Nappy time.

Nappy time.

fluffy pwets intro

Last year, it was a goal of mine to collaborate with a brand on some kind of apparel line for kids, something with my design inspiration and direction. I’ve always loved the idea of creating something inspired by my kids, and clothing — a necessity — was the ideal product for that. I inquired with some brands about the possibility, but it wasn’t until I was approached by Tina de Guzman of Fluffy Pwets late last year about designing, well, a line of apparel for kids, inspired by kids. Hooray! I knew it was an answer from the universe that my goal was on point, especially when Tina mentioned that my very good friend and colleague, Patricia of Fancy Girl Design Studio, would be rendering the designs that I would craft for this very first “Fluffy Pwets Collab” line of custom-print hybrid cloth nappies, apparel and gear.

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Just a bit of background about Fluffy Pwets: Tina (the mompreneur behind the brand) conceptualized a cloth diaper that didn’t contain laminated fabric, so that it would be more comfortable for babies, more breathable. This is how Fluffy Pwets cloth diapers differ from other cloth diapers! They are proudly Philippine-made and organic! The soakers are made of organic bamboo (US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) Compliant as safe for children), while the prints are made of water-based, non-toxic ink. Best of all, they are leak-free, thanks to the layer of water-resistant fabric in the diaper shell.

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Together with Pat, I conceptualized two patterns: “Krista” and “Vito.” I considered my children’s color schemes, their personalities, their quirks and any imagery that reminded me of them. Pat and I worked using Pinterest boards (aside from Facebook chats), to create the design concepts. Here’s our Pinterest board. As  you can see, I favor Scandinavian-inspired designs and characteristics, but I also love Pat’s soft, dreamy watercolor illustrations. These design inspirations came together when Pat sketched two sets of illustrations for me: The “Krista”, which were chubby baby swans (like Krista, hihi) and ferns in a pale shade of pink with grey details; and the “Vito”, a vignette of woodland animals (Vito’s favorites), in the colors I used for his baby days (orange, pale grey, browns).

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The Fluffy Pwets Collab nappies are now available on their website. Shop from anywhere in the world for these sweet prints! You can get all the other prints by Amanda Jacob, John Arcilla, Ginger Arboleda and Dimples Romana in organic hybrid fitted cloth diapers, trainers, rashguards, shirts, dresses, onesies, and bags.

Here’s a closer look at the prints by me, and wonderfully hand-drawn and colored by Patricia Alix-Villa. (Modeled by Krista, of course!)

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“The Krista”: Featuring a sweet, muted print in pale pink and grey, which are my favorite colors, actually! Available in apparel (rash guards, flutter-sleeve top, ribbed shirt, baseball shirt or crossover shirt. (Krista is wearing the butterfly sleeved top here.) Shop “The Krista” here: FP Collabs “Krista” Tops |  FP Collabs “Vito” Hybrid Cloth Diapers

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fluffy pwets Krista collage

“The Vito”: This can be worn by boys and girls alike, and features a Scandinavian-inspired woodland animal pattern in pale grey with peach and orange accents. Available in apparel (rash guards, flutter-sleeve top, ribbed shirt, baseball shirt or crossover shirt. Shop “The Vito” here: FP Collabs “Vito” Tops |  FP Collabs “Vito” Hybrid Cloth Diapers

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fluffy pwets Vito collage

Please let me know if you liked these prints! I love getting feedback. If you want to shop these looks now, go to www.fluffypwets.com to shop online, or visit their Philippine retailers The Parenting Emporium, The Green Company, and Baobao Babies.

Sleep tight, sleep safely.

Sleep tight, sleep safely.

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My friend Ives is the wonderful lady who brought Halo Sleep Sacks to the Philippines. As an advocate for safe sleep, she has tirelessly worked to create awareness for SIDS and to give parents better options for safe sleep too, through the availability of Halo Sleep Sacks. Since October is SIDS Awareness Month, I’d like to reiterate some important points about safe sleep, too, and share a campaign that Halo Philippines recently mounted to help parents make informed choices.

Sleep protection for our babies is the number one factor of safe sleep. I remember when Vito was tiny, I’d lose sleep because I would watch him sleep and make sure he was breathing. I was rather paranoid then, and I didn’t know things like crib bumpers and pillows were a SIDS (Sudden Infant Death) risk. (SIDS is a sudden, unexpected death of an otherwise healthy and normal baby during sleep.)

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Someone gifted us with our very first Halo Sleep Sack — a wearable blanket that keeps baby warm. It is an award-winning wearable blanket worn over regular sleepwear as a safer alternative to loose blankets. HALO products are backed by 20 years of SIDS and clinical research. It is the only brand that carries the seals of leading SIDS and safety organizations, and the ONLY brand used in over 1,000 US Hospitals. Since our first SleepSack gift, I’ve been getting more and more information on safe sleep, and even got to attend the launch event of Halo Philippines some years ago, long after Vito was out of his sleep sack days. Today of course, we have a sleep sack for Krista.

halo sleep sack philippines

Halo Sleep Sack Philippines (halophilippines.com), through its #SafeSleepPH campaign (posted above), aims to educate Filipino parents on the importance of safe sleep for babies. It is a message that needs to be talked about and discussed, especially when so many babies die of SIDS each year. This is why a couple of months ago, some local Philippine supporters of Halo got together for a photo campaign, and Krista and I were among those photographed. We hope that through this simple awareness campaign, more parents will choose to learn about safe sleep and take the proper precautions to prevent it.

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Thank you, Halo Philippines and Ives Esteban-Lim for helping us keep our babies safe, and for bringing these sleep sacks to the local market. Halo products are available at www.halophilippines.com, Babyland, Rustan’s, and Mothercare. For more information on safe sleep, follow @halophilippines on Instagram / facebook / twitter.

Credits: Photos by @peasandpodsphotography | Make up by @wilmaesturco |  Hair by @geordelf  |  Location: @mothercareph, Podium, Ortigas Center.

 

That Special Touch.

That Special Touch.

cetaphil baby

A child’s touch can say volumes. I’ve been attached at the hip to both my kids—being an attachment parenting advocate—so, I’d say I know a thing or two about the subject. My children — distinct as they are — have different expressions of touch, and I have become familiar with their styles.

My eldest, for instance, is a snuggler. At night, he sleeps in his own bed, in his own room, but we still take an active part in putting him to sleep. While reading a bedtime story, Vito will snuggle up to his dad (who has taken on the task of putting him to bed), and continue snuggling until he drifts off to sleep. Admittedly, Ton almost always falls asleep, too, haha! It’s very reassuring to see father and son snuggled up each night!

My daughter Krista is only 8 months old, and has never left my side. Save for a couple of hours while I am teaching a workshop, she is literally attached to me 24/7! We’ve learned to read each other in a way that Vito and I used to when he was a bubba. She is a hugger. She will look for hugs, from me or her brother and dad, and she will grasp things and hug them close to her. Her personality is rather high-need, which means that she needs my reassuring touch often: held close, skin-to-skin, or worn in a sling.

During bath times, she prefers to be cuddled close to me than in the tub. It took a bit of a learning curve, but we have learned to sit down in the bath together—she on my lap and the warm shower gently trickling down both of us.

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It honestly gives me such pleasure each time I bathe her, as I am able to feel her lusciously smooth skin! I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to bubble her up with bath & body wash like our new favorite, Cetaphil Baby’s Moisturizing Bath & Body Wash, which keeps her skin smooth and moisturized. (Incidentally, it’s tear-free, hypoallergenic and PH balanced.) Followed with a gentle massage using their Daily Lotion, which has my favortie shea butter (to preserve the skin barrier and to provide moisture that lasts the whole day), it’s the perfect time for us to relax and bond in a special way as mom and daughter.

It honestly tires me to be as hands-on as I am as a mother. I know my husband feels the same—with feeding times, play times, and of course, bath times! Albeit the physical fatigue we feel each day parenting these two, we also believe that being with our children 24/7 at this point in their lives is a privilege we might have otherwise not had. Being work-at-home parents makes us crazy at times, but we’ve said to each other that we wouldn’t trade this intimacy and physical closeness with our children for anything, not while circumstances permit us the stay-at-home/work-at-home lifestyle.

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We appreciate brands like Cetaphil Baby, which make it easy for us to keep on being hands-on with our children. We love the new Moisturizing Bath and Body Wash, especially, which leaves both our kids’ young skin supple and clean. I love the tear-free formula that ensures baby Krista’s eyes aren’t irritated, and the soothing aloe that ensures Vito’s sensitive skin isn’t dried out. Expert care for delicate skin, at a price that both my husband and I love, too!

Visit bit.ly/MartineForCetaBabyPH, and and follow our social media updates at Facebook.com/CetaphilPhilippines, Twitter.com/CetaphilPhils, Instagram.com/CetaphilPH. Join our #MothersLovingTouch conversations, for more inspiration and practical tips on caring for your kids! If you also want a chance to get a Cetaphil Baby Basket, join the contest of Cetaphil Baby at bitly.com/IWantCetaphilBabyPH!

cetaphil baby

 

Blissful Finds.

Blissful Finds.

Sept - Blissful Picks

I find it amusing that this edition of Blissful Finds is full of a whole lot of pink! Wouldn’t you say so? I mean look at this collage here? Haha! I hope you won’t get tired of the color, because it happens to be my favorite. I’ve tried hard to like other colors, but I just keep going back to pink! Anyway… just thought you might like to know what’s been on my “it” list lately.

elin nursing wear

Elin Circle Scarf. I’ve been wearing Elin everyday since pregnancy, all the way through to this day. I’ve already written praises about it here and here, but this multi-use scarf deserves special attention. I just love how I can use it as an accessory, a wrap, a nursing cover, even as a bolero-type garment on occasion. Available at Elin.ph, in various colors.

grace home manila

Grace Home Candle. I indulged myself during Grace Home’s trunk show last June and bought this candle. I first sampled it during Grace Baja’s luncheon launch for a few of her blogger friends, and I’ve been in love with its clean and romantic scent ever since. This candle goes from my workspace to my bedside, seriously! I use it when I absolutely need to feel relaxed and a little bit spoiled (naturally, because it’s by The Spoiled Mummy herself). Available at Grace Home, Seek the Uniq, Craftsmith and Casa Bella.

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Hey Jow. I was given this beautiful layered set of necklaces by Joanna Gube, the creator of fine jewelry pieces under her brand, Hey Jow. I’d been seeing these pieces on several of my friends’ Instagram accounts, so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I received this beautiful customized set! I love how I can wear all the pieces together (for that luxe, layered look), or separately, for an elegant, minimalist touch. Available at HeyJow.com.

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Chic Curator. Another affordable accessory haven I’ve recently discovered is the Chic Curator, which sells beautiful, delicate and always stylish accessories and apparel. My current favorite earrings are these rose gold hoops! I have been wearing them almost every week, while this delicate wishbone necklace is a favorite when I want to add a simple touch to a plain top. Their well-selected pieces are very much up my alley, perfect for daily wear. Available at Instagram.com/chiccurator

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Vases from PlantariumPH. I happened upon an Instagram account for airplants, @plantarium_ph, which also sells accessories like these vases, pats, planters. I liked these vases because they had that minimalist style that I have been pinning a lot of on Pinterest, and because that shade of pink on the slimmer vase is the pink I’m currently obsessing over (like I did over this new blog design). The vases made it to my blog header’s picture, but they really are very useful! I’ve since put eucalyptus stalks in them, and they lend such a nice touch to our dining-living area.

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Little Luli playclothes. I found out about Little Luli early this year, when a press kit arrived in my home from the Project Mom event. At the time, Krista was still too small to wear their pretty yet practical play clothes, so I started off buying their baby headpieces. (Those are really cute and chic, by the way, like the crown Krista’s wearing here in the photo.) During the recent Spectrum Fair, I bought this cute play dress with a tulle skirt, as I’d been eyeing it for Krista for some time now. I love how all of Little Luli’s clothes are thoughtfully designed while being cool and airy for the kids — such thougthful designs! Available at @littleluli on Instagram.

Blissful Finds

Blissful Finds

August - Blissful Finds

Hello! I’ve been logging in and out of the blog quite a lot these days, mostly because I work in between mom duties, household chores, and work for clients. But I’ve wanted to share about my favorite things from the past few months, so I hope it’s not too late to do that!

Things I’m loving lately are:

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Bliss Milks by Juice Hut Manila.  This is a collaboration I began with Mia Sison of Juice Hut, whom I approached one day with an idea to create some nutmilk flavors in my favorite colors, using some of my favorite foods. I had do idea that Mia would whip up some really beautiful concoctions, flavor-wise and in looks! The customized labels were designed by my dear sister-in-law Nica Cosio, and the copy provided in the information cards that go with the drinks was written by yours truly. These milks are truly a work of collaboration and love for all things healthy and pretty. Order your Bliss Milks through juicehutmanila.com or @juicehut_manila on Instagram.

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Utility Pots from Craftsmith Living. I’m totally addicted to these ceramic pots! I currently have four and use them for everything from office and craft supplies, to beauty products on my dresser. I love its square shape, making it easy to place on a shelf or desk space. The simple design and inspiring graphics on each pot just gives me happy feelings all over. Available from @CraftsmithLiving on Instagram.

fuji x_a2

The Fuji X-A2. Ever since I started using this camera, I’ve had the easiest time! It’s convenient, lightweight, and its wifi feature conveniently lets me send photos from the camera straight to my iPhone or laptop. It’s revolutionizing the DSLR standard, making it easier for bloggers to get their photos to their plaftorms. Plus, it’s just pretty isn’t it? Available from authorized Fuji Film dealers worldwide.

kikki.K draw cut fold

Kikki.K Draw Cut Fold Craft Book. Vito received this as a gift from a good friend who was visiting from Melbourne, and it had him doing papercrafts for about three days straight. I love (worship, adore, venerate) anything from Kikki.K, so this also gives me loads of pleasure. Available at Kikki.K stockists worldwide.

observers journal chronicle books

Extraordinary Things Observers Journal by Chronicle Books. I love anything by Chronicle Books (my fave indie publishers), and when I came across this journal full of prompts, I fell in love with them even more! Not many of you know that I love to write on notebooks and journals (which I wrote about). This journal is great, because it provides inspiration on the spot. Prompts like “Write about the pen you are using to write this entry” or “find something pretty at home today and write about it” are so #makeitblissful, so about “finding the silver linings” and looking at things differently. Available at Chronicle Books and selected bookstores worldwide.

philosophy philippines amazing grace

Layering scents with philosophy’s amazing grace. I’m a huge fan and regularly use the skincare brand philosophy (which I’ll write about more in another post!). Currently, I’m having a blast layering its signature fragrance, amazing grace. I’ve always loved the crisp yet girl scent, and I’m totally in love with its packaging and copy! I’ve used the bath gel & shampoo and the eau de toilette for some years now, but I was thrilled when philosophy Philippines brought in the refreshing Body Spritz! I use it as a light fragrance on regular days, but for days I’ll be out for a longer period of time, I use it as a base for the eau de toilette. I feel pretty and pink and positive each time! Available at philosophy.com and selected stockists worldwide.

Have something you’d think I’d like to try? Tag & follow me on Instagram @martinedeluna, I’d love to check out your shop! For my other recommendations, follow #blissfulfinds on Instagram and here on the blog.

 

 

Cycles.

Cycles.

 

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Every time I small Krista’s baby smell, I’m reminded of when Vito was a baby. Funny, right? They look nothing alike, and yet so much about her reminds me of those days five years ago when I first became a mother. I had no clue what I was doing, despite the many books I’d read and websites I’d scoured. I only knew that I would provide the best possible for Vito: care, clothing, food, products, anything.

Now that Krista is here, I find myself at the starting line of motherhood again. She is very much like her older brother in her general cuteness, but she’s a lot different in temperament. I remember Vito being a very good natured and satisfied baby, no matter who carried him. But Krista is a high need baby. She prefers me over anyone else, and often cries when I leave her sight. A day with her is a seemingly endless cycle of hugs, kisses, cuddles, nursing, napping, carrying, and more hugs, cuddles… you get it.

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I struggled with this as her temperament became more obvious, perhaps around her 4th month. It was exhausting to be needed. The endless cycle of carrying her, entertaining her, feeding her, nursing her, and being there for her has had me — at some point — in tears. (In fact I kind of lost it the other day; she’s been teething and grumpy and clingy, you see.)

Times like these, I’m often tempted to compare my two kids. Why can’t she be more like her brother when he was this age? It’s a mental struggle I’m dealing with, and every time I fall into the comparison trap, I stop and remind myself to stop comparing… to be sensitive instead, to appreciate the cycles of her neediness.

My friends remind me to enjoy her clingy-ness. Lately I’ve been looking at it with more positivity (#makeitblissful, Martine!). I think I’m much better, and even while she’s crying out beckoning for me to return, I see it as something I need from her more than what she needs from me. I need her appetite for affection, her need to be touched, cuddled, embraced and nurtured. I need her seemingly endless cycles of hugs, kisses, cuddles, nursing, napping, carrying, and more hugs, cuddles… (lather, rinse, repeat — it kind of has that rhythm to it, haha!)

I need it so that I can be the mom she needs me to be.

cycles sensitive

 

This essay is inspired by Cycles, Cycles Sensitive and Cradle Natural. I used Cycles and Cradle for my first baby’s needs, and have begun a new cycle of utmost love and care as I use them for baby Krista. Cycles is celebrating 10 years of uncompromised, natural baby care. For more information, visit cyclesbaby.com