Shopping Time: TrendySg's GSS Discount Codes!

I have been meaning to do an outfit post in response to this! Unfortunately, my point and shoot camera is broken and I can no longer do pics like this pregnant-me one.

However, I do love and live the idea of dressing nice without a hefty price (how's that for a rhyme?). As a busy mom who works part-time, being able to shop online (saves time!) and buy nice things without breaking the bank is always good. While I have some nifty ideas to take some self-portraits (unfortunately the Bubs is unable to wield a camera yet, much less my DSLR!), I thought I shouldn't delay sharing this great shopping deal with you:

TrendySg has generously offered special GSS discount codes
for A Dollop Of Me's readers!

First, let me show you some stuff from their site that caught my eye (click on the images for details):

This gorgeous one's at S$5.90 is a steal.
Roses.
Sweet polka dots on a little cute jacket!
Something light-weight and feminine to throw on.
Love the sleeves.
I'm always won over by lace.
Even on an everyday top!
This online store sells Korean and Japanese style clothing, bags and accessories. New products are launched on the site every 2-3 days, and they currently carrying more than 1,000 products. Although an online store, you can opt to try on the clothes by contacting the owners!

A value-added feature of TrendySg is that you get to earn reward dollars (T$) when you spend with them. T$ can be used to offset future purchases. The site offers a complete shopping system where you can log-in to view your orders and your T$ earned.

They currently have special discounts - the more pieces you buy entitles you to more $$ off your purchases.

And now, on top of all of that,  for the period of The Great Singapore Sale 2011 (24 May - 4 July), you may use these discount codes when you shop at TrendySg:
 
Dollop50 - $5 off a sub-total that exceeds $50
Dollop100 - $10 off a sub-total that exceeds $100
Dollop200 - $20 off a sub-total that exceeds $200
 
Have fun shopping! =)

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*The Smart Alley Giveaway is still on! Do check it out if you haven't already!

In Awe of Horses at Rider's Cafe

We recently took the Bubs to see horses for the first time ever. It was a late breakfast at Riders Cafe, where our seats overlooked the stables and a beautiful grassy area where horses trot.

Although I've been to this place many times, it was interesting to experience it again through the Bub's eyes. When she saw the horses from a distance, she was terribly excited. She saw a black horse being washed, and for a long time after, talked about seeing a horse bathing.

It was a different story when the horses came up close though! She was in awe (maybe shock?) at just how big and tall they really are. She stood there very, very quietly just looking at the beautiful animals as they walked past her.


*The Smart Alley Giveaway is still on! Do check it out if you haven't already!

Smart Alley Sticker Activity Tote Giveaway!

I met up with Gabriel of Smart Alley a couple of months ago. Smart Alley specialises in quality educational products for children from pre-school to primary school levels.

The people that own Smart Alley are experienced folks in this industry. They have been offering children's products and working with schools and educational institutions for many years. I was pretty impressed by what was shared with me. I recently ordered a bunch of stuff for Bubbles and as gifts, and made good use of their Free Delivery service for orders above S$100 (how great is that!!). They also do free gift-wrapping!

Today, I am really excited to be sharing with you about one of Smart Alley's (many!) products and am offering one up as a giveaway!

I bought this Sticker Activity Tote for Bubbles a while back, given that she loves playing with stickers. Needless to say, it has been a great hit not only with her, but also with us, her parents! The product description says: Great on-the-go package lets kids and families take this item in the car, on a plane, into a restaurant, or anywhere you might want an engaging activity that's easy to start and easy to clean up. I can vouch for this as our tote went with us all the way to Krabi, KL and back and it was very well used :)

The tote includes a bunch of reuseable cling stickers that you can stick onto a choice of 2 fold-out scenes. We had plenty of fun imagining stories as we worked on the stickers together. I found it a very good product to have conversations with Bubbles about what people in the scene are doing, where things should go, what is happening etc. Great for object recognition and storytelling! When Bubbles plays on her own, she is always intent to transfer ALL the stickers from their backings onto a scene. The best part is, everything comes off easily (even when one sticker is stuck on another, which happens often with us!). That, plus that fact that the stickers do not stick on anything else!

This is one product that will last for years as an older child would be able to manipulate the stickers to his/her own imagined scenarios. I also really liked that the colours of the stickers do not 'bleed'. We own some other reuseable cling stickers where the colours come off after a few rounds of man/toddler-handling.

Smart Alley carries a range of Creative Sticker Kits and have offered up one gorgeous Fun-in-the-Sun Activity Tote to one of A Dollop Of Me's readers! They also surprised me by generously agreeing to send this prize to a winner anywhere in the world! So, if you know of a kid between the ages of 1-plus to 6, you might want to win one for him/her!

To enter this draw, leave a comment sharing who you would like this Sticker Tote for.

The draw will end on Sunday 5 June 12 noon (Singapore time, UTC/GMT +8 hours).

Do help spread the word! =)

In the meantime, you might want to check out Smart Alley's site. There are links to their site on my blog's sidebar too. They're having the Great Singapore Sale promotion on now!

A Dollop Of My Home: The Peranakan Mirror

(Lost and) Found
Someone threw out this mirror in our estate.
We lugged it home.
Good as new after a good wipe :)

Acrylic candlestand: a birthday gift.

Porcelain bowl holding the plant: part of a wedding gift.

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In My Shoes

Remember these shoes?

I found Bubbles clomping around in them recently!

In between laughing and readying myself to catch any falls, I snapped this pic:

Looks like she has graduated from flats to wedges!

Dog vs Baby

Some of you may remember this post, where Bubbles had a playdate with her doggy friend.

She still does seem to like dogs very much and gets very excited to see them. Unfortunately for her, I'm not prepared to have a dog in our home just yet. Perhaps when she is older and able to care for a pet herself, or at least help out meaningfully in the caregiving.

She has already started to ask for a dog, and has told me straight out that she doesn't want any babies. (Yes I've begun the conversations to prepare her for an eventual sibling that we hope for).

These photos show the kind of 'friendship' she shares with her beloved stuffed toy dog, Sandy:

She talks to Sandy, pats, hugs and kisses him, holds him up to 'look out' the window when in the car, and imagines he is hungry, sad or sick. A couple of times she informed me that he vomit(ed) and that she would clean up - an imagined story stemming no doubt from her own vomitting experience where her Papa had to clean up.

I hope now to help her be aware of her caring side. We can then draw on this when preparing her for a baby brother or sister. God willing!

From Sudan

Someone gave me this necklace recently. It is all the way from Sudan!

I love how it is such a statement piece.

Bubbles pointed to the black and white panels and said: Like piano
=)


PS:
I'm preparing a fun giveaway that is coming up next Monday! Do keep a look-out for it especially if you know of a kid between the ages of 2-6. I'm really excited about it but won't say more for now ;)

Dora The Explorer to the Rescue

I brought Bubbles for her 18th month jab and medical check-up last week. (Yes, we're 2 months late, but that's really ok!)

While she has always showed a high threshold of pain with all of her previous jabs, I couldn't help but be apprehensive because she is now so much more cognisant and vocal. She already speaks in short sentences and is very aware of what goes on around her. Tricking her into a jab was not going to happen.

So I decided to tell her beforehand that an injection is going to take place. I told her that it would be painful, but she needed to do it to make her stronger. She nodded and said Okay.

She squealed when the needle went in and out, and wasn't happy about it at all. But thankfully like before, she recovered from the shock fairly quickly to ask for a change of plaster (she initially got a plain one) and agreed to one with a picture of Dora The Explorer.

With a wave and a Bye to the doctor, we walked out of the room. She then waved to all the other waiting parents and patients and announced: Bye bye EVERYBODY! In a very loud voice =P

Then, as I was paying the bill, I overheard her saying: Dora plaster! Injection painful. Adults all around were laughing with amusement.

I turned around and saw that my little girl had lifted up her dress to show everyone the Dora plaster on her thigh! My funny Bubbles!

During painting time that day, Bubbles decided that she didn't want the plaster on her thigh anymore. So off it went onto the paper she was painting on.

Life with a kid is never boring!

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden Waterplay

We have been wanting to take Bubbles for water play. Already, she can spend more than an hour splashing around with a water hose and her little pail on the pretext of helping her Daddy wash the car. 

My parents took her to the Marina Barrage waterplay area on one of the days last week where I was waist high in work, and as expected, she had a blast.

This weekend, we chose to go to the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden (now to be remembered as THE place I lost my favourite sunnies)

Looking at these photos, I concede that fun she had does take the sting off the loss a little bit.

Testing waters
Just like she always does when in a new environment, she spent the first 15 minutes or so with her feet planted at the same spot, observing everything around her. It was actually quite funny for us to watch her watch others. This little pony-tailed tot turning her head this way and that just looking, looking and looking.

We forgot to bring some containers for her to play with, so Roboman gamely bought a drink, gulped it down, and gave her the cup it came in. She was pleased as punch and informed me that Papa give cup.
She had her tongue sticking out a lot. Like this photo below. I have plenty more with this exact expression on her face!
The funny highlight of the day for me was this:
After quite a while of running into the fountains, collecting and pouring away water, she suddenly tasked herself to wash our feet.  

Yep, she would fill her cup and run up to us to pour the water on our feet. Again, and again and again, running up and down. Wash Mummy's feet, Wash Daddy's feet, she kept repeating as she carried out her self-inflicted duty.

Yes my sweet Bubbles, one day I hope you will also understand the love that resulted in the washing of these feet!


Sunnies no more

I've lost my fave pair of sunnies :(


It was left there for not more than 5 minutes.
I walked hand-in-hand with Bubbles to the car, realised it was missing, and ran back.
Poof. Gone.

Some of the happy aura I had from Bubbles' waterplay session vanished.
I find it incredibly difficult to find sunnies that fit my face.
Going to use this pic as a reference to shop for a replacement.

A Dollop Of My Home: Calm beauty amidst the mess

Mess.
One of the tough things I've had to learn to live with after we stopped having live-in help.

I reckon it might be less painful for me if we never had help in the first place.
It is all too easy to get used to being picked up after.

Now, we just do what we can to keep the home a happy one :)

One day, I decided to go around the house to snap photos of things that evoke calm beauty.
Special areas untouched by the riot of colour and visual noise that comes with any well-loved toddler.

I have a bunch of photos now and am inspired to take more.

May I introduce the new A Dollop Of My Home series with these first 2 photos:

Wedding photo in a jar
Wood-burn art by teenaged me
Pebbles
Coca Cola artwork from Hanoi
More to come every Friday.
Stay tuned with me, will ya? :)

The Braid

We were at my friend's place recently and look what she did!

She created a beautiful French braid (I think that's the name?) on Bubbles!
Isn't it lovely?
After sitting through the braiding of her hair,
the Bubs did not want to stay still for a photo.
She echoed my 'complaints', by slowly and deliberately saying:
Can't stay still, mummy can not take po to graph
as she moved around the living room with a grin on her face.
Still, I managed to capture some ladylike poses. Waha!

This little lady of mine!

The bad pics are not just her fault though. I've just realised that my iPhone's camera has been taking lower-than-usual resolution pics. It must be because I have over 1,800 photos/videos on my Camera roll! Time to do some deleting!

I've got balls

I bought this at the Krabi International Airport. It sounds sad to be buying something from that tiny little touristy place, but this caught my eye and we had a lot of leftover baht!

The wood is smooth and cool to touch, and has just the right weight. Although I like wooden bangles in general, most come in sizes too big for my little wrists. This one fit perfectly and I was so pleased.

Bubbles likes to play with it and put her little arm through.

Once, while fiddling around with the bangle, she pointed to the shiny round beads, looked up to me and said knowingly: Mummy's balls.

I just sat there laughing, to her bewilderment.

The one with the cardboard box

We have a whole collection of cardboard boxes in our storeroom. I dream of creating a cardboard house complete with a tunnel, a tower and windows, just like what my dad made for us when we were little.

I remember putting up curtains, and pulling in blankets and favourite stuffed toys to camp out in the house at night. 

Roboman left one little box out in the living area while sorting out things. The Bubs immediately had her eyes and hands on it. It took a while for her to figure out how to get herself and her fluffy friends into the box. Such fun she had while I sat around watching her with much amusement.



Letter Buddies AlphaBooks - Designed by educators

My dad has an iPhone4, and he has been busying himself searching for suitable videos that he thinks Bubbles would enjoy or benefit from.

Therefore, when I was introduced to a newly launched mobile application Letter Buddies AlphaBooks, the first thing that came into my mind was to ask my Dad to download it for use on the days she's at their place. Bubbles at 20 months can currently only recognise the letters A and B although she can recite the entire Alphabet. She will point out these 2 letters when she sees them, and sometimes, when she 'reads' aloud, she will simply say A, B, C, A, B etc etc while pointing to the words in her books. (very entertaining to watch, by the way) Needless to say, I was interested to see what this App can do and happy for a complimentary download.


AlphaBooks contains 24 books, one for each letter of the alphabet (letters x,y,z are combined). It is developed by Cavallo Media, launched by a husband and wife team who have over 8 years of experience developing educational materials for school markets in the US and Canada. Their intention is to use their experiences to create applications that will help young children become strong, independent readers. The fact that this App is created by educators was a big plus for me. There is a big part of me that takes comfort in 'leaving it to the experts'!

The App is created for kids aged 2-6 who are learning foundational vocabulary and starting to grasp simple sentence structures neccessary for becoming independent readers.

So, what was our experience like with the App?

When introduced to Bubbles, she was rather captivated. It is on a iPhone after all! That, plus the colourful images and familiar letters that could talk made it even more entertaining. I really like the personification of the letters, and Bubbles is at a stage where something like that is particularly compelling. She already imagines her toys taking on human feelings like hunger, happiness and pain, so having letters come alive really interested her.
Another feature of the App that caught my attention was that photos are used to illustrate objects. See this photo of a Lion below as an example. I like it that Bubbles gets to see what a real Lion looks like, as opposed to viewing an illustrated version. The photos are wonderfully clear too, which is great.

The App is fuss-free and simple to use, and one only needs to 'open' a book by selecting a letter. The pages are turned by simple swipes, which Bubbles could manage fairly well on her own.

The creators also built in predictable sentence structures with simple repetitions that I felt would help a child gain confidence as he/she learns. I've noticed that Bubbles liked this in other books we've read, so I believe this feature must have been intentionally designed.

I was pretty conscious that this App, being created in the US, uses American terms. Eg. 'Airplane' as opposed to the British 'Aeroplane'. The accent of the narration is also an American one, as expected of course. However, living in Singapore where most of us are brought up on a diet of multiple English accents and vocabulary, I didn't find this particularly disturbing, just something to note and highlight to Bubbles if neccesary. As of now, she already uses 'Airplane and 'Aeroplane' interchangeably thanks to books that we own from various origins.

One thing missing from the App which I would have appreciated was to have the letters read phonetically as well. I have been told that the Singapore school system now teaches kids the Alphabet that way, and some schools even teach the singing of the Alphabet song in the phonetic way! In fact, when we went pre-school shopping, one school principal told us specifically not to teach Bubbles the Alphabet as it will confuse her when phonics are introduced in school. Too late, I groaned! Nevertheless, I personally feel it is alright to teach her both! I would find it too weird if she can't tell me the names of letters and only say them phonetically.

It is too early to say if this App would advance Bubbles' recognition of letters of course. I do however think that this is a well-designed App which is a result of the creators' clear intentions to create one that is easily assessible and meaningfully educational.

You can check out this App on YouTube here:




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Krabi: The final few

Ok this is my last Krabi post, I promise! A mish mash of photos that make me smile :)

A wooden box full of sand toys!
 View from our bedroom at night
 The lush greenery
 Who has smelly feet?
How I wish I focused on that expression instead of the feet!
 She loved her sunnies.
When they slid off her nose, her cheeks held them up.
Methinks I should get more white tops.
 Waiting (impatiently) for our 'bus' - the resort's shuttle to Ao Nang.
The Bubs bravely asked the receptionists (after 30 mins of waiting) where the bus was.
Bus?! Bus?! Bus?! she earnestly demanded, with palms outstretched.
When they initially ignored her, she ran to the back of the counter to get noticed.
The amused staff had no choice but to call the driver one more time.
She ran back to us jubilant that she accomplished her task.
This is me in my polka-dotted romper that I love!
 Little toes
I've come to realise that her toes constantly move!
My baby on the sand :)
Thank You God for the lovely holiday,
and for Your creation of beautiful places like these!

Krabi: The Eats

Any holiday write-up of mine has to include food! For our Krabi trip, we had our meals mainly at the Chom Talay restaurant at the resort we stayed in and the restaurants found in the resorts on the left and right of ours.

We enjoyed the dishes at Amari Vogue's Bellini, and The Arundina at the Tubkaek Boutique Resort. In fact, we felt that the food at these 2 resorts was much better than Chom Talay's! The latter's Thai food was decent but their Western fare was done with too much oil and salt. The standard was disappointing and did not match the quality of the rest of the resort's services.

On our last evening, we decided to venture out to Ao Nang. We had pretty good food at restaurant called Sabai Sabai there, which we later realised was owned by the same people who run Anyavee. If we ever go back to Ao Nang though, we would choose one of the seafood restaurants peppered along the coast.

Here are the photos!






 This pasta dish below was an absolute fave with the Bubs.
I ordered it on consecutive days because she asked for it!
I hope to attempt making it someday. I suspect the flavours come from the olives and anchovies.
 These Thai fish cakes were SPICY!
Bubbles LOVED them.
We were a little concerned about the spice and thought about ordering something else.
She had her own ideas though - took a whole piece and chomped on it.
Spicy! She said, while chewing.
That's my girl!
 Banana fritters.
The best I've had!

Of an Overnighter and other Untold Stories

I'm taking a break from my Krabi posts for a bit. (I do have a couple more photos to share though!)

Looking at the photos bring back lovely memories, although the past week or so has been CRAZY otherwise. And I'm not just talking about the Elections although this year's was certainly one that warranted much thought and debate. All of which I too actively took part in, although mostly offline.

Work was crazy and for the first time ever since Bubbles was born, I had to leave her overnight at my mother's place for one day last week. We have never spent a night apart before. Even when she was hospitalised for jaundice when she was 4 days old, I stayed in the hospital with her. So it was certainly a notable event for the both of us.

Thankfully, she held up well. My parents changed her routine by taking her out in the evening (as opposed to her waiting at home in anticipation for my return), and she was a happy bunny.

When I saw her again almost 48 hours later, she was so pleased to see me. She actually said Mummy, miss you not once but TWICE! For those moments the tiredness and aches I felt all seemed to melt away. I kissed and hugged her over and over again (on hindsight, poor her, as I was in quite a sweaty mess!)

We also squeezed in a trip up to KL to see family after my crazy work. There was no time to arrange for flights or packing of luggage for the plane. Taking the car was the easiest. Everything just went into the boot without much thought! The husband drove all the way up and again, it is with immense gratefulness that we acknowledge the wonderful traveller Bubbles is.

My email inbox is bursting and I apologise for not having had the time to respond to mails. I will do so as soon as I can, hopefully before the end of the week!

Krabi: The peace and quiet

We were told it was not peak season during the time we were in Krabi. It was lovely to enjoy the serenity of nature with so few people around.

The air must have been so clean too. Bubbles' nagging cough miraculously disappeared by the 2nd day we were there!

Here are some pics that show the restful quietness that we loved:


Can you spot 3 heads out at sea?
Those folks were there for a pretty long time!

 We were taking out time to walk to the resort next door for dinner.
It was low-tide.
In the background is Anyavee.
 At the roof-top.
The resort is situated on a slope so you get great views from up here.
Bubbles was trying to kiss me :)