5 Simple Ways to Transition into Spring/Summer

1. Go for bright colors

2. Layer up your tops or shirts with a trench coat, jumper or blazer.

3. Swoop the boots for trainers or plums

4. Accessories – add a scarf, pieces of jewelry, hair bows, etc

5. Wear something White –

WHATS IN MY HANDBAG

After my second child I realized that I don’t actually need a separate handbag and a diaper bag. You can carry just one. And if you are a stylish mom, you can use your regular handbag and still carry your baby’s things. Here are top 10 things you should always carry with you in your handbag

1. Wipes – I don’t only use them for the baby, I could write a post on a thousand things I use them for, even for non-moms/baby related things. From makeup remover to cleaning older kids hands in the park before snack.

2. Diaper – I plan my outings most days and know roughly how long I’m going to be out of the house. I take just a couple of diapers. The baby’s diaper is changed just before leaving the house so two extra changes should be ok before coming back. That way I don’t over pack.

3. A bottle – milk bottle. Even though the baby now eat whatever I’m eating, I found out that she still finds comfort in taking her bottles especially before napping. This can make a great difference between a calm baby who allows you to enjoy a glass of wine while out and about with your friends or a fussy one.

4. Paracetamol- over the counter pain killer. As a solo mom I always advocate self care as priority. One day we went away for the weekend while on a business trip and I was in chronic pains. I could not move, I had these little kids looking up to me, including a young baby and I felt helpless. There was no one around that could help. Before dialing 911 my older daughter stepped up and thanks for meal delivery service that delivers to hotel room. I slept and vowed to never leave the house without some pain killers in my handbag.

5. Plasters/bandaids – because kids will be kids and they will bruise their knees on the playground. We could also cut ourselves shaving or some zit decides to pop, you never know.

6. Money – a few one dollar bills. Different from your regular cash in wallet. I used to be a cashless lady. I prefer taking my bank card with me. I mean with Apple Pay and everything being on direct debits I hardly needed to go out with any change. But as a mom with growing kids, when you are out and there might be a ride the kids want to go on in the amusement park and you that needs change to pay, it’s heartbreaking telling the kids they can’t ride because you only have your debit card with you.

7. A pen – because there is always something to be signed for when you have kids. Especially in America! Since moving from London to America I have signed more papers than I can count.

8. A snack – because mommy is always hungry running errands and chasing after the kids. Just kidding the snacks are for kids but It won’t hurt taking one for yourself too. Helps prevent binging on bad food when you have sugar rush. Just a piece of banana or some nuts.

9. You wallet with your IDs and kids medical records. This is pretty self explanatory because you are always asked for those when you are running errands. There is a different health system here and you have to carry your insurance card with you at all times.

10. A little bottle of scent – I used to carry a small makeup bag before but after find a great makeup line that last all day. I don’t anymore and that has saved up a lot of space in my bag allowing me to carry less things and use a regular bag. I however carry a perfume because all the running around makes you sweat and most changing rooms don’t spell too great.

…iRene

HOW TO STYLE AN ANIMAL PRINT COAT TO LOOK CLASSY

I have avoided the leopard print coat trend for a while now because to be honest, if you fail to style it properly, it ends up looking quite trashy and the patterns can be a little overwhelming for those of us who love simple, clean, feminine and classy styles.

No matter your opinion about the animal print coat, one thing we can all agree on is that they are very cozy and warm especially during these New York cold January months. I must agree they have been my secret go to when looking for warmth and style. I have found three ways to wear the leopard print coat without compromising on style, simplistic look and class.

  1. wear a monochrome under it. I love to wear it with an all white outfit under the coat. A white jeans, and white jumper or a white jumpsuit and a nude heel shoes. You can also wear it with a white ankle boots for the white jeans and jumper look. Complete both look with a classic black handbag and you are sure to look chic and classy in the this coat.
  2. Wear it underneath a sexy evening dress and you would not only turn heads but you will feel empowered from having that racy look to the evening dress. A little black dress accessorised with a black strap heeled sandals and a silver clutch bag.

  3. Wear it underneath a white jeans and t-shirt on a weekend or when going grocery shopping. Leopard print coat on their own look quit dressy and glamorous, so if you are not feeling like putting in a lot of effort into your outfit that day but you still want to look put together, regardless of what you have under, just throw on your leopard print coat and you will look fabulous right away.

SHOP OTHER STYLE AND DESIGN OF ANIMAL PRINT COATS BELOW



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HOW TO COPE WITH MOTHERHOOD STRESS

My Handbag is from Dagne Dover I love the inside, it is very mommy friendly and yet stylish. It has little compartment for bottle, iPhone, iPad and more. My Scarf is from Burberry My boots were from London but I have included one from my wish list here which is very comfortable and stylish for women seeking comfort and style. The coat is an oldie but got a similar one here

“She who fails to prepare, prepares to fail”. This is one of my favourite quotes. A quick background story. Today my husband went back to work. He is based in their foreign office and for the past 6 years now, I am left alone to hold down the fort. When we were in England despite having my mom, grandma and several aunts and uncles and cousins around, often times I end up doing it all by myself. Yes we have friends who occasionally chip in to help and we have used hired help but there is nothing like having a steady consistent support around especially from the other parent who cares for them equally.

Then we moved to America where the people we know are thousands of miles away from New York City. People say it takes a village, some of us have no village and when people say “I don’t know how you do it”,I find it a little confusing like they expect me to have a choice. I often tell them why do you think I have a choice “doing it”. I take my role as a mother very seriously. Just like you get your suit ready for work, don’t go out at night partying so you can go to work the next day, I too do things that will not interfere with my job as a mother and wife. I understand that life is stressful. people without kids go through stress as well. And parenting is one of the toughest jobs on earth. Having people depend on you for their every needs is tiring. There is no room for error. If you forget to take them for their flu shot and before others judge you you are already judging yourself. If God forbid they become sick you immediately take on the blame. Thank Goodness for the All-new Echo Show (2nd Gen) which you can use as your personal assistant to remind you of important things.

If we already know that life itself is stressful and parenting is hard, why do we not prepare for it? That is why I started with the quote. You need to understand your triggers and avoid anything that will make you feel bad about yourself. Who are you following on social media? Even if it is your mom being passive aggressive or your older sister always fact checking you, any contents that makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them. Its nothing personal, you are not in that zone quite yet, when you feel better and can handle all the drama (although you should never put up with anyone that disrespect you or hurt you), you can follow back. I used to follow a very popular instagrammer but I stopped resonating with her contents, she wasn’t following me back officially but she was ghost following me. Whenever I post something and I express my vulnerability to my followers because I like to keep it real sometimes, the next day, she will post something about being able to do the thing I said I could not do. I wasn’t upset about her strength or anything, I just didn’t want people who were fact checking me. Or think they have to prove they are better than me.

We are like taps, we are constantly giving out something. We give our time, love, energy, affection, resources and wisdom. Some of us over stretch ourselves too much by opening too many taps all at ones. You are your girls best friend, checking up on her, calling her and dealing with her problems, you are your parents ATM machine, you are your siblings second parents sending them to uni or trying to get them a job. Your pastor loves you and that your neighbour who lives downstairs can’t stop singing your praise. You respond to every comment on your social media account, follow, like and comment on every post. You do it all. No wonder when it comes to mom duties you are stressed and tapped out. You cannot be everything to everyone at the same time. You are a human being, not a superwoman. You matter too.

I cut off several family relationships that weren’t serving me or bringing me joy. Same with friendships. My best friend understand that if I don’t call her in six months, it doesn’t mean I don’t love her. Others have given up. I don’t mind. my kids are happy. I am happy. Your (own) family is your priority. Just to be clear about that, I mean your children, especially when you have little kids. They don’t have another mom. My kids don’t even have another person to take care of them if God forbid I breakdown. Their dad work away from home, their family members live far away. Why should I spread myself too thin that I am unable to look after them? Yes the house will be messy sometimes and you will forget to do shopping in the fridge but overall, you are good and they are good. If you have good extended families and friends, they should understand. Instead of using you as their ATM, they should be encouraging you to save for your children’s future. If they are not buying your kids nice presents they should understand that your resources is going into getting them things. You might not be able to stay with them in their feelings during their drama, you are saving your mental energy for when your kids do have a meltdown or you are trying to solve a fourth grade algebra homework. But they should know that doesn’t mean you don’t love or care about them. It is ok to be selfish sometimes. Whenever my husband is around or I have a minder, I meet up with friends. You are not bad for not showing up for Friday drinks every week.

Winter is one of the hardest seasons. Winter blues is real, prepare for it. During the winter months, we often times want to stay indoors because it is cold and miserable outside. You can still go for walks. Just layer up. Pad up the kids, hat gloves, scarf and everything. Stop for hot chocolate and come back home. 5 mins outside is better than nothing. There are so many indoor activities like playing a game of chess. Go to Malls for window shopping or coffee. Meet up with another mom friend not because you are snobbish and only hang out with moms, but because they are in same situation as you and understand when you have to talk over your food to correct your child. If you have single friends who understand, meet them up. Go to each others house. This is when you should plan that play date for the kids while the grown ups settle down for a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter what your house look like, if they are your friends, they won’t judge you. If they do, whatever. It won’t kill you.

Again, who are you following on social media, avoid it. Take off the App and only log in through the web. The stress of doing that will sometimes stop you from constantly checking for updates. Social media isn’t all bad, you have to learn to use it well. I love following pages that make me laugh or inspire my creativity. Some people may be braggy but they are only joking. Seeing other people’s accomplishment pop up on your feed constantly can make you feel like you are failing, even though that is often not the case. There is a lot to be grateful for in your life. You just have to look.

SIT BY THE FIRE

December last year I bought a faux fireplace with a surround for our apartment. Not every apartment in Manhattan comes with a fireplace and I love them. I wasn’t prepared to go through the cold winter without the feeling you get when you sit cozy up by the fireplace. So I got one. This fireplace with surround was one of the best things I got. It burns and looks like real log burning. Looking at the flames burning while sipping homemade cocoa or wine in the evening after the kids have gone to bed makes me so happy. Even my husband who was feeling a little low because of a news he received the other day said he loved seeing the flames burning.

GET LITE UP

Whenever I am in a bright light I feel happy. We all love the sun, there is something about sunlight that makes us feel happy, the fact that is it winter does not mean we cannot create our own sunshine, quite literarily. Use Artificial sun like Carex Day Light Therapy

EAT FOOD THAT BOOST YOUR MOOD

Food like squash which is a great source of magnesium and potassium, eggplant which contains fiber, copper, vitamin B1, and manganese, Spinach, Kale, sweet potatoes which is full of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and turmeric which assists with immune-inflammatory or stress pathways and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. You can sit by the fire and read more about mood foods that can change you and your family’s life.

DE-CLUTTER YOUR SPACE

Believe it or not, your physical environment can affect your emotional wellbeing. Other than decluttering your physical environment, declutter your mind. One of the best book that changed my life and was Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking. Remember when I said I had to let go of things and people that were not bringing me joy. I feel happiest than I have felt my entire life.

WEAR CLOTHES THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

One of my New Year plan is to dress more and look good. If you look good, you will feel good. You don’t even need the compliment although it will make you feel good when someone say you looked nice in that new scarf or red shoes but looking at the mirror, you will definitely feel nice seeing yourself in that outfit you once admired. It could be a bag or a shoe or even a pair of sunglasses. They call it retail therapy for a reason.

click the images
Manolo Blahnik

PRETTY IN PINK

This white dress is perfect for any occasion when you want to feel a little bit more dressed up.

Give a woman a pretty dress and she will feel like a princess for a day. I was recently asked to become an ambassador for Pinkblush and I was very excited about it. I knew of them when I was pregnant and still living in the UK. They have practical and yet elegant outfits for women of all sizes and shapes.

When I first found out I was going to become a mom, one thing that I promised myself was to not allow motherhood affect my style. In all honesty, it does affect how we dress. We sometimes now go for comfort (including comfort for the babies you are going to be carrying on your chest and laps) and practical. Despite the need for these changes, we do not have to compromise on Style. I know it is hard finding outfits that combines style with practicality sometimes, that was why I fell in love with Pinkblush.

After having a baby, some of us find it hard to “bounce” back to our pre-baby body. Those sleepless nights and exhaustion cause us to fuel on carbs often times not the good kind. We are not pregnant anymore and yet don’t have that pre-baby body, we need clothes that makes us feel sexy, empowered, classy and yet comfortable in our own skin.

This pink dress bellow is one of my favorite. Dress it up or dress it down you are sure to look and feel fabulous. It is true to size and very flattering. The length is perfect and the texture is lovely for any season. Layer it up for the colder weather or wear it as it is for more sunnier season.

Pink mauve cold shoulder dress

Bellow is another favorite from pink blush that is perfect for mommies like us. I love the wide sleeves and free in the tummy area. The V neck is perfect for breastfeeding.