To new beginnings

Interesting quote that I came across that day:

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And maybe that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances make us do so.

I could relate and God will make everything good in his own time. With a leap of faith, I am really glad I made the decision to do something else. Sure, there are some sacrifices that I will have to make as a result but it will allow me to have more time to spend with the Bub and that’s what really matters.

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Fab and Forty

*blows off the dust from the blog as <gasp!> I haven’t been updating this space as much as I would like to. I’ve been really busy of late and to be honest, after putting the Bub to bed and sorting out some admin stuff for Cote Maison, the thing I really want to do is to lie down, turn on Netflix and then drift off to be.

But I can’t just let the month of September (my fave month for obvious reason) pass without documenting my milestone of turning FORTY. Yes, I am now an OLD FART or HAG! Haha.. but you know what, I embrace this new age for like what others have told me, it’s a number. Life goes on pretty much the way it is and I’m a whole lot more confident of what is to come.

I had plan on a quiet and cosy celebration but my dearest family and friends wouldn’t let me turn forty without a big bang – bless their hearts so here’s a round-up of the festivities!

First up, a “surprise” hi-tea session with my ever youthful bunch of mama-pals that I met via social media. It’s amazing how social media has connected us and we eventually became fast friends in the last three years. Dear Mag planned on this surprise hi-tea session and insisted I take a Fri afternoon off work. The surprise was sort of ruined because I couldn’t take the day off from work so eventually she had to let the cat out of the bag on what she had planned. I felt super bad for I know the effort and the kind gesture in wanting to surprise me.

But all worked out well for I did manage to take the afternoon off to enjoy it with these dear ladies over some chi-chi bites and a cuppa of coffee. Thanks dearies for the surprise planned. ūüôā

Next up, I scooted off to Seoul on a 4-day trip with my old-time pals from my 20s. It’s been nearly 10 years since we got together on a holiday and my birthday made for a perfect excuse to do so. So that’s what we did and boy was it an intense trip for we also squeezed in a hair appointment and beauty treatment for each of us. The icing on the cake for this trip was another “surprise” dinner that the Man specially arranged with the girls at Gaon. The surprise was let out of the bag a week before we left but I guess it still worked out fine for I had no idea where we were supposed to head to for dinner. I still think that it was memorable!

And I’m thankful to be able to spend my birthday with the Bub and my dearest family. Thank you for making time to spend it specially with me.

Last but not the very least, ending the flurry of birthday celebrations with this special Man who masterminded most of the surprises. From the surprise dinner in Seoul, a surprise home-cooked dinner at home with the BFF and the Teos (we didn’t manage to take many photos) and then a dinner at our fave restaurant Odette, thank you for all that you done. My love tank is filled and full indeed.

 

Learning fun with Fiddle & Doodle

[Review]

We first chanced upon Fiddle & Doodle several months back when I was looking for educational material to enhance the Bub’s learning journey at home. I don’t think I would call myself a Tiger Mom. I don’t need her to be constantly learning for I believe that she already spends majority of the week in school. Weekends and public holidays are meant more for play. But play can also be purposeful; to instill a sense of curiosity and creativity when the child explore play.

I am guilty of not letting the Bub play more for sometimes when I’m just too tired to come up with exciting, fun ways to entertain her, I cop-out and reach out for the remote control knowing that her fave cartoons on television will definitely keep her occupied. So I guess my search on the educational and fun material for the Bub is my way of spending time with her as I help her navigate the different activities.

Ada from Fiddle & Doodle sent us their newly launched Match and Learn puzzles as well as their popular Dabber Dot Markers Starter Kit. The little one could not wait to get started immediately on her new learning toys. I was excited to receive these items from Fiddle & Doodle and I had to deliberately hide them from her for the moment she sees them, she would badger me to allow her to open her “present”.

Carved out some time over the National Day holiday for her to play with her new learning toys. First up, the Dabber Dot Markers Starter Kit comes with a box of Dabber Dot Markers as well as an activity pad with over 30 activity sheets consisting of alphabets, numbers and colouring fun.

The markers come in a set of eight bold and vibrant colours for toddlers to identify the different primary colours. Love that they are ergonomically designed for the little hands. What’s good to also know is that these markers are certified non-toxic and safe for use on little one’s hands and skin. She got some of the ink transferred on her little fingers when she was enthusiastic about

The Bub has not fully mastered the grip of holding a pencil/ crayon tightly so to interest her in writing (which will come next in her developmental milestone), these ergonomically designed markers set the stage to allow her to recognise the letter/ number as well as the association with the alphabet.

We turn the dabbing of the dots into a little game where I would dot a circle with a marker and the Bub dot another circle with the same marker or another marker of her choice. We dab the dot “gently” and it would leave a light mark or with a “loud thud” on the paper where a splatter of colour would show up on the paper. We turn the dabbing of dots into a fun game where I try my best to introduce other adjectives into her vocabulary. Most of the time, we managed to complete one activity sheet before the Bub flips the rest of the book to choose another letter. Her attention span is still very short. I wonder what other activities I can do at home to get her to stay still longer. Any advice?

Ada also sent over their latest item under Fiddle & Doodle which is the Match and Learn Self Correcting Puzzles. It was timely for the Bub showed a sudden interest in doing puzzles. To be honest, I was worried when some of our friend’s kids of her age could already do up an entire puzzle (between 24 – 48 pieces) on their own. We have a couple of puzzles that we received as gifts and that I had bulk-purchased but she wasn’t interested in sitting down to complete a puzzle on her own. One day when I came into our room and saw the Bub sitting down with the Man doing a puzzle, I was kind of surprised. The Man later told me that his little girl actually helped with putting the puzzle together and could even identify which pieces to stick together with some help from the father. I was surprised to learn this.

The Match and Learn Self Correcting Puzzles are designed to help pre-schoolers in alphabet recognition. Each set of puzzle card features an uppercase alphabet, a pic of an object that begins with the alphabet and the lowercase of the alphabet. The set also comes with six sets of blank jigsaw cards and over 45 stickers for Bub to personalise her alphabet learning journey. I’m keeping the stickers away from her for now as I prefer to focus one thing at a time if I can help it.

As to how we put the puzzle cards together? I basically poured out the contents of the puzzles from the box, jumbled them up and picked up a picture card first to show the Bub. Once she identified the object, I will tell her what letter the object is spelt with and we will attempt to find the letter.

The Bub is able to recognise majority of the letters in the alphabet but it is quite challenging for her to rummage through the puzzles to look for the particular alphabet so I do help her along.

Thanks Fiddle & Doodle for sending these items to us. As a Mom who is often on the look-out for toys that incorporate education and play, these items are just the right tools to do that. Grateful that the Bub actually spent 40 minutes playing with the dabber dots on the activity sheets as well as some of the puzzles and that to me is quality time well-spent.

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Note : We received the above-mentioned products from Fiddle and Doodle for a review on this blog. No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using this product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Show and tell: Caring for your teeth

This post is super overdue but I thought it would still be nice to share as a fun craft project that you can do with your child when it comes to getting the young ones to pay attention on caring for their teeth.

Let me tell you, it ain’t easy at all. We started the Bub on brushing of her teeth when she was about one but we are still not very diligent about brushing of her teeth in the morning when she wakes up and the no milk rule after she has brushed her teeth in the night. Maybe we are not ‘strict’ enough when it comes to enforcing rules.

The school does a good job of introducing proper dental hygiene as part of their learning journey. This is usually coupled with craft work, story-reading and of course, getting the child to actually brush their teeth after their meals in school. Ending the month-long feature on dental hygiene would be a home project that parents should work with their child to showcase why proper dental habbits are important.

Well, the topic was hard and I was kind of scratching my head, wondering how we will be able to pull this off. But a quick trip to Daiso with my fellow Mama pal, Libby, one evening sorted my dilemma.

I got these sponges that resembled pink healthy gums and the mouth as well as black/ white glass tiles that I stuck on the sponge using craft glue. I would say apply a generous layer of craft glue on the sponges and then leave it overnight for the glue to dry.

To show the difference between a set of healthy teeth and a set of “rotten” teeth, I stuck some black glass tiles alongside some white ones on the other side of the sponge also using craft glue.

Before the Bub did her Show-and-Tell segment, we let her watch this particular episode of Storybots “Why do I need to brush my teeth?” (Season 1, Episode 3) where the Storybots travel into a stinky mouth infected by bacteria to showcase the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth. It does help the Bub with adding of some keywords that she could share with her friends during the segment.

Armed with her toothbrush, this was what she did for her segment of Show-and-Tell to her little friends. Her teacher also captured the words/ phrases that she used and it’s nice to see what she could articulate and share:

  • I brush my teeth in the night time
  • Brush teeth.
  • Mummy and Daddy (help) to make it.
  • Barbie doll (referring to toothbrush).
  • Never mind! I brush it (referring to the black spot) away.
  • I need some toothpaste.

 Hope you found this post useful!

What drives you…

We all go through struggles in life. Some smaller, some larger and some just takes a longer time for us to overcome.

Holding dearly to these words as a reminder that I can overcome these struggles. Maybe not today but eventually I will be able to do so.

And it’s actually kind of therapeutic to watch this quote come to life with this letter board from Letter Soiree.

Home-made ice-cream with Bruno Dual Ice-Cream Maker

Took advantage of the National Day holiday to use our new ice-cream maker from the Bruno family. I guess one of the perks of being on the Cote Maison team is testing out the equipment/ appliances before we actually sell them online. My better biz-ness other half, Libby, does more of the heavy-lifting in this area which is good for me as I am totally undomesticated! Haha…

When I told the Bub that we are going to be making ice-cream on Singapore’s birthday, she was beyond thrilled. And just like that, I scored myself a little elf in the kitchen who willingly helped to mix all the ingredients. Well, a girl’s gotta work for her own food (ice-cream in this case).

If you are wondering if it’s going to be difficult to make the ice-cream and whether getting another device would end up being a white elephant in the kitchen. Well, hopefully this post would put your worries to rest. The Bruno Dual Ice-Cream Maker is actually a compact device. Making ice-cream with this is also quite a breeze. The basic ingredients for a vanilla ice-cream only comprises of just four ingredients that are readily available in the supermarket. It’s that simple!

Thought I better list the recipe here (in case I forget us well).

Recipe for Vanilla Ice-cream
Serving size: makes 1 scoop, pls increase proportions for double/ triple scoops of ice-cream

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of full cream milk (we use Hokkaido full cream milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Before making ice-cream, ensure that you freeze the Bruno ice-cream cups 12 – 18 hours prior in the freezer (ideal temperature between -18 to -20 degree Celsius)
  2. Place ingredients in refrigerator first before mixing. Alternatively, you could mix the ingredients together and then place the mixture into the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes to chill the mix.
  3. Set up the Bruno Dual Ice-cream maker. Take chilled mix out of the refrigerator and then take the frozen Bruno jugs out.
  4. Set paddle whisk in the Bruno jugs and then slowly pour in the chilled mix into the jugs.
  5. Wait for 15 – 20 minutes for the ice-cream to be ready. It should be of a soft serve consistency. If you wish for it to be harder, remove the ice-cream from jug, place it into a container and then pop it back into the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  6. As the ice-cream has no preservatives, best to consume it within 3 days.

Some tips we learned:

  • The maximum of liquid in each jug should not be more than 200 ml. Please do not pour more as it will overload the jug.
  • Also important to note that you should turn on the device and then slowly pour in the mixture into the jugs. Do not pour in the mixture prior and then turn on the device as the mixture will ‘pop’ out of the jugs when the air is incorporated during the whisking and the ice-cream expands with insufficient room in the jug.
  • Do not use a metal spoon to scoop ice-cream out of the jug as it will scratch the jug. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon if possible.
  • Once the cup is used, please wash and dry and let the cup return to room temperature before putting it back into the freezer again. Reason being if the cold insulated liquid is not thawed completely and put in the freezer, the cold insoluble liquid may settle hard and the ice cream may not work well.

Okay the pic of the ice-cream sure doesn’t look pretty but it really does taste great. It’s fresh and we are looking at really limited preservatives.

Here’s a short video that we did of how simple it is to operate the Bruno Dual Ice-Cream Maker. Best part? If your child is an ice-cream monster like mine, you can even get your child interested in making his/her very own ice-cream.

Can’t wait to make our next batch of ice-cream and to experiment with other flavours!

Signing off – your Undomestic Goddess:
j0anne

Fresher skin awaits

I first met the youthful-looking¬†Charlene (aka Ms Clak) virtually via Instagram and bumped into her at a couple of events. One thing that really struck me and left a deep impression on me when I scroll her IG feed as well as meeting her face-to-face is her glowing skin. Like seriously, this mom of 2 has really awesome skin that is dewy and glowy. I was super envious! It never really dawned upon to me to ask her beauty secrets, well, it could be her diet, the products she use or maybe she’s just born with really good skin.

I later discovered that it’s a combination of all the factors above and also the regular use of Co2 masks plus skincare from eFresh Singapore that gave her skin this awesome glow. How is it possible that just by using a leave-on gel mask, the effects are that immediate and lasting? But I was willing to try anything to give my skin a much-needed boost. Hey, am inching closer to the big FOUR-ZERO and I am willing to do whatever it takes to shave off a couple of years off my actual age physically. Time is often what I don’t have on hand. I used to be able to indulge in monthly facials and trust me, it does wonders for the skin. My pores are smaller and my skin appearance would look much better after the treatments. But I don’t have the luxury of lying down for a few hours on a monthly basis and apart from my usual daily skincare routine, I was simply too lazy to go the extra mile. The only thing I would possibly try to do if I’m free in the night is to place on a gel mask from Sulwasoo as an added facial boost to my tired skin.

I shared all the above concerns with Charlene and she very kindly offered to send me a box of one of her best-selling products – the Stem Cell Co2 masks to try out. I have to add that there is more work involved in the actual usage of the mask rather than those you can find off-the-shelf which are a lot more convenient for ladies starved of time. But I figured, I needed to try and carve out the time to do this for my skin and I would be able to multi-task after applying the mask so honestly, no big deal.

I had a quick look on the different types of Co2 masks on the eFresh Singapore site and here’s my pick of what I got eventually and the reasons why:

[Premium] Stem Cell Co2 Mask- 5 pieces per box (S$120):

  • The Apple Stem Cell ingredient found in the mask will help accelerate skin cell renewal and reveals newer, more youthful skin.
  • Reduces fine lines; wrinkles with instant effect, improves skin texture.
  • Boosts up collage, restores skin elasticity.
  • Controls the activation of melanin, results in whitening & acne spots diminishing.
  • Acts as a high anti-oxidant, retains skin moisture.
  • Strengthens oxygen circulation of skin cell, improves skin tone.
  • Improves drainage effect, results in skin firmness as well as shapes up face contours.

Though it’s a lot more expensive than the rest of the other types found within the same range ($24 per pack), but I really did see and feel the effects after one usage. As I had a series of events to attend the same weekend, I decided to be a lot more hardworking and apply a mask 3 times in a span of 4 days. Result? My skin looked tighter, pores looked smaller too; and even though I was physically really tired, my skin did not look dull. Instead, it looked hydrated, with a slight glow and that to me is result that the stem cell Co2 mask is indeed working its magic on my skin.

Aqua Co2 Mask- 5 pieces per box (S$80):

  • Attracts and binds water molecules, provides intensive level of hydration to skin.
  • Helps to speed up water permeation to the skin and results in long lasting moisturizing effect up to 24 hours.
  • Ultimately solving the problem of bottom layer of cell and hence achieves the function of skin brightening, revitalizing and restoring.

Used my coupon code to get another box of these masks to alternate between the Stem Cell masks. I have yet to use the mask from this range yet but if you wish to try out the masks but not willing to splurge on the premium range, this might be the range you wish to consider.

Ta-dah, moi with my Stem Cell Co2 mask and waiting it out for 30 to 45 mins. Hope I didn’t scare you! I have to add that the gel in one pack of the mask is actually quite generous. So spread it thick on your face, I use it both on my face and neck. Hey, a woman’s gotta protect your neck too! Very important as those age lines on the neck are irreversible and they tell of a woman’s age.

I’ve done up an amateur instructional video of how to use the mask so please do check it out and follow the steps if you would like to find out more.

SpecialLY for my readers!

Quote “joanne10” and enjoy 10% off your purchase at eFresh Singapore.

Offer valid till 31 August 2017 only so don’t miss out on this deal to try out these amazing masks! I stocked up on two boxes because now that the best kept secret is out on how glowy skin can be achieved, these masks are literally flying off the shelves!

Note : We received a box of Stem Cell Co2 Masks from eFresh Singapore for a review on our Instagram account. No additional monetary rewards were given.  I was not obligated to review this on my blog but I enjoyed using the masks so much and ended up purchasing more on my own accord, so I wanted to do an in-depth review of this. All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using this product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.