My life after having a baby has become so fast-paced that pausing and reflecting doesn’t even cross my mind anymore. Most of my days now are a series of naps, feedings, diaper changes and playing with my one year old. And when I do get a respite from all this, I still don’t have the time to lie down on my recliner and think leisurely about how my life has changed. There’s washing, ironing, cleaning and dinner prep waiting to be done. For now, my goal every morning is to simply put BabyZ to bed at night with as little chaos as possible throughout the day. But what’s ironic is that I am so hell-bent on spending the day with minimum disturbances, I do not notice the things that lent enjoyment to my day or made a certain task that bit easier. This could be a new song we heard and danced on, or a recipe that makes a kick-ass roast chicken with minimum prep. Actually this chain of thought generated from a lipstick. It was a gift from a friend and when I applied it, I was floored! I have not loved a lipstick this much since the Chanel Rouge Cocos and that was a long time ago. This lipstick changed my mood when I put it on and that got me thinking. There are so many things that are a part of my day which deserve a lot of credit and are worth telling someone about. That is how I came up with the idea of writing about random things that are making me happy these days. So here goes:
- The Balm Liquid Lipsticks
Liquid lipsticks have been around for a while now and seems like they are not going anywhere any time soon. I love a matte lip look but most of them are so terribly drying on the lips, I don’t wear them as often as I would like. But something inside me knew that there is the perfect formula out there, waiting to be discovered. So in my quest to find the liquid lipstick that checks all boxes, I bought one or two from every label as they were launched. This is how I came to try and rate a lot of them. Then a friend of mine gave me The Balm liquid lipstick as a gift and the first time I applied it, I wasn’t expecting any wonders. In fact, I was waiting for it to draw out moisture from my lips within minutes. I put it on and carried on with my day. After a while I realized that the lipstick was so comfortable, I had forgotten I had it on. It wasn’t drying at all and a quick look in the mirror showed that it didn’t look streaky or patchy at all, rather a perfect matte. I was still apprehensive, thinking that maybe that was because I was wearing a lip oil underneath it. So I tried it another day without the lip oil and it was still great to wear. I went out, ate and drank and the lipstick was still going strong. So if you are deciding to jump on the matte lip band wagon, do not waste your time with other brands. The Balm is highly recommended and Charming and Committed are great colors for all skin tones. I have found the perfect matte lipstick and putting it on makes me very happy. The search is finally over!
The Balm Liquid Lipsticks
- Ice Lolly Moulds
On a recent obligatory trip to Ikea, I saw these ice lolly moulds and put them in the cart with the intention of making lollies for BabyZ (and the Husband) out of left over fruit juice. I did just that and I was very happy to see how much BabyZ (and the Husband) enjoyed them. I then made smoothie lollies for her and they were a hit too. A few great things about them are that the stick is really easy to hold for a baby, it is an awesome healthy snack and it keeps the baby busy for 10 to 15 minutes. I usually hand one over to her an hour after lunch and if she’s not in the mood to hold it in her hand, I use a spoon to cut up pieces of the lolly and leave them for her on a plate. She gobbles them right up. Moreover, they are soothing for her these days because she is teething. This is such a great snack idea and it makes me laugh every time I see BabyZ focusing and working hard to get every bit of that lolly. Just don’t forget to use the biggest bib you have when giving one to your child, they are quite messy.
Ice lolly moulds
- Peppa Pig
I was introduced to Peppa Pig when I wasn’t even a mom. My two year old nephew had just started speaking and he was very articulate and spoke with the most adorable British accent. It was strange because he lived in America. When I asked my sister about it, she told me that he is into a show called Peppa Pig these days and that’s where he is getting most of his vocabulary and accent from. A few months ago I was searching for good shows for BabyZ to watch at lunch time and I thought about trying Peppa Pig. Both, I and BabyZ were hooked from the first episode. I love the uncomplicatedness of this show, the language is very simple and there isn’t a single inappropriate element that I have ever seen in it. It is reminiscent of the shows I watched growing up, but slightly better than them in turning everyday situations into learning opportunities. Each episode is almost 20 minutes long, which is nearly the time BabyZ takes to finish lunch. Peppa is very well-loved in our household, in fact BabyZ’s first word was Peppa!
- Baby Cereal Pancakes
Breakfast in our home used to be very simple, baby cereal of any kind made with water. I was a happy mum because there is nothing more satisfying for a mother than the knowledge that her child has had a wholesome breakfast and is ready to face the day. One day, a month ago, BabyZ woke up and decided that baby cereal was so June, 2016 and she isn’t into it anymore. I replaced cereal with eggs and toast in the morning, but was concerned about the wide variety of cereal I had accumulated over the period of a few months. All the boxes were open and used so passing them on to someone didn’t seem right to me. I looked for recipes to make with baby cereal but they were all too complicated. One evening, I went to the kitchen and whipped up these really yummy two ingredient pancakes. They are simply equal quantities of baby cereal and all-purpose flour. The first time, I had a very ripe banana in the fridge which I mashed up and added to the pancake batter. The next time I used only cereal and flour and served them with maple syrup. BabyZ loves them so much, she eats them up while they are still a bit hot for her. I kept left-overs in the fridge and served them for breakfast the next day, but she didn’t seem to like them. They are so simple, I don’t mind making a fresh batch whenever I don’t have something better to feed her. They are very popular in our home these days and I hope they remain so until I use up the copious amounts of cereal in my kitchen.
- Aveda Glossing Straightener
I was born and raised with silky straight hair that didn’t need any effort in terms of styling. But when I flew out of my parent’s nest, my hair decided that they needed to explore who they were. Without any intervention from my side, they gradually changed personalities over the years. Their journey of self-discovery resulted in nothing and at present they exist as a confused mess on my head. In short, after a shampoo, portions of my hair are dead straight and portions are wavy. If I don’t use a flat iron on them, my only option is to tie them up in a ponytail, which isn’t a cute look because of the state of my hair. My sister was sold this Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener by a persistent sales person in Sephora. It didn’t suit her, so she passed it on to me. It sat in my bulk drawer for many months until I decided to do a clean out. I gave it a shot and boy is this the product for me! I apply a small quantity of it through the length of my hair and dry it with a blow dryer and a brush. Firstly, it greatly reduces the drying time and secondly, it leaves my hair bouncy and straight with reasonable volume. I leave it as it is if I am going to be staying home and if I am going out, I run my straightener on only the front bits of my hair that frame my face. Five minutes is all it takes me now to have presentable hair. I love this product, it smells great, it will last me a long time and using it makes me look put together in no time.
Aveda Glossing Straigthener
- The Night Of
By the middle of every year, we have watched all the shows we have eagerly waited for in a matter of weeks. Game of thrones, House of cards, Veep and Silicon Valley all go on and off air pretty much at the same time. And I am left with this big hole inside my heart which cannot be filled by any number of movies or books. This year was no different. I had resorted to watching Modern family reruns when I saw that HBO’s latest offering called “The Night Of” had just started on TV. We had heard no buzz about it so the Husband and I watched the first episode with very little expectations. This show in one word is “addictive!” All the actors are great with very good characterizations, but the protagonist of the show has portrayed his character of a young, vulnerable and very unlucky boy so well, the mother in me wants to hold him and protect him from what’s coming. It is a small series with eight episodes only, which means not waiting the entire year to find out what happens to Naz. Tuesday nights are now spent watching the new episode of this show with a bar of chocolate. Sheer bliss interspersed with frustration and anxiety. A must watch.
- Philips Airfryer
The Philips Airfryer has been the most used appliance and a firm favorite in our home for the past six months now. To me, anything I make in the airfryer, tastes slightly better than if I cooked it on the stove top. Actually it works as an oven without the disadvantages of time consumption and heat generated into the kitchen. I mentioned it in this post about my weight loss journey and the fact is that this is the only thing that kept us on the diet for so long. Even after I have achieved my target weight, I still cook dinner in the airfryer at least three times a week, not to mention the snacks I prepare for BabyZ. At this rate, the cost per use of the airfryer is very low in our household. This is a great investment in any home and it has really helped simplify dinner for us. Nothing makes me happier than the anticipation of oil-free, great tasting dinner, with minimum clean up. And what’s more, the Husband doesn’t need my supervision to slide the airfryer basket in and out and control the timer, so I can sit back and relax once in a while.
- Black and Decker Orb-it
A mother’s work is never done. Especially the cleaning. From the moment my daughter has her breakfast till after she is in bed, I clean the TV lounge and her bedroom more times than I can count. Particularly the entire zone of her high chair needs a good sweep and scrub multiple times a day. This is when I reach for my handy Black and Decker Orb-it. We bought this small vacuum cleaner a few years ago when our African grey, Tutu became a part of our family. He has always been under the misconception that he is human and insisted on taking all his meals out of his cage in a bowl like a respectable gentleman, so you can imagine the mess. And the utility of this vacuum doubled when BabyZ started feeding herself. This cute little vacuum cleaner is powerful enough to pick up bits of food in one swipe and its wireless function makes it extremely practical in a home with a baby. I love and use it so much, I would carry it in my pocket if I could. And I know that if, God forbid, it ever stops working, I will instantly go out and buy another one. It might sound weird that a vacuum cleaner makes me happy, but yeah it does! When it cuts down cleaning time as much as this machine, it does make me happy.
Black and Decker Orb-it
Life as a mother is very exhausting and it is getting more and more so as my daughter is growing from a baby to a toddler. But the things I talked about and many more like them make me say “Thank God for that!” at least once everyday. These are things that actually make my life easier or offer me a distraction from the constant demands of motherhood. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post because, if nothing else, then a post of this kind is a great way to count my blessings and also it helped me look at these things in a different light. I will try to make this a regular practice for purely therapeutic reasons and I hope it was a good read.