New routine for Saturdays

Most of our Saturdays used to be filled with play-dates with our BFF but since the start of the year, the Bub decided that she wanted to learn ballet. Since the Man has his round of golf on Saturday mornings often leaving us both to our own devices and coupled with the Bub’s desire to learn ballet, I decided that maybe it’s time to let her take on a new activity to fill up our weekends. Trying to find things to keep a toddler occupied can sometimes be quite mind-boggling as well.

Thanks to a recommendation from another Mom, we managed to find a ballet school that’s quite close to home and the timing also suited as well as it was in the morning. The Bub did a trial class with the school last year and had a great time prancing around in her tutu skirt with the rest of the other girls. Right after the lesson, I asked if she wanted to continue, to which she answered “YASS!”. So I signed her up.

It’s been about 3 weeks since we formally started her on lessons and she is having a good time at class. Her coordination seemed to have improved but she can’t still exactly articulate fully what she is actually learning during the class so I’m hoping when it’s time for the parent to sit in and observe what the child did during the term, I am able to see how the Bub did.

One thing I did notice that has improved for the Bub is that she is usually famished straight after ballet lesson which finishes at 11.30am. It actually is a good timing for we head off to lunch and I don’t need much cajoling for her to finish off everything that I place on her plate until she tells me she has enough. Win for me!

Now, the next part of my post relates to a “What in the world am I thinking of?” kind of moment. The Man and I often talked about this.. letting the Bub have a care-free childhood, one that’s filled with play so we really did refrain from signing up on too many enrichment classes. But then, there’s swimming where it’s an essential life-skill that she needed to have. There’s also Berries. That’s non-negotiable as the Man strongly felt that learning Mandarin and having the ability to speak it fluently is an essential skill in today’s world. So for the past year, those were the 2 classes we have signed the Bub up for.

Then, there came Ballet. That was what the Bub really wanted and given that we often have to fill up Saturdays with things to do, I might as well let her take something she really wanted to do.

And the last class that I am now thinking or rather have signed her up for is Phonics. Why phonics? Although it’s already built in to her new school curriculum, I realised that her foundation to phonics isn’t quite as strong yet. She recognises all the letters in the alphabets but not the sound that each letter makes. If she possess a basic understanding of phonics or have a foundation in phonics, she would be able to go on to reading and recognising the words faster when she starts formal primary education. Or so I thought.

We recently did a trial session for phonics at School of Concepts and parents had the option of sitting in for the first lesson with the rest of the sessions being a drop-off class subsquently. I appreciated the fact that parents could sit in the first session to understand the principles behind the school’s methodology; understand how the teachers ran the lesson as well as to observe how the chilid would behave during the session.  Sophie attended the lesson with 2 of her friends from her previous school. There were loads of screaming throughout the 45 minute session but the teachers were very patient and managed to draw their attention using interesting props to teach them about the letter ‘A’ and the sound that it makes.

We’ve decided to let her try out a term at SoC for a while and see how that goes. From the looks at how she is enjoying herself during the first lesson, I’m really hoping that this will get her all excited about learning something new in a non-threatening manner.

 

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Cute Disney Dim Sum at Crystal Lotus

At the start of 2018, we made a trip down to Hong Kong and stayed a total of 3 days/ 2 nights at Disneyland. This time round, we decided to check ourselves into the Disneyland Hotel (which is the main hotel for Disneyland). Even though it was slightly older than the Disney Explorers Lodge Hotel, the benefits as a guest of the Disneyland Hotel room package was quite attractive. We received complimentary fast passes for several rides in the park itself as well as a reserved sitting area at the Night Parade. The hotel also house one of the must-visit Chinese restaurants in Disneyland so I’m glad we didn’t have to move too far in order to get decent Chinese food.

One of the things I had wanted to do was to try out the Disney-themed dim sum available only on weekends at Crystal Lotus Restaurant. But as our trip didn’t extend beyond the weekend and I didn’t want to miss out on trying the utterly cute and possibly over-priced cute Disney dim sum, there was an opportunity to preorder these items if an advance notice of 24 hours was given. So bascially, that was what I did.

Here was what we ordered for our lunch:

  • Duffy and Shellie May Steam Sweet Buns, 2 pcs: HKD 78
  • Three Little Pigs Barbecue Pork Buns, 3 pcs: HKD 88
  • Little Green Men Pork and Vegetable Buns, 3 pcs: HKD 88
  • Mickey’s Seafood Glutinous Pancake (with Hot Sauce), 4 pcs: HKD 78

 Of all of the dim-sum served, the most intricately designed ones were the Three Green Men and the Duffy and Shellie May buns. They looked almost too cute to be eaten, but we did anyway.

The Bub had a fun time plucking out the eyes from the alien buns and the ears off the bears. She even nibbled them. That to me is quite a feat as she is no fan of steamed buns.

She did enjoy the Mickey shaped seafood glutinous pancake and finished one piece of it on her own. Again, she’s no fan of sweet stuff so if this came in the shape of a waffle or pancake, it will be left untouched on her plate.

Overall a fun dining experience to remember by one’s Disney holiday. The dim sum was cute to look at but beyond that, taste-wise would not leave a lasting impression.

BRUNO @ Home: Cheesy Egg Toast

Some of my colleagues have asked me what is it like working on 3 days, is it difficult to adjust and do I really work 3 days? Well, I have to say the experience of working 3 days is actually quite pleasant. I work 2 days and get 2 days off and then work 1 day and get the weekend off. It does offer me a fair bit of flexibility. That said, for someone who doesn’t quite sit still at home, I do find myself trying to pack my calendar to make the most of the 2 days that I don’t work. Also, if you are thinking ”Wow, that’s a pretty good deal to have!”, I have to add that the pay does commensurate with the number of days that I work with okay?. :p

Thankfully, I have a fellow pal @ Mama Libby to keep me company on the 2 days that I don’t work and this is what we got up to this morning. Whipping up a simple and quick home-cooked breakfast on our BRUNO that’s also fancy enough to impress friends with over brunch. 🙂

Try it and do follow our undomestic adventures over on Instagram > brunohotplatesg

 

New Year, New School

Hello there….

If you have been following our blog for a while now, apologies for not updating it frequently. Instagram seems to be a quicker way for regular updates and a channel that we are using it much often for the past couple of months. Follow us there if you haven’t already >> IG Handle: sophie_x_mama.j0 (I know, it’s super long and it’s not snazzy or the coolest).

With just about 3 weeks into 2018, there are a couple of new things that we are embracing with regards to our routine. One for sure is the change of the little one to a new school. Truth be told, we didn’t really see a need to change schools for a while since she settled in really quite nicely in her first school from Infant Care, Toddler Care and then on to Nursery One. But there were a couple of personnel changes in the school that prompted us to search around for other schools.

The search for a new school was left for me to settle and with newfound knowledge of what we should look out for in the Bub’s new school, I began my search around the neighbourhood. Shortlisted a total of 4 schools and the last one which we eventually decided upon – came as a surprise to me for I didn’t think that the Man would select it, but, well, he did.

I thought I’ll just share the process:

  • Curriculum: This time round, we were a more particular when it came to the child’s curriculum. For instance, what is the school’s philosophy; how are the lessons structured; what will my child be learning during the school term, will my child be exposed to equal amounts of study, play and then languages, etc. How about phonics lessons for the child? Was that being built into the curriculum, etc. It was interesting to see how each school depending on their discipline mapped out the lesson plans for the children.
  • Extra-curriculum lessons: Some schools that we looked at offer the parents the option of signing up for additional classes which could range from speech and drama lessons to sport. We liked that it offered the kids additional enrichment which we didn’t need to have the burden of sending the child to on a weekend for a small fee. This is of course completely optional for parents to consider and when Sophie was in her previous school, we signed her up for additional sports ball classes which she really enjoyed as it exposed her to different type of ball games and introduced her to some semblance of being in a team.
  • Activities during the day: One of the things that the Man is most particular about is whether there was time in the child’s programme that were carved out for outdoor play. He wasn’t too keen for Sophie to be cooped up in an air-conditioned room the entire day if that could be helped. So this time round, we went beyond the pre-schools housed in offices to check out pre-schools that operated out of terrace/ stand-alone houses.
  • Meals and Medical quarantine, etc: Lastly, if you are concerned about the meal planning as well as how the school handles their health-checks/ quarantine methods, it’s best to ask the school administrator/ principal during the session as well.

It sure ain’t easy pulling the child from an environment which she had already been used to, classmates who have turned friends, teachers who had nurtured her since young into a new school. That was also a factor for us to consider before we eventually pulled her out. I found myself worrying if she will fit in and whether we made the right decision to pull her out of her comfort zone.

It did help greatly that her mini BFF is already in the same school but then again, it pose another set of challenges as to whether the two of them will get sick of each other, will one feel like the other is imposing into her space, will they continue to fight all.the.time?

So what we did before making the final decision is to bring the little one along for the school visit. At her age now, she’s definitely more aware of her surroundings and environment, so it was important for her to also agree on the change and also to look forward to going to a new school. It did help for the Bub joined in part of the lesson when we did the school tour, she also played with some of the kids who were going to be her new classmates and built rapport with the teachers there. Seeing how quickly she adapted to a new environment during the school visit did put me to ease.

I’m pleased to share that one week has passed since she joined her new school and her teachers shared that she’s adapting well to the new school environment and making fast friends with the kids there. So that was definitely reassuring for me. She’s also gotten a lot more vocal and I’m quite impressed with the activities/ work that she has undertake during the course of the week. Let’s see how she will progress in the coming months ahead but so far, so good! 🙂

 

 

Bringing the Spa to your home..

Truth be told, I really do love my massages and every other week, it’s the couple time that the Man and I would possibly indulge in. Putting the kiddo at my Mom’s place before heading off for a much-needed 90 minute massage. Yes, it’s a luxury but because I hardly ever exercise, those knots in my lower and upper back get so tight so the weekly massages to relieve the tension does help.

In December (yes, you read right, last year), I was treated to a home massage session from The Outcall Spa and it was seriously divine. I did not need to even step out of my home to enjoy a massage for they brought the spa right to my home.

I was very impressed with the services that they had to offer, not to mention the attention to details paid in replicating the entire spa experience in my very own home. The massage bed was set up promptly at the time of my massage. Everything you see in the picture below was prepared by my therapist (also named Joanne) who even brought along her own portable speakers loaded with all the soothing spa music that accompanied the session.

The 90-minute session was indeed very enjoyable in the comfort of my own room. The Bub was sleeping so that was an added plus! I think the services provided by The Outcall Spa are simply fantastic for moms or even young couples who often find it hard to leave home for a massage for you can book a massage at 10 or 11pm in the night after you put your kids to bed. Yes, the mom guilt is real but it’s also important to treat yourself and take some time for yourself. It is only then you will be able to give your best to your child, family and whatever you do.

Did I also mention that after your massage, you also get to enjoy a warm cup of ginger tea (just like some of the spas that offer this)! So you are totally not missing out on the full spa experience when you utilise services from The Outcall Spa.

If you are looking for a gift idea for your loved ones or friends or event a treat for yourself for 2018, I’m certain a massage or even a nail service treatment from The Outcall Spa would be greatly appreciated.

Simply quote “TOMAMAJ” to enjoy 15% off all services. This discount is also extended to the purchase of gift cards. Prices start from S$50 and the promotion code is valid till 31 Jan 2018 (only 15 more days to enjoy this).

Thanks to The Outcall Spa for ths massage and my lovely therapist Joanne for kneading those dreaded knots away.

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Disclaimer : lady J’s musings received a massage session from The Outcall Spa to review their services.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the services. 

Reflection on 2017 and wishes for 2018

What a year this has turned out to be especially in the last quarter where everything almost becomes a blur. As with most of the year-end blog-posts, it does start out to be quite reflective and contemplative as I wonder if I really did make the most out of it. I know I probably did for this year has turned out to be pretty amazing.

So I’m thankful to be able to go on a flexi-working arrangement with the Company. I work on 3 days and spent the rest of the 2 days hanging out with the kiddo (at times), running errands (most of the time) and just appreciating the time I have on hand. That’s a luxury. If you are sitting there wondering, how lucky I am. Well, it doesn’t quite come at a cost. I took a pay-cut and decided to put my career on a back-seat. It’s a hard pill to swallow as I see my other peers doing better but if I had to choose between my family and my career. I guess I choose the former. There are only those few more years that I will get to enjoy the Bub when she’s little, so I might as well make the most out of those years. Plus the Man’s work schedule is quite punishing so having the days off does help.

2017 has also been quite a milestone year for I partnered one of my dearest friends, Libby to launch an e-store and latter secured the rights to distribute BRUNO in Singapore. Before even going into partnership, I thought long and hard about whether we made the right choice. The road into this business partnership isn’t going to be paved smooth for us. We haven’t quite got the faintest idea but we believed in the brand, the products and we knew that those who purchased the products would love it. Of course, juggling a full-time job, our homes and then this business wasn’t quite a walk in the park but we did what we could. I have been really wary about entering into the venture because at the end of the day, the friendship mattered more than money and I would hate to think that we would fall out over work. Of course, I tend to overthink matters at time and so far, while there are ups and downs in they ways of working, the open communication is key to making it work. So for 2018, I pray that the open communication between us as friends and partners would stay central to how we conduct our business.

Apart from this, I’m thankful for the love showered upon me and the little one from the Man and my family. For the times that they believed in me when I doubted myself, for the times that they spurred me on and for the times they just stood by me and gave me strength. I’m also extremely grateful that in 2017, I managed to travel a little more compared to the year before. Travel has always been something me and the Man enjoyed doing and it did take a back-seat when the little one came but now that she’s a little older, it’s nice to travel with and without her. I hope in 2018, I will be able to do the same.

On to resolutions for 2018, somehow those get forgotten along the way during the year, so I’m keeping it simple and wishing for good health and happiness to those closest and nearest to me. Health is something that we often take for granted and as my parents age, I really just want them to be happy and healthy. With more time on hand, I hope to be able to be around for them more. I also hope that our little business venture will take off smoothly and the kinks will all get sorted. I’m excited to see how we can grow our brand further! Last but not least, on family time, I still want to be there to witness the Bub’s milestones so work-life balance is still something I strive and aim to achieve and I hope that in the coming year, the Man will also spend more time with me as well as the Bub. He works/ golfs loads so I hope we will still find some time to spend with each other to continue growing our marriage. This relationship is for the long run and yes, it does take some work at nurturing and growing it.

From all of us here in the Lim Fam Bam, it has been a wonderful 2017, we embrace the good as well as the not-so-good and look forward to a brand new 2018 filled with hope and happiness!

Happy New Year!!!

xx: j0anne

 

Precious photos for the Christmas holidays

We’ve done our family portraits with Hart from Tomato Photo since the Bub is 7 days old and have gone on to take at least 2 more other shoots with him. We haven’t quite done a shoot with the Bub when she was between 2 to 3 years old so when Hart asked if we wished to update our family pictures. I thought it was timely to do so since we were also celebrating our 11th year wedding anniversary.

A photo-shoot with a 3.5 year old child wasn’t as easy as compared to when she was a newborn or a little toddler just learning how to walk/ run. Halfway during the shoot, she would have a mini meltdown, but all through it all, Hart was always very patient. We booked ourselves a staycation at the Ritz and so it served as a location for our photoshoot as we didn’t want to move from place to place. As compared to our previous shoots, I also wanted something a little more dressy so we decided to dress up in matching shades of red.

I’ve also kept my hair  a little longer now so I opted for a more feminine style this shoot and tied mini French braids. Do quite like the effect and wish that I could tie my own hair daily. Haha..

We even managed to sneak in a couple of shots with just the two of us while the Bub ran off to do her own thing for a little.

Super pleased with all our shots from Hart.. such precious keepsakes as we know update our photo-wall with these beautiful photographs coupled with happy smiles all round.