Fab five: day creams

The first beauty product I'd ever bought was a jar of day cream. 14-year-old me spent hours in the beauty aisle at Watson's in Singapore, reading the back of every product, each one full of hope and promise. Did I want radiant skin? Healthy skin? Blemish free skin? Oh yes, please. Finally, I picked one purely based on looks - it had little blue beads suspended in creamy white lotion that had me intrigued.

I've come a long way since and though good looks can't hurt, what I look for in a day cream are its hydrating and glow giving  properties. And because I wear makeup most days, it also needs to be absorbed readily so as to act as a makeup base. These are my top picks:
Ultra UV protective daily moisturiser SPF 30+ (Hydrating) - I would never go without sun protection during the day so my foundation comes with SPF. On make-up free days, however, I slather on this product all over my face and neck. Not only does it protect my skin from the sun's rays, it also moisturises my thirsty skin, making it a winner in my books.

Sukin rose hip hydrating day cream - What an amazing cream! It simply melts into the skin on application and is hydrating enough even for the drier cooler months. My skin feels soft, smooth, hydrated and perfectly primed for make-up, thanks to the beautiful blend of rosehip oil, pomegranate and kakadu plum.

Antipodes Certified Organic Rejoice light facial day cream - The first thing you'll notice about this cream is its smell - the perfect blend of sweet almond oil and vanilla which makes it an absolutely pleasure to use. Its all-organic ingredients makes this a super hydrating cream that leaves skin feel soft and supple.

Vanessa Megan white tea anti-oxidant day cream - True to the brand's statement of“You should never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat.”, this day cream is packed full of anti-oxidants to protect skin from pollutants, the sun and other environmental stresses. It has a light silky texture that my skin loves.

Dr LeWinn's private formula day cream moisturiser - This no fuss, fragrance free cream provides a healthy dose of hydration to my face every time I use it. It has a rather thick consistency but is readily absorbed by the skin without that greasy look or feel. A little goes a long way so that 113g jar lasts me months and months.

DIY wedding ideas

Remember the embellished hair combs I made last year? I ended up sending them to my friend, Laura in Scotland who wore one of them on her wedding day. I warms my heart knowing that something I made became a part of her special day. And don't you agree that she looks absolutely stunning?
Having some DIY elements at your wedding not only makes economic sense, it also shows off your creativity and adds a special touch to your big day. Today, I've compiled a list of my simple and easy DIY ideas for the crafty bride.

1. Scented soy candles - a couple of months before I got married, a good friend and I devoted one  afternoon to making these little candles as wedding favours. They were a big hit!
 Tip: add labels with your guests' names and they will double as a placecard as well.
2. Lemon and mint bath salts - a thoughtful and easy wedding favour that can be made months in advance.
3. Ring bearer's bowl - Used in place of the traditional ring bearer's pillow, this can be used daily as a jewellery dish and a special reminder of your wedding day.
4. Fresh flower napkin rings - Use fresh flowers with woody (not but brittle) stems to create your very own statement napkin rings.
5. Doily table runner -  A simple but elegant project that can be put together in merely minutes using sticky tape and paper doilies.
 6. Flower garland - You can make fresh flower garlands a day in advance; just spritz with water, keep in ziploc bag and store in fridge. Silk flowers work a treat for this DIY and can be made months ahead and re-used at future events.
7. Embellished hair comb - put those old brooches, earrings, loose rhinestones, beads and buttons to good use and create your very own hair comb to wear on your wedding day.
8. Lace cuff - All you need is some lace trim, pearls (or rhinestones, if you like) and clasps to make this beautiful lace cuff.
Some DIY wedding tips:

*  Start early. Even though the above ideas are all fairly easy, it is still a good idea not to leave everything to the last minute in case of any crisis or meltdown.

* Enlist help. Got a friend who is a graphic designer? Ask him or her to help with the design of your wedding invites, thank you notes and place cards so they all tie in. Do you know someone with a flair for hair and makeup? Ask if he or she will do your makeup in lieu of a wedding gift.

* One thing I would absolutely NOT do myself is food. Too much is at stake and it is much better to leave that to the professionals. A great way to cut down on food cost is to go with canapes instead of a formal three course meal. One of the best wedding I attended was one where only finger food was served as it created a lot of opportunities to mingle and party. A company like Noosh Catering can help you with your wedding catering needs.

Do you have any DIY wedding ideas of your own to share?

From garden to kitchen: nasturtium fritters

My nasturtiums are growing wild and I love it. Their orange and yellow blooms are not only nice to look at, they're edible too. You may well know by now how I love the idea using edible flowers in my food (remember the crystallised nasturtiums I made?). Well, turns out nasturtiums with their ever so slight peppery taste, when combined with cheese, make a delicious savoury fritter too.
Ingredients (makes about 8 fritters)

Nasturtium flowers (~10-15)
1 sprig lemon thyme (leaves only)
1 cup self raising flour
3 tablespoons grated tasty cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoon margarine* 

Method:

1. Gentle rinse and pat dry flowers. Saute in margarine for few minutes until wilted. Remove from heat and roughly chop. Set aside.

2. Whisk flour and salt into bowl.

3. In another bowl, combine flowers, lemon thyme, cheese, egg, milk, salt and pepper and beat gently with a fork.

4. Add wet mixture to the flour and stir to combine.

5. Melt margarine on medium heat in pan and add fritter batter by the tablespoon. Cook until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes on each side). Best served warm.
*I've recently found out that I have high cholesterol. Eeeks! So I've started using the healthier alternative - margarine in my cooking lately. Not bad, I must say. I've also decided to adopt healthy eating habits and recipes and more regular exercise (although chasing after a one year old toddler is a pretty good workout in itself!)

Baby gift guide

I used to be totally clueless when it came to shopping for babies but for obvious reasons, I have a much better idea now. I cringe when I recall some of my inappropriate baby gift choices, like that pretty little summer frock in size 0000 that I bought for my friend's winter baby that I'm sure she never got to wear. And that cute little onesie with the word "mother sucker" printed on it (though it was really funny at that time !). If you're like the old me, or if you're just running out of gift ideas for baby showers, this guide is for you...

Baby gift guide
1. Puffin Children's classics - It was love at first sight; as soon as I saw this gorgeous box set at my local bookstore, I took it off the shelf without hesitation and headed to the cashier. In fact, you may recall that this was the first 'baby item' I bought after I found out I was pregnant. I believe that the gift of reading is the best present anyone can give.

2. Donkey Products aeroplane kids spoon - A beautifully crafted wooden aeroplane atop a steel spoon to make playtime fun for the fussiest of eaters. Alexander loves it when I make plane noises while flying this spoon into his mouth.

3. Aden and Anais serenity star - A friend gave this to me at my baby shower and I've used it since the first day I bought Little A home. It is a handy sound machine, clock, room temperature indicator, night light and feeding diary all in one delightful little star that looks great in the nursery.

4. Raw Space felt cloud mobile - Babies spend a good amount of time lying on their backs so it's nice to give them something lovely to stare at. This cute and quirky mobile is handmade in Nepal and its multi-coloured raindrops are sure to delight the little ones.

5. MiniJumbuk Baa Baa blanket - Every baby needs at least one warm blanket for the cool winter months. This one by trusted Australian brand MiniJumbuk is made from luxuriously soft pure wool, making it suitable for the most sensitive baby skin.

6. Carter plush fox security blanket - I told you about Alexander's special friend Elly in this post and it really is the sweetest thing when a baby develops an attachment to a particular toy. Not only does it provide comfort, it also is lovely to give baby something to cuddle up with.

7. Vulli Sophie the Giraffe teething toy - Pretty much every baby I've met has one of these and for very good reason. It is made with 100% natural rubber and painted with natural food paint and has lots of nobbly bits so baby can gnaw contentedly away! Alexander loves to give Sophie a hearty chew and a big squeeze and giggles whenever Sophie squeaks,

8. The Aromatherapy Co. baby therapy set - It's important to give delicate baby skin the best care right from the start, so I was thrilled to receive this baby therapy set for Alexander to trial and review. The pack includes a tube of botty balm for preventing or treating nappy rash, a 100% organic soap bar and a wonderfully soft bamboo cloth to gently wash baby's skin during bath time.

Time to share some thoughts

The very lovely and multi-talented Fee who blogs over at Burntfeather recently answered some fun questions on this post and tagged pretty much anyone who wants to join in (that's me!). So here are my answers...
1) Today was wonderful because...
Alexander only had one meltdown and he didn't try to kill all my plants (unlike every other day). Oh, and when he finally went to bed, Stu and I watched Modern Family Season 5 on DVD while eating these easy and delicious tacos on the couch for dinner. Don't you love Mexican food too?

2) Are you seeking change?
Nope not really. Pretty happy with the way things are at the moment.

3) Write down an inspiring quote you love
 "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy". Anne Frank

4) Describe one thing you're really good at
Organising. In the pre-baby days, my wardrobe was organised systemically by colour - from the whites and nudes to pink, purples, and all other shades of the rainbow and finally to black. Books and DVDs were alphabetically ordered (OCD much?).

5) What was the last film you watched?
The Grand Budapest Hotel. So charming and fun!. I am a huge Wes Anderson fan and I think this is his best work yet.
And I also nominate anyone who wants to play along. My five questions are:

1. What did you have for breakfast today?
2. Name a movie that made you cry
3. Stripes or polka dots?
4. List three things on your bucket list
5. Your favourite room in the house is...