Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review + Giveaway: It's My Bag sling bags & backpacks

As you know, this June holidays held much excitement for me as I could finally go on adventures with EV and AA. It was exciting for them too - finally out of the house to visit museums and play to their hearts’ content! 

To add to the excitement, thanks to local brand It's My Bag, the two kids got two new bags - a sling bag and backpack - each to carry along on their different adventures, to put their water bottles, sweaters and what nots. 

These bags are not only colourful and eye catching, they are personalised too. Which makes perfect sense especially when they accidentally misplace their bags. The bright colours also make it easy for me to keep an eye on them.

But what strikes me is the functionality of the bags. 

Heli Sling Bags

Playdate 1

For shorter adventures, like a quick trip to the park, indoor playground, supermarket or a playdate, the kids carried the helicopter sling bags. Measuring 23cm x 24cm x 6cm, which is a good size for young kids, the casual sling bag has an easy-to-lift velcro flap and a zippered compartment. Its adjustable strap makes it easy to fit the bag to EV and AA, though AA may be a little clumsier with the bag at times. The single compartment is of just the right size to keep a water bottle, a jacket, a pack of wet tissues, and even a few diapers for AA. And if the kids (read: AA) are tired, then it’s also easy for adults to carry the bags if necessary. Indeed, AA does get lazy at times and refuses to carry his bag. However, the moment he sees his older sister carry hers, he insists on doing so, and even proudly spells out his name on the bag. It’s great to have an older sister to set a good example.

Gardens 1

Woodland Backpack
I love the colours of this backpack. The purple and pink hues are right for EV’s current colour preference. Made of soft, water resistant nylon, this backpack may look small, but is actually quite the gem, with its roomy main compartment, bottom compartment and a front pocket. So far, we’ve only used the main compartment, and already, we can comfortably put in a water bottle, a jacket, a cap, a raincoat and a small lunchbox. The bottom compartment, front pocket and side mesh pockets provide more precious space for things like dirty clothing, toys and tissue paper packs. 

Personally, I don’t really like to put water bottles in side mesh pockets, as I find that sometimes, that causes the bag to become lopsided when EV or AA is carrying it. But I find that they’re great for putting tissue paper packs. With so many pockets, one would think that this backpack is rather bulky. Fortunately, it is not, measuring 25cm x 31cm x 10cm (excluding the front pocket). EV has really fallen in love with it. The moment I take it out, she instinctively knows that it’s going to be a long, exciting day out.

Bags

Robot Backpack
For little AA, he pretended to be a robot the moment he saw this bag, making you realise that this bag is quite a good fit with this cheeky boy. Like the Sling Bag and the Woodland Backpack, this backpack’s main compartment is extremely roomy, and can store more than just a water bottle and some extra clothes. On our long days out, we were able to fit in a water bottle, a pack of wet tissues, some extra diapers and clothes, a jacket and even some diaper trash bags. This considering that there are no extra compartments, except for the side mesh pocket. Almost the same size as the Woodland Backpack, at 24cm x 30cm x 12cm, this Robot Backpack’s interior is fully lined, and has a plastic slot at the back for inserting AA’s name. Again, lazy AA doesn’t always want to carry his bag, as he prefers to run around freely, and the hoop at the top makes it easy for parents to carry. But again, seeing EV carrying her own backpack transforms him and he becomes eager to imitate her.

Gardens 2

Like I mentioned before, what I like about these It's My Bag bags are their functionality, and cute designs that appeal to kids. Founder Elaine says that each bag is designed to be fun and practical at the same time. I must say that from what I've seen so far, based on how EV and AAa have been using their bags, the bags are indeed fun and practical. It's also comforting to know that Elaine tests the bags on her two children before launching each bag.

Heli Sling Bags - S$34 (blue or purple)
Woodland Backpack - S$52 (purple-fuchsia, pink-green, berry-lavender, and black-turquoise)
Robot Backpack - S$42 (navy or red)

Giveaway!!!
It's My Bag has kindly sponsored TWO bags for TWO winners. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. Most are optional, but they do give you more chances to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- This giveaway starts on 20 July and ends on 27 July (inclusive) at midnight.
- The winner(s) will be chosen from a random draw of entries received in accordance with these Terms and conditions.
- The winner(s) will be announced on this post by 31 July.
- The winner(s) will be notified directly via email by the sponsor regarding collection of the prize(s).
- Toddly Mummy's responsibility will end once the winner's details are passed to the sponsor.
- Only one winner per household is allowed.
- The organisers accept no responsibility for entries that are lost, delayed, incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason.
- Entrants into the giveaway shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.
- Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice, at the organisers' sole discretion.
- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.
- Participants are providing information to Toddly Mummy and the sponsor(s) of this giveaway and not to Facebook.

Disclaimer:  We received two sling bags and two backpacks for the purpose of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own, unless otherwise indicated.

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Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A busy mummy's me-time indulgences

Reading for the whole day or night, watching so many movies that it's easy to run out, going for long dips in the pool, enjoying drinks with friends. Oh, how I miss the days before mummyhood. 

Yes, that's something I honestly admit to. I'm not afraid of doing so, and I'm not about to lie to myself that I do not miss my single days. Being a mummy meant that I had to give up much of my previous lifestyle. Of course, I can definitely continue to do what I used to do, but honestly, as many mummies can identify with, it's not easy to do so. It's no longer possible to just go out, just like that. There are many things, many responsibilities to consider, the most important of which is to ensure that the kids are looked after. Even if it's just some personal quiet time to read, it's not that easy anymore because the kids are just too energetic and demanding. Even my escapade to the toilet is rather tough; somehow, the kids refuse to give me any peace even when I'm in the shower, despite telling them before hand that mummy needs to clean up.

Despite the busy-ness of being a mummy, as I've shared in two Day In The Life posts here and here, I do try to squeeze in some mummy me-time here and there. It's part of the 15 things I told myself I'd do differently this year. Whenever I can enjoy any precious mummy me-time, these are the activities that I like to do.

- Read. I enjoy being transported into a different world, even if it's just for a few minutes. My favourite author these couple of years is Clive Cussler, and it's easy to get lost in the thrilling adventures of Dirk Pitt, the Fargoes and Juan Carbillo. Other thrilling reads I love include Haruki Murakami, Laura Joh Rowland and Barry Eisler. Recently, I’m hooked on to this very engaging two-part book about a young boy named Vango. 


- Play the piano. Listening to music has a captivating and relaxing effect; playing music can be liberating. Besides music that I personally like, I also make sure that I have enough me-time to practice my exam pieces.

- Writing. I like writing about my day, my feelings, writing peoms and so on. I admit that I don't do enough and I should do more. I'm now embarking on a journey to set aside 15 minutes to write about anything that comes to my mind. I hope that this will help me re-connect with my creative self.

- Writing for the blog. When I have a few hours in the day, I like to go somewhere quiet, have a drink and some food, and write posts or edit photos for the blog. 

- Yoga & swimming. My only way to stay active, other than chasing after the kids. Listening to the lapping of the pool water and slowing down my breathing are quite therapeutic, and calms me down before I face my boisterous kids.

- Rock wall climbing. This is something that I just picked up, so I'm still at the beginner's wall.  I'm not taking any course, but am just going whenever I have the time. Extreme? Yeah, kind of. Let's just say I wanted to do something out of the ordinary after my freak accident, I guess to prove myself that I can do it, despite the injury. I hope to go more often, sometimes by myself, sometimes with the kids.

- Watch Hong Kong drama. In the middle of the night, when the kids and  DaddySay are asleep, it's 'bou ket' (literally, 'cook drama' in Cantonese). My record? Watching till 4am, and then waking up 3 hours later to bring the kids out. I was a zombie!

- Watch a movie, go for a concert. I don't do this enough, and I would like to do more. I sometimes like to watch a movie or go for a concert myself. It's rather therapeutic, and lets me be by myself for a short while to recharge.

Like now, I’m stealing a little me-time after putting AA to sleep, to write and upload this post, and just take a short breather. It’s one of those quiet times that I love and treasure most. 

What do you do during your me-time? 

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This post is part of the Mummy's Me-Time blog train, hosted by Danessa of Prayerfull Mum.

Tomorrow, Cheryl of Privikids will share her me-time indulgences. Taking a bold step in running PriviKids, a multi-brand kids apparel and lifestyle store founded by her husband & herself, Cheryl juggles her role as mummy to 4 year old Aiden and 1.5 year old Ava and all aspects of the business. Thanks to her supportive & super husband as well as support from her parents as caretakers of the kids, she is able to take on her passion in life. Find out more about their family and experiences at PriviKids.

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Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Waddle waddle waddle belly slide! All about Penguins (Home Learning)

Before the June holidays, we did a home learning theme on penguins. It was triggered by a conversation we had about a trip we made to the bird park previously, and the kids shared how they liked the way the penguins waddle.

I tried to make the penguin theme as holistic as possible, injecting factual information, fiction stories and craft. For fiction books, I chose Oliver Jeffer's books - Up and Down and Lost and Found.

Penguins 4

EV and AA loved the penguin inside the books, and repeatedly ask for both to be read to them. Very often, I would use our reading sessions to conduct a simple comprehension exercise to access their understanding of the print story and their inferences of the visuals they see. For example, when they see the visual of the penguin standing alone on the ice, away from the rest of the penguins, how did they think the penguin felt? I feel that such an activity can help EV and AA understand the stories on a deeper level, and also helps to build their visual literacy. 

Chinese books play an important part of our home learning journey, and of course, it was no exception for this penguin theme. We got books from the library shared facts and stories about penguins in Mandarin. There is also this heartwarming tale about how parent penguins love baby penguins from Flip for Joy that we enjoyed reading.

Penguins 12

Penguins 9 

We engaged in simple comprehension activities in Mandarin, similar to what was being done during our English sessions, so that EV's and AA's narrative understanding and visual literacy can transcend different languages.

Penguins 5

Besides narrative stories, I also introduced non-fiction books so EV and AA can learn various facts about penguins, such as their biology, living environment and so on. One of my favourites is this book by Miles Kelly. It is filled with very realistic pictures and information is presented in bite-size snippets, which are extremely easy for little kids to digest.

Penguins 11

As a follow-up, we also had some whiteboard time, where we reviewed what we learnt about penguins.

I printed penguin-themed worksheets online, pegged at different levels to suit EV and AA.

Penguins 7

Penguins 1

I also designed worksheets for EV, focusing on comprehension of poems about penguins. It was something she found interesting to do, because some of the poems are sung to the tune of nursery rhymes that she is familiar with.

Penguins 6

For our penguin craft, we recycled plastic bottles. The ones we used are the large ones from Watson’s, which are nicely curved to be able to pass off as penguins. I got the kids to paste paper all around the plastic, and when they dried, they painted their penguins.

Penguins 2

Penguins 3 

EV decided to be different and painted her penguin red, with her fingers. AA decided to use his fist. Later, we added felt wings and beaks, and foam eyes. EV’s in a ‘red’ stage now, so her red penguin just has to have red wings. 

Penguins 10

These penguins may not be able to head into the water, but they sure can keep the kids’ imagination going. 

What home learning activities are you doing? Do share!

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Imaginarium @ 8Q SAM

I’ve heard a lot about Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas exhibition at 8Q SAM, and finally got a chance to bring the kids there on a playdate a week ago. It was a nice quiet morning, and we started our day with brunch at the nearby Food for Thought. EV was an angel wolfing up her kid’s pancake all by herself, and even took a bit of AA’s kid’s pasta. AA needed more attention, but he was good overall. He’s proofing to be quite a fussy food connoisseur. When I passed him the kid’s menu, he responded by telling me he wanted pasta, as well as apple juice AND soup. That was a first. But I’m glad that the menu there captured his interest, as he can be quite a fussy eater at times.

Imaginarium 1

The moment we stepped into the museum, the kids made a beeline for the We Built This Estate display at the ground floor. This is probably their favourite display of the whole exhibition; we revisited it after seeing the rest of the displays. The life size Tetris-shaped building blocks in bright colours were absolutely irresistable as EV and AA, along with their friends built fortresses, tunnels, bridges and whatever their imagination prompted them to do. We adults just had to stand aside and watch their creativity soar, interrupting only when things seem to get out of control, such as an over-eager AA carrying a block that’s triple his size and weight, and the older kids having a little tiff.

Imaginarium 2

Imaginarium 4

It took a while to drag the kids to see the other exhibits. We went to the MoonRoom, where the kids could write letters to the moon or doodle on the walls. While the older kids were contented with doing the latter, AA was happy in his own zone, chopping at the stamp counter or sitting in the middle of the room folding paper.

Imaginarium 3

The Band of Doodlers illustrations greeted us as we walked up the four levels. It’s quite an interesting piece of art, which depicts Singapore’s folklore. Unfortunately, with enthusiastic kids keen to explore, we didn’t have the time to linger and appreciate it. It’s definitely a feast for the eyes though.

Imaginarium 6

Vincent Twardzik Ching’s Greenroom II: Interstellar Overdrive is an interactive display which teaches how motion can produce power. Using bicycles that we had to ride on, we could power up light displays and stereo equipment. Fun for the kids, tiring for the adults.

Imaginarium 5

We think that the Let’s Make! Studio by Izziyana Suhaimi was extremely soothing. The room was extremely large, and by the time we got there, the walls were already filled with many pom poms, embroideries and weaving works of art that other visitors had made and put up. Depending on the age of the visitors, each individual can create either a pom pom, embroider or weave. EV and AA did the pom-poms, and rather than put it up on the wall tapestry, they prefered to play with it there and then, running around with their pom poms trailing behind them.

Imaginarium 7

Imaginarium 8

A ‘wow’ display we liked was Kiko’s Secrets by KumKum Fernando. There are three little boxes, each holding a separate display. The one that we liked best, and probably wowed the kids the most, was the glow-in-the-dark art pieces made of various materials. The kids could move around and hold large triangular tubes against the art pieces, and viola! They created kaleidoscopes. Another display allowed them to search for different sized plastic pieces to fit on to a large wall of shapes.

Imaginarium 9

Imaginarium 10

The last exhibit we went to was another of the kids’ favourite. This sweet display is Lee Jeeyoung’s Dream House. There’s a candy house, complete with yummy lifesize lollipops and a garden of sweets at the back - truly a kid’s dream. EV and AA couldn’t get enough of taking the brightly coloured sweet from the house to ‘plant’ on the trees in the garden. At one point, they were determined to collect only purple sweets, and eventually created a tree of purple sweets. AA was also bent on taking the sweets from the house to the little table at the front, running back and forth continuously. It was really a delightful place that the kids clearly enjoyed being in, and again, it was tough when it was finally time to leave.

Imaginarium 11

Despite spending hours at Imaginarium, the kids were still determined to make a final stop - the display on the ground floor with the life size building blocks. It’s amazing how their energy seems to be endless, even though they look visibly tired. For us adults, we were just contented to sit back and watch the kids build their fortresses.

Have you visited Imaginarium? Make sure you do before it ends. As the title suggests, it is indeed an exhibition that ignites the imagination.

Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas
Now till 19 July 2015
71 Bras Basah Road
Singapore 198555
Opening Hours: Mondays to Sundays 10am to 7pm, Fridays 10am to 9pm
Free entry for citizens and permanent residents

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