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Photography credit to White Room Studio which captured this picture of us during a maternity shoot
It’s been a month since I delivered baby Arjun and I honestly don’t know where the time has flown. I’m revisiting all the joys and challenges of having a newborn but with less of the worries, freak out sessions, and self-doubt experienced the first time around. This is why I felt compelled to share some of my insights and experiences gained from my two pregnancies and post-partum life. For you new moms and moms-to-be out there, the following are not meant to scare you. They are merely meant to equip you with some of the knowledge and useful pieces of random info I wish I had the first time around to deal with the somewhat trying times ahead.

First, the serious stuff…
1. You still look 6 months pregnant after birth. I didn’t know that the first time around and it was made painfully clear to me when just after having a baby, one ignorant male friend of mine said in jest, “Hey! You planning to have another baby?” Needless to say, it was not funny. It took our bellies 9 months to stretch and expand to bake a little bun in the oven. So it’s only fair to give your body several weeks and even months to get back to what it was before. (And yes, it wouldn't hurt if others were a bit more sensitive to this). The uterus has to contract to its original size and the internal organs have to reposition themselves. Our bodies are incredibly resilient but just remember to give it time! So those maternity clothes? Hang on to them for a little while longer.

2. Breastfeeding does not necessarily happen naturally or intuitively. I don’t get why society makes it seem like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do but it’s not. It takes work. It’s like a tango – you and the baby are getting to know each other and your dance moves. It takes a few tries and some practice before both mother and child get the hang of it. But when you figure it out, it can be an incredibly positive experience.

3. You’ll find that your body behaves in the weirdest, most unexpected ways. Like how? Like the tingling, pins & needles-like sensation you get in your breasts every few hours. That's basically due to the milk flowing from your ducts to your nipples. Or the milk flow you get simply by hearing your baby cry (it’s a reflex reaction called “letdown”). Crazy! 

4. What you eat really does affect the baby. This not an old wives’ tale but in fact based on truth. There were times when I had cabbage or beans only to regret it later on when my firstborn would cry blood murder later in the night. Lesson learned! In the first few months after birth, babies are especially susceptible to what you eat. As their digestive system is still maturing, they may be prone to stomach aches and gas issues if you don’t watch your dietary intake. So avoiding gas-inducing foods, eating well, and continuing to take your prenatal vitamins will go a long way to ensuring that you and your baby are well nourished.

5. Baby acne is a thing so don’t freak out if you see your baby break out into small red spots on their face. It usually happens around week 3 and will go away on its own.

The not-so-serious-but-still-incredibly-true stuff…
6. As a mother, you will develop a unique superpower that enables you to hear your baby cry two doors down even if you’re in a crowded room.

7. Sleep (yours and the baby’s) will become a topic of conversation with your spouse over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s going to be the case for a long time. Be forewarned.

8. Grandmothers will always think your baby is not warm enough even if wearing a beanie in 40 deg C weather.

9. You will do things with your limbs and other various parts of your body that you didn’t know you could, like turning a light switch on and off with your nose and developing amazing dexterity with your toe. 

10. It’s written as Murphy’s Law – the moment you lie down to take a rest, the baby will decide it’s the right time to wake up crying for a feed or a diaper change. EVERY. TIME.

Just learn to smile through it all!

Well guys, we’ve added one more to our brood. On June 24, 2017, we welcomed our second baby boy into our arms. We have named him Arjun, after the legendary warrior from the Indian epic story of the Mahabharata. Arjun is also the close friend and disciple of Lord Krishna. The name has special significance for us because our older kiddo Krishnav chose this name!

Three weeks into my new life as a mother of two, I’m reliving those early weeks with a newborn baby which are so special, sweet, tiring, and perplexing all in one go! But what makes this experience different the second time around is watching the interaction between the two siblings.

One of my initial concerns was how my older son Krishnav would react to having a younger brother. We’d heard plenty of cases of older siblings reacting badly to having a new member of the family. Insecurity or jealousy from the older sibling can rear its ugly head, and it's important to manage it early on. Thus, we had taken some measures to ensure a smooth transition for Krishnav from being an only child to an older brother while also preparing mentally to deal with the worst.

So how has it turned out so far? Surprisingly, Krishnav has dived excitedly into the “big brother” role. He is full of questions, observations, and curiosity ("Mama, why can't the baby talk? Mama, when will the baby learn to walk? Mama, I think the baby likes me"). He wants to hold the baby, change his diaper, and feed him (yes, he believes he can also breastfeed apparently). This all sounds great in theory but when you have a typical toddler who is literally a hurricane let loose in the house, I constantly find myself averting near disasters and accidents.

Sometimes he’s jumping on the bed precariously close to the baby laying down next to him and me panicking and yelling at him to get down. Other times, he’s playing rambunctiously with a bulky toy truck next to the baby's head. Again, I'm freaking out that he might accidentally give his little brother a concussion. I have to constantly remind Krishnav to be gentle around the newborn baby (while constantly feeling guilty that I'm stifling the "big brother excitement" in him).

But there are equally occasions when Krishnav shows his sweet and gentle side. One such moment was when he first said to me: "Mama, I want to hold my baby brother". Tentatively, I agreed to let him…and he tenderly held his baby brother and kissed him on the cheek. He surprised me with his gentleness and my heart just melted with this sweet interaction.

Recently I was lucky enough to have a comic made by Brenda Li from Summer and Muu. She’s an artist who has an incredible knack for capturing hilarious parenting moments. Always so relatable and spot-on! Well, she did a great job of making a cartoon out of my experiences. Be sure to visit her Facebook page here and follow her on Instagram (@summerandmuu).

Clockwise: Rosegal Flowers Striped Off-Shoulder Shirt Dress (Light Blue) (Check out also this Cap Sleeve Butterfly Dress) | Rosegal Pineapple Shaped Crossbody Bag | Bauble Bar Whitely Choker | Rosegal Ribbon Straw Woven Fedora Hat | Nine West Yanka Sandals
With the summer temperatures rising, how do you keep cool while staying chic? Here are my picks for a classic & stylish summer look: this off-shoulder light blue dress and trendy accessories to match!

Off-shoulder tops and dresses have been trending for a while and the hot summers make it perfectly appropriate to don cool, breezy off-shoulder dresses. I’m loving Rosegal’s Flowers Striped Off-Shoulder Shirt Dress (Light Blue) – it’s cute and totally affordable and I plan to order one for myself online too!

I’m also a sucker for quirky prints, designs, and accessories. So it’s no wonder I’m crushing on this adorable pineapple shaped crossbody bag. It makes the outfit more interesting and adds a pop of fun color!

And of course, we all know that chokers are the rage this season. So I would opt to keep all other accessories minimal and try on a choker instead. It would pair perfectly well with the off-shoulder look. Throw on a fedora hat and a pair of mustard sandals and you’re good to go! Whether it’s a weekend look or vacation wear, I like to stay practical with my looks while keeping up the style factor!

If you’re looking to update your summer wardrobe, check out Rosegal.com with its wide selection of clothes available for international shipping. You're sure to find something that suits your style. Summer sales are ongoing, all from 33% off. Use code RGEN for another 10% off!

Surprise code: RGEN

Note: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Singapore may be small but it certainly has its fair share of unique locations, some well known and others a bit off the beaten path. In my three years of living in Singapore, I have really enjoyed exploring hidden and not-so-hidden spots on this island and then documenting them on the blog. Here's a list of what I consider the top 10 "instagrammable" locations in Singapore. Whether you're a resident or a tourist, you're sure to enjoy checking out these interesting locations...and in this Instagram generation, isn't it just as much about getting some interesting shots against cool backdrops?

1. Bukit Timah Railway/Green Corridor:  An old abandoned railroad cutting through a heritage nature trail? Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it! Make your way out there to escape the downtown cityscapes for a lush green nature walk and for some dramatic shots against a railroad track.

2.  Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY): This building is hard to miss with its rainbow-colored doors and windows. If you happen to be at Clarke Quay, you can easily hop across the street to check out this building and capture a few poses in front of a door of your favorite color!

3. Lim Chu Kang Jetty/Bollywood Veggies: Admittedly out of the way and not your usual hangout spot, this place essentially counts as the Singapore "countryside". Lim Chu Kang is an old wooden jetty where many local fisherman come to collect clams and also start their fishing expedition for the day. The place has significance because it was thereabouts that the Japanese invaded Singapore during World War II. Just a short walking distance is Bollywood Veggies, a charming self-sustaining farm that grows its own produce (also great for photo-taking!).

4. Helix Bridge: Nestled between the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Esplanade, and the ArtScience Museum, the Helix Bridge may be easy to miss. However, the design and architectural features of this bridge made to resemble the DNA helix structure will pique your interest...well, enough for you to pull out your iPhone and take a few shots at least!

5. Henderson Waves Bridge: A unique pedestrian bridge made to mimic an undulating wave. Get here stat for spectacular views against a funky backdrop!

6. Chijmes: Think Gothic arches and breezy passageways! Located in the heart of the city, Chijmes is a historical building with a story to tell. Originally a 19th century Gothic-style chapel, Chijmes was eventually converted into a commercial space with restaurants. Despite that, it's still a charming place to capture lovely photos.

7. Haji Lane: Well known among the locals but not usually on the tourist map unless you tell them, this little lane is super quaint with its boutiques, cafes, and graffiti art. Definitely a place with character with plenty of photo-ops!

8. Yip Yew Chong's Murals: Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong has several murals around town depicting scenes from his childhood days. His murals portray simple scenes from everyday life, evoking a sense of nostalgia of Singapore from decades ago. Check out his murals in Tiong Bahru and Everton Road to capture something a bit different from the usual.

9. Chinese Garden Pagoda: Take a walk through this park in Jurong and you'll find classical pagodas, ponds, and a turtle museum. Undoubtedly, the most picturesque spot is the 7-tier Chinese pagoda itself. Whether you get a shot of it from the outside or take one from inside the stairwell looking down, you're sure to get many Instagram likes!

10. Marina Barrage: Sitting atop a hill overlooking the vast sea on one side and the impressive Singapore skyline on the other, there is definitely a 'wow' factor to this location. I love bringing my son here for kite-flying due to perfect windy conditions year round!

Hi everyone, as promised in my previous post, I'm super excited to announce my collaboration with Linen & More. If you haven't heard of it, you should definitely visit this Singapore-based store in person. Think boho chic as well as trendy dresses, tunics, and summery kaftans that can be worn for everyday wear or dressy occasions (check out their website here).

The blue kaftan I'm wearing below is from the Beach collection - Love the pom-pom detailing, the bright blue color, and the comfy fit! It's actually not a maternity dress but you can see I've made it work for me! I've worn it as a casual summery dress but you could also wear use it as a cover-up over your bathing suit. There's a drawstring in the front which can make the kaftan more fitted on you ladies with more svelte figures. I find it a very flattering and versatile piece, and in the tropical Singapore weather, you won't lack for occasions to wear this.

This is the giveaway dress, and the winner would receive a new piece with the choice of this kaftan in blue or pink color from the store. To enter the giveaway, please do the following:
1. Follow my instagram handle: @urbanmantra1
2. Follow the sponsor on instagram: @linennmore
2. Tag 2 friends on my post about this giveaway on instagram

The winner of the giveaway will be announced on June 30, 2017.

 Blue kaftan from Linen & More | Purse from Nine West | Arm cuff from Accessory Concierge | Shades Raybans | Earrings from Lovisa | Shoes from Charles & Keith