“Best Pool Ever at SAFRA Yishun!” said The Little Ones

We spent our weekend at the newly revamped pool at SAFRA Yishun and we had a terribly hard time getting the girls out of the water! The pool at SAFRA Yishun Country Club has new and lots of fun upgrade and I think we will be using more of our SAFRA membership soon. Why the pool not at SAFRA Punggol leh? Splash@KidsAmaze is fun, but the Mummy me don’t get to swim nor even dip into the pool. As SAFRA members we get to enter the new pool at Yishun for free some more wor!

New Pirate Theme Wet Play Wading Pool

SAFRA Yishun Country Club offers family-friendly amenities in a resort-like setting. The newly renovated swimming pool opened its doors to members and guest in March 2017 and features enhanced waterfall and slides, an expanded patio, new changing rooms and a brand new pirate-theme wet playground.

When the girls saw the pool on Saturday, they couldn’t wait to jump right into it! And once they’re in, no one can pull them out of the water…

The pirate theme wet playground that’s suitable for all ages
Adventurous and never say never, Zara had too much time that day at SAFRA Yishun!
The duo can just lazed like that forever…
The waterfall and rainbow slides that got everyone excited! One slide is not enough please, good thing they’ve got two!

First Swim Class with FINS Swim School

Children and adults of all ages are guided by dedicated coaches who strive to bring out the best in their students. Swim lessons are well-structured and designed to be comprehensive and safe, helping students gain proficiency as independent swimmers.

Ayra had her first swim class experience with one of the coaches at FINS Swim School, and the shy girl exclaimed it was fun! The 45 minutes passed too quickly and she wants to go back for more. Maybe I should register both the girls for their July intake.

Shy girl hiding behind at start of lesson, but eventually eased and got comfortable with the coach.

SAFRA Facebook Page Contest

To celebrate the opening of the new pirate adventure wet play wading pool, SAFRA Yishun Country Club is giving away 10 sets of FINS Arena Kids Swimmers Starter Kits to 10 lucky winners. Find the missing puzzle on SAFRA Facebook page here and share a treasured #SAFRApools moment to participate in the contest.

Check out the video of this new swimming pool on our Facebook page.

Photos in this post taken with the Canon Powershot EOS M5 camera.

Life with a Super Helper, I Never Knew It Was Like This

It has been four weeks since our family welcome our very first stay in domestic helper from Indonesia. The effect she has created in the household is so great; I have been questioning why didn’t we hire one earlier? We are so lucky to have found her and I’m glad this feeling is mutual.

I never really experience having a super helper and have been curious why my friends swear by having one. Now that I’ve found my own, here’s my list of 101 ways how our life in the home has changed since our super helper arrived.

  1. Dinner for a week is now better, healthier and cheaper! No more “what to eat tonight” woes and scrolling through Foodpanda for dinner. We used to spend $200-300 a week on dinners because we don’t have time to cook. Now our weekly marketing is about $120 and feeds us, 3 adults and 2 kids, for the entire week. Home cook food is surely healthier than eating out.
  2. Eating out becomes fun again.
  3. We can rot at home all weekend without worrying we don’t get feed.
  4. Hub and I get more time every day for family, work, self and us.
  5. Suddenly we have too many clothes to wear – before she came, we had a week of clothes piled up and ironed only once a week, now our laundry is washed, folded and ironed every few days. Time to clear out the not-so-fitting clothes soon.
  6. It’s like we are living in a hotel – because our beds are made so straight and need every day and the house smell so clean too.
  7. You don’t know where things are anymore, especially in the kitchen.
  8. Marketing is not just a word I hear at work, it becomes a weekly routine at Fairprice and the neighbourhood market.
  9. I am slowly getting acquainted with the vegetable and meat stall auntie and uncle in the market.
  10. We’ve got a phone in our house! The last time we had that was more than 10 years ago.
  11. We get to see things clearer through our full-length windows in the living room… the last time I cleaned those glasses was 4 years ago and now super helper cleans it every few days!
  12. I got used to someone calling me “Mamm”.
  13. Hub is no longer Ayah, now also referred to as Sir in the house.
  14. Kids are happier, healthier and Ayra is gaining weight which is a good thing!
  15. Accidents in bed by the littles one now is less frustrating because I don’t have to change the sheets on my own. This is really really really rare.
  16. My bag feels lighter (and smaller) whenever I’m out with the girls, because their water bottles and barang barang are now the helper’s load.
  17. Shelves are neater, dust free and organised.
  18. Kids play room is neater, organised and cleaner.
  19. I get more time to focus on work and family because I have fewer things to worry about the house.
  20. Courier pick-up and delivery is easier because there’s always someone in the house.

I am really glad we waited this long and found our super helper. I hope she will stay like this for a long long time. We’ve gained each other trust over the month and I’m checking in less via our blink cameras around the house, sometimes I don’t even feel I have to anymore.

If you’re wondering, my hub and I are still hands-on with the daily routine with our girls, we bathe, feed, tug them to sleep and take care of them, because to us, taking care of our children is the parent’s responsibility. Auntie do get to play with them before bed and help out in the toilet at times because the girls have this weird “I need to poo” timing when we are having our meals!

Super Mum Needs Super Power, I’m Powering Up with Blink around my Home

I tried, and I think I did pretty well. But I know it could be better.

The Super Mum tag wasn’t self titled, friends and people around me is always shocked to know I am juggling everything from family, home and work without help. It had been very exhausting and many times I wanted to throw in the towel. Enough of having 1001 tasks to take care of every day. I cannot be the Super Mum, I needed extra pair of hands to help.

When our part time helper who came by once a week to help clean the house told me she will be returning home for good, I knew this was a sign. The sign to rethink how I can better coupe with the multiple responsibilities around the house.

I didn’t want to have to worry if the laundry is full and needed for wash, I didn’t want to worry if my family has clean house to live in, I didn’t want to think about what dinner to get home after work and rushing home in time so my family wouldn’t have to wait for their unhealthy MSG filled meal.

I outsourced.

I have never liked the thought of having a stay in helper, because the family is worried we will not be comfortable sharing our home. But I needed to so I can focus on the more important things, time with my kids and work.

It didn’t take us long to find the one. I found her in the first group of helpers shortlisted, she was the first that got my attention. With three times experience in Singapore, children all grown up and at a mature age; I knew right away she’s the one.

Preparing for arrival

Being the first time employer for a helper who will have to stay home alone most of the time in the day, I wanted to be able to check on her and the house when I am out. I needed to get cameras for the house but I really don’t like unsightly cables running around. I needed a wire free solution.

Blink is my solution

It was a kickstarter project and now marketed by Aztech, I saw it first on Chester’s blog and then on Zitseng’s. If you want to know the how-to and tech specs, please click on the links to read, because this is the Mummy C talking not the techie gadget Claudia.

Blink camera starter set
The Blink camera is super small, light and wire free! I can place it anywhere around the house.

Because of the wire free and easy setup, I was able to very quickly connect it via the Blink app and our home wifi, and I’m ready to go. Stick it anywhere around the house with my trusted 3M tape and I can monitor what goes on around the house anywhere I am.

Not a surveillance camera

I have to highlight that this camera isn’t an around-the-clock surveillance camera. It doesn’t watch over your home all the time and it doesn’t record looping or non-stop videos. Blink is a home security and monitoring system – it can be armed to detect motion where it will send an alert on your mobile app and record a pre-determined video clip based on your setting. When that happens, the camera will also illuminate which may give the person or thing that caused the motion to jump!

Like a baby monitor

I use the Blink camera like a baby monitor for the house. Whenever you want to check on your baby, you check on the monitor, this is the same. When I want to see what’s my helper doing around the house, I tap on the mobile app, turn on the camera and watch. I can also turn on or off sound capturing from the camera.

Can you spot Blink?

Easy add-on camera

Each Blink camera has a view angle of 110-degree, I can view 90% of my living room when it’s placed in the centre of the room but I needed more than one. I’m going to be getting two more Blink cameras to add-on to my setup at home so I can have access to an all-round monitoring when I am not home. One Blink camera outside our rooms so I can see what’s happening inside, and one more (armed) from inside the living room so I can monitor who’s going in and out of the house during the day.

The Blink camera on the right and the “brain/heart” of the system on the left.

With a super helper and our super monitoring cameras, I think I am able to do more super things because I now have better control and system for my home and family. Next up is to build my super team at work to power up my super power!

Blink Aztech starter kit is selling at S$188, each additional camera sells at $138 each. Find out more on Blink Aztech website.

Our 5 Year Old First Forest Adventure in Genting

In February, together with the little ones and my mum, we headed up to Genting for the first time after more than two decades. I have zero recollection of how the place looks like and did not have any expectation for the trip besides the awesome meals we were going to try at the newly renovated Sky Avenue at Resorts World Genting.

More than Casino and Food

When we signed up for a Fashion Forest walk, in my mind I was ready for a stroll in air-conditioned indoor somewhere inside the newly renovated Resorts World Genting. Oh boy I was SOOOOOO wrong! One day before the trip we were told to pack our sports shoes and attire, I knew things were going to be as easy as I’d thought.

We were going into a REAL FOREST! 

I didn’t know they have such places and adventures in Genting! The day before the adventure in a real forest, I was chickening out and had planned to skip it. But Ayra was super enthusiastic and insisted she wants to do it.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events

Our Adventure Begins

So off we went on our very first forest walk with the very friendly husband and wife team from Treks Genting.

To minimise the walking for the little one, and lucky for me; Ayra and I were driven up (and down) in this jeep with Pat. It was Ayra’s first 4-wheel jeep ride and up a rocky road. It sure was quite an adventure even before we set our feet onto the natural land in the Fashion Forest.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
While waiting for the rest of the group to hike up the meeting point, Pat set up small flame and smoke to keep mozzies away, but sadly we still got bitten quite badly! The insect repellent Zara made in school wasn’t very effective for these combat trained mosquitoes!

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
This is Uncle Eddie who is super enthusiastic and passionate about nature, forest and everything that you can find and do in the forest. His sharing and fun sharing of the forest had definitely attracted Ayra to want to go on this adventure. Together with his team at Treks Genting, they set up the forest to make it more interesting and engaging for their hikers. You’ll see QR code, frames to guide you on what to see and shoot around the forest, and even provides you with complimentary Wifi from their mobile phone if you need to stay connected in the forest.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events
The walk into the forest started with a 10 minutes climb down a very steep and long set of stairs. This wasn’t our usual flats of stairs, every step was an adventure for the little one! But Ayra shocked me when she walked down the stairs without complaint and was very enthusiastic throughout our time in the forest. She walked into the forest with the help of a walking stick.

This experience has shown me the other side of Ayra which I didn’t know she was capable of. At one point she turned back, looked at me and said “Mummy faster!”; while I tried to catch my breathe after 1/4 climb back up from the forest. She was many steps ahead of me and show no sign of exhaustion! I was simply speechless.

Ayra's first forest adventure in Genting with Treks Events

If only the weather in Singapore was less humid and hot, I’ll gladly bring her for walks at Bukit Timah Hill anyday. Perhaps it’s time I start planning for our first mother-daughter trip before she enters Primary school next year. Where shall we go?


If you are heading to Fashion Forest, try spotting our names on the welcome banner at the start of the forest walk!

If you would like to experience a different side of Genting too, go check out treks.events or their Facebook page.

Backup Photos in Your Mobile Phone, Else It May Be Lost One Day

A Mummy pleaded for help to find her lost iPhone which she left at IKEA’s nursing room, not because the iPhone is expensive. It’s the photos in there that is too precious to lose. I totally feel her misery, but if I were in her situation, it would be less painful, because I’ve always set my photos to be backup automatically once I’m connected to WiFi.

lost-iphone-precious-photos

Backup photos from mobile to flickr

That’s what I’ve been doing with all photos taken on my mobile phones, iPads and even cameras. I’ve lost all photos from my dating days with my husband because the external hard disk died on me. Ever since I’ve backup all my photos on flickr.

flickr provides 1,000GB of FREE storage space and gives you a lot of useful features to make photo taking and sharing a breeze. Download flickr app from your app store or play store and login to your account. You can choose to automatically backed up all your photos whenever you are connected to wifi network.

I have more than 25,000 photos and 900 videos backup from my mobile phones and tablets in flickr.

backup photo flickr

Backup on Google Photos

Because I very kiasu, I also backup my photos on Google Photos. In case one fail, there’s another backup mah! This works the same and does the backup automatically after you set it up once on your mobile phone. Google Photos also auto generates animation, slideshows and collages from your daily photos and you can choose to save those you like or edit them too.

All you need is a Google account, and yes it’s FREE too! One thing I love more of the Google Photos is their search. Because all photos are auto backed up I don’t get to tag or categorize them for future search. However for Google Photos, you can type words such as “birthday”, “food” and
“family” and their image recognition will do it’s magic! Really amazing stuff, search Google Photos on your app store/ play store.

There are also other paid backup solutions you can use. Acronis provides data backup and protection solutions for home, office and enterprises. They charge a yearly subscription where you get 50GB or 1TB of space where you can backup true image of all your digital content and devices. Meaning, you can backup you computers too with Acronis. This is ideal for those who want to backup more than just photos and videos. Find out more on their website.

Also make it a habit to print out the better photos once a while. Nothing beats flipping through pages of memories with your little ones and look back at how much they’ve grown over the years.

Hope the mummy gets her iPhone back.

Tsum Tsum Fever Hits CapitaLand Malls Around Singapore

Tsum Tsum (pronounced “soom soom”) hits malls around Singapore this month and fans of these adorable stacking characters are in for a treat! We checked out the installation at Plaza Singapura at the launch and we couldn’t stop squealing at the cuteness of all things Tsum Tsum.

The month-long Tsum Tsum carnival at CapitaLand malls in Singaporere creates scenes from the popular Disney Tsum Tsum short series, and features specially curated activities. Catch Tsum Tsums spring to life when the clock tower strikes Tsum o’clock on the hour at Plaza Singapura, test their agility clearing a ninja-inspired mini obstacle course at Junction 8 and Sembawang Shopping Centre, and get an adrenaline rush whilst racing Tsum Tsums atop robotic cars at Tampines Mall.

How fast can you swipe across this huge screen with a game of Tsum Tsum? I tried it once and hit 200K+ points only.

Play and earn rewards

From 3 March to 2 April 2017, shoppers can enjoy an immersive offline-and-online Tsum Tsum experience by launching an event-exclusive Mission Bingo in the CapitaStar app to win prizes by completing simple and fun missions. Some of these missions include:

  • taking a selfie with the giant Tsum Tsum inflatables at Bugis Junction and Raffles City Singapore,
  • finding the treasure in the ninja castle at Junction 8 and Sembawang Shopping Centre,
  • lighting up the Tsum Tsum display using pedal power at The Star Vista,
  • finding hidden Tsum Tsums at Westgate, IMM Outlet Mall and JCube based on clues given out by Sparkle, CapitaStar’s chatbot.

The first 10 CapitaStar members to complete their Mission Bingo will be rewarded with 250,000 STAR$ and other attractive prizes.

Unite‘Em for Earth Hour

To raise awareness of climate change and promote the use of alternative energy in conjunction with Earth Hour celebrations taking place in March, shoppers are invited to light up the Tsum Tsum display at The Star Vista every evening from 20 to 26 March by pedalling the stationary bikes docked in the mall. The mileage clocked by shoppers at The Star Vista will be combined with that contributed by shoppers in other CapitaLand malls across Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan and India, which are holding different cycling-related events. The target is to unite the efforts of shoppers across these five countries and collectively clock a total distance of 40,075 kilometres, equivalent to the Earth’s equatorial circumference.

Huggable Tsum Tsums You Gotta Collect ‘Em All

CapitaStar members can redeem an exclusive Disney Tsum Tsum huggable with a daily minimum spend of S$180 at participating malls. American Express®CapitaCard members need only charge a minimum spend of S$160 to their card to redeem one. The premium Disney Tsum Tsum huggables featuring popular Disney characters Olaf & Elsa, Chip & Dale and Stitch & Lilo are available from 3 March, while sets of Eeyore & Piglet, Mickey & Minnie and Winnie & Tigger will launch on 17 March.

These huggables are soooooo cute!!!
These huggables are soooooo cute!!!

Shoppers who collect all six pairs of plush toys stand a chance to win return air tickets for four persons to Japan – the birthplace of Tsum Tsum – and a five-night stay at Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo. These huggables are all so adorable we can’t decide which to collect! One thing for sure is I’ll be shopping a lot at CapitaLand malls this month, good thing I’ve got the American Express®CapitaCard.

Tsum Tsum collectors can also shop for fashionable Disney Tsum Tsum gold jewellery and other official merchandise at participating retailers across CapitaLand malls.

This looks like a fun game for some rolling good times with the girls!
Was tempted to buy this cute Tsum Tsum pouch, but I resisted. I’ve too many of such pouches!
Auntie Caren posing with the fun installation at Plaza Singapura.

 

Peek at Our New Bedroom with “Peppa Pig Bed”

A bedroom to me is the most important space in the house. This is where we get our rest and recharge for the challenges in life. Before we got our own home, our bedroom was where we worked, played and stored all our stuff. It was very stuffy and not conducive for resting. When we got our own place, we made sure the room is kept to the minimum and use it only for rest.

Lucky us, we found a flat that has a spacious master bedroom where we can have everyone, including our two girls. Well technically one girl then before Zara came along couple years later. With the changes in our family, our bedroom evolved too. From one king mattress with a baby cot for Ayra, and to a king mattress with one single mattress, then an additional baby cot added into the room, and finally to our present one king and two single mattresses. This was also when we were left with no space at all for rest beside on the mattresses.

The Transformation

The girls had been pestering me for a very very very long time. “I want Peppa Pig’s bed!” I was reluctant before because we didn’t want to get a wooden frame bed as our house has very high humidity and would attract moulds to grow. But when we first saw the TUFFING bunk bed frame at IKEA one day, it being built with steel and with a lower height compared to the SVARTA bunk bed, I knew this was the one I can get for the girls one day.

And lucky them, our final task for our collaboration with IKEA Singapore was to transform our bedroom! Ayra and Zara were super excited when I revealed our room makeover project to them.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG
New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

Before the transformation, we had them on two single beds placed side-by-side next to our King sized bed. The three beds practically took up the entire space in our master bedroom, living only a narrow walkway from the door, to the bed and to our open wardrobe. The only place to sit was on our beds. After the transformation, we now have more open space in the bedroom and it sure is refreshing.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

To make the new space more fun and attractive to the girls, we also added SMILA STJÄRNA wall lamps, one for each of the missus. They love the effect of these lamps casted on our walls, ceilings and for the little one, from under the bunk bed. The first night we installed the lamps, the room was like a disco… you know… with lights coming on and off and random occasions!

Child-Friendly Bunk Bed

The TUFFING bunk bed frame though recommended for primary school going kids, but I find that it is ok too for pre-schoolers who are tall enough (Ayra is at about 120cm) and is able to sleep without much movement. One of the things I was worried about was the size and height of our existing mattresses which was less than 2 years old and we didn’t want to change them. The bunk bed is about 10cm longer and 2cm narrower than our current mattresses. And the height that’s recommended (especially for the one sleeping on top) is about 3-5cm shorter than our current mattresses. We measured and remeasured the bunk bed and our mattresses twice before we headed back the third time to buy the frame.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble or if you do not have an existing single size mattress yet, buy it together at IKEA and you’ll never go wrong. IKEA have quite a wide selection of mattresses – spring mattresses and the foam & latex mattresses.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

Keeping it Simple Yet Inviting with Matching Fabrics

We prefer simple and plain linens in our bedroom. The bed linens I buy for our king mattress is always in a solid color and with clean lines. Our curtains were also plain in solid grey. However the girls prefer cartoon prints on their mattresses, and so I’ve never tried putting much effort into coordinating the colours in our bedroom.

After some flipping through the IKEA annual catalogue, I was inspired to try make our bedroom more coordinated with matching fabrics.

I picked a solid but duo coloured STICKAT quilt cover and pillow set with matching DVALA single fitted sheets. I also picked a new curtain, NUNNERÖRT, with some patterns to complement the plain bed linens, and it injected a little fun into our space.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG
Our girls really love their new bed!
New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG
Wider view of how our room looks now.

I am very impressed with how our bedroom makeover project turned out. With this new bed frame, it somehow also created a new routine for all of us. The girls now no longer need me to pat them in bed for an hour before they fall asleep, and they are more willing to “go to bed” vs how they would always find excuses to not go to sleep before the “Peppe Pig Bed” came along.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

Happy and willing kids make an even happier mum! I’m glad we did this transformation.

This also marks the end of our collaboration with IKEA, but this doesn’t stop us from our desire to always create a better home for our family. Thank you for reading and supporting our series of mini home makeovers over the past few months. If you’ve missed any of our posts, here is a quick recap of what we’ve done for this collaboration.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.