If you were asked to dedicate one message to one person, who will you dedicate it to? Most people would say thank you to their family member, spouse, children etc, and I thought it would be the same for me too. But when I stepped into the #OnePersonOneThing “confession box” yesterday outside Ocean Financial Centre, I recorded a message for someone else instead.
This year has been quite a roller coaster ride for me – a stressful period when my grandma had to undergo a major operation, along with the influx of new responsibilities at work, a terrible three and emotional five in the family, and my struggle to achieve work-life-balance. Thankfully, everything kinda went pretty well. I’m truly blessed to be able to do a lot of things this year because of the people in my life.
Aiyah, easy lah, just say “I Love You” and “Thank You” to my family in the booth and I’m out in a jiffy. But when I’m alone in the recording booth, the past 11 months flashed past my mind and I recorded a message for my dedicated co-workers and partners-in-crime.
Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I did for the company. And because of their dedication and hardwork, I was able to let go and spend time with my family and do things I need to do whenever, wherever. Because of the different personalities, experiences and mindset, we were able to push one another forward, and learn from one another.
They have seen the worst side of me (well almost lah!) and also seen the best where we win projects and achieve what we were set out to do. Of course, there are setbacks and failed pitches, but we learn and we improve along the way. This is really just the beginning and the road ahead is much longer, wider, spiral and dangerous too for some, but together we will travel this journey and make our mark in what we do.
Thank you my comrades Soon Koon and Caren for believing in our vision, our goal, our dreams. Together with Alvin and the rest of us in AM Collective, we will be doing lots more greater things together! I’m not an expressive woman lah, and you know I am really bad at all these mushy and ermmm… emo talks and all, but I hope this short video I did will be the first baby step for me to start sharing about my gratitude and opening up more with the team.
Thank you for always being there, supporting everyone onboard and making sure things are done! Here’s the unglam video of myself for your ermm… LOL moment.
Do you have something you’ve always wanted to say but never knew how? Here’s your chance to do it without having to ermm… face the person directly or type out in words (because some things meant more when spoken lah), head down to #OnePersonOneThing booth outside Ocean Financial Centre and get those words out of you. You can take and retake as many times as you want and send the message to that special someone in private or share it out openly on Facebook for everyone to see.
#OnePersonOneThing booth will be at Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049315 till 9 Dec 2016, from 10am to 7pm. If you can’t find the building, lookout for this giant Christmas Tree, the booth is just right next to it!
This post is written in collaboration with Prudential Singapore, all opinions, experiences and thoughts are author’s own. For more information about this please visit Prudential Relationship Index.
It was our first family trip with our two preschoolers and we came back with bulkier arms and thigh muscles. And also a much higher tolerance towards the many challenges thrown at us. This was our first family trip to Hong Kong, including Disneyland Hong Kong, Ocean Park and some shopping around Hong Kong. Unfortunately, this trip has also stretched the father’s limit and he is rather persistent that we will not have any more overseas travels until the girls hit Primary school and learn to be more independent.
If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong with your children, especially those age below 6, here is a quick “survival guide” from our personal experiences. What works for us may not be what you agree or want to do, but I hope some of the tips will be useful for you! Tips include must download apps, how to save time with Changi Recommends and ways to occupy your preschoolers.
Family Survival Guide for Travel to Hong Kong with Preschoolers
Tip #1 – Bring lots of snacks
Because when the little ones’ mouth (and tummy) is full, they usually behave better and has more energy to keep on moving, or dancing, or some may say “to irritate the hell out of us parents”. #truestory
Tip #2 – Hop onto buses and trams
Hong Kong is well connected via MTR and most travellers usually opt for that, but with our two girls, they were happier and with less whining when we take the buses and trams. Probably because they get to see what’s going around instead of the dark tunnel throughout their journey in the trains. Well, except for the train to Disneyland which they would gladly ride a few times I’m sure.
Download the MTR and Hong Kong Tram mobile apps, they were very handy during our trip. Including features like trip planner, ride timing, route and costs.
Tip #3 – Rent strollers or bring a super lightweight one
We knew Hong Kong will be a trip with LOTS of walking, and it includes LOTS and LOTS of stairs! We wouldn’t be able to carry our two girls plus the stroller when we climb the many stairs. So we chose to leave our stroller at home and we rented strollers at the two parks we visited. Its HK$100 per stroller per day but it’s so totally necessary! Unless you have got super strong arms and legs. If you have a compact and lightweight stroller that you can simply sling on your shoulder and still able to carry the kids with both hands, then do BRING IT!
We had to carry the girls a lot still cos they were forever complaining that their legs were tired lah, sleepy lah, feet pain lah… 101 excuses lah. But when we pop a can of Pringles, they could run and jump around me just to get a piece of chip! Oh well…
Tip #4 – Stay Indoor (unless it’s Winter)
We were there mid-November and assumed that the weather would be cool enough to just keep walking. But we were sooooo wrong! The sun was blazing like hell and we always ended up sweaty after a day out. The next best option was for my hub and I is to take turns to rest and shop. While he goes shop for his stuff, I’ll chill at a cafe nearby with the girls. They can nap on my lap or be kept entertained with the TV in the cafe or their favorite videos on YouTube Kids.
While he goes shop for his stuff, I’ll chill at a cafe nearby with the girls. They can nap on my lap or be kept entertained with the TV in the cafe or their favorite videos on YouTube Kids. Then we will head back to the hotel where he will look after the girls while I shop till I drop! Ha! Recommend to stay near malls and places you want to shop so you don’t have to travel too far.
We stayed at Holiday Inn Golden Mile which is very accessible via train and lots of shopping around.
Tip #5 – Stay connected
On this trip, we had with us 2 iPhones and 2 iPads, with lots of video watching, photos and videos upload for backups and the many apps and maps we used to find out ways around. I think it would have burnt our mobile bill if we opted for data roaming loh! I got us a ChangiWifi at $5/day for use in Hong Kong, allows you to connect up to 6 devices at any one time and offers very good connectivity throughout our travel around Hong Kong, even when underground!
The promotion is valid for travels by 31 March 2017.[/box]
Tip #6 – Playground means rest time
Yes, we are overseas and should spend more time doing things that we don’t get to experience in Singapore, but when there is a playground nearby just go! Our girls spent the most time while we were at Ocean Park at their children’s playground. And this was also the time where we parents get to take a break, sit and cool off. They loved the playground so much they didn’t want to leave!
Tip #7 – Exhaust their energy
Playground, bouncy castle, jumping up and down trying to reach for snacks, and any activity that can let them focus their energy even for that 5 minutes is worth doing. Especially when you are ready to head back to the hotel and call it a day with the kids. 90% of the time they would have KO when they are back at the comfy hotel.
Tip #8 – Skip the queues
Our girls HATE to queue. We were waiting in line for photo taking session with Mickey and Minnie which they had wanted to do when we showed them videos before the trip. When I saw the queue it looked like a 10 to 15 mintues max. wait according to our experience at Universal Studios Singapore where one family gets some quick shots and leave. I was WRONG! The queue only moved a little after 15 minutes and then suddenly the mice disappeared! With a 2-hour meet-and-greet session, of cos I should have guessed the characters will have to take short breaks in-between or head somewhere to swap the people inside the mascots. But what I didn’t expect was the amount of time they allow each family to spend with the characters! Before you take your nice photos, the character will interact and play with the guests, then they will do 1001 different poses and then more interaction time! This is awesome for paying customers as we get to maximise our money spent on the tickets lah, but seriously?? It is a little too long leh. So we ended up leaving the queue after 20 mins in it. Sigh….
This tip is not to ask you to buy any express or fast passes lah, but its one way to cut down one of the many queues you will be joining at these attractions. Skip the ticketing queue and enter straight into the parks when you purchase your tickets online. We got our attraction passes from Changi Recommends website which is cheaper than you buy at the door.
All Ocean Park combo deals (Adult/Child Souvenir, Restaurant, Kiosk, Family Combo)
Trick Eye Museum
Ngong Ping Combo (Crystal Cabin + Meal Coupon)
Promotion is valid till 11 December 2016and for online purchase only. Tickets to be used by 31 December 2016.[/box]
Tip #9 – Get airport transfer
Though travelling via the train from Hong Kong airport to our hotel is convenient and cheaper, we opted for a private driver to pick us up instead. With kids, bulky luggages and tired parents (after three over hours of pacifying the little ones in the plane), airport transfer is highly recommended.
We booked our overseas airport transfers through Changi Recommends, together with a few other services they provide. And I’m so glad I made this choice because when we landed in Hong Kong, my girls were rather grouchy when we boarded the vehicle. The personal pick-up, with a chauffeur to send us right to the doorsteps of our hotel, sure saved us lots of stress and energy.
Tip #10 – Go Uber
For families travelling in Hong Kong, when travelling around, it could be more economical and sensible to ride with Uber. After our not-so-happening-and-damn-tiring first night, we opted for Uber rides for the rest of our trips whenever we have to travel long distance – like from the hotel to Ocean Park.
Hope the above tips are useful! If you are heading to Hong Kong soon, here’s a giveaway for you!
2016 has been an awesome year, with growth and stability at work, it’s now time to spend time with family. As everyone around the world slows down our pace, taking time off for trips with family and preparing for the coming Christmas holiday, I am trying to do the same too. With 2 upcoming trips scheduled in November, and a pretty crazy December packed with work, I’m starting my Christmas planning and preparing earlier this year.
The Special Christmas Tree
Each year, I try to create a different kind of Christmas tree in the house. Because setting up a “real” Christmas tree is too much work for the lazy me and it takes up too much space. We try to improvise and DIY our own “tree” in the house. This year, I created a lighted up tree by the window and I think it looks fab!
This year, I am also planning to host a simple dinner with close friends and my family. We needed to get more plates and cutleries for this and found some really cheap ones from IKEA, OFTAST plates and bowls at just 90cents each! These go very well with our current simple white plates in the house too. Simply perfect!
For drinks, we decided to go with VAKEN Glasses ($4.90-$5.90 in set of 4s) which comes in two sizes, just nice for adults and kids, or to hold your cutleries too! I love how the setting is simple yet practical, each item can be used for different purposes.
Adding Christmas Around The House
If you’ve been to our place, you’ll know how bare and minimum we try to keep our home. The only decorations you see around our house are mostly photos of our girls. I love the VAXBO Collage Frame ($12.90) I bought from IKEA which holds 8 x 5R (5 x 7 in) photos. To add some Christmas, we just swap out some photos with Christmas printouts which you can easily print off online or create with Canva.
My girls are super excited to see the house being jazzed up a little each day and I can’t wait to start shopping for presents! Have you started decorating your house too? Share with us on our Facebook page, I would love to feature some of your creative home decorations one day!
This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.
Crazy times call for crazy retreats, and November is looking fantastic! With a family trip to Hong Kong, and a day of fun with My Little Pony planned, I am ready to capture and preserve our family fun time and memories with my the loaned new toy which I’ve been shooting with for the past 5 to 6 weeks. My first experience with a full frame camera and I do not want to return it!
Time with Family is So Precious
I am a super workaholic, many times I use so much time on work I neglected my family. Guilty every time it happens but I just keep doing it over and over again. This is what happens when you work for yourself, every minute spent on work may potentially give a good return. Whenever I can, I will pull myself away for a day and focus on family. On such days, I spend time holding my kids hands, hugging, laughing and playing together. And I hold the camera more than my mobile phone. Capturing memories with mobile phone is convenient but on days when I am dedicating to my family, I want to have better and higher quality photos so I can print them out as large as I want and flip through the albums 30, 50 years down the road. “Look girl, this was your mother when she was your age. Look like you right?”
The Everyday Life
With the compact size (small considering it’s a Full Frame DSLR), I can fit it into most of my everyday bags. When I’m out for meetings, events or running errands, I can always have the camera with me if I want to. On good days, I get to enjoy the afternoon with high tea and champagne, brainstorming and discussing work stuff with my business partner, or when you chance upon this beautiful floor and just want to take a photo with it. With the EOS 6D, it makes these days look better and so Instagram worthy.
Freezing Fast Moments
I love to take random photos of my girls at play outdoor and indoor. With the girls running around, sliding down and doing all the funny faces so quickly, it is almost impossible to snap a decent shot of them that is sharp and in focused with my mobile phone. With the Canon EOS 6D, I was able to freeze such fast moments and share the quirky and fun moments with my girls. They love looking at these photos I took of them. They do make requests every now and then too. “Mummy can you take photos for me? I want to see.”
Sharper Clearer Better Videos
With two YouTube and video enthusiasts and a geeky Mummy, one of the things we all enjoy doing together is to create videos! When the girls get a new toy, Ayra will request for a video to be shot of her unboxing and playing. Sometimes they will ask me to shoot them creating stories with their toys. If only Mummy has got more time to edit these videos and upload them online! Here’s one of the recent video we shot with the Canon EOS 6D when the girls received their new LEGO Duplo set.
Desire For Better and Newer Camera
I have been sitting on the thought of buying the Canon EOS 6D for a month now, price is reasonable and all, but the little voice inside me is telling me to wait. Hang on for now, cos there may be a better and newer one coming out soon. With rumors going around online of a full frame Canon compact, I am sitting on the fence now waiting to see if this rumor is true. What matters to me are features like the built of the camera (cos I am super rough with my camera lah), speed, sensor and the ability to shoot in super low light situation.
For now, I shall try to hold on to this unit from Canon for as long as I can. Ha!
Disclaimer: The Canon EOS 6D is a borrowed unit from Canon Singapore and I secretly hope they’ll let me keep it for good! I’m really loving it!
Bathing a baby may be one of those many things that new parents worry about before their baby arrives. Throwback to 6 years ago, when I was carrying my first born, Ayra, I googled for guides on bathing a newborn, searched for baby bathing videos on YouTube and also attended pre-natal classes. And guess what?
When it was time to bath my baby (the real one not the doll from pre-natal class) for the first time, my mind went blank! Before that day, I was able to instruct and guide my grandma and mum who were helping bath Ayra the first week. I was able to clearly remember what to do and the 101 things needed to be setup etc. But once you actually get down to it, you forget all books and videos and just focus on the amazing bonding experience with you and your newborn.
• Diaper napkins/ Cloth diapers/ Disposable diapers – depending on your preference.
• Changing mat – so you don’t get your bed sheets wet each time you change your baby.
• Cotton balls – to clean baby’s eyes, baby cord before it drops off, and baby bottom.
• Baby wipes for the poo/pee clean-up before shower.
• Soap free/ Gentle baby shampoo – we’ve used and trusted Cetaphil for many years up till today.
• Baby moisturizer – baby’s skin needs to be moisturized so pick one that’s gentle to baby’s skin.
• Baby bath tub – recommend getting one with stand so you don’t have to squat down to bathe the baby.
• Baby bath towels – we invested in nano fiber towels for our girls since birth because they are soft and fluffy, and its lint free. We are still using the same batch of towels from 5 years ago.
• Baby wash towels – which are also the same nano fiber towels, they come in many sizes.
• A basket to hold all the bottles and wipes etc so it’s easier to carry and store them. Most of the time you’ll be operating with one hand since the other will be cradling your baby.
Now that you have the necessary stuff ready, we move on to the what and how to clean your baby. And thanks to the Cetaphil Baby Experience, a recent workshop on childcare, I am able to share the following how-to guides with you.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY UNATTENDED
NEVER LET THE WATER CONTINUE RUNNING WHEN BABY IS IN THE TUB
Ensure the windows are closed and the fan turned off before removing any clothes from the baby. I even had my door closed too so the baby won’t get any chill drafts during shower.
I also prefer to use a room with a connecting toilet to bath the baby, so everything is nearby and to minimise moving around with a naked baby.
Before bringing the baby to the bath room, clean the baby’s eyes, ears and face with cooled boiled water and cotton balls. Do the same for baby’s belly button.
Clean the baby’s bottom with the remaining water ensuring all residues of pee and poo are cleared, this is to ensure the bath tub water does not get contaminated.
Fill the bath tub to about 1/4 with lukewarm water, which is not hot to touch with the inside of your wrist.
I use 2-in-1 shampoo and shower wash because it is easier to manage when bathing a baby. I will drop some of it into the water and use a wash cloth to clean the baby’s hair and body.
I will talk and sing to my baby in the shower to distract her and keep as much eye contact as possible. This also gives assurance to the baby, letting her know that you are there and she’s in good hands.
When the baby is washed and cleaned, wrap the baby with a soft big towel immediately
Place the baby on the changing mat (on the bed) and towel dry quickly but gently.
The first thing I do is to ensure the bottom is cleaned, moisturized and put on the diaper immediately. You never know when the baby decides to pee or poo! Accidents do happen, so be prepared.
Apply moisturizer over the face, neck, arms, body and legs.
Put on clean clothes and you’re done!
Since, the first few times a baby is bathed by different pair of hands, the baby and the bathing process may not be as comfortable or familiar. But don’t give up if your little one isn’t enjoying bath time yet, it takes time for both of you to truly enjoy the bathing experience.
For those of you who missed the Cetaphil Baby event, there was a live baby bathing demo. Lead by Ms Kang Phaik Gaik, senior lactation consultant at Alvernia Parentcraft Centre, Mount Alvernia Hospital, the demo shared helpful tips on how to bathe newborns. You can learn more about the correct and safe way of bathing newborn babies and massaging them with the video.
Hope this sharing is useful for new parents and parents to be!
Hope this sharing is useful for new parents and parents to be!
If you would like to find out more baby caring tips and be kept in the loop for future events, join Cetaphil Singapore on Facebook and sign-up for their newsletter.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Cetaphil.
Playtime is rare with Mummy around, because Mummy is always busy with work even when she’s at home in the evening. But when Mummy do sit and play with the girls, they immerse themselves 101% and do all kind of silly things together. Now that Ayra is 5 and Zara is 3, both of them love creating their own stories and imaginative play. Mummy loves watching the show unfold in usually the most unimaginable way. The sky is the limit!
There are plenty of toys around the house, and Mummy does splurge a little too often showering the girls with new toys. Probably due to the guilt she has deep inside since she doesn’t spend as much time as she wished with the little ones. To keep them occupied and engaged, she buys toys and fun things for them.
One of the most common things she buys is building blocks from LEGO® , which the father get rather annoyed at. Because he hates stepping onto bricks around the house! But the girls love them, especially Ayra as she is now able to build a set on her own without any help. She will open the box, pour out all the bricks, look and follow the pictorial instructions and start building. Like this new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playset, she built it all by herself in less than 10 minutes.
After building the set, she’ll start to play and engage with her younger sister. Of cos, they do fight at times and snatch pieces from one another, but nothing stops them from fun play time. Mummy finds that she needs to learn such quick forgivingness from the girls. Adults tend to hold grudges longer, which is really unhealthy.
This new play set in the house is from the Disney Junior collection, LEGO® DUPLO® Mickey Mouse & Friends Beach House (10827).
Get your child sit Donald Duck in the speedboat and pull Goofy along on the wakeboard, while Mickey Mouse uses the camera to take pictures from the deck at his Beach House. Little Disney fans will love building and rebuilding this model with a fun vacation theme and creating their own role-play stories. This set comes with 3 LEGO® DUPLO® figures: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Accompanying the LEGO® DUPLO® sets, parents can now watch the LEGO® DUPLO® Buildling Better Play videos which were recently launched on YouTube. This series features 12 episodes led by child development experts who share useful information for parents – from building toddler confidence, social play and sharing, and developing motor skills with play, to making playtime feel special.
The Loving Mum has approved the play of LEGO® and LEGO® DUPLO® in the house and has been one of her choice gifts for children of her friends and relatives. For those searching for toys to give kids and has run out of ideas, you’ll never go wrong withLEGO® DUPLO® for the little ones and LEGO® sets for those 5 and above. Now you know what to get for the two girls for Christmas ya?
Now watch the two girls at play with their new LEGO® DUPLO® set…
Man and woman meet. Man and woman fall in love. They get married and start a family. Life is challenging, throwing too many curve balls into their already stressed up life. Too much to handle and the relationship drifts. Divorce is brought to the table and all hell breaks loose.
It is not uncommon, in fact there are too many friends in my life now who are either going through divorce, or are divorced. Based on a recent survey by Prudential, every week 1 out of 4 married couples in Singapore have given serious thoughts on getting divorced! This did float in my head too, at least once.
No one marriage is perfect. Flaws are present to challenge the two, to help us bond and hopefully bring relationships closer after healing one flaw at a time. Knowing what the other party wants and needs is important.
I am no relationship master nor one who knows what is right or not right to do when stuck in a situation with my loved one. But thanks to the survey conducted with 500 individuals in Singapore, aged between 25 and 55 years of age (that’s our age group) with household incomes of at least S$4,000 per month (yup that’s us alright!), and me getting first hand advice from the experts, experienced counselors and family life advocates, I am in a better position (I think) cos I know now what may work and help improve the relationships I’m having with my loved ones and co-workers.
Laughter is still the best medicine
Laughter is a key aspect of strong relationships in Singapore, especially for women. 69% say “making me laugh” is important, compared with just 54% of men. However, our local men seem not to be as funny as the ladies had hoped for. Or perhaps we women are just harder to get tickled; which in my case is quite true. Time spent working and pressure from clients give me little time to rest, more so than to laugh. If I do laugh, it’s because of some silly things my little girls did and not cos of the man.
Men needs more affection than women
Both close bonding and expressions of love are far more important for men than women in Singapore. The study shows that over half (60%) of men value close bonding as one of the most important aspects in a partnership, compared with just 40% of women. Well this is true, at least in my opinion. Women generally carry much more responsibility and duties as compared to men, especially when they’re married and with kids. Where got time and energy to think about getting close and be affectionate, when all I want to do once everything is settled for the night is to knock out flat in bed!
More men than women also want their ideal partner to express their love for them: 40% of men compared with only 28% of women. Ahem! Ok, this I think is due to the different languages of love. Personally I would rather my man just do the damn chores automatically so that I can use my energy on other more important tasks and when he does that, I know he loves me. I don’t need him to say those three words everyday, but I guess I may have to start doing more of the saying “I love you” thingy so that he will feel my love too.
My husband and I have been together for more than … wait I lost count! Was it 12 or 13 years now? Hmmm or was it 14? See, I’m not the romantic sort who keeps track of anniversaries and stuff like these. Though we have been together for more than a decade, there are still unspoken words, unshared experiences, little known facts and in-depth understanding of what each of us want and need. To us, this is a journey of discovery, one that will take us a lifetime to unfold together. We may not fight as much as some, but we often do the cha-cha dance, giving each other space to reflect and put oneself in the other party’s shoes. After a while, a hug or a poke in the ribs, things will be back to normal. Well, our normal.
I am not one who likes to attend forum discussions because I feel that they can be a waste of time. But after the first session where I learned about the Prudential Relationship Index, I am very intrigued to learn more and hear from the experienced husbands, wives, fathers and mothers.
[box]Come 20th October 2016, Thursday, there will be a panel discussion with some of the veterans in the area of relationship, work and life. You can tune in to the discussion and be part of it too wherever you are. The discussion will be broadcasted live on Facebook at Prudential Singapore page. It will start at 6.30pm sharp, so be ready with your tablet, mobile or computer and join in the discussion over at Facebook. Gather your family too if you can, because Gurmit will be the host for the evening, and he will be doing a special stand-up comedy before the discussion. [/box]
This post is written in collaboration with Prudential Singapore, all opinions, experiences and thoughts are author’s own. Facts and findings shared are based on the results from Prudential Relationship Index.