I don’t know if I’m experiencing more frustration at the moment because I often struggle with finding something appropriate to wear for work. Something which can also accommodate my ever-growing bump and isn’t black Or, if it’s my raging hormones which are making EVERYTHING and EVERYONE drive me a bit nuts at the moment, severely testing my patience. I know those I work and live with are feeling it . And I’m sorry, but tough luck. Right now, I have no time for nonsense!
From the Singapore-centric nightmare of always having to wipe other people’s business off the loo seat before I can pee (for the 50th time in a day). To having to slam on my brakes to avoid the idiot drivers who come to a dead-stop at the last nanosecond in front of the ERP gantry (to save 50 cents just before the fee-change), I’m a bit prone to losing my cool these days. I try not to yell - for the sake of my unborn child getting scared and stressed - but a few choice words have been flying from my mouth thick and fast of late.
The ONE thing making my life a tad bit easier right now is finding the right maternity wear - but it’s been a slow and painful process. In Singapore, quality maternity wear at a reasonable price is a struggle. Styles are either hideous or the wrong cut for westerners. Or, the right items are just ridiculously expensive. I’ve bought a few essentials at over the $250 mark - and wanted to cry each time I opened my wallet. But looking good makes you feel great - there’s no doubt about it. So I figure the investment is worth it.
Honeycombers - a fab blog/website offering cool finds - released a checklist of maternity go-to stores in Singapore today. And it’s a great read - check it out here. One place they left off the list is Mothers en Vogue at Centrepoint - where I purchased the dress I’m wearing here (see left). Most MEV items range from $30-$120, so you don’t feel like you’re handing over your lifesavings for something you’ll only wear a few months. Plus, their maternity dresses have built-in nursing panels. So at least I know I’ll be able to breastfeed my little boy - if I’m able to - discreetly, getting even more wear out of my purchases. Also, all their clothing is made of bamboo and natural, cotton fibres. Once you’ve warn bamboo clothing and underwear I swear you will never go back - it is the most awesome, breathable, comfy fabric, I love it!
I’ve also bought some work trousers and leggings which are proving to be useful from EGG Maternity at VivoCity. And I’ll be heading back there soon to buy some tops once the longish ones I already own won’t stretch any further. But the work trousers and tops I love the most I ordered online from the US from A Pea in a Pod and you can also find great buys at Motherhood Maternity in the USA. With the US exchange rate the way it is, prices are totally reasonable - even when you add on the shipping cost. I’m also planning a few choice purchases from Isabella Oliver in the UK (who Honeycombers have also mentioned) and thankfully the UK pound is also low at present. Another option is to hire a dress for special occasions from Maternity Exchange in Marina Square - there’s no point spending loads on a glam maternity dress for a wedding or a ball if you’ll never wear it again. In fact, you can also hire casual wear and more there. Because remember, what you can fit into at five months pregnant and eight months up the duff is VERY different. They also sell a wide range of casual, office and going-out wear.
Dressing a bump is tricky, but if you get it right you can feel wonderful. And for the most part I’ve found when it’s obvious I’m pregnant, people are kinder to me. They hold the lift open for me, let me get onto the escalator first, or even jump the queue at Cold Storage. Today, the guys at Starbucks even offered to carry my lunch tray (consisting of a plain bagel and cup of tea - acid reflux is a bitch) to the table. I declined. But I’m just over halfway through this 40-week journey (whoever came up with 9 months is surely joking), so give me a few weeks and I might be asking them to carry my handbag as well!
The right cup of coffee can make or break your day - according to my hubby that is. I myself can’t stand the taste. I wish I could, as I often envy his low-fat latte for dessert while I tuck into a calorie-laden piece of chocolate cake. Thankfully tea lattes are on the increase, so my wish to look sophisticated while I sip on a bit of froth and save a few calories has an increasing chance of being granted. Unfortunately tea lattes typically come with lashings of syrup or powders, but Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will use No Sugar Added powder upon request - cutting down on your calorie intake. Spinelli does a nice Honey Ginger Tea Latte and Starbucks has also started to make tea lattes. You can forgo the syrup on request, but I’d also recommend you ask they remove the tea bag before pouring in the hot milk, otherwise half your foam disappears with it! Maybe just ask for a cup of tea with hot milk on the side next time and save yourself $2 or so…
At home we have a coffee machine, which I’ve never been able to fully appreciate. But I found a great Rooibos tea (caffeine-free) which has been ground into a concentrated form and can be used to make delicious rooibos lattes, click here for more info. As rooibos has a natural vanilla flavour there’s no need for added sugar, syrups or powders - the only problem is red espresso doesn’t ship to Singapore. So I ordered my tea online to a US address and then had a girlfriend bring it back with her after a holiday. Hopefully someone in Singpaore will soon cach on and start importing it by the bushel load - Coffee Bean, can you hear me?
But if coffee is more your thing you’re spoiled for choice. Granted Singapore isn’t the coffeelovers’ paradise of Melbourne or Italy, but a good caffeine hit shouldn’t be too hard to find - or is it? Here are the top four places I’ve been told serve "the best coffee in town":
- Dimbulah Coffee - harvested from their own plantation in Queensland, Australia.
- Boomarang - now with a cafe so you can buy your coffee on the run.
- Oriole Cafe - known to be home of the best baristas in town.
- Highlander Coffee - hosts workshops where you can learn to make the perfect at-home cup of coffee, or train to be a professional barista.
What do you think? Got a recommendation of your own? Comment and share…
Photography: Highlander Coffee