Prepping for Chinese New Year

We are a little late in prepping for Chinese New Year this year because we had been away on our holiday and then we took turns falling sick (Bubba and me). I did however manage to squeeze in time to do up my nails and hair – thankfully!

And then there was a flurry of emails from Bubba’s school who were all geared up to usher in the year of the Monkey in a big way! We were bummed that Bubba was not well during the week to participate in the lead-up to the festivities. Bubba is on a 5-day course of antibiotics and the Man had wanted to keep her at home before Chinese New Year. But we discussed and since her fever was gone and she has the occasional cough every now and then, we decided to let her go into school for the first half of the day to take part in the festivities with her little friends.

img_3006

Parents are strongly encouraged to dress up their little ones in the Chinese traditional costume or in festive colours as well as to contribute Chinese New Year goodies to share with their peers. I had all of a couple of hours to prep the goodies and decided to keep it really simple because I knew that the school would probably prep the usual snacks like love letters, kueh bangkit, tarts, etc.

img_2969So I rushed down to the nearest Cold Storage/ Guardian and popped a pack of Fortune Cookies into my basket. I went home and then placed each cookie inside a red packet to play up to the celebratory theme. Quick, simple and fuss-free. I tried a cookie just to make sure that it tasted alright before feeding to the kiddos (don’t want the parents to scream at me). And it did taste pretty ok, like a vanilla crispy cookie which I think the kids will enjoy.

img_3005Looks like the Bub is all set for her second Chinese New Year… what about you? ;)

Checking out: Prêt-à-Portea

img_2597Finally managed to check out Prêt-à-Portea (afternoon tea) at The Berkeley. It’s been one of the things that I had wanted to do (man, since 2009), but I never got round to doing it. So when I found out that we had a free afternoon in London and planned to catch up with the stylish little one, I decided to just book it! I mean, what better way to mark the catch-up with some stylish bites with the stylish not-quite-little-one anymore.

img_2710Having flown in from Geneva, we were pretty tired. I mean, check out my super-tired face. But it was so nice to meet with S whom we have seen grown up over the years.

The afternoon tea is supposed to be served at the Caramel Room (touted to look really fashionable with designer furnishings), but unfortunately for us, it was under renovation! So tea was moved to Koffman’s instead.

img_2604Having skipped lunch, I was looking forward to the afternoon tea, I mean I’ve been waiting for years for this! After we ordered our teas, we were served each with a tray of tea sandwiches plus some savory bites. If you are wondering if those have any links with the fashion items, I’m telling you – No. These are served as a taster before the fashion show-stopper starts.

The Fashionista’s Afternoon Tea gets refreshed every season and mirrors what you can find on the runway. As we were still in Autumn/ Winter 2015/2016, we got a glimpse of the bites dressed up in the sweetest fashion.

img_2622CaptureThe full-fledged tray of sweets were really a lot and by then, all of us were stuffed! When our server set the entire 3-tiered tray, my eyes opened wide at the visually stunning work of art that looked too pretty to be eaten. And in summary, that was probably what it was. Sweet treats that looked better photographed than in my tummy. Maybe the novelty wore off after so many years of yearning to head there. The Man simply rolled his eyes at us when us 2 ladies were more interested in literally playing with our food (ie: taking them from the trays and then placing them around for it to be photographed). Well, we did have fun.

img_2614If there was one thing that they did possibly right for the tea would be the scones! Served warm, they were fluffy to the bite and that dollop of clotted cream along with some raspberry jam was the perfect finishing touch to the long afternoon tea before we headed out into the cold.

Glad I gave into my long-awaited craving. Gonna check this off my list and say ‘Been there, done that.’ Not sure if I want to head back for there are probably better tea places that I will definitely check out the next time we are in London.

img_2613Try this if you are true-blue fashionista who wants to live, breathe and eat fashion. Otherwise, just enjoy the eye candy and move along.

 

Help! Graffiti on the floor!

[Sponsored Review]

img_2674
Well, the time has come for Bubba to move on to playing with crayons. She loves doodling and prefers to spend her free time at home ‘drawing’ on her large drawing book. That is when shes supervised. When she is left on her own, I noticed that she had accidentally scribbled on our walls. That’s not all, even though we laid out large pieces of white paper on the floor. The Bub prefers to draw out of the box. YIKES! Thankfully, we now have this!

img_2758Our Lifestyle Shop’s latest product – Gel Graffiti Remover – to join the family is really quite remarkable!

What is the Gel Graffiti Remover?
It is a powerful remover formulated to remove oil-based marks, including spray paint, permanent marker, ink and other types of graffiti from hard surfaces.

Marks are quickly dissolved and easily wiped away. The gel formula clings to vertical surfaces for better dwell time and performance.

Where can you use the Gel Graffiti Remover?
It can be used on brick, tile, steel, brass, chrome, glass, porcelain, marble, enamel, and many other surfaces.

What sort of substances can the Gel Graffiti Remover remove?
It is effective against ink, spray paint, marker, pen, lipstick and many other substances.

How does one use the Gel Graffiti Remover?
Simple! Spray directly on marked surface. Let stand no longer than 30 seconds, then wipe with clean cloth.

For difficult marks, such as on brick, use a stiff brush and work into stained area, then wipe off.

Repeat process until area is cleaned.

I seriously couldn’t wait to put Gel Graffiti Remover to good use. So one night after I put Bubba to bed and I was packing her crayons, I decided that it will be quite fun to do a vlog on how Gel Graffiti Remover is put to good use. I decided to be the graffiti artist for the day and messed up our tile floor.

Enjoy this little clip I put together (created and filmed by yours truly! haha):

Verdict: It is really that simple to use Gel Graffiti Remover! I liked that I didn’t have to wait very long and the stains were easily removed with a couple of wipes using a clean wet tissue (oops, didn’t have a clean cloth on hand). Even though the product is non toxic, I found that that the aerosol smell was rather strong so I would suggest not using this when your little one is in the vicinity. But overall, a great product for the home especially now that Bubba is more interested in making her mark (literally) on most of the items around the house.

Special offer for readers of Lady J’s Musings:

Enjoy a 5% discount on Gel Graffiti Remover (Usual Price: $45.90) when you use the promo code: ladyj to place your order on Our Lifestyle Shop .  Hurry, hurry for promo ends on 29 February 2016.

Like Our Lifestyle Shop’s Facebook page, or follow them on their Instagram or Twitter to find out more about their products and special offers.

——–

Disclaimer : lady J’s musings received a can of Gel Graffiti Remover from Our Lifestyle Shop to test and review.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

I survived….

img_2341Oooh-kay… I survived my first-ever trip away from Bubba. All of 11 days! The first few days were tough.. I was wondering if she would be ok, will she miss us, will she cry? But the equal time that she spent with her grandparents plus the voice clips, photos and videos did reassure us that she’s in good hands.

img_2522But it was a good break.. hanging out with our friends on the slopes, catching up with dear ones over car-rides and just taking in the moment.

img_2541img_2401Thanks to the Man, I scored myself a new spanking new outfit complete with board, bindings, boots as well as helmet and googles. Yup, decided to go with muted tones for my new snowboard outfit this time round. Am tired of sticking out like a sore-thumb on the slopes especially when I’m super slow.

img_2394We made Chamonix the base of our trip for our friends very kindly offered up their place for us to stay. It was a blast but not too over-crowded having 9 people under a roof.

img_2419

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner for Bubba and Mama: Chicken Drumsticks

I’ve seen some of my friends kids polish off chicken drumsticks and chicken wings like an expert. While Bubba is eating her meals like an adult (ie: rice with chunks of minced meat, beef or fish, vegetables, etc) and prefers manageable bite-sized portions, I wasn’t sure if she is capable of chewing the meat off the drumstick.

IMG_5717Well, to be fair, when she was all of 7 months old with probably 2 teeth, she did chomp on a chicken drumstick and had fun gnawing the pieces. Now with more teeth, she should be able to manage the chicken drumstick right?

So I decided to search a finger-licking good recipe, one that can be made for little ones and us big ones (to save time). Found this recipe from Food 4 Tots and decided to adapt this for our dinner one evening.

img_1628I adapted the recipe a little omitting the worchestershire sauce, chilli sauce and the grated ginger. In terms of flavouring, it may not be as strong but it does taste pretty good to me.

img_1631

More importantly, the little one also thought it wasn’t too bad. At first, she picked up the drumstick and wondered to herself what’s this gooey thing that I’m holding. She dropped it like a hot potato. We had to convince her that it was her dinner that she’s eating and then proceeded to hold a drumstick each which showed her that it’s totally edible.

Verdict? A fairly simple recipe that’s quick to whip up for dinner on weeknights if you are in a hurry. Bubba needs more practise to clean out the bone but otherwise, I think she’s doing fine!

Next up, chicken wings for Bubba!

Was it CAPTUREd?

[Sponsored Review]

img_1642We put Capture from Our Lifestyle Shop to the test recently and was impressed with its power to CAPTURE (no pun intended) those messy spills.

img_1641When I received this product, in my head, I was wondering just how am I going to stage the review? I had grand plans to either spill something on the floor and then sprinkle CAPTURE to test its properties. I let the idea sit in my head for a bit and it took all of 1 day before I found myself running towards the bag to whip it out to use it. Why? Because YUP, Bubba has accidentally peed on our bed. FYI, she still wears her diapers to bed, but spills do occur! That morning, she sheepishly crept up to me and went ‘OH NO, Poo!’ What she really meant was PEE!

img_1644 I quickly opened the new bottle of CAPTURE and gently sprinkled the powder on the soiled area on our bed. Pictures are all captured via my iPhone because I didn’t have time to deal with a somewhat cranky child and trying to deal with the mess that she had just made. The Man must have been out for his morning golf-game!

img_1646Meanwhile, at some point in time, I managed to calm cranky kid by giving her what she wants – TV time. while I continue to fuss with messy stain. It says on the guide that I just need one minute for the powder to absorb the spill. Thereafter, I would just need to sweep up and dispose the gel/ powder appropriately (ie: preferably in the bin).

img_1645This was taken after I sprinkled CAPTURE evenly over the soiled area.

img_1647After a minute or two, I went back to soiled area to check if CAPTURE really did work? And it did!!

img_1648I swept away the excess powder and if you look hard enough, you would see that the soiled wet portion is now dry.

img_1651I almost couldn’t believe my eyes as I swept away the excess CAPTURE powder. I thought to myself ‘Woah, this stuff actually works in about a minute!‘ When Sulin from Our Lifestyle Shop shared how easy CAPTURE can be used, I took it with a pinch of salt because she was the product expert. But it truly was that easy to use CAPTURE and quick to clean up those messy spills/ stains when they happen.

img_1651Like what the bottle aptly described – CAPTURE truly is the EMERGENCY clean-up powder! Okay, so what happens now that CAPTURE managed to absorb the messy spills/ stains? Apparently, once I clean up the powder, our sheets are good to be used again. Again, that’s very useful to know as the powder is non-toxic and it has a fresh floral scent that actually neutralises odours. So for a tiny soiled area and if CAPTURE can do the job neatly and cleanly, we don’t need to throw our sheets into the washing machine immediately. Of course, we didn’t let Bubba sleep on that same area again as I didn’t want her skin to be exposed directly with the powder.

CAPTURE is really handy to have around the house. It’s ideal for spills, odour control and can be used on vomit, blood/ body fluids, urine and messy food spills. It can be used on various surfaces, hard and soft. In our case, I guess we probably find the most mileage for usage on our bed as well as the sofa where Bubba likes to lie around.

img_1981About CAPTURE:
It is a super absorbent powder that instantly encapsulates messy spills into an easy-to-handle gel and eliminates unwanted odours. It uses modern polymer technology to turn any water-based spill into a solid gel so that it will not run or drip for easy pick up and disposal.

img_2204Here’s another typical incident that happens when Bubba sleeps on our bed! Yup, twice that week! Lucky us! ARGH!! This time round, I had to use CAPTURE on our dark sheets. You can’t really see the effect unlike the one with the lighter sheets but it did do the job of absorbing the spill.

img_1985Lastly, if you are expecting a clump of gel after CAPTURE is used on a spill, well, I don’t think that it would be the case. I was half expecting that but after putting CAPTURE to use twice, I think safe to say, it’s little gel balls that you can look out for to sweep/ clean away. I also think that the result is also dependent on how much powder you use to capture the spill. If more is used, then you will be clearing more of the powder rather than the little gel balls (pictured above on light blue sheets).

Well, I hope this review gives you confidence to head out there and purchase this product. As with majority of the products under Our Lifestyle Shop, CAPTURE is indeed useful have on hand!

Here’s an offer for my readers:

Enjoy a 5% discount on Capture (Usual Price: $59.90) when you use the promo code: ladyj to place your order on Our Lifestyle Shop .  Promo ends on 18 February 2016.

Like Our Lifestyle Shop’s Facebook page or follow them on their Instagram to find out more about their products and special offers.

——–

Disclaimer : lady J’s musings received a bottle of CAPTURE from Our Lifestyle Shop to test and review.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.
 

Exploring Kumamoto

img_0649Next up in our Kyushu trip was Kumamoto! We set off from Yufuin and arrived in Kumamoto approximately 2 odd hours later by car. Took a break from all that driving by refueling with a drink, coffee for us and apple juice for Bubba. She goes wild when she spy a packet of apple juice from afar.

We stayed at a friend’s place in Kumamoto for about 2 nights and did most of our exploring in the heart of town by foot over the 2 days. The first was a short one spent roaming around the 3 major streets at Arcade town located in central Kumamoto city.

Eating around Kumamoto
Food is strongly featured for a good part of our trip and we sure don’t waste time hitting the restaurants and filling our bellies. So here’s a short round-up of what we ate and thought was pretty good to share.

img_0634Ichiran Ramen! Our fave ramen from Japan and nothing was going to stop us from eating it. Quite happy that we managed to do it with Bubba. Even happier that Bubba actually enjoys the noodles.

img_0657I did a search and apparently one of the most popular items among Japanese Tourist is Bashashi (Horse Sashimi)! The thinly sliced raw horse meat is the most famous delicacy in Kumamoto. Well, it wasn’t the first time we had horse meat, I ate it once years ago in Slovenia. But horse meat sashimi style was a first and we decided to give it a try Benkay located at Hotel Nikko! The central location of the restaurant was a plus and it being child-friendly was a bonus. We had the Omakase dinner menu while Bubba sat in her high chair and ate her rice with chawamushi. When she got cranky, we had no choice but to whip out Peppa Pig to keep her entertained and not bother the other diners. It did work.

img_0770Speaking of pork, we did manage to find Kumamoto’s top restaurant ranked 1 on Trip Advisor – Katsuretsutei Shinshigai Honten. I’ve always loved Katsu and I was thrilled that there was one in Kumamoto that we could go to. We were worried about finding the place and arrived about 12.30pm. Didn’t take us very long to eventually locate the restaurant for that was already a long queue. We did contemplate whether we should just join in the queue and probably end up waiting for about an hour or to head to another place. Thankfully, we didn’t need to worry about Bubba for she was contented drinking her milk and since it was way pass her morning nap, I pushed the stroller around for a bit and that managed to lull her to sleep which meant, hands free eating of our meal rather leisurely without having to chomp our food down.

The long wait was worth it. The breaded pork was juicy and succulent and worth every bite. It didn’t have that lingering oily taste and when dunked with their special homemade tonkatsu sauce, it was simply delish. Man, writing this para and looking at the pic is making me very hungry now!

img_0784-1Looking for a restaurant during dinner in Kumamoto proved to be slightly challenging on the eve of New Year’s Eve. The Man said that we should just try our luck and head to the restaurant. I was against that because I didn’t want to have to deal with being turned away if the place was full. Well, he did take my recommendation to make reservations at Sairo. We called several restaurants but all were full so I was glad we could find Sairo – a Korean BBQ restaurant located outside of the city.

Again, if you want to have meals like Korean BBQ, I highly recommend that you sort out the logistics when eating with a toddler. The restaurant was somewhat child-friendly, it even had a play area for kids but there was no baby chair in sight. We had to seat Bubba next to me on one of the cushions. Again, w had no choice but to whip out Peppa Pig for it kept her distracted while the Man took charge of the tongs and did majority of the cooking. As to what Bubba ate for her dinner, there was a kids menu and we ordered some udon for her which she enjoyed. One thing to note that it can get quite smoky in the restaurant so be prepared to head home and dump all the clothes into the wash plus yourself in the shower.

There seemed to be quite a number of restaurants at Kumamoto. Unlike Yufuin where you can pratically eat along the way, at Kumamoto, some planning on where to eat would be best recommended. A tip on traveling with a young one and no time to make those reservations – simply head to a departmental store and find the level where all their restaurants are located. They are usually your best bet for being child-friendly.

img_0719Checking out the main attractions of Kumamoto:
The Man’s friend gave us a quick download of where we should go in Kumamoto – basically visit the Kumamoto Castle and the Suizenji Garden. The city centre is also conveniently located next to Kumamoto Castle so you could make a day-trip out of the sight-seeing.

img_0671We were all set to rock and roll after breakfast to fill our day packed with activities. But the Kumamoto Castle was closed for the day, probably in preparation for the New Year’s Day which is a big occasion for the Japanese.

img_0707What a shame!

img_0683We ended up just roaming the gates/ gardens of the Kumamoto Castle, took a couple of shots and then headed off to our next destination on the check-list – Suizenji Gardens.

img_0715

Suizenji Garden (水前寺成趣園, Suizenji Jōjuen) is a spacious, Japanese style landscape garden in Kumamoto, best enjoyed by scrolling along a circular path. It was built by the Hosokawa family in the 17th century.

The garden reproduces the 53 post stations of the Tokaido, the important road, which connected Edo with Kyoto during the Edo Period, in miniature form, including a small Mt. Fuji.

img_0741Entrance fees if I ain’t wrong is about 400 yen per person. It was a lovely day with clear, blue skies and loads of sunshine. Best part, it was cool so Bubba could run around without having to be dragged down by her winter coat.

img_0726There are restricted areas and one would have imagined so because the gardens were all very well-manicured. So do watch out for those areas and don’t let your child run too far out. :)

img_0733We bought a packet of popcorn (500 yen) and had a lovely time feeding it to the ducks in the pond. Bubba had a whale of a time ‘THROWING’ the popcorn kennels at the ducks and exclaiming loudly THROW when she successfully launched the popcorn bits into the water. It was such a joy watching her squeal in delight. Oh, the simple joys in life!

img_2243And how parenthood has changed us all. Pre-baby days, the Man and I would have preferred to go on holidays without the Bub. “What would they know? They are still so young!” Having gone on a couple of holidays with Bubba now, we really changed our mindset. True, the sheer logistics of bringing a young child on a trip is enough to put us off. But beyond that, the family-bonding time, to be able to witness her little achievements and to simply see that wide smile on her face totally outweighs those challenges. David from Life Tiny Miracles posted this recently and I echoed some of those sentiments. If you have a young toddler and wonder if it’s even worth travelling with him/her. I’d say don’t wait, time flies by so quickly. Oh, plus if they are under 2, the airfare is significantly cheaper so that might be a push factor for you to book the trip. :)

With that, I conclude our #limfambam vacay in Kyushu. We spent another day in Fukuoka but didn’t get round to doing much as it was simply too short to explore the area. Plus Bubba had diarrhea that day so we basically spent the day worrying about her.

I wonder what travel tales 2016 will bring for our family. I’ve been lemming for a Disneyland trip to Tokyo or maybe Universal Studios in Osaka. Or maybe a beach get-away for I think Bubba may enjoy playing with sand on the beach. We have yet to get down to any serious planning but I hope more travel tales with the family to come soon! :)