Progression, not perfection.

These are the words I keep repeating to soothe myself. As some of you might have already known, in mid-February I started committing myself into what I hope would be a life-long commitment; fitness & nutrition. 

The first three months were incredible. I ran, I struck, I circuit-trained and I lifted weights like a beast. I was damn proud of my achievements. However, as months went by, other commitments and a recurring challenge came back; my daughter’s eczema. Big time. 

Being a parent is already challenging enough.

Being a parent with an eczema child makes it even more challenging.

Being a parent with an eczema child while trying to workout and eat right consistently is plain, f***ing difficult.

Of course, then the classic mommy guilt trip. I feel guilty for feeling great after a training session at the gym, then come home to Aida with flaming, weepy cheeks. Sometimes, I feel guilty for being in the studio for yoga at 8am on Saturday, instead of laying in bed with her while she’s still asleep. 

And now, as her eczema is currently accompanied by fever I have no choice but to let my fitness commitment take a back seat. That doesn’t mean I don’t exercise at all. Rather, I’m reducing my personal training sessions from 3 to 2 weekly and focus more on eating healthily at the moment (which, to be honest is a challenge for this foodie). This means it’ll take me even longer to achieve my fitness goal. Honestly, a part of me isn’t exactly happy with this but well, I guess a mom’s gotta what a mom’s gotta do. After all;

-Hanna-

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Warm Vanilla Sugar…

How was everybody’s first week of the new year? As for me, despite 2016 ended with memorable days, 2017 kicked off with a shocking news. The sort of news that brings everyone in the family together and thinking negatively isn’t an option. I am a firm believer of “things happen for a reason”, therefore I refuse to let this shocking discovery to spoil my start of 2017 and look at the good that could come out of this instead.

Good thing I have this beautiful Bath & Body Works warm vanilla sugar to make my day. One from BBW Signature Collection, this shower gel is enriched with shea & vitamin E. If your mind are still fresh, you’d remember this shower gel from my recent birthday presents post. 

Like a classic Bath & Body Works shower product, warm vanilla sugar takes your mundane shower session to a bathroom experience that is heaven-scents (pun intended). The luxurious scents of vanilla and sweet sugar really perks me up especially during my early morning shower. I used to freak out when I forgot to spray on some perfumes before leaving the house (yeah that happens sometimes). However, shower time with BBW warm vanilla sugar shower gel means my skin is delicately scented like sugary dessert for at least a few hours.

As delicate as it may smell, I do not think thst this shower gel is delicate enough for those with eczema or very sensitive skin. The ingredients, as listed on the back of the bottle suggest that active ingredients (SLSs and fragrance) are just ain’t skin friendly. Luckily my body skin isn’t too sensitive for this shower gel even when used daily.

Pretty in a bottle…

-Hanna- 

Birthday beauties.

Hi guys, how was everyone’s holiday?

Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, we Malaysian folks here did enjoy our long weekend, thanks to Christmas that fell on Sunday this year. I managed to catch up with my parents and had lunch with my best friend, who gave me and my girl belated birthday presents. Yay! See what I told you about December being my favourite month? *big grin*

Speaking of presents, here is a post dedicated to birthday presents (beauty products ONLY) I got this year. They aren’t a lot of them, of course but what truly matters is that these are lovely things given by my dear family and friends. Thank you again to each and every one of you for making my birthday (and my daughter’s) this year a lovely one. Oh, I also bought a few myself. Yes you read that right, I bought MY OWN birthday presents because I’m pathetic like that. Haha! Or maybe self-appreciative, depending on how you look at it.

1.Bath & Body Works set 

Taking advantage of the Christmas + holiday promotion, my little sister got me a bottle of Endless Weekend fine fragrance mist and warm vanilla sugar Shower Gel, wrapped in a clear plastic and tied with a blue BBW ribbon. I love both products, which apparently are my first BBW products bought locally. Before BBW had stores in Malaysia, I had been getting BBWs from swaps or a friend in the States for years.

2.Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic Lip Tar &  beauty goodies

This year, Joanna, my friend from Poland got me a tube of OCC Lip Tar and other fun beauty goodies! It’s our tradition to exchange birthday gifts every year. I’ve tried the NIVEA shampoo+conditoner samples, Laura Geller blusher and of course, the lip tar. Thank you dear for everything, and also for sending my daughter fun stickers & puzzle set for her 3rd birthday! *hug* 

3.Shu Uemura 10% off & birthday treats

I can’t remember the last time I used or bought anything from Shu Uemura. So when I received a text message from them on Dec 1st, it got me thinking, “Why not? Isn’t this year the time for me to indulge in myself after 2 years of dealing with our daughter’s severe eczema?” As I was running out of pressed face powder, I went to the store in KLCC recently to purchase one. I got it at 10% off, along with two 15ml bottle of their best selling cleansing oil, one 15ml bottle of TSUYA skin lotion and 4 sachets of moisturizers. So the “birthday presents from us” are those three skincare products? Okay. In addition, they apparently had a Christmas promo which after done with paying and collecting my stuffs, the SA asked me to pick any card from a miniature wintery Xmas tree displayed in the store. The card I picked out bore what my other gift was; a Mika for Shu makeup pouch. Hmm…I honestly don’t get the Shu vibe from the pouch but, whatever. Freebies; “Yay!”, I presume?

4.SEPHORA BlackCard Member birthday gift

If last year’s birthday pressie was that mini eyeshadow trio, (which honestly isn’t bad, albeit basic) this year SEPHORA treated us to a mini blusher+highlighter embossed with “HAPPY” and “BIRTHDAY” on each half of the product. Sadly, I didn’t even get the chance to try the blusher because I accidently dropped it onto the floor one late night and the highlighter already shattered. Was I too clumsy? Was the product is of poor quality? Either way, I didn’t have the mood at all to salvage the remaining of the product so I tossed everything into a bin. *sobs*

That’s all of beauty products I’ve received, and bought. Did you spot anything that you have used yourself? What do you think of them, do you like em or loathe ’em? I’m especially interested in that SEPHORA 2016 Birthday Present. Please let me know what you think of the blusher if you’ve tried it. 

Till then, enjoy the last few days of 2016! 

-Mascaras&Motherhood-

|Review| Bio-essence “Bio Treatment Essence-in-Oil Scar Speacialist” 


Scars. I generally dislike them. Post-pregnancy scar, now that’s a bittersweet affair. While I am thankful for the priviledge of carrying my child in my womb for over nine months, I have to admit, I don’t exactly enjoy what I see in the mirror when it comes to my tummy which to me, resembles those topography maps in Geography text books. 

So when I came across this sample of “Bio Treatment Essence-in-Oil Scar Specialist” from Singaporean brand; Bio-essence, wrapped together in SHAPE magazine as a free gift back in June, I’d had to grab that magazine from the newstand shelf. Never mind that I’ve never got to finish reading the whole mag in the end. See publishers, if you want your magazines to sell well , never underestimate the power of freebies.*big grin*

The generous sample is 30ml oil housed in a small, “chubby” bottle. The actual product is double the amount of oil (60ml) , double the height yet slimmer than this chubby sample bottle. Regardless, 30ml is actually enough to last for over a month when used at least once daily. Hence, I describe it here as ‘generous’. 

The unique blend of 11 essential oils

Despite eleven different oils blended to make this “scar specialist”, lavender is the only distinct scent I could detect everytime I use this product. 

As a self-proclaimed “Scar Specialist”, this oil fails to do nothing to my post pregnancy scars except moisturises the area. But then again, it does claim to helps minimize the formation of new scars. Therefore, it isn’t exactly fair for me to expect my three-year-old tummy stretch marks  to disappear. 

As a wound-healer, I’m happy to report that the oil really helps a small, new cut on my arm dried & healed faster! No surprise there since two of its ingredients, calendula oil & chamomile oil are both natural anti-imflammatories. 

All in all, Bio-essence “Bio Treatment Essence-in-Oil Scar Specialist” moisturises skin effectively when used daily as well as heals new, small wounds a little faster. As for scars, it doesn’t fade them at all, just like any other anti-scars and anti-stretchmarks products I’ve tried so far. I guess I’m just gonna make peace with the fact that my strechmarks (and yeah, my acne scars too) are here to stay, leaving me never. 

How to empty up your tube of moisturizer

We hate products we love go to waste, don’t we? Especially when said products are expensive. At least that is what I feel. Take a look at this Moogoo Irritable Skin Balm for example; pre-GST era it used to be RM69 a tube. That is already expensive for a barely 200ml cream, especially when used daily. However, since 6% of GST was imposed in April ’15, Moogoo ISB is now RM79. That’s exactly ten Ringgit extra. I remember how the local eczema community were feeling the pinch over this dreaded price hike on almost every possible product. Thank God for natural & much cheaper alternatives, which I might be talking about in my future posts.

Back to the topic, this eczema-friendly and soothing cream is housed in a plastic tube that can easily be cut. Just make sure to sanitize the scissors prior to cutting the tube. I usually start cutting the top part and scoop up every nook and cranny of the inside of the tube. Next, I cut off the centre of the tube so that I get both the centre and the bottom of the inside of the tube. When every milimetre of the product has been completely wiped clean, then only I toss those empty plastic pieces into a dustbin.

My next victim…..

|Review| Sultana of Soap

Remember my last LUSH haul? That was three years ago.Those days of spending my cash on cutesy soaps, bath bombs and glittery shower gels. Occasionally, I also obtained those funky looking soaps from countless swaps I did on a (now-defunct) online swap community; Makeupalley.  Ah…fun times!

Melted a little when I received this from the courier guy. Sultana is so regal it can’t take the Malaysian heat LOL!
I had a hard time explaining to my little girl that this isn’t a piece of white choc. 

Recently, a friend offered to make a LUSH haul from Korea. Of course I jumped at the chance! As much I was salivating over their Christmas ’16 collection, I am at the moment not looking to splurge (Read: can’t afford) on fancy handmade bath products. In the end, I settled for a chunk of Sultana of Soap.

One from their permanent soap collection, I’ve actually tried Sultana a couple of times before. The first time, it was a sample I received from a swap. Second time was a full-sized 100g, which a friend from the States was kind enough to custom-purchase it for me.

Fast forward to now, Sultana feels exactly like I last used it. It’s moisturizing, luxurious, creamy,  with heavenly scent that filled my entire bathroom. As the folks at LUSH perfectly put it, this soap gives you a “royally well-fed skin”.

The only downside is, those pieces of dried fruits that I constantly need to pick up after my shower. Since LUSH soaps are handmade, no two chunks of soaps are identical. For this particular Sultana, I happened to get generous amount of dried currants & apricots on top of the soap chunk. If only I could just eat up those dried currants and apricots….(I’m kidding, of course.)

Even the paper bag smells heavenly!

|Review| Helpful & Delightful

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Like the rest of Good Virtues Co. products, Helpful & Delightful Multiple Repair Hair Serum packaging is pretty and chic. Obviously this is the main reason that attracts me to this whole range of Good Virtues Co. Second being that the brand is Halal and very friendly to my wallet.

However, I’m afraid I cannot give a similar high praise for the effectiveness of this product. 2 weeks after using this serum; sometimes after I washed my hair and sometimes straight on my dry hair, I hardly see nor feel any improvement on my limp hair. Another thing which I find questionable about this product is, how it irritates the skin on my palm. (I have on-and-off contact dermatitis on my right palm) It does sting when the liquid comes into contact with my dry and crusty palm. For a product that claims it’s SLS, SLES and paraban free, this is a disappointment to us folks with sensitive skin.

At least the price is very affordable. That, in a way makes up for what it lacks in. Perhaps I simply am not suitable with this serum. What do you think? If you have tried this product and love it, please share it with us all here.

-Mascaras&Motherhood-