How to Toddler (A Day in A Life Blog Train)

It has been over a year since I wrote about a typical Wednesday in the Owls Well household here in Singapore as part of the “A Day in A Life” Blog train hosted by Mum in the Making.

My schedule has, of course, changed greatly since the introduction of the littlest owlet #3, Thumper. Most of what I do right now involves supervising Thumper during his wake time, and then making sure that when Thumper is taking his naps, I divide my time between J and Little E so that they each get one-on-one time with me.

It’s very difficult to describe how I organise my day now, so I’m going to let Thumper tell you what we do on a typical Wednesday in this video:

I basically rinse and repeat the above twice more for lunch/afternoon nap and dinner/bedtime.

Getting Thumper into a flexible routine was key to my sanity this past year. As a result, Thumper is a predictable baby, and will take 2 hour nap times without fail. This frees me up to spend time with J and Little E, supervising their homework and free time, as well as complete whatever housework needs to be done, including meal preparation and laundry.

Efficiency is a key feature of my life right now!

14658357_120300000553820036_1005302683_nUp next on the ‘A Day in a Life’ Blog Train is our stationmaster, Jus from Mum in the Making.

She is a stay home mum to four, who relies on crafting and chocolate to keep her sane.

I myself am very curious to see how she manages a typical daily schedule where she has to care for her tiniest infant girl and three rambunctious boys, whilst homeschooling and running a most efficient household!

Get a glimpse into her day over at Mum in the Making!


Fun Family Projects: Behind the scenes of We’re Going On a Bear Hunt

You may have seen our video from last week, ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ that was part of J’s kindergarten project! It was J’s first time having to be in charge of making the video and he learned so much about each stage of movie-making from story to film.

We also put together a ‘Behind the Scenes’ video so that J could share the whole creative process with his classmates and teachers.


Facing myself – Dream Factory by Inès Ligron (Part 2)

A visit to the Dream Factory

A visit to the Dream Factory

So, now that I have a better idea about how to choose clothes and accessories for myself, it’s time to figure out how to put my best face forward!

I have terrible history with cosmetics. I learned how to put on warpaint in secondary school during my choir girl days, which really means that I learned how to plaster my face with thick layers of foundation and powder, applied liberally with crumbling cosmetic sponges. Yum. Every episode was a sticky and greasy experience which I did not enjoy.

I had pretty decent skin throughout puberty but that stopped as soon as I turned 18 and moved abroad for University. My skin reacted to the change in climate by producing bountiful crops of acne. Since then, I’ve been wrestling with my skin and trying to get it under some semblance of control. Applying concealers, BB creams and foundation seemed to make things worse, which is why I avoided makeup altogether for many years, only wearing it on very special occasions (like my own wedding).

In the last couple of years, I have been working on improving my complexion and I find that my attitude towards makeup has been changing   Right now, I have reached the stage where I feel that I can use cosmetics intelligently. I like the idea that I can use makeup to explore and portray my own individuality and femininity. One of my good friends from school, Yva, has perfected the art of the winged eyeliner, and she gets excited whenever Urban Decay releases a new eye shadow palette. I have to say that I am envious of how she uses her own face as her canvas.

Anyway, it is with this in mind that I decided to return to the Dream Factory pop-up store at Isetan for a makeup and hairstyling session with Inès Ligron.

Since I know virtually nothing about cosmetics and the techniques of makeup application, I decided that this would be my chance to ask ALL THE QUESTIONS!!!

I also asked Inès to give me an easy breezy day-to-evening look for a busy mom on-the-go.


20 minutes later…

Here is Ines Ligron’s advice for RAWKmoms (and all you busy ladies-on-the-go):

1. Less is more – for an everyday look, concentrate on 3 main areas: brows, eyes and lips only.

2. Foundation and concealer is absolutely not for daily wear – not only does it settle into the fine facial lines, making a woman appear more aged as the day wears on, but it is also not very good for the skin if worn consistently. Save it for special occasions lasting a few hours only (e.g. occasions like weddings or fancy dinners), and spend your efforts on improving your skin quality instead.

3. A good moisturiser is as good as a facial. If you’re going out to dinner or lunching with friends, give yourself an extra skin boost by applying a hydrating shimmer cream like M.A.C Strobe Cream instead of foundation.

4. If you are preparing for a special occasion and you are using foundation, instead of spreading it directly onto your face, put a small dollop of foundation (about 1cm in diameter) on the back of your hand and use the tips of your fingers to pat, smooth and blend it on your face in a very thin layer. This small amount should be enough to cover your whole face (including eyelids), neck (including the back of your neck) and ears.

5. When applying foundation or shimmer cream, always make sure that you cover any exposed skin from the elbows up with the same stuff to keep it even and natural-looking (another small dollop will suffice). You don’t want to look like you’ve photoshopped a mask onto your head.

Inès recommends: For young ladies who are still schooling, remember that your beauty is in your youth. Makeup for students should be subtle: Eyebrow liner, mascara and lip gloss only. Nothing else.

6. Perfectly groomed eyebrows frame your face and give your features definition, giving you a polished appearance without the use of expensive cosmetics. Keep your eyebrows tidy and well-shaped by following these guidelines or (if you’re a first-timer who has no clue what to do) a quick visit to a professional salon like Browhaus would be a good beauty investment.

7. Eyeliner helps to draw attention to the eyes in a very subtle manner and provides a visual anchor for eye makeup.

8. There are no ‘correct’ colours for eye makeup – wear whatever colours make you feel good that day! Dark eyes especially look very good in all sorts of jewel-tones and bright colours. Try to pick colours that contrast with the dominant colour in your outfit, so that you don’t look like you’re wearing a uniform.

9. Mascara is a cheap and easy fix for tired eyes – drugstore brands like Maybelline are good enough! Apply two strokes to the top of the eyelashes, and one stroke underneath. Try to add some mascara to your lower lashes too.

10. Avoid applying too much blush by shaking the brush vigorously to remove excess powder before circling the brush on the apples of the cheeks. Brushing a line of blush on the cheekbones gives a weird striped appearance.

11. A tinted lip gloss provides a subtle lustre and finish, and is quick and easy to apply.

Inès is a brand ambassador for Avon cosmetics and has created her own line of cosmetics suitable for asian women. She also uses many different cosmetic counter brands such as M.A.C., Urban Decay, NARS, Stila and Sephora. Experimenting with different cosmetic brands is part of the fun!

So much to choose from!

So much to choose from!

12. To finish off a look for the evening, part your hair a little bit lower than usual to make your overall appearance much more edgy.

13. Give body to your hair by backcombing the top sections then add a quick spritz of hairspray to the roots of your hair. Use a hairdryer to give a 2 second blast of warm air to the roots of your hair, followed by a two second blast of cool air to lightly set the hairspray. Use a brush to smooth the hair out gently and tidy away flyaways strands.

Left: Before doing my hair Right: The Hair Is Done and Inès LIgron is pleased with it!

Left: Makeup done, time to fix the hair Right: The Hair Is Done and Inès LIgron is pleased with it!

It’s a little bit difficult to describe the whole process and experience of being made up by a professional makeup guru and expert beauty queen wrangler, so I made a little video to show you how it was all done.

I really did learn a whole lot about how to use and apply makeup, and how to style my own hair from just this one quick session. At the Dream Factory’s ‘transformation classes’, Inès teaches exactly how to use various tools and techniques to create your own signature look for different occasions and also how to style one’s own hair in different ways. I think those are wonderful skills to learn and would really empower women, giving them the confidence to take charge of their own appearance!

Now I just need to actually go out there and purchase some warpaint!

P.S. Check out Part 1 of my Dream Factory experience here.

Games with James – Episode 1 Forbidden Island

We just love playing boardgames together as a family – and we’re not talking about the usual run-of-the-mill tabletop games like Chess, Monopoly and Scrabble, but awesomely fun strategy games like ‘The Settlers of Catan’ that are aimed at adult gamers. It’s a wonderful way to bond as a family as well as teach the children (through modelling and collective experience) important life skills such as good sportsmanship, negotiation and decision-making.

With a little bit of help from the  King of TableTop, Mr Wil Wheaton (yes, the same one who played the kid in Star Trek: TNG), it is surprising how easy and how much fun it is to introduce strategy games to preschoolers! Both J and Little E are now avid mini-gamers and take much inspiration from Mr Wheaton, whom they describe as ‘That Guy Who Doesn’t Care If He Loses, He Just Likes To Play Games’.

tabletopday_logoJ was so influenced by Mr Wil Wheaton, that he wanted to make his own Geek & Sundry-esque series (with my help), to encourage parents and other kids to play more games together.

Well, we have made it happen right here on Owls Well!

Introducing our first OwlsWellVlogs miniseries, Games with James! *applause and confetti*

We will be releasing one episode of Games with James every week in the run up to International TableTop Day on the 5th of April, a day where people around the world gather together in the name of Funtimes and Boardgames. We do hope that families will be inspired by J’s videos and will play more boardgames together!

In this first episode, J introduces us to ‘Forbidden Island’, the first game that we ever purchased. This game is now one of our favourites. It’s a really great strategy game and even 2-year-old Little E can play with us as well.

P.S. Want to play Forbidden Island with your family? Check out your friendly local game store or (if you’re in Singapore) you can buy online at My First Games – tell Pam that Owls Well sent you!