Monthly Archives

March 2014

Becks Kao Ben Kao Enrichment Happy days Learning fun! Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

It’s the sound of music!

March 31, 2014

It’s time to start the kids on their music journey. We’ve been waiting for Ben and Becks to turn 5 and 4 respectively, and since it’s going to be happening this year, we thought we’d begin.

A family friend gave Ben a recorder on his birthday and taught him how to blow some notes. It’s been noisy ever since, since the others also think it’s the longest whistle they can ever blow!

I haven't see a recorder since my primary school days!

I haven’t see a recorder since my primary school days!

And someone thinks it's a whistle!

And someone thinks it’s a whistle!

A good friend also lent us her piano, and I’ve started the kids on piano lessons at home. I initially had grand plans to teach my own kids (c’mon, Mama started learning at 5!), but gave up that ambitious idea because I really didn’t know how to scaffold their learning to help them understand the theory of music. I don’t even remember how I learned when I started; and all I am left with right now is a bunch of knowledge all jumbled up and rolled together in my head. It’s a challenge for me to teach the kids what I know because I no longer am able to relearn and break it down into easy-to-understand lingo for my completely clueless kids.

Hence the decision to get a teacher.

I must say, I really like the interesting ways their piano teacher is teaching them to identify the keys on the piano, as well as the engaging ways in which she gets them to understand the theory part through clapping, tracing and colouring. Check out how she places a little cat on the C key, a dog on the D and an elephant on the E with a dog house covering them all, so the kids recognise a pattern.

These little fingers are playing the piano, and I am really excited for them

Here's Ben learning the 'Good Morning' song

Here’s Ben learning the ‘Good Morning’ song

And Becks is learning 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'

And Becks is learning ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’

We also bought a set of drums but that would have to wait while we get going with their piano lessons for a while more.

Hopefully by Christmas, we can have a live band performing.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato

(Self) Examination Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

A post to say I love you, and thank you

March 26, 2014

My ability to cope with stress is amazing.

Amazingly non-existent, that is.

I hyperventilate on a daily basis and I think my blood pressure shoots up by a few notches whenever I do that. I yell and fluster whenever I feel that I have lost control. I have an incessant need to be in control all the time.

Which is why I think it’s a pretty tough thing being my kid. It’s really not easy living with Mama who’s pretty much all flailing arms and high-screechy-pitched mad on any given day.

And I think my kids are doing an amazing job loving and accepting me as mom despite some of the terrible things I subject them too, like SO MUCH hollering, threatening and explosive outbursts. They love me with no questions, no judgement and no conditions. Every day – whether a good one or bad – they still want me and would unconditionally forgive me and love me for who I am.

I’m a blessed mother because of these children in my life, I tell you. I am grateful to be experiencing kindness and goodness in its purest from these people every day.

Motherkao's most precious

All this blog's PR Stuff Food, glorious food! Going Out! Happy days The Kao Kids

The Kao kids on the loose (and reined) at Candy Empire

March 25, 2014

I’m the kind of mother that throws away sweets in my kids’ goodie bags and ration M&M’s. It’s usually 10 M&M’s for Ben, 10 for Becks and 5 for Nat, and they can only have chocs twice or thrice a week. Most of the time, the Kao kids are given raisins, fruits, yoghurt and nuts to snack on instead. And it’s an absolute no with any kind of fizzy drinks. To date, they have not had a sip of Coke.

Yes, go ahead. You can call them deprived.

I’ve been reprimanded by older folks and other parents for depriving my children of a childhood, for being so strict on sweet treats, flavoured drinks and candies, in particular. But I’d rather be doing this than battling problems of tooth decay, poor appetite and indigestion. I’d rather have people throw stones at me than have my kids turn around one day and say, “Why didn’t you control my intake when you are the adult here, hello? Now, no thanks to you, I have _________ (insert problem).”

So, when Candy Empire sent us an invitation for a private tasting session to celebrate their opening at The Star Vista, I wrote back to explain that I am a strict mother and wouldn’t want to let my children loose at a candy store.

And I thought that was that, until they replied me and assured me that they were inviting us to an exclusive ‘Sunday Spread’ of healthy confectionery, and at Candy Empire, they don’t just sell candies and chocolates – they also feature premium cookies, spreads, macarons and shortbread.

Already quite impressed, and having been so busy these days that there’s just no time to be baking and churning out homemade cookies and cake, I accepted the invitation and brought the kids to Candy Empire.

Candy Empire_At The Star Vista

And they went wild, of course – just by looking at all the things in the huge store that Mama’s been keeping them away from.

At the children’s corner specially set up for kids, they grabbed the jellybeans and marshmallows, and started gobbling them down like there was no tomorrow.

Candy Empire_Sunday Spread 1

By golly, it did look like they were indeed deprived kids, thanks to me.

Fatherkao and I watched – and let them – until they were done with the frenzy. Then, my dear husband sat the kids down and taught the kids an important lesson about choosing right:

“There’s so much to see and taste at a candy store,” he said. “And you’re excited. But you don’t have to gobble the first thing you see. Look around you. There’s other good stuff too.”

And look around they did. And when the kids tasted the chocolates, cookies and fruits dipped in Ovomaltine, there was no looking back.

Candy Empire_Sunday Spread 2

Candy Empire_Sunday Spread 3

Now Ben would say, “Jellybean is nice but cookies and white chocolates are nicer.” And Becks would say tell you she prefers dark chocolates to white ones. Our family had a good time sampling an array of sweet, healthy treats for tea from bisquini cookies to crunchy cream-dipped fruits, and a wonderful afternoon of quality time together.

Candy Empire_Sunday Spread 4

Best of all, our kids learned something about self-control that afternoon, and that to me, was the most precious takeaway from this. Thank you, Candy Empire, for the kind invitation!

Candy Empire constantly brings in novel products all year round, including seasonal treats! Besides chocolates and candies, Candy Empire also has a delectable selection of spreads, cookies and biscuits. Spot an interesting product in the shop and want to find out more before purchasing? Drop by Candy Empire’s blog, World of Candies, to check out confectionery product reviews and the latest confectionery trends!

Candy Empire_Goodie BagDisclosure: We were invited to Candy Empire’s private Sunday Spread tasting at The Star Vista. No monetary compensation was received. We did get a huge bag of confectionery and specially packed goodie bags for the kids! 

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Going Out! Happy days Milestones and growing up

Hello! Hello Kitty!

March 22, 2014

She’s probably the most famous cat in the world, and one with the fattest bank account, with product range extending from stationery and accessories to toasters and home appliances. She’s entered every possible market from jewellery to aircraft to themed restaurants and more recently, a maternity hospital.

We’re talking about the Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow that has no mouth – yea, the one that’s swept many off their feet almost like a demi-god to worship.

I’m not a fan and never was, but it’s apparently a different story with the little girl, who adores Hello Kitty because  – erm, I don’t even know why.

Which was why she was extremely stoked when I told her we were invited to front row seats at The Hello Kitty Live Show at City Square Mall.

Hello Kitty_Media Invite

Which also explains why this is the first live show I see her actually participating in, like standing up to dance, answering the host’s questions and clapping like there’s no tomorrow.

Hello Kitty_Live Show 2

Hello Kitty_Live Show 1

Yup, that’s the Hello Kitty fan there, yea, that one wearing the purple Hello Kitty dress.

She was a little disappointed that it was Hello Kitty’s childhood friend, Dear Daniel that held her hand at the Meet and Greet, and wished she was standing where Ben stood instead.

Hello Kitty_Live Show 3

Check out that grumpy Hello-I-am-a-Hello-Kitty-fan-not-Dear-Daniel-fan face.

But oh well, I know she’s still happy to have watched her dance and sing, and even happier that Mama’s brought her out this holiday to meet someone really special to her.

More details:
  • School’s out! Celebrate with Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel and My Melody as they entertain you with song and dance live on stage only at City Square Mal – tomorrow’s the last day to do so at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm! 

Hello Kitty_Poster

  • Redeem a Meet & Greet pass 45 mins prior to each show with $50 spent. (Limited to 50 passes per show, redeemable at L1 stage area) Purrfect for a photo for keepsake for all Hello Kitty fans out there!

Homelearning fun Learning fun! Milestones and growing up Nat Kao

Bill Martin Jr, Eric Carle and my two-year-old

March 22, 2014

Reading fun for Nat

After serving as excellent readers for Ben and Becks who can almost say them out by heart, these bear books are now keeping Nat company whenever Ben and Becks are in school when he has nothing to do.

Nat and I are reading the classic Bear Series from Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. They are:

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
  • Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
  • Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?

Eric Carle & Bill Martin Jr Bear Books

As well as this book titled From Head to Toe which we both enjoy as it invites both of us to imitate animal movements, like stomping our foot like an elephant and thumping our chest like a gorilla.

All these books have got a good rhythm to keep even a two-year-old engaged and gives Nat the wonderful opportunity to imitate sounds and actions of animals. Besides attending playgroup for 1.5 hours twice a week, these reading sessions with Mama during pockets of time on a weekday is all he’s got. I take for granted that he would know how to flip the pages of a book, hold it properly and start reading from front to back; after all, the older kids had learned them somewhat. But I forgot that the older kids were in infantcare and childcare since they were four months old, and that now that I’m staying home, I have to be the one teaching Nat these skills.

Eric Carle & Bill Martin Jr Bear Books_reading

This boy is enjoying the bear stories and doing well flipping the pages properly now.

Thank God, no more torn pages! Looks like I now need to teach him to sit cross-legged every time he reads!

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Ben Kao Enrichment Learning fun! Reviews The Kao Kids

Steady progress at Eye Level (+ trial passes giveaway!)

March 18, 2014

Ben and Becks have been learning at Eye Level Learning Center for three months now, and I’m really happy with the kids’ progress in Math.

Actually, I’m also happy to be outsourcing this to their patient and caring teachers and get some time to myself every Wednesday afternoon, even though it’s just sitting outside the centre to wait for them. At least I get to read kdrama recaps, snack on OCK and chill for a while. Ha.

But I digress. Yes, as I was saying, I’m really happy with the kids’ progress because I think they’ve gotten their foundation in the basics right these past three months. Before starting at Eye Level, I’ve taught Ben to count using his fingers and counters and by making him count out loud, but here at Eye Level, they’ve done something even better. Through the activities in the activity booklets he does every lesson (and one more weekly for homework), his teacher guides him to add and subtract mentally (no fingers! and I hear the finger-way is kinda wrong!) and has taught him to count up to 120, and even doing it backwards (to help him understand subtraction). Concepts are revised regularly, and new concepts are introduced with a lot of scaffolding and practice, and then revisited in different ways.

Here’s how Ben’s learned addition up to 2 numbers in a variety of ways:

The activity booklet is designed to cover each concept in a variety of ways to keep the child engaged

The activity booklet is designed to cover each concept in a variety of ways to keep the child engaged

At Eye Level, they also provide regular progress reports to keep parents updated. I like that the teachers there care enough to work closely with the parents and even provide a paragraph worth of comments on how the child is learning in class:

I get frequent updates after class, as well as consolidated reports like these

I get frequent updates after class, as well as consolidated reports like these

The best part of all these is not that I have a 5-year-old who can count big and add or subtract. Really, if you know me, I’m not a mother who lives to brag of such things. The best part for me is that these are learned without any blood (boiling) on my part, and sweat and tears on Ben’s part, and that most importantly, Ben is enjoying Math stress-free.

Because sometimes I can demand so much from my own kids teaching them. And that actually stresses them out a lot.

Looking at Ben through another classroom's window: see how much glee there is!

Looking at Ben through another classroom’s window: see how much glee there is!

As for Becks, she’s learning to count up to 10 through activities like story telling, colouring, cutting and pasting and sticker fun at Eye Level’s Play Math Programme – and the little girl is enjoying herself much too. She’s learning to count objects properly and systematically (and in fun ways while at it), as compared to haphazardly – and that to me, is great news.

Just look at how beautifully illustrated these counting activities can be from the Play Math Programme!

Just look at how beautifully illustrated these counting activities can be from the Play Math Programme!

Prior to attending lessons at Eye Level, Becks would throw tantrums just because I corrected the way she counted (she would point at objects randomly and double count most of the time). There were two things that didn’t work in our favour back then a couple of months ago: she was temperamental (even after exiting her Terrible Twos, yes) and I’ve got a pretty short fuse. Now that she’s three-half, she’s a lot better with those tantrums and I’ve learned also to be gentler when it comes to correcting her. Plus, I’ve also got a win-win situation here whereby Becks attends lessons at Eye Level and gets undivided attention from a very patient teacher whom she likes a lot.

Which translates into her liking Math a lot more now than before.

Becks getting ready for class

Becks getting ready for class

We’ll be continuing our lessons here at Eye Level for a while more because I like their systematic curriculum, the way learning is paced to be progressive and the fact that there’s a lot of proactiveness on the teachers’ part. Most of all, I like the idea that Ben and Becks are learning in an environment that’s fun and stress-free, but at the same time developing so much confidence in their thinking ability.

Thank you, Eye Level, for inviting us to review your excellent programmes!

Here’s something special for Motherkao readers, courtesy of Eye Level!

If you’d like to have your child attend trial classes at Eye Level, I’ve got THREE one-month trial passes for ANY programme at any Eye Level Learning Center located in Singapore for three readers of this blog.

You can choose from one of these programmes: Play Math (suitable for ages 2.5 to 4), Math (for ages 4 to 14) and English (for ages 4 to 14) at any of their learning centres islandwide – check for a location near you here.

*Do note that your child would need to take a diagnostic test before the commencement of the trial because Eye Level’s curriculum is designed to be progressive by levels.*

To participate for the random draw, all you need to do is:

1) LIKE Eye Level’s Facebook Page

2) LIKE Motherkao’s Facebook Page (if you haven’t already done so)

3) Leave me a comment here telling me the age of your child, the programme you’d like him / her to attend and your preferred location

Don’t forget to leave your email address so we can get back to you. Giveaway closes on 31 March 2014.

We’ve randomly picked… AND CONGRATULATIONS TO THE THREE WINNERS!

Eye Level Giveaway Winners

Disclosure: Ben and Becks have been invited to attend Eye Level’s Math and Play Math for a term of three months (and now another three more months!). Motherkao has accepted sponsorship for her reviews of their programmes and endorsement of the centre. All opinions here are Motherkao’s own (with input from Ben and Becks).

All this blog's PR Stuff Going Out! Learning fun! Product Reviews Reviews The Kao Kids

Washi-ful, AMAZING fun with 3M Scotch® Expressions Tapes

March 17, 2014

I’ve stayed away – and kept the kids away – from washi-tapes for a long time. You know, those cute Japanese masking tapes typically made from natural fibres from the bark of trees that are native to Japan, yea those. They are super expensive, and if you get one, you sort of have to get all in every design, pattern and colour, cos’ they are all too pretty not to have. Besides, being OCD kind of makes me hesitate getting the kids those tapes because I’d much prefer not to have my furniture and walls embellished, thank you very much.

So since the kids are so extremely deprived of crafting fun, thanks to their not-so-crafty-mother, when an opportunity to craft comes along, I usually don’t say no so the kids can experience making a mess and getting all inspired and creative in an environment that’s conducive and fun.

Just not in our house, is what I’m saying. Hurhurhur.

Two Saturdays ago, we were invited by 3M’s ‘Make Amazing with 3M™ Scotch® Expression Tapes’ Tea Party to put the fun in functional using their bright and colourful adhesive tapes.

At the Tea Party, there was a display of all things washified - from stationery and chairs to shoes!

At the Tea Party, there was a display of all things washified – from stationery and chairs to costume jewellery!

To celebrate the launch of 3M’s Scotch® Expression Tapes, we gathered at Food for Thought @8Q for a no-holds-barred, anything-goes crafting session. We were asked to bring to life a simple IKEA children’s chair with as many Expression Tapes as we wished and turn it into a Rocket Launcher that would take us to worlds beyond.

We were given a demo by the trainers from Artz Graine, a leading art studio that creates a platform for art cultivation

We were given a demo by the trainers from Artz Graine, a leading art studio that creates a platform for art cultivation

With more than 55 colours and patterns from Magic™, Washi and Masking Tapes, we were truly spoilt for choice!

Tapes Galore!

Tapes Galore!

We started washifying the Rocket cardboard with all the tapes that Ben and Becks had “shopped” for…

Getting ready!

Getting ready!

Decorating the rocket with Expressions Tapes!

Decorating the rocket with Expressions Tapes!

And when that proved to be a little too challenging for the both of them (because of the corners and odd shaped bits), Ben and Becks went wild making their washi statements on the chair…

Sticking tapes all over the chair, tis' fun!

Sticking tapes all over the chair, tis’ fun!

Leaving me (who else!) to continue working on the rocket …

All by myself: the OCD Mom did it

All by myself: the OCD Mom did it. I washified NEATLY.

All by myself: the OCD Mom did this too

All by myself: the OCD Mom did this too

It’s so easy to use these tapes. They are also easily removed or repositioned and yet sticks securely to most surfaces. And the best part about these tapes is – and check this out – they are 100% TEARABLE (read: no need for scissors!).

Even Nat could help, and didn’t hesitate to join his siblings.

Nat at work

Nat at work

These versatile tapes are available in various textures and sizes in a rainbow of solid colours, prints and patterns to mix and match in almost every possible way. Just look at our final creation, our very own dazzling Launcher Throne:

3M Scotch Make Amazing_Rocket throne

Ta Daa!

The kids had a really great time playing with tape and discovering how to brighten their world with them. I’m guessing they will be off to upcycle all the ho-hums at home to add some pop to them with all the Expression Tapes 3M got us to take home (and I will try my best not to be OCD) and I am going to be seeing lots of tape around for a long time.

Thank you, 3M, for an afternoon of fun, food and craft. And yes, plus the chair and all the tapes you allowed us to shop for and bring back!

Food, fun and tapes!

Food, fun and tapes!

More details:
  • 3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Scotch® Expressions Magic™, Washi and Masking Tapes are designed to stick on a wide variety of surfaces for both permanent and temporary applications and can be removed cleanly.
  • These tapes retail at SGD$3.90 to $9.90 and are available at selected Popular Bookstores and other leading retailers.
  • Get a headstart by visiting MyActivityRoom.com and have fun with various creative projects using 3M Scotch® Expression Tapes!

Disclosure: We were invited to 3M’s ‘Make Amazing with 3M™ Scotch® Expression Tapes’ Tea Party and received many rolls of tape (used and unused) to craft with. No monetary compensation was received for this post and all opinions here are our own.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Going Out! Happy days Milestones and growing up

A post (finally!) on girls and dolls [Part 2]

March 12, 2014

So I gave in and bought my daughter her first Barbie doll, and this is the post to explain why.

Last week we were invited by Mattel to celebrate 55 years of imaginative play with Barbie®, the world’s most popular fashion doll.

When I got the invite, I did the to-go-or-not-to-go in my head for a long time. Going would mean that Becks, at three-half, would enter into the dream world of fashion and style; afterall, Barbie’s the original fashion icon that’s played muse to designers all over the world and inspired fashionistas worldwide.

In other words, tis’ the start down the road of vanity.

But not going would mean that the Barbie fan in this Mama would miss out on the celebration. I go a long way back with Miss Barbara since the age of 5, having spent much of my childhood pretend playing with her, her on-off boyfriend and her friends at the beach, by the poolside and at her pretty home. Back then my aunt would buy me dolls whenever she returned from the States, and my godfather would buy me houses, accessories and various scenario sets. Those were fun times I’ve had with myself, my sister, and our imaginary friends.

In other words,  I was the one itching to go lah.

And so we went. On a mother-daughter date on a Saturday morning to United Square, to join other girls and their moms in the “With Barbie®, Anything is Possible” Roadshow.

All dressed in pink!

All dressed in pink!

Even the drink was pink

Even the drink was pink

We participated in 3 out of the 4 activities lined up for us at the celebration. First, Becks went to the Barbie Style Icon Photobooth and played dress up:

At the Photobooth

At the Photobooth

Then, we designed our very own Barbie dress with fabric markers, glitter stickers and stencils. This was our favourite activity!

Becks designing a dress

Becks designing a dress

We also tried the Style Icon Dream Closet Augmented Reality Experience where Becks got to play “digital dress up”. She wanted to be a princess – oh who wouldn’t – but somehow became a vet instead.

A veterinarian's a good career choice, my dear. Better than princess, anytime!

A veterinarian’s a good career choice, my dear. Better than princess, any time!

The activity which we skipped was the catwalk and runway experience. I’m keeping that away from her for as long as I can. No, make that forever.

I did wish that the celebration (which was of course, in an overdose of pink) would engage girls in more pretend play than dressing up. Like having a few scenario sets out (bring out the vet clinic, the Malibu Dreamhouse, the fashion wardrobe with all the clothes and shoes to change, and the Glam Pool Set, I say!) in a little play corner for the girls, like how there would always be a corner with plenty of blocks and bricks at any Lego Roadshow. Already the poor doll’s been parodied and criticised enough for her unrealistic idea of a body image and her lifestyle choices – so shouldn’t we play down on the dressing up and vanity bit and emphasise more on a doll’s role in inspiring creativity through pretend play through scenarios and adventures?

Which brings me to the reason why I bought my daughter her first ever Barbie doll. We chose a mermaid together, and I wanted her to enter the world of imaginative play with it since she’s already into the princess-happily-ever-after phase anyway. I’m happy to be paying $27.90 for something which can be part of her mythical pretend play of all the whatever that’s Under the Sea – mermaids, mermen and what-nots.

I also told her that she’s got to hold on to this doll for a long, long time and that some day, she should show her little girl how her love for dolls began, beginning with this Barbie mermaid from her Mama.

Barbie_Becks first Mermaid

Her first Barbie doll from Mama!

***

Join Barbie® as she celebrates 55 years of imaginative play at United Square with Toys ‘R’ Us from 6 – 23 March 2014 from 11am to 9pm daily! To participate, obtain 1 stamp from every SGD$30 spent at Toys ‘R’ Us for an opportunity to take part in 1 of 4 activities.

Barbie_Roadshow 3

Barbie_Roadshow 4

Disclosure: We were invited to the celebration and received a gift bag with a Barbie doll in it. No monetary compensation was received and opinions here are all mine.

Becks Kao Ben Kao Happy days Milestones and growing up Nat Kao The Kao Kids

A post (finally!) on girls and dolls [Part 1]

March 12, 2014

I have kept my little girl away from Barbie dolls for as long as I could.

Trust me, I’ve made her play with gender-neutral toys for as long as possible and even wanted her to rough it out with her brothers when they wrestled and do neanderthal-like things like grunting and crashing into random things.

I made all three kids play with toy cars, balls, Lego Quadro, Lego Duplo, kitchen masak-masak and trike-rides, and I’ve wanted it to be this way for at least the first three years of their lives. I attempted my best not to introduce any gender specific toys, unless they asked for it and only if they asked for it after they turn three.

Playing with blocks together

So Becks did get a doll when she turned two because she wanted a “baby”  and she was at that stage of wanting to comb everyone’s hair. And since I was still struggling with post-partum hair loss and constantly annoyed with the yanking and pulling and tugging of those very few precious strands left I decided to get her a Disney Mulan for her second birthday. She liked it for a total of 24 hours before she decided that her Puku bolster was a better choice for a “baby”. She’s been “mothering” those little bolsters ever since (I so need to write a post about those bolsters!), and Mulan has since been banished to a shelf known as Forgotten.

Becks' first doll ever, who has now been forgotten, disfigured and banished

Becks’ first doll ever, who has now been forgotten, disfigured and banished

And that was that.

Until recently – and it was only just this year – she started going all feminine on me and began to develop a liking for all things pink (again!) and purple and all those Disney princessy stuff and happily-ever-after stories. I was hoping the tomboy phase would stay for a while more but alas. She was also dragging me to look at hairbands and clips, dolls and fairies and all things that spelled G-I-R-L whenever we headed out. Every time she squealed, my eyes would roll.

Vanity is not something I wish to be handling now, really.

It was also only recently that she asked me for a Barbie.

Well, I’m not sure if it’s because I introduced her to her (Miss Barbara, that is) earlier last year because I did share with the kids that I loved dolls as a girl (and I only started at 5) and then grew up appreciating dolls so much that I started collecting Designer and Collector’s Editions of Barbie Dolls.

Barbie Collection 1

Ladies and Gentlemen… Presenting my precious Barbie Collection

Barbie Collection More

And more: My favourite and most expensive is the Duchess of Diamonds (my birthstone!), and it’s from a guy who wooed and won my heart (who also bought me a few more to add to my collection)

I also showed them my collection and promised them that they would get one on their respective wedding days and that Becks would inherit my collection some day.

Barbie Collection_Kids and their choices

The Kao kids “choped” their choices for themselves / their wives for their wedding day

I suspect that my little girl couldn’t wait till her wedding day, and has decided that it’s more fun to be pestering Mama for one to admire now.

Anyway, I caved in and bought her her first ever Barbie last Saturday.

Barbie_ Becks first

The reason is here in the next post, Part 2.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Motherkao loves... Nat Kao Product Reviews Reviews The Kao Kids

Review: Worry-free Luxury by Original Sprout

March 10, 2014

I like brands with an ethical philosophy, especially those that pledge to be environmentally friendly and are free from sulphates and parabens. I am big on labels, and scrutinise them whenever I buy anything to make sure that I get those which are free from harmful chemicals, and I am extra, extra particular whenever it comes to buying things for the kids.

So it did feel like Original Sprout picked up my thoughts by telepathy, because they sent these to my doorstep:

Original Sprout_Product Range

Original Sprout is a Californian-based family brand that’s already gotten a large following by Hollywood celebrity moms, and is recently setting foot in Singapore with their top 5 products. I’m not so won over by the Hollywood part as much as I am by the fact that the brand’s ethical philosophy is one of promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle by using ingredients that:

  • are free from synthetic hormone disruptor
  • are free from oestrogen disrupting ingredients
  • are free from sulphate
  • are paraben-free
  • do not use Lavender and Tea Tree Oils, Phthalates, Clove or Musk
  • are 100% vegan; no soy, gluten, honey, peanut or dairy
  • use parfum with only natural extracts
  • are environmentally responsible and bio-degradable
  • are eco-friendly and not tested on animals

I didn’t know about cosmetics with lavender and tea tree oil causing estrogen enhancing effects until now. I mean, what’s not to love about the smell of lavender! But I guess it’s now not so good for the boys cos’ studies have shown some correlation between cosmetics with lavender and boys developing breasts (read more about it here). Eww. Glad that Original Sprout also took care of that.

I don’t know about you but whenever I use products that have sulphates, parabens and a long list of chemicals, I am always extra careful not to use too much. Which is why I’d rather read a long list of what a product DOES NOT have any time. It’s so apt that Original Sprout calls themselves “Worry free luxury” because the more a product tells me what it doesn’t contain, the less worry I have, really.

Original Sprout_Babywash_NatSo last weekend, I passed the kids the Original Sprout’s Hair & Body Babywash (354ml, SGD$25.00) and told them to go ahead and make their own day.

And they did. Liberally.

After her bath, I asked Becks how she liked the Babywash and she said that it smelled nice and “feels soft”. It was, indeed. The last I checked, the Babywash did leave her skin super clean and moisturised.

After her bath, Becks proceeded to slather the Scrumptious Baby Cream (118ml, SGD$16.90), mimicking the way I would slap on my moisturiser and hand cream after my bath. The multi-benefit cream is infused with natural Zinc for Environmental Protection and organic Rosemary for sensitive skin. It’s non-greasy and is a good protective barrier that keeps skin soft and velvety smooth.

Original Sprout_Baby Cream

Becks liked it so much she ran after her little brother to slather some on him.

Original Sprout_Baby Cream2

Becks also tried the Miracle Detangler (118ml, SGD$16.90) that’s been created to make combing hair effortless and painless with organic ingredients like Rosemary, Calendula, Cranberry and Vegetable Glycerin. This girl is blessed with silky, straight hair with close to zero frizzies on a bad hair day, but that certainly didn’t stop her from spritzing the Miracle Detangler on her hair to make it even smoother.

Original Sprout_Detangler

The kids like what they’re using with Original Sprout, and I like what I’m smelling after their bath. It’s always good to be supporting socially responsible businesses and what more those that promise to provide safe and ethical professional solutions to our children’s skin and haircare needs.

Original Sprout is now available at 48 selection Watsons outlets islandwide. For more information, visit Original Sprout’s website here.

Disclosure: We were given Original Sprout products to review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are our own.