Trying out…Our Lifestyle Shop’s Eco Odour Neutraliser

I’d be honest here: I am a terrible ambassador for Our Lifestyle Shop. Every time I get a new product from them, I’d take a look at it and get a bit intimidated because it’s always really super duty effective. They end up in my store room for a while before I work up the courage to take them out to “play” Or when something happens.

(Sulin, I don’t know why you stick with me but I love you for being so patient with this errant writer!)

The same fate awaited the Eco Odour Neutraliser. And it took an incident involving feline bodily waste for me to whip it out and try it. (I know, YUCKS.)

“Look, it wasn’t me who pooped on that bed.”

It was during one of my solo parenting stints. I had brought the boys out for brunch and per our usual practice, I shut all the bedroom doors before we left. (We do that to prevent the cats from getting into the rooms, I don’t like having cat hair all over my two new platform beds.)

When we came home, it was past noon, hot as Hades and the littlest was due for a nap. BUT. We were greeted by the faint sound of meowing when we stepped through the gate. Uh oh. Not a good sign.

Turns out, Coco had inadvertently been locked in the boys’ room and in our absence, she decided she had to poop. On their BED. GAH!!!

I quickly jumped into action. Stripped the sheets and mattress protector off the bed and put them in a hot water cycle in the washer. Put on new sheets and then left the windows wide open, with the fan blasting. The room stank. STANK.

The littlest was really needing his nap and I had to put him to bed in my room instead. When I stepped back into the boys’ room an hour later, the room was still disgustingly smelly. I mean, what was I expecting, the poop had been baking in a hot room for a while. What was I to do?

Ah hah. Eco Odour Neutraliser! (What a mouthful. Try saying it five times, fast.)

I took it out of storage and quickly set it up. I didn’t even care what was in the canister, all I knew was that it kills terrible smells. I simply sprayed once, put the timer (7 minutes) on, left the device on the ledge, shut the door, prayed and left.

The Goddess of Felines must have heard my prayers because when I next entered the room again, it was fresh smelling. YAY.

And now that I know that the odour neutraliser can combat the stink of feline poop, I am definitely placing this at the balcony where the cats’ litter box is!

Our Lifestyle Shop is offering all readers a special introductory price of $120 for a twin pack of the Eco Odour Neutraliser dispenser and two canisters of whatever-it-is-that-kills-odours. Simply buy through this link. There are four scents available: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Monte Carlo (citrus and lavender blend) and Tarifa (linen). Just leave a note to let them know which two scents you prefer when you check out!

(Disclaimer: I received the Eco Odour Neutraliser from Our Lifestyle Shop for the purpose of the review but all incidents are REAL LIFE. And the application of the products are REAL LIFE too. I mean, dude, who can make up a story about a cat pooping on a bed…)

Mothers Make It Work: Me, trying my best

As I am typing this, I am sitting in bed with an open bottle of cider beside me. The other side of my bed is empty because, solo parenting.

When the husband took on this job, we knew that travelling was involved. It wasn’t going to be often – once a quarter – but it was usually between three to four weeks each trip. Truth be told, it isn’t difficult to be a solo parent. I am very routine-driven when it comes to my littles (because, hello, I want them to go to bed early!!) and I usually run the household like clockwork when the husband is not around.

In fact, his presence sometimes throws the routine into disarray because he is not too concerned about routine (read: he is the chill and “fun” papa who brings them out for ice-cream and lets them watch videos of aeroplanes/space shuttles/sporting competitions.)

But then, I decided to study part-time, on top of working full-time, and that turned solo parenting into a whole new ball game altogether. Four days a week, I attend online classes, and spend alternate Saturday evenings on video-conferences. A typical day would look like this.

630-7am: the littlest rises. He either comes into my room to wake me (“IT’S MORNING! WAKE UP MUMMY! I OPEN THE CURTAINS!” Noooooo…) or he goes out to get his breakfast prepared by the helper.
7am: the alarm on my Apple Watch buzzes. I hit the snooze button.
715am: the alarm buzzes again, insistently. I rouse reluctantly and try to wake Mr 5, who usually transplants himself into my bed in the middle of the night. He grunts and rolls out of my reach.
720am: I haul myself into the bathroom. Sometime during my shower, Mr 5 will go out to get his breakfast.
735am: I get dressed and try to look more human.
750am: Time for breakfast. By this time, there is half-eaten breakfast lying on the empty dining table and a pile of Lego on the floor. The little buggers simply cannot focus on eating, they just want to play.
805am: I have finished eating and I start requesting (read: threatening) the littles to put on their shoes. There is usually a fair bit of negotiation at this point.
815am: We finally get out of the house. I drop them off at school and then I go to work.
6pm: Shit. No time to finish marking, I have to go and pick up the boys. I miss them like crazy!
620pm: Finally got them both loaded into their car seats. I am usually the only parent screaming at my kid(s): “Put on your shoes! Stop touching the thermometer! Don’t climb the wall! Okay you can sanitise your hands. I said not to climb, right? Don’t run out of the road!” One would think that I birthed monkeys instead of boys. I roll my eyes to the high heavens and pray for patience.
640pm: We get home. They put their shoes into the cupboard, wash their hands, change out of their uniforms and we eat our dinner.
720pm: They play while I log online to start on my class for that day.
8pm: I hustle them into the bathroom and shower them. After that, I get them changed into their jammies and they brush their teeth.
830pm: We finally go into their bedroom. I tell them to read on their own while I continue my online class. They usually end up performing some strange antics like marching like soldiers.
9pm: Lights out. I shut down my computer and try to cuddle them to sleep.
930-10pm: I finally crawl out of their room and go back to my computer to continue my online lesson.
130am-2am: Shut down and shuteye. Time for bed.

So, how do I survive? Well, hmm, I am not too sure I survive. I continue to exist. Below are some ways in which I try to exist a wee bit longer.

Seek help when you need it.
I am a mother who tries to do as much for her kids as she can. But there are moments when I am simply too worn down, or too frustrated to continue. And I recognise that it is okay to seek help. It is okay to admit that I don’t have it all and I need somebody to step in, even if it’s for a couple of hours.

I am no martyr mum.

So there are times when I have had to ask my mother to watch over the boys when I have evening video-conferences and the husband is away. Or when I drop them off with my in-laws so I can get my grocery shopping done in peace. Or I get my helper to watch them while I put myself back together in the bedroom.

Build a village.
I am lucky that my kids love their school and their teachers care for them genuinely. It allows me to go to work everyday with peace of mind. And at the same time, I also know that I can rely on the grandparents for help.

Look, there are times when the grandparents drive me crazy with their indulgence and methods of caregiving. But at the end of the day, they love the boys and are willing to step in when I am this close to losing it. Some battles are meant to be fought and some battles can be left alone. Pick your battles wisely.

Have your girlfriends on WhatsApp.
I would not have been able to survive the way I do without the moral support of my girlfriends. When I am in the toilet hiding from my boys, I can be sure that texting them would save my sanity. They don’t judge, they comfort me and then they make me laugh.

Plus, they are in the same time zone (the husband is 15 hours behind, which is OF NO HELP).

Carve out some me time.
Again, I am no martyr. I don’t need to spend every waking moment with my children. In fact, I would rather not. As an introvert, I need to recalibrate my mental well-being every once in a while and take myself away from the noise that my kids generate. I need to be away from their need of me.

So I started working out once a week. By myself, for 45 minutes or so. It’s a time for my mind and my soul to reset. Sometimes, I take the day off from work just to get my hair done or hit the gym or get some shopping done. A day, just for me. It’s a luxury but it’s also a necessity.

I’ve also stopped feeling guilty for opting to nap with the kids on weekends instead of, say, making dinner. If I need my rest, I need my rest. My family isn’t going to die if I cook one less meal.

Be confident.
It probably sounds arrogant but I believe firmly that I am doing my best as a mother and that I am a good mother. I try not to doubt myself or second-guess my methods. And this confidence probably saves me a lot of unnecessary angst. I don’t waste energy on questioning myself and I trust that I have done all the research and consideration needed to make a decision when it comes to parenting.

It does not mean that I don’t have moments when I feel like an utter failure. When my kids are little jerks and I wonder why I am doing this. But being confident about who I am and what kind of mother I am allows me to bounce up from these parenting lows quicker.

Have faith in yourself. Because if you don’t, you are always going to be chasing after affirmation in your life. And frankly, that’s exhausting.

So, that’s me as a mother right now in a nutshell. And guess what? I have a small warm body lying next to me – the five-year-old bed intruder has made his way over. I suppose that’s my cue to stop writing and get to sleep!

This post is part of the ‘Mothers Make It Work!’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other inspiring stories please click on the picture below.

If you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting stories about how Mothers make it work, you can start with this one here, David at Life’s Tiny Miracles. David and Angie are co-authors of their parenting blog. Having suffered child losses and childlessness, they believe in celebrating the tiny miracles God gives in their everyday lives with their kids. Their blog is a journal of their parenting journey. It covers an extensively from travels with their kids, to kid-friendly products and experiences and most importantly, their reflections as parents and as a couple.

After this post, the next one on the train is Katherine from BubbaMama. Katherine is a strong advocate of healthy lifestyle through exercise; eating right; keeping a positive and youthful outlook of life; and, to live vicariously while one can. When she is not working, she is catching up with friends over coffee or dinner on the latest news and tips to help mummies save time. She firmly believes that empowerment is possible for anyone, as long as they believe in themselves and the people around them.

Review: Dermagold Miracle Trio System

My skin has been abysmal since I was a teenager. I was plagued by acne, which left me with scars all over my cheeks and chin. When I started working, I started seeing a dermatologist, who told me that my skin was confused (dry cheeks and oily T-zone), and it wasn’t good that I was still getting acne at my, uhhmm, advanced age. She prescribed me some of her products and a simple routine of wash, moisturise and sunblock. Since then, I have not varied in my skincare routine.

Last year, I went to London and my skin went berserk in the cold, dry air. My normal moisturiser just did not cut it and I broke out in terrible acne which took weeks to subside. With trips to Europe and wintry Australia planned for 2017, I was rather worried about how my skin would react.

Then Dermagold wrote to me and asked if I was willing to try their products. I was hesitant because I have sworn off skincare products other than the ones recommended by my dermatologist. But I did some research and what I read reassured me.

Firstly, this is a brand that was developed in Singapore. Which means it is likely to suit a Singaporean like me with confused, rojak skin. Secondly, the products were developed by aesthetic physicians. This wasn’t something that was concocted for the mass market but thoughtfully brought to life by people who really know the ins and outs of skin.

I received three products – the Miracle C+, Skin Elixir and the Hydra Recovery Gel – and I tested them when I was in Europe for two weeks. I would use my daily moisturiser and sunblock in the day, and “treated” my skin at night.

First, I would apply the Miracle C+ all over immediately after my shower (a tip from my dermatologist, to treat my dry cheeks). This product contains 18% vitamin C Ester serum and is an antioxidant and anti-wrinkle to boot. After 10 minutes, I would then apply the Skin Elixir, followed by the Hydra Recovery Gel. The latter is especially good for angry skin as it’s been formulated to calm post-aesthetic treatment skin down.

The result? No dry skin, no inflamed skin and no nasty flare-ups.

I continued with this routine back home and then recently brought the arsenal of products with me to Perth in June. Which was winter. Which was cold and dry. And again, my skin remained well and happy.

Photo taken by Mr 5 when we were at Busselton Jetty.

Now, this is not to say that I now have perfect, clear skin and I glow. Hah. HAHAHAHA. Far from it – I think I am just genetically predisposed to having lousy skin. I mean, my pores probably contain enough sebum for me to deep fry chicken nuggets. But the Dermagold products have definitely helped to keep my breakouts and dryness under control, and for that I am very thankful.

Dermagold is extending a special promotion for all readers! Get 10% off all orders when you purchase any item at the Dermagold online store – just quote “DERMAGOLDBUBS” when you check out. This offer is valid till October 31, 2017.

In addition, sign up to be a member and you will receive $20 voucher.

(Disclaimer: I received the products from Dermagold for the review but all opinions are strictly my own. No other monetary compensation was received.)

Launch of honestbee’s Family Market

I never shopped online for my grocery needs until the husband started travelling in his current job.

Typically, we would pack ourselves into the car and head for the supermarket on Sunday mornings. It’s become a routine for us, and we would always haul Mr 3 and Mr 5 with us. Never mind that we lose our tempers every 15 minutes (STOP POKING THE FRUIT! NO YOU DO NOT NEED A PLASTIC BAG! SIT ON THE TROLLEY PROPERLY! PUT THAT BACK, IT’S MADE OF GLASS! NO I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO WEIGH!).

And then the mister started flying off for at least three weeks for work. Some weekends, I would be too lazy/exhausted to get the boys out for a grocery run so I started ordering online. That was when I discovered honestbee.

When I first started ordering through them, their list of vendors was rather limited. But it had exactly what I needed – NTUC FairPrice! Their service is a little different from the other vendors. honestbee is actually a concierge shopping service whereby you order the items through their site and their shoppers will pick up the items for you from the shop. I always see their shoppers at our supermarket so I know that this part of the service is totally legit!

Plus, I can always specify a substitute if something I wanted was out of stock or get their shoppers give me a call while at the supermarket. I can also leave instructions of my requirements when it comes to the food items. The items are delivered to you (free when you spend $50) and you only pay after delivery. The concierge fee is $3.99 – reasonable when you consider that you have to pay for fuel and parking (and probably drinks and snacks!) when you head to the supermarket yourself.

Recently, honestbee launched its Family Market concept. It is a one-stop shop for all the curated needs that a parent might have. Think diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, rice, noodles etc. The prices are comparable to what I would pay at the supermarket (or even lower).

This service is perfect for those who are in need of a quick grocery run, who has no time to scroll through the website to go through the many products that are available. The delivery and concierge fees remain the same.

With yet another of the husband’s business trip coming up, I am very sure that I will be utilising the Family Market. Sigh, yes, solo parenting stint coming right up…

Disclaimer: I will be receiving shopping credits for this post but as always, my opinions are honest. I just like sharing a good thing when I see one!

A moment for the archives

Some days, I feel as if I am back to newborn days. Those days of interrupted sleep, waking up every three hours to ensure that the little mewling creature that I birthed was fed and nourished.

Except right now, my babies are three and five. While they don’t need me for sustenance, their needs have evolved and I still have their hands tugging at me for this and that. Then there is my full-time job and the other baby that I am nursing and which keeps me up till the wee hours – my Masters.

It’s okay though, I mean, on most days we get by. Even on days when I have to juggle my work, kids, studies, household as a solo parent, we stay alive (AND SANE!!). I scream a bit too much, chug down wine like it’s water, devour cheese by the bucket and quaff down too much tea. But I reckon that’s perfectly okay under these circumstances. RIGHT?

There was this one time which really epitomises the many hats I am juggling right now. It was a Saturday evening and I had back-to-back video-conference classes from 7pm to 1030pm. The husband was away on his business trip, which meant that neither of us could put our kids down at bedtime. I enlisted the help of my mother, who blessedly helped to shower the kids and stayed with them in their bedroom to wind down as I attended my virtual class at my desk.

At close to 9pm, the door to their bedroom suddenly burst open and the boys piled out. Their eyes were red-rimmed as they pleaded with me to lie down with them as they fall asleep. My mother managed to gather them back to the room while I continued with my class.

Not more than 15 minutes later, they burst out of their room again, this time sobbing. Urghs. What’s a mother to do?

So picture this. Off I went into their room, still plugged into the earphones that’s connected to my laptop. The room was dark. I sat on Zac’s floor bed with my laptop in front of me, trying to pay attention to the class. Aidan was lying on his bed next to me, and I was holding on to his hand. Zac asked to nurse to sleep and so I cradled him with my other hand as he nursed.


By the time my mother and I exited the room, it was 10pm. I called for a Grab car to send her home while I continued with my class. When it was done, I poured myself a large glass of wine and sank into my sofa, doing nothing for a while.

It reminded me of the video of the analyst who was doing a video interview with the BBC when his daughter danced into the room. Not so much the original, but the parody. It’s funny but also oh-so-familiar. I’ll bet you most working mums were watching it and going, yeah totally right.

So, there you go. A moment for the archives, one to look back on in the future and have a good laugh about.

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