Every year comes CNY, I have mixed feelings (except those times when I was a kid, I looked forward to celebrating CNY). I am partially excited and half dreadful of the traffic conditions to drive up north. It'll easily take 5 to 6 hours (sometimes more). I still remember there was once during my college days, I was stuck in the traffic jam for 7.5 hours, alone! I almost died of frustration. There are not many alternatives besides driving, due to the inflated flights prices and bus is not even an option with 2 young kids on tow. From past experience, if I'm to give my grandma a ring to tell her that we are not going, the conversation would sound like this:
(Translation from Hokkien dialect)
Me: Hello, Ah Mah... we might not be going to Penang this CNY. Traffic is going to be very bad la. Flight are expensive too.
Grandma: AIYO! Why didn't book flights earlier? No proper planning ar, u all? I booked 10 tables already... for CNY dinner. Now you're saying you're not coming? Haiyo... how? I have to cancel? Why you didn't plan properly? Every year also got CNY mar. Book flights few years in advance la. Cannot ar? Ang pao also packed for your kids. Now only you're telling me not coming? Drive la. Cannot drive meh? Leave early in the morning. Reach here around lunch time. Not very jam la. CNY is only once a year. How can you not be here with the family? Really not coming ar?? What did your husband says? He agrees? How now? Sure you're not coming?
(Repeat the above 3x)
Me: Ah Mah... I'm just joking la. See you on CNY.
Grandma: Oh, OK. Good, good.
Hung up the phone, grabbed my credit cards and proceed to book the overpriced flight tickets or alternatively suffer hours of standstill traffic with 2 screaming monsters in the car.
Couple of months back I invested in the new Nivea whitening serums which did give some satisfactory results on my skin tone. Walking under the blazing hot Singapore sun barely a year has turned my skin so dark and dull that I knew I have to regain my original skin tone with some combinations of effective whitening products.
When I saw Nivea skin conditioner in Caring pharmacy, I knew I simply have to try this. It's a big WOW to lazy mommies like me. I am never a fan of body lotions (even when I was single) because it's a hassle. Now that I have 2 kids on tow, applying body lotion is even a bigger hassle. Skin conditioner is the answer to my laziness!
The new skin conditioner by Nivea has nothing to do with whitening but it claims to leave the skin feeling silky soft, with the convenience of using it in the shower. So, that means I can simply slather it all over my body and rinse it off thereafter. No mess and no need to wait for the lotion to be absorbed. How convenient is that?
Upon first time usage, my skin is:
• silky smooth to the touch (when skin is completely dry).
• mildly scented.
• soft? No, not really. More like smooth.
• feeling moisturised all over (including hard-to-reach places and butts crack). Okay, that was gross but hey, it's an honest review.
Do I like it? I'll give 2 out of 5 stars for the innovation and convenience. For the other 3 stars, Nivea has to improve on:
• reducing the slippery feeling it gives me after rinsing.
• reducing the sticky feeling on my damp skin after towel-drying.
• making the skin soft to touch besides feeling smooth.
Currently, Nivea in-shower skin conditioner has 2 variations; for the normal skin and dry skin. I will repurchase only if Nivea comes out with whitening variant with SPF for dull skin.
"There is often a moment in a young mother's life when she looks at her life and no longer recognizes herself in that life."
"While motherhood does have the potential to shape us into these amazing, improved versions of ourselves, in the beginning, it feels much more like we shrink from the nobility of it all. In that moment when we glance at the piles of laundry, hear the temper tantrum in the background and see our current reflection in the mirror, we don’t feel strong or dynamic. We feel lost and overwhelmed."
-Motherhood identity crisis quoted from ksl.com-
These days, there are just too many crisis. From financial crisis to midlife crisis and now motherhood identity crisis. Along the line, there is also something called quarter-life crisis. Then, there's mid-motherhood crisis. I am definitely experiencing something in between, perhaps a mixture of quarter-life crisis and midlife crisis, blended with motherhood identity crisis. With no exact fit of the above, I'm coining it as quarter-motherhood life crisis.
I have 2 young preschoolers to keep (all) my time occupied. I feel blessed, but sometimes I feel stuck in a rut with Barney replaying at least 3 times a day on my tv. Besides getting constant no for an answer, my daily routine is far from exciting and it's starting to feel like a chore. That are my feelings on good days. On my bad days, when both of them are screaming and having monstrous meltdowns, I want to jump into my bathtub and soak in till the sun comes down. Then I start to question my decision of having children before I hit 30 (not that I don't love them but all mothers will agree that children can be overwhelming at times) and that's how my quarter-motherhood life crisis starts.....
I wish to:
1)... look like 26 again.
2)... feel 21 again.
3)... sleep as much as I want.
4)... have biweekly facials and spas.
5)... shop till I drop.
6)... colour my nails midnight black.
7)... put on make up & party till dawn.
8)... earn a 5-figure monthly income in my pyjamas.
9)... wear a 5-inches stilettos.
10)... go for vacations after vacations.
But the bitter fact is:
1) Someone just called me 'aunty' and I have a pair of saggy breasts.
2) I feel like a high-paying maid.
3) I sleep 6 hours a day. I need at least 8.
4) I pamper myself at home with pre-chilled el-cheapo face mask because I am a budget tai-tai.
5) My daily retail therapy includes shopping for vegs and meats at the wet market.
6) With black coloured nails, my staunch Christian parents-in-law would think I befriended Judas.
7) I start yawning every 10 seconds once it's past 10.30 p.m these days.
8) I'm still working towards the FIVE.
9) I'm thinking of wearing my Louboutin to the pasar so that I can get a better view of the fishes for sale.
10) Vacation with children is not a vacation.
Oh. And I want a solid Range Rover to go with the above wish list.
Do I regret motherhood? No. But I miss my party life.
Cigarettes addiction is real. It's like a piece of fresh, bloody meat to a hungry great white. When the craving kicks in, my mind will go blank and all that I want at that very moment, is a few puffs of that cancer stick. I used to be a heavy smoker, at least 20 sticks a day, sometimes slightly more if I need to stay up late.
For many years, my new year's resolution started with 'Quit Dunhill'. It was until June last year that I finally kicked the deadly habit. Every one tells me to quit but no one mention anything about relapse. Do you know recovering from a relapse is harder than quitting cigarettes the first time? Your mind is telling you that it's okay to have one stick, then another stick, and another one, because you have done it before (quit smoking, that is) and you can easily do it again. Then BAM! You are hooked again and you're back to square one!
What's an easier way to quit smoking for a first timer? Answer is, when you are mentally ready to do so. And what's the easiest way to quit smoking after a relapse? Cold turkey.
Of course that's easier said than done. I KNOW, because I have been there, done that. So having gone through all the 'quit smoking' processes and relapses, I am writing this to help those who really want to quit smoking and those who are going through a relapse and struggling to quit.
Step #1: Have a solid reason to quit.
(You don't need 10, just 1 super solid reason to do so.)
Ask yourself, why do you even want to quit? For relapse, remind yourself the reason you quit in the first place. Let's admit it. Cigarettes are very pleasurable indeed. In fact, my brain used to be so dependent on nicotine that it can't function without me taking a puff. It gave me the boost I need to function daily. It made me feel more relax, it calms my nerves and in return, I can think better. So why do I want to quit? Because I don't want my life to be controlled by cigarettes. Because I don't want to suffer and die of a painful death. Have you seen man living with cancer before? Just watch Breaking Bad. (Word of caution: Movie series are as addictive as ciggies.)
Step #2: Purchase some 4mg nicotine lozenges.
(Lozenges are expensive but they're cheaper than cigarettes in long run.)
I have tried nicotine patches, gums, inhaler and lozenges. Don't bother trying the patch and inhaler. Smoking is also a habit besides an addiction. When I wake up in the morning, I make myself a mug of coffee and I smoke. When I'm restless, I smoke. When I'm angry, I smoke. When I'm drinking and partying away, I smoke. When I have some free time on hand, I smoke. After a meal, I smoke. It's a vicious pattern, an unhealthy habit. To break the vicious habit, you need to replace the smoking part with something proactive and nicotine patch isn't going to help. Lozenges, on the other hand, is something proactive because you need to open the child-locked top, take 1 piece and pop it into your mouth and slowly suckle at it. One piece of lozenge will last you 2 to 3 hours in the mouth. Do not chew!
Step #3: Timing it wisely.
The timing of when you have your last stick (last stick for good) matters! The best time is, before bed time. When the craving kicks in, instead of going out to buy a pack, march right to bed! Brush your teeth thoroughly, triple wash your hands so there is no odour left to remind you of smoking.
Step #4: The last stick in the pack.
(Enjoy it while it lasts!)
There's no need to bid goodbye or whatever so. Please, people! Just enjoy a quiet moment with your last ciggy while mentally preparing yourself that this is the last stick. You'll realise how good it taste! Lol. Should you have leftovers in the pack, I'm sorry but you'll have to throw it away. As an ex-smoker, I know it's still better to smoke them all rather than throwing any sticks away, right? So go ahead, smoke them all till the last stick.
Step #5: Warn your loved ones!
You will go bonkers during the first week of quiting. Your emotions will go haywire and tempers shall flare at the slightest bit of irritation. You're agitated, restless, frustrated, exhausted, feeling sick and moody. But, somehow, your appetite will grow and you'll feel hungry. Prep yourself and those around you well enough with nicotine withdrawal symptoms to avoid the possibilities of you biting their heads off.
Step #6: Distract yourself.
You wake up in the morning and the first thing you usually do is to light a stick. The craving is so strong, and your throat is still sore and dry from smoking. Today's the first day you're quiting cigarettes. So what do you do? Distract yourself! Eat some chocolates, suck on an ice cube, have breakfast. Do something you don't normally do. E.g. If you normally make yourself a cup of coffee to go with ciggy, try taking a shower first. After that, munch on some bread before making your coffee. If you normally smoke in the toilet while taking a dump, avoid the toilet. Go to the kitchen first and munch on something sweet like chocolates, or you can opt to shower first. The key is to alter your daily pattern and break the habit. You need to continue doing this for the first 7 days or until your cravings for morning ciggies have mellowed down. Don't forget to suckle on the lozenges too!
Step #7: Stay away from convenience.
(For at least 2 months. Yes, you heard me.... 2 months!)
These are the danger zone blinking in RED. Smoker friends, pubs, parties, boozes, convenience stores, cigarettes counters, etc. Yeah, you have to stop all that. Zero connection. That's the hardest part, I know. There were times when I was walking pass a convenience store on my way home and I swear there was a strong magnetic force that drew me in to purchase my cancer sticks. And saying no to smoker friends' invitations for a cuppa? Worst feeling ever! Suddenly, they became the devils because I chose to be an angel. Urgh.
I started off my new year with sore throat and a red nose. Besides the fact that I was down with cold and cough on new year's eve, I had much fun at a friend's house party. It wasn't just any party, but it was 'the party' of the year. Thinly sliced fresh salmon sashimi, deliciously baked chilled lobsters, juicy roast pork with the right amount of crisp on its golden skin, lightly sauteed cod fish drizzled with fragrant soy sauce, heavenly roast lamb and all types of boozes from Macallan 25 years to endless flow of Moet & Chandon and beers. I was feeling slightly feverish but I remembered my science teacher in school used to tell us that alcohol kills germs so Moet should work well on flu bugs. And I swear, the fever did went away after the second glass of Moet. Ah ha... Education didn't go down the drain afterall.