Festive Fever

img_7382This face.. obviously played too hard over the Chinese New Year period and is now down with a throat infection coupled with a fever that rivals the temperature of an onsen. Don’t laugh, it’s true!

I would have loved to blog but over the long festive weekend, our calendar was packed with visiting and basically eating around the clock. As the Bub is a little older now, we are a little more relaxed when it came to her nap-times. She largely battled sleep or just took a power nap along the way. Well, what we did was to compensate her short nap-time with an earlier sleeping time in the night so that basically evened out the amount of hours her body need to clock in for the day.

For now, she’s off her fave nuts – pistachios – as well as ice-cream as she recuperates from that nasty sore throat. Good thing is that her spirits are up and she’s active although clingy when I’m around. Last evening, she basically stuck by my side when I reached home from work. Refused to sit her high chair for dinner and insisted on sitting on my lap as I fed her her rice and soup which thankfully she finished but extremely slowly. I almost lost it at one point as she was fidgeting and simply refused to eat her food. I raised my voice and pretended to be angry.

Me: Look at this face! Is it a happy or angry face?

S: Don’t be angry, Mama. Mama, don’t be angry ok?

Me: (tone softens a little) I won’t be angry if you finish your food ok?

S: Ok.. I’m sorry…

How did my baby girl know when to say sorry? I almost burst into tears when she said that. For a moment, I felt as if I was the bad guy, forcing her to eat but I didn’t have a choice for she needed to have her meds and she definitely needed food in her system.

Get well soon, my little baby girl!

Prepping for Chinese New Year.. goodies and shopping!

Chinese New Year is just round the corner and it does seem like a mad rush to get everything in order. The house, our clothes, the red packets.. well, you get the drift! Thankfully, the reunion dinner prep is often handled by the Man and the MIL, so I don’t have to worry that much about that. I’m often tasked to do the stocking up of our new year goodies which I also had help with gifts very kindly given by our family and friends.

Here’s a simple list of what we stocked up for the New Year, including a guide to what we will be wearing this Chinese New Year season. I know this is pretty late, but there’s still 3-4 more days to the festival, so there’s still that last burst that I’m sure might either give you a headache or an adrenaline rush!

Shopping for New Year Goodies:img_7030

There’s a mind-boggling selection of New Year goodies to choose from and what we usually have on our snack tray would include Pineapple Tarts, Kueh Bangkit (we love this thin, crispy ones that we buy in bulk from a home-based baker recommended by my friend, S about 6-7 years ago), Lychee Rose cookies from Home Favourites and Bak Kwa. This year, we tried Pineapple Bak Kwa at Kim Peng Hiang and I must say that it’s really pretty good. The bak kwa is slightly thicker than what you will get out there and the meat has juicy pineapple bits sandwiched in between. It’s sweet plus slightly savory all in one bite.

While we love our pineapple tarts, I do not have a brand that we will particularly buy from. Most of the pineapple tarts that we have acquired/ purchased over the years are usually either gifted or purchased from home-bakers. This year, we were gifted with a box of Pineapple Tarts from Bakerzin. I was pleasantly surprised first by the packaging as each tart was shaped in an adorable yet auspicious ingot shape and best part, individually wrapped. I thought this was great as it ensured freshness of the tart plus having it wrapped individually made it easier to snack-on-the-go. I don’t have to worry about taking the tarts out of it’s original bottle and into a small tupperware. Thanks again Bakerzin and Touch PR & Events for thinking of us and sending a box of these yummy treats to fill our bellies ahead of the festive season. 🙂

Shopping for New Year Clothes for Bubba:

Coming to my fave topic – Shopping – which I think I did pretty well in acquiring outfits for both the Bub and myself. 🙂 Hehe..

Before I became a Mum,  I was adamant about putting my child into a cheongsam for  Chinese New Year. “Why go with tradition? So boring! And those cheongsams that you get in bazaars and so uncomfortable?!” This was before discovering home-grown labels that offer stylish cheongsams with a modern twist for little ones.  This year, I think I have bought as well as received enough Cheongsams to fill her wardrobe for a good part of Chinese New Year. Am pretty excited for these little outfits are so cute and not to mention, they really look good for dinner/ occasion dressing when I’m too lazy to think which evening gown/ dress looks good on her. The cheongsam immediately comes to mind plus you know what, the older folks actually like for younger kids to be dressed in traditional outfits too. So win-win for us all.

Here are our choice-picks on where to shop for outfits this Chinese New Year. Psst.. best part is that you don’t even need to leave home to get the outfits!

img_6855Our fave brand for cheongsams this CNY has gotta be Sea Apple. We fell in love with the brand in 2016 and Bubba was dressed in her very first Liberty printed Cheongsam them. The fit was gorgeous and the print was outstanding without being too much in your face. So my first port-of-call was Sea Apple for this year and we loved most of the collection that we popped 3 dresses into our shopping cart (pictured above: the Spring Petal Ruffle Cheongsam). Sizing wise, gotta add that the Bub is 2.5 years old but can still fit majority of their size 2 outfits. I did get a size 4 for the Misted Dew Flutter Sleeve dress which is still a little too big for her for now but I guess, it’s a hoard!

Next, I’ve been a fan of Liberty Art Fabric prints for the longest time and when I discovered local brand – Elizabeth Little Co – which designs and makes outfits using Liberty prints, I was really excited about getting an outfit for Bubba. Originally, I had planned on getting the Chiyo Berry Cheongsam for I thought the tulle skirt would be a cute addition to her outfit but when I laid my eyes on the  Hanami Wonderland Cheongsam with cute prints from Alice in Wonderland peppered on the skirt, I was sold on the design and got that for the Bub instead. I think the outfit might also come in handy for our upcoming trips to Disneyland, Disney on Ice and perhaps, a princess themed event. Now, that’s killing possibly 3 birds with one stone with this outfit!

img_6918Apart from dresses, it’s also important for your child to be comfortable, so I also got a couple of rompers adorned with cute vegetable digital prints from Leia + Lauren shop.  Mama Libby and I first chanced upon the brand at a Mothersworks event but I didn’t examine the item in detail until more recently when we both looked at the collection more carefully and we both purchased the long carrot romper each for our Sophies because they are pretty darn cute.

img_6952Verdict? Super comfy rompers that are great for home wear and outdoor play. Since Bubba’s homewear needed updating, I decided to get the Leeks and Butternut Squash rompers as well. I’m guessing that the Leeks romper would be a hit with the older folks for Leek (韭菜, jiu cai ) represents everlasting relationship as the pronunciation of the letter – jiu (), sounds like long (久),  or 长长久久. I’m saving the leek romper for our reunion dinner later this week for it’s probably going to be hot and I want the Bub to feel comfortable during the hour-long dinner so this outfit will be great for our family reunion dinners. Hehe…

 Twinning outfits for Momma and Bubba:

Before twinning with my child gets too tacky and she can actually verbalise, “Mom, please get your own clothes! Or, dress me separately!”. I decided to milk it for what it’s worth.

Here are 2 online stores that we thought aced it in terms of twinning! Mixon Minis for cheongsams – I got the Amethyst Purple Swing Dress with the lace detail for myself. Love that the it’s actually loose (in case I get a belly from over-eating) and that it comes with a belt (to avoid friends/relatives from asking me “Are you pregnant?” when actually I’m just fat). I got Bubba the matching dress and we tried it on for size the other day and she enjoyed twirling in the chiffon dress.

img_7031And KSisters! We’ve been fans of KSisters for a while now, when we first added the navy Skorts which is our fave twinning outfit for the weekends. The red skort is a perfect one to add for CNY that will surely get the approval from the older generation. If you are fan of all things lace, you should definitely check out the Momma and Bubba lace dress twinning outift. We were tempted to get that but I don’t think I could pull off the look given my height plus the Bub is quite messy most of the time, I think I would be more stressed up ensuring that she doesn’t stain the dress then have fun in the outfit. But that said, KSisters did send us a twinning outfit in the Twirly Dress which is a style more up our alley, so we can’t wait to show that off once we wear them.

Prepping for CNY always does get me quite excited and I recall fondly when I was much younger, I would tag along with my parents to Chinatown to help them with their shopping. I would want to bring Bubba to Chinatown at some point to soak up the festive spirit and of course, indulge in the different types of shopping available at the New Year bazaar but of course, the crowds are a huge deterrent for us now. Perhaps when she’s older and when we summon sufficient courage to brace the crowds, we will go there next time.

Alright, that concludes what we have done for CNY to-date. I can’t wait for the feasting and catching up with family and friends come this weekend! Hope you are as excited as we are about the impending holiday! 🙂 Have a fab week ahead!

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Note: We were gifted a box of Original Pineapple Tarts by Bakerzin on behalf of Touch PR & Events to share on our Instagram account. No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own.

Review: Strap Stop from Agape Babies

[Sponsored Review]

img_6770The only car that we possibly will let the Bub drive for now is her Little Tikes Cupcake Mobile and she’s already a riot on the road. So for now, we are pretty pleased to strap her into her car-seat when we take the wheel. Except that on bad days, the drive home with a screaming child wanting to get out of her car-seat with arms all flailing and wanting attention can be horribly nerve-wrecking for my poor Mama heart. I recalled when she was much younger, there were several times I had to stop by the road to calm her down before driving to the next location. There were also times when I simply couldn’t stop my car but was not left with much choice except to try and calm screaming child with words of assurance that “Everything is going to be alright.” Not that it mattered to the child whom I’m sure just wanted me to pick her up and soothe her.

A couple of weeks ago, Agape Babies approached us and asked if we would be interested to review Strap Stop – an innovative product that will prevent your child from freeing their arms while in a car seat. Initially, I was a little apprehensive to accept the ‘offer’ to review the product for I wasn’t sure if the Bub would be a willing passenger in her car-seat with this added device. But I thought to myself, “Hey, if this product is supposed to help me concentrate on driving, knowing full well that she will no longer be able to attempt to escape out of her seat belt. So why not?”

And so I said “Yes!” to Agape Babies offer to send us the Strap Stop for this review.

img_4364I have to say that Strap Stop is actually a nifty device that’s easy to install and use. It fits onto most car seats, pushchairs, high chairs or other harnesses and grip onto the straps, holding them together without compromising the performance of any part of the seat.

img_4378What we really like about the Strap Stop is that it can be effortlessly fitted by clipping onto our existing straps with one hand, using two buttons each side to release the clips, which make it easy to fit onto wherever needed. That’s extremely useful because sometimes Bubba would also be squirming, attempting to escape with me screaming at her and telling her that she should not move around while I desperately fiddle around the hooks to strap her down. The clips are also anti-slip so unless your child is some talented magician or wizard, she won’t be able to move it up and down.

Case in point, no more clever escapes by Bubba when we used the Strap Stop on our current car-seat. Of course, she wasn’t too pleased with it initially and probably wondered what is this thing that’s now strapping me to my seat even more.

img_4366But after a couple of minutes and possibly realisation that this strap device is here to stay, she somewhat calmed down a little.

img_4375Thank you Agape Babies for sending this Strap Stop product to review. It does put our mind at ease knowing that Bubba can no longer take her hands out of her car seat and I can fully concentrate on the road instead of screaming at her and being worried about her falling off her chair. 🙂

Strap Stop is exclusively distributed and retailed only at Agape Babies for S$24.90. I have to say that’s a small price to pay to get ease of mind on a fidgety toddler and focus on the road.

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Disclaimer : lady J’s musings received the Strap Stop product from Agape Babies 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.

 

 

 

 

Convos with Bubba at 2.5 yrs

Bubba is quite the chatterbox, not that I’m complaining but it’s quite funny to see how quick her mind works when I try to reason with her. This was a recent convo that took place over dinner and just thinking about this often brings a smile to my face.

img_6798Scenario: Bubba fussing during dinner, not wanting to eat her food

Me: Sophie, eat your food! Stop throwing it around! Look at Mummy’s face now? It it happy, angry or sad?

S: It’s angry! Mummy, you don’t be angry ok? You must be happy! (then turns to Dad and said the same thing)

And just like that, that look of anger somewhat dissipates and turns into a wide smile.

Even my mom and my MIL who witnessed this couldn’t stop laughing!

Happy Birthday to the Man!

img_6589Guess who turned 40 over the weekend? Hehe.. the Man! But I think he doesn’t look like his age at all. The weekend was filled with festivities and loads of feasting with family and friends. Well, as much as I tried to plan a surprise for him, he always manages to guess it. Likewise, when it comes to planning surprises for me, he says that he feels compelled to reveal the surprise to me because I always look like I can’t wait to know what’s coming up.

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This time round, I tried to keep the dinner location a secret but I let the Man in on the guest list. Days before his birthday dinner reveal, he asked me point-blank where the dinner bash would be. Just as I was squirming in my seat, hemming and hawing to fish out a response, he said he guessed that it would be Odette. I stared at him and asked “How did you guess?!” He gave a knowing look and said that he would be surprised given our friendship with Chef Julien, he would be appalled if I chose somewhere else to hold the bash. Well, I guess he was right. The Man: 1, Me: 0

img_6752img_6588The menu that Chef Julien created for our small group was indeed ‘outstanding’ with a couple of new variations injected into his creations. The capellini with egg yolk and black truffles was a hit around the table as well as the pigeon. The wine selected to be paired with the menu was also superb. We all went home with a very happy belly and in high spirits.

img_6616The next day, the party continued but mostly time spent with the little one. Since I planned the programme for the day, we started the day with a Paw Patrol themed birthday cake.

img_6635Hehe, very kiddy for a 40th birthday but one thing we come to realised that your birthdays aren’t quite the same when the kid is around. They kinda think that it’s part of their birthday too and will claim all rights to blowing the candles off your cake. Do not (I repeat), DO NOT even attempt to blow off your own candles for it will incur the wrath of your child.

img_6670Of course, I couldn’t quite let him celebrate his birthday without setting off some fireworks (this is legal, btw) on his cake. It created quite a stir but I have to say, all eyes were definitely on the birthday boy Man for sure!

img_6733-1Once again, blessed birthday again to Sparky (aka the Man and Daddy)! Wishing you the best of health, joy and happiness as you enter into the next decade! 🙂

Family fun in Gold Coast

Ever since having a kid, I kinda think Australia is a choice destination when it comes to family holidays. It’s relatively easy and near to fly to, plus majority of the establishments are generally child-friendly.

Last December, we decided to travel as one big extended family Down Under. Perth was suggested but tossed out of the window when we found out that we could borrow my Mom’s boss’s apartment in Gold Coast. Since I’m terribly late in sharing this post, will do up a simple round-up of our 10-days trip to Gold Coast.

img_5429Flying to Gold Coast
We flew to Gold Coast by Scoot because that’s the only carrier that offered a direct flight. If prefer to fly via Singapore Airlines, then you would need to fly to Brisbane and then either take a bus or a train down to Gold Coast. We thought traveling in a large group of 8 pax (5 adults and 3 kids), the train and coach from Brisbane to Gold Coast might be somewhat logistically challenging. So the direct flight to Scoot appeared to be a better choice.

Here’s what we learn about flying on Scoot, so thought I’d just share if you can’t quite decide if you wish to fly on budget. Number one, while Scoot is considered to be budget, we realised that prices aren’t quite budget. The airfare for me and the Bub came up to nearly S$2,000 after adding taxes plus baggage allowance. That said, we did choose Scoot because it flew direct to Gold Coast so we understood that there wasn’t going to be much savings given that we were also travelling in a huge group during high season of travel.

img_5417-1Number two, bring along your own blanket and pillow on-board for they will not be provided free on flight. If you do forget your blanket or pillow, you can purchase from Scoot for a fee. Number three, beverages and meals all come at a cost on Scoot. It’s cheaper for to purchase your meals ahead rather than purchasing on-flight. Also, if you plan to bring along your own meals, well, do eat discreetly for the air-crew actually will tell you to keep away your own food. Do bring along a hot water flask to load up on hot water for making milk for your child if needed. We found that to be useful for during the flight, Bubba had a huge appetite only for milk.

img_5433-1On entertainment, do not expect any complimentary in-flight entertainment. Other than that, we took a red-eye flight to Gold Coast where the Bub slept most of the trip and then on the way back home to Singapore, the iPad loaded with her fave games and cartoons kept her occupied for a good part of the trip.

img_6195Getting around Gold Coast
Our apartment was in South Port which was walking distance to a mall, it was also close to a tram and bus stop. Our preferred mode of transport to get around was actually Uber. It was quick and convenient so we basically just relied on that as we heard that cabs in Gold Coast can get quite costly. But one point to note is that if you intend to travel further out, you may wish to do a fare estimate between Uber and Gold Coast Cabs. We did just that and found out that it was a whole lot more convenient chartering a maxi cab that could sit all 8 of us comfortably with our shopping bags instead of splitting the group into 2 separate cars.

img_6196Eating around Gold Coast
To be honest, we had grand plans about dining in some restaurants. We did just that on our first day as it was my Dad’s birthday but we had one child who was sleeping in her stroller (mine), another child who slept on my sister’s lap and one cranky child was was sleep-deprived. The adults ended up wolfing down our food and drinks. In the end, my mom suggested that it was more peaceful to have our meals at home.

Mummies are really the best! My mom actually lugged a box of dried food stuff (which we declared to the customs) to Gold Coast and made sure that we ate at least a hearty meal at home. That hearty meal became 2 meals a day simply because it was way easier to sort out the kids meals at home. They get to sit down with minimal distractions and finish their meals. When they are done, they either play amongst themselves, watch tv and have ice-cream while the rest of the adults slowly eat up the rest of the leftovers and finish the bottle of wine. It was a whole lot more enjoyable that way. So, hat’s off and THANK YOU MUMMY for making all that food for us during the trip! 🙂

img_5283Home-cooked meals also mean that they cost way cheaper than dining out. We got choice-cut meats like beef steak, lamb, chicken, etc at the local supermarket along with fresh fruits and vegetables that accompanied our meal. The kids went crazy over the ham and bacon and we literally could polish off nearly 300 grams of cold cuts for breakfast. Oh, let’s not forget just how affordable wine is over in Australia. The sister and I were happy with our local wine store finds of wine that cost AUD 13 a bottle. She proudly chimed that if she lived in Australia any longer, she would probably become an alcoholic. Haha..

img_4840Gold Coast Attractions and Theme Parks
We knew that we wanted to go to a couple of theme parks like Movie World, Sea World and an animal related attraction. Trawled the internet and managed to find a pass that had a 1-year unlimited access into Movie World, Sea World, Wet n Wild and Paradise Country for under AUD 90 a head at Experience OZ. This was a pretty good deal so we got passes for the adults and the older kids. As Bubba is under three, her entry to all of the above-mentioned attractions were free.

img_6197Paradise Country:
Get pretty up-close-and-personal with wildlife from Australia such as koalas, kangaroos, sheep, etc. Have to add that the car-ride there was a little bumpy and the Bub threw up her breakfast all over me so that was pretty eventful (and ironic, not to mention as I was wearing the ‘Queen’ tee). Thankfully, I had a spare change of clothes for her and there were a couple of souvenir shops for me to grab a tourist-tee for a quick change.

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We spent about 3 hours at Paradise Country looking at the different animals but didn’t quite stay on for the shows for it was a little too hot being out in the sun. I did spent AUD6 on kangaroo feed (got 3 packs of the kangaroo food for all 3 kiddos). Well, I kinda regretted the move for most of the food was wasted. The kangaroos were simply fed too well that most of them weren’t very interested in eating what was being thrown at them. I guess the kids did have fun running after them and begging them to eat their food from their palms.

img_6271Sea World
Memories of Sea World remained faint as I visited the attraction like many years ago but I was excited to bring the Bub for she showed a keen interest in marine life. And following our trip to Japan where she visited the various aquariums and marvelled at the marine life behind those thick glass panels, I thought this would be one of the attractions that better suited her.

Well, turned out Sea World was a lot smaller than some of the aquariums that we had visited in Japan. We spent about 3-4 hours there and pretty much toured the entire place. There wasn’t much of a marine life to boast about but we did see penguins, dolphins and sea-lions.

img_4968Perhaps, the saving grace for Sea World (which felt like it was in dire need of a face-lift given the standards of theme parks these days) was the Nickoloden play area which had rides that were great for younger kids. Managed to convince the Bub to go on this fun air-plane ride which she gamely went along with me. She’s usually quite timid when it comes to taking rides so I was impressed by her show of courage.

img_4957The presence of Dora also brought a wide smile to her face. She patiently waited in line before shyly going up to Dora to ask where her backpack was. When Dora picked her up, she was thrilled and I was just pleased to have snapped a nice shot of her wide smile.

img_4932My older nephews weren’t too interested in the kiddy rides. In fact, they spent most of my Dad’s money on carnival games and we ended up going up with a bag of soft toys that they won from the challenges. Haha!

img_4982I ain’t going to do a round-up of Movie World for you probably can get most of the research online. I only wished that they still had the Harry Potter ride as her outfit would be perfect for the themed par.k. Unfortunately, as the weather was too hot, we changed her into something more comfortable. We spent more than half a day there but Bubba didn’t take a lot of the rides as they were meant more for older kids and adults. Not like she was complaining but she fell asleep for a few hours after insisting on going round the merry-go-round for the umpteenth time.

img_4688-1Shopping in Gold Coast
We spent quite a lot of time at the supermarket, going down aisles to check out what interesting food stuff they have that we don’t in Singapore. The selection of snacks, biscuits, toiletries and even toys made us very excited.

img_5116Here are some of the kids snacks which I brought back for the Bub and her little friends. Her fave of t he lot are those dried fruit which she simply adores and loves. That’s the only snack that will keep her in her stroller without any complaints. Those yogurt coated raisins in that Peppa Pig box is also a healthy snack that she enjoys.

img_5066We also made it to Harbour Town Factory Outlet where we spent nearly an entire day shopping. The kids cooperated after they had their meals by falling asleep in their strollers so we managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of shopping. Well, we didn’t go overboard but I did get my fix at Bonds and my sister, Mom and I scored a pair of new Vans shoes for a steal! These were kids sizes by the way and we paid about AUD30 for these Super Mario Limited Edition kicks. Super happy!

img_5096Check out our Vans shoes twinning shot!

img_5112That’s not all! We managed to stock up on some kids clothes for Bubba at Target and KMart and I lugged home many of Bubba’s new toys from her recent cartoons craze – Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines. Yes, that’s my girl for you.. not your usual Disney Princess loving kid, instead she loves dogs plus monster trucks. Kinda funny and cute altogether!

img_5189Guess that sums up our family trip to Gold Coast. We did enjoy ourselves very much and I think the Bub really enjoyed the company of her cousins, grandparents plus uncle/ aunt tremendously. The day passed by so quickly with the trio of joy, sometimes laughing, singing, dancing and also bickering.

img_5382But that’s the beauty of family holidays, the memories do last. I used to love going holidays with my cousins and would look forward to the times spent with them. Being possibly the only child for now, I only hope that Bubba would love the company of her cousins too.

img_5264I must say we did pretty well in organising the logistics for a rather relaxing and well-rested family holiday that another family holiday with the entire gang is in the works. Taiwan perhaps? Anyone has an itinerary to share? 🙂

 

Hello 2017!

img_6108Sheesh, it feels like it’s been a while since I posted something. Had meant to post a review of 2016 but of course, I never got round to doing it. Christmas came and gone and ushering 2017 was spent with my loved ones unwrapping gifts and clinking glasses of chilled moscato when the year turned before hugging my little one tightly to bed. Nothing fancy, just with people who we hold and love so dearly.

img_6228Also, the lack of updates is largely due to a heavy workload with a huge event that’s coming up this weekend and whatever free time I have left, I’m usually either running errands or spending time with the above face. Solo-parenting is also coming to an end with the Man returning from his world time later this week. Feels like forever, in between poor wifi connection, most of the convos that we had with a couple of minutes via Facetime (usually more for the Dad to look at his precious daughter) and the rest via What’s App. I’m sure he will have loads to share about his epic trip.

In the meantime, please do stick around here for we hope to bounce back into bloggin action soon! 🙂