Sew is Life is written by E. It is a little space of blogging bliss inspired by art, design, craft, fashion, beauty and wellness. Based in Perth, Western Australia. Read about the daily ramblings of me being a mother of three and wife to an amazing creative man. The second me makes fresh skincare at SELF Organics. These are my stories sewn together with love.
The last few days, I have noticed my laptop becoming really stubborn at connecting to the internet. It may be my network card telling me it’s time for an upgrade or just saying ‘you are wayyyy too much on the internet - go get some fresh air!’. So that is what I have been doing, I’m surprised at how much I get done!
However I haven’t blogged, and I missed it so much! My phone and iPad still kept me ‘online’ so I didn’t make the break completely.
Yesterday night I had a bit of a ‘WooHoo’ moment to myself. I was on the scales and jumped for joy as I am 400 grams till I reach my pre-baby weight. It has been 9 months now and I have not felt the pressure to ‘bounce back’ at all. I took my time to eat healthy, moved a lot, and kept up with Lil Miss S and the Lil man and helping out at the newsagency has definitely helped me drop the weight.
I feel sorry for those movie stars who are expected to snap back after a month or two. I mean who should dictate the way mothers return to their pre-baby weight. Having a bit of weight left over from pregnancy shouldn’t be criticised, it would be even more worrying if the mother was losing weight too fast! But somehow the media and mainly tabloid magazines target these women, put them on the front cover for the public to ridicule them.
Aishwarya Rai - Former Miss World who received harsh critiscism from her Indian countrymen for ‘not losing the weight fast enough’
Photo sourced from www.usmagazine.com
Mothers already feel so much pressure to do everything, and be ‘perfect’ for everyone. We should be celebrated, encouraged and looked after rather than be subjected to even more stress. The first few months, a mother should be able to enjoy the special moments with her baby rather than worry ‘will my butt look big in this?’.
Jessica Simpson was paid to lose the weight by Jenny Craig weight loss company.
Photo sourced from hashtagsandstilettos.com
I found one of the biggest and most natural way of gaining my body back is breastfeeding. I say, if you can do it, DO IT! So many benefits for both mother and baby. I am on ‘team breastfeeding’ only because it is such a special moment where I stop everything and just become completely one with my baby. I will miss this when it comes to weaning time. The bond is really something…
It took me 9 months, yes almost a year to get back to where I was. But some women will never get back to pre-baby. A body that is put under that much stress, can sometimes refuse to turn back. Tabloid magazines should give it up - these headlines are getting boring!
Do you think a woman should try and get her pre-baby body shape back? Would like to hear what you think :)
Hope you are having a great week!
There is a tradition that goes back a long way into Chinese Malaysian history that a mother who has just recently given birth must go through a ‘confinement’ period of at least 30 days. They believe that a mother’s body is at its weakest and most vunerable and needs to be restored after the birth.
During this time the mother is cooked various nutritional foods consisting mainly of ginger, sesame seed oil, wine (DOM), chicken and chinese herbs. The purpose of eating these types of food is to expel the ‘wind’ from the body and warm and nourish the mother’s body. If the mother does not do this, her body will be susceptible to future ailments such as arthritis, pain in the feet, colds etc.
Ginger chicken with wine
Photo courtesy of 101healthyeasyfoodrecipes.com
Then there is the other not so fun traditions of not touching water or not touching cold surfaces for the 30 days. This includes:
- No bathing or washing of the hair or body (this step is especially difficult for me!)
- No washing of laundry, dishes or even bathing baby
- Must cover up the body with layers of clothing
- Cannot turn on the fan or airconditioner
- Cannot go outside of the house, especially when there is wind
- Should wear socks and slippers to avoid feet touching cold surfaces
- The mother is not even allowed to drink plain water but drink chinese herbal tonics
- No ‘cold’ foods such as fruit and certain vegetables, definitely no ice-cream, yogurts and juice.
Scallop, ginger and goji berry congee/porridge
Photo Courtesy of cookingstudio1.blogspot.com
Red date tea
Photo Courtesy of ilovebakingncooking.blogspot.com
Ok, it hasn’t been too bad, I’m trying to remain positive here. Since I had my baby during Winter I am not sweating as much. Though, my hair gets soooo itchy I had to beg my Mum to wash it after the first week. She helped me boil some ginger cut offs in water and washed my hair in the basin. I like the smell of ginger so this didn’t bother me. My husband, who is not Chinese is extremely understanding and has been through this twice before. I bought a few cans of dry shampoo, so this has been my saving grace (review to follow shortly)
I’m half way through my confinement period, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier. I’m the type of person who can’t sit still or stay at home for too long, I need to go out and meet people and I feel most independent and useful when I can do things for myself and my family. Now I rely on others to grab something for me down at the shops, or take my daughter to school.
In Malaysia they have hired help, women who are specially trained in the art of ‘confinement’, who will cook meals for the Mother and look after the baby to allow her to rest. How I wish I could hire a ‘confinement’ lady, my Mother helps me a lot but this is a specialized occupation that is a full-time job. Mum still has her day job to go to. So I find myself breaking the ‘no touching water’ rule, such as bathing my kids, cooking meals etc.
I’m so glad I have understanding friends. It annoys me that I can’t go out and catch up with them, but they come and visit me which I appreciate so much! I miss adult conversation and interaction! But maybe…it is best to wait until I am less smellier (phoar!)
Just another 19 days…and I’m starting the count down…
Do you follow any traditions past down through generations?
Have a great weekend you lovely smellin’ people, I’m so jealous that you are having your warm showers!
You may have noticed I haven’t been posting very much in the last couple of days and there have been a lot of incoming ‘baby’ photos uploaded from my phone onto ‘Sew is Life’, so yes, you have guessed it! On 22nd July, just before dinner time, I had my baby girl!
We named her Luna Min Li Arevalo. ‘Luna’ is a name that you don’t hear everyday and we actually took months to decide on her name after we found out we were having a baby girl. A few reasons why we chose Luna, because of the many cosmic events that have occurred in 2012, she is a Cancerian baby which is represented by the Moon, also my mother’s chinese name starts with ‘Nyat’ or ‘Yuet’ which means Moon. Initially the name came to us whilst we were reading a children’s book to Sofia and Leo before their bed time and we thought ‘THAT’S IT!’.
I thought I would share a few details on my birthing story because it may be of interest to some of those who have never experienced giving birth before. Don’t worry there are no SCARY or nightmarish details. Everyone’s birthing story is different but I’m glad that I have been able to have a natural and uncomplicated birth for all three of my children.
TENS machine with electrodes attached to the lower and mid back
My cramps “contractions” started at 10am, bearable enough that I was able to walk to the shops and buy bread for breakfast. When I realised that they were coming regularly, it was obviously time! I had a quick shower and then got Hubz to put on my TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) Machine and the electrode pads. I found it effective the last time I gave birth, so I gave it another go. Some say they don’t get any benefit from these but it is one of the ways to manage and control your pain naturally without any drugs.
TENS machine remote control (too bad it couldn’t play tunes or movies)
There are 3 different functions, and each go up to a certain level. I found I didn’t have to go up to the highest function which is ‘C’, because ‘B’ was already giving me adequate pulses. Whenever I felt a contraction coming on, I would hit the ‘boost’ button and the pulse would change into a buzzing feeling along my back. It is a strange feeling, kind of like getting tasered! But on the lowest level of course. It’s funny that I would taser myself, and put myself through more pain! This is ‘pain combating pain’ method
This was my longest labour so far…at 7.5 hours. I only had the assistance of a mid-wife, with my other two it was at a private hospital with an obstetrician. There was definitely a different mind set, private hospitals like to hurry along the process whereas the public hospital supports natural progression.
Honestly I wanted it to be over as fast as possible, as I forgot to eat lunch and my energy levels were slumping! I brought in powerade drinks to help, because it is like a marathon sport! Plus I used a mix of lavendar, ylang ylang and geranium essential oils and dabbed it on my pillow, it helped relaxed my mind and these oils have healing properties. I used a back massager too, just a small plastic one which I made my Hubz drill it into my lower back. All that time spent in the gym building that muscle was put to work for sure. He was such a great support person, took charge and helped me through it all. I had so much LOVE (and hate) for him that day :)
Luna - Day 1 photo, looking snug, a natural poser
After a couple of pushes, cold and hot sweats and the shaking of my fatigued muscles my little girl arrived, the heaviest of the 3 at 7 pounds 1 ounce. She was a beautiful, chubby, pink bundle - perfect! And then one of my first thoughts was ‘That’s my nose! Crap’. It’s unbelievable how the most trivial thoughts come after the most challenging tasks! Sometimes you just zone out straight after the birth, I wasn’t listening to a word the midwife was saying. I just wanted to soak in all the glory that I had overcome one of the most gruelling, painful moments in a woman’s life.
Thankfully no stitches were needed and I was up and walking around immediately after the birth.
First bath for Luna, I’m glad I remembered how this should be done
After my family came to visit and Sofia and Leo were so excited to meet the new baby. They wanted to touch her and kiss her, it was such a nice feeling to see all my children together. Especially seeing the love radiate so easily for this little one. That night after they went home, I missed my two children and hope they would be fine without mummy for a couple of nights. My body was aching and super tired but my mind was awake…all the adrenalin and endorphins were peaking and I could not sleep a wink. I must have only slept 2 hours that night…whereas Luna slept so soundly. The midwife told me to wake her a couple of times for a feed, but she looked so peaceful.
What a day that was! She came one week early at 39 weeks (as predicted). The day before I was at the movies watching ‘Brave’ and shopping around with my family. I was most carefree about this pregnancy, very relaxed and prepared. It was my third time so Hubz knew I would be pro at this.
Big sister kisses, can’t wait to see them grow up together and build a sisterly bond
I couldn’t wait to take Luna home, so I left the hospital after 2 nights. Everyone was super excited to have her home.
Just want to say that blog updates may not come as quickly for the next couple of weeks because I will be busy with the new lil miss. In the meantime, please let me know what else you would like to see on the blog, I have a few reviews, DIY projects and fashion posts coming so stay tuned!
Jump over to my new Facebook Page for ‘Sewislife’ and ‘like’ it to stay updated
Did your pregnancy go as you planned, how was the experience for you? Please share your birth story, would love to hear about it :)
Only a couple of weeks left and then baby #3 will be born into the world. This year has passed particularly fast, I can’t believe that this little miracle has been growing inside me and will soon become a person with a name, with an identity…who belongs to our family. It’s just spins me out each time.
The skin on my belly is looking great so far, no new stretch marks to report. Unlike my first two pregnancies, which left some battle scars. Thanks to my elasticized skin from my first two children, or my hand-made ‘Mamma Belly’ massage bars. I use it twice a day, rubbing it over my belly and massaging the organic cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut butter oils into the skin.
Ripe and ready! 35 weeks and the countdown begins
I have begun to drink Raspberry Leaf herbal tea religiously. The main reason for drinking Raspberry Leaf tea in the later stages of pregnancy is to prepare the uterus for birthing. After speaking with a Naturopath, she says that in her experience it never brought on early labour or made it easier…(great! There goes my wishful thinking) but it helped with the contraction of the uterus after birth and increase breast milk supply. This tea is easy to drink, at least it doesn’t make you gag. However I am a tea drinker, so I love every sip of it.
What I’m guzzling lately…
My toddler is getting heavier and more tricky to carry. I don’t want to miss out on carrying my little boy. It’s sad to think that he is growing up so quickly.
I can definite feel hiccups from within the ‘cocoon’ and lots of squirmy movements. She moves most when her brother and sister blow ‘raspberries’ on my tummy, and they think that they are making their little sister laugh. She is already loved so much, we can’t wait to finally meet her! Seems like everyone who was pregnant has had their baby already…and it is making me a tad jealous.
Do you have any tips to get my mind off this countdown? Any suggestions appreciated :)
Have a great start to the weekend!
It’s been a while since I have completed a sewing project. It’s been a bit of a battle sitting down in front of the sewing machine too long with my reach getting further and further from me because of my ‘Buddha’ belly. I can’t keep away from my ‘sewing-sister’ too long though, otherwise I get the sewer’s ‘Itch’.
So…right now I am going through a headband phase. I don’t usually wear headbands, but I love the thought of having a few different patterned ones for when baby arrives.
One particular reason, my hair has grown at legendary speeds due to the pregnancy growth hormone. Plus I had a big chunk of hair snipped off last November in Malaysia and I have noticed it has grown 5 inches longer in the past 8 months. It’s become thick and unruly, but definitely healthy and shinier.
Here is how my headband turned out. I am going to make a matching one for my friend, who is having a birthday soon. This is a perfect present idea for a girlfriend.
Click here to read the tutorial and check out my step-by-step photos:
Last weekend, we held a bridal shower for my very close friend, Melissa. Her wedding is on this coming Saturday, so a week prior we thought we would show her a good time by celebrating her bachelorette-hood ‘High Tea’ styling at The Peninsula Tea Gardens in Maylands, Perth. It is located just next door to the historical Tranby Farm House that is one of the first colonial farms still intact within the metropolitan area. It offers the unique opportunity to learn about the early years of European settlement in Western Australia.
The High Tea was set beautifully with polished silver and fine china boneware. The chairs were made of white ratten with white coloured cushions matched together with the ratten glass table. There were bronzed candelabras that were mounted on the wall with interesting warped candles. It was very ‘garden’ themed.
An afternoon of High Tea decadence, with fine bone china and silverware. I felt kinda ‘Queen-ish’!
Parisian tea - Perth style
The service was on time when all the guests arrived, the food came out on tiered cake stands filled with a choice of savoury and sweet morsels. It was so enticing to the hungry eye! One of my friends described the occasion as ‘relaxing and peaceful’, you could say it invoked the same feeling as being pampered at a day spa. We sat down to eat the 'Parisian Afternoon Tea' ($38 pp) which included:
Tea sandwiches – Smoked salmon and salmon mousse, Roast beef and horseradish, Ham and Dijon mustard, Cucumber and cream cheese.
Tasty finger-sized sandwiches and they had mini puff pastry shells with curry or mushroom filling too (great for the pregnant ladies-holla!)
Freshly baked scones served with whipped cream and gourmet strawberry preserve together with a selection of French style Petit Fours and cakes, served with a pot of tea of your choice.
Huge scones (half the size of my palm) with generous servings of freshly whipped cream and jam
Selections for the sweet tooth - mini lemon meringue pies, petite fours and cupcakes with butter cream icing.
After a hours of eating, we played some fun games questioning the bride (Celebrity husbands) and the group of ladies (How well do you know the bride?). It was a great way for everyone to know a little bit about each other. Then we took it outside and sat under the big shady tree alongside the riverbank, where we could look out to the Swan River and played Pictionary (wedding-themed of course). Here is where I found the bridal shower games.
Non-bridal shower related pic - This is my close friend Heidi and I with our pregnant tummies kissing. Awww! Not too long ago we had our joint baby shower, you can read about it here.
Mel looked so relaxed and happy, she seems to be taking this whole wedding business in her stride. I can’t wait to see her on her BIG day…and no doubt, I will have to bring a box of tissues!
But if you are planning a bridal shower in Perth, or just want a nice afternoon out with the girls, The Peninsula Tea Gardens is the place to go! The customer service is warm, friendly and very helpful. Plus the food is fresh and delicious too! Definitely found its way to the top of my ‘Best Places to Chill’ in Perth.
What is your favourite place to chill out with friends?
Black or colour? Long or short? Hair up or hair down? Arrgghhhh! It so happens that this time of year there are a few formal occasions coming up. One of my best friends is getting married next Saturday and the task of choosing what to wear is becoming quite daunting. Being a girl with a normal wardrobe, you already have the tricky decision on what to wear but having to dress a 'watermelon' can be a clumsy task..
I bought a one-shouldered maternity cocktail dress from ASOS a few months ago, thinking "I’m going to be super organised". But it didn’t occur to me that I would expand so much! So now I am back on the hunt for another formal maternity dress. I don’t want to spend too much on it especially if it is going to be a dress I will wear once or twice. So I came across Maternity Sale, most of their prices are under $100! And they even ship express for free if you spend over $150! Schweet!
NOTE: Maternity Sale also ships internationally!
I am placing all hope that this will be my ‘last minute’ option…So…if I come back from the shops empty handed tomorrow, I’m jumping straight onto maternitysale.com.au ;)
Look at the simple but classic styles they have below:
I have my eye on the Maxi Knotted Evening Dress, black and classy…easy to dress up with bling. The blue Ruched Strapless is cute too, something more suited for a Balinese wedding.
Wish me luck!! I had even considered sewing my own dress…but sitting in front of my sewing machine with the bump may not be the best idea right now.
Where do you turn to for last minute dress ideas?
Mother’s Day is just around the corner! What plans do you have to celebrate this day with your mum? What would be the perfect gift to honour this special lady in your life? Aside from flowers and chocolates…buy her something she will use, cherish and keep. Mums love a bit of sentimentality. Here are just some gift ideas I thought would be perfect for Mums on Mother’s Day.
For the ‘expecting’ mother, when she constantly suffering from ‘There is nothing to wear’ syndrome.
For the ‘chef’ mum who loves to bake cakes, cookies, tarts etc. Maybe you could use it too, and bake her a few treats!
For the ‘pampering’ mum. Clarisonic is the next best way to cleanse the face, it uses micro-massage action to gently and effectively loosen dirt and oil to clear pores.
For the ‘beauty addict’ Mum, The Napoleon Perdis Mother’s Day Pack includes:
Limited Edition Prismatic Palette
Devine Goddess Lipstick in Gia
Deluxe Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Skin Primer 15ml
Mini Long Black Mascara 4.5ml
Floral Cosmetics Bag
For the ‘interior decorator’ mum, house rules decal for her home so everyone who lives under her roof abides by it.
For breakfast in bed or a place where she can leave her tea cup and her knitting at the same time.
For the ‘tea-enthusiast’ Mum, something a lil quirky than your normal tea-ball diffuser.
For the ‘Fashionista’ Mum, spoil her with a gorgeous embellished necklace.
What are you planning for your Mum on Mother’s Day?
Being pregnant you tend to crave all the ‘naughty’ foods, ones that are full of sugar, carbs and fat. These may taste 'OMG - foodgasm', but they are no good for myself or the baby. I have been quite naughty up till now because I have been reading information on healthy eating whilst you are pregnant. May be I should have left the books at the library. It is difficult for me because I am used to cooking and eating what I like. And one of my biggest cravings this time around is chocolate and cake! Which is nutritionally weak-as.
After all this reading, here are some of my favourite foods that I discovered to be harmful for baby:
One of my all time favourite vices is drinking a good cup of tea or enjoying a brewed coffee straight from the espresso machine. It has been a part of my morning routine for so long! I have always known that caffeine is bad for the baby but I wasn’t too sure why? I thought it would just make baby practice somersaults. I also remember drinking tea A LOT throughout my first and second pregnancies. Now I know that caffeine can cause significant brain underdevelopment and possibly miscarriage. Yikes!
On par with tea and coffee is my friend/foe food, chocolate. I have recently realised that this is a risky delicacy for the expectant mother too. Theobroma, or the cocoa seed contains high amounts of caffeine! So you can imagine my disappointment when it came to indulging in chocolate sessions with my friends at Chocolate cafes! Apparently this isn’t good for breast milk either! Bah!
Soft Serve ice-cream
I’m one of those people who loves to try out the new desserts at McDonalds. And I was disappointed when they launched the newest Mint McFlurry because I couldn’t have it!
I may have slipped up when I ate a bubblegum Mcflurry at the start of my pregnancy, but I couldn’t be too worried about it. Baby seems to be kicking like a soccor player and thus healthy so far.
I guess the concern is with the way the soft serve ice-cream is kept. It is usually churning away for hours and not kept cold enough like hard ice-creams which could mean there is a build up of listeria which is harmful for unborn babies.
Aside from all the junk food…I am actually a BIG salad eater. I love the crunchiness of fresh, crisp leaves and the juiciness of the vegetables. But it makes it really difficult when I am ordering at restaurants because I can’t be 100% sure that the kitchen staff are washing these salads properly. Most of the time, the salad is pre-washed and kept in plastic containers, then later served directly onto the plate. The time spent sitting in the fridge for god knows how long can lead to the growth of listeria and this harmful for baby.
Oysters, sushi, prawns and other shellfish
I love my seafood! I never use to eat much of it before though, because my partner doesn’t particularly like seafood. But when I go out with friends or to parties there will be the odd freshly shucked oysters or the green lipped mussels, or my favourite - CHILLI MUSSELS that will tempt me. Once again raw seafood is a big no-no, there’s just too much harmful bacteria! Plus there’s the high risk of mercury levels in the fish, which may not hurt the average adult but can lead to developmental problems in infants. For more information read this article.
Not edible but when applied directly on the skin or inhaled, some essential oils can be detrimental to the mother and baby. Essential oils are steam distilled and extracted from the main flower, bud or root of the plant. These can be highly concentrated and is useful for healing purposes, but sometimes they can do more harm than good if you are pregnant. Using the wrong oils during pregnancy can cause early contractions, bleeding in the uterus or even abnormal cell development in the baby. Refer to this article for more information on what oils are safe or not safe to use during pregnancy.
At what point must I draw the line and say hey…I can still eat these in moderation or cancel them out all together? It can be quite an added frustration to keep worrying about what is going to harm myself and the baby…when the stress of it all will be the biggest problem in the end!
So Ladies: Don’t fall for the trap that being pregnant you can eat anything. Because that is just a MYTH!
Have you ever given up something that you loved to eat because it was ‘bad’ for you?