Browsing Category

giveaways reviews ads

a spot of singapore, giveaways reviews ads

Getting Mystica-ed at the Night Safari

We were at the Night Safari’s Mystica over the weekend and it occurred to me that even though we love zoos and animals (we visited 3 zoos and 2 wildlife parks during one trip to Melbourne), we’ve hardly been to the Night Safari. Maybe just once or twice since it opened.

I have to admit that we subconsciously steer clear of the touristy type of attractions back home – partly because we feel like it’s always going to be there and we’ll have a chance to visit anytime. And then things get busy and it turns out to be never.

Well, that’s going to change starting right now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you haven’t been to the Night Safari for a while, December is the best time to do it because that’s when Mystica happens – when the whole park turns into a dazzling wildlife wonderland.

Also, December is usually the time where parents start putting together activities to keep the kids meaningfully occupied and instead of doing the usual mall or movie routine, the kids are going to have way more fun on a nighttime adventure with all the animals, so it all works out.

At Mystica, the lights are up everywhere and the costumes + performers are out in full swing. Like these flamingo dancers. When I was a kid, I used to get confused by flamenco dancers and I’d call them flamingo dancers but these, these were definitely flamingos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this particular plant, which I believe to be a venus boobtrap flytrap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this uhm, I have no idea what this is. Some kind of plant/bird hybrid? But points for effort, double exclamation point!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The last time we visited the Night Safari, we didn’t feel quite adventurous enough to venture out on the walking trails lugging two tired toddlers so we just hopped on the tram and that was it. This time, we were determined to check out not one, but all four trails. I mean, the kids don’t have wilderness explorer badges for nothing, right?

Armed with their maps and spirit of adventure, they led the way starting from the wallaby trail.

It turned out to be so much fun.

A wallaby hopped right up to us in the middle of the trail and we saw tigers, lions, hyenas, leopards, flying squirrels snakes and roof rats, among other cool/gross animals, all just chilling out doing their nighttime thing. Baby Finn is really into making animal sounds lately so he had a great time roaring to his heart’s content.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was a bit of a queue for the tram after we were done so we hopped out for some neon face painting. It’s like ordinary face painting, except with neon glow in the dark paints.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meet my little lion and butterfly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And what’s face painting without a bit of role-playing? Truett spent the rest of the evening trying to sneak up on Kirsten like a lion while she flapped her little butterfly wings flittering around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was also a glow in the dark photo booth where they could admire each others’ glowing face paint. In the dark. It was all kinds of cool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After having visited quite a number of zoos, I can say for a fact that our Night Safari is hands down, one of the best in the world.

We’ll be doing this again soon.

*Mystica 2013: Wildlife Wonderland will be happening this weekend (20-21 December), as well as 27 through to 31 December, from 6.30pm – 9.30pm. 

**PAssion Card members will enjoy 10% off Night Safari admission from now till 31 Dec. 

giveaways reviews ads

Kleenex, taking care of the little things

kleenex

Running a household with 3 kids, I’ve come to realize that what everyone says is true, it is the little things that matters the most.

I used to look at all the things I needed to sort out and attack the big things first, thinking that those were the most important. Stuff like the house, renovations, major baby gear. Those were all great but along the way, I would get somewhat swamped and a lot of the little things got overlooked.

When we first had Truett and so new to the whole baby game, we’d budget big for items like a fancy baby monitor and baby spa sessions (both of which eventually wasn’t used much) and whatever else left over was allocated to essential daily items like tissues and wipes.

These days, we understand better and budget accordingly for the important little things – like even the toilet tissues in my bathroom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It may seem so small and insignificant but trust me, there’s no worse way to spoil your day than to start it off by using itchy, scratchy toilet paper in the morning. In contrast, having your toilet well stocked with pretty, plush, absorbent and super-soft toilet tissues makes your day seem extra bright and happy.

I swapped out our previous toilet tissues for the new Kleenex Aloe Vera toilet tissues last week and Kirsten, my connoisseur of all things soft and fluffy, immediately came running out from the toilet with her seal of approval, like “MOM!! The new paper inside the toilet is very nice ah?”

I was surprised that she even noticed but kids are surprisingly observant when it comes to the really important things. We often think that they’ve got things upside down because they focus on seemingly little things but I think the truth is that they’ve got things the right side up. Which makes it so fascinating to see the world through their eyes.

But back to the toilet tissues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love how Kleenex Aloe Vera toilet tissues are so absorbent and so incredibly soft at the same time because I’ve tried some soft ones that required like 6 folds for it to do the job. I mean, I don’t get single-ply toilet tissues. WHY DOES IT EVEN EXIST?? It’s like whoever made single-ply toilet tissues ripped off the other ply from a regular roll and rolled it back up as a prank.

Two-ply ones are functional but three-ply tissues, now we’re talking. And these Kleenex Aloe Vera ones know how to pamper the kids’ delicate skin. The tissues are also enriched with Aloe Vera extract to make it extra soothing and gentle on their bottom.

Taking care of the kids doesn’t just involve looking into the big things, which we do. It’s also in all the little insignificant things like bathroom time. We made it a point to bathe for the kids and clean them after a poop even though we’ve gotten a helper at home. Bathroom time, it’s our thing and the kids know it. We sing songs, play with bubbles and talk about their day in the bathroom. And we keep the bathroom stocked with quality essentials so they know that we take care of them with the best.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Baby Finn’s favourite activity – sorting toilet tissues for momma

giveaways reviews ads

Yummy Gummies by Merck Seven Seas

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 3.26.46 PM

One of the things I’m concerned about quite often is whether the kids are getting enough nutrition because I have 2 little picky eaters on my hands, each with their own set of strange preferences.

When they were younger, I had some pretty major food battles with the kids, mostly involving an impressive collection of vomit faces (and sometimes actual vomit) as I tried to make them eat food they thought were yucky. I tried every trick in the book like dangling incentives, withholding privileges, chopping up vegetables into tiny pieces and hiding them in food they like, cooking up all sorts of new recipes but they rarely worked.

Their quirks remained as quirky as ever.

Like Truett eats fish but only when he doesn’t see the skin. Kirsten, on the other hand, must have the skin with the fish. Kirsten eats broccoli but not cauliflower and certainly nothing green or with leaves. Truett does not touch any variety of vegetable unless it’s a potato (which is crispy and golden brown). Truett loves berries, grapefruits and oranges but not Kirsten. She goes for sweeter fruits like apples, durians and grapes. And the list goes on.

I used to have a chart to keep track of who was short of which vitamins because their picky diet wasn’t giving them all the nutrients that they needed, to the point where meal times were turning out to be a cause for tremendous stress for everyone involved.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that some battles aren’t worth fighting so while we try to give them a diet that’s as balanced as possible, we also make up for whatever’s missing with supplements.

We’ve tried a rather large variety of supplements and discovered that the key to choosing a good kid’s supplement is a balance between nutrition and taste. In fact, I’d go with taste first over nutrition because it has to be something that they will actually want to put into their mouths. And then we look for something that has the right amount of vitamins and minerals they need.

The kids recently tried some new gummy supplements by UK healthcare brand, Merck Seven Seas and that was a definite winner in the taste department.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Usually we’ll have to bargain with them like if you eat this supplement, we’ll give you another regular gummy as a reward. Not with this though. They like it so much that these fruit gummies are a reward in itself. How’s that for killing two birds with one um, gummy?

Truett’s favorite flavor is the strawberry one and the great thing is that is comes with Vitamins A, C and B6, which he doesn’t get enough of from not eating vegetables. Kirsten prefers the blackcurrant version, but she’ll also take the orange one from time to time because it’s apparently “quite yummy”.

I like the fact that each flavor comes with a unique set of vitamins so instead of going for a generic multivitamin filled with stuff that the kids don’t really need, we can give them something that provides them with the specific nutrients that they’re short of.

All Fruits

In an ideal world, my kids would eat all their vegetables and we’d live happily ever after but in this world, my kids make vomit faces at vegetables. So I feel a lot better knowing that whatever they get from supplements help to keep their little growing bodies a little stronger and healthier.

If you’d like to try these tasty and nutritious vitamin gummies, I have 3 sets of Merck Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies Gift Packs (worth $38.70 each) up for grabs. All you have to do to take part is answer the following question.

“What are the 3 flavors available in the Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies range? “

Send your answer (along with your full name, NRIC, mobile number and email address) with the subject title “Mother Inc: Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies Contest” to merck.chc@merck.sg by 31 August 2013.

**From now to 31 December 2013, get $2 off every bottle of Merck Fruit Gummies purchased. While stocks last.

giveaways reviews ads

The Volkswagen Sharan

VW advertorial

I just spent a week getting acquainted with the Volkswagen Sharan and I think I’m having a massive car crush right about now. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve always been pretty fond of my little Honda Jazz but it’s like someone who’s been eating oatmeal every morning and is relatively happy with oatmeal but one day  tries some ridiculously tasty fried chicken and then OMG FRIED CHICKEN! There’s just no turning back from that.

This is what comes of writing at 2am after a dose of Breaking Bad. I need me some Los Pollos Hermanos.

Delicious fried chicken aside, I’ve had the most wonderful week with the VW Sharan because this 7-seater MPV is one sweet, sweet ride. As far as looks go, it’s not particularly flashy or flamboyant – certainly not a show stealer like a smoking hot Kate Beckinsale in skintight leather. It’s more of a warm and homely Kate Hudson in comfy yoga pants. Unassuming, but once you really get to know her (the car, I mean) and spend some quality time together, that’s when your heart gets well and truly stolen.

daphne vw

First of all, the keyless entry & ignition. Pretty standard stuff, but instead of having to press a button on the door handle, all I need to do is gently touch the inner curve of the door handle like I’m about to open the door and it unlocks with a soft click. Smooth and easy.

Once I’m in the car, the first thing I notice is how bright and spacious everything is. The large windows and the sunroof lets in plenty of light so it feels happy and airy. And the space they manage to fit into the car is pretty impressive. As in it definitely feels more spacious than it looks and it already looks pretty darn spacious. The middle row sits 3 adults comfortably and the last row fits 2 bulky car seats with room to spare. With all 7 seats upright, the boot space isn’t huge but it still comfortably fits a Peg Perego stroller and several bags.

It also comes with the usual bells and whistles of most respectable cars these days – built in GPS, cruise control, auto park, the whole works. I really like how intuitive everything feels, like the car understands me and knows my every need. Seriously, it’s a real dream to drive and this is coming from someone who spends a lot of time ferrying the kids up and down, running errands and dashing around for meetings in between.

Volkswagon Sharan

The kids obviously loved the car. They’re at an age where they can give me very candid comments about stuff and the first thing they said when they got into the car was “WAHHHH, your new car is so awesome.” But what’s more telling is the number of times they fell asleep in the car (even on short rides). They hardly ever fall asleep in the Jazz but in the last week alone, they’ve fallen asleep like 4 times in the car because according to Kirsten, “it’s too comfortable”. True story

kirsten vw

I think Truett’s favorite part of the car was the little ledge on the back seat where he gets to arrange his toy cars all in a row. He’ll make vrooom sounds and move his cars along the ledge while I drive, which is such a big boy thing to do, right?

tru vw

And then of course, the coolest feature of all, the sunroof. I don’t know what it is about kids and sunroof but they seem to think that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. On every single trip, they’ll ask for the sunroof to be opened and occasionally, we’ll indulge them for like 2 minutes until it gets too hot, which inevitably leads to the end of open top driving.

Several times, we let them stand with their heads popped out of the sunroof while the car was stationary and they were so, so thrilled. Kids are so easy to impress. But cute.

VW sunroof

On Monday, we took a day off to hang out at Adventure Cove as a family and the Sharan ferried all 7 of us (including my mom and the helper) comfortably with room to spare. Considering that there might possibly be another kid (ahem, not yet but the option is very much on the table) on the horizon, this will be a dream addition to the family.

If I had to rate the experience, it’d be two thumbs up plus a big toe.

*For more details on the Volkswagen Sharan, check out the gallery here

giveaways reviews ads

All about the light

3M Advertorial

One of the things I look forward to most everyday is reading time with the kids because it combines 2 of my favorite things to do in the world – reading and spending time with the kids. I love that they’re captivated by stories and there’s nothing more satisfying than when I stop midway through a book and they’re all like “And then what happens, mom? READ SOME MORE!!!”

It’s even starting to rub off on baby Finn. He’s often sitting down in a pile of books and flipping vigorously instead of playing with his other toys. He doesn’t quite have the ability to sit through a whole book and he likes to snap the book shut while I’m reading and shove a new one in my face but it’s probably an indication of his baby-induced ADD rather than his lack of interest in books. Or so I’d like to think.

Finn finn reading

I like to imagine hanging out with them at a nice cafe when they’re older, each of us engrossed in our own books. I’ll have my latte while they sip their hot chocs and then we’ll talk about our books like a mini book club. That’ll be really nice.

Now that they’re really into books, we try to cultivate good reading habits like ensuring that there’s proper lighting whenever they read. Especially after we discovered 3M’s Polarizing Light and the importance of glare reduction last year.

3M recently launched the LED 6000 Polarizing light and it’s better than ever. It is equipped with the latest 3M Air Guiding™ Technology to effectively reduce glare and eliminate harmful UV rays. It also uses edge-lit LEDs to remove multi-shadows on the book’s surface and produce a light source that does not flicker. It’s also eco-friendly, produces less heat and energy efficient. Another useful feature is the easy touch sensor that allows you to adjust brightness levels to suit different reading needs. There are no chunky buttons to fiddle with, plus it’s pretty cool – just glide a finger along the panel and watch the brightness level adjust instantly.

And the swivel head that swivels in all directions (left, right, up down)? That’s like my favorite feature. I have a thing for objects that swivel because it’s so um, what’s the word for it…shiok. For one thing, I get to adjust the light just right regardless of the angle of the book, but more importantly, it’s just so gratifying to swivel stuff like a boss.

3M LED 6000

The kids now know how to remind me about the Polarizing Light and they’ll be like “I think we need the reading light to keep our eyes healthy and strong”, which is basically code for “Yay, I get to go crazy fiddling with the light sensor and the swivel function.”

Whatever works, I guess. At this rate, maybe they’ll even have a chance of not being myopic.

kids reading

If you’d like to win a 3M LED 6000 Polarizing Light, here’s a chance for you to do so. All you need to do is head on over and “Like” the 3M Polarizing Light Facebook Page. From now till 15 August, one lucky winner will stand to bring home a 3M LED 6000 every week.

*The 3M LED 6000 Polarizing Light retails at $269 and is available in Green, Pink and White.

giveaways reviews ads

Baby Wipes Connoisseur

Advertorial pigeon

Before I became a mom, I didn’t care much for wet wipes. It was a functional item and as long as I could use it to wipe stuff with, it was all the same to me.

Then I went and gave birth to babies and everything changed. I found myself becoming a connoisseur. Of moist towelettes. I even stopped calling them wet wipes and started calling them baby wipes because it’s the single most important item that babies need.

They make the poopy? You need baby wipes.

They smear food all over their bodies? Reach for the baby wipes.

They regurgitate? Baby wipes.

They shove their fingers in dirt? That’s right, baby wipes.

finn finn

5 years and 3 kids later, I think I’ve tried almost every brand of baby wipes available. Some were too dry, some were sort of squishy, some were rough and scratchy, some left a weird residue, some gave the baby a nappy rash, and some just smelled way too funky.

Being a connoisseur and all, here’s what I look for in my baby wipes:

1. Soft. Not just the regular kind of soft but luxuriously soft. It must feel like the gentle caress of a summer breeze on baby Finn’s bottom.

2. Thick and absorbent. I’ve discovered that 1 square of good quality thick wipes is equivalent to 2-3 pieces of inferior ones. So I end up using fewer pieces for each diaper change.

3. Textured. The best baby wipes are those that are textured but still maintaining its softness as the texture helps to pick up particles more effectively.

4. No harmful chemicals or residue. Or anything that irritates a baby’s delicate skin.

On my baby wipes scale, Pigeon has one of the best wipes and their Chamomile & Rosehip range is the one of my favorites. In fact, it’s the one I used the most in all my years of poop cleaning.

They’ve introduced a baby wipes new range called Moisturizing Cloths and after using it on baby Finn for a couple of weeks, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve got a new favorite. It’s actually recommended for newborns up to 6 months but since my 9-month-old still has the delicate skin of a newborn, I’m sticking with it.

pigeon moisturizing cloths

I didn’t think the wipes could get much softer and thicker than the ones I was already using but wow, yes it can. It’s so thick they’re now calling it a cloth instead of a wipe because it really does feel like fabric. A really soft, moist and really absorbent fabric. That comes with a new lattice-weave texture for more efficient cleaning.

They’ve also added Lanolin protection to the Moisturizing Cloths, which helps to moisturize the skin while creating a protective barrier against diaper rash. And like the rest of their wipes, they’re alcohol-free as well as free from fungus and harmful bacteria that can cause itching, skin irritation and eczema. They’ve also retained the very useful One Hand System, which allows you to peel off the reseal-able flap and pull out the wipes with one hand. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver when you’re dealing with a squirmy baby and a full packet of poop.

While I use it most frequently for diaper changes, it’s also great for using on baby Finn’s hands, face, feet and pretty much everywhere else that needs wiping.

*Pigeon’s Baby Wipes Moisturizing Cloths are available at all leading department stores, supermarkets and baby products shops. They will be retailing at a promo price of $15 for 2 twin packs (instead of $17.80) from 17 June to 31 August. 

giveaways reviews ads

Relaxing one corner with my Osim uAngel

I’ve had the most massive backaches for a really long time now. I don’t know if it’s caused by the 9 months of pregnancy (x 3) or the 30 hours of labor or 5 years of carrying the kids but one thing’s for sure – my back these days is like a giant knot made up of a hundred smaller knots. Honestly, neck and shoulder aches have been my constant companion for so long that I can’t remember a time when my back didn’t hurt. Even after I go for the best massages from those deadly Chinese sinsehs, the relief lasts for at most a day before the aches come right back again. Total bummer.

Which is why last week, when the OSIM folks asked me if I wanted to give the new uAngel massage chair a spin, I was really quite enthusiastic about it. In fact, I might have immediately fantasized about vegetating on my shiny new toy and having all the tension slowly massaged out of my knotted muscles multiple times a day. And then some.

On Monday, I got a special delivery and  *squeeeeal* I AM IN LOVE.

osim uangel

Okay, you guys know I hardly ever squeal right? I’m not much of the squealing sort but if there’s anything that deserves some proper squealing, this is it.

Let me get straight to the point – first of all, the massages. When I sat down on the plush leather for my first massage, the English language failed me so I looked at the husband and said “WAH SEH…SHIOKNESS.” Which is perhaps the best way to describe the enjoyment I derive from the intense squeeze and knead massaging. It comes with 5 different modes for me to customize the intensity and massaging motions for my neck, shoulders, back, and legs.

This is now the special boss chair I head to the moment I wake up, before I go to bed, after lunch, in the afternoon…you get the idea.

osim uangel test

The other great thing about the uAngel is that while it comes with the features of a full-sized massage chair, it also has the ability to transform into a stylish compact little sofa.

How compact, you ask? To be precise, it measures only 70cm (width) by 86cm (depth) in sofa mode, which makes it an excellent space-saving option for homes that don’t have the luxury of space to fit a ginormous massage chair. When you need a massage, just touch a button and it transforms into a massage recliner. And when you don’t, it transforms right back with another touch of a button.

osim uangel transform

As an added bonus, the shiny upholstery is easy to clean and even the kids love it because it’s the perfect size for their cosy reading corner.

osim uangel reading corner

One more thing, OSIM is one of the sponsors for this year’s Cold Storage Kids Run, which will be held on 19 May. The kids had a great time at last year’s run and they’re really excited to take part in the run this year. Who knows, we might even trade run partners. More on that soon!

*From now to 19 April, OSIM is having a Dress Up as Angel Facebook Photo Contest! To participate, just snap a photo of you as an Angel and submit via the OSIM Singapore Facebook Page.