Over the past year, that’s pretty much been my morning routine. My alarm wakes and even before I can open my eyes, I can sense something disturbingly uncomfortable building in my head, towards my nose and then:
I try to turn over to try and snooze a little longer but either my nose is too runny, the roof of my mouth is too itchy or I’m jolted wide awake after multiple sneezes, such that my attempt to snooze is far removed from me. Dang it.
I think the sneezing is a symptom of allergies (to what though, I’m not exactly sure), and I think the allergies are linked to a weak(weaker? weakening?) immune system that’s linked to eczema. After all, hay fever, asthma and eczema are all part of the allergy triad.
I absolutely love nightscapes, especially of Hong Kong.
Missed the weekend recap last week and wish I had more pictures to post today. The last two weeks have been absolutely crazy with work projects, work projects, work projects, birthday celebrations and cramming for an exam (which I accidentally missed. Oops). I barely took any photos, which were all mediocre at best anyways, but I’ll tell you that the celebrations were mostly delicious meals with good wine and even better company, and a few trips to the cinema and spa.
I’m not too pleased about turning another year older; I feel like there are still so many things I want to do before I turn another year older, and for some of them it almost feels like the opportunity has passed (because, you know, I’m pretty sure I’m too old to accomplish the title of an Olympic swimmer or gymnast this year). But you know what they say (they, or some other old, wise men) – you just have to make the most of what you have, and never stop chasing after your dreams.
:: My love for harbour views, especially at night, is well known so I was lucky to be taken out for a lunch with a view of the skyline. Amazing-but-way-too-filling foie gras and a scrumptious buttery pan-fried cod.
:: I discovered a new-for-me dim sum place in the neighbourhood. The restaurant is very well known and because it’s old-school, it was filled with all the things that remind me of old Hong Kong movies. A noisy, bustling atmosphere filled with long-time and family patrons, and a friendly, self-serve atmosphere. A dim sum restaurant is about the tea just as much as it’s about the food, and I loved the way it was done here, with thick leaves, pots warmed on old-school stoves and a cup-style serving.
:: I was treated to my first ever manicure, a gift from a friend. The colour is a lot smoother when done by someone else, especially after you apply a top coat, which I never do. I’m not sure I’ll be going again though. The nails look great, but there’s a feeling of satisfaction when I do them myself. I’ll be sure to invest in a top coat though! (It’s already chipped in the picture since it’s been about a week now but it was pretty at the time!)
We recently moved to a new apartment and luckily for my hands, I packed a lot less than I have in our previous moves. Nevertheless, I still paid extra attention to glove up and protect my hands from the dust while I was packing. It was everywhere – at the back of shelves and closets, and from the cardboard boxes.
I get hand eczema easily. Anytime I touch something remotely dusty or dirty, which is almost completely unavoidable in a super busy and dusty city like Hong Kong, I start itching. Usually it starts off as a minor itch, and minutes or hours later, little water-filled pustules develop.
Dust is a major irritant that triggers allergic rashes, a flare up in the case of eczema sufferers and itchy patches (allergic contact dermatitis or atopic contact eczema) in people who don’t suffer from eczema. Rashes develop when the skin is in repeated contact with irritants, which are mostly chemicals and can come from a variety of sources: detergents, skin care products, metals and medications. It’s actually how I first developed hand eczema. Initially, my flare ups were restricted to the insides of my elbows and the backs of my knees, and occasionally on my inner wrist. A few years ago, I started doing the dishes without wearing gloves and the detergent led to recurring hand eczema that won’t go away!
So for the big move, here’s how I protected my hands. It worked out pretty well, I must say!
1. Clear Plastic Gloves.
These gloves are great for anything! They’re plastic and ultra thin so I often use them for mixing things when cooking (kimchi, dough etc.). I also use them when doing hand masks overnight. When it comes to moving, they’re great for packing little things like papers and trinkets into boxes but they’re not sturdy enough for lifting heavy books or boxes. They’re also non-breathable so it’s not a good idea to wear them for lengthy periods of time. You’re more likely to get sweaty hands which may exacerbate your eczema.
Clear plastic gloves.
2. Cotton Gloves.
I love, love, love these cotton gloves. The soft and breathable fabric offers really good protection, as long as you’re not touching anything extremely dirty or dusty. I use them before I put on rubber dishwashing gloves (so yes, I double glove). When it comes to packing boxes, they’re seriously great for anything. If I need to be touching something extremely dusty or damp, I’ll slip on the plastic gloves over these cotton ones.
I also love that the cotton gloves come in black and white. Makes working in them a lot more fun!
Double up and slip the plastic gloves over the cotton gloves for extra protection.
3. Construction Gloves.
I’m not really sure what these are called; we just call them construction gloves because they’re what construction workers in Hong Kong wear to protect their hands. The weaving is wider but they still offer decent protection from dust and they’re great for heavy duty lifting. They’re quite thick so I don’t double up with these.
Constructions with wider weaving.
Extra Tip: Wear a Mask If there is Too Much Dust.
Unfortunately, while I managed to protect my hands from the terrible dust, it was still getting to me through my nose. It was flying everywhere! By the time a third of our stuff as packed into boxes, I was sneezing like crazy. I couldn’t stand it anymore and quickly grabbed a surgical mask so I would stop inhaling the stuff. Eczema is in the allergy triad with hay fever and asthma, and a weak immune system (most allergy sufferers) coupled with inhaling dust can easily trigger a flare up. The mask worked wonders and I stopped sneezing as soon as I put it on.
A mask prevents from inhaling dust; stopped my sneezing completely!
Did the gloves work?
Yes! However, while I didn’t develop hand eczema, I still suffered a mild flare up – I had an issue with sweating because it was a sweltering week at 36 degrees, and not just around my arm pits either. I was wearing a tee and shorts so I could feel the dust up against my body too. Oh well, there’s really only so much you can do when there’s dust flying everywhere and I’m already thankful I didn’t get hand eczema. Pick which battles to win and keep fighting! (For future reference, I might try wearing ultra thin long-sleeved cotton gear when I’m packing.)
What tips do you have for preventing hand eczema?
Favourite shade of nude nail polish that I’ve had for years now.
Evening view from our new flat.
Originally, I had a bunch of super fun plans for the weekend: a Friday night catch up with friends, an annual family camping trip that my younger cousins and grandmother absolutely love and a friend’s wedding banquet. Unfortunately, too many miscellaneous house-related tasks, unpacking duties and a sudden flu bug cancelled all my plans. The body is a funny thing; one minute you’re fine and the next you’re so dizzy that you’re about to keel over. So the weekend was spent unpacking, sleeping, sleeping and pinning on my Pinterest in the wee moments I was awake (I am determined to make a bento lunch box this year!) Took the day off this morning because I just couldn’t shake off the bug – have not been this sick in a while. Hope you all had a lovelier weekend than mine!
You know those days where you just feel “off” for no rational reason? That’s been me this week.
We recently moved into a new flat (more on the new home later). I love the new neighbourhood; still untouched by monstrous city skyscapers and fancy residential buildings, it’s full of old-Hong Kong flavour. Last week was literally filled with round-the-clock packing, moving, unpacking and trying to settle in among the dust of final renovation touch ups and yet-to-be-unpacked boxes. While the move has kept me extremely busy and I absolutely love the new apartment that immediately feels like home, I still feel rather unsettled. Maybe it’s because I haven’t completely unpacked yet and my routine is still out of whack (I can’t find the kettle to boil water so we’re drinking out of huge bottles from 7-11, and I’m currently dressing from a handful of clothes temporarily thrown in a cardboard box).
If anything can lift my mood, it’s babies. Something about their bubbly laughs, the twinkle in the large, round eyes when they smile and their smooth and soft skin warms my heart and makes me smile everytime. I spent the morning browsing blogs (part of my job anyways) and pinning for my pinterest . A few images of these little darlings and a cup of steaming coffee, and I immediately felt better.
What lifts your mood?