myFirst from Oaxis

The year-end school holidays is always one that I look forward to because it would be a long break and there would be plenty of time for the kids and adults to spend together. No rushing from classes to classes, it’s just ‘own-time-own-target’.

I had the places to visit listed in my internal calendar and what’s a visit without capturing the memories? By that, I mean taking pictures! I wanted the kids, the girl especially, to learn some basic photography skills and each of them would have to have a camera each, to avoid fighting. Hah. I have allowed the girl to use my previous camera and I know the boy would want to use it as well if he sees the sister having it.

Thankfully, myFirst camera from oaxis, along with two 8.5″ sketchpad, arrived in time for the school holidays and the kids were ecstatic, needless to say.

The girl was super happy when she saw the camera but I had to manage her expectation since it wasn’t meant for her. ;p

We have used both the camera and the sketchpad for a few weeks now so I thought it would be helpful to share our thoughts on the products with others.

Let’s talk about myFirst’s camera. It’s NOT a toy; it is a 5MP Full HD camera. Lightweight and small, I find it suitable for little hands, just nice for Dan. I have looked for a similar-kind of camera for him on the internet but most of them are either too bulky or they look like a toy. Oaxis’ myFirst camera is just right for him. With a few essential buttons to operate, it’s simple enough for a preschooler.

He has brought it with him when we went for our nature walks, museum visit, etc, and the camera has survived knocks and falls. Thankfully, it still works well. Phew.

At the recent Black Friday sale, this camera was on sale and it makes a good gift for friends with young kids. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to doing that, it was sold out! *Regret much*

This is a camera I like and we are blessed to own one!

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These are the two 8.5″ sketchpads that the kids received. We had a sketchpad (boogie board) which we bought from Taobao three years back but it didn’t survive long. I guess it’s partly due to the few falls it had so I’m hoping that these myFirst sketchpads could last us longer.

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The sketchpad is light and 8.5″ is just about the right size for our kids. Like most similar-type of sketchpads, it allows for fine-line drawing and provides a one-key erase. The stylus writes like a pen and it has a lock switch to prevent accident scribbles or erase, a function which I find especially useful.

Do check out their website for Oaxis’ full range of products!

Disclosure: Oaxis has kindly sent the myFirst camera and two sketchpads for review purposes. No other forms of monetary compensation are involved. 

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Bee Choo Ladies Hair Treatment

[Review]

Scalp problems. Anyone?

I have. All along. I have oily scalp since a long time back and at one stage, was troubled by dandruff. The condition wasn’t grave but it did make me uncomfortable. After childbirth, another problem arose – loss of hair – and then as one ages, you can expect strands of gray hair appearing. ;(

The common solution is to make a trip to the salon and have our hair chemically treated and then build the scalp back to health through the various scalp treatments recommended by the salon. So, I’ve been doing that all along until I couldn’t find time to do that consistently. Because, kids.

In more recent months, the main problems that I faced were the loss of hair and the frequency of the appearance of the gray hair. It can get rather depressing and thankfully, Bee Choo Ladies contacted me to try their services. The timing couldn’t be more apt. The one-week September holiday was approaching and I could find time to try their treatment.

Bee Choo Ladies is located at 5 Pahang Street and this outlet is exclusively for women only. It is a recognised household brand name and has been established since 2000. I have to confess that I didn’t know about Bee Choo Ladies prior to being contacted because treating my scalp problem isn’t a BIG issue until recently. So I made my way down to the hair treatment salon, with great anticipation, no less. I was told I could have my hair scan done to access the condition of my scalp. *gulp*

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My appointment was at 10am on a weekday and it wasn’t crowded. I was told to avoid peak hours (weekdays after 5pm and weekends) so that I don’t have to wait. As promised, I was given a scan of my scalp to assess my condition.

Analysis: Oil clog, oily scalp, dandruff, dry ends with some gray hair. In certain areas, there were patches of redness, which is a result of a sensitive scalp. It’s not surprising but the pictures were pretty scary.

To clear the oil clog, ginger wine/ hair tonic was massaged into my scalp (to treat my sensitive scalp too) before the application of the herbal paste. The hair was given a 45-minute of steaming before the rinsing off of the herbal paste, scalp massage and the conditioning of the hair. So, in all, it would take about slightly more than 1 and a half hour in this intimate and cozy salon.

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This is the scan after the second treatment. Definitely much cleaner (it has to be!) and if you could see the brown coating, it’s the effect of the herbal paste treatment. The herbal paste contains a natural copper dye which dyes white hair to the roots without damaging the scalp. It’s a more natural option than the chemical ones that we go through at the salon. That being said, I have no intention of colouring my hair (chemically) any time soon so this option is fine with me. I was told by some of my friends (who frequent Bee Choo Origins) that going through this would affect the colour of their hair dye so you might want to check with them if there is a colourless herbal treatment before you go ahead with this process.

Let me share my honest thoughts. I like this treatment and enjoyed the 1.5 hours I spent in Bee Choo Ladies. I’m saying this not because I was there to do a sponsored review but I’m convinced that the treatment is beneficial to my scalp and therefore my hair and I will return as a paying customer. The therapist who tended to me patiently explained the causes of my scalp problem and educated me on how I should treat my scalp at home. There was no pressure to get me to return but she had the confidence that customers who find this treatment to be helpful would use the service again. True that. Okay, the massage won me over too and I had a very relaxing time at Bee Choo Ladies.

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Reasonable price. I’m doing a comparison here since I have done hair treatment at other hair salons. I pay a fraction of the price at Bee Choo Ladies and naturally, I’m a happy customer since it’s reasonably priced and effective. The price for the treatment varies according to the length of the hair and the price list is available on the website.

Hair products and and tonics are also available at Bee Choo Ladies. I was recommended the Purity Removed Hair Shampoo and the Japan Scalp Tonic based on the condition of my scalp and have been faithfully using them. 🙂 I love the tonic a lot! See below for what it does!

A mild, gentle scalp lotion formulated with herbal nutrients essential for hair vitality and hair texture improvement. It provides nutrients to the scalp which helps strengthen, relieves itching, control sebaceous excretion and improves follicular health, soothing and prevent dandruff.

It would be three or four weeks later (after the last session) that I would visit them again.  Thus far, my hair condition has been well, not dry. Scalp is less itchy too! And hopefully, with consistent treatment, the issue of hair loss can be addressed. I’m sure it will!

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You can find out more about Bee Choo Ladies via their website and outlets are available in Thailand too! Check out their website!

Disclosure: I was invited for two sessions of the scalp treatment and I brought home the shampoo and hair tonic mentioned in the post for the purpose of this review. No other monetary compensations are involved. All opinions are mine.

SINGAPOPERA, a truly spectacular performance

Oh, what a night. What a spectacular performance!

The much anticipated Singapopera, a celebration of the musicals of the very talented Dick Lee, was staged last weekend, to the delight of the audience. The two-hour performance by Dick Lee and his cast was received with much positive feedback (at least from the comments of the audience as they left the concert hall) and why not?

The audience was first treated to the songs choreographed from Beauty World and I thought it set our expectations with that. We were certainly mesmerised by the powerful singing by the cast. The atmosphere was light and personal as Dick and the other cast members introduced the subsequent songs and gave us a little background to them.

Some of my most memorable songs would be the ones from Forbidden City, Beauty World, Snow Wolf Lake and Fried Rice Paradise since those were the musicals that I have watched and songs which I’ve heard growing up.

Benjamin Chow and Cheryl Tan did a marvellous job with Now China Has A Son and Starting With The Eye/ My Only Chance respectively. Sitting among the audience, I felt as if I was transported back to watching the musical. Just that this time round, the set and costumes weren’t there but the singing and the facial expression remained the same, if not more powerful.

Dick Lee himself performed the Cantonese version of Snow Wolf Lake’s Love is Forever (爱是永恒’) because it was a difficult piece to sing. I could understand what he meant but Dick did a wonderful job with it. Truly commendable!

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Other songs that I personally enjoyed would be the ones performed by Denise Tan and Frances Lee. Their theatrical persona came on strongly the moment they performed and both provided so much laughter in No Class (Beauty World). Those facial expressions were hilarious and provided much entertainment. When Fun (Hotpants) was performed, I thought I shed a tear or two because I could so relate to what was sung but that emotion was quickly replaced by a sense of happiness because I was really having fun through the concert.

Sebastian Tan, as usual, charmed his way into the hearts of the audience as he candidly shared about his friendship with Dick Lee and presented Another World (Beauty World) wonderfully, amongst others. And then there was Dwayne Lau whom I got to know more through this concert and he performed Look A Little Closer (Twist of Fate) beautifully. Awesome job!

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Then there was the stellar performance by Alemay Fernandez whose powerful voice wowed the audience in the concert hall. I believe we can all agree that we were all blown away by the number, When All The Tears Have Dried (Sing to the Dawn). Is she Celine Dion of Asia?

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Apart from the awesome performance made by every member of the cast, I have come to know them a little more through their personal sharing of how they began their journey in the local musical scene. It was truly an intimate session with the cast. We are thankful that we can have our wonder boy, Dick Lee, to pave the way for the many talents in this musical industry. His perseverance has paid off and as a result, we could enjoy our very own local production of the musicals and songs, in the very uniquely Singaporean style.

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To me, that evening of performance was not only delightful and wonderful, it was one whom I feel really proud of because of our very own talented songwriter who has produced 18 musicals and many songs which we love dearly. That night, we ended with all of us singing to ‘Home’, another beloved song whom Dick Lee has composed.

Thank you for a spectacular performance. Each and every one of you, including the team of musicians led by Music Director, Indra Ismail, has made the evening truly special and memorable.

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Official Concert Photos above are provided by Dick Lee Asia.

Thank you, dear Agnes of ATMC for inviting me to this fabulous concert. Am thankful!

Canon EOS M6 & PIXMA TS9170

Kids grow up too fast. Before I know it, the baby I once held in my arms would be entering formal school in a few months time. It’s a reality that I’m still trying to grasp. Where have all those years gone?

I take a lot of pictures of my kids growing up, and I’m thankful that I did that. I often look back with fond memories as I browse the various albums of their initial years. So adorable, those faces! Before you know it, they won’t want to have their pics taken, like how my firstborn reacts to the camera now. My regret? I didn’t take enough videos.

Over the years, I have switched from DSLRs to point-and-shoot compact cameras and then to the camera phone. DSLRs enable me to take better pics but over the years, I appreciate the convenience of a small and light camera over bulky and heavy ones. And since I take pics on a daily basis now, the camera phone is my best buddy.

On days when we head out for some adventures, the DSLR still triumphs because I tend to take a different angle for the pic when I have the DSLR in my hand. Creativity takes over and convenience and the tendency to quickly just take a quick shot is shoved to a corner. Pictures turn out better, somehow.

Thankfully, DSLRs are compact these days so it doesn’t really add to the space of our already over-filled moms’ bags.

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Meet Canon’s EOS M6, a compact mirrorless camera that doesn’t compromise on speed or quality. Its body is a mere 390g and bears a vintage-style design. This enthusiast level DSLR camera is enhanced with Dual Pixel CMOS AF system and image stabilisation feature which enables me to capture those spontaneous moments and reactions of the kids.

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I find the smiles of the children to be the most vibrant when they are having fun. That means they do not have to intentionally smile for the camera. We just need to capture that moment and snap!

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You probably can’t tell from this image that I was actually running to get a picture of him riding. At that point, he turned his head to face me and I got to capture his expression. Precious. The image stabilisation feature works well for videos too which I usually upload onto IG.

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Another clear picture taken as the girl went down the slide with full speed.

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Perhaps, another feature that I’ve got to experience and enjoy is the 180 degree tilt touchscreen monitor. It does make taking welfies more fun! Oh look, that smile on his face! Have I also shared that transferring the images from the camera to the phone is really easy with the Canon Camera Connect App? I always do it on the go!

I do suspect that there are a lot more features that I have yet to discover about this powerful camera as shown in this embedded video. Let me continue and share, on IG. Easier. 😉 Will definitely go out more often in August!

What do you do with all the images that you have captured? Like you, I store in digital albums and at times, have them printed out and display them in the house. You need a reliable and high-performance printer like PIXMA TS9170.

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The girl and I had a good time choosing the pictures for our family album and she had fun helping me print those images from the printer. The PIXMA TS9170 has been put to greater use for the creation of our homelearning resources.

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If you have been following me, you would have known that I print a lot of teaching and learning resources for the kids. These days, I print mostly via the ipad and the mobile phone, seamlessly and wirelessly. Very convenient and enjoyable indeed. And the print quality is good, up to my standard.

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Printing on the right kind of photo paper helps if you want your image to turn out well. Canon has a good range (seen in the above pic) – A4 matte photo paper, 5″x 5″ glossy photo paper, magnetic photo paper and glossy free-cutting stickers.

I set out a project for the girl to work on – photo album of the family complete with her own description. So we had a good time of organising and arguing about which photos to print. It was all in good spirit though. 😉

 

We bought a simple notebook from Popular bookstore and started working on it. I have to tell you that the girl was super excited about the project and kept bugging me to start. The cover page picture was printed on the glossy sticker paper and it was a first for both of us so we were both amazed by it (suaku).

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We printed lots of pictures for this project, photographs of our daily life. For curiosity’s sake, I printed this set of photos on three different papers – Canon A4 matte photo paper, 160g paper and 100g paper. I don’t have to elaborate much. We could definitely see that the images printed on the Canon matte photo paper are the most vibrant and sharp. I had wanted to save on the cost and thought the 160g paper would do a decent job but nope.

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It’s still work-in-progress for this project but through this, I’ve experienced both the wonders of EOS M6 and PIXMA TS9170. If you ask me, I’m pretty impressed by the printer. It has made my life easier since I do print a lot of materials for the teaching and learning resources. The ink cartridges seem to last longer though they might cost a little more than the other brands. Above all, I love the quality of the print. #pixmaprintsbetter

There seems to be an ongoing promotion for its products now. Do check it out if you are considering any of them.

Canon, delighting you always.

Indeed.

Disclaimer: Canon Singapore has kindly loaned EOS M6 and PIXMA TS9170 to us for the review of both products. All comments and experiences shared are mine and I would be happy to answer any of your questions, if any. No other compensation was received.

Adventures with Gaston Luga’s Classy Mini Backpack

[Discount Code at the end of post]


Both kids are well! Hooray for adventures! No more having to be confined to the four walls. Let’s go!

Our Gaston Luga backpacks will be accompanying us for our adventures. This time round, we are blessed to have the Classy Mini to join us. Designed in Sweden, famed for that minimalist and classic look, the Classy Mini is the newest addition to the Gaston Luga family of backpacks. When they contacted me for this collaboration, my immediate thought would be ‘a backpack for the kiddo! Matchy matchy!’.

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We had a Classy for the previous collaboration and this is the size comparison. Measuring 20 x 30 x 7cm and at 350g, the Classy Mini gets you to pack the bare essentials as you head out.

 

The black Classy Mini comes with an exchangeable flap top with a colour (pink, burgundy or brown) of your choice. It’s retailing at S$199. I…chose pink, of course. The flap top is easy to change, just like how we zip up and down some of the jackets. 😁

 

 

The Classy Mini is made up of the same strong durable nylon as the other Gaston Luga backpacks. It has the same magnetic strap closure and is light weight. It’s water resistant and the shoulder straps are adjustable.

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So there is a larger inner pocket and two smaller inner pockets for some organisation of our stuff. This is really for the minimalist. After I put a water-bottle and wallet, I’m left with little space.

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I much prefer a bigger-sized backpack because I need to pack more stuff when I head out. So I conclude that it’s a good size for kiddos and those who prefer to bring the bare essentials. The Classy remains my top choice and it’s suitable for all sorts of occasions.

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It’s a good size for our girl, and it’s lightweight so she could bring out for our trips. The straps are adjustable to the length we want but because F is still a child, the shortest length is still too long for her so I have to punch a pair of holes to suit her.

I would have preferred to have the straps in leather, like the Classy. 😊

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On me, it would look like this…😌

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If you are thinking of getting any of the Gaston Luga backpacks, the good news is that it is always free shipping (DHL Express or Fedex) + 20% off as tax rebate (from non-EU country, that’s us) + 15% off on the remaining price after tax rebate if you quote ‘lynnlly15’ during checkout. That’s quite a good saving.

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I digress, but don’t you think this address tag look gorgeous?

I leave it to you to browse the website for more information. Happy shopping!

[TOYTAG] Pattern Play: Bright Colours

We love games. I mean, who doesn’t? We particularly like board games and actively seek to look out for good ones. They really help to strengthen our bond as the family comes together and play. Now that the little boy is a bit older, he could join in the fun too!

Our usual haunt for board games and the like would be from amazon, Toys ‘r’ Us and Popular Bookstore. Then TOYTAG contacted us and we realised we have one more good option to choose from. The kind folks at TOYTAG invited us to choose one item from their wide repertoire of toys and games to review and in the end, we chose Pattern Play: Bright Colours.

I must admit it’s not easy to settle for one because there are just too many to choose from. So if you happen to go into the website and get lost, I can totally empathise because the same happened to me as well. I thought it’s best to go down to the physical site to ask for recommendation. 😀

This box of Pattern Play contains brightly-coloured blocks in varying shapes which is good for introducing maths concepts like sorting, matching, symmetry and fractions. I thought we could use the blocks to teach length and measurement to the toddler too.

There are 40 glossy pattern cards that are numbered in order of difficulty, ranging from beginning to expert. This proves difficult for the boy at this point in time but the girl enjoys it. As she progresses to the expert level which is the right level for her, we could see patience and confidence gained from the process.

I believe there are many ways to use the blocks for teaching and learning. One just need to be creative! I personally like the quality of the blocks and you could pack this game in a bag provided! Good for travel, just that it’s a tad heavy. : (

We did go down to the physical site, all ready to contribute to the economy. One of our friends has been posting a lot of interesting board games on his FB and it seems the family has a whale of a time playing with them. So we thought we could perhaps find some games to entertain ourselves, especially during the June hols.

So we did part with some cash in exchange for a few games. You might find yourself in the shop for quite a while since you want the salesperson to recommend you some.

Have fun!

Disclaimer: We were invited to review an item of our choice from TOYTAG. No other monetary compensation was involved. All opinions are mine.

[Review] Canon Rayo S1 Projector

 

A projector on your palm. How cool is that? With the advancement of technology, it shouldn’t surprise us that a projector can turn palm-sized. But I admit I was awed when I first saw it at the Canon Christmas Party last year.

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To give you a better idea, the following is the Rayo S1 Projector in Faith’ hands. It’s definitely not the big machine that we think of when a projector is mentioned. You can definitely put this in your handbag or even in a pocket! It’s light at 240g and offers 854 x 480 (WVGA) screen pixel resolution.

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So I asked for a loan for the Rayo S1 projector, to try out its capabilities. I thought it would be a good tool to have when we have meetings or gatherings and when the room doesn’t have a TV. Comes in useful especially when we need to project something on the screen.

When we have gatherings such as the above, when kids come together, the projector comes in really handy. We streamed movies via our mobile phone and project it on the wall. The quality of the sound was rather clear and crisp. Not bad for such a small machine. It’s quite powerful, I must say.

Besides a projector, one can also tap on the 4GB memory to preload music, videos and presentation on the device for maximum efficiency. It is designed with a smart touch pad to enable us to navigate through all the functions of the RAYO S1 all with a simple touch.

You can find out more about the specifications of the Rayo S1 projector here.

[Review] Early Math Matters

The invitation to review Early Math Matters (EMM) came at a time when I was frustrated with teaching Math to Faith because she was none too interested in wanting to learn more and there was some resistance on her part with working on the tasks that I have set out for her.

If you have been following my IG or Dayre for a while, you would have known that I have been focusing more on language and the arts for home learning as compared to Math and Science. Admittedly, I was more excited to teach the former areas to the kids. However, I know that a solid foundation for Math would be helpful for the children so after much consideration, I decided to get Faith to attend the Step Up to Primary One (SUPO) at Early Math Matters once a week for a period of six weeks.

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Early Math Matters,  a sister company of Neuromath Academy, is a premier Mathematics and Cognitive development enrichment centre for preschool children aged 3 to 6 years old. They set out to help children build a strong foundation for problem solving at an early age through purposeful play, innovative lesson design and immersive learning, to name a few. They believe that by strengthening the child’s math fundamentals, they can instil a passion and love for math that will stay with them for life.

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I remember the first lesson very vividly and the transformation that resulted from that ONE session with regard to her attitude towards Math. Before the lesson started, Teacher Regina asked the girl if she liked Math.

“No, I don’t like.”

*face in palm*

I know she didn’t like this subject and I might well have contributed to that attitude of hers. I did try using manipulatives in teaching her since I know that children at this age need concrete objects to understand concepts better. However, I wasn’t so patient at times and more often than not, Math wasn’t presented to her in a fun way.

 

So I was truly surprised that she told me that she enjoyed the session and would love to go back again because “it’s fun!” When has Math become fun for her?

Throughout that week, she was eager to do the homework given by the teacher. I tried not to interfere, preferring to observe how she did the sums and how she derived at her answers. She did them with confidence. There were a few she didn’t get them right but after a little scaffolding, she could do them.

For the subsequent weeks, Faith maintained the same enthusiasm for this class. I was really curious. How did they do that? What did they do in there?

“Why do you like to go for this class?”

“It’s fun!”

“Why is it fun?”

“I get to play games!”

On the fourth lesson, I was allowed to sit in for a while to observe the lesson. Teacher Regina was really getting them to play…Math games and I could sense the enjoyment from the students. There was really good rapport between the teacher and the children too. No wonder Faith loves this class!

 

Of course, it’s not all play and no learning. In fact, Faith did learn, more than what I have taught her definitely and in greater depth. What is more beneficial is the fact that she is getting excited about Math!

There are a few things I like about SUPO. It is specially designed to prepare 6 year olds for primary school math and it covers a wide range of topics like number bonds, symmetry, substitution, part-whole models, multiplication and logic reasoning, to name a few. The lessons are engaging and interesting from the way the girl described to me and I like it that interactive manipulatives and games are used to create an immersive learning environment.

 

EMM has graciously shown me some of the materials they use in the lesson and have I mentioned that they also make use of VR technology to get the students to experience math concept? It’s the first in Singapore!

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While teaching materials and resources are helpful, I think what is more important is how the teacher uses them to bring across mathematical concepts in a way that young children could comprehend. I do think that pedagogy matters, a lot, and from our experience, Teacher Regina has done a good job.

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If you ask me what is the greatest benefit the girl has derived from the class, I would tell you that her interest in Math has returned. I observe that she is thinking MORE now when it comes to her Math work as compared to just inserting numbers into a number statement (for example) previously. She doesn’t get every question correct and would still need clarification now and then but the frustration level from her has dipped for sure.

When I first agreed to do the review, I had one main objective. I do not need her to know how to solve every problem or to be a Math whiz just because she attends this class. Nope. What I want to see is a change in her attitude towards Math, that she will develop a love for learning or Math in this case and to have a curious mind for solving problems and not just give up so easily and surrender, “I don’t know how to do this!”

Oops. Okay. This is more than one objective. But you get the idea?

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I’m happy with how Faith has progressed throughout these six weeks of lessons. I find that she is more confident when it comes to Math. As a parent, I am reminded to make learning fun and meaningful for the kids and not subscribe to rote-learning. There is a place for drill and practice but I believe understanding of concepts holds greater value.

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I don’t advocate going for enrichment classes unless the child needs it. If I have to get my kids to attend any enrichment classes, I would make sure that the teachers know what they are doing and they do what the school/ enrichment centre has set out to do in the first place.

Go on down and have a chat with the friendly staff at Early Math Matters and find out more about SUPO or the other classes that they offer or what their beliefs are when it comes to teaching the young ones about Math. You can call them at +65 6384 0797 or +65 9770 3263 or enquire at ask@earlymathmatters.com.

Early Math Matters is located at MODA, 42 East Coast Road, #01-02, Singapore 428762.

Code (Lynn)

Oh, before I forget! EMM is offering my dear readers a $30 off per month for their ‘Step Up to Primary One’ or ‘Math Intelligence’ programme. Every little savings help. Terms and conditions apply.

Do contact them if you are interested?

Travel in style with Gaston Luga backpack

[Sponsored review]

If you are like me who go places with the kids a lot, I believe you would appreciate a roomy and stylish bag like the Gaston Luga backpack. Their backpacks come in three sizes – Classic, Praper and Classy.

 

So I am on the shorter side and know that a big backpack would look weird on me. The Praper and Classy would be fine on me. And, oh, can you resist the Praper in white? It’s a classic!

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So this sturdy bag has been a great companion for our outing with the kids, especially during the recent Nov/Dec school holidays. We could put more stuff in it and yet it didn’t look like a turtle shell in the end. 😉 I even went to do grocery with it and certainly felt that I shopped in style. An auntie like me could also look stylish!

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You would have already known that the Gaston Luga backpacks are of good quality in terms of their workmanship. Take a closer look!

I have absolutely no doubt that the backpack could last, having used a previous one before. My only worry for this backpack? That it’s white and dirt could be rather obvious on it. But no worries, the dirt could be cleaned with soap and warm water.

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The Gaston Luga backpack makes me look less of an auntie. Even though I was ‘fighting’ with the boy over the basket, I could still look stylish with it. This, is the power of a well structured, trendy bag.

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With this backpack, one could really pack a lot in it. Yup, lunchboxes, water-bottles, wet wipes, wallet, etc, etc. All the things that a mom need to bring along when she’s out with two young kids. Thankfully, the bag won’t bulge and make me look like ninja turtle.

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The price of a Gaston Luga backpack is rather decent if you consider the free shipping + 20% off as tax rebate (from non-EU country) + 15% off with the above code on the remaining price after tax rebate.

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The Praper would work out to be this price after the discount and you could also enjoy a free leather address tag (in black or brown) worth $69, while stocks last. Last I checked, it’s still available.

Start this new year (not exactly new) in style with a Gaston Luga backpack! Do check out their website www.gastonluga.com for the various designs!

*The above discount code is applicable for all Gaston Luga backpacks.

playFULL

We are in the midst of decluttering because if we continue to ignore the state that we are currently living in, it would be a matter of time before our home becomes a warehouse. #nojoke

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Recently, we were asked to try out playFULL, a toy rental subscription service for children aged 6 months to 6 years old. playFULL seeks to bring educational toys to the families to make learning fun for the kids. I’m not obligated to blog about this but we have benefitted from it and I thought I should share.

All we need to do is to sign up and receive 3 credits each month. We can use these 3 credits to rent up to 3 educational toys of choice from their extensive collection. Along with each of these toys comes an information sheet written by them to provide fun learning ideas targeting a range of important developmental skills such as fine motor skills, thinking skills, creativity, language skills, pretend play skills, concepts, gross motor skills etc.

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Browsing through the range of toys that they offer, I’m happy that they have what I think the kids would love to play with. This is the clear view marble run which gave the kids many hours of fun and play and provided yours truly a break from them. My only headache? I had to make sure they don’t lose anything in the midst of their enthusiasm. I mean, after all, the toys are not ours to keep; we have to return in a month’s time.

I was teaching the kids about magnets and I thought toys such as the above would be a good extension of my lesson. However, they were none too excited about it. They did play but didn’t ask to go back to it after that. Many times, we thought the kids would love to play with certain toys which we deem would be attractive and helpful to them but upon purchase, we realised that it was not so. It could be turn out to be a waste of financial resources in this sense, isn’t it? I mean, of course I could always give the toy away or sell it off (and the same time, having to bear with the usual ‘can lower your price’ question).

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This magnetic marble run is a hit with my kids too and I’m thankful to have chosen this as part of the subscription box. There’s actually much to teach and learn about if we take time to play and explore with them.

So, this toy gave me some time off to relax and take some decent pictures of them working together to solve problems. 😉

My review about playFULL? I do really love the idea of a toy rental subscription service and appreciate the range of toys they provide. I especially like the range from 5-6YO and hopefully they would continue to add to their collection. The box of toys was delivered to us and the courier came to pick up the box when it was time for us to return them. It is hassle-free in this respect.

Just so you know, playFULL is giving raisingfaith’s readers a 10% discount if you intend to try them out. Why not? The toys would surely come in useful if you want to engage your kids during this holidays.

Just key in “raisingfaith10” as the code when you check out.  Have fun playing and learning with your kiddos!

My Little Climbing Room

:: Review | Media invite

Over the weekend, the family was invited to My Little Climbing Room for 90 minutes of fun and exercise. It’s the first indoor climbing playground in Singapore that is catered for children and we accepted the invitation readily because we know the girl would love to give it a shot at climbing.

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My Little Climbing Room is a rather small space and upon reaching, I was rather skeptical as to whether we could really enjoy climbing given the limited space. For this reason, it is highly encouraged that you make bookings for the slots as there is a capacity limit of 15 persons per session to avoid overcrowding. This is for safety reasons too.

You know what? My skepticism was really unnecessary because the girl was so busy climbing that even after the 90-minute session was over, she still wanted to continue climbing.

I’m not exaggerating.

We have gotten the girl to try rock wall climbing before (those really high walls) and though she really wanted to climb, she whined within 30 minutes of her attempt. It’s too tough for her! So I was pleasantly surprised that she could continue climbing and climbing at My Little Climbing Room and I think I know why.

:: Shorter walls, closer holds. 

You would notice that the walls in My Little Climbing Room are shorter (4 metres) and thus this makes reaching the top more achievable for children like Faith. So, our girl took some time to warm up and for the first few attempts, she couldn’t reach the top and asked to come down halfway through. Once she got the hang of it, she asked to go back to the same wall to try and when she could reach the top, you could just imagine her joy and it’s really a boost to her confidence. She has overcome her fear too! No more whining!

That’s when she continued with the other more challenging walls. I really appreciate that every part of My Little Climbing Room is designed with the kids in mind, including all the safety aspects.

:: Fun & Challenges 

Apart from the 4m high walls, there are other walls that are incorporated with technology to make climbing a little more fun and challenging.

This is the Number Wall, a favourite among the younger kids. The general concept is that the kid spin for a random number and climb up to tap on the corresponding number that is on the wall. Fun, no?

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This is the AR Wall which is like an exhilarating and addictive game. It’s acts like a video game that forces you to move. See the white dots on the photo, those are projected images (Augmented Reality). When the kids climb up the wall to touch them, it will be highlighted and he total time taken to tap all the dots will be recorded. I admit I was addicted to this!

To encourage kids to climb more, there is a mission card for every child with their name written on it. And when they complete all the mission (climb the wall), they will get a mystery prize. I know kids like such challenges!

Each slot is a 90-minute session and each session starts with 30 minutes of free play, then 30 minutes of group games, followed by another 30 minutes of free play. Here, the children took part in the group game which was really exciting for the adults to watch. Oh yes, the adults get to rest during this 30 minutes. 😉

You might be wondering what the younger brother did while the sister was climbing. Wouldn’t he be too young to climb? No worries, he was adequately engaged!

To be honest, I just let him explore while thinking he couldn’t really climb. But the instructor brought him aside and guided him and before I knew it, he was climbing with the instructor’s assistance. So yup, feel free to approach the instructors if you need help in encouraging the the kids to climb. Don’t be shy!

There are Wheelie and Hangout Zones for the children if they want to take a break from climbing the walls.

I think I have only shared a little of our experience at My Little Climbing Room but I’ll leave you to find out more. Faith didn’t want to depart from that place at the end of the session and she made me promise that we would go back again.

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JUST SO YOU KNOW…

My Little Climbing Room is having its Grand Opening on 30 September 2017. During their grand opening weekend (30/9 & 1/10), their admission pass is discounted from their usual rate of $22 to $15. On top of that, they also have (1) Free Popcorn, Candy Floss for everyone and (2) Speed competition for kids to win special prizes.

Do make full use of this opportunity to visit them this weekend!

And.. although the space is built for kids, the whole facility is rated safe even for adults that are much heavier. Yay! That means we can climb too instead of just watching the kids do so. It’s truly a time for the family to come together and exercise!

GIVEAWAY ALERT

Here’s a chance for you, dear readers, to win 2 passes (worth $44) each which admits 2 children and 2 adults. We have TWO sets to give away!

Here’s what you need to do:
1. Show a little support and LIKE My Little Climbing Room FB page.

2. LIKE and SHARE this post on RaisingFaith FB page.

3. Tag as many friends as you like whom you think would love this place (one comment per friend please!)

Giveaway will end on 2 October 2017, 2400 hours.

Terms and conditions:

:: Passes must be used on the same time slot.
:: Passes are valid till 31 December 2017.

This giveaway is a collaboration between My Little Climbing Room and Raising Faith and is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you, My Little Climbing Room, for inviting us to try out this place before your Grand Opening and giving us 5 complimentary passes for the purpose of this review.

[Review] Dapple Products

To state upfront, this is a post to review Dapple products and this has got to be one of my most challenging product review posts. Why? Basically because I have never done any review on household products and the reason why I agreed to review Dapple is because I have heard excellent stuff about them through a Dayre blogger who always gives honest opinions about products that she has used, whether sponsored or not. I was thinking if the Dapple products that I have humbly requested for are good, I would change to using them. That’s basically it.

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For those of you who have not heard of Dapple, it is a brand from USA and its products are made in USA as well. Powered by plant-based formula, Dapple products are designed specially to clean baby messes. Each Dapple product is created with non-toxic ingredients and do not contain SLS and SLES, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde and synthetic dyes. Not only is Dapple baby-safe, it is also kind to the environment ( I like!).  Dapple is a trusted brand of Healthy Child Healthy World and is also certified by the nonprofit B Lab to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

The invitation to try out Dapple products came two weeks before our trip to Taiwan and these are the ones I have asked to review (from left to right):
:: Hand and Face Wipes 30-Ct
:: Laundry Strips 32-Ct
:: All Purpose Cleaner Spray Lavender 30oz
:: Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid Travel Size Lavender & Fragrance Free 3oz

 

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First up, the laundry strips which is one of the new Dapple products and I was really skeptical about this. It is stated that this super-concentrated strip is packed with the cleaning power of traditional liquid powder! 1 strip for 1 load. Can you believe that? Okay, I didn’t really believe and decided to just wash a few pieces of Dan’s clothing in the sink using one strip and hand-washed them. Guess what? The clothes were cleaned!dapplestrips
I guess it works and packed this in the luggage because I know I would do laundry at the Airbnb apartment before we returned. It’s really perfect for travel because I wouldn’t have to worry about spillage. Another plus point is that it is hypoallergenic, so it will be good for folks with sensitive skin like our little friend, Daniel.

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The night I did laundry in Taipei (sorry, pic was taken in bad lighting), I used 1.5 strips for one load. All right, you can tell I was still skeptical but I really want to make sure that our clothes would be clean. The clothes came out clean except for some of Dan’s clothes which were badly stained in the first place. I guess for those clothing, I would need to use the stain remover spray. Also, if you are those who like your laundry to ‘smell nice’, then I’m afraid it won’t do that job since it is fragrance-free.

Overall, I’m amazed at how well it can clean. Definitely good for travelling!

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Then there is the travel sized Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid. It’s always good to bring along a bottle of dish liquid when you travel. This particular one cleans truly well and a little goes a long way. I prefer the fragrance-free one to the lavender-scented bottle. It’s a matter of preference but both clean wonderfully well! Recommended!

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This All Purpose Cleaner Spray? Seriously powerful. I love All Purpose Cleaner Sprays and own a few bottles of different brands. When I tried this on my kitchen counter-top and floor, this particular one emerges as a victor. It’s a clear winner! None of the other sprays clean as well as the Dapple. It’s obvious when you step on the kitchen floor right after you cleaned it. It’s very difficult for one to understand just by reading the review so I guess you just have to try it out yourself. I love this and would definitely switch to this brand.

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The All Purpose Spray is scented. Lavender essential oil is part of the ingredients used. My kitchen smells so good and feels so clean after using this. I’m a happy housewife!

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Lastly, there is this Hand and Face Wipes that I’ve tried. I like the cheerful design and the lid which makes getting the wipes out easy. It is biodegradable and contains moisturizing aloe. However, my favourite wet wipes remain my favourite.

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I tend to use these wet wipes sparingly. It’s of a good quality but it also costs more than the average wet wipes in the market. Wet wipes tend to be used up real quickly by my children. So for now, I will still stick to my usual brand.

Overall, Dapple has shown itself as a reliable brand that could do its work well and care for the environment as well. My favourite of these would be the All Purpose Cleaner Spray and the dish liquid. Currently, Dapple is having a promotion for the laundry strips at the following retailers:

:: Agape babies

:: Bove (at Suntec)

:: DearBaby

If you purchase the laundry strips at any of these three retailers, you can get a free bottle of Dapple Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid in Travel Size 3oz. Those of you who would be travelling soon, do take note of this opportunity. The laundry strips and the baby bottle & dish liquid are really helpful when you travel!

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You can further enjoy an additional 5% off Dapple Laundry Strips if you purchase them from Dearbaby. Simply use the coupon “lynn5” on DearBaby webstore. Do note that the coupon is valid from 18th Sept to 2nd Oct 2017.

#goodthingsmustshare

Thank you, DearBaby, for sending these lovely Dapple products for me to use and share with my readers. Really appreciate your gesture!

Gaston Luga Backpack (with discount code)

What kind of a bag do you bring along when you go out with the kids?

A diaper bag? A backpack? A slingbag? A reusable bag?

I prefer a backpack especially when I’m out on my own with the two kiddos. More often than not, both my hands will be full, one carrying the boy, the other holding the hand of the girl.

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Gaston Luga backpacks. I first learnt about this Swedish backpack retailer through some blogs on Dayre and really love the clean-cut, classic look of the backpacks. So when I was contacted by them, it was a definite yes for this sponsorship.

I was recommended a Classic because it is roomy and has an external pocket, great as a diaper bag for mommies! But, I have one that is serving me well so I thought I shall just give it a pass for this model.

My next choice is the Praper. I love bags in this design because I had a similar type of schoolbag when I was in Primary One. I mean, of course the quality of that schoolbag (in PVC) was nothing compared to the Gaston Luga but this design has given me fond memories.

However, after checking the size of this model, I decided to go for the smaller one which is the Classy.

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I thought the height of the Classy suits me just well at 37cm. You see, I’m rather short at 1.56m so I thought this bag would look the best on me. I wanted a bag that is great for everyday use but yet roomy enough to put the essentials. Love this specific model but they were out of stock for this then. 😭

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In the end, I chose the Classy in Pink & Black. These, are my essentials. Yes, even when I go out with the kids. I’ve learnt not to pack so many things into the bag because more often than not, I’ve overpacked and I really don’t need extra weight when I’m out with the kids alone.

Of course, I’m able to pack less because my kids are a tad older now.

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If you take a closer look at the workmanship, you will observe that the bag is well-stitched throughout the leather parts as well as on the thick quality cotton which makes up the body of the bag.

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The logo for the brand in leather for this model.

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Love the metallic feet because judging by how I normally use my bag, the bottom will get dirty very easily without them. Oh yes, this bag comes with a magnetic closure which really helps in the ease of opening and closing of the bag.

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At the back of the bag is this pocket good for storing your passport when you are travelling. Sigh, I’m not doing that currently so I just stuff small packets of wet tissues. Very important for folks with young kids!

Oh yes, I personally like the slim leather straps. I know it may not be all comfortable especially if you are carrying heavy stuff but they certainly look better as compared to those big fluffy ones. #vainpot

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I’ve been using the Gaston Luga Classy backpack for the last few weeks and love it. I think it looks good and stylish on this plain-jane mama.

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Travelling with the kids is made easy and stylish with Gaston Luga backpack.

Discount code
” lynnlly15″

If you are considering owning a Gaston Luga backpack, do use my discount code 👆🏼

It’s a lot of savings! I’ll explain.

:: There is free shipping.

:: You also get 20% off as tax rebate (from non- EU country)

:: You will get 15% discount with my code on the remaining price after tax rebate!

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Say, for example, the backpack costs $319. After the rebate and discount, you only pay $216.92!

It’s a huge discount right???!! Do check their website for the pricing for each model.

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This lovely backpack will be going places with me.

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Good things must share. 😊

Official Website: http://gastonluga.com/sg/

Trial class at British Council Open House

[Open House Preview Session]

Mention British Council and I’m sure we will think of quality English enrichment courses from preschool all the way to secondary school level by highly qualified English Language teachers. These courses deliver the same learning outcomes as the local MOE curriculum through the British Council’s teaching methodology. Since its inception, it has built a strong reputation as the go-to English experts in Singapore.

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To give you a heads-up, British Council will hold its Open House in a few weeks’ time and a key highlight of the event will be the free trial classes that parents can register their children for. Parents and their children will be able to experience the teaching methodology that the British Council adopts in their courses as well as have the opportunity to speak to academic heads. There will also be fun activities catered for families and children such as balloon sculpting and face-painting. Parents will also enjoy exclusive discounts when they sign up for an enrichment course on these dates.

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Over the weekend, Faith attended the preview session of the Open House and enjoyed the lesson tremendously. During the session, the children were treated to a storytelling session with a lesson on the digraph ‘sh’ and ‘ch’.

I had high expectations of the lesson and Mr Scott, the head of Preschool courses delivered. The kids were all ears as he read out the story and every one of them participated actively. If you were a teacher, you would like this group of children. It makes teaching so enjoyable.

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Smart board was used during the lesson and I guess the children were fascinated with it and wanted to have a try at using it. I like it that Mr Scott was a skillful storyteller and could ask good questions to get the children thinking.

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The preschool at British Council employs the practices from both the United Kingdom and Singapore to provide holistic, hands-on and concrete learning, with a strong emphasis on language and literacy. The play-based, exploratory approach is influenced by Montessori, high-scope and inquiry based learning.

Language learning is made fun with games!

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Of course, there would be serious work to check one’s understanding of the lesson!

British Council’s preschool courses focus on improving early literacy and oral communication skills for learners between the ages of 3 to 6. The courses start at Nursery 2 in which children are introduced to the alphabet and single letter phonics through the Jolly Phonics approach. Class size is kept small and there are English and Mandarin language teachers in each classroom to provide for a bilingual setting.

I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg in this post but if you are interested to find out more about the courses available or would like to get your child to experience the lesson through their trial classes during the Open House, do visit their website https://www.britishcouncil.sg/openhouse to find out more. There are different dates for the different centres. The cost of the trial class is free so do take advantage of this great opportunity!

For your reading pleasure:

:: Articles and tips that are useful for parents

:: Activities for kids

Freycoo toddler shoes

[Product Review]

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Dan turned 19 months today and we are thankful that he is growing into an active child with his own unique personality. He is all shy with strangers and in new places but once he warms up, you will find him flashing his bright smile and he will be found all over the place. Told you that he’s an active boy!

Because young people like him grow in size really quickly, this also means we have to change his wardrobe every few months. We are thankful that we received a lot of hand-me-downs from relatives and friends and so far, Dan has been comfortable with what he is given to wear except for…shoes.

I find it difficult to find a pair of shoes that he is willing to wear besides the one that he was wearing. However, that pair was really getting old and he kept tripping every now and then. It was only until a fellow mommy who told me that his pair of shoes was getting too small for him that I decided to scout for one.

It was a challenge.

Dan’s feet were rather small and many shoes out there do not carry his size. Then a kind mom passed me some shoes for him since they were of the right sizes but tough luck, Dan rejected ALL of them. What was wrong with him?

Then I was introduced to Freycoo leather shoes for infants and toddlers and was asked if I wanted to let Dan try out a pair. Why not?

We went down to DearBaby™ at JEM to get Dan to try out the shoes. I could definitely get it online but I much prefer to let the boy try out to see if he’s comfortable with the shoes and if they are of the right fit. After all, he’s the one who is going to wear them!

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Upon selecting the particular pair and getting the right size for him, I got Dan to wear them and hope that he would not kick up a fuss and protest. Lo and behold, he didn’t complain at all and went around the store to look at the many children’s products in his new pair of shoes! I thought this tells a lot about that pair of shoes. In summary, it spells COMFORT to me.

Dan has been wearing this pair of shoes for almost a month now and here’s what we learnt and loved about Freycoo shoes:

:: Made with full genuine leather, Freycoo shoes are soft and durable and comfortable to wear from day one. We can certainly attest to that. On the day we tried out the pair of shoes, we threw the old one away and Dan walked away from the store wearing the new pair. ^5

:: Freycoo uses high quality genuine calf leather for shoe uppers. The inner insole and lining are made with premium pigskin for maximum comfort and ventilation. Based on past experience (his first pair), Dan’s feet will smell a little if he wears leather shoes for too long. However, this pair provides the ventilation that he needs which is really awesome! No more stinky feet!

:: Freycoo shoes have flexible non-skid rubber soles for traction and stability. The shoes have a wide opening and spacious toe box which accommodate Dan’s feet and give room for proper growth and development. The wide opening makes them quick and easy to put on.

:: Love the hook and loop closures because it can ensure perfect adjustable fit and I could get Dan to learn how to put on and take off the shoes himself.

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Apart from the above points, I think this pair is rather stylish and is suitable for every occasion. Dan has been wearing the shoes to beaches, parks, restaurants, malls…EVERYWHERE! The price is rather reasonable at a UP of $49.90.

Oh yes, this pair of shoes has a mechanism in the heel which rewards and encourages every step with a squeaky noise. So I’m not a big fan of the sound and thankfully, a set of non-squeak values is supplied and it just takes seconds to change them.

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So yes, this pair of Freycoo toddler shoes won me over. Dan is still happily wearing them and if he grows out of this pair, I would definitely consider getting another one from Freycoo. Or perhaps I can consider buying another pair since now since all Freycoo shoes are currently on promotion at 15% off both via online and in store. Hooray! #buybuybuy

Freycoo is available at DearBaby™
50 Jurong Gateway Road,
JEM #04-45, Singapore 608549
Website: http://dearbaby.com.sg

Disclaimer: Dan was provided with this pair of Freycoo toddler shoes for review purposes. No other forms of monetary compensation were given. 

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

[Media invite]

It’s back to Gu Ma Jia to satisfy those cravings of mine. This Chinese restaurant has always scored for their delectable home-cooked dishes. Their ingredients and seafood used for cooking are handpicked by Gu Ma (the founder) and her team from the wholesale market daily, ensuring that only the best ingredients are picked to guarantee freshness and taste.

I just want to state upfront that I LOVE THEIR FOOD. Period.

This time round, they have added two items on their menu – Lemongrass Ginger Chicken Soup and Ginger Lemongrass Tea.

S_GMJ-Lemongrass-Ginger-Chicken-Soup-2Credits: Gu Ma Jia

This kampong-style traditional chicken soup recipe is from Gu Ma’s home town of Pulau Ubin and is packed with many health benefits lemongrass provides and essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B5 B6. I personally like lemongrass and find the aroma therapeutic. The Lemongrass Ginger Chicken soup ($20, 2-3 pax) is really nutritious so it’s not surprising that I went for multiple servings. Don’t waste!

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This is the Ginger Lemongrass tea ($2.50), another new item on the menu. It reminds me of the refreshment that I am given each time after a spa treatment, only that this one is milder in taste. This tea is packed with rich anti-oxidants, which helps to expel toxins and improve metabolism.  Like the chicken soup, this power combination in a cup is filled with all the anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits of lemongrass and the common spice, ginger. Have this after your meal!

Apart from these two additions, our family was treated to the other signature dishes which you shouldn’t miss at all if you do have the opportunity to dine at Gu Ma Jia.

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The Homemade Yam Ring with Pork Ribs (S$30) is no doubt our favorite. The yam ring was cooked to perfection! It was crispy on the outside yet soft and creamy on the inside. As if this was not enough, it was cleverly paired with the scrumptious Kyoto Pork Ribs. This dish is truly heavenly!

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This picture was taken before the children had a taste of this dish. Minutes later, the dish, especially the ribs, were gone. The kids, especially the girl, kept asking for it!

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This is the dish – Assam Bee Hoon Crab (seasonal price) – that I could have to my heart’s content since the hubs and kids couldn’t take spicy food. Okay, so I’m not a fan of crabs because I am lazy and dislike dirtying my fingers but I changed my mind with this succulent Sri Lankan crab because there was much meat and it’s worth my time and effort in shelling the crab. Moreover, I love spicy food and the assam bee hoon was really delicious so it’s not surprising that I went for more servings. It’s truly a satisfying dish!

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This Sliced Ginger Fried Chicken was a hit with us too. I mean, fried chicken, who doesn’t like? The meat was tender and as you put that portion of fried meat into your mouth, it doesn’t feel that you are eating an oily piece of chicken. And those sliced fried ginger? Felt like potato chips with a gingerly taste. You probably won’t stop at one.

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We were further served greens which is my love. I can just consume veggies anytime and they served the Kai Lan that was cooked in two styles – blanched and fried (S$12, S$18, S$24). Ingenious! The crispy leaves tasted like seaweed and the little girl loved this part. The stems were cooked just right and were crunchy. This is a must-order if you are into greens.

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We were then introduced to this new dish (new to me) and the server told me that I would not have guessed that the crispy fried slices were brinjal. Indeed, I couldn’t! I don’t dislike eggplant but I have not tasted this vegetable that is prepared in this way – lightly tossed in sweet marmite sauce and then fried with French beans – and it was delicious! The girl who has an issue with brinjal welcomed the Crispy Bean-Jal (S$12, S$18, S$24) at the table.

Dessert was Vinegar Enzyme Jelly ($4.50) and I only got to savour a few spoonfuls because the boy kept wanting it. I didn’t mind giving it to him since the fruit enzyme extracts can provide health benefits to the those who consume it.

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Another dessert that was NOT eaten by me is the Black Glutinous Rice with Ice Cream ($4.80). I did have a first taste of it, just to make sure that it was not too sweet for the girl before giving up my right to share this with her. Okay, the Papa and girl finished this up. Everyone was happy.

Again, Gu Ma Jia didn’t disappoint. If you desire scrumptious food prepared in a home-cooked manner (reminds me of mom’s cooking), come on down. I’ve tasted their food for the past few years and their standard hasn’t dropped at all.

In case you are uninformed, you can also have Gu Ma Jia’s delicacies delivered to your doorstep okay? Do check their website if you are interested!

Gu Ma Jia
45 Tai Thong Crescent
Sennett Estate Singapore 347866

Phone: +6285 2023

[Friday Flips] The Green Sea Turtle

I first got hold of this book ‘The Green Sea Turtle’ by Isabel Muller three weeks ago and knew that I have to do a simple study on Turtles. The story tells of the journey of one green sea turtle and the many intriguing events that happen during the course of her life’s journey. I was captivated by the story and no doubt, the beautiful illustration as well.

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The many creatures that she meets in the ocean…

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What does this remind you of? Life cycle of a turtle. I can teach the girl!

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The reader is introduced to the seven kinds of sea turtle. Okay, I must admit that I know very little about this creature so you can understand why I really like this book. It’s an information book written in a simple manner. I told myself that I need to share this story with the girl and went about gathering resources for this study.

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If you have followed me for a while, you would know that I like to do art with my girl because personally I like it. And I love to integrate art, science and other discipline into language arts. I thought I could get the girl to learn about the different parts of the turtle and of course the life cycle.

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Both the children love the story and the boy kept calling out,” Turtle, turtle!”

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I printed out these 3-part cards from thehelpfulgarden. The website has a wonderful amount of resources for us to use so please look through it!

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Going through the life cycle of the turtle with both kids. I find it difficult to design learning for both kids at the same time. Time is often not on my side. So I hope that the younger one will be able to learn something together with the sister. I hope.

We went on to the artwork and got Faith to continue to learn how to blend three colours for the carapace. The boy worked on a simple craft.

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The boy and his turtle.

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There you have it. This morning’s lesson based on this marvellous book. I think I learn more as I prepare the lesson and I like it that I’m constantly gaining new knowledge together with the kids.

flo cafe – by food lovers for food lovers

[Food review]

The next time you step foot into IMM, why not try the food at flo (food lovers only)? This new, unpretentious, clean-looking halal cafe offers a wide array of dishes and yet just enough not to thrust you into an overwhelming state. In a nutshell, the selection is …just right.

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flo is an extension of Cafe Manuka in Paragon. The idea to establish flo came about when the Manuka Group wanted a café with more versatile options besides New Zealander cuisine, and one that also caters to the Muslim/halal demographic. A cafe that serves a variety of cuisines was thus born.

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This is one of their all-day breakfast’s hot favourites – flo’s Rosti Special ($15). The potato-lover in me appreciated that the rosti is made from freshly grated potatoes. With two eggs (scrambled or sunny side-up), fresh rocket salad, marinated pulled chicken slices and sour cream with chives dip on the side, this makes for a filling and satisfying meal.

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If you want a lighter starter, their soup-of-the day is delish and there is also this Tomato Mozzarella Salad ($12). I’m not a fan of tomatoes but I love the freshness of the greens. Salad lovers, you might want to try this or their Wild Rocket Mushroom Salad ($10).

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This main, the Korean Inspired Marinated Chicken served with Korean-style fried anchovies and Kimchi Fried Brown Rice ($16) is my personal favourite. It’s a no wonder as I love kimchi and anchovies and since it’s brown rice, I feel this is a healthier meal option? ;p Also, I love the char-grilled chicken so this dish is a thumbs-up for me.

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For those who like their bread, there is the Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich ($15). The beef is tender and yummy and I wish there are more of it in the sandwich!

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Pasta and spice lovers, may I challenge you to taste this Korean Beef Pasta ($17)? This unique dish is made with flo’s in-house blended base and it allows the rich flavours of kimchi to complement the spaghetti and beef. I would have chosen this to be my favourite except that I find it too spicy for me. ;(

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flo also offers desserts such as the Bountiful Choco-Brownie ($14.50) and a good selection of cakes.

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Spoilt for choice, no? We had matcha red bean cake, rainbow cake that will cheer you up just by looking at it, ondeh-ondeh cake which we unanimously agreed that it’s the best among the four and tiramisu.

These are just some of the dishes we have tried and there are more on the menu to choose from. The cafe is kids’ friendly and they provide toys as entertainment for the young ones as they wait for their food.

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On the whole, the dining experience at flo is a positive one. There is enough but not overwhelming choice of food on the menu and I’m sure there would definitely be some that would cater to your taste buds. The service is prompt and professional, with a smile always and I truly like the casual setting of the cafe. A good cafe to to dine in and catch up with friends!

flo (food lovers only)
IMM
2 Jurong East Street 21 #02-15A
Singapore 609601
11am to 10pm daily
Contact number: 68961396
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FLO.foodloversonly/

[Friday Flips] #BabyLove: My Toddler Life

[Review + Giveaway]

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#BabyLove: My Toddler Life is an attractive picture book that depicts the life of a toddler in a technological age in which his life is recorded on social media.

Told from the viewpoint of the child, this story talks about his daily life with his mommy and the fun and learning both of them share. Seeing his mommy constantly using the mobile phone to take pictures of their daily account and posting them on social media, the toddler gets curious about the device and picks it up when mommy is not looking. He then fiddles with it and takes his own selfie, intending for mommy to share on social media. When his mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment and she reminds the child that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

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[Source]

When I read this book for the first time, I thought this is actually targeted at parents as well and I can totally relate to the mommy because I do those activities all the time – recording what we do together and uploading the pictures for memories’ sake. Yet, there is a clear message to us all- to put down our phones when we are with our children and enjoy the moments with them.

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I love this book for its simple, rhyming narrative. The story isn’t long which is helpful for young children but the meaning is clear. Moreover, its bright and colourful illustration will certainly entice readers. Faith and I had a great time as we read and discuss this book together. Sorry, there are no pictures of us because we just want to enjoy that moment.

Good for children age 2 to 5 years old.

[GIVEAWAY]

Book Publicity Services has kindly agreed to gift one reader with #BabyLove: My Toddler Life. What you need to do:

  1. Like the post on my facebook page.
  2. Tag a friend whom you think would be interested in this book.

Simple? This giveaway is for local residents (Singapore) only and will end on 16 February 2017. A random participant will be picked and we will then be sending him/her a copy of the book. All the best and remember to put down the phone and enjoy your time with the kids! 😉

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine unless otherwise stated.

 

Delectable Chinese New Year set dishes at Gu Ma Jia

[Media invite]

Chinese New Year is approaching! Have you make plans for this year’s reunion dinner? If you don’t want the hassle of cooking (and washing up of dishes) at home and wanted to just enjoy a scrumptious meal with your loved ones, do consider the Chinese New Year sets available at Gu Ma Jia, won’t you?

I had my first food tasting at Gu Ma Jia a few years back and I remember the food fondly because the dishes were fresh and of quality  and cooked just like the way my mom does. By that I mean the food was not too salty, too oily or laden with MSG. They were just authentic homecooked food.

For this coming Chinese New Year, Gu Ma Jia has come up with two sets namely ‘Peace’ and ‘Prosperity’ as if to remind us to spread peace and love between one and another while sharing our prosperity. 😉

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We had the opportunity to taste some of the dishes last month and again, Gu Ma Jia has won our hearts.

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The Ginseng Fortune Chicken is made up of  double boiled chicken, roasted pork, scallops, sea cucumber and fish maw with ginseng in a claypot. The overall result is a bowl of rich soup that will definitely bring a smile to everyone’s faces. You feel good just by knowing the premium ingredients that go into this dish. This is really good!

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I love broccoli that is cooked right. At Gu Ma Jia, this vegetable is cooked perfectly and brillantly paired with macadamia nuts and fresh scallop. The crunchiness of the nuts adds a fresh perspective to the usual broccoli, carrots and scallop combination that we so often tasted in restaurants. This dish is light (not heavy on sauce) and I could taste the goodness of the individual ingredient in its authentic form.

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One of the ways to test  if the ingredients served at a restaurant are fresh, order the seafood. These Stir Fry Prawns with Superior Sauce are so succulent that the usual I-don’t-like-to-peel-prawns me went ahead to undress them, just by using the power of the teeth and chopsticks. Fresh prawns are easy to shell, so they say.

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I don’t think I need to mention about the freshness of this Steamed Red Grouper. This will be a dish which will be a hit with my mom who LOVES fish and is done just the way she likes it. It is truly fresh and it’s not a surprise since the ingredients are handpicked and quality checked by Gu Ma herself. I even packed the reminder of this dish so that I could make fish porridge with it. Don’t waste the meat and the sauce!

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Normally I try to avoid Fried Noodles because they made me feel so stuffed. But this plate of noodles didn’t. I was told that this is a special type of noodles and it’s light on the stomach and I find myself going for second helping. Delectable!

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Dessert is  this yummy Longan Wolfberries Sea Bird Nest which I like and appreciate. After having eaten all the delicious food, it’s always good to have something light and refreshing and this is not too sweet, which is good! Just the natural goodness will do!

Besides these two CNY sets, Gu Ma Jia also offers a special ala-carte menu during this festive season and they feature Gu Ma’s signature dishes and exclusive Chinese New Year delicacies.

 

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For the complete list of the ala-carte menu, they can be found here.

Do note that there will be session timings for the set menu on the actual day of the Reunion Dinner on 27th Jan 2017:
:: 1st session 12pm – 2pm
:: 2nd session 2.15pm – 4.15pm
:: 3rd session 6pm – 7.45pm &
:: Last session 8pm – 9.45pm

In case you are uninformed, you can also have Gu Ma Jia’s delicacies delivered to your doorstep okay? Do check their website if you are interested!

Gu Ma Jia
45 Tai Thong Crescent
Sennett Estate Singapore 347866

Phone: +6285 2023

 

[Friday Flips] Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age

[Review + Giveaway]

I’ve been reading this book for over a month now and have been reflecting as much. It got me thinking about my own parenting style and how my views on education have changed since becoming a parent.

Beyond the Tiger Mom: East West Parenting for the Global Age reads like a research paper that is backed by the author’s own experience as a teacher in the US and Singapore, her own Asian heritage which shapes her parenting beliefs, interviews with Asian parents and educational research.

This is such a good read and one that causes parents to reflect on their parenting, education and family beliefs.

The author accurately described the mentality of the Asian moms and I couldn’t help but agree with what she wrote. Being an Asian mom myself, I find myself feeling anxious about getting my children to start reading at an early age and therefore find ways to create a math-rich home so that they could understand concepts early and find math in their daily lives. She also provided an honest glimpse into the lives of students in Singapore, those whose schedules are filled with tuition and enrichment classes. Is tuition necessary? The author managed to give a balanced view on that and causes readers to reflect on its purpose and if there is a need for their own children to go through that kind of ‘lifestyle’.

As a person who has grown up and taught in the US, the author was able to provide readers with the western perspective to parenting and education and marrying both eastern and western beliefs, she could give a balance view on them. My reflection as a mom is to question what is good for my children and how to parent them in this global age based on what she has shared in her book.

Questions which I find myself asking:
:: Is early math important and what can I do to build a math-rich home?
:: How to create a reading culture in my home such that my children would love reading
:: Phonics vs whole language – there could be a balance
:: There is value in individualised instruction, especially for those who need coaching at a pace that’s best for them but would I be found sending my kids for tuition just so that they would not lose out to their peers?
:: Our generation of children is brought up in a digital age. How can we benefit from the use of technology without getting addicted to it?

Of particular help are the tips that she gave at the end of each chapter, on how we we could build a math-rich, language-rich home, how to help our children memorise information and encourage critical thinking skills, how to supplement our children’s education, among others.

It’s truly a book to grab and read and then be thrust into a state of reflection.

About the author

PrintA global citizen, Maya Thiagarajan has lived and worked in India, Singapore, and the US. She earned a BA in English from Middlebury College and a Masters in Education Policy from Harvard University.

Maya began her teaching career with Teach For America, where she taught at a public school in Baltimore City for two years. She went on to teach high school English at some of America’s most prestigious independent schools. After a decade of teaching in the US, Maya moved to Singapore and began teaching at The United World College of South East Asia (UWC).

Struck by the different approaches to education and parenting that she encountered in Singapore, Maya began to interview Chinese and Indian parents living in Singapore. Using her own experiences as well as the stories of parents whom she interviewed, Maya wrote a book titled Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age. [Source]

[GIVEAWAY]

Book Publicity Services has kindly agreed to gift one reader with Beyond the Tiger Mom: East West Parenting for the Global Age. What you need to do:

  1. Like the facebook post
  2. Comment on why you would like a copy of the book

Simple? This giveaway is for local residents (Singapore) only and will end on 6 January 2017. A random participant will be picked and we will then be sending him/her a copy of the book. All the best and have a great year ahead!

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book and I chose to give a review of it because it really is a good read and I hope many could benefit from it. All opinions are mine unless otherwise stated.

Memories are made of these…

How do you preserve memories? Through photos, no?

I like to take pictures and the number of them increases by leaps and bounds when the kids came along. Is it the same for you? And it most definitely warms my heart as I browse the photos taken in the past. Awww…memories!

Recently, Canon threw a cozy Christmas gathering to a group of families and gifted us with some precious presents – wonderful time with families and sweet memories in the form of pictures, the printed way.

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When we first arrived, we spent some time with the young ones over duplo and painting of cardboard boxes. Faith has always loved Lego and Duplo so it’s no wonder that she found her way to the blocks.

We were then introduced to the new Canon PIXMA TS8070 printer and were invited to have some family fun with it! Before that, each family was gifted with a picture frame that is made of of photographs of our loved ones. Oh, dear Canon, you have done it again! What a thoughtful and meaningful gift!

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We were definitely excited as we unwrapped the gift.

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How lovely! Pictures of our daily life from our Instagram account! The kids and I were thrilled and I was personally captivated by the quality of the print. We were later told that we could try our hands on the printer and to experience its ease of use. Yay!

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These are the printers that made those pictures possible! If you observe, they are not really bulky because they are designed to fit small offices and homes in form and function so they are in a sleeker form to blend seamlessly into our study or home office.

We wasted no time in printing our photos! Since many of my photos are in squares for Instagram and Dayre purposes, I’m thankful that these printers could print them without the need for resizing. Very convenient! And because the Canon PIXMA TS8070 printers are designed for easy set-up in a wireless environment, we can readily print the pictures from our mobile phones and tablet PCs in out-of-home environments such as weddings and parties. Think photo booths!

Other ideas (for own reference):

  • craft for playdates
  • homelearning materials
  • souvenirs for home parties or celebration
  • wedding
  • travel scrapbook

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Faith and I used the photos that we have printed to do some craftwork and made a photo album from the materials that were supplied to us. It was a good bonding session!

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Ta-da! Is this nice? I’m really impressed by the quality of the print! We can definitely do lots more craftwork with these prints and  could even design and print our own customised cards. Best is they are reasonably priced at $299!

The family had a wonderful and meaningful time with Canon Singapore that day. Thank you for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to ‘play’ with the printers. The following are some precious moments captured that day by the good folks at Canon. I thought I should park them here for my own keepsake. 😉

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Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas, from the Queks!

Our family was invited by Canon Singapore and Claudia of The Loving Mom to this Christmas party. Photographs used in this post belong to Canon Singapore. The ones in squares are squarely mine. 😉

Label with Stickerkid

[Review + discount code]

About two more weeks to go before school reopens. Have you bought the school supplies and label them?

By labelling, I mean with your child’s name. And I consider quality as the main thing I would look for in choosing a label.

Thus far, I have used two brands and love both because of their quality and design. Unfortunately, the first brand has been discontinued but thankfully, the second one is still around.

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Stickerkid has been around since 2004 and all their products are made in Switzerland. They only use the highest quality materials for their labels and each of them is protected with a thin plastic layer to ensure that their products withstand any challenge that come their way.

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Prior to their invitation to review their labels (was given a test package), I have already been using them for a year and can attest that their labels last. The thin plastic layer that I mentioned earlier does protect the label and it doesn’t come off, unlike some of the labels which I have come across.

Another thing which I like about Stickerkid’s labels is our ability to customise the design, like many other labels out there. We can choose the colour of the sticker, the font size, type and colour and the cute logo that goes onto the label. Oh yes, you can also add in the chinese characters, if you want.

Source: Stickerkid

I thought these labels are good and practical as Christmas gifts to the kids. I mean, they will certainly come in useful when school reopens eh? These labels are dispatched in 24 hours once purchased.They will be in time for Christmas as gifts!

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Besides stickers, they also have removable and permanent iron-on labels for clothes. They really have a good range of labels. Do check it out!

Stickerkid discount code
[Valid until 24 December 2016]

Stickerkid is offering a 10% discount on their products for Raising Faith’s readers. Enter the coupon code “Sticker7z” when you check out. However, do note that the discount code is only valid till 24 December 2016 and does not include shipping and handling charges.

img_4079“Don’t miss the opportunity to save! Happy shopping!”

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Website : http://www.stickerkid.sg/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/stickerkid.english/

Busy tables, busy cards

[Review + Giveaway]

Busy tables. Any idea what they are about?

When I first got an email to preview Busy Cards at Busy Tables, I was curious and wondered what this was about. I have apparently not heard of Busy Tables and my first impression was some kind of cafes that could cater to kids and provide them with a set of tasks while dining in.

I was wrong. Just a little.

Busy Tables is located at Rochester Mall and is an indoor educational playground suitable for children under 6 years of age. Educational ? Yes. You will find that the setup is different as compared to the indoor playgrounds that we commonly go to. Here, you will find educational toys and resources that encourage children to use their senses to explore.

As we entered, I was asked to have Faith explore the various spaces and toys at Busy Tables. The girl got busy instantly. There were toys which she had played with before and there were also those that she was really interested in like car tracks and rainbow nesting wooden block stacker.

There was minimal guidance from me but she was totally engrossed in those that she was interested in; she was trying to make sense of the toys.

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Then there was this dark room that really attracted her attention and she stayed in there for the bulk of our time at Busy Tables. I’m quite certain that was the first time that she has ever seen a light box and with so many toys to play with, who would want to come out?

We must have sat there for quite a while until one of the staff at Busy Tables came over and tell me more about this indoor educational playground and Busy Cards. Essentially, they hope that parents could learn and bond with their children through working with the resources. They believe that children learn best from their parents and thus create such an environment for them to learn and have fun together.

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I was then introduced to Busy Cards which is an assortment of curated cards which give children ‘missions’ to complete. As can be seen from the picture, there is a variety of activities that involves literacy, numeracy, fine-motor and problem solving skills. The cards and missions are divided into various stages and tiers to pose as incremental challenges to them. It is hoped that children could acquire the discipline to concentrate on a task as they work together with their parents and to learn to keep and return each set of resources back to their original postion. Good habits, I say! These cards also assist parents to explore the many resources available at BusyTables. 😉

If you find the activities on the card given to your child to be on the easier or more difficult side, you can definitely ask for one that suits your child more.

The girl was very motivated to want to complete six activities because upon completion of those tasks, she could get a coin token to play on the slot machine (she loves it!). And, it’s no surprise that she chose to work on the activities that were found in the dark room.

If you look through the resources at Busy Tables and scan the Busy Cards, you would find that you might have some of them at home. For us, we have some of the puzzles and toys that are found there. Obviously, we do not have all and I definitely won’t be able to recreate the dark room in my home ( I don’t want to do it). I would think that this is a good place to hang out if you want to spend some quality time with your child and to have him/her do some “brain work”.

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We saw a group of mothers and children having a playdate while we were there and I thought that is a brilliant idea. I mean, all the resources are there and you don’t have to spend time making resources.

According to the staff of Busy Tables, the peak hours are in the morning, early afternoon and evening. There are fewer people between 1 to 4pm and you guess it right! It’s nap time! So if your kids don’t need to nap, that period is the best time to go! If you are curious about the pricing, you can refer to this on their website.

[Giveaway] Busy Tables has kindly agreed to give FIVE passes to readers of Raising Faith (residents of Singapore only)! Hooray!  All you need to do is to comment on this post or on Raising Faith Facebook Page who you would like to bring to Busy Tables and do leave your email address for us to contact you! 😉

You can find out more about Busy Tables via their website or facebook page. The giveaway will end on 16 December 2016 and I would announce the winners on my Facebook Page and IG account.

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All the best!

Sending sweet treats the Sophisca way

If you are looking for Christmas gifts that are practical and cute at the same time, head down to Sophisca! It is Taiwan’s very first specialty candy brand that was started in 1997 and has since established itself as Taiwan’s beloved and top confectionery retailer. Sophisca’s saccharine staples are an array of candied fruits, soft bonbons, chocolates and more!

Last weekend, the family headed down to its media preview of their Christmas collection at Marina Square and yours truly went a little crazy over their very adorable packaging. Thankfully, their prices are really reasonable so I didn’t burn a big hole in the pocket when I left.

These Christmas Reindeer and Santa gift boxes are only $4.90 each.

The daughter had a good time trying out their candies and she had reached her quota of sweet treats that day.

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These are at $11.90 each.

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This is my favourite corner. Just look at the designs on the boxes. And some are really local-flavoured with our beloved Singlish words on them.

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I purposely chose some of these to give to a Taiwanese family who will be leaving Singapore for good. They have always been fascinated by our colloquial English so I thought these are apt. There are three slices of chocolates in each box ($2.90 per box).

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Sidetrack. The girl has officially taken over the ownership of my Canon camera. So that day, she was just happily snapping pictures.

 But I got her to concentrate and pick some of the boxes as gifts to our friends.

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I prefer chocolates to candies and got this box of different-flavoured chocolates as well. Actually, I honestly think the packaging got me to part with my cash.

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So that night, we had our farewell dinner for our beloved friends whom we have met in Boston.

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They were family to us when we were all in a foreign land and naturally we grew close to one another. So that night, we had food, cakes, chocolates and laughter and sent them off with our blessing.

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So long, farewell! It’s time to say goodbye!

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Disclaimer: The family was invited to Sophisca’s media preview and were treated to complimentary goodie bags for the kids. However, items purchased as mentioned were from our own pocket.

It’s time to put up the Christmas decor!

It’s less than a month to Christmas and boy, am I excited!

I love Christmas because it celebrates joy and peace on earth and it’s definitely a good opportunity to share with loved ones the reason for this season. Each year since Faith turned 2YO, we would do Christmas crafts together and displayed them around the house. This year, with the addition of Dan, things get a little more complicated and I think it’s better that we make do with ready-made decorations.

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The kind folks at Christmas Tree Singapore sent some of their products for us to try out which was absolutely timely. There were window stickers, a room decorating kit, ceiling decoration pack and a Pin the Nose Snowman Pack.

We didn’t lose any time in decorating Faith’s room with these products. Wanting to give some ownership to the girl, I got her to decide how she wanted to decorate the room with the decorating kit that comprises the following:

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We had to leave Dan out of this for the moment because it’s not age-appropriate for him? 😉

She chose these graphics to be pasted on the wall and we are still thinking of how to incorporate the rest. Perhaps, we could use them for a Christmas party that is coming up in a few weeks’ time!

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Next, we worked on the snowflakes window stickers. I’ve decided to get both to decorate our common restroom with the stickers. This time round, Dan was involved and it was a simple but fun activity! We pasted some on the car windows as well and they really did give a nice feel during the ride!

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I love the Pin The Nose Snowman Pack the most because it’s a really fun and exciting game for the kids. Our family hosted CG (Cell Group) on one of the evenings and I set this up, much to the excitement of the kids. This game is simple. The kids will be blindfolded and each one is to find their way to the snowman’s nose (by the direction given by the others) and pin their nose as near to his nose as possible.

That evening, there was so much laughter in the room! I really love this game. Simple yet so fun. Then the picture could be left on the wall, as part of the decoration of the room.

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We were left with this set of ceiling decoration which proved to be slightly difficult to put up. We would definitely need more adult help to put this up. I thought this will make a great Christmas decoration piece if we are having a home party. But be warned. Both the kids just want to pull down the cute graphics.

If you are thinking of some Christmas decoration, do browse Christmas Tree Singapore for their available products. They have  Christmas trees as well and you might want to learn about the types of Artificial Trees available, just for info’s sake.

Lastly, hop on over to Floral Garage if you’re in for some flowers!

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Our family is gifted the above mentioned sets of Christmas decorations for review purposes. All pictures are ours unless otherwise stated. Opinions are our own. 

Appreciating da man in our lives

This post has been waiting to be published and finally I remember to do so.

I am writing this post to show a little appreciation to the man in our family.

If we scout the Internet for parenting-related articles, we will find that there are more articles that share about life as a mom, the changes that go through the mom’s body after giving birth and how much they need time off from the children, just to name a few. I’m not sure about you but at least these are the ones that appear more often on my FB feed and I’m immensely thankful to some of these articles because the writers encourage me in this parenting journey.

At times, I thought about the fathers. The kind of pressure they face at work and at home. How they feel coming back to a frustrated mom and cranky kids after a day at work. I tried asking da man about his thoughts but he would often shrug his shoulders and reply, “Work is work.” And nothing else.

I have to mention this bit of information about da man. Upon reaching home, he would help to shower the kids, spend some time with them before turning in for the day. And he does the night shift, just so that I could catch some sleep.

Surely, he’s tired.

So when Floral Garage approached me if I would want to receive a DIY room/party decor kit that is inclusive of DIY Decor items and faux flowers, I thought we could plan a surprise for da man.

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If you find the contents to be too feminine for da man, I don’t disagree with you. After all, it was initially meant to be used to decorate Faith’s room but I was thinking that the girl would be distracted by the beautiful decor items and would encounter problem falling asleep. So, we decided that we would work together to decorate the wall at the dining area so that when Papa comes back home, he would have a neat surprise!

The girl was obviously excited to be part of this plan and we decided to choose the word ‘LOVE’ on the wall. Using the washi tape provided in the box, I spelt out the word so that Faith could tape the faux flowers and leaves onto it. It’s a lot of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination work!

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I just want to warn you that this might take a full one or two hours, depending on how fast your kids work. Faith was really on the ball and did most of the decoration on her own while I prepared dinner.We did have problems with the pom poms though because we had to separate each piece of paper carefully. This really tested our patience! And we left out the tassels since we did not want to crowd the wall.

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Kids being kids, she got distracted in the process.

This is the completed wall, a simple one but filled with loads of love and effort, especially from the girl. This is a good craft activity and if you are planning for some birthday celebration and want to DIY, this kit will definitely come in useful!

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So, da man came back and.. didn’t show any sign of surprise at all! It’s life as usual for him. Grrr…but in the end, we had fun taking wefie against the backdrop. Creating memories, so they say.

After a few days, we took down the decor and I kept the faux flowers and leaves properly since I know I will reuse them.

floralCredit: Floral Garage

This DIY Floral Backdrop kit is part of Floral Garage‘s newly launched floral party decor category. If you are planning a party, you should definitely check out their party supplies page for relevant resources or consider their party packages!

If you would love to walk in, Floral Garage Sg is located at:
756 Upper Serangoon Road,#03-34,
Singapore 534626

Connect with Floral Garage via:
Facebook : Floral Garage Sg
Instagram : floralgaragesg
Email: floralgaragesg@gmail.com

Disclaimer: I received the kit for review purpose only. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are of my own.

Snacking well with Bebemi organic baby products

Confession. I am one of those parents who is very particular of the kind of food that I give to my children. Homecooked food is the best because I could control what goes into the dish. My kids are not allowed to drink cold water (but once in a blue moon, it’s fine) and if they have to snack, they would have to be fruits and mom-approved tidbits.

Very rigid mom, eh? But at least, the children don’t have to report to the doctor every now and then. In fact, they have quite a good record of not visiting him.

I believe in educating the children on nutrition from young and choosing the right food has to be taught. In terms of snacks, I normally and try to go for organic ones and when I heard about Bebemi, a Korean Organic Snacks that is specially designed for toddlers during their weaning stage, I knew I had to take up the opportunity to try the products and review them.

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I’m glad I did.

These four types of Bebemi snacks – Bebemi Stick, Petite, Ring and Rice Cake Biscuit – were sent to me and I wasted no time in trying them. Yea, I usually do tasting of any food first before giving to the kids.

So, um, if you are looking for snacks that are crunchy, they are not because they are not baked or fried. The selected non-pesticide grain snacks are prepared using the world’s first patented technology that “rub” the grain bucket using ceramic friction heat (about 150 degrees Celsius) so nutrition is not lost in the process. The texture is on the soft side which melts immediately upon contact with the saliva so it doesn’t cause choking. Another plus point is that it doesn’t really stick to your teeth as compared to the other snacks that we consume. So it’s definitely a win for me in this area (think ‘dental health’).

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On the first day, Daniel had the Bebemi Petite with milk for breakfast and finished the whole bowl of it. I was happy of course that he didn’t reject a new product since most of the time, he would eye them with suspicion and carefully taste them. Perhaps the milk has helped but in any case, I’m happy.

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I started packing the other snacks into his container and he was happy with the others as well. The snacks are of the right size for him to grip and he really didn’t drop many this time round (less wastage). It doesn’t create much mess as a result and cleaning up is easier as compared to the other snacks whose crumbs are much smaller and more sticky on his little fingers.

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I had Faith try the products too and mentally told myself that she wouldn’t like them since she is exposed to more kinds of snacks and desserts (I’m more relaxed with her now) and may find these ones bland. I mean, the Bebemi snacks contain NO sugar, salt, artificial colouring, synthetic additives, preservatives and does not undergo oil treatment. It’s really just the natural taste and aroma of the whole grains and vegetables so I’m not sure how she would take to it. And surprise, surprise, she likes them! I don’t understand but obviously I’m not complaining.

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The Bebemi snacks are good as a form of breakfast cereal for the adults too. I love the Bebemi ring the most and have been snacking on them. Each packet of the Bebemi product comes with a zip lock to ensure the freshness of the snacks and the number indicated on the top right hand packet shows the required age of the child in order for them to consume.

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Bebemi is exclusively disrtibuted by Totsworld and each packet retails at $8.90 but they can be purchased at $15 for 2 packets.

However, as a reader of this blog, you can purchase 2 packets for $14 or 4 packets + 1 free packet for $28 when you key in the code LYNNLLY during checkout at Totsworld.

Bebemi products are also available at all OG and BHG departmental stores, 1010 Mother and Child and in the near future, Redmart.

There are indeed many baby snacks that are available in the market and I’m glad that we can have one more good and wholesome product for our kids to try.

Disclaimer: We are gifted with four packets of Bebemi korean organic baby snacks for review purposes. All opinions are solely mine and the children’s. 

Read, read, read

I believe we all know that reading is an important skill and many of us read to the child even before he/she was born. As a (ex) language teacher, I know it is vital that the child knows how to decode a word and therefore read before he/she enters formal school (Primary School). It is my goal that my children acquire a love for reading and so I read to Faith diligently even before she was born and continued to do so after that.

BUT… a few months back, I was overwhelmed with work and by that I mean teaching Faith, household chores, looking after a very energetic boy, etc and I was tired out. We still made it a point to visit the library and borrowed many books but those books were placed on the tabletop, some untouched. There were times when Faith asked me to read to her but I was just too tired and told her we could do so the next day…the next day…the next day. Gradually, I realised that she had lost her interest in reading and when I did ask her to get a book to read, she would prefer working on other stuff to reading.

That’s when I ‘woke up’. This has got to stop! And I started to Drop Everything And Read to her. I make it a point to read at least five books a day to her. You might think this is a low target but at times, I can’t even get past two books. Seriously!

So I persisted with my #fiveaday for a few months and am glad to say that Faith’s interest for reading is back! How do I know? She would ask me to read books to her and would stay glued to the story even though it is a long one. Now, when I ask her for predictions, she would respond based on the illustration or her own knowledge. We talk about a certain book over conversations and her eyes will light up, “Remember, the boy who….the one in the book we read yesterday?”

It does good for me too. I rekindled my love for reading and started to find time in between chores to read. When Faith saw me reading, she asked to be read to as well. Ah…we are sharing the pleasure of reading again!

I would like to share a book that helped me (sort of) get back to reading for pleasure, and not just for information.

img_0614Found in the Adult Lending section
Call No. 011.62 HUN

This book talks about using books to help children grow and lists some of the best-loved books for children from 0 to 14 years old. However, there is only one copy available in our library and I’m currently holding on to it (as of 21st October). It’s quite possible that I would fork out $$$ for it. 😉

Here’s sharing with you ten ways to raise a reader (adapted based on this book):

  1. Restrict screen time drastically.
  2. Keep the computer, ipad, phones under control and where they can be monitored. Don’t allow too many hours on pointless games or in chat rooms.
  3. Have books and other good reading material within easy reach, an enticement to read.
  4. Let your children see you reading.
  5. Read books aloud together regardless of age.
  6. Talk about books together; play games together.
  7. Have well-lit rooms with comfortable chairs that invite reading.
  8. Balance activity schedules with reading time. Let your kids know the library is as important as the gymnasium (sports).
  9. Encourage reading in bed with good lights to do so.
  10. Visit the library often, and listen to books-on-tape when travelling.

So, I say..

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My maiden Salomon X-trail run

Over the weekend, I went for my first Salmon X-trail run and came back with aching knees.;)  I’ve been running on flat grounds all these while and I thought I could challenge myself with trail running, except that I didn’t give myself enough time to run on such terrains prior to that actual day.

I arrived at Punggol Parade with little expectation; I didn’t even check out the route. I would just run, I thought to myself, and enjoy the journey. It was a hot afternoon and I was thankful that the folks from Salomon were giving out drinks. Hydrate! Hydrate! Many of the runners seemed to know one another and with about 800 participants, this made the run a cozy affair.

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We were flagged off at 4pm after a zumba session as warm-up. There was a bottleneck at the initial phase which was expected and then a minute into the run, we were greeted with muddy tracks.

The brave and experienced ones ran through it while the rest of us did so gingerly. I think many of us didn’t expect the muddy tracks but it was a good experience. I mean, how often would we run in such a condition? My only concern was whether my shoes would be all right and the cleaning up, of course. ;p

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After a few more sections of muddy ground, the run was more enjoyable. We had to steer clear of the normal running tracks for the public though so that we could experience the trail that was ‘designed’ by the organiser.

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But I must be honest. It’s really not easy running on these different grounds. Coupled with the fact that it was a hot day which sapped the energy from me, I find that I needed more effort to run in this race. There were about three waterpoints which served isotonic drinks but I thought plain water could be given as well. 😉

We passed through Coney Island and this was my first time there! I know, I know this is terrible so I was thankful to be running through it. After that stretch of trail, there were some parts which were rather dangerous (at the breakwater and forested area) yet fun and we found ourselves slowing down and walked in single file.

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1 hr 18min later, the finish line was within sight and I was glad that I made it. It wasn’t an excellent timing but I was thankful for the experience of running in various terrains. I think it would have been an easier job for the organiser to hold the race at MacRitchie Reservoir, for example, but they took the effort to plan this route. No thanks to the muddy tracks though but I guess it’s all part of the fun of trail running, no?

I must thank Salomon & World of Sports for giving me a spot for this run and to experience what trail running entails; I have a new-found respect for trail runners now. Thankfully, my Mizuno running shoes supported me throughout the race and I think it will continue to serve me in the days to come. I wasn’t able to train outdoors much prior to the run but relied mostly on the Minus Calories workout at Active Hive and I believe it had helped me in completing this run. All in all, it has been a wonderful experience!

So, which run should I sign up for next?