to organic followers and these are the followers who usually stick by you for a long time.

Tip 1:
Find IG accounts of similar niche as yours and like a few photos from them.

Liking a few photos would certainly get the IGer's attention. Some of them would return the likes back and might even follow. Depending on whether their account is to my taste, I'll follow back.

Tip 2:
Comment sincerely on photos that you have something to comment on.

Liking is easy but commenting takes more effort so it definitely catches the IGer's attention. This needs time and effort so I do it during commutes and pockets of free time. Everyone appreciates sincere engagement. I follow back IGers who have been engaging sincerely even though their feed may not be my liking coz I appreciate them. Such followers eventually become long time IG friends. Likewise, there are also IGers out there like me who would appreciate your sincere engagement and follow you back.

Tip 3:
Scroll through the likes, comments and followers of other IG accounts and engage in them.

After that, follow Tip 1 and 2.

Tip 4:
Leave sincere comments on famous accounts. 

Don't leave cursory ones or simply emojis. Cursory ones are done by insincere people only trying to gain attention. Emojis are usually done by bots.

Your comments with thoughts put in will definitely get their followers' attention who might visit your page back.

Take for example, when I comment on famous hairstylists' accounts, other hairstylists and funky hair pple would visit my feed and like all my purple hair photos. Some would follow too.

Another example would be when I comment on a few famous travel accounts, somehow other travel accounts would visit my feed and like my travel posts. Likewise, some followed too.

Even if you don't gain followers this way, you might have those famous account liking your photos. I had Guy Tang's mydentity account liking my purple hair posts and the official Lululemon account liking my yoga wear post. It really felt good to have famous accounts liking your posts.

Tip 5:
Reply to comments.

Because people appreciate you when you reciprocate and it definitely shows your sincerity!

Yes, I know. It is hard to reply to every single comment when we have a life going on outside of Instagram. Take a few minutes to reply as a way of saying thank you. I appreciate people taking the time to comment and I would visit their account and engage their posts too.

As you gain more followers, it becomes harder to reply to every comment and I don't reply to every single one now. Giving a heart to acknowledge would be the least you could do.

You should also note that one-word or few-words comments such as "great post" or "cool" or emojis are usually left by bots or insincere people in a rush to get attention. It's up to you if you want to reply to them to get their attention back, give a heart or just move on.

Tip 6: 
Like many photos of IGers who have a lot more following than followers.

If you simply want to grow followers without bothering if they are of your niche or theme, scroll through followers of famous accounts and do the above. IGers with a lot more following than followers are highly likely to follow you back. Remember not to spam too many likes though. I personally dislike it if people who visit like every single photo of mine.

Do note that this way of gaining followers would get you lots of "dead" or inactive followers. That means they only follow you without ever liking or commenting on your posts at all. Suddenly having lots of such accounts following you would generate more of such accounts following you. I don't understand this logic or how the IG algorithm works but I noticed this when I had my exponential growth.

You may not like such "dead" or inactive followers but they certainly add significantly to your followers count. When you have a good follower is to following ratio, people are more likely to follow you.

Tip 7:
Be bold to ask politely and sincerely. 

When I often have to and fro likes and comments from the same IGers, I would be open and ask if we could follow each other because I appreciate the connection. Most of the times, they would follow back. I built many real connection and IG friends in this way. Some of these IGers grew to be so popular in the high 5 digits follower range but they never ever unfollow coz there is a rapport built right from the start. However don't do a "Hey, I followed you. Follow me back." Nobody likes that. Of course, don't be discouraged if fellow IGers do not want to follow you back. You may think that they are a bitch but it is fine. It's just frivolous Instagram. Be gracious, move on and don't take offence.

I'm sharing what worked for me to get to where I am now before I started joining Instagram communities or more affectionately known as pods. To grow followers and engagement organically is super hard work when you don't do the follow unfollow method. People seldom have the time now but I really dislike people who do follow unfollow. It is downright insincere.

Many people are also turning to bots and Virtual Assistants (VA) that would do all these back-end work for them. That sure sounds great but for now, my IG is still a personal space and I would like to manage it myself. Moreover, bots and VA do the follow-unfollow method too so I personally would stay away from them until perhaps one day when I get famous, busy and insincere. ;P

With the introduction of the Instagram algorithm whereby posts are not shown in chronological order on news feed, my rate of followers gain and likes are seriously affected. While gaining a steady stream of followers, I realised that I'm losing followers by the few hundreds since the start of this year even though my engagement is more. I could gain a few followers every 3 days but I lose about 10 per day. I could never cross back to my 17.4k mark. I discover that many IGers also experienced the same problem and it could be an Instagram algorithm issue where our posts are not readily available to people who would follow and engage. Nevertheless, quality over quantity. It is a natural way to detox my account when these unfollowers are the inactive ones.

I will continue with sincere engagement because I believe that a little hustle and sincerity would perpetuate real growth in followers.

Image Credit: All the beautiful images on this post are used with permission from with_love_martha. Even though we just knew each other this year, I know she's such a sweet lady from our interaction on IG. Check out her Instagram page for loads of beautiful edibles made by herself and follow her while you're at it. 

Side rant: I know that parts of my blog look unsightly now because I hosted years of images (which include images on my main blog page like the blog buttons on top) on Photobucket. I'm mad pissed and completely upset that years of photos hosted with Photobucket are all replaced by their unsightly banner now. RAWR!!! If you haven't already known about the Photobucket saga, read more about it here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Blissful Bundle from A Better Florist

I love flowers.

My love for flowers started when I was in an all girls' secondary school and gal pals gave each other flowers on Valentine's Day, a day we affectionately termed as Friendship Day.

Groups of friends and classmates would buy tickets and support you when you perform in a concert (I was from the symphonic band) and then present you with large bouquet of flowers and balloons at the end of the performance.

It was all really heartwarming back then in school. Hence it is an irony that instead of being swooned when my then boyfriend (now husband) bought me bouquet of flowers twice early in our relationship, I told him not to waste money. My mistake. I've not received any flowers from him since then.

I still love flowers though I seldom receive them now. A Better Florist made by day when I received this vase of Spring Breeze at my office last week.

I absolutely adore fresh flowers in glass vase. I love pastel, romantic, vintagey flower theme. I love the burst of floral fragrance when I sniff at flowers.

My pastel theme flowers from A Better Florist came in a glass vase with vintagey twine all bursting with floral fragrance. It was no wonder my kitty cat Miyo stepped into the doorway of my room, lifted her head and sniffed the air with a cute little pink nose going up and down before running to the flowers.

The Blissful Bundle is the ultimate bliss-pack for a stress free season which includes the Spring Breeze - gorgeous pastel blooms to brighten anyone's home or work space. I feel so happy looking at them by the TV every day!

Even though I love flowers, I am a flower idiot. My Instagram friend told me that I have got Roses, Lisianthus, Gerbera daisy and little green Chrysanthemum pompoms. Now I suddenly feel so enlightened about flowers! *LOL*

The Blissful Bundle also comes with a relaxing lavender candle for bedtime, and an energizing lemongrass candle to start the day.

I am one who absolutely dislike Lavender -- one of the most popular scent in the world. I find that many Lavender products have got a salty base note that could sometimes smell like saliva.

I am utterly amazed that this Lavender soy candle smells heavenly. There isn't a hint of the salty saliva smell I often associate with Lavender. It just smells like fresh Lavender. I'm slightly addicted to it as I keep opening the lid to sniff it. The Lemongrass smells just like strong Lemongrass and fortunately, I'm fine with Lemongrass so I would say it smells great too. I wonder what Miyo thinks.

Look, there is even a flower care guide!

The customer service from the lady handling my order till the courier service was great! It was a breeze communicating with them.

A Better Florist also conducts Flower Jam Sessions every Saturday. Visit them for more details!


Monday, May 01, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 -- Year of the Rooster

It is 3 months after the Chinese New Year and I am just done with editing the photos. I say 3 months is a pretty good improvement as compared to the previous years. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Loooooooong picture-ful post. Go get your drinks and popcorn while waiting for the images to load. You could even savour your main dish in front of your computer. Those viewing this on your smartphones and other hand held devices, I suggest you skip reading this post till you get home or you might risk jamming your device and cursing at my blog in public. I know my turtle friend did that once minus the cursing in public. =P

~*Pre CNY*~

The Year of The Rooster is my hubby's year (and nope, he isn't 24 years old so figure how OLD he is.)

My MIL who doesn't usually buy chinese zodiac decorations bought rooster CNY decorations for us since it is her son's zodiac year. The boy boy and girl girl chicken with furry tummies are just too cute! I love them and love how festive they made our home look. Now after CNY, they are sitting idly in the cupboard only to be gloriously hung up 12 years later. _へ__(‾◡◝ )>

I looked like I was posing casually with the chicks but check out what went behind the scene. I had to prop myself up on the chair to reach tat level to stick the decoration up. And one of my gal pal who saw the above photo asked me if I was wearing my CNY clothes coz it looked so pink. Well, I was in home clothes -- my VS Love Pink pajamas and FBT shorts. LOL.

Presenting my CNY 2017 nails to welcome the year of the Rooster! Because roosters are not that cute in general, I decided to do a baby rooster instead. I asked the nail artist to modify from a chick nail art and had its hair replaced by the red lines for a baby rooster. 🐔🐓🐣🐥

I did my CNY2017 nails way early as I couldn't stand the ickiness of how long the Christmas nails had grown with the edges flipping up. But after doing so much housework, my CNY nails are starting to show signs of colour lightening at the edges.

After moving to our new home, my OCD nature peaked. I'm constantly cleaning the house largely because of Miyo too. Her fur is too soft and smooth that when they shed, they float everywhere, contributing to 90% of the dust and dirt in the home.

Here are 19 out of 26 household tasks checked! I was surprised by how much the hubz and I could do over the last weekend before CNY and how much we could accomplish when we divide and conquer. Although we did not complete all the tasks, we felt proud of ourselves and had an enjoyable time having people visit our home.

The kitchen counter looked so festive with all the goodies, a nice basket of mandarin oranges and a silly mascot cat who seemed to think it is HER YEAR.

"This is my chilling place ok?"

"Humans, you do not put 2 mandarin oranges in front of me and make me your CNY mascot."

We did not snap any family photo this year during reunion dinner with the in laws coz it was the first time we were seated outdoor where it was too dark. This was what my FIL snapped.

~*CNY Happenings*~

All decked in maroon for Day 1. I suspect this dress would wind up being my Xmas dress too.
I was also  trying to snap my purple, blue and green hair but all the camera could capture was the blue.

When you have an uncooperative cat with a resting bitch face and you just want to take a decent CNY family portrait, you realize that you need to invest in a tripod... or a new cat.

Day 1 would be spent at my family home for lunch. I always LURVE the food that my parents prepare. Yes, both my mum and my dad are good cooks! We had steamboat lunch this year and the soup base is pig stomach soup. They make the best pig stomach soup in the world! We also had the usual CNY dishes like ngor hiang, leek and white-spotted rabbitfish.

As usual, we would have the tradition of taking The Loh Family portrait shots on the sofa and the anigif of various shots on continuous snap timer mode that would follow.

After that, it would be at The Ng Family for the same portrait shot on the sofa and the anigif. Both sofas are getting really old.

My paternal grandma whom we always find really cute hasn't been doing well these 2 years. She doesn't recognize anyone anymore. I missed this family photo with her while I was paying respects at the in laws' side on Day 1.
(⌯˃̶᷄ ﹏ ˂̶᷄⌯)゚

I forgot which day it was when we had the usual steamboat dinner with the hubz' paternal relatives. I always love all these home cooked Chinese food and kh's eldest uncle and his wife whip up really fabulous home cooked food.

Great home cooked food should be shared.
The best black coffee in the world too!

This pair of yellow birds would come every new year to build their nest at the exact same plant outside kh's uncle's place. I spied a little blue egg in there! So exciting! I guess for a tropical country that does not experience the 4 seasons, this is indeed a tell tale sign of spring's arrival.

A yellow bird also attempted to build a nest on our swing. I wondered if it is the same species of yellow bird. Can you spot the bird and the curious Miyo?

After a good lunch feast, it was dinner feast at my paternal relatives' place. There was a mixture of Chinese and Western food and they were all so delectable too! What a day of lots of good food and family warmth.

Best Japanese sake ever!

There are lots of new addition in this family photo as the younger cousins are all taking their partners along. The youngsters are all growing up and the not so young are all growing old but still keeping our hearts young.

There seemed to be 2 CNY lunches with the the department as one of the day was the actual CNY lunch while another was a CPR workshop day coupled with National Education tour at the Battle Box.

Instead of taking a whole dept shot, we decided this would do when we asked the other table to join in the wefie.

The unofficial 2nd CNY lunch with the dept after our CPR renewal course. We are all certified to perform CPR.

Anywhere also can take photo... Gals... This is in the ladies btw.

The Battlebox tour at Fort Canning may not be cheap but it is worth every cent. This is currently run by a private company and the guides who are volunteers are excellent. If this private company had not stepped out to manage this, the Battlebox would have been closed by the government for the next few years. That would be a huge part of Singapore's history being closed to the public.

After the battlebox tour, a few friends from work headed over to my place to see Miyo and to gamble. What's CNY without some gambling?

The Banker who kept winning sought Prophet Miyo's divine answers.

Everyone loves Miyo even when she has a resting bitch face.

The VIOS decided to replicate the atas CNY BBQ from 2 years back.

Just look at the premium ingredients!

Dot was surprised by the birthday cake for her. Check out the scaredy cat Miyo cowering under the sofa in the last pic. She was freaked out when we switched off all the lights and sang the happy birthday song.

This is what goes on behind the scene when you are the cutest diva RBF cat in the world.

And as the years go by, we continue living young and doing youngish stuff like age didn't matter. Ending off the night with failed 三连拍 which nobody followed and THE silly DAB pose which everyone did!

The last CNY gathering was the Hubz and his uni frenz' annual mahjong gathering. That was the first time we had it at our new place coz everyone wanted to see Miyo too.

The boys plan to take a shot like this for the next few years to come until everyone becomes old uncle and old grandpa.  °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

And we deep fried for the first time in our open concept kitchen coz everyone had craving for luncheon meat fries for supper.

I thought of scrapping the idea of posting a late CNY post  but felt that it would not make my blog complete if there is a missing post for this year's CNY, and the hubz' year too. I sure hope you enjoyed joining me on my CNY 2017 happenings through these photos whether they are late or not.

It is the Labour Day public holiday here in Singapore and I was supposed to be working on my work laptop for an event we are organising. It would be a real busy month of May this year but hey, I've promised myself that I want to blog more and I'm honouring my word to myself. It feels really good! I realise that the only promise I always break is the one to myself. I will break that habit and continue to keep promises I made to myself from now on.


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