My Top 5 Clothing Stores for Kids in Manila

I rarely buy clothes for the kids. They get a lot of gifts and hand-me-downs that are more than enough for them to wear on non-school days. But once in a while, there would be occasions such as parties and graduations that justifies a little splurge on those adorable tiny outfits. Other times, they're just too irresistible to avoid.
On this easy Friday, I'd like to share the three childrens' clothing stores in Manila that I usually gravitate to when looking for outfits for my children.

I love how colorful and fun Gingersnaps outfits are. I like that how they can be trendy yet classic at the same time. The cloth quality fits the Manila weather and the designs are very playful. In fact, I like their clothes so much that I also buy them for myself sometimes in size 12.  If the style becomes too short, then I go for a size 1 or 2 in Just G (the Gingersnaps line for teens).  A lot of people have asked where my daughter and I buy our matching outfits, well there's our secret - get the bigger sizes from the children stores!
Gingersnaps is a local Philippine brand that started in 1994 as a department store brand. They now have more stores than you can count both locally and in international shores. Kudos to Gingersnaps!

I first encountered Cotton On during my regular business trips to Melbourne and Sydney. I would often purchase polo shirts for my husband, Dens, as my pasalubong. A few years ago, I visited one store in Sydney and found miniature versions of the same polo shirts that I was buying for Dens. I was so excited I bought a couple of shirts for my then 5-year old son to match with his dad.

Come 2012, Cotton On opened its doors to the Philippines. And while the ladies' clothing were mostly fast fashion, I loved their kids' line. Particular the ones for the boys. It's always a challenge to come up with trendy outfits for little boys outside of the usual shirt and shorts/pants but Cotton On gets it.

My son is now 8 and the he is slowly outgrowing the sizes at Cotton On Kids. This is when I found H&M Kids.  They have a host of sizes, perfect for those in-between stages. They have trendy designs for both girls and boys that definitely suit my taste.
I don't think H&M needs further introduction. So I will just go ahead and post my current favorites.
Early this year, my kids got the opportunity to model for Zara Kids. It was an awesome experience for them and I love, love, love the clothes that they got to wear. Maybe one of these days I will share their modeling experience.
When Zara first opened in Manila back in 2005, the kids section was practically covered in tiny winter ensembles. It could have been the timing of the season but seeing the collection made me wish we had four seasons in the Philippines.  11 years and 101 store visits later, I realized they do have clothes that also fit our tropical climate.
Last but definitely not the least is everyone' favorite Japanese clothing store, UNIQLO. On top of the basic shirts and shorts, I usually scout for pajamas for the kids in UNIQLO during sale season. They come out way cheaper than the ones you see in the bazaars. Seriously!
What about you? What do your kids wear? It's your time to share!




What's On That Doorknob?

Are you a germaphobic? I have friends who are super wary of germs. They are probably the biggest contributors to the tissue and alcohol industries.  My husband may not agree but I do not think I fall into this category.  I mean, sure I can be OA to a certain degree and advocate hand washing all the time. But when my daughter's last cookie falls on dry floor, I would most likely be okay to let her continue eating it.

Last Monday, my husband and I had dinner with some friends who were telling us about the benefits of ultraviolet light (Yep, just an ordinary group of friends talking about the beauty of Science over dinner). They were telling us about a new product that kills viruses, bacteria, microorganisms, pathogens, and airborne allergens. I may be okay with a little dirt here and there but they had me at 'viruses'.  You know how these days you hear of people getting sick and doctors cannot figure out what's causing the illness? The diagnosis would almost always be 'It's viral'.  That made me think of how fast these viruses mutate into new microorganisms that medicine, in some ways, could not catch up anymore.  That thought can make easily make this non-germaphobic mom want to put my kids in a bubble.

They always say prevention is better than cure. Don't wait until a new virus mutates before you come up with a medical treatment. I say we nip the problem in the bud and kill those nasty viruses before they invade our homes! Enter UV Care.
UV Care specializes in harnessing the benefits of Ultraviolet (UV-C) to help protect people from harmful microbes found in our environment.

All products are guaranteed to use germicidal UV-C light without harmful ozone (O3) gas. UV-C is one of only few technologies that can kill 99.9% of invisible bacteria and viruses (including H1N1, E. Coli, MRSA) as well as mold, dust mites, fleas, bed bugs and their eggs.

UV Care products are 100% chemical-free, quick and easy to use on all hard surfaces, soft furnishings and bedding as well as difficult to clean items such as keyboards, telephones, crevices and other unreached areas. They won’t damage delicate fabrics but will eliminate odors, kill germs and leaves no harmful residue.
So they showed us how it works and did a swab test in our bedroom before the treatment. The results showed 2540 level of microorganisms. After we set up a Room Steriliser and left it for 30 minutes, the swab test went down to only 396.  It will continue to work even after the disinfecting process as the microorganisms continue to die. Should we test it again after 24 hours, the level would have gone down by 99.9%. 
It was very easy to operate and perfect for disinfecting large areas without a lot of manual work. I think it's ideal for homes, schools, hospitals and even movie theatres. My friend said that one theatre in Makati already got from them. Knowing this makes me want to watch movies from that theatre more often. 
My husband with owner and friend, Jun, ready to test the Room Sterilizer
Before and after swab test results
We set the Room Sterilizer for 30 minutes and left the room
 The Room Sterilizer in action 
While you cannot enter the room during the disinfecting process, the UV is very safe and does not emit harmful radiations. They are essentially the same UV that we get from the sun. They only encourage people not to enter the room while the UV light is on to avoid hurting our eyes. You know how staring at the sun for long periods of time will hurt your eyes? Same with the UV products. 
My friend told me about how she got really sick with cough and colds after her daughter was born. To avoid contaminating her baby and the whole family, they used the Room Sterilizer to disinfect their bedroom. And with that alone, no one from their family got infected.  Despite the close contact with her baby during breastfeeding, the virus was never passed on.

If you are not ready to invest in the Room Sterilizer, there are other options for you. They have three sizes of hand-held steriliser. These are also perfect to bring to vacations when staying in hotels. You may use it to clean hotel beds, bathrooms, and even coffee mugs. 
Ultra Germ Terminator
Deluxe Germ Terminator
Pocket Sterilizer
They also have other products such as the Toothbrush Sterilisers that disinfects your toothbrushes so you are assured of clean brushes before putting them in your mouths.
Finally, there is the Multi-purpose Sterlizers which is essentially a box that can be used to sterilize baby bottles, children's toys, kitchen utensils and basically anything you like. 
If you are interested to see a demo and learn more about the benefits of UV Care, you may reach out to them directly to schedule an appointment using the contact details i have listed below. 

See what the new says about UV Care here and be equipped with knowledge. Let's fight these viruses together and protect the future of our children. 

UV Care 
+63 977 822-8556
+(632) 904-0366 


Limiting the Use of Gadgets - Parents Edition

Once in a while, Dens and I would have talks with our children on how we can do better as parents. During one of our recent discussions, my 5-year old daughter said "I wish mommy would not look at her iPhone too much". Eeps! Dens has been telling me the same thing for quite some time now but hearing it from my children was truly a wake-up call.

Social media has admittedly been a great tool to stay in touch with friends.  It bridges the physical gap and allows us to stay connected with those we rarely see.  However, I also realized recently that constantly catching up with friends on social media has been making me lose face time with the people that I am physically with. With that, Dens and I have recently agreed to limit the use of our phones while we are with the family. We would check messages and respond to urgent ones but limit the chats to when we are alone or when the kids are busy with their own activities.

Doing so has made me more present for my children. I realized that being present can translate to something as simple as looking at my children's eyes when they are talking to me. It means I no longer respond to their questions while staring at the 2 x 5 screen on my hand. 

In this gadget-laden world where we, as parents, try to find means and ways to limit our children's screen time, I wonder what example we are modeling.

A few nights ago, as I was putting the kids to sleep, we sat on the bed as we usually do.  But on this particular night, I turned off my phone and placed them on the night table beside our bed.  I listened attentively as my children told me about their favorite animals and the toys they are currently saving up for. While I stared at their wide little eyes and the excited smiles on their faces, I remembered that childhood is fleeting. And with my gadget-free hands, I embraced my children and pray that they will always know how precious they are to me.


5 Tried and Tested Non-Petroleum Jelly Beauty Hacks

I have seen so many articles talking about the different uses of Petroleum Jelly. I love affordable all-in-one products. Petroleum Jelly definitely fits the bill. The thing is, my research on the different uses of petroleum jelly has also lead me to various articles talking about the dangers of using them. With findings ranging from clogged pores to cancer, I decided to play it safe and look for a better alternative.
I found two good alternatives to petroleum jelly. Alba Botanica's Un-petroleum Multi-purpose Jelly and Earth's Best Non-Petroleum Jelly.  Both of them use natural essential oils instead of the controversial petrol. Alba Botanica's un-petroleum is not yet available locally in the Philippines but you can find Earth's Best's non-petroleum jelly in Healthy Options.
Here are the five beauty hacks that I have personally found most helpful for me.
1.  Lip Balm

My husband has been diligently using petroleum jelly on his lips before going to bed ever since I have known him. Err, that did not sound quite right, did it?  But yeah, he gets really dry skin all year round and his lips are not exempted. I see the petroleum jelly on our bathroom counter and have been trying it the past months. I now understand his nightly passion for it.

But yes, we've now transitioned to the non-petroleum kind and it works equally well.

2.  Eye Cream

I have been using the non-petroleum jelly as my eye cream the past month. I pat it around my eyes every night before going to bed. They say it treats crows feet and prevents new ones from forming. I have yet to truly confirm its efficacy but it's cheap and it makes sense. So it's staying in my nightly routine until further notice.

3. Foot Moisturizer

Generously coat your entire feet with the non-petroleum jelly and put socks over them. Sleep with the socks on and I promise you will wake up with super soft feet!

4.  Eyelash Conditioner

They say it conditions, thickens and lengthen the lashes. Need I say more?

5. Make-up Remover

I do not regularly use eye make-up. And this is mainly because I hate removing them. I always end up with raccoon eyes that stays until the next day. This non-petroleum does the job. It removes make-up and conditions your eye area. Two-in-one!

If you're also iffy about using the commercial petroleum jelly, check out the two other safer alternatives. It's a handy product to keep in the house.


How to Revive Your Old Shirts and Dresses

Almost 15 years ago, I bought my first sewing machine. Well, it was not exactly a professional sewing machine. It was a sewing genie I saw on TV.  It was small, relatively easy to use, and very portable.  
photo from amazon
I bought the sewing genie mainly because I was inspired by my friend, and then officemate, Kai. She came up with the nicest-looking tops and sews them all by herself! The inner fashionista in me was awakened and I decided to join the bandwagon.  I bought my own mini sewing machine and visited Carolina's with Kai during our lunch breaks. I learned a few simple patterns by asking Kai countless questions.  And before I knew it, I was creating my own tube and halter tops from home. That was in back in 2002.
Kai is now based in Singapore but she's still as crafty as ever. The other day I saw her post a DIY Off-shoulder top that seem easy to follow. I loved it and could not wait to take out my sewing genie again after 15 years.  I asked Kai's permission to share her step-by-step guide on the blog for my own reference and for you too!
  • Get an old polo shirt or shirt dress
  • Garter, preferably a centimeter wide
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine (or in my case, Sewing Genie!)
 Step 1: Draw a horizontal straight line about an inch from the collar
 Step 2: Take the line up an angle at the sleeves
 Step 3: Cut! (That's my friend Kai in action)
 Step 4: Take your garter and measure around your upper torso. Then cut that garter.
 Step 5: Overlap the ends and sew. Make sure that it's not too loose or too tight.
Step 6: Pin the four equidistant points onto your shirt. Kai suggests pinning the front and back first followed by the sides or shoulders. 
 Step 7: Prepare your threads. It would be best if they coordinate with your shirt's color. 
 Step 8: Sew the garter onto the shirt with a zigzag stitch
 Stretch the garter as you sew so that it covers the edge of the shirt well
 The zigzag does not have to be  neat as this will get covered.
 Step 9: Fold it inside and sew the front to hide the zigzag
And VoilĂ ! You now have a trendy off-shoulder top. That's my friend Kai wearing her own creation.
Kai now runs a home-based business, Crafts by Kai, from Singapore and produces various personalized products from stamps to wooden boards. Her latest creation are these engraved wooden kitchen products that are both beautiful and functional. They would look awesome in any kitchen and are perfect gifts for family and friends.
The boards are priced at P450 each and P600 for the Christmas sets. Crafts by Kai ships worldwide! Pricing will be finalized upon order due to varying shipping costs.  You may order the boards and inquire via email at .
I wish I can be as crafty as Kai! Her output is always so seamless, it's almost hard to believe they were handmade by her. Do reach out to her for orders and ask about other personalized items that she can do for you. It's never too early to start scouting for Christmas gifts!


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