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Sakura’s second time to Tokyo ^^.
We usually take JAL from Changi airport late at night so that the kids can sleep all the way and the danna can go straight to work after landing instead of wasting one extra day on the flight. #workaholic
We stay at the same apartment but different room every time so it’s quite interesting to experience different kinds of sizes and layouts.
This time around we have a double (queen size) bed instead of a super single. Still it is really small so Junya ended up sleeping on the edge of the bed T_T.
Narrowest bed ever lol.
Special color for Tokyo Tower on a summer day.
When you are not looking, things like this happen -____-.
Met up with RinRin to celebrate her birthday in advance!
Simple porcini risotto and salad + bread set.
First time eating rice from a jar.
Got a cake for her and Junya decorated it with candles.
Junya ate half the cake lol.
Anyway, other than tucking cheesiepetits to bed, picking up bread crumbs on the floor and finding stuff Junya hides and bouncing Sakura around the house, I actually feel that I have too much free time @.@. Compared to when we stay in KL and SG la.
First of all the serviced apartment has cleaning service once a week so I don’t have to worry about changing the sheets and vacuuming. Plus the apartment is like 1/4 the size of our other homes so there’s nothing much to tidy up. Plussssss Japanese washing machine + dryer is so damn awesome that I also save time doing airing and retrieving the laundry!
And when it comes to food… we just eat out/tapao from combini all the time. Confirm get judgmental stares by Japanese super effort moms lol.
The previous time I wrote about how we eat from combini all the time I was criticized for falsely promoting instant food as healthy.
Of course, cooking your own food (preferably 100% organic, and even better if you pluck it from your backyard or drink straight from a cow’s udders, I supposed) is always the best, but I mean, there are times you just have to go for the more convenient alternatives. And honestly, eating instant combini food could be a lot healthier than eating out when I am in KL, say for example, a plate of char kuey teow (my fav) VS zaru soba bento + a box of vegetable smoothie.
I guess a lot of people liken Japanese convenient stores with those from other countries, a place where you buy instant junk food for a quick hunger fix. But man. Japanese combini is more than that. Waaaaaaay more than that. It is a new way of life. (Did you know that you can post letters and receive your parcels from the combini?)
Eating from combini is called “nakashoku“, a culture that bridges the traditional “Naishoku” (eating in – cooking at home), and modern “Gaishoku” (eating out – in resaurants/cafe).
To shake off the image that convenient food is unhealthy, combini in Japan has shifted towards stocking more and more healthy choices, mostly additive-free, preservative-free, freshly packed complete with calorie count, allergy information and even choices that cater for special dietary needs like low-GI, low carb, high iron, people who want to get drunk, people who don’t want to get drunk, people who want to eat junk food but wanna be healthy too, etc.
The new Lawson’s healthy smoothie series is addictive. The packaging is so pretty I ended up getting every single flavor from the shelf. So many choices of fruits and also different percentage blend of fruits VS vegetable.
Instant non-unhealthy lunch: NebaNeba Soba with okra, nameko, seaweed and yamaimo. Confirm better than CKT.
Junya loved it so much he finished the whole bowl.
I have not been cooking much since our family started this 3-countries rotation traveling crazy life. And I constantly worry about insufficient vegetable intake for the family since eating out almost usually means meat and carbs.
I was surprised that the only time we are eating the most greens are when we went for combini food. Take this meal for example.
100% fruit and vegetable smoothie that contains 1/3 of recommended daily vegetable intake.
Stir-fry vegetable and meat bento, with half of daily vegetable intake. With the smoothie, that’s 80% of vegetable intake of the day in one single meal!
Spinach in sesame marinate as a side. Confirm too much vegetable liao lol. Dinner can just spam on KFC lol.
Even Junya loves his spinach.
Sometimes you even get luxurious food from the combini especially during special festive days. For example the combini sold unagi jyu bento for Doyo-No-Ushi (Eating eel on the midsummer Day of the Ox).
I think combini will slowly take over the world. Wanna eat Michilin star sushi? Combini. Wanna buy a spaceship? Combini. Hahaha.
So yes. I love my combini, thank you very much .
This is a gaishoku (eat-out) day at Torikizoku. Love this chain yakitori place. Everything at 280 yen!
And then I watch tv. With the kids. When the danna is not working, we watch tv. All day long.
I swear I haven’t watched tv in Malaysia for at least like 10 years. We have a tv in KL but it’s for decoration purpose only. In Singapore, WE DON’T EVEN HAVE ONE HAHHAHA. I mean, who watches tv nowadays when you have Youtube and Pokemongo.
But not in Japan. First thing after waking up – tv. Watch until hungry then go combini get food. Then do housework while watching tv. Try to blog/work while the tv is on = NOTHING GETS DONE.
That’s how great Japanese tv programs are. For sure I’ll experience both stomach pain (from too much laughing at variety shows) AND wiping tears off secretly (from overly dramatic but meaningfully touching documentaries) in one day, if i watch enough tv. That’s how evil Japanese tv is.
Also, I learn lots of useful shit without even consciously wanting to, from just not switching the tv off. It’s like the tv wants me to be a smarter person. I probably learn more things from a 30 sec tv commercial than reading 50 rubbish blogs (like this one) LOLOL.
I learnt how to differentiate a delicious tomato from mediocre ones, how to prevent wall mould, how a cicada hatches and how to live a long and awesome life over an hour of TV watching.
Did you know? Piman (Japanese bell pepper) is the most delicious when it is red color. (As in green-turned-red. Piman is also different from capsicum species, I have never seen Japan selling red-color piman!). But most supermarkets sell it when it is green because once it turns red, it only lasts for a few days before going bad.
Did you know? The Shinkansen bento can come in a Shinkansen bento box.
Did you know? Fishermen hate otters because they eat all the uni (until no more left). This uni fisherman master says that he feels tulan just looking at cute otter faces in the zoo lol.
There is also a program on how big families (typically 6-10 or more children in one family) in Japan live their lives. Seriously, I only have two kids and I feel like I need to level up until borderline kisiao already. This mother has 6 kids @.@ and it is like she is pokeMOM level infinity lol.
To cut cost, each meal she cooks for a family of 8 is below 500 yen wtf. That’s like SGD6. You get 3 buns from BreadTalk lol. Plus her meals are not even like shabby wan. It’s proper and nutritionally balanced.
She would visit 3 supermarkets to compare prices just to save 6 yen on bean sprout. Wait I don’t even know how much that is in SGD. Hold on let me google.
Ok it’s SGD0.079. Yeap.
That’s all. Gotta go level up now. #pokeMOMgo
Two days ago I brought Junya and Sakura to Asobono! at Tokyo Dome City and had a date with my mamatomo Sayaka and her kids.
I just feel so lucky to have mama friends in all the cities we travel to! If not I’ll really be by myself at home with 2X cheesiepetit all the time T___T.
If you are looking for half a day to spend with kids in Tokyo, you can visit Tokyo Dome City, a huuuuuge entertainment town in Tokyo (subway station: Yurakucho). There are outdoor and indoor attractions and theme parks, a onsen spa complex and lots of shopping too!
There’s a new theme with each change of season, and this time it is summer festival, with a watermelon fest going on!
Kids went straight to the toy car section first XD.
The boys loved their toy vehicles! Anna joined the fun
While Sakura just chill with mama.
Or Aunty Sayaka <3
And then there’s the doll house.
“Feeding bae Sakura a slice of watermelon!”
And everybody’s favorite market place and kitchen. I’ve never eaten so much plastic food in one day lol.
There’s even a Sylvanian Families playroom!!!!
A whole box of Sylvanian animals!!!!! It’s really unbelievable how they don’t have to replace the box of toys everyday. If this is in Malaysia it would have been gone in a few hours lolol.
All the animal’s coordinates!
Road trip with bunnies <3
Junya crashing other girl’s house. When the girls finished playing they really put away the toys into their respective boxes according to the labels.
We spent about 2 hours in Asobono before the kids got hungry and we lunched at the food court nearby.
And then had dessert at Nana’s Green Tea. Sousuke wanted his shaved ice while the rest were napping.
LaQua is an onsen spa + shopping mall at Tokyo Dome City.
At this point Anna and Junya woke up from their nap, while Sousuke fell alseep. And I needed to put Sakura on the stroller so I can chase Junya around the mall. Thank god for strollers if you have two kids.
Looking out at the outdoor theme park!
After that it was mamas’ shopping time!! I don’t even remember the last time I shopped for myself in a real shopping mall.
And super happy cuz summer sales was still going on, everything was sooooo cheap. Or did everything become super cheap in Japan after a long shopping hiatus XD.
All the clothes I bought were less than 3000 yen (SGD39)! Had to refill my wardrobe with nursing-friendly clothes since that’s all I could wear now.
Ciaopanic X Peanuts top for Junya for 1500 yen. (SGD20)
Linen skirt that’s super good quality for 2900 yen.
Super comfy top for 1900 yen. (SGD25)
Also 1900 yen!
Only 1000 yen each!!!!
Ok that’s all for now. Coming back to Singapore in two days!
Our family travel every 1-2 weeks between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo right now.
Here’s how our travel life looks like:
Since we spend a good amount on road when we travel back and forth KL and SG, I wanted to get a good toddler car seat for Junya as the previous one we had was so bad that after full installation it was still highly unstable.
And I have decided to go for Chicco Nextfit, a convertible carseat, suitable for 0~36KG, so it pretty much is all you need for a newborn until he is able to sit without one.
Junya sits really comfortable in it! The drive to Singapore is 4 hours, he usually entertains himself with a couple of videos, or takes a long nap.
What I love about Nextfit is that it is very easy to install accurately and securely. Our previous car seat had very limited instruction, even after watching the installation guide on Youtube over and over and over again I still didn’t think we did it correctly.
Nextfit comes with a RideRight bubble level that accurately indicates correct seat angle in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes, so you really can’t go wrong!
Also the SuperCinch latch tightener gives a super tight and secure vehicle fit with a fraction of the effort! It’s hard for me to explain in text, do watch this video to understand how it works!
Papa and son bonding <3
(I know a few readers commented that I am not supposed to place the carseat in front, forward-facing. It was a one-off positioning when we moved from KL to SG for the first time, as there was no other way our furniture would fit with the seat at the back.)
Love the cup holder at the side!! Junya can have easy access to his water bottle all the time!
Chicco Next2me Bedside Crib
Another Chicco’s product that I absolutely adore is the Next2me baby cot. I have chosen to co-sleep with Junya from the beginning and it worked out really well, for the peace of both baby and mama. For Sakura of course there was no hesitation.
Howeverrrrrr sometimes even king-size bed can get too crowded for a family of four lol. Even if Junya sleeps separately on another bed, I still craved for a bigger space. That’s when Chicco Next2me bedside crib comes to rescue.
The wonder of this crib is that… it is a crib.
During day time when I need to work in the living room and want to keep an eye on Sakura at the same time, she sleeps in the cot next to my working desk.
But the crib is also a mini adjacent bed to our adult bed.
It is easily attached to any bed, just roll down and fold in one side of the bed, and you have a mini bed right next to you!!
Previously I blogged about how the danna DIY our god-size bed:
Now… we have a god-size+ bed lolol.
Now our entire bedroom is pretty much made of… beds lol. Super awesome.
It is great because I won’t worry about waking her up when I roll about in the bed, and the both of us sleep much better too! I think it’s a super genius innovation!
Not only that, it is also compact enough to bring it for traveling, meaning you and your baby can sleep next to each other wherever you go!!
I showed the danna this video before we picked up the crib, and he was very impressed. I was too haha. Watch it!!
Chicco also has a wide range of baby products, from feeding, toys, stroller to products for mommies.
This cute little nursing cushion is very useful too!
check out chicco.com.my for more products and info!
To continue my previous blog post about housekeeping and cleaning, inspired by Haruko Niitsu, here are some of her housekeeping tips.
Niitsu san spends the whole day supervising and cleaning Haneda Airport, as she goes back home she does really very minimal housekeeping. Her housekeeping style is “By-the-way Cleaning”.
There are two types of cleaning: preventive cleaning and the actual cleaning. As a cleaning professional, instead of thinking “how to get rid of a stain”, it’s better to do frequent by-the-way light cleaning “in case it leaves a stain”.
For example, use a cloth to (by the way) wipe the staircase handle rail when you go down the staircase to head out for work, so that it doesn’t leave hand stains. Wash the stove parts together (by the way) with your pots and pans every time you finish cooking to prevent stubborn oil stains. It seems like it’s a little extra work to do but it’s a lot easier compared to removing year-old stubborn stains afterwards.
And the most important point of Niitsu-Style cleaning is – to always put your heart into cleaning. Always keep in mind to be gentle to things and protect the material and be kind to your cleaning tools. Try to clean a surface the gentle way instead of scrubbing with full force as it can damage the material of the surface. When you clean something gently with your heart, it will give off a special shine.
(Maintenance for your cleaning too is very important!)
It sounds all too familiar, just like the KonMari style, both of them emphasize on treating things with respect and putting your heart to it.
I have once translated a piece that the danna wrote for his company’s staff about the importance of a morning cleaning ritual. Basically it goes like this. Every single morning, each and every one in the company must spend 30 minutes to clean a space in the company that is the size of a newspaper spread. It sounds really silly and totally exaggerated but that’s the only way to level up one’s acuteness towards the people and environment around him or her. If you keep polishing a tiny floor space every day, your sensitivity will also be polished sharper and sharper. You start to notice small stains and flaws on the floor that you could not see before. And that is extremely important for a company in the service industry. To be more alert and sensitive towards a customer’s needs, to always think of room for improvement for the comfort of a customer. In that sense, cleaning is more than just a chore, it is a practice to one’s mental refinement.
Niitsu San’s philosophy is the same. “How far can you go? Maybe today I can go a little bit further” is her attitude towards her job.
Back to housekeeping, although I don’t have to deal with any customers, I realize the same could be applied to individual households. What can I do today to make the house extra clean, so that my familiar can relax more and feel happier?
Luckily the danna helps out a lot with housekeeping (in fact he does it 10 times better than me haha. I used to be so lazy that he was the one who cannot tahan and just did all the cleaning himself like a silent protest lol), and I really really appreciate it because even washing a cup after use or airing the laundry helps A LOT when our life is pretty much 分秒必争 (every second also must fully utilize) right now.
Anyway, #Pokemom next step: all the cleaning tools that spark joy for me and totally make my life so much easier, courtesy of Kao.
I adopted a mix of Niitsu and the danna’s approach, which is to clean a specific small area a day until it is insanely clean.
Today I tackled the pantry sink.
Yeap. The book has a step-by-step guide on how to clean your sink thoroughly.
I wash the strainer pretty often, sponge it when I finish doing the dishes. But it has never once crossed my mind that I should clean the inner part of the rubber gasket. I guess I was too arrogant to think that trivial stuff like cleaning a sink strainer rubber gasket with a wooden pick and scrubbing the edge of a faucet would benefit my life in any way.
But I was quite wrong. Once I was done with the entire sink, I wanted to do more. I was overwhelmed because I had a strong urge to clean the whole house because suddenly, I was seeing many stained and dirt-filled spots in the house that have never once caught my attention before.
So that part about polishing one’s observance is true.
One of the useful tips I learnt from the book was how to folder your cleaning cloth. Usually I just scrunch it into a wet ball of mess and started wiping the table surface and whatnot. But Niitsu’s style is to fold it in eight, so you have 16 clean sides to use, instead of rubbing dirty cloth over clean surface over and over again or washing it every time you use it once.
My By-the-way floor cleaning, Magiclean wipe the whole floor while I tidy up the house. Seriously who created this life-saving awesomeness?! It is so crazy effective and easy that I don’t even vacuum anymore.
This is another genius invention! Magiclean duster that traps dust like a super magnet.
Another by-the-way cleaning – clean your remote control while you watch the TV.
Lastly, bathroom mold is a huge problem for many household. One of the tricks I learn from Niitsu is to spray an alkaline-based cleanser on affected surface, and then place tissue papers over it, so that the wet tissue papers keeps the cleanser in place for better effectiveness.
This is super great for mold removing!!
Unfortunately Niitsu’s book is only available in Japanese now. But if you are an anxious new parent or clueless parent-to-be, you can check out Kao’s guidebook titled “The Secret to My Modern Parenthood”, which contains 12 chapters covering topics and home care tips from Japan from understanding babies, environmental hygiene, methods to cleaning household items, etc. Also check out the website for contest and roadshows!
Other useful Kao products for your household:
Attack Detergent+Softener (right) and Attack Ultra Neo the danna bought from Japan!
And of course our Merries. Can you believe our grandma’s generation had no disaposable diapers?! Apparently My mom used cloth diaper on me. Imagine all the housework PLUS washing dozens of soiled diapers every single day! We mothers are truly blessed nowadays!!!
Moral of this blog post: If you feel demotivated to clean your house but you absolutely bo bian die die must clean, think of it as an act of kindness for your family, every one who will visit your house, and most importantly, yourself.
Share with me if you have other interesting tips on housekeeping!
Today I would like to introduce another beauty product which is multi-functional and suitable for the whole family, perfect for busy mommies who likes a one-for-all solution.
I have loved Japanese beauty products and this is another one I’d recommend : Natural Orange Roughy Oil.
Interestingly, this product is produced by Nippon Suisan, the largest seafood processing company in Japan. What has a company that deals with seafood got to do with beauty?
Orange Roughy is actually a kind of fish found in the purest, unpolluted deep sea Ocean in New Zealand. The fish is usually eaten as a luxurious delicacy, but the aesthetic and beauty experts have found the oil extracted from this fish to be highly beneficial for beauty in terms of deep moisturization.
The oil from Orange roughy is extracted by Nippon Suissan and refined using their excellent refinement technology into a multi-purpose beauty oil that is completely natural.
I’m sure some of you have noticed that beauty products in oil form such as facial oils seem to be in the hype now! Although it is called “Orange Roughy Oil”, it is actually not an oil!
Technically it is wax ester, a kind of fatty acid commonly found in fish. It is not the same as oils like olive oil and argan oil, which is divided into oils and fats. It feels less “oily” and gives a more water-like texture that is non-sticky to your skin.
For Skin Care and Massage
One of the top beauty functions of orange roughy oil is that it provides intensive hydration especially for dry skin, so it makes a perfect skin care and facial oil for daily facial care and facial massage. You can apply it after facial lotion, directly on your face (average 1~2 pumps).
I travel way too often to keep up with all the weather changes, not to mention all the different products in full size I have to bring for myself and both the kids. One bottle of all-purpose deep moisturizing product is a must in my travel bag! And this 32ml size is perfect to just slip in into my skin care pouch!
For Body Massage
Of course, whatever that is good enough for your face is good enough for your body! Pamper yourself once in a while for a body massage at home. Since it is fragrance-free, you may add a few drops of aroma essence oil for that relaxing effect (average 3~4 pumps).
As a Hair Treatment Oil
It also works as a hair oil for dry and lustreless hair!
Apply a small amount on your hair end and see it bounce back to lustrous locks in an instant!
For even babies!
Our skin consists of keratin included wax ester to protect our skin from the harsh environment and also to retain moisture. This Orange Roughy Oil has constitution very close to the nature of human skin, to that so it can naturally keep our skin healthy and smooth all time.
Sakura has lots of flaky skin every day due to dryness. After just one application she stays hydrated for a long time!!
Where can I buy this product??
For Malaysian customers, you can purchase Orange Roughy Oil from this page in Shoppu.
If you would like to try it out yourself, you can head over to the Bon Odori Event happening in Johor Bahru this coming Sunday (23rd July 2016) and check out “SAKURA MART” at Booth 43!!
Check out more info on the Bon Odori event on their FB page.
Drop by Sakura Mart booth to get a free sample! ^^
For better value buy (2 or 3 bottles at a much cheaper price), you can also purchase from this site: https://lp.sakuramart.jp/
Sakura quite unluckily suffers from sensitive skin since she was born. So far I’ve dealt with her mysterious rashes, cradle cap and skin irritations and it is still going on a daily basis 🙁
The paed said the answer to all these problems are diligent cleansing with gentle products, cool temperature and most importantly, to moisturize, moisturize and moisturize!
I have heard about Biolane, the Baby SkinCare Specialist from France from its Singapore ambassador, none other than my very favorite mommy friend QiuQiu. She uses it for Meredith and I think I will give it a try for Sakura, as Biolane’s products are specially designed to respect vulnerability of babies skin and help strengthen their natural defences.
When I first got the products I was a little overwhelmed. There are so many different ranges!!! Do I really need so many?
Then I remembered what the paed told me: that I may need more than one kind of products for different skin areas. For example, since Sakura has dry skin I should use a rich cream instead of lotion. But her skin fold areas (armpits/neck, etc) sweat really easily so I should keep them lightly moisturized.
So, where do we start?
The first step of care is cleansing. I bathe Sakura in the morning and wipe her down in the evening.
2-in-1 Hair & Body Gel
This is one of Biolane’s best seller! It has a unique gel texture and is very gentle for babies. All Biolane’s products are also alcohol-free, paraben-free, 100% hypoallergenic and with physiological PH formula.There’s also Essential Cleansing Emulsion if you prefer milk texture!
It’s for both body and hair!
The next step is to moisturize! Actually, I moisturize before I even cleanse. How?
Sweet Almond Oil Spray
Sounds delicious! There are two ways of using it: spray on in the bath or massage in after cleansing. I add 5 squirts under running bath water to prevent drying effect from bath water, so Sakura can come out fresh and already protected. This oil spray is also great for cradle cap removal!
Dermo-Paediatric Moisturizing Cream
This is probably one of the most important products for Sakura! It is applied for whole body or dry skin area. Biolane’s Dermo-Paediatric range is suitable even for babies with sensitive/eczema-prone skin.
If you prefer a lighter version moisturizer, you can go for Gentle Moisturizing Spray. Junya trying to sniff Sakura cuz she smells good hahaha.
After cleansing and moisturizing, prevention is also very important!
After the moisturizing cream, you can continue with the DP diaper rash cream if diaper rash is a problem.
This is the star product of Biolane. As its name suggests, it is in liquid form and contains no powder particles! I don’t like using talc powder because the powder usually will fall all over the bed or towel leaving white stains and it’s really messy.
Skin fold areas sometimes can have rashes or dry skin.
For Liquid Talc, you can rub the cream into sensitive areas until it turns into talc. It can help absorb sweat, prevent rash and at the same time moisturize! I really love this one! I think it’s quite a genius product as it is really easy to use and mess-free.
After an outing in the afternoon when there’s no time for an extra bath, the Micellar Water is a life saver!! It gently cleanses the baby’s face and body without rinsing. So perfect for busy mama like me who wants a quick solution to easy cleansing for Sakura.
You can use a cotton pad and dab on baby’s skin, it leaves a non-oily protective film on the skin and soothes feelings of irritation and tightness.
Mommies can even use it as a gentle make-up remover. I like it because Sakura’s skin totally doesn’t feel dry after cleansing!
These are all the DP range that is suitable for babies with sensitive skin, dry skin and eczema prone skin.
For eco-conscious and naturalist mommies, you may also check out Biolane’s baby detergents and also ranges for pregnant mommies and new mommies, such as stretch mark cream and nursing balm.
Log on to Biolane’s website for their complete ranges of products!
Biolane will be participating in 12th TCE Baby Expo @ Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from July 28-31, 2016; Booth 157, so you can drop by to find out more about the products!
There will be loads of great buys and special promotions.
This time, giveaway for EVERYBODY!! 😀
Yes, just drop a comment with your email address, Biolane will email a sample pack redemption coupon to every one of you, one redemption per person. The samples are to be redeemed during 12th TCE Baby Expo Jul 28 – 31 @ Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, at Biolane’s booth (booth 157, Hall 2) while stocks last! Remember the submission deadline to redeem the coupon is Jul 27, 2016 (Wed)!