[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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[via]

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Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

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?

Foodie Friday | Blend it up

Birthday celebrations with the in-laws are done over a meal and usually, the birthday girl or guy would suggest the restaurant to dine in. It can be stressful (to me) because you want everyone to enjoy the meal and that means choosing a place that offers good food. Besides, my Peranakan aunt-in-law is an excellent cook and I didn’t want to disappoint her with any wrong choice of eatery or food! For Daniel’s birthday, a friend suggested Blend It Up, an Italian Fusion Casual Dining restaurant along Upper Paya Lebar Road. It took me a while to decide on this place because we have never had Italian cuisine all these years and I’m not sure if the older folks like them? In the end, I decided to go for this since I was told that the chef, Chef Peter Neo, has 35 years of culinary experience and the restaurant offers original handcrafted sauces, soups, pizzas and pastas made fresh from scratch and free from preservatives; they are created from the finest ingredients, authentic flavours. I thought about my two children and okay, the food is definitely suitable and good enough for them!

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Quaint and cosy restaurant, I must say. We went on a Sunday for lunch and if you are driving, you might want to be patient with finding a carpark lot since there are many churches in the vicinity (Sunday service = many cars).

We were greeted by the affable Chef Peter Neo and after settling us, he asked if Faith wanted to have some authentic experience with making a pizza while waiting for two more guests to arrive. Why, of course! Okay, I have to clarify that my friend has helped to arrange for this. 😉

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So yes, this uncle seemed nice enough and Faith warmed up to him rather quickly and before we knew it, she was having fun with making the pizza.

 

I’m not sure if such a one-to-one pizza making session is always available but you can always call up to inquire! What I know is that he is able to provide cooking demonstration if needed and private dining, cooking lessons and pizza classes for groups are available for customers.

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The girl was obviously very excited about her attempt on pizza making in a professional kitchen under the guidance of a celebrity chef!

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Minutes later, the Blend It Up pizza was ready! Absolutely love it and it served itself well as a delicious appetizer. How not to love this classic pizza with its crispy thin crust that is topped with feta and mozzarella cheese, mushroom, honey baked ham and completed with a sunny side up on top? The fact that Faith had a hand in it just made it delectable. I’m biased, I know but honestly, this is good.

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Next up were wild mushroom soup and chef’s specialty chicken wings. I love mushroom soup that contains chunks of mushroom in every mouthful. This one had them and it was thick, rich and creamy the way I like it. Faith shares my love for this soup and we could tell which are the good ones because we always, always order mushroom soup when it is available in the restaurant. Pairing the soup are the chicken wings which were all snapped up rather quickly.

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Chef then presented us with the whole grilled squid which is not found in the menu. But I was glad that I heeded his advice to have this served because everyone at the able raved about this seafood item. Granted that we don’t usually order this when we dine out but this whole squid was cooked well; it’s tender and juicy and I just love the seasoning.

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Another winner is the roasted pork belly with porcini sauce. This is a request from my father-in-law since he loves roasted pork belly and after he had his first bite, we could hear his praise for this dish. Phew! The slow-roasted pork belly was tender and evenly marbled with fat. Love the top layer of perfect crispy crackling and the homemade Porcini sauce and the side of pineapple sauce make this dish truly delightful for all.

 

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My auntie-in-law ordered the grilled salmon with butter sauce and loved it. Throughout the meal, I heard her commmenting, “This is good, this is good!” for the various dishes. It’s a high compliment coming from this seasoned cook. She further told me that she saw Chef Neo on TV before and updated me that the restaurant was featured on that day’s papers. I think I have chosen the right place to celebrate Dan’s birthday! *Happy mom*
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Is every dish so perfect? I wish I could say that but there are a few dishes which we thought could fare better. Since we were in an Italian restaurant, I thought we should order risotto to try. We had the mushroom one and my sister-in-law and I found something missing from the dish. She found it too ‘jelat’ (rich) while I thought it was a tad light. The bountiful amount of mushroom didn’t impress the mushroom lover in me. It’s decent enough as a dish but not stellar.
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In the end, Daniel helped to finish the remaining portion for this dish.
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By dessert time, most of us were already full but who could pass with gelato and waffles? So we had two scoops of chocolate and avocado gelato on freshly baked waffle. The gelato was good but I couldn’t say the same for the waffle. I would have preferred the waffle to be more on the crispy side and the dessert would have been awesome. Nonetheless, the girl liked this sweet treat.
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We had an intimate lunch in this quaint restaurant that seats about 45 people. Chef Neo, though busy in the kitchen, took time off once in a while to mingle with his customers. Many of the patrons seemed like old-time customers by the way they related to each other.
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After the lunch, I posted the pics on my FB and was told that my friend was a regular customer and recommended this place too. Go for the 1-for-1 promotion that is only available on weekdays from 11.30am to 3pm (excluding public holidays) to get your money’s worth! 😉 Expect to fork out about $30/pax without the promotion.
The next time I visit this restaurant, I would be trying out some of the dishes that have a local spin on them. After all, this is an Italian-fusion cuisine!
This is a good place for a casual meal with friends and family. We recommend this place!
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A little about the chef:
Chef Peter Neo is no stranger in the culinary and media industry. He has 35 years of culinary experience and was the former Chef di Partie at Raffles Hotel. His passion for the culinary arts brought him to Italy where he learnt to cook authentic Italian cuisine from some of the best Italian chefs. Upon his return to Singapore, he joined an established local Italian restaurant chain.He also began experimenting with fusion Italian food, creating witty and innovative dishes to appeal to local tastes.He is the man behind local Italian restaurant Pietro Ristorante Italiano, formerly from Raffles Hotel and Bruno, and his latest venture into Italian fusion food is represented through Blend It Up.

325 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Quemoy Building S(534946)
Telephone Number: 6281 2688
Facebook : www.facebook.com/blenditupsg
Website: blenditup.sg
Instagram: www.instagram.com/blenditupsg
Operating hours (daily):
Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10:30pm

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Thank you, Chef Neo and team for giving us a wonderful experience at Blend It Up. The girl was thrilled with the pizza making session and the folks were really happy with the food that was prepared with much love. Good job! Thanks also for giving us a discount on the meal. Will be back for more.

Friday flips | Learn Chinese Books – Shapes

I’ll go straight to the point. I love this set of Learn Chinese Books.

I stumbled upon this series of books during a book fair. The lady who recommended them first introduced Taoshu Learn Chinese Books and then shared with me this set of books that is based on ‘SHAPES’, an animated TV series produced by Peach Blossom Media. Squares, circles and other basic shapes are used to retell famous folktales with humour and wit. I thought the graphics were interesting and might spark off some creativity in Faith and bought volume 1 whose stories centre around friendship and kindness.

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We went home and started reading. The story was so interesting that the girl asked to read another book. Before we knew it, we have read all six titles in one go.

Thankfully, our local libraries carry these titles and the kiasu me borrowed what I could find for volume 2 and 3.

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What I like about these books:

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I can try my best to articulate and speak properly in Mandarin but in terms of word recognition, I fail. I could still remember the basic words though but anything more than that, I would have to look up the dictionary for its pronunciation and meaning. I always welcome hanyu pinyin and these books have included hanyu pinyin for the more difficult words and phrases.

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And if you are one of those who really cannot make it in terms of reading Chinese, they provide hanyu pinyin for the entire story!

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Don’t understand what you are reading? Fret not, there’s the English translation for you! Faith got me to read the English version after reading the text in Chinese.

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What I like about these books is that there is a moral to be learnt for each story.

So yea, do look up these books when you are at the library and I’m sure you will enjoy reading them to your kids too!

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Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Friday Flips | A is for Australia & Are We There Yet? 

It has always been a practice, that when I travel, I would purchase a (Chinese or English) book from that country and read it when I am on the plane, train, bus or taking a break in the hotel room or cafe. It is no surprise then that I bought books from the recent Melbourne trip but nope, this time round, they weren’t solely for my consumption but for my kids as well.

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Sharing two awesome Children’s books about Down Under – A is for Australia & Are we there yet?

I’m not sure if we could purchase them from the local bookstores or borrow them from the libraries. Last I check, they weren’t available from the libraries so I made it a point to hunt down these books after I saw an Australian Instagrammer sharing one of them.

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A is for Australia by Frane Lessac is a factual book about the country and we could explore the A to Z of it – from Bondi to Kakadu all the way to Taronga Zoo. I admit I do not know much about Australia and this book gives a summary of the wonderful places that can be found in this beautiful country.

Did you know that….

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Faith and I are exploring the different countries in the world (part of our Geography homelearning curriculum) and I thought these two books will help in giving her more facts and knowledge about the country.

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This book is  slightly easier to read but also contains facts about the country. Faith loves to play ‘I-spy’ and I thought this is a great book to bring along when we are on the go. I love the illustration too!

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This page is certainly something she could relate to.

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I bought these two books from the souvenir shop at the Melbourne Museum. There are lots more wonderful books found in there but I could only afford to bring these two back. If you have interesting books on the various countries, please share? I would love to read them to Faith!

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Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Canvas Painting at TrehausKids

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I have mentioned before that I would like to expose Faith to different interests so that I could help her identify her strengths and work on it/them. The period before she enters Primary School is a great timing because she has extra pockets of time to explore and we would not be stressed out by the demands of school. So far, we have signed her up for music, swim, dance and Chinese class. She loves all of them except for dance. It’s exasperating to observe her dance movement and attitude during the Twinkle Toes’ sessions that we signed her up for at the Esplanade. We concluded that she does not have interest in it, at least for now.

Art. I think she has a keen interest in it judging by how she could focus on working on an art piece. She has often expressed that she would like to attend an art class and I jumped at the opportunity for her to go for one at TrehausKids during the September school holidays.

The theme for that session is Monsters and Faith was actually looking forward to that session because she genuinely loves the space at Trehaus (she has had very good memories there). Upon entering the class, she settled rather quickly though it was her first time meeting Ms Jessie Chandran.

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Ms Chandran read them the book – Monsters Love Underpants – before getting them to work on a collage and subsequently the canvas painting of the Monster.

Definitely proud of her own work!

TrehausKids is launching regular weekly art classes at the Trehaus Studio, starting 16 September 2016. Helmed by TrehausKids Lead Facilitator and Art Educator, Ms Jessie Chandran, the weekly art classes happening every Friday is set to immerse young children in the world of modern and contemporary art while picking up core skills in painting techniques, colour mixing and sketching.

Every session, Ms Chandran will personally guide a small class size of no more than 8 students and mentor them on drawing, sketching and painting techniques to create their own masterpieces. In these sessions, students will explore different art medium such as watercolour and acrylics with a variety of painting tools to unleash their inner Warhol or Picasso. 😉

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For younger students who are aged 3-4, theme-based art workshops will include storytelling to accompany each session. I heard there will be exciting tales from well-loved children’s authors such as Eric Carle and other famous classics!

While the sister was working on her creative piece, the brother was having a fun time in the next room.

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The art class happens every Friday, starting 16 September
2:00PM – 3:30PM (3-6 years old)
4:00PM – 6 PM (7-10 years old)

Venue: Trehaus Studio
Cost of each session: $35 +GST (non members); $20 +GST (Trehaus members*)
Cost of one term of 4 sessions: $120 + GST (non members); $60 + GST (Trehaus members)

*Trehaus member refers to members on WORK or WORK + PLAY membership packages

More information can be found here.

[Review & Giveaway] Baby Cadet class @Sparkanauts

Daniel completed his four sessions at the Baby Cadet class at Sparkanauts and it’s a joy to know that he has been responding well to the class. Read about his first session here.

Since the second lesson, he didn’t need time to warm up to the teachers and could confidently played with them before the actual lesson began. Perhaps it’s due to the presence of his sister (who was allowed to be in the class as well) but it is heart-warming to know that he’s so comfortable with the teachers.

Over these few sessions, I have observed that Dan really paid attention when words were flashed at him. He could concentrate for that short amount of time and it’s certainly a good start to learning words. At home, I used the parent-child bonding package (which they send via email after each lesson) to further reinforce what he had learnt in class. I may not be seeing instant results now but I know he is constantly learning and I need to keep up! So I’m thankful to be provided with the resources to teach him.

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Besides intellectual stimulation, there is this portion of the body strengthening segment which I like. Daniel could always stay on the trapeze for the required amount of time but when it comes to his stamina, he would have to work at it.

This boy couldn’t crawl long and would often give up halfway through although with each lesson, he crawled a longer distance. He had not gotten the hang of getting up and down the steps and slopes so by observing him in class, it serves as a form of feedback to me. I could then help him in his weak areas. Here, you can see the sister encouraging him to continue crawling.

Besides working on their gross motor skills, the kiddos also got to practise their fine motor skills! In this instance, Dan got to feel the texture of the materials for his Singapore flag.

There is also the music appreciation component in the class! Okay, so I absolutely ‘cannot-make-it’ in terms of music so I’m glad that I could learn together with him! 😉

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We have been missing the class for two weeks now but each time when I sing the welcome song (sung at the beginning of the lesson) to him, he would look at me, flash me a smile and automatically raise his hand, a practice that the babies do in class. I know he has benefited from the lessons and I can safely say that for myself too. From the class, I learnt about some of the exercises and tips that I could do with him to help in his overall development. Consistency is key, of course, and I can’t wait for him to continue with the class. It is truly holistic in nature which I like!

This is random but this is Faith with her teacher when she was attending the class as a 1YO. Now they meet again!

[Giveaway] If you are thinking about trying out Sparkanauts classes, here is a wonderful opportunity to do so. Sparkanauts is giving away a trial class pass for THREE readers. You can then go through the lesson for yourself (together with your child, of course) and decide if you want to continue with them. Sounds good?

What you need to do is to share with me the age of the child whom you want to win the trial class for via the comment’s section in this blog post. Remember to leave your email address!

– 3 winners will be chosen at random
– Giveaway is only open to Singapore residents.
– Ends on 3 September 2016
– The winners will be announced on this blog post and on Raising Faith’s facebook page the following day and will be contacted by Sparkanauts directly.

Sparkanauts

www.sparkanauts.com | FB https://www.facebook.com/Sparkanauts
293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, SAFRA Toa Payoh, #02-01, Singapore 319387
T: (65) 6259 0307
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm

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Disclosure: Daniel is given a four sessions package by Sparkanauts for review purposes. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

 

Dan’s first lesson at Sparkanauts

A few weeks ago, Dan started attending the Baby Cadet classes at Sparkanauts and of course, I was thrilled about it. A couple of reasons really. Faith attended the then Gymnademics when she was slightly more than a year old and I know she had benefited from it. So I have had good impression of the classes. Also, I was less adventurous with Dan and we are mostly at home. Granted that we can definitely learn at home but with more household chores to do and a preschooler to teach as well, I do think I have neglected Dan a wee bit. It’s just more difficult to balance now.

So when Dan was invited to attend a few classes at Sparkanuts, I was more than happy. At last, he could learn more stuff! If you have not already known, Sparkanauts is a centre of excellence built on the belief that learning should start early for each child to achieve their full potential and their lessons reflect that belief. Their curriculum combines play and exploration with learning resulting in holistic brain development that is made fun and engaging.

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For the first lesson, we were told to be present at least 15 minutes before the commencement so that he could play and get used to the environment. I was thankful for this arrangement as I know he could take a while to warm up to strangers. The instructors were really patient and gentle with him and it didn’t take him long to trust them.

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Within ten minutes, Dan had warmed up and was happily interacting with the instructor. How nice!

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The class started with a welcome song and introduction of words based on a theme. Besides these, music, mobility and mathematics are also part of the curriculum as they stimulate the baby’s mind, thus creating the learning foundation for their developmental journey.

First time on the trapeze bar (which helps strengthens the fine muscle tones like hands and fingers) and stayed on it for the required period of time. I was so proud of him!

At the end of the session, the main instructor briefed the parents on what we could look out for to help our kids in terms of their physical mobility so that we could continue to work on it at home. We also received the Child Bonding Package which includes materials that we could go through with Dan for the week to reinforce his learning.

So the first lesson went well!

Stay tuned for the round up of the four sessions next week and I will also be conducting a giveaway for a complimentary trial lesson for 3 readers. Next week, next week!

Sparkanauts @ SAFRA Toa Payoh
293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
#02-01
Singapore 319387
T: (65) 62590307
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm
Website: www.sparkanauts.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Sparkanauts/

 

Jogging with Hauck Viper Pushchair

If you have been following this blog for a while, you would know that I like jogging a fair bit. In fact, it used to be my favourite past time before I had kids. I would jog five days a week, ranging from 5 to 10km per session, depending on how much time I had.

After I had my first kid, exercising was drastically minimised. In order to jog, it’s either I get someone to look after the kid or I could jog with her in the stroller. We didn’t have a jogger stroller but we have a sturdy standard-sized one that could do the job all right. Jogging with that stroller was fine but not great.

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Credits: hauck Singapore

On Mother’s Day, I was gifted a hauck Viper Pushchair which is a three-wheeled buggy for sporting parents. After jogging with it for the first time, I realised the great difference it makes to jogging (the run is so much smoother) and would recommend parents who like running (especially) or want to exercise with the baby to consider buying a jogger stroller.

And you might want to consider the hauck Viper Pushchair.

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Since receiving the hauck Viper Pushchair, I have been using it to jog with Daniel on different terrains like the gravel, sand, track and road. I find that it is easy to steer and the ride is smooth. I can definitely feel the bouncy benefits of the rear-wheel suspension, especially when pushing it across grass or gravel paths. It is definitely a great contrast to the previous stroller and if you look at the wheels of the hauck Viper Pushchair, they are big and that means less effort to push when you are jogging.  The result is a more enjoyable jog for me.  I find myself more motivated to exercise with the cool hauck Viper Pushchair. It definitely looks and feels more right to work out with this jogger stroller! #notmakingthisup

Let’s talk about the specifications.

The hauck Viper Pushchair weighs 9.5kg which is considered lightweight in the category of jogger strollers. But to be honest, it did seem heavy to me when I first handled it because I was used to my 7kg standard stroller all these while. After using the hauck Viper Pushchair for a few times, it does get easier to handle so it’s not a big problem.

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The hauck Viper Pushchair requires a 2-hand flat fold to collapse and comes with a neat folding mechanism that tucks the front wheel underneath. When folded, it stays compact and is easily kept in the car boot. Personally, I find opening of this stroller easier than folding it. I just need to hold the bar handle and use my leg to push the metal bar at the bottom which acts as the lock for the stroller. Oh yes, the front swivel wheel is lockable which is helpful if you are travelling on rough ground.

The hauck Viper Pushchair has a very roomy basket which is truly awesome because I could put a baby carrier and my handbag in it and there’s still room for more stuff. This is a plus point for the auntie in me since I use it to do grocery after the morning exercise. The purchases go in there!

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As with most strollers, the hauck Viper Pushchair comes with the multi-recline function (you adjust it at the rear using a toggle) and the hood is on the generous side which provides a decent amount of shade for the baby. It seeks to offer maximum safety with its 5-point harness and provides a spacious and comfy seating ( lying area is 85 cm with its seat width as 33cm). It is well padded and the foot rest is easily adjustable. However, I do find it a bit fiddly to adjust the 5-point harness so after I have done it properly, I left it as that until it needs to be readjusted again.

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Sadly, the seat of the hauck Viper Puhchair is forward facing only and if you want your child to look at you as you jog, this is not quite possible. However, it doesn’t seem like a real need as Dan was mostly asleep when I jogged with him in the stroller. Maybe he’s too comfortable in the stroller? In fact, there was only once when he cried for me to pick him up and that was the second time that I used the stroller. After that, he was mostly quiet as I pushed him.

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So far, I am really happy with the hauck Viper Pushchair but if there is one thing that really gets to me, it is the possibility that I would get the foam-covered single bar handle dirty when I rest it this way (see pic above). There was once when I placed it on a puddle of water (blur me!) and it got wet. I suppose I could wrap it with a cloth or some wrap.

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Apart from this, I find that the viewing window at the back of the canopy to be a bit on the smaller size and at times I couldn’t tell how the kiddo is doing unless I stoop down to see him. Besides these, I see no major problem with the design of this jogger stroller. More importantly, it has been a smooth ride for us!

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Jogging with the hauck Viper Pushchair has been truly enjoyable and knowing that there are not many pieces of it on the streets (yet) makes it even more special. Hah! You see, hauck strollers have just reached Singapore shores a few months ago even though it has been making quality products for babies and young children since 1927! Originating from Sonnefield, Upper Franconia in Germany, hauck is a family business that started from handcrafted basket bassinets in 1923. Christening robes were added to their collection and strollers and cots were added in the 1970s. Now hauck products have been offered on all continents in over 86 countries. It remains a family business till today and the family has passed its experience and knowledge from generation to generation.

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All of hauck products were tested by renowned national and international testing institutes, such as TÜV, SGS, LNE etc., and comply with international safety standards. Their products are awarded with a TÜV sign from certified testing institutes when the safety of the device has been tested according to the respective standards.

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So, yea, it sure feels good to know that I’m owning a quality and exclusive jogger stroller!

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And it’s really quite a darling, you know?

I’m posting this video of the hauck Viper Pushchair to help you understand the features a tad more. If you are looking into buying a jogging stroller, do consider this as one of your choices? The purchase of every hauck Stroller or car seat comes with the hauck Customer Care Program. It entails:

::  1 year warranty for factory defects
:: 4 complimentary hauck Servicing Sessions
:: Complimentary beverage during your servicing session
:: Exclusive invites to events and promotion
:: Advance preview of new arrivals

So yea, when you purchase a hauck product, you actually buy it with a peace of mind. You will be assured of quality products and excellent customer care. I like!

This particular model comes in caviar grey now and more colours and new models would be coming in. So do get yourselves updated via hauck Singapore’s Facebook Page.

Alternatively, view hauck products (they have really beautiful strollers!) at the following places:

1.Showroom
65 Ubi Road 1 #02-88 Oxley Bizhub Singapore 408729
Tel: 63842758
Mobile: 92364678
Mon to Fri – 10am to 8pm
Sat and Sun – 10am to 6pm
Public Holidays – Close
(BY APPOINTMENT ONLY)

2. Online store: http://activehive.com.sg/product-category/hauck/

3. BHG departmental stores

4.  www.littlebaby.com.sg

Every hauck customer will get to receive an exclusive hauck ‘Gift of Love’  delivered to them when they register their new hauck purchase and this will commence from 7 July 2016.😉

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Where shall we go next?

Do follow us on Facebook and Instagram as I continue to go places with the kids using the hauck Viper Pushchair. I will continue to give honest review of the jogger stroller (because I like to read trustworthy review myself) and you can be updated on the running routes available in this city in the garden.😉

Disclaimer: We are gifted the hauck Viper Pushchair by AT Marketing Consultancy on behalf of hauck Singapore in exchange for a user experience review. No other forms of monetary compensation is given and all opinions are given in true honesty. Should you have any questions about the stroller, do feel free to email me and I would be more than happy to share my experience with you. 

Dan’s 1st BB Spa at Beauty.Mums & Babies

If you are a first-time mother, life can get pretty daunting as you navigate this new phase of your life. I remember surfing for information every other day and got stressed up over the many choices of (pre- and post-natal) services  that are available in the market. So I’m appreciative of one-stop wellness centres which help expecting and new mums ease comfortably into motherhood. One notable one is Beauty.Mums & Babies.

Beauty.Mums & Babies aims to guide mothers-to-be and new mothers from pregnancy to birth and through till infancy and toddler care by providing a range of services to prepare them to have a smooth-sailing motherhood journey as well as regaining health and confidence after birth.

Of their core services, Dan and I tried their BB Spa at Paragon.

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BB spa or more commonly known as a Baby Spa is an hydrotherapy environment where babies are gently put to float in a tailored tub. And it almost feels like a must-do with babies. I remember getting Faith to have her first experience of it when she was just three months old. It was rather easy to get her to enjoy that session; it was with minimal fuss. With Daniel, I waited until he was about 6 months old but by then it was a lot more challenging to get him into the water. Thankfully, he didn’t reject it although there was a slight resistance towards it in the first 5 minutes.

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There are many baby spas in Singapore but the BB Spa at Beauty.Mums & Babies stands out because it is the first to use the purest filtration method called ‘Naturalizer Kirameki Water’ from Japan to provide water as pure as spring water to treat babies’ skin. The extensive filtration method ensures safety for babies, and gets rid of carcinogenic unfiltered water. Bacteria and chemicals that may cause skin irritation are all thoroughly removed. It also contains 25 different beneficial minerals that nourishes and hydrates babies’ skin and helps to balance the pH of their skin such that it reduces its sensitivity.

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Too much information? Hah, so that you are well aware of the goodness of the water! Anyway, this is a fine piece of news to me since Dan’s skin is prone to eczema. Perhaps, with constant contact with such pure water, the eczema could be treated? You’ll never know!

The benefits to a baby spa are aplenty. Some of the key benefits are:

:: Improve skin conditions
:: Supports brain and physical development
:: Increases lung capacity
:: Strengthens cardiovascular system
:: Builds up immunity system
:: Stimulates innate swimming reflexes and co-ordination
:: Teaches babies to understand their environment

Dan and I visited the BB Spa at Paragon and the following are what I like about our experience there:

:: Clean and cozy environment. I am rather particular where cleanliness is concerned with regard to baby spa and I’m pleased with how well and neat the space is kept and maintained.

:: Experienced therapist. By the time Dan tried baby spa, he could well recognise faces and normally take some time to warm up to a stranger. The therapist showed her understanding in this area by not rushing through the process. She got Dan to be comfortable with her and showed him around the space. After some warm up and stretching exercises, Dan was well on his way to having a splashing good time.

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:: Multi-sensory experience. With bubbles, whirlpool jets, soothing light and heaps of little toys to choose from, Dan soon got engrossed in this form of waterplay! It’s such a delight to see him enjoying himself!

:: Relaxing massage. After the session, the therapist used gentle, soothing and loving strokes to massage the boy. The boy calmed down almost immediately and I learnt a stroke or two about baby massage.

BB spa is suitable for babies from 1 month old onwards so if you are interested, do take a trip down and treat your baby to a great workout!

While you are there, do check out the other wonderful services that they provide such as:

:: Infant, pediatric, toddler and children massage
:: Pre- and post-natal massage
:: Mummy & baby yoga
:: Pre- and post-natal yoga, couple yoga
:: Facial and beauty treatments
:: Lactation clinic
:: Baby care workshops and classes
:: Pregnancy and baby wellness workshops

Told you that you will be spoilt for choice, didn’t I?

You brought joy to the world, now it’s time to revel in bliss, like the queen that you are..

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Beauty. Mums & Babies
Outlet @ Paragon 290 Orchard Road, #05-02 & #14-11 (S)238859
Tel: 62350688/62351800
Outlet @ Seletar Mall & Novena Square
More information can be found on their website or their Facebook page.

Disclaimer : Daniel was given a complimentary tub session from Beauty.Mums & Babies. We were also invited by AT Marketing Consultancy to attend its media launch where we heard more from her founder, met up with the team of certified therapists and learnt about the services they provide. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are my own.

Musichaus: Music Adventurers Workshop

“Mom, can I don’t go for the music class later?”

My heart sank a little. I had signed Faith up for a music holiday programme – Music Adventurers Workshop (4-6 years old) by Musichaus – that runs weekly for the month of June. Since we will not be going overseas, I thought it would be good to let her have some fun at some art and/or music classes. Besides, she has always enjoyed singing and has shown some interest in playing the ukelele, amongst other musical instruments . When I saw this holiday programme at Trehaus Cowork, I know I have to sign her up and am thankful to be given sponsorship for it.

 

Faith settled in very quickly. Perhaps, it was the non-threatening environment or maybe it’s the warmth that Teacher Trina exuded. Whatever it is, I was glad. Parents were not allowed to sit in the session but Teacher Trina has kindly allowed us to be around for the last 20 minutes just to observe how the children responded to the lesson.

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I left, with her smiling before the camera (I didn’t ask her to pose). Faith was obviously intrigued by the keyboard and was elated to be allowed to play with it.

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I returned at the last 30 minutes to see two kids running around to the sound of music. They were obviously engaged in some form of play and I was shortly told by Teacher Trina that they were participating in the music game – Stop! Or Freeze – for the music and movement section of the lesson.

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According to Teacher Trina, the objectives for this first lesson are to introduce the keyboard to the children which include the black and white keys, playing loud and soft and the musical count of 2 beats. The children were able to answer Teacher Trina’s questions as she summarised the lesson. Good! So, they had been paying attention in class!

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The children were introduced to some percussion instruments namely the tambourine, triangle and the maraca. The percussion were used as they sang along with songs and rhymes such as Old MacDonald has a jungle, Here we go round the Mulberry Bush, Humpty Dumpty, ABCGEFG and Baa baa black sheep. I was told that Faith loved the ABCGEFG song and triangle the most and could count two beats with it.

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Since the theme of this lesson is about tuning in with nature, the children learnt and were given the opportunity to guess the sounds made by frogs, breaking of branches, waterfall, gorilla and the like.

I was really impressed by the passion and patience of Teacher Trina. We had two very energetic preschoolers in the class who were obviously having a whale of a time playing the music game. There were times that they lost focus but Teacher Trina was able to bring them back with her melodious voice as she gave her instructions. I also appreciate the fact that she could give a detailed summary of what was taught during the lesson and provide feedback on how Faith progressed in class. And yes, her passion was clearly exhibited as she shared music-related information and tips with us.

As we left the premise, I asked Faith if she would like to go back for lesson the following week.

A resounding YES.

See, I knew she would enjoy!

Actually, I am the one who is more keen to return to the class. Just reading the description of the next few lessons excites me. It’s gonna be fun!

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There is also a Music Explorers Workshop that is suitable for children aged 1.5 to 3 YO. If you are keen, you could reply via this link (if you have a meetup group account) or just called Trehaus to express your interest in either of the workshops.

Oh, I just want to tell you that the Trehaus Kids Atelier is really an awesome space and you should definitely see it for yourself. Do pop by and have a tour!

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Trehaus Cowork
442 Orchard Road, #03-01
Singapore 238879
Tel: 9843 8077
Email: enquiries@trehauscowork.com

Dan’s first experience with Bellamy’s Organic

Life gets really interesting once a baby reaches 6 months old. During our last visit to the PD, I was asked which brand of milk powder I wanted to try on Daniel. A few options were given and in the end, I chose the one that I grew up with and which the older one had used – Dumex.

I didn’t immediately use that can of formula milk powder because Daniel was diagnosed to have baby eczema by the PD and the latter had suggested that I watch my dairy intake since that might be the cause of the condition (he’s on total breastmilk). Although his condition is under control now, I thought it would be better that I source for an organic baby formula instead and hope that he would react well to it which is the main reason why I participated in the Bellamy’s Organic Experiencer Project.

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The subject

It is not difficult to like Bellamy’s Organic when I read up on its mission –

“to provide a pure start to life for babies and children everywhere and we are passionate about promoting healthy eating practices amongst children.”

It resonates greatly with me because that is what I desire for my children as well and I use organic ingredients in my cooking as much as possible. I certainly do not want my family to consume too much harmful chemicals! So starting the young ones with organic food is the way to go for me and I’m appreciating the fact that Bellamy’s Organic produces only 100% organic foods.

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Daniel has been on total breastmilk until now and he latches directly to the milk source so getting him to try the milk using the bottle has been a challenge. He was resistant to the bottle and in the end, I had to feed him using the spoon. It seemed that he noticed the difference when he took the first few spoonfuls and it didn’t take long for me to understand why. I tried the milk myself and realised that it is not really that sweet. My breastmilk must have been sweeter! This works for me since I dislike formula milk that is too sweet or contains artificial sweeteners.

Thankfully, there is no rejection from the boy and more importantly, no adverse reaction (i.e. allergies, constipation, etc) to the milk and that means he is not allergic to cow’s milk! You can imagine my joy! This is his first experience with formula milk (apart from the ones he drank in the hospital as an infant) and I’m happy that it is organic food that he is starting off with.

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Since Dan has started on solid foods, it was definitely a welcome move to get him to try Bellamy’s organic baby porridge which is organic oats blended with organic grains. It has added iron but no added sugar or salt. Adding the organic baby formula, this makes a very healthy and easy meal for me to prepare. Initially, it took the boy a while to get used to the taste and perhaps, texture, but after a few days, I am happy to report that he could finish the whole portion that was given to him. It’s definitely a far cry from the few teaspoonfuls at the beginning stage.

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Now, I could even rope in the husband to help since there is no more resistance from the boy anymore.

You could say that I’m very satisfied with the products and progress thus far and I went a little further and purchased the food pouch for Dan to try. You need to know something. I dislike these ready-to-serve baby food because I bought some food jars from other brands for my girl to try when she was around Dan’s age and when I tasted the food, I stopped myself from giving it to her. It had some weird taste to it and didn’t taste natural. If I find that a certain food tasted weird, I wouldn’t want my child to consume it, would I?

Having gained confidence and assurance from Bellamy’s organic formula milk and rice porridge, I decided to give its food pouch a go at it. I had the banana apple porridge and it tastes very similar to the original food. So yes, you can be sure that I would stock up on these because it promises convenience for me and nutrition for my kid!

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So I find myself becoming a believer of Bellamy’s Organic products and went on to purchase the milk rusks for my teething boy.

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At the end of the day, we all want our children to grow up strong and healthy, to be able to have a strong immune system and to grow up choosing the right food to consume, all the way till they reach adulthood. To achieve that, it has to start with providing the children with a healthy diet, one that is filled with wholesome, nutritious food from an early age. I’m glad to share the same beliefs as Bellamy’s Organic and from this experience, it is obvious that they truly care about the well-being of the young ones. Admirable. You have gained for yourself a loyal fan now.

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Do you have a photo of you and your child that is especially precious to you? You are invited to share that photo at Bellamy’s Organic Facebook Page and do let them know why the memory of that photo is held dear to you. You can stand a chance to win $200 TANGS shopping voucher + $50 Bellamy’s Organic Hamper. It is truly a Mother and Child’s well deserved treats!

Contest ends 25 May, Wednesday. Don’t wait anymore!😉

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Disclaimer: We are given a box of Bellamy’s Organic milk powder, pasta and rice porridge to sample for this experiencer project, as well as supermarket shopping vouchers. All opinions are, as usual, mine.

 

Maintaining Ear Hygiene with Audiclean

[Review + Giveaway]

Question: How do you remove ear wax? Do you, like me, use the cotton bud?

The ear naturally produces wax to prevent external harmful substances from entering the delicate ear canal. Using the cotton bud is the way that I know in removing ear wax. It’s not a big problem to me as I could control how deep the cotton bud goes in without causing irritation to the ear canal. Is it effective? Not sure. But in helping the kiddo, I find it a nerve-wrecking task because I don’t want to hurt her since I cannot tell how deep the cotton bud has gone in and I cannot trust her completely when she tells me that it doesn’t hurt. What I know is that there are small chunks of ear wax in the ear but I just couldn’t get them out; I wouldn’t dare to go deeper to excavate them. Another fear is that I might unknowingly push the ear wax further back into the canal. Gah…

Now there is a safer alternative to ear cleansing. Have you seen these products at the pharmacy recently?

The Audiclean Ear Wax Remover is a safe and gentle ear wax softening non-oily emulsion that removes ear wax and naturally. It effectively removes ear wax without causing irritation to the ear canal. It is safe for adults, children (above 36 months old) and people with peanut allergies. The naturally purifying product helps to efficiently clear excess ear wax that tends to cause difficulty in hearing, pain in the ears, blockage in the ears and temporary deafness after swimming or showering, by softening ear wax within 25 minutes.

Working in conjunction with Audiclean Ear Wax Remover to evacuate debris of ear wax is the Audiclean Ear Cleansing Wash. It effectively removes ear wax without causing irritation to the ear canal. Audiclean Ear Cleansing Wash is recommended to be used daily as a part of one’s hygiene regime to prevent accumulated ear wax build up.

We received a bottle of Audiclean Ear Cleansing Wash to try out and I have been using it regularly for the past few weeks. Since it is safe for children above 36 months old, I used it on Faith as well. If you are worried that the kiddo will be affected by the spray of the nozzle, don’t worry, it won’t. The otoscopic nozzle is a patented design by ENT specialists and allows for smooth and easy application. What’s more, the washable nozzle makes it convenient for the whole family to share the large bottle and maintain ear hygiene together. The soft spray does not include any harsh gases that may cause dizziness unlike other spray cans. In a nutshell, it’s safe. Faith didn’t complain at all and sometimes, even reminds me to use it to cleanse her ears.

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Is it effective? I personally think it is. The ear feels clean and it’s definitely safer than using the cotton bud for sure. I like it that I could use it regularly to prevent ear wax and it doesn’t cause any hurt and irritation. Since Faith is also getting into the pool more often, I thought it’s good to have this cleansing wash at hand and use it on her after every swim session.

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Would you like to try the Audiclean Ear Cleansing Wash too? The good folks at Vemedia Shine is giving away a bottle of the cleansing wash to 3 readers (residing in Singapore)! This is what you need to do:

1) Like Vemedia Shine’s Facebook page
2) Follow them on Instagram @vemediashine
2) Share this blog post (link) on Raisingfaith Facebook indicating why you want to win with the hashtag #audicleanvemediashine
 
Okay, I know it’s a fair bit of things to do but it’s really just a few clicks away. 😉
The contest will run for a week and close on 3 May 2016. Winners will be notified via email. 
All the best!
🙂

 

Disclaimer: We are gifted with a bottle of Audiclean Ear Cleansing Wash for review purposes. No other form of monetary compensation is given.

[Motivational Monday] BoxGreen for healthy snacking

Question: What do you do when you feel stressed?

I snack.

So you must be wondering, “What stress do you have? You are not working. There’s no deadline. What’s there to be stressed about?”

Tantrums. Teaching my own kid. Meltdowns. Baby crying. These are enough to stress me out and I find myself reaching out for a piece of chocolate whenever I reached my max. This, happens rather frequently. Definitely not good for the waistline

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Then BoxGreen contacted me and asked if I wanted to sample and review their products. Hello, BoxGreen. How do you know that I’ve been snacking?

In short, BoxGreen is a healthy snack subscription service that aims to promote healthier snacking by sourcing and delivering straight to the customers’ hands in the most hassle-free way possible. Their snacks are primarily made up of healthy nuts and chips and dried fruits. You choose how often you want to receive a box of 12 snack servings, select the snacks that you want and start snacking once you receive your box!

My box came a few days after I subscribed to it and I must say I love the packaging. It’s definitely good enough as a gift. Each portion is small which prevents you from overeating but the more important thing is they are healthy snacks (kinder to the waistline).

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If you are those who are very mindful of what you are eating, right down to the nutritional value, BoxGreen provides such information in the box.

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After tasting these snacks, I must say that they are really wonderful munch and I deem them suitable for my little girl. Now, I will always carry one or two packets of BoxGreen snacks in my bag because you’ll never know who might need it. The other day, I presented the snack to a pregnant mom while waiting for our kids to be released from school. She was so appreciative. And who can ignore hungry kids? These snacks really come in useful. I only wish they can be priced a tad cheaper. Having said that, I’m glad that BoxGreen actually donates a meal equivalent for every BoxGreen sold to Willing Hearts, a soup kitchen that helps the less privileged in Singapore. Well, at least the money is well-spent in this sense.

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These packets of goodies are not just good enough as snacks, they can even be used as part of your recipe. Just yesterday, I topped my breakfast of salad + quinoa + avocado + fried quail egg + honey with their Banana Pecan Crumble. The result? YUMMY! I personally thought that the box is good as a gift to others!

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Want to give BoxGreen a try? They are offering RaisingFaith readers a 30% discount! All you need to do is to sign up as a new subscriber and use the coupon code lynn30 before you checkout. Do note that this applies to the FIRST BOX only. Don’t worry. If you feel that the snacks do not fit you upon receiving your first box, you can simply cancel the subscription after that. Simple.

 

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Do give BoxGreen a go.
Snack well, folks!

Disclaimer: I was given a box of healthy snacks from BoxGreen to sample and review. I have decided to do a full post because I really enjoy the snacks and hope that you, my readers, can benefit from it. I particularly love the Shittake Mushroom Chips and Banana Pecan Crumble. 😉

Entering a new milestone with Toddle

[Review + 15% coupon code]

Can you sense my excitement as we enter a new milestone for Dan? He is starting a whole new adventure on solid foods!

As a second-time mother, I am more composed than when I first embarked on this milestone with my elder daughter. Having gained some experience in this area, I found myself looking forward to the day that Dan was ready for solid foods. At around five months old, he showed quite an interest in our food at the dinner table. He could sit well on the high chair and had good control of his head and neck. Moreover, it seemed that he was dissatisfied with milk feeds alone. Time to introduce solids!

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Obviously, I needed to get the equipment ready and here are some basic ones that I would need:
:: Plastic spoons
:: Plastic bowls.
:: Bibs
:: Containers/ice trays for making multiple portions of solids (for freezing)
:: High chair

I hopped on to Toddle and consolidated what I needed. If you have not already known, Toddle is an online baby and kids store that stocks the best of what’s available out there. Every item is specially selected and their collection comprises the latest, popular brands, as well as niche labels sourced both locally and from overseas markets. That means you don’t have to choose from an overwhelming selection of products and that translates to saving of precious time for me.

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My loot arrived on the second day upon purchasing (very fast) and I got down to work very quickly. Dan’s first solid food is homemade rice cereal (mixed with breastmilk) which is one of the least allergenic food. I use this set of Oxo non-slip, high-walled bowls with lids together with these Munchkin spoons that turn white when the food is too hot, so I’m always sure that the food is at a safe temperature to feed Dan.

The first time Dan tasted the rice cereal, he gave me a suspicious look and pushed out the food. Remember to chill. My aim was to start him on one or two teaspoonfuls and to encourage him to learn to eat.

After a few days of rice cereal, I thought it was time to move on. Surely, he was bored with it! This time round, I made batches of pumpkin puree using the Beaba silicone multiportions. I love this food storage container because the frozen food doesn’t stick to it but comes off easily. It’s a good investment because it grows with your kids and can easily be used to make desserts and snacks like popsicles, chocolates and even for baking cupcakes.

It’s been two weeks since I last started the baby on solid foods. He’s taking in small amount still but that’s all right. The more important thing is to enjoy this journey, both mom and baby, and to expose him to a variety of food lest he becomes a picky eater. When we are out, I would pack his food stuff in the Skip Hop insulated lunchie bag so now, he’s officially included at the dining table!

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I’m thankful to have Toddle partner us in this journey and has made the initial baby food making a breeze with the wonderful products that they have stocked. The online store is well-organised and easy to navigate. Detailed description and vivid pictures of each product are given and this helps us to make informed purchases. What I really appreciate is that the store does not have an overwhelming selection of products and what they have are what we need. In this case, really, less is more.

The good folks at Toddle are giving you, my dear readers, a 15% OFF for purchases above SGD 70.00 by using the coupon code lynn15 as you checkout.  To utilize the code, you would need to sign up a customer account with them and join their mailing list. This coupon code is valid 2 weeks from now.

So, go ahead and browse Toddle for their products. I’m sure you would have a pleasant shopping experience. Do check out their facebook page to get yourself updated! Alternatively, you can always stalk them on Instagram (@thetoddleshop).

Disclaimer: I was gifted shopping fee credits from Toddle to purchase the mentioned products and I topped up for the remaining amount. No additional monetary compensation was given and I do not stand to gain any commission from sales using the discount code given. All opinions are mine.

CoCoICHIBANYA, Japanese curry lovers’ paradise

[Food review]

Are you a Japanese curry rice lover? If you are, you would be in for a treat.

CoCoICHIBANYA, the world’s most famous curry house, opens its fifth outlet in Singapore, and this time it’s at Plaza Singapura. This outlet follows the modern bistro concept of the fourth one in Westgate and provides a cozy joint for the diners.

On invitation, our family went down to try out the food at CoCoICHIBANYA. To be honest, I was a tad apprehensive. I love Ramen, Sashimi and Sushi but Japanese curry rice is not an item I would usually order. My impression of the curry rice is tarnished by those instant curry mixes which are loaded with saturated fat, MSG and preservatives. To put it simply, I’m not a fan. Besides, my daughter, Faith, has not tried curry before and I’m not sure how she would take to it?

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We were among the first few diners that day and were seated near the glass window which gives a paramount view of Orchard Road.  We went with a stroller and I’m thankful that there is sufficient space for us to park it. The server was helpful and settled us in without much fuss.

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I just need to warn you, that there is a wide selection in the menu (from various renditions of chicken to beef prepared in different styles as well as a variety of seafood and vegetarian options) and if you are like me, who cannot decide quickly on the spot, it might help that you browse the menu prior to dining at CoCoICHIBANYA. But no stress, really. You can always consult the friendly servers!

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Apart from the variety of choices in the menu, there is also an option to customise my own curry rice. I can choose to adjust the amount of curry, rice, spiciness level or add any number of toppings. This is certainly helpful since I don’t consume a lot of rice and I prefer spicy food.

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The hubs ordered the Pork Cutlet Omelette Curry Rice while I had the Kimchi one. On top of that, we also tried the Spring Baby Horse Mackerel Karaage and Salmon Cream Croquette.

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It’s no surprise that the hubs ordered the Pork Cutlet Omelette Curry Rice because he could have the best of both worlds. I took a bite of his dish and found that the omelette went well with the curry though I wish that the pork cutlet could be more tender.

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I had the kimchi one and liked it. The meat was tender and the kimchi taste, strong. I had the dish at level 3 for the spice level and my tongue was burning a little. Not sure if the spiciness was contributed by the kimchi or the level 3 (extra hot) curry. You’ve been warned.

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What about the girl? So, this is really the first time that Faith was introduced to curry (I don’t cook curry at home) and I wasn’t sure how she would respond to it. Initially, she looked at her dish pensively before tasting the curry and … she seemed okay with it. Oh yes, do ask the server for the clinically-looking bib for your child. Eating curry could be a messy business for young children.

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Before you knew it, she was on her way to finishing up her portion. It’s always a delight to see your child enjoying her meal.

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If you intend to order side dishes, may I recommend the Spring Baby Horse Mackerel Karaage and Salmon Cream Croquette? Both were cooked well and truly delicious. Faith enjoyed the Mackerel Karaage a lot and I had to stop her from eating more lest there was none for us left.

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We had an enjoyable lunch at CoCoICHIBANYA at PS. I’m thankful that there was no loud thumping music that drove diners to complete their meals quickly and we could have our meals in peace. The baby slept through lunch (except for once when he needed to be cradled) and there was no complaint from the toddler.  It was all pleasurable and we appreciate the prompt service.

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We had the chocolate crepe cake for dessert and it was wiped out in an instant. Enough said.

Would I dine at CoCOICHIBANYA again? You bet. The food is served with a decent portion and is value for money. I find that the curry is pleasantly mild and yet at the same time rich, unlike the ones I had previously which were too rich for my liking. But then again, taste differs from person to person. Nope, I’m not a convert to Japanese Curry Rice yet but there is always the spaghetti and salad if I feel like it. There are still a lot more on the menu that I have not tried and I’m already eyeing the Seafood Basket and Wagyu Beef Steak Curry the next time I visit.

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CoCoICHIBANYA is now having a promotion for the students. If you have kids who are school-going, they could enjoy 15% off upon presentation of their student card between 3 – 6 pm on Mondays to Fridays. However this will not be valid with other promotions. Do enquire with the service staff before ordering. 😉

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Thank you, Agnes & CoCoICHIBANYA for the invitation. Our family had a wonderful lunch and we are hoping for an outlet in the eastern part of Singapore. 😉

CoCoICHIBANYA
Opening hours for all outlets:
Sun-Thur: 10am to 10pm
Fri – Sat: 10am to 11pm
Website: www.cocoichibanya.com.sg

Sprucing Faith’s room with Baby Looney Toons Bedsheet Set

[Product review]

Once in a while, I like to redecorate Faith’s room by changing the poster displays on the wall or put up some pictures of the family. Changes such as these can be refreshingly inviting, don’t you think?

Recently, we were presented with a Baby Looney Toons Bedsheet Set for review purposes and I thought this was a good chance to spruce up her bedroom with the cheerful designs.

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The Baby Looney Toons Bedsheet Set is available for single and super single beds only and the material is of supreme microsatin at 80TC per 10cm Sq. The summer blanket which measures 60″ x 80″ is available for single beds and there are three designs to choose from for this new series.

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I thought the bedsheet gives much cheer to her room and the contrasting colour of the cushions adds more life too. The material is soft to the touch and I personally like it. But since Faith is the one sleeping on it, I would have to wait for her ‘review’?

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That afternoon when she came back to her room, she was pleasantly surprised and thankfully, I managed to catch her reaction. “Wow, what’s this, Mama? Why you change?”

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Apparently, she was fascinated and happy about the change in her bedsheet. I didn’t expect such joy because we did change a few bedsheets before but those didn’t generate such reactions? Must be the adorable design!

We have been using the set for half a month now and there hasn’t been any complaints from the little girl in terms of comfort. There is no irritation nor adverse skin reaction which I’m thankful ( to qualify, F does not really have sensitive skin except when it comes to heat; she will break out in rashes).

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We love to spend time reading on her bed and the cushions help support our backs (I’m thankful for that!).

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To be honest, we have less use of the summer blanket. It isn’t that thick or warm but since our room is not air-conditioned, we do not really see the need to use it. It does generate a lot of fun when the man uses it to create a ‘tent’ or to play peekaboo with the little girl.

This simple change does bring much joy to the little one (and us) and it doesn’t come with an expensive price tag. In fact, you can purchase them at a discounted price now! If you or your children are fans of Looney Tunes, why not check out the catalogue for their Bedsheet Set?

Here is the reference for the sizing of the various items:
– Fitted Sheet Single: 36″x 75″+10”
– Fitted Sheet Super Single: 42″x 75″+10”
– Pillow Case: 19″x29“ | Bolster Case: 15″x 42”
– Summer Blanket Single: 60″x 80″
– Cushion: 16” x 16”

Just for you, dear readers! You can enjoy FREE DELIVERY on your Baby Looney Tunes products and a free Baby Looney Tunes pillow case, worth $3.90, when you key in the promo code “RAISINGFAITH” upon checkout.

If you purchase over $120 worth of products, you will additionally get a free Protect-A-Bed pillow protector worth $25.00.

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Our family is presented with the Baby Looney Toons Bedsheet Set for review purposes. No other forms of monetary compensation is given. All opinions are mine. Thank you, King Koil SG, for helping us to create wonderful memories with our girl. 😉

My maiden experience in online grocery shopping

*auntie-talk*

I love grocery shopping and I do so about twice a week at the wet market or supermarket. I am the type of housewives who prefer to cook with the freshest produce (especially meat and seafood) and that explains the frequency of my shopping. However, with my current condition (I’m heavily pregnant) and the fact that I would not be as free when the second child arrives, I need to think of an alternative.

Online grocery shopping to the rescue?

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For a while, I have toyed with this idea but have only decided to give it a try this week when honestbee contacted me recently to try out their service. On top of that, I was given some shopping credits, so I thought, “Why not?”

honestbee is the first concierge grocery delivery service for all your household and grocery needs in Singapore.  They deliver to your doorstep on the same day within the hour or the time slot that you want. What you need to do is to choose from the online product selection from grocers of your choice, and place your order in a few simple clicks. Their trained shoppers will then hand pick your groceries for you.

I remember it was evening when I first tried honestbee, I had to bake a cake the next day but I didn’t have enough eggs. Also, my grocery supplies had depleted and I wouldn’t have anything to prepare for lunch. It’s either I do grocery the next morning or I go online to do my shopping. I chose the latter since I was pressed for time.

It is easy to navigate, for a first timer like me. After keying in my postal code, I was presented with 12 stores to shop from and obviously, I was happy to see NTUC and Cold Storage which I frequent.

After checking out at 6.30pm, I chose the time slot for the delivery which was between 8-9pm that evening and I got my supplies at 8pm! Very fast!

Not everything was perfect though. I received a call from the shopper at honestbee that I had to replace five items because there wasn’t any stock for the specific items and sizes I want them in. It wasn’t a big deal for me since those were items that I did not need urgently. My eggs, vegetables and meat arrived though I wasn’t that pleased with the freshness of the Chinese spinach. Perhaps it’s late and all the better-quality vegetables were snapped up? It is possible because this happens even when I do my grocery at the actual site itself in the evening. Apart from that, my only other feedback is that they should use fewer plastic bags and reusable bags to store the items (save the environment!).

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So this online grocery shopping bug caught on real fast and I went in again the following morning because I wanted to see if there is a difference in the supplies bought during the day and evening. In any case, I would need more meat for dinner too. Besides, the delivery fee of $10 is waived if you hit $30 per purchase at a store (easily achievable!). I went in at around 9am and chose the afternoon slot of 1-2pm for the delivery. This time round, only two items needed to be replaced and my goods came at 1pm. They came in good condition and only one reusable bag and fewer plastic bags were used.

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I must say I’m pleased with my experience with honestbee. It didn’t deter me at all and though I still prefer to do grocery at the supermarket or wet market (it’s therapeutic!), online grocery shopping is a very good alternative for busy folks! I believe I will do this very often from now on.

Just so you know, first time customers get Free Delivery, fora  minimum order of $10 and above. To qualify for Free Delivery for subsequent orders, a minimum of $30 is applicable. On top of that,you can get another $10 off when you key in the promo code below when you check out (for the month of September only!).

Go on, try it.

For your fans_RAISINGFAITH10 (Lynn)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/honestbeesg
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Hashtag for honestbee: #honestbeesg