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.

img_0055

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

img_0068

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.

img_0103

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.

img_0201

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!

img_9638

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. 😉

img_1253

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.

img_9678

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

img_1284

img_9698

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.

img_1306

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.

img_1295

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.

img_1320

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.

 

img_1324
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*
img_1311
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.
img_1315
In the end, Daniel helped to finish the remaining portion for this dish.
img_1354
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.
img_1358
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.
img_1338
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!
14591650_10153982883854677_1256959300710647645_n

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

img_1296

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.

img_9248  img_9250

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.

img_9256

What I like about these books:

img_9257

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.

img_9260

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!

img_9259

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.

img_9258

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!

Linking up with

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.

img_8959

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.

img_8954

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….

img_8956

img_8957

img_8958

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.

img_8955

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!

img_8951

This page is certainly something she could relate to.

img_8952

img_8953

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!

Linking up with
Growing with the Tans Friday Flips

Canvas Painting at TrehausKids

img_7780

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.

img_7712  img_7742-1

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. 😉

img_7760-1

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.

img_7767

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.

img_5893

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! 😉

img_5304

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

img_7420-1

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.

img_6359

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.

img_6360

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

img_6361

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.

12112074_176644576012351_8955492482688478881_n

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.

img_0739

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.

img_0101

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!

img_1188

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.

img_8067

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.

img_1192

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.

img_0837

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!

img_0082

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.

img_1225

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.

img_1190

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

img_7648

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.😉

img_1191

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.

img_5568

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.

img_8238

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.

img_5569

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.

img_0277

:: 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..

img_8203

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.

img_9454

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.

img_9400

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.

img_9407

img_9408

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!

img_9428

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.

img_9405

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!

img_9396

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!

12963789_10153565376029677_5948884994718731351_n

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.

13062185_10153578175139677_6181076263905874764_n

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.

IMG_6264

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.

13055416_10153578175574677_6389427959182110922_n

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.

13006542_10153578175314677_7252553883053320984_n

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!

13012729_10153578175269677_169026876562825741_n

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

13000180_10153578175554677_301071065348626113_n

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.

13043301_10153578175379677_1621921068521902249_n

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!😉

13096074_10153609536439677_3468825159060591332_n

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.

13087528_10153591341084677_6326216865873335465_n

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.

13083163_10153589978809677_2911720731093712016_n

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

12985606_10153576160149677_3405140688207822312_n

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).

13043276_10153576159579677_6964802069748813907_n

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.

12993325_10153576159499677_6361985696728832020_n

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.

13007246_10153576159409677_3022461157948834695_n

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!

13015238_10153576159609677_258181537533233272_n

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.

 

13051520_10153576159429677_8662757816103535896_n

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!

IMG_4928

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.

IMG_4710

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!

IMG_5120

toggle-logo

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?

IMG-20151201-WA0055

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.

IMG-20151201-WA0071

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!

20151201_111823

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.

20151201_113951

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.

20151201_113754

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.

20151201_114048

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.

20151201_113357 20151201_114251

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.

20151201_115310

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.

20151201_113904

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.

20151201_115446

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.

20151201_121033

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.

IMG-20151201-WA0058

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. 😉

IMG-20151201-WA0054

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.

20150828_102909

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.

20150828_110026 (2)

20150828_110034 (2)

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’?

20150828_140429 (2)

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?”

20150828_140501 (2)

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).

IMG_20150916_205842

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

IMG_20150916_205254 IMG_20150916_205327
IMG_20150916_205353 IMG_20150916_205546 

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.

=====================::=======================

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?

honestbee-logo@2x

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!).

IMG_20150905_213050

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.

IMG_20150902_131259 IMG_20150905_212933

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
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/honestbeesg (@honestbeesg)
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/honestbeesg (@honestbeesg)
Hashtag for honestbee: #honestbeesg

(Gluten-free) Lavender shortbreads

For a while now, I have been reading up on gluten-free recipes and how the different ingredients work together when it comes to baking. This came about when a friend challenged me to bake a gluten-free cake for her since she is gluten intolerant.

I must say it isn’t easy for me to comprehend the endless combination of different flours, some of which are not used in my kitchen. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut explanation of the types of flour to use when and in what quantities, unlike the more conventional types of baking recipes that I’m used to. Many gluten-free recipes and books put me off until I came across this particular one – The Gluten-free Baker by Hannah Miles. The pictures are attractive enough and the recipes are straight-forward. This is exactly what I need to start my gluten-free baking adventure.

image

I decided to try something simple to minimise failure. Cookies, aren’t they simple enough? We all started off with cookies, didn’t we? So I chose the lavender shortbreads since I have a good supply of culinary lavender in my pantry. Don’t waste!

For gluten-free baking flour, I choose to work with Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose baking flour. Granted that you can mix certain types of flours (such as tapioca flour, potato and rice flour) to make your own gluten-free flour but they are too complicated for me at the moment so I choose the ready-combined ones. In my recent baking, I have also switched to using organic raw sugar as compared to caster sugar whenever possible. The following is the adapted recipe.

image

Ingredients

115g unsalted butter, softened
50g organic raw sugar
85g gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
2 teaspoons culinary lavender, finely ground
85g ground almond
a little milk, if required

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until light and creamy. Sift in the flour and add the lavender and ground almond. Bring together to a dough with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add a little milk t moisten it ( I didn’t have to do that).

image

3. Transfer the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, roll the dough into a long sausage shape with about 4cm diameter. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. At times, I prefer to use the freezer.

image 4. Once the dough is firmed up, cut into 1-cm thick slices and arranged on the prepared baking sheet, each at a small distance apart (they will enlarge when they are being baked). Press the back of a fork down into each shortbread to make ridges (for a nicer look but I forgot to do that!)

5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet before serving.

:: These shortbreads will keep up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container.

I was pleasantly surprised at how tasteful the shortbreads are. The cookies truly smell delicious as you remove them from the oven. If you are into gluten-free baking, this is one recipe you might want to try!

Linking up with

Growing with the Tans

A fun afternoon on oral care with Colgate

Let’s talk about oral care today, for both children and adults.
:: Be warned. It’s a long post.

imageIsn’t it wonderful when we have a healthy set of teeth to flash when our pictures are taken? Not only that, having strong, healthy teeth can help us chew the right foods so that we can grow. They also help us speak clearly and look our best. So, it’s important that we take care of our teeth.

It’s not always easy, at least in my case. I do not have a healthy set of teeth like my husband. I have to battle cavities and to have root canal done for one of my teeth. I must admit that I am not diligent in taking care of my teeth when I was younger and now I must make sure that my daughter does not suffer the same fate as me. So education on the importance of good oral care habits must start young.

Our family was invited by Colgate Singapore to a parent forum in which we were informed by a dentist, Dr JJ, on the dangers of dental cavities and the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. Not only that, we had the opportunity to participate in a fun, hands-on baking workshop where Faith and I whipped up yummy healthy dishes under the guidance of a professional chef.

When do baby teeth appear?

The first teeth to appear at around six months of age are usually the two lower central incisors – or ‘cutting teeth’. These are followed by the two upper central incisors. By the 16th month, four more incisors would have appeared. Between 13 to 19 months, four canines (pointed teeth) would appear. The molars would have all appeared by the time the child reaches 33 months old.

The order of the appearance is an average only. Babies do vary and it is important to note that teeth appear when they are ready.

Dr JJ reminded us that baby teeth are the foundations of developing permanent teeth and they must be well taken care of. Early loss of baby teeth, for example, can result in space problem for permanent teeth.

What causes tooth decay

image

It is important that we take care of our teeth because it helps prevent plaque which is a clear film of bacteria that sticks to our teeth. After we eat, bacteria in our mouth react with the food we eat and sugar acids develop. These sugar acids cause the tooth enamel to weaken, causing holes called cavities.

What we can do

The following are some pointers that Dr JJ mentioned and I thought it’s good to note:

:: Babies who latch on or have a bottle of milk before they sleep tend to have their teeth decay earlier. It is very important that they brush their teeth before they fall asleep!

:: It’s not advisable that the child takes a long time to complete his meal. Dr JJ mentioned that she knew of children who took an hour to do so and by that time, food that is consumed has turned into sugar acids in the mouth.

:: Formula milk contains a lot of sugar. Before you choose one for your child, it is best to read the label and look out for these added sugar which might harm the teeth if they are not well taken care of.

:: Water and milk are the best drinks for your toddler between meals. Try not to give your toddler acidic, sugary or fizzy drinks between meals, or juice or squash in a bottle.

:: Of course, much depends on what one eats. There is a consistent message to keep sweets and other sugary snacks between meals to a minimum. This includes dried fruits such as raisins which are high in sugar and can stick to teeth, as well as chocolate and cakes. Dr JJ maintained that the point is not to refrain from eating them but to practise oral care after consuming them. She shared that her own children are given sugary snacks too but she makes sure that they clean their teeth well. In any case, apart from water, everything else {including good old vegetables and fruits) that we consume has sugar in it.

:: Have regular dental visits. It is recommended that the children start visiting the dentist when they are young before problems arise.

The fun part: Making your own mini pasta pie

Part of this forum was the opportunity to have a fun time making healthy dishes with the little ones. The chef told us that it is always good to read the labels on the bottles or cans of food that we purchase. More often than not, they contain a high level of sugar and she advocated that we make our own sauce, dips, etc.

So that day, we were taught how to make our own pasta sauce.

image image

It is pretty easy and I like it that they use natural ingredients (apart from the canned chopped tomatoes and tomato paste). Make a big amount and you can store the rest for future use. No need to buy those bottled pasta sauce in future ( I was told there is about 1/4 cup of sugar in each bottle. That’s a lot of sugar!)

image image image

Next, the children got to assemble their own pasta pies! Just combine the penna pasta, mixed vegetables or broccoli, pasta sauce and cheese before baking. It’s that easy! Faith had a fun time doing it and I realised that we can do simple cooking such as this at home. I’m going to try this recipe again. So stay tuned!

image

To complete the meal, the children had to make their own dessert – fruits kebab.

 image image image

I must say this activity made me nervous. The kids had to cut the fruits into smaller pieces and our little girl was super enthusiastic about cutting. The knife was really sharp and I had to stop her from doing it herself. Other than that, it was pure joy to see her enjoying herself.

imageLunch is ready!

Toothbrushing tips

:: Brush at least 2 times a day, once in the morning and once a night before sleeping

:: Toothbrushing must be supervised. This is because a young child would not know how to brush their teeth well until the age of 7.

:: Be systematic when you brush. Divide the upper and lower jaws into 3 segment each and brush all surfaces of a tooth

:: A good brush will take about 2 – 3 minutes

:: Brush the teeth and gums and angle the bristles at 45 degrees to the gumline

:: A toothbrush with small head and soft rounded bristles is good for kids. Replace once every 3 months.

:: For children who can spit effectively, they can use 1000ppm fluoride or a pea-sized amount to brush their teeth. When asked about the use of fluoride-free toothpaste for young kids, Dr JJ warned that the children tend to swallow the toothpaste as well since they can be swallowed. This might hinder them from learning to use the fluoride toothpaste as they grow older. Her own thought would be to use water to brush their teeth before they learn how to spit.

More info on oral health for children can be found here.

Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer

We were lastly introduced to the Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection with Sugar Acid Neutralizer which claims to be a new standard of oral care that makes a cavity-free future possible. It is clinically proven to fight tooth decay in two ways. Firstly, its patented Sugar Acid Neutralizer helps deactivate sugar acids before they can harm teeth. Secondly, with fluoride an calcium, it also strengthens and restores the enamel to help prevent cavity formation.

th

We were all given a pack to try the new product at home and so far, it has been good. It feels as if your teeth are cleaned just like when you are at the dentist. If the product delivers what it claims to do, then it will be worthwhile to have Faith use it when she have learnt how to spit. For now, the Mama is still trying out! 😉

This is a short video to illustrate how the new breakthrough technology Sugar Acid Neutralizer works. Do visit www.facebook.com/ColgateSG or www.colgate.com.sg for more information on the product.

Thank you, Colgate, for this invitation. We truly had fun during the baking session with the chefs at Expat Kitchen and benefited much from the informative session on oral care with Dr JJ. Even Faith gave a thumbs up!

image image

Disclaimer: The family was invited to attend the baking workshop organised by Colgate. No monetary compensation was given. Information on dental care was written based on what I have gathered from the session and from limited research via the internet.

Shopping with Agape Babies

Faith is going to school next year and that means it’s time to shop for stuff! How exciting! {Window} Shopping has been one of my favourite past time but lately, this activity has been reduced drastically because I simply have no time to do so anymore. Thankfully there are always online stores and I appreciate those that are easy to navigate because I don’t really like confusing layout. One of them is Agape Babies.

unnamed

Agape Babies specializes in baby essentials such as diapers, milk, skincare, organic food, books and toys and is currently partnered with over 150 premium brands and retail over 3000 products in its store. It has also created a multi-store with The Sunshine Kids which are dedicated to kids apparel, bags and accessories. This means that we can shop between both stores and check out in one shopping cart! Isn’t that good? The folks at Agape Babies are presently looking to add more stores & products with the aim to become a one-stop shop for all of us mummies  so that shopping can be easy & convenient. This is really one online store that I would bookmark and frequent!

unnamed-1

Just look at the many brands that the store carries and I’m so happy that some of my favourite brands are among them!

20141114_084101

So, what did I get for Faith? I’ve been meaning to buy a Skip Hop Zoo Backpack for her since the current one that she has is getting too small. As I browse the store, I found one that I thought would be awesome on her. It’s a limited edition of the Polar Bear backpack. I couldn’t find this design in the usual stores and I’m so delighted to find it at The Sunshine Kids at a discounted price. Yay!

z_zoopacks_polarbear_s1_h_

Currently, Agape Babies is offering free courier delivery with $80 spend and a free gift given with every $120 purchase. So I thought I should purchase a few more items to enjoy the free delivery.  I bought the Bambino Mio training pants because I think Faith is ready to be potty-trained, along with a pair of swim nappies.  This girl just loves waterplay and swimming!

flower-1  swim_nappy_pink_whale

My experience with Agape Babies was a very pleasant one because I received the purchased goods really quickly. I made my purchase in the evening and got them the next morning. It’s the fastest delivery I have ever encountered! *impressed*

If you are a first time customer, you can enjoy a $10 off your first order when you sign up for an account and newsletter here! I’m also excited to share that Agape Babies is offering Raising Faith’s readers a 5% discount! All you need to do is to quote raisingfaith upon checkout. This discount is valid for 4 weeks (16 Nov to 14 Dec) and the code excludes sale category items, diapers, milk & breast pumps.

Apart from the online store, Agape Babies also has a parenting & lifestyle blog entitled The Agape Lifestyle. There are many good articles for new mummies and are certainly worth reading! Check out their facebook page to get yourself updated! Alternatively, you can always stalk them on Instagram (@agapebabies)!

Christmas is just round the corner, go do some shopping and enjoy the discount! 😉

Disclaimer: I was gifted shopping credits from Agape Babies 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.

The November Vaby Box

The Vaby subscription box for November refreshes… quite literally! As I opened the box in anticipation, I was greeted with a sweet scent and there before my eyes were bottles of samples that could be used by people of all ages. They certainly come in handy since the holiday season is approaching!

IMG_20141111_223012

 

So what do we have here?

:: Peausque Body Wash
:: Peausque ATO Cream
:: Peausque Diaper Cream
:: Olivella’s Anti-stretch Mark Cream
:: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil
:: THE010 Heat
:: Eucalyptus Graden Concentrated Floor Cleaner
:: Curash Baby Care 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner
:: Curash Baby Care Anti-Rash Baby Powder
:: Disney Pookalooz Tin Box. Good for storing the little one’s favourite snacks!
:: BabySpa $5 voucher

IMG_20141112_083020

You can find out more about the Vaby box here. Have you subscribed to it yet?

A date @ Privikids

#notasponsoredpost

Faith is turning two in a few weeks’ time and I thought I should just buy a few dresses for her. Nope, there will not be any party because we don’t think she understands much about birthday at this point in time. However, we would definitely spend that day with close friends and relatives. That, to us, is good enough.

I have always wanted to go down to Privikids since the physical store opened but didn’t have the time to do so. I like their stylish designs that are priced affordably and am really happy that I could go down to see and feel the materials for myself.

20141107_165105   20141107_164048   20141107_165143

Met up with Ade to shop and Faith had N for company! The little ones had a jolly good time playing with the displays and dancing to the background music. Thankfully, the store owner, Cheryl, was cool about it and found them adorable. Nice boss. It makes shopping with kids stress-free.

20141107_165154

Interior of the store

Photo courtesy of Mummy Ade

So these two kids were monkeying around as we got them to try out some clothes. I’m so happy that they were enjoying themselves!

IMG_20141107_175002

After trying out the clothes, they went off to have a little fun by themselves.

20141107_173414

Oh, the many other cute stuff available at the store.

20141107_172539  20141107_172657

They are good as gifts for children!

IMG-20141107-WA0015


Video and photo above courtesy of Mummy Ade

We went back with her new clothes carefully wrapped. I love the shopping experience at Privikids. Cheryl took the time to recommend some of the clothes that would look good on Faith and I didn’t feel pressured at any one point to make purchases. I appreciate her honest opinion on some of the outfits that might not be suitable for the little one. Overall, the experience is great!

ABM_1415509437

Privikids
Changi City Point, Unit 02-04, 5
Changi Business Park Central 1
11am to 9pm daily
6443 8802 / ask@privi-kids.com

[Review & Giveaway] JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets

When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading comics because the content is light and the graphics entertaining. I still do, as a matter of fact, and am happy to help review a comic book – JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets – that is educational in nature.

book cover

 

JJ’s Science Adventure is a series of educational comic books designed to help readers master key learning objectives stated in the Singapore Ministry of Education’s Primary School Science syllabus. The author, Aurelia, an educator herself, has observed that students were often reluctant to read their science textbook but would ask their parents to buy storybooks for them to read. She concluded that children’s motivation to learn is directly linked to their interest and observed that an interest shared by most of them is reading comic books. This led her to commit two years of her life developing this first book on Magnets.

This book has won the Readers’ Favourite Illustration Award which recognises books with quality illustrations. The learning objectives are brilliantly introduced in the storyline and it is an absolute delight to read it.

sample 1

What I appreciate about this book:

:: The story has a science fiction fantasy setting which has a tendency to capture the attention of readers. I read it in one sitting and I can be one easily distracted mom if you know me. This book gets me reading till the end.

:: The key teaching points are printed in colour which help readers identify them easily.

:: Besides the key teaching points, there is additional interesting information that is relevant to the topic, thus catering to the needs of different students. I find myself understanding more about MRI and MagLev after the read. Feels good gaining knowledge! 😉

:: The language used is wholesome.

:: The graphics are colourful and attractive and will certainly be appreciated by visual learners.

unnamed

 

This is one book that should be found in the class library where students can have easy access to it! It certainly is a great complement to the textbook and one which helps to reinforce the students’ understanding of the topic. I’m actually looking forward to the next book on Heat and Light which can be pre-ordered here.

JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets is retailing at S$18.90 and is available at these stores or online. They are wonderful gifts for Christmas! 😉

GIVEAWAY!

The good folks at Harvest Edutainment are giving away 2 copies of JJ’s Science Adventure – Magnets to 2 lucky readers who are residing in Singapore (1 copy per winner). Please state your email address as winners will be notified via email.

Giveaway will end on 13 November 2014.

Enter the giveaway here!

Winners will be announced on this blog post and my facebook page.

All the best!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of JJ’s Science Adventure: Magnets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine.

Update: Thank you for all your participation in the giveaway! The winners are Jolin Poon and Yu Meiyi. You will be contacted shortly via email. Enjoy the comic book! 😉

The October Vaby Box

The October Vaby box came in a bigger size this month! Let’s take a look at the content!

IMG_20141018_210640

1. The O10 Skin peppermint essence which helps stop the itch of affected area and leaves it moisturised. Inhaling the blam also clears nasal congestion.

2. Summer Citrus 5X Dishwashing Liquid by Idocare

3. Foldable Tote Bag

4. Bonny Baby Diapers

5. Everyday Head to Toe Cleanser by Bud Cosmetics which is suitable for growing babies. Its gentle amino acid and sugar based cleanser is combined with soothing, hydrating Aloe Vera and Fructan to cleanse and nurture the baby’s skin.

6. Educational mini book

Of these, we love the polyester and waterproof tote bag. We brought it along to the library once and were pleased that it is really hardy and could withstand the weight of the many books that were loaned. When folded and stored in the small bag, Faith loves to carry it around!

IMG_20141013_2206380.8085263178463546

You can find out more about the Vaby box here.

Pool shoes? Poolzies!

Faith loves waterplay and each week, she will utter ‘waterplay, waterplay’ under her breath and I make sure that I schedule one session of waterplay or swimming session per week.

If you are a regular for these activities, you will notice that the little ones do have problem with the slippery surfaces especially in and around the pool area or the shower facilities at the waterplay area. It’s common to have them slip (even when they are held by their parents) and this can be dangerous. If you bring your kid to the waterplay area in the morning like I do,  you might encounter that the ground can get too hot for the little ones to step on on days when the weather is warm.

IMG_20141006_204909

I guess the above are some of the reasons why Poolzies are created. Poolzies are pool shoes that are designed to help protect our kids from slippery surfaces mentioned above. The unique soles are made and imported from Toughtek USA, and the top part of the pool shoes is from Lycra Xtralife UPF50+ and is imported from Australia.  The pool shoes are then made to order from the Philippines.

I got Faith to wear this pair of Poolzies when we went for our recent waterplay session. Being a fussy girl (yes, she can be now!), I was prepared that she would remove them soon after we put them on. But I was wrong! She went off and roamed about in the pool shoes and kept them on throughout the session.

MCPihOUbiMOEwlgQKl8rm3C9M7bqy85PZUDYFrfGvJrS=w411-h524-no  cG1PQSf8aQfMAN6nHYvd6MlK8lrL1GW6EcFLPG3yIMGt=w409-h524-no

She must have felt comfortable in wearing them! The fact that it is ultra lightweight must have helped in having her keep the pool shoes on. She had no problem getting in and out of this waterplay area (in the pic) and what’s good is that she didn’t slip at all at the shower area. I can now shower her in peace! Hah!

TbqJGEuo5y6abHah2B--c6ImTmsON8dEpC83OOqKMfin=w501-h524-no

 

If you know me, I’m not one who is uptight about the little one slipping and falling. I think she can learn to pick herself up or walk on slippery floor because eventually she would need to learn how to manage that (you get what I mean?). However, I find the pool shoes especially useful during waterplay due to a recent incident in which my friend’s daughter had a swollen foot after a waterplay session. We suspected that she was bitten by an insect during that short time when they removed their shoes and played barefooted. Thankfully, the swell went down after a few days.

I must say that poolzies are a good pair of pool shoes to have when the kids are younger. At the very least, they help alleviate some fears about the kids slipping and falling at the pool area, amongst others. There are 10 vibrant designs to choose from. Do visit http://www.poolzies.com/ to find out more!

Disclaimer: Faith was gifted with a pair of Poolzies for review purposes. I am not obliged to do a blog post if I do not find the product beneficial. No other form of compensation was received and opinions are mine. 

 

The September Vaby Box

If you still haven’t subscribed to the Vaby Box, let me show you the contents that we received for this month.

IMG_20140922_140232

 

1. Sommeil travel wallet. Good to have if you are planning for some vacation.
2. A cute personalised owl that is good as a gift!
3. Smartfish fish oil
4. Sommeil natural sleep aid oral strips
5. Ban Kah Chai Lemongrass tea pack
6. Hair velcro for the little girl
7. Frisco milk powder
8. Frisco $5 voucher

You can find out more about the Vaby box here.

Reflections on Language Power 蓝格子, 跑啊!

I left the theatre with  a thankful heart.

Thankful that I had spent an afternoon attending a most inspiring talk about the power of language and to be wowed again by the beauty of the Chinese language. Yes, Chinese and I thought I had a most wonderful lesson in years conducted by the very eloquent and unassuming speaker, Eeva Chang.

20140920_151924

I have ‘known’ Eeva Chang since I was a young kid, having listened to the radio programmes on Rediffusion during those early years. It is perhaps how I started to learn to speak in Mandarin in the first place since our family only communicated in Cantonese during those days and right into our Primary School years. Being able to see Eeva on stage and listen to her speak in crisp, clear Mandarin is a real treat in itself.

Eeva started off by sharing about her background and illustrated how the power of language could change lives and society by drawing examples from renowned figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Jack Ma (Chairman, Alibaba Group), to name a few. Indeed her own life and success can be largely attributed to her language ability and … her voice. Thus she urged the audience to do that ONE thing upon reaching home – to do a recording of our voice and listen to it for our voice has a face to it and we can use our voice to make an impression on others. Our voice can determine or change our destiny and indeed it has, in Eeva’s own life.

The following are three points that spoke to me:

Language is not inherited but imitated

Eeva illustrated this point by getting the audience to match the language spoken by two children to that of their respective parents just by listening to the recording. It clearly shows that the child will learn to speak in a way that is similar to his parent(s) for he first learns the language by listening. Language is not inherited and having a good language environment is crucial for language acquisition. In her years of working with educators, Eeva observed that many children are afraid to speak in Mandarin but are more conversant and confident in English. She attributed that to the lack of a rich Chinese language environment in Singapore.

I concur with Eeva on that and as parents, I think we have to make extra effort in our speech if we want our child to learn to speak well. I have been speaking to Faith in Mandarin with the (hopefully) right intonation and I have friends who asked me why I have to speak in such a manner. The above is exactly the reason why I do that. As a language teacher myself, I know full well that the child imitates how the adults speak and we have to make effort in speaking properly. That definitely applies to English too. Speak to them in standard English for this will impact on their writing ability in future. They will learn Singlish in no time at all since our language environment fully supports Singlish. Don’t leave the job of speaking well to the teachers. It has to start with us, parents.

And, no baby talk please, for the younger ones. We are just NOT helping them by doing that.

20140920_155312

The importance of joyful learning 

This is nothing new to us, that learning takes place when children (or adults) find a topic interesting and will naturally be motivated to want to find out more information on their own accord. Interest is thus generated and children don’t have to be forced to learn. They will find that learning can be enjoyable and desirable results (be it tangible or intangible) can be achieved.

Makes sense?

But how often have we asked our children to learn something that we deem as beneficial but which they dislike? Self-assessment is required here, dear parents. An easier method is to ask your child how he feels about attending certain classes that you have planned for him. If he likes it, that’s great! If not, why?

Learning must result in application. If not, why do we have to learn? Similarly for children, they must see a need to apply their knowledge and skills before setting their mind on acquiring them. The ability to apply is an achievement for them!

Visualisation in language

What do the above mean? Simply put, it means getting the person to visualise an image(s) when we mention a word(s). A word has an image and meaning attached to it and the word comes alive to the person.

An example was given. Eeva asked a local girl how old she was and the little one replied, “Five years old.”

However, when she asked a Chinese girl the same question, the answer was, “I am six this year and I am going to school next year.”

This illustrates that the number 6 has a special meaning to the latter girl and it is not just a number to her. More often than not, when we teach words to the children, we fall short of getting them to understand and visualise the words so that the children could use them effectively. They are not just words on the cards or boards but they have an image and feeling attached to it.

Another example to illustrate the same point was given. In getting the child to construct a sentence using ‘good girl’,

#1 student wrote, ” The sister is a good girl.”
#2 student wrote, “My sister helps the old lady to cross the road. She is a good girl”

#2 student thus can visualise the words ‘good girl’ and that translates into his writing.

U2lEMnQvqitvD2a3dG7UKbifsQh8UXEH6i8LRJEyFJF1=w566-h524-no

I left the theatre feeling thankful that I was given this opportunity to hear her speak. It came at a time when I was on the brink of giving up speaking to Faith in Mandarin. I used to be strong in that language but because there is little need to use it once I entered tertiary education, I found myself getting weak in the Chinese language. So, communicating with Faith in Mandarin can be a difficult task at times when vocabulary is limited.

Still, the language does occupy a special place in my heart. I’m not sure about you but when I listen to certain Chinese songs or poems, I could feel a tug at my heart. And when I hear good Mandarin being spoken, my heart is lifted; it almost feels like you are listening to someone singing. I want Faith to acquire the Chinese language and to achieve that, it has to start with me.

Things that I want to improve on is the way that I communicate with her. I would need to explain more in detail of a certain word to her and not just, “This is xxx.” Visualisation is so important!

I would also need to mix less of English with Chinese (I have a tendency to do that!) and to start learning more Chinese words! Thankfully, I have friends who are passionate about having their children learn Chinese and having them come together during playdates is a good way to get them to communicate in Mandarin too! Another way is to listen to the Chinese radio stations so that both Faith and I could listen to good spoken Chinese.

Last words: A social entrepreneur with a passion for the Chinese language

This last bit is not about the talk but the speaker herself. I was moved by Eeva’s effort to continue to fight for the language which is her love. She bought over Rediffusion at a time when many thought that it was a dying radio station (at least I thought so) and revived it. Read more about the history here. She continued to exhort educators and parents to bring Chinese alive to the children through educational talks and shows. She did share that it was difficult to get sponsors for this talk show because many companies believed that not many would be interested in such a show and the inevitable question arose, “What is there for me (to benefit)?”

I sighed at such a remark.

Does money have to be tied to everything we do? Can it not be for passion or because the society can benefit from it? Businessmen would probably laugh at my naive remark above and that’s probably the reason why I am not a businesswoman in the first place. I think I will turn bankrupt in no time at all. But then again…. sigh!

I’m grateful then for the few companies that came forward to support her cause and I find myself doing likewise.

I’m actually interested to get Faith to attend any suitable courses organised by Eduplus, a school founded by Eeva. Alas, there is no such course for her because she is too young! Oh well, Faith has just got to wait and learn from her mother in the meantime.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Eeva’s Language Power talk show in exchange for a blog review. No compensation was received and opinions are mine.

The August Vaby Box

The August Vaby Box arrived and gave me a nice surprise.

20140816_130340

I love the contents because they are all useful products that I could use. Let’s take a look at them.

– Korean Adhesive Labra. It’s a backless, strapless, seamless and self-adhesive  from Labra that is priced at $49.
– Zoo Bibs which is lightweight and water resistant. It’s at a very affordable price of $4.90.
– Natural cotton diaper by Baby Organix
– Lavender Fields Concentrated Laundry Powder by Idocare
– Nurtureme Organic Food
– Portable Pencil Mini Fan
– Kids Party Entertainment Voucher
– The Playhouse Unlimited Play Pass

If you add up the sums, the items definitely cost more than the subscription that you pay for – $18.90 – each month. I also like it that they customise each box according to the profile of the mother and child.

IMG_20140825_123326

 

I love the Zoo bibs. It is attractive, light, easy to clean and packs well in the ziplock bag of stuff which I always bring when I go out with Faith. Faith doesn’t have the practice of wearing bibs because she doesn’t feel comfortable especially at the neck area. She would always insists on pulling it off and in the end, I give up having her put on a bib. And I tried the Zoo bib. Although she resisted initially, she was okay with it from much encouragement and allowed me to put on for her. Probably the minimal weight helps because it seems like she doesn’t feel a thing and also she doesn’t feel restricted around the neck. I like it too that there is a wide catch-all pocket for the food that slips from her mouth. Neat!

I’m still in the midst of trying the other products and would definitely visit The Playhouse again since the little one had fun the other time we were there. It’s a good place for some mommies to catch up with one another too!

I’m already all excited about the September box!

Have you subscribed to it?

You can find out more about the Vaby box here.

Fun For Free SG: The Animal Resort

This post is part of the FUN FOR FREE SG series of blog posts, brought to you by a group of mum bloggers. We’re sharing on one fun and free venue a day in the month of August, just for you. For the complete list of venues, please scroll right to the bottom of this blog post.

—————————————–::—————————————–

Fancy the idea of farm animals roaming near you? There is one such place in Singapore and you don’t have to pay a fee to visit it. I’m referring to The Animal Resort which is located near Jalan Kayu.

20140715_103906

Sprawling over 5 acres of rural land, the Animal Resort resembles that of a kampong and you can get up close and personal with various birds such as the geese, peacocks, parrot, hens, roosters, Marabou stork, ducks. For a minimal sum (optional), you can purchase feeds for the animals and this certainly adds more fun for both the adults and children alike. At this simple store and cafe, you can purchase mosquito repellent (very essential to bring along!) and enjoy some simple snacks.

20140715_105524

Look how free the birds roam! The children are sure to squeal in delight!

20140715_102715

I personally feel that this visit makes a great opportunity to learn about farm animals.

20140715_110727

Some birds, such as these beautiful peacocks and the roosters, are in the cages though. This actually gives more courage for the little ones to get close to them, knowing that they are protected by a fence.

20140715_103156

What is this strange-looking bird? It’s the Marabou stork!

20140715_104012

Besides the birds, there are also furry animals to adore. However, these animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, skinny pigs) are caged up.

20140715_105238

Young children get awed by these animals and I dare say the same goes for the adults too.

20140715_101516

If you want to try your luck and have fun catching fish in the small stream, you can pay a small sum of $5 and get a small fish tank to keep the fishes you catch.

20140715_104618

As you spend time at the ‘resort’, you will see dogs being walked. That’s because there is a dog training and grooming school in the premise. You can also see the cute puppies at the kennel.

There is also one lonely horse for you to admire! Say hi!

IMG-20140715-WA0019

The Animal Resort is a wonderful place for urban dwellers like us to be close to nature. We brought our kids on our last visit and the children were thrilled to be among the animals and that lasted for close to 2 hours.

 

The Animal Resort
T81 Seletar West Farmway 5 ScienceCentre Road20140715_104454
Singapore798061
Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am to 6pm
Contact
 Tel: (+65) 6338-7665
Fax: (+65) 6234-1360
Email: ricted@singnet.com.sg

Getting There
The Farm Animal is not easily accessible by bus or the train so the best way to get to the location is by car or taxi. There are ample parking facilities in the premise.

Nearest MRT: Sengkang (NEL), Yio Chu Kang (NSL)
Bus 86, 103 (off Jalan Kayu)
Landmark: Ju Eng Home along Seletar West Farmway 4. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the main road.

———————————————::———————————————-

 

Who’s next?

The next mom, Jiahui, who blogs at Mum’s the Word [link: http://www.mumseword.com] will be sharing about times at one of the most iconic parks in Singapore—Botanic Gardens! Jiahui is a full-time working mum of three who still feels she’s a new parent because of the many new things that she learns about her kids each day as they grow. Join her tomorrow to find out kids fun at Botanic Gardens!

995063_10152642104366108_5256968993073220937_n

 

Here’s the whole list – 31 days of free fun in Singapore! This list will be updated regularly; you will be able to click on the location to be brought directly to the blog post when it goes “live”.
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum’s The Word
19 Aug: A surprise! by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: MacRitchie trail by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children’s Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Changi Airport T1 Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade + Punggol Waterway by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious

To-Gather Cafe

I like chilling out in a cafe, especially when I am in one that has a cozy ambience and that their coffee and food are good. It would be even better if the cafe allocates a small area for the kids to play in. Recently, I came across one that we, as a family, are delighted with and I believe we will go back for more. It is located in our neighbourhood and that also translates to reasonable pricing for the items on their menu.

20140731_185507-1

To-gather cafe is located next to the famous Fengshan Market (more commonly known as the Blk 85 market). The exterior decor has a Japanese feel to it and the cafe stands out among the shops in that block. Once inside, I couldn’t help but feel welcomed. The interior is simple, clean and exudes a warm, homely feel to the diners.

20140731_181359  20140731_181710

Before we could be seated, our little one automatically went towards a small area and helped herself to the ‘kitchen’. Yes, you’ve guessed it right, it’s a play area for the little ones and this is so thoughtful of the owner and a brilliant use of space. Normally, this space (under the stairway) is used as a storeroom for cafes that have the same layout. The owner obviously know that kids can be a handful and designed this space for them so that the parents can have an (almost) undisturbed meal time. 😉

20140731_182847

The prices for most of the food items on the menu are below $10 and you order and pay before going back to your table. There is no service charge as such. I ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Kinoko Pasta (the photo above does not do justice) and the hubs had Pork Cordon Bleu. The dishes do not impress but they do not disappoint either. On the whole, I feel that the food is worth the price we pay for. You feel good paying for them actually.

20140731_183540

I also appreciate that there are different kinds of seating/table arrangement. If you prefer a little privacy, there are those tables that are separated by a low false wall -benches and booths. If you have a big group, there is a long wooden table that you can be seated. There are also those normal 2 or 4 seaters (I hope you know what I mean. This is the best I can describe with my limited vocabulary). Outdoor seating is available too. Oh, I do love the wall decals that bear some meaningful quotes.

20140731_181551  20140731_181801

Normally, I don’t visit a cafe more than once (or twice) unless we find it real good. And we probably will come back to To-gather cafe for more since it is within walking distance from our apartment and it serves good food with reasonable pricing. I heard that this cafe has expanded (to the current 2 units) within a few months of operation.

It must be good.

To-gather cafe

Blk 84, Bedok North St 4 #01-25/27
Tue – Thu: 11:00 – 22:00
Fri – Sat: 11:00 – 23:00
Sun: 11:00 – 22:00
Closed on Monday
http://www.togathercafe.com.sg