This year, do more.

How pretty is my latte? Apparently, after reading too much of Adventurous Kate blog on my last holiday, I’m pretty much influenced by how the lady boss behind the travel blog, Kate McCulley hunts for coffee in every city and town she travels to. Particularly small, independently-owned local cafes. With that, since late last year I’ve embarked on my ‘New Year mission‘ to discover as many local cafes (some call it hipster cafe?) as I could in 2018. Little did I know, there are indeed abundant of cool and cute cafes around, even a couple of good ones that are barely 3km than where I live! I cannot believe I’ve never paid any attention to these little gems before! Sorry Coffee Bean & SF Coffee, you’ve had too much of my love already.

Anyways, that’s a cup of hot latte up there, which I had the pleasure of indulging in on one, drizzling evening at The Parque Cafe at Eco Sanctuary. Here are a few more Instagram-worthy coffees I’ve had to date, so far this year;

White Chocolate Latte, frespresso.
Hot mocha, Brew & Bread Coffee Roaster

Now, what’s better than a cup of coffee? A cup of coffee with a good book! Again, thanks to Kate, I’m taking up her challenge to try to read 12 books in 2018. If you asked me twelve years ago if I could ever finish reading 12 books within a year, the twenty year old me would shout ‘Yes!’ without hesitation. But now….hmm I’m honestly not sure if I am capable of this challenge. Which makes this even more interesting.

I’m not gonna pressure myself too much with my (former) love for reading so I go lax with the theme for this challenge; this year, I’ll read 12 books by 12 female authors.

The first book for this challenge is:

Time To Say Goodbye by Judith Gould. Avid readers out there, go ahead and burst out laughing. To those who aren’t as avid (me included), here’s a fact: Judith Gould, as feminine as the name suggests, is actually a pseudonym….of two men! I was already halfway the book when I discovered this fact. Ha! So does this book count? Well remember that I said that I’m not gonna pressure myself too much with this challenge? Since I’m the one who came out with the theme of this 12-books-challenge, I’d say; ‘Yes, Hanna honey. This counts too.’ 😉

By the way, this old book belongs to my sister. I found this fiction novel while doing a little bookshelf cleaning at my parents’ home two weeks ago. As I was almost done with Time To Say Goodbye, I bought a brand new debut novel by Samira Ahmed last Sunday. Gosh it’s been awhile since I bought a book! I’m looking forward for February filled with yet another book for me to read.

Have you read anything this month? Maybe a good read with a great cuppa? Let me know what you’ve been up to. Till then, 😉

-Hanna-

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Hey October!

Screw negativity! Since July, some negative things have been taking over my life, it’s apparent from my recent posts on this blog. But for once, why don’t we focus on the positive aspects of life instead? So this is why this post is up right now; the highlights of the fun stuffs that I’ve been up to these days; 😁

When the flower matches your shoes.

1. I know nothing about gardening but when I was assigned to attend some sorta gardening event last month, I took pictures of all the pretty flowers they have, like this one. All guests received a goodie bag (Yay!) which contained several items including…a bag of soil. Yes, soil. I wasn’t exactly sure how to process my thought upon holding that heavy plastic bag filled with fresh dark-coloured soil but I was 100% sure who would be thrilled to get that goodie. (You are welcome, Mom!)

2. I’m a coffee addict so when Nando’s have this limited-time free Americano with 2 pieces of brownies offer, of course I’ve HAD TO redeem it. I don’t really have a sweet tooth (I’m more of a kerepek & salty chips kinda girl) so I initially wasn’t excited with those brownies. But look closer guys, can you see those red chilli flakes sprinkled on top of the brownies? 👇 Interesting! 

3. Since we are on the subject of food, have you tried sugar-free peanut butter? This PB with no added sugar from yogood is my current favourite! 

Just like any other good PBs, this is just as rich, creamy, peanut-y but sans the sweetness of sugar. No problem at all, as there are so many ways to have fun with PB sans sugar. I usually spread it on wholemeal breads topped with banana slices for breakfast, or have cut fuji apples to dip this peanut butter with as in-between-meal snack. That’s natural sweetness plus wholesome goodness in your food! 

How do you have your PB? Do share your ideas with me here so we all could continue having fun while eating healthily. Until then, 

-Hanna- 

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-

Tempeh: The tried & tested

I’ve never blogged about food, have I? So congrats tempeh for being the star of the first ever food post in Mascaras & Motherhood! Tempeh (pronounced as “temp-pei”) which is widely available and beloved in Indonesia and Malaysia is a soy-based food. Here’s how the nutrition-lovers at Time describes tempeh:

Tempeh is a cake of partially cooked whole soybeans aged overnight in an incubator at a tropical temperature, explains vegan food manufacturer Tofurky on its website. During incubation, a “thick, white mat of mycelia”—a kind of fungus—branches over the tempeh, which binds the beans together. It’s then steamed and ready to eat.

In addition, the fermentation process of tempeh translates to the soy-protein of tempeh being easily digestible. In other words; tempeh is rich is probiotics, and probitics are good for the tummy.

All right, obviously I’m no nutrition expert. The reason I’m talking about tempeh here is because during my personal experience with my daughter Aida, tempeh as well as other probiotics-rich food helps in healing her eczema.Believe it or nor, eczema and digestive problem do come hand in hand. As her eczema worsened, her medication intake increased. And sooner, she had trouble every time she had to poo. Despite addressing this to her dermatologist back then, no specific solution was suggested for her constipation. Yes, I’ve tried forcing her to drink as much water as possible and yes, papayas were shoved to her mouth often. Still, she struggled and even dreaded when poo-poo time came. It breaks my heart to see her suffered doing what is supposed to be a very basic thing a human does on a daily basis.

It was after we tried something different that I learned about probiotics, prebiotics and fermented food. I might discuss the two Ps in the future but now let’s get back to tempeh. Firstly, tempeh is very cheap. It is also usually sold in any supermarkets and grocery shops. Malaysians love having their tempehs battered or deep-fried but please note that this means you won’t get the maximum of the nutrients a raw piece of tempeh cake can offer. Personally, I like tempeh both deep fried and raw. Aida on the other hand, as she was still so small when I first introduced tempeh to her, I either deep fry of grill her tempeh. My, does she loves tempeh! It’s her go to snack. It turns out, having food allergies does have a blessing; she snacks on healthy tempeh instead of highly-processed chocolates or candies.

Have you eaten tempeh before? How do you have your tempeh? Please share you thoughts in the comment section. Till then,

Mascaras&Motherhood

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…..

November nicknacks

How come it’s already November? Too much iflix binging coupled with workload make October went by so fast for me. Oh, last month was also the month I caught up with old friends; from good ol’ schoolmates to my best friend from college. Regular meet ups with friends is getting more and more impossible as we grow up. Please say you feel the same way too, or else I’ll feel like I’m the most pathetic friend on earth!

Anyways, here are a couple of pictures before I end this post. I hope November treats you well.  Till then,

Lunch with friends at Tony Roma’s. It was my first time here and since I brought along my daugther, I ordered this Mojo Chicken so that she could share the rice and chicken, which neither are her allergens.
The Internet has a creepy way of luring you back to your past. A Photobucket email sent to an abandoned email was what got me into this photo. It was taken ten years ago. TEN years! The British girl on the left in Sakina; a friend I met on Crunchyroll. Yep, before iflix binging, I used to anime-binge on Youtube & Crunchyroll. Sakina was also an anime fan and coincidently had her holiday in Malaysia in 2006. Unfortunately, we both lost contact. I wish her well though.

|Eczema 101| Moogoo Cream Conditioner


The second part of my Moogoo hair care post, this time we are looking at the other half of the duo; Moogoo Cream Conditioner. Months before using this, I noticed that using shampoo alone wasn’t enough for my daughter’s hair. Soon enough, her scalp started sweating and we all know what would happen next. *sigh*

But ever since she uses both the shampoo & conditioner from Moogoo Value Pack almost daily, her hair is noticeably smoother and manageable. In addition, her hair smells yummy too! I usually don’t expect nice scents from eczema-friendly products but I’m so glad this conditioner comes with a lovely, coconut candy-like (?) scent which still lingers hours after my daughter’s bath time. Honestly, I’m not really sure how long the scent could actually stay as my girl is pretty much active, with a scalp that sweats just as soon as I sweat after I have my makeup on. Them genetics. *second sigh*

Can I have your hairstylist’s number?

Here’s the list of the ingredients I got from the website:

Ingredients:

Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol (Plant Emulsifier), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Canola Based Detangler), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Piroctone Olamine, Allantoin, Hydrolysed Milk Protein, Fragrant (Phthalate free).

I tried this product myself too a few times. I’d say it is as effective as any other generic hair conditioners I’ve tried. However due to economical reason, Moogoo Cream Conditioner is reserved exclusively for my daughter. My husband and I still prefer chemicals on our hair, thank you.

-Mascaras&Motherhood-