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Waving goodbye to another year always brings forth feelings of nostalgia and excitement, along with a slight sadness of losing time so quickly.  I’ve been hanging onto moments more and more since Ever entered my life and each day I try to soak up as much of her cuteness and baby like qualities as possible.  I’m finding it hard to accept she will one day become a teenager or adult and I won’t be able to cuddle her before bedtime, steal a million kisses a day, or see her sweet eyes staring at me with great adoration.  My birthday falls just before Christmas and New Year so this time of year brings many celebrations, but shifts me into another state.  I go from lazy holiday mode to sheer determination as the clock ticks midnight, and plans for what we will hope to achieve in the upcoming year start to come alive.  Last year brought so many blessings, and saw the most success and happiness since we started calling HK home.  The boy and I travelled constantly with our baby, watched her blossom, and learned what we wanted our family to strive and become.  I was able to challenge myself as a mother and dedicated my time to not only teaching and learning with my daughter but nurturing our relationship to be a strong one for many years to come. 2016 will be another adventure, maybe the best yet with welcoming a new family member in the form of a little brother for Ever.   I’ve spent so much of the past three years being pregnant or adjusting to my life as a mother, I haven’t thought much about myself. This year I am hoping to learn to juggle all my roles, maintain my absolute closeness with Ever while inviting her brother into the world, as well as set myself more challenging goals for my brand and career. We aren’t daunted by the obstacles of being self-employed, working parents of two, but look to embrace our nomadic lifestyle further, and find ways to truly open our children’s eyes to everything that is available to them.  Hopefully we will see another year of love, adventure, and happiness.

xx

January 2, 2016 0 comment
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Christmas is almost here! Our Christmas tree is sparkling, we’ve introduced the concept of Santa to little Ever, and now it’s time to fill the stockings and stack the presents for the big day.   Last year Ever was too little to fully understand the holiday season so this is going to be her first official Christmas.  We’ve bundled her up in her prettiest dresses and riled up her excitement by showing her all the festive decorations around town.  She assisted in all tree decorating, directing where each ornament should be carefully placed and makes sure to touch the gold star sitting atop the tree each day (with assistance from Daddy of course).  Our next step will be to take her for her first Santa photo at Pacific Place and complete all Christmas shopping tasks so she has plenty to open on Christmas Day.

Below is what Ever will be getting for Christmas….Shhhh don’t tell 😉
Ever is a little accessories princess.   She’s constantly wearing my necklaces and stacking my bracelets and consistently steals my Monica Vinader friendship bracelets.   I can’t believe she’s already like this at 1.5 years old…and am anticipating this in full swing come teenage years.  We’ve decided to get her an Monica Vinader engraved bracelet of her own for Christmas.  They are timeless, can be personalised, and will last her a lifetime. We can add to the collection each year on memorable occasions and it’s not a toy she will bore of in a few months.  The ideal toddler gift for a blooming fashionista.

The Mickey Mouse obsession has begun and she watches videos of him on a daily basis.   We’ll be giving her a day at Disneyland HK along with dinner with the characters so she can meet all her favourite cartoons in person.  Plus eat all the fun park food that our foodie baby will most definitely enjoy.

Ever is an artsy baby and loves colouring, drawing, painting, and anything to do with creating. She’s already learned the words for many colors and loves choosing them for specific pictures.  We are going to stock up on paints and other art supplies for her at ELC so she can do different art projects everyday.

Play Kitchen is pretty high on her list of wishes and this IKEA one is not pricey or an eye sore. She has all the pots and pans already so this will be an ideal addition to her little home play area.

Ever has a true Hello Kitty obsession. Her plates, backpack, cups, everything is Hello Kitty and she spots her at any toy store. I’m going to head to “Toy Street” in Shum Shui Po for all kinds of Hello Kitty toys. I really recommend this area to HK parents looking for cheap toys and Christmas decorations. A must visit this month!

 No fashionistas Christmas list is complete without something to add to her wardrobe. Ever loves new shoes and dresses so I’ll get her a few to wear in the new year. I hate paying extortionate prices for kids clothes, especially since Ever is in the 99th percentile for height and grows out of everything in an instant. Zara is so affordable, pretty, stylish, and great quality. Love it for baby girl wear.

And that’s it! Wishing you all a happy festive season with your little babies and toddlers xx

December 10, 2015 0 comment
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Travelling is in our blood and the boy and I can’t go a few weeks without hopping on an impromptu journey.  I found out I was pregnant with Ever while we were in the final stages of booking a bohemian, hippy holiday to island hop around Koh Lanta.  Those plans were quickly thrusted aside for a more sensible Christmas trip to England and since then we’ve been playing the travel game with a little one in tow.

Many will quit their nomadic tendencies after having children, and many will deem it impossible or ridiculous.  We have decided to integrate Ever into our lives and with a few tweaks we are able to take her on our adventures, igniting her curiosity and showing her what the world has to offer. We usually get through the challenges by throwing routines and expectations out the window.  Everyone is a little bit more carefree and reckless on vacation so I believe Ever is entitled to join the fun.  No strict nap or bedtimes and she is generally allowed to eat what she likes. I want to encourage her to be adventurous about food so even if it’s a bite of street food or sip of milk tea I wouldn’t usually allow at home, I indulge in her curiosity on our trips.  Our schedules can be crazy with time changes and car journeys so naps happen when she’s tired. Usually after a long swim or during a long ride to our next destination. The goal is for us to all have fun and create memorable experiences as a family. Here are a few tips for other parents who possess the travel bug. Don’t stop now.

Flying: Back in the day plane rides were a time of rest and relaxation. I would devour books, movies, and magazines and munch on my favourite snacks while cuddled with the boy. Flying with Ever is a completely different story. My carry on is now heavy with treats, games, blankets, wipes, and clothes.  Lets say its better to be prepared than covered in sick and pee. The goal is to get her to sleep, so a strict routine of feed and cuddle ensue during take off hoping that leads to at least a 2 hour nap. Luckily Ever usually obliges and I spend my sanctuary moments trying not to move and snoozing so I have energy for what may come next.  I think this situation will become more comfortable once we start buying her a seat of her own.  Airplane meals are now stolen bites off the boy’s tray and movies are pretty much left half watched. During Ever’s waking hours we alternate turns holding her and entertaining the little princess. Showing her videos, feeding her popcorn and raisins, or general tickling usually keeps her occupied. We never let her out of the seat unless it’s a bathroom break as I couldn’t bear a child that was running up had down the aisles. Fingers crossed that’s not in my future.

Hotel and Rooms: I used to spend hours researching and locating the ideal room which was a mix of rustic and boutique.  Priorities now include well equipped and spacious. I really recommend having a suite or separate living room if it’s in your budget. We love sipping on a glass of wine and chatting after she’s gone to bed and it’s ideal to have a separate space so we don’t disturb her while she’s napping. We also love private pool villas as much more time is now spent in said room. My prime sunbathing hours are during her afternoon naps when I can sneak into our plunge pool and still see her through the window. True mummy luxury 🙂 Also choose resorts with kids clubs or childcare services. Sometimes you just need a few hours to yourselves to enjoy a cocktail and a romantic meal.

What to Bring: Our main goal is Ever feels at home at each resort, making her comfortable enough to sleep well and relax. We always bring her favourite stuffed animals and blankets to set up her bed as well as plenty of comfy pjs and towels.  Always pack a raincoat for those random stormy days and inflatable arm bands and swimwear to beach resorts. I also have a little pack full of her cutlery, bowl, water bottle, and lunch box for meals on the go.  We have little tupperware boxes so I can take extra fruit from the breakfast buffet or pack up leftover pizza and fried rice from lunch.  A hungry toddler is nobody’s friend.  Stuff like wipes, diapers, and toiletries I get at the destination as it can get super heavy with toiletries for the whole family.  I was more strict about the products Ever used under the age of one, but now I’m happy with local brand diapers and wipes and we can always find a baby lotion and soap at the nearest pharmacy.  Many hotels often offer baby toiletry packs as well so make sure to ask reception before you buy.

Hope this helps and encourages you to travel with your little ones. The whole thing can appear daunting but children are truly adaptable if you allow them to be, and if you are ready to improvise and let go of a few routines it can be a fun adventure for all.

Photos taken at Sri Panwa, Le Meridien Phuket, and Movenpick Bangtao. All very child friendly resorts.

November 28, 2015 0 comment
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When did my tiny little baby become a full grown, mischievous, bright eyed toddler?  Ever has successfully pushed us right through the last year and a half with tears, laughter, and plenty of memories.  Her hilariously sweet personality fused with a sprinkling of trepidation, and plenty of heart has managed to enchant us all.  Her sentences and words are building by day, and it’s becoming quite a task to keep her quiet outside of naps and bedtime. She’s soaking up her surroundings, our behaviour, and new information in a scarily accurate manner and has even started counting and learning her ABCs.  My heart melted,and I was sure I would never recover, when she said “I love you Mama,” for the first time and now it makes every single day that much brighter.

With all the amazing changes comes the inevitable toddler tendencies and Ever is suffering from those infamous tantrums that litter advice books and blogs.  Alongside her sweetness, she has my streak of stubborn behaviour and can be very indignant at the most inconvenient moments. We are getting by with a good dose of reasoning and are happy she is advanced with words so talking it out always seems like an option.  At the worst of times nothing works, but usually a cuddle and reminder will halt her tears and distress. Lets just hope in an airport full of strangers will not be her next meltdown.

The fact that she has become bona fide foodie is not a shock to anyone who knows the boy and I.  On our last trip to Taipei, Ever determinedly insisted on sampling everything from street food to bubble tea.  I don’t make it a habit for her to eat unhealthily, but encourage her curious and open nature and am pretty sure a bite can do no harm. At home she swaps between traditional Chinese and American/British dishes for her meals, building a strong love of spaghetti bolognese and stir fried pork with green beans.  She snacks on edamame and grapes as if they were candy, and drinks more milk than I think her body can hold.

Although HK has a competitive schooling system that encourages a start on the education ladder prior to the age of one, we are still content with our nomadic lifestyle. Going away for whole months at a time does not securely fit with the week to week school schedule so we are content with her learning from the world until the time comes to settle down.  Our little wanderlusting baby is already talking non-stop about swimming at Phuket’s beaches next week, which is just the way we like it.

Will keep you updated with our toddler travelling tips and recommendations for Phuket soon.

xx

October 19, 2015 0 comment
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Can you believe Ever is already 14 months? I have to say the last few months have proved to be the most fun yet challenging since her arrival.   Small tentative steps have transformed into full blown running, a five word vocabulary has turned into talking and learning new words on the daily, and her shy demeanor is now a mixture of bossy and curious.  Each day she is more engaging and I’m in awe of how much she now understands. She’s growing friendships at the park, with strangers, and of course has the staff at our favourite local spots wrapped around her little finger.

Finding her independence has been a huge part in her development and she now makes plenty of decisions on her own.  “No no no” may be one of her favourite phrases and she’s taking full advantage of the fact that she can communicate what she likes and despises.  Her likes list consists of her SkipHop backpack, shoes, money, milk, apples, ball, bracelets, and Chloe (our dog). On her “no” list is bedtime, strangers entering her personal space, Facetime with unfamiliar faces, messy tables, anything sweet, closed doors, and sharing with Chloe.  Her social skills are in full swing and she loves kisses, hugs, and saying hi and bye to everyone.  She uses her words to ask for things and is already putting together little phrases.

Our current biggest concerns are when to enter Hong Kong’s insanely competitive and expensive school system and which classes she would enjoy.  Mandarin and swimming are at the top of our list as well as a bilingual playgroup near home.  Research has definitely commenced but no commitments have been made yet.

Products we cannot live without are Ever’s SkipHop backpack and water bottle,  the Nespresso milk frother for warming up her milk, bubbles and an inflatable ball for entertainment, a slow cooker to create most of her meals, and California Baby products for Ever’s sensitive skin.  We also don’t know what we would do without indoor playrooms as Ever needs about four to five hours of running around a day to expend enough energy before bedtime.  She truly is the Energizer Bunny.  Our recent favourite spots are the free playrooom at Sun Yat Sun Memorial Park and Baumhaus for a quiet, clean, and inviting space complete with imported toys and a cafe.  Will be trying out a few playgroups and classes soon so will keep you guys updated.

xx

July 10, 2015 0 comment
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We’ve been leading a nomadic lifestyle, hopping from one hotel to the next, crating around Ever, and living out of two suitcases for almost a month.  Not only is doing your own laundry while traveling a nightmare, but those with babies will understand the amount of clothing little ones go through each day.  With a surmounting laundry bill at each hotel, I was so happy I managed to bring The Laundress’ Delicate Wash along with me on the trip.  The bottle is easy to stuff into even the most bulging suitcases and just a little bit goes a really long way.  I washed all of Ever’s onesies, dresses, blankets, and even my silk and lace items with the wash.  Everything came out amazingly and was refreshingly fragrant and soft.  I was also obsessed with the delicate spray for taking that stale suitcase smell out of my wardrobe each time I unpacked.  Little things that can make your hotel room feel more like home are so necessary when wanderlusting across the world. I know I’ll be stocking up for my next trip.

xx

Available at Sheer Lingerie, 13 Gough Street, Central

June 19, 2015 7 comments
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From the minute Ever was born until that moment we saw her blow out her single candle, I never anticipated her first birthday.  The first year of parenting is probably one of the most insane I will find myself experiencing in quite a long time, and each day flew by more quickly than the next.  From the terrifying first month, when all you can contemplate is how does one keep this tiny delicate thing alive, to her first time sitting up, rolling over, crawling, and right up to her first steps, I never thought the toddler years would sneak up on me so soon.  Here are a few details about Ever’s special day to help you plan yours here in HK.

Styling and Decorations: Planning this milestone was definitely a little last-minute, and the boy and I were undecided about the party route for quite some time.  Ever, being the shy butterfly, would probably have preferred a quiet dinner for three, but after perusing Pinterest for inspiration, I decided to throw our little princess a small gathering of her own.  With moodboards, lists of supplies and venue in place, I decided to contact a few experts rather than go down the daunting DIY route.  The friendly people at Swoon Soirees not only got back to me instantly, they managed to view my inspirational posts and put together a list of ideas which suited mine and Ever’s style in less than 24 hours.  They offered bespoke party styling and decorations with affordable prices, and even come and help you set it all up so you don’t have to lift a finger.  The finished product was everything I wanted right down to the pink rock candy and ribbon adorned milk bottles.  Every last balloon and pom pom was meticulously placed and picture perfect for the special event.  Their site is also great for one off party supplies, cute packaging, or stationary.  Make sure to check them out for your next bash.

Dress:  Ever’s birthday dress was a custom made dress by Melissa Bui.  I think Melissa and I have been talking about this dress since Ever was born.  I have to say, I’m pretty lucky one of my good friends is a talented designer who was willing to create a perfect dress fit for a fairy princess.  After showing me a few sketches, two quick fittings (Ever is not very cooperative), Melissa presented us with a perfectly fit, adorable dress complete with delicate ribbons from Paris, and petite hand sewn floral adornments.  She is now offering baby couture so contact her for a custom dress for your own princess.

Venue:  We went with 208 Duecento Otto because it’s basically our 2nd home and Ever has frequented there since her days in my womb.  Their private room is spacious enough for a party of 20 and provides a pretty yet clean palette to customise as your own.  They set out playmats and toys for the kids, and delicious nibbles and drinks for adults.  Ideal if you are looking for something a bit more adult friendly than a children’s soft play gym to host your baby’s bday.

May 16, 2015 0 comment
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Ever is wearing Jacadi romper and headband, and Zara sunglasses and sandals.

I’m wearing Christing C. Kata Kimono and Toms Hong Kong shoes and limited edition tote available at Woaw Store.  

We are putting away the post vacation blues and making daily park picnics a part of HK life.  The weather is in perfect blue sky form and our little newly one year old is precariously taking her first unassisted steps.  The last year has been the most enlightning and fulfilling yet.  Learning how to become Ever’s Mother, understanding how far I could push myself mentally and physically, and the selfless demanor that takes stance in your heart were things I expected but knew little about until now.  I try to better myself daily for her, and concentrate on drowning out outside noise in exchange for perfecting our little family.  Her smiles she saves just for us, her generous personality, and sweetly shy ways are things I savour knowing it may change with the blink of an eye.  Instead of wondering what I want next, I consider what she needs, and am deftly protective of her desires.  We can’t help but want our little ones to follow our footsteps but I’m doing my best to allow her to be exactly who she wants to be.

Toms Hong Kong and Every Mother Counts have joined together to create a limited edition tote sold at Woaw Store.  Visit the store on Gough Street or order online  this Mother’s Day and support a great cause for Mothers around the world.  $5 USD from every bag sold will go to Every Mother Counts’ efforts to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for moms worldwide.

April 30, 2015 1 comment
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Clothing by Melissa Odabash

Also wearing Birkenstock sandals and bag from The9thMuse

We’re home, and I’ve left my heart in Bali.  The blistering blue skies, candid sunsets, balmy nights, and slow-paced attitude won over my hippie tendencies and is already pulling me back for more.  Vacations are always enjoyable when it comes to relaxing poolside, or doing just about nothing with your favourite people, but I’m infinitely drawn when I step into an atmosphere that makes me act at home.  Within 24 hours I was enquiring about affordable long-term rentals and possibilities of raising my daughter amongst all the other barefooted children.  The distinct elements of slow friendly local life mixed with a nomadic expat surfer crowd is everything I crave.  We hopped from luxe restaurants, deserted beaches, villas perched in secluded jungles, to organic alternative cafes and trendy rooftop cocktailing.  What more could I ask for?

I’m so happy I had Melissa Odabash’s SS15 collection to accompany me on this enlightening journey.  Her loose and flattering dresses and cover-ups were ideal in the hot and humid weather and looked amazing billowing on the back of a moped or traipsing through the neighboring rice patties.  Her swimwear for children was also exceptionally cute and Ever was always comfy on beach and pool excursions.  A definite must pack on all our wanderlusting adventures.

xx

April 21, 2015 0 comment
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For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been very into a new workout sensation that has hit Hong Kong. BounceLimit is the first rebounding studio in Asia, located right at the heart of Sheung Wan. Their modern studio is so convenient, featuring a schedule of fun cardio classes as well as pilates, bootcamp, and pre and post natal courses. If you need encouragement and something fun to keep you going back this is the absolute best place. The instructors and founder, Lucia, are so nice, enthusiastic, and helpful.
After months of back pain from constantly carrying, chasing, and nursing Ever, I decided to sign up for their post natal course to help with my posture, rebuild my stomach muscles, and learn tips on how to stay fit after pregnancy and being a busy mummy.
Here are a few tips from the knowledgeable crew at BounceLimit about how to correct your everyday movements with your baby for less pain, and more strength and toning.
what not to do
Who else is guilty of this stick out your tummy to support the baby pose. This my go to stance when holding Ever, especially since I carry her in the baby carrier often, I find it easier to arch my back and support her with my stomach.
To correct this I am attempting to tilt my pelvis back and realign everything to a straight line. I am also going to try carrying Ever on my back rather than always on my front. The guys at Bouncelimit have advised me to make sure not only to switch from front to back, but always side to side. Make sure to not always put your weight in one place when you are carrying, nursing, or rocking the baby.
what to do
***
what not to do
Here is another habit of mine. Bending over to pick Ever up, or bending over to stand while I’m holding her. Now that she’s learning to walk I am also constantly bending over to hold her hands. All the pressure is put on my lower back and I have an annoying ache.
In post natal, they have taught us to use the all familiar but so effective squat. Yes those same squats you do at the gym to tone your butt and thighs. Before standing up with the baby in your arms, sit up straight and then squat to standing position. When you have to lift the baby out of the crib, off the floor, or from the playpen, make sure to squat and then lift with your legs. Imagine how much better your legs will look after a few weeks of switching to this method. If you think squatting is a bit awkward in public and only for home use, you can lunge to pick up the baby instead of squatting. Also instead of bending down to hold Ever’s hands I’m trying to get used to squatting down to her level and moving in a circle with her. Make sure to switch sides when lunging. Now all the pressure is off your back and you are constantly toning those legs.
what to do
***
Yay, how easy was that?! Just a few easy adjustments and you are on your way to becoming stronger and with less pain. I’m finding it’s all about habit building, within a few weeks it’s second nature and you automatically correct yourself. In postnatal we have also been learning different abdominal exercises that you can practice daily at home. I can really feel it the next day and my tingling muscles tell me we are on the way to a flatter stomach. I was in a tennis league near me before I had Ever so I could keep my fitness up that way, but now I’ve found post natal, Bouncelimit is the way to go. The instructors at Bouncelimit help you build techniques into your lifestyle making it a way of healthy living. Not only do they whip you into shape with their cardio classes, where you can burn up to 1000 calories, but they also teach you how to work your abdominals in daily activities making it a lifestyle rather than a quick fitness fad.
Check out BounceLimit for their prenatal courses which are taught in small groups over a six week period. You get lots of one on one attention and if you dedicate yourself to attending twice a week they will get you back into shape. You will start feeling the difference after only a few classes.
Join their membership and receive discounted classes and exclusive members workshops which allow you to get more in depth tutorials about different health and fitness topics and exercises.

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The Pemberton, 13/F, 22-26 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan
T: (852) 2441 0021

 

April 8, 2015 0 comment
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