Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fashionista Mommy Adventures: Hypnobirthing Class

Motherhood has indeed opened my eyes to a whole new world and as a newbie, I am definitely excited to learn new things. Having planned for a vaginal birth and ended up with a caesarian (you can read all about my giving birth story here), I am definitely apprehensive for my second one (no, I am not pregnant yet but it's never too early to start preparations for birth, especially when I am planning for a VBAC).

So imagine how excited I am when I learnt of a hypnobirthing course that was to be conducted in Kuching and despite me having given birth just seven months ago and am advised by the doctor to plan for another one at least a year and a half after the previous birth, I decided to enrol for the course. I believe as part of my effort in ensuring the success of a VBAC, I need to take a proactive role in getting to learn what are the risks involved, toning and exercising my body so that it is strong and able to perform a VBAC, taking care of the food that I eat (I am well known for my happy food choices instead of healthy food *blush*) and of course at the end of the day it all depends on what God has in plan for us, I do believe my first caesarian is the best birthing experience for me and Alexa (I had prayed for the best birth for both of us) and if I've tried my all and still have to do a caesarian, maybe God has planned it that way. But, that (fate) does not stop me from trying.

I learnt about the course from a support group that I joined in Facebook (you can look up the group here), made my payment and waited for the day to come. It's a two-day intensive course with loads of open discussions, video presentations and hands-on breathing exercises. The program starts at 9.30 in the morning and ends at 5 pm. In between we have a lunch break from 12.30 pm until 2.15 pm.


The hypnobirthing book.

Upon registration, I was given a file filled with handouts, hypnobirthing book (attached with its own CD) and another relaxation CD, plopped myself on a very comfortable sofa and waited for the session to start. There were only five other people in the room, Mellona (who's about 34 weeks pregnant) and her husband (it's supposed to be a couples course but hubs couldn't make it as he wasn't able to leave work), Latifah (not pregnant), Lilian (currently expecting her third child), yours truly (not pregnant) and Nadine (our speaker/ facilitator, and I actually did manage to ask her whether she's expecting *hehe*). You might notice that it's such a small number of participants for an intensive course, but the good thing is, we get to share our stories and experiences with each other and the course felt as if it's very personalised and the best part is, Nadine get to teach and also let us practice each breathing techniques and exercises individually, and with each other.

This is kinda how the course was conducted. And if you're wondering about those mats, yes we did get a chance to roll on them *haha*.

There's Mellona, her husband and Latifah, rapt attention focused on Nadine.

During one of the hands-on activity session, Nadine and Latifah.

Chris presenting a cake to Nadine by the end of the course. Yummylicious! Thank you Chris for the cake!

I'm not going to share much about the course here as I do believe that the best way for you to gain information on hypnobirthing is by attending the course. However, I've come to the conclusion that:

1.  Should I have attended this course before the birth of Alexa, I could have prevented an induction, ethanol and epidural pain relief, even possibly experience a vaginal birth simply by practicing the exercise and breathing techniques that was taught during the course. Note to self: am getting the birth ball soon.

2. I would have known more on deliveries, especially those related to the natural birthing process and water birth (we were shown plenty of videos on those and surprisingly I wasn't squeamish by all of it).

3. I would most probably have felt calmer during my giving birth experience (truth be told, one of the things that terrified me was the possibility of getting an episiotomy).

The course taught me that it is possible to experience and embrace a natural birth and I would have to say among all the things I have done relating to pregnancy and giving birth, this course would have to be the best investment in ensuring the possibility of a gentle birth a reality (I'll definitely share on my second birth experience when I get my second one in the future). I really recommend this course for first-time mothers (or even second, third, fourth time mothers), medical practitioners (so that they know gentle birth does not necessary mean home birth) and also to fathers as well (as they would be the ones in the labor room supporting their wife through the birthing experience).

Interested to know more? You can look up Nadine's website on gentle birth [here]. Seriously, the best investment you could ever make is an investment in yourself and this is one investment you should not miss. If you're wondering about the cost, we paid for about RM800 for the two day course and early birds get to pay only RM780.

Looking forward to a better birthing experience, not only to me but to all mothers out there.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Fashionista Mommy Adventures: Six Months Later

Or should I say almost seven months later...

This is definitely one of my favorite shots, a photo of me, hubs and Alexa at Normah Medical Specialist taken by Farhah. Thank you for sharing the photo with us. Alexa's about three days old then. 

This is what I've learnt so far as a mommy:

1. To be patient

Alexa getting her head shaved when she was about three and a half months old. She does have her tantrums once in a while and usually I'd tell her, "Yes, Alexa, I know that it's very, very tough being a little person and unable to convey a message on what's wrong but if it makes you feel better, then cry you must. Let mummy give you a hug to make you feel better."

This is a MUST! Being a mommy is definitely a challenge, as one of my old schoolmates, Alex mentioned during our mini reunion dinner (only five turned up for this mini reunion), raising a child is challenging but it'll get better sooner or later. I've learnt that it takes awhile to get used to the oh so many things in mommyhood i.e. the fussing, crying (though normally I do find that Alexa is one of the most unfussy baby ever!), whimpering (usually when she's sleepy) and especially when you're in a hurry and there's like a million things to settle. So I've learnt to take a deep breath, smile and laugh and take it as one of the experiences that I'm sure I'm going to miss when she's older.

2. To be alert

One of the things that I didn't know before motherhood is that there's plenty of cues that a baby can send out to alert mommies of the many things that they need/ want and if you're alert of those signals, it really makes it easier for you meet the needs and wants of the baby before they need to cry/ wail to get your attention.

Alexa at about five days old. During the early days I couldn't sleep well for fear that I wouldn't hear her crying (when she needed to feed etc). She used to wake up every one and a half or two hours for a feed then. Those days are long past now and I am extremely confident in my ability to wake up at her slightest whimper (although I have caught myself waking up to Alexa lying on me due to me falling asleep soon as she's latched on to feed). 

In Alexa's case, usually she'd stare at my boobies (she is breastfed after all) to hint that she'd like to breastfeed (because if she's full she would be preoccupied with playing and exploring her surroundings). If staring doesn't alert me, then she'd let out a whimper (and if she's in my arms, usually she'd bang her head at my boobies). Usually by that time I'd be ready to feed her so she does not have to resort to crying/ wailing to get me to feed her. 

Me nursing Alexa at Dubai Restaurant in Itaewon, Seoul. A nursing cover/ poncho is definitely a must-bring item for us. It's not only useful for times like these, it also doubles as a blanket for Alexa or a shoulder wrap for me when it's cold. 

3. I can't DO everything

Although I do breastfeed Alexa, she has stopped exclusive breastfeeding since she's about five months old. And since then she has to be supplemented with formula (during the day) although she's breastfed whenever she's with me (i.e. during the night or weekends and public holidays when I'm with her). I find it to be rather challenging to find a suitable time to pump (I am in the teaching line therefore it is definitely not possible for me to pump when teaching in class) and sometimes due to work demands and lack of time at most I can pump a maximum of three times a day and minimum of once a day (and on some days when it's really hectic, I can't even find the time to pump at all). Initially I was really, really stressed out by the fact that my supply has dropped (due to stress, failing to pump on schedule and dehydration) and I can't supply enough to Alexa but now I've rather accepted the fact that sometimes I can't pump and sometimes I can. I reckon it's better to enjoy the moment as it is and breastfeed as long as possible.

4. Make the most out of what I have

There's too many things to do in life and sometimes we do feel as if we're in a rush (this semester is one of the most stressful semester I've ever experienced due to a heavy teaching load i.e. 20 hours of teaching and updates in the syllabus due to changes in the current financial environment in Malaysia) so on busier days I actually spend only ONE HOUR with Alexa (excluding her sleeping hours) and this makes me really disappointed but then again, I try to make the most of the time that I have with her and ensure that she gets my full attention within the time that we're able to spend together.

In case you're wondering, that ONE HOUR period consists of 30 MINUTES in the morning where I'd wake her up to give her a bath (this is usually where I'd sing or talk to her) followed by grooming where I'd give her a little massage while putting some baby oil (on her head/ hair), baby lotion (all over her body), baby balm (on her bum) and aromatic oil (minyak telon/ minyak yuyi or minyak kayu putih) for her tummy and back. The other 30 MINUTES usually happens when I come back late from work (she's already bathed by the maid then) and we spend time playing together (usually she'd be on her tummy and I'd either be on my tummy too or sometimes she'd be sitting in my lap and I'd be reading a book to her).

Another one of my favorite moments is when Alexa got to accompany us for Eid-ul Adh prayers. She's about five months old then. Am trying to slot in more times for me to recite the Quran with her on my lap, Inshaa Allah.

5. Be thankful

This is us with Alexa on the ERL back from Kuala Lumpur when she was 4 months old. 

This is among the things that I constantly remind myself about. I am definitely thankful for what Allah has given to me, Alexa is an absolutely wonderful gift (despite the hectic schedule, lack of sleep, waking up several times in the middle of night for feeding during her first month or so, lack of rest etc.) I definitely cherish this moment and if possible would like to treasure for as long as I can.

6. Having a good support system is important

Hubs and Alexa during breakfast at Hilton Hotel, Kuching. We decided to check in to the hotel to join in the fun during Regatta (an annual boat race event in Kuching). Alexa is about 3 months and a week old then. 

Having people to help out is really, really important as it can get taxing (especially if you're a first time mom or maybe more so when you have more children later on) so having people around you to help out is definitely useful. We do have a maid at home that helps out with the cooking and cleaning and my grandma, my mom and in laws (sometimes) do help out in looking after Alexa during the day (and the night when we need to attend dinner functions or simply go out for a date night). This enables us to take time off from the baby and focus on what is most important in the family, us. I do believe that in order for a family to be strong the parents (or parent if you're a single mother or father) must be able to show love, patience, strength and stability to the child.

If you need support in bringing up your child or maybe there's a question that's on your mind, you can join this amazing mummy support group that I joined on Facebook, click [here]. There's plenty of questions, discussions even sales and purchase made in the group and the best part is, they're all trying their best to cope with motherhood too.

The great-grandmother and her great-granddaughter. Alexa is about six months and three weeks old when this photo was taken. Granny (with the help of our maid of course) looks after her during the day when I'm at work. 

As a mom of an almost seven months old baby, this are the things that I have found out:

1. Preparing for a baby is definitely a good thing

Having the nine months to prepare for the baby's arrival and reading books on What to Expect When You're Expecting (this one helped me during my pregnancy), French Children don't Throw Food and Brain Rules for Baby really helped me handle certain things with Alexa.

Among the things that I learnt from the book is on training her to sleep. What we did was to train her brain to recognize day and night (this training started right after we came back from the hospital). When she sleeps during the day I'd make sure that the room is bright and when it's night time we'd switch off the lights at around 8.30 pm and just relied on a night light. Even when she wakes up for her night feeds, the room is still in darkness (except for the night light). So now whenever we want her to sleep, usually between 8.30 pm to 10 pm (sometimes we do get home late and Alexa is a light sleeper so she'd wake up when we carry her to bed) we'd put her under the covers and switch off the lights. The best part is, she'd be out in minutes after switching off the lights! However, I do have to remind myself that consistency is the key to success therefore I must make sure that she's in bed latest by 10 pm and if I want to settle some work/ chores, I have to do them in the dark with the help of the night light or should I need some light I do the work in the living room or dining room instead.

2. Babies are a blank canvas

A baby develops the habits that you impart to them therefore it is good to teach them good habits. Like when teaching Alexa to use the car seat, it took us a good two weeks to get her used to being in a car seat when she's in the car. This training started when she's about two months old (about a month before I had to start work). We'd put her in the car seat and I'd send hubs to work (about 10 - 15 minutes drive away). When she was first in the car seat, she cried her eyes out and wailed so loudly that I had to stop by the side of the road and calm her down before continuing to drive back home. This occurred for several days (her crying and me having to stop by the side of the road). About a week later she did kinda get used to having to sit in the car seat but not for long (usually for about 10 minutes or so before starting to cry). However the crying was not as loud as when we first started training her in the car seat therefore we decided to just drive back home (and at the same time talk to her/ hold her hand etc). We succeeded almost two weeks later and from then on she's in the car seat whenever we're in the car.

Hubs putting Alexa in the car seat. She's almost two months old here. The uneven patch of hair is due to her mom (that's me) shaving her hair unevenly when she was about a month old. 

Here she is peacefully sleeping during one of the car rides. She's about two months and a half here. 

Here's Alexa at six months old all relaxed in the car seat. This was not taken in the car but actually at a restaurant where we decided to bring the car seat out and let her sit in it while we have breakfast. 

3. Baby gadgets/ gears are a good thing

Among the things that I've bought in helping me out are a sterilizer, bottle warmer and now a steamer and blender (all from Philips). I am still using the sterilizer especially for my breast pump and milk storage bottles a few times a week and the bottle warmer is now used for warming her food daily (her food is prepared twice a week and refrigerated). I recently bought the steamer and blender after she turned six months and am using it several times a week to prepare her food (I have to be honest here that it's not me using it but the maid). I've stopped using the manual pump and have since replaced it with an electric double pump which I've been bringing to work daily.

Here's Alexa at six months in a bumbo seat (it was given to her as a present by my cousins during my confinement) complete with a washable plastic bib getting ready for her solids. The bumbo seat has been really great (she hated it first but got used to it later) in helping us during her meal times and we even let her join us in the kitchen (where we plop the bumbo seat on the kitchen table) when I cook and during our mealtimes. 

The stroller, diaper bag and car seat (we have two car seats so we haven't really used the one that we bought but am using another that was given as a gift to us) is permanently left/ installed in the car and we use it whenever we're out. I'll post a review on all those later as my blogging time is rather limited now due to me having to juggle between work and focusing on the baby (and also spending time with hubs). Hubs did mention that he's grateful we did not get an expensive diaper bag (and I agree with what he says) because the diaper bag is among one of the most well used (hint: abused) items in my baby gear.

Alexa sleeping in the stroller when she was about three weeks old. One of the features on the stroller that we feel is very important is its ability to fully recline and so far we're really happy with the performance of this Esprit Sun Plus 11 stroller.

4. Be prepared to change/ adapt to circumstances

Alexa at six months and three weeks in the shopping trolley. Oh how time flies when you're having fun!

There are some things that goes on as we planned (like using the car seat and stroller whenever we're out) and some did not happened as planned. Among one of them is the baby cot (we bought Graco Pack n Play as Alexa's baby cot and later play pen) which we did not use as much as we hoped to. Although we initially planned on Alexa sleeping in the playpen, which we did practice in the early days (she slept in the bassinet in the first month or so because she's super tiny and we're afraid that we might accidentally squish her), however we find that we enjoyed co-sleeping with her more than letting her sleep in her own cot. Therefore she's co-sleeping with us (for now) and is only left in the playpen when we're in the shower/ toilet (so she does use the playpen daily, just not for sleep though).

Here's Alexa at six months and a half during one of the rare afternoons when I'm at home. So I let her in the baby cot while I try to complete marking my students' papers. 

She complained (cried) about an hour and a half later so I decided to let her join me and play next to me instead. And no, I did not get much work done that afternoon. But I did enjoy having her as company. 

5. Don't sweat the small stuff
You know that a baby's development (weight and size) are plotted on a graph whenever you go the clinic right? Don't worry if your baby is less or more than the national average. Alexa is petite for her age, currently (at seven months) she's only weighing roughly about 7 kilos (she was born weighing 3.05 kilos) and a lot of people have commenting how small she is. As Dr. Jack Newman (and Alexa's pediatrician) mentioned, as long as she's feeding well, pooping and peeing (for breastfeeding mommies who are unsure of how much milk they're producing, wet diapers = plenty of milk) well, despite the lack of weight gain or size, as long as she's well fed, she's alright. However, should you notice frequent than usual poops, increase in temperature (fever), lack of interest in eating, or anything of concern, bring her to the doctor immediately.
So motherhood is all about being flexible and being able to do it in your own way and imprinting to your young ones the habits and experiences that they'll bring with them when they're older. Yes I do have people coming up to me and commenting (negatively) on certain things that I do (specifically bringing a three-month old baby to Seoul and also letting a six-month old sit in the trolley). Those comments I do take with a pinch of salt. If needed, I'll amend my actions accordingly (like taking her out of the trolley about a minute later). I do have moments where I need some space, and I do take a breather once in a while (same thing applies to hubs too) but what I find to be most important is to cherish the moments as and when they come (like enjoying having Alexa next to me when I sleep or getting to play with her and get her up in giggles).

Looking forward to her seventh-month birthday tomorrow and many more future birthdays to come.

To love and positivity.
xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Food in Borneo: Bella Italia

Note: This was supposed to be posted last month, but I totally forgot that to post this entry after writing it.
A few days ago a friend of ours, Qana had posted some photos of her dinner at Bella Italia which prompted hubs to ask me on the place since he'd never been here. I've been here a couple of times and I do love their selection of Italian food (it is an Italian restaurant after all) so we decided to stop by for lunch. 

The restaurant's interior

The restaurant's interior

And here are some of the food that we ordered:
Appetizer: Bruschetta

Main: Fettucine salmon

Dessert: Tiramisu

All in all our food costs about RM49. Not bad eh? We absolutely adore the bruschetta and tiramisu. The fettucine salmon was quite okay but the bruschetta and tiramisu was heavenly!

So if you're craving for Italian food, Bella Italia might be the best place to go to satisfy your craving. Although I must admit I've never been to Italy before and have never tasted authentic Italian food, so for those who have done so, your experience dining here might differ from mine. Bella Italian is located among the row of shops opposite of Four Points by Sheraton, Kuching. It's about less than a minute walking distance to the hotel. 

To glorious food. 

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Sunday, November 17, 2013

If it's too good to be true, it probably is

Of late, I've noticed several group buy sites offering discounted prices for branded handbags. Now, I am no connoisseur but what I do know (as a person who works hard for my money) is that I work hard to be able to save and buy a handbag that I like and I consider my purchases as a reward for all the hard work that I've done. And I am very, very sure that there are plenty out there like me.

Imagine saving up for a handbag that you've been eyeing for a while now. Finally when you've saved enough, you find out that there's a deal on the same handbag for a price that is slightly less. Which would you opt for? Market price or discounted price? Most would opt for the discounted price (and I would too if I were you) because there is definitely sense in buying a similar item at a lower price.

Unfortunately, later you find out it's a fake. How would you feel? Disappointed? Frustrated? Angry? You might be feeling all of those things and probably many more. Earlier today I read a post on Facebook on the matter:

Names and profile photos have been covered to for privacy purposes. Permission to repost have been obtained. 

The good thing for this individual is that she discovered that it is fake. How about those who do not know? I can't imagine buying a fake at the price of hundreds or thousands of ringgit.

Some might say, if you're so afraid of being cheated, don't buy online, buy directly at the stores (which is also what I'd recommend and practice) but sometimes, there are several factors in which you may be unable to buy at the store (like me who's living in a city where there's no Coach, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Prada, Chanel, Furla outlets at all) so you might have to resort to buying online.

So, the question is, how do you protect yourself?

My suggestion, make sure you are buying from a reputable website (group buy sites unfortunately have to rely on the seller for the authenticity of the products), research and investigate the seller (if you're buying from a blog site or Facebook) and educate yourself (this is the most important part as it would be difficult for these sellers to cheat you if you know your stuff). On that part, you may want to read two interesting posts on the matter [here] and [here].

Oh, in case you're wondering if I've ever bought online, I have to admit that I have bought online before. Three of my Coach handbags were bought online, all are from their Poppy line, two of them feature the graffiti design and one of them is a limited edition. As a rule of thumb, when buying online, I try to go for limited edition or special edition.

Alternatively, you can also follow this adage, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Meaning: if the price is too cheap, it probably is not an original.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Ps: If you're planning to buy online, I do advice on checking with the actual store on the item that you want to buy. When hubs bought me a Longchamp planetes handbag as part of my birthday present last month we discovered that the store price (we bought it at one of their flagship stores in Kuala Lumpur) is actually lower than the price offered at a group buy website. How ironic is that?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Annyeong Haseyo Seoul!

Our trip to Seoul, South Korea was purely by chance. I mean, Seoul was not on our list of must-visit places, and we're not even K-Drama or K-Pop fans, so how did we end up with Seoul as one of our 2013 destinations?

Ah, well..

Call it the pregnancy brain, or whatever impulse it was, when AirAsia announced one of their low fare promotions last year, I quickly consulted hubs on where to go for our next holiday destination, to which he replied Tokyo, Japan. I googled Tokyo and found that it's one of the most expensive cities in the world and wasn't sure whether we're ready to travel to one. So we decided to experiment and see if we could survive traveling to Seoul (since it was rated slightly cheaper than Tokyo) maybe then we could go visit Japan. And that was how we decided that we'd be going to Seoul in 2013.

When we booked the flight tickets, I wasn't even pregnant...

In the duration of my pregnancy we'd debated whether we'd be bringing Alexa with us to Seoul or maybe just cancelling the trip (which for a travel junkie like me is something I'd really want to avoid, although unfortunately my trip to Bali last April was canceled as I was already more than 8 months pregnant at the time), but we finally decided on bringing Alexa along since she's breastfeeding and it would be a really great opportunity for me to try and find out how it feels to travel with a baby and how Seoul would fare as a breastfeeding-friendly city. You can read all about it in my post [here].

Anyway, we absolutely adore our trip to Seoul and this was among some of the things that we managed to do:

1. Witness a guard-changing ceremony

I really wish that I was able to do this during our trip to London last year but there wasn't enough time. I'll definitely bear this in mind for our next trip to London.

We got the opportunity to watch the ceremony at Deoksugung Palace (there are plenty of palaces in Seoul but not all of them have a guard-changing ceremony) so if you want to experience one (I must say being able to watch the ceremony was quite a wow experience for me) you might want to visit this palace.

2. Visit a Hanok Village

A hanok village is typically a traditional Korean Village in which you get to see how the people of Korea used to live (I suppose before all those high-rise buildings were built and all) and we managed to visit Namsangol Hanok Village in Chungmuro which was only a walking distance from our hotel. I must say the it was an interesting experience getting to learn on the traditional Korean culture and of course getting to see some of the people walking in full costume (which is not easy I guess considering the humid weather; we were in Seoul during the end of summer so some days it was pretty hot and other days it can be quite cool and windy).

3. Padlocked our love at Seoul Tower

The thought of visiting Seoul Tower never occurred to us. And we never even knew about the custom for lovebirds to buy a padlock and locking them at one of the poles at the base of Seoul Tower. For couple travellers, this place is definitely a must-visit.

A photo of Seoul city taken from Namsan Cable Car on the way up to Seoul Tower.

4. Visit Nami Island

Although I did say that we're not K-Drama nor K-Pop fans, we do know that there's a famous K-Drama called Winter Sonata, filmed at Nami Island (which is by the way a man-made island not far from Seoul) so we decided to visit the island and am glad that we did. This island definitely one very unique island, it definitely has a very quirky and cheerful ambience.

Psst: this island is accessible via subway (which will only bring you to as far as Gapyeong station) then via taxi or bus to Gapyeong wharf. From there, you'll need to buy a ferry ticket that'll take you to the island. Or alternatively you may want to read on travel instructions to Nami island [here].

5. Visit Seoul Mosque at Itaewon

Getting to visit this mosque is not easy, simply because we took the subway and had to walk our way uphill (I'd say it's roughly a 20-minute walk) to the mosque. Peeps, for convenience, I'd recommend the cab.

However, this mosque certainly is huge and what's even more interesting, there's a private Islamic school near the mosque grounds.

6. Shopped till we dropped at Myeongdong

Before we touch on the subject of shopping, I must admit that most of the imported stuff in Seoul, specifically at Lotte Departmental Store are actually slightly more expensive or equal to the price of imported stuff in Malaysia. However, their sale items are sold at very generous discounts, which are to die for.

Bought a pair of Dr Martens for Alexa (which she'll only be able to wear when she's 1 year old unfortunately). Sadly this wasn't on sale, we bought it for about KRW60,000 (converted roughly to about MYR180). I can't wait for Alexa to wear this on our next trip, which will be to Tokyo somewhere during Spring 2014. She'll be almost one then =).

All these Dr Martens were on 50% - 70% sale. I actually had my eye on a few of them. Oppsie!

And this is what hubs got me as an early anniversary gift =). This one was sold at KRW200,000 but was marked down at 50%, so we only paid about MYR300 for this one *yippee yeay*.

For those who love to shop, don't forget to complete your tax refund paperwork before you leave the store. This one is located at Ground Floor, Lotte Departmental Store, Myeongdong. Should you be in doubt, just ask the customer service counter on where are the tax refund counters for tourists. Tax refunds can be claimed for cash at International Departure, Incheon International Airport. 

Us at Lotte World. When we arrived, it was already night time so we decided to forgo visiting the theme park and just chill and do some people watching =).

So that was among the things that we did in Seoul. Unfortunately there were some other stuff that we wanted to do like enjoy the themepark at Lotte World and Everland but we did not want to squeeze in too many activities in a day considering that we are traveling with a 3-month old baby who gets cranky if she stays up too late. It's good enough that we're able to enjoy the trip as it was *syukur alhamdulillah*.

Here's hubs with Alexa in an Ergo PPB

Seoul's public transportation system (specifically the subway) is not very stroller friendly so we opted for the Ergo carrier from Day 2 till our final day in Seoul (on Day 1 we had to carry the stroller up and down the stairs of Seoul's many subway stations). For parents traveling with small children, I do recommend the baby carrier as it's much more convenient compared to a stroller.

Psst! If you love handbags, we recommend buying them at International Departure, Incheon International Airport. I was eyeing the Furla Candy Satchel at Lotte Departmental Store but decided against buying it because the price is similar to buying it in Malaysia (to tell you the truth, the price is slightly higher than Malaysia). At Lotte Departmental Store the bag costs roughly about KRW600,000. However my jaw dropped when I found out that the same bag is about 30% cheaper when bought duty free at the airport. And the best part is, it's from their Autumn/ Winter 2013 collection *drool*. Thank you hubs for the early birthday present *grin*.

So the question is, will we be back to Seoul? Most probably, no, because there are plenty of other countries that we have yet to visit. But will we visit other places in Korea? Definitely!

To love, family and travel.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Friday, November 1, 2013

Credit Card for the Fashionistas in Malaysia

A few days ago I received a mail from Vaenissa of iMoney and they asked whether I could feature an infographic that they did on credit cards in Malaysia. Although I am not a proponent of credit card as in my personal opinion it could tempt you to create unnecessary debt via unnecessary spending, I do believe that in certain circumstances, credit cards (yes in the plural form should one be not enough) are a necessary evil. 

Used properly, a credit card can actually be a useful tool for one to manage their daily spending. So here are the 2013 top credit cards for the Fashionistas in Malaysia =). 

iMoney is a website that helps you to compare loans among different financial institution and also provides knowledge and information regarding products and services provided by these said institutions. Those who are looking for a quick upgrade in their financial knowledge (and this includes any financially savvy fashionista for that matter) may want to visit their website [here] or check out their Facebook page [here].

Spend wisely peeps!

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Psst: This infographic is giving me serious thoughts on changing my credit card provider. How about you?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fashionista's Hotel Review: Ibis Styles Yogyakarta

I adore boutique hotels.

Oh let me correct myself, I simply love boutique hotels.

They're small (which I love because this makes their service to you more personalised), they're extremely cute and they provide top notch service. The trip to Surabaya and Yogyakarta, Indonesia last February was my last trip before giving birth (and here I was thinking that I'd be hanging my travel boots once I become a mom, but apparently my trip to Seoul last September with baby Alexa proved otherwise).

This time, the trip's a little bit more special because my parents decided to free their busy schedules and join us. So on that note, I decided to pick the best hotels that I could find in Surabaya (that'll be in another post which I have yet to write I'm afraid) and Yogyakarta.

So here's a review on Ibis Styles Hotel Yogyakarta (psst: there's several Ibis Styles Hotels all over the world, so I guess this is their signature name for their boutique hotels).

We arrived at the hotel and was welcomed to a lobby full of colour and life. That is why I simply love boutique hotels, they're perky and full of fun!

Another part of the hotel lobby.
Registration counter. Absolutely friendly and helpful staffs. Since we had planned to do a lot of exploring and driving in Yogyakarta (Borobudur is roughly a 45 minutes drive away from the hotel) so we booked a car complete with a driver with the hotel. They provided us with a very nice and charming driver. Love that he knows his stuff and was able to provide us with a lot of insight on Yogyakarta and the places surrounding it. 
You can hang out here if you like =).
Or here =). There's actually a small pool outside the lobby and another one on it's rooftop terrace but unfortunately we didn't manage to try them out.
The corridor leading to our room.

Our bedroom. The hotel is fully equipped with wifi but unfortunately (maybe due to the position of our room, we were at the far end of the corridor) we couldn't get much wifi coverage in the room. But the connection was superb in my parents' room.
Another angle of our bedroom.
And the adjoining bathroom. The bathroom and bedroom is separated by a transparent window (what you're seeing here is the window right next to the shower stall). If you're shy, there are drapes covering the window.
For this trip, we took a train from Surabaya to Yogyakarta (in case you're wondering it's a 6 hour ride, I'll be covering the train ride in my next post) and it was quite late when we arrived in Yogyakarta. Luckily the hotel provides a free pickup service to and from the train station (it was raining heavily when we arrived) and here we are famished, waiting for food at the hotel's dining area.

If you're ever in Yogyakarta, I do recommend staying at this hotel. It's actually within walking distance to Yogyakarta's famous shopping street, Malioboro street (unfortunately due to our hectic schedule we didn't manage to visit Malioboro). Besides that, the hotel staffs were really nice and accommodating (and the scrumptious buffet breakfast didn't hurt either). It was during this trip that Raden forgot his ear pods at the hotel (and only realized it when we arrived in Surabaya). The hotel was nice enough to post the ear pods back to Malaysia. Thank you to the staffs that made it happen. We really appreciate the kind gesture. To me our trip to Yogyakarta showcases Indonesian hospitality at its best =).
For more information on the hotel, you can visit their website [here].
xoxo Mrs Fashionista