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Eyewear coolness. Because vain. – Review of Ottica.com

June 24, 2017

Just like you never say no to one more bag or a pair of shoes, you never say no to one more pair of sunglasses.

Because?

Because vain.

I recently had the opportunity to find my perfect pair on Ottica.com, and by golly, the perfect pair I did find. All in the comfort of my home, in front of a screen, without having to take off, put on that trial pair of sunglasses – and repeat a hundred times – to find what fits my face.

It was online shopping at its best! So stoked that technology has made that all happened.

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All I needed to do was to go to Ottica.com, and start browsing each tab.

Ottica review by Motherkao (1) - Copy

I went to Sunglasses, then to Gender, selected Female, and then a whole new world of choices opened up from colours, to shape to frame size.

You can choose to see what's most relevant for you from size and shape to colour and brands

You can choose to see what’s most relevant for you from size and shape to colour and brands

I keyed in my frame size, following the current pair of sunglasses I have with the best fit, and then the search was filtered further. When I clicked on any choice of sunglasses, a section on the right allowed me to upload my own photo to see how I looked.

You can key in your frame size by looking in the insides of your current frame that fits best

You can key in your frame size by looking in the insides of your current frame that fits best

Uploading a profile picture

Uploading a profile picture

And then, SHOPPING BEGAN!

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Ottica review by Motherkao (10) - Copy

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Ottica review by Motherkao (16) - Copy

I tried my Raybans, I put on Tory Burch and Michael Kors and fitted Carolino Lemke and Versace cat glasses just for the fun of it. I got snapshots of myself in aviators, with round rims and oval ones and got the kids to do a poll for me.

I could even get an overview of what I tried, just to do more comparisons.

Ottica review by Motherkao (23) - Copy

All very good fun.

When I finally narrowed my selection to getting sunglasses from Coach, I could further choose between brown and black lens, rotate the sunglasses frame to see what I get on the sides and how it looked.

Ottica review by Motherkao (18) - Copy

Ottica review by Motherkao (21) - Copy

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And then, it was down to these three in black lens – with frames different – which was then put to a vote by the kids.

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You can imagine how long this process took. But at least I got to “try” every possible choice possible. Without needing to put on/take off like a gazillion times, which I imagine would be laborious and might likely result in me making decisions in a haste, if I were in a physical shop!

When it was time to check out, all I needed to do was to choose the type of lens type and thickness I’d like to have, and then check out through the payment link after keying in my shipping address.

Ottica review by Motherkao (25) - Copy

Ottica review by Motherkao (26) - Copy

Fuss-free, easy, convenient at my finger tips.

I loved that I had FULL control of what I am getting, and I probably will never buy sunglasses any other way again; or glasses for that matter of fact, since Ottica also provides for prescription.

I got the sunglasses in a matter of days – I think it was less than a week – and wala, it’s been lovely having it for company while I was on holiday.

Ottica review by Motherkao (P2) - Copy
Chic, cool and chosen by my kids.

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All in the name of vanity.

~~~

Disclosure: I was gifted credits to experiment and review this website by Ottica.com. All opinions here are my own. I’ve been looking for a website like this for the longest time and this is a timely collaboration opportunity for a time-starved mother like me!

Food, glorious food! Holidays! Milestones and growing up Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

5 things to do with kids, the ‘chill-and-live-like-a-local’ version

December 5, 2016

We’re having the luxury of time here in Bangkok living like (and with) the locals for the second time now. The last time we did this was last year where we lived at The Hub Residence at Ramkhamhaeng and walked daily to the tennis court 5 minutes away so that Ben could get his intensive training in the mornings.

This year, we’re doing the same. Except that we’re not at The Hub this time due to their new minimum 6-months rental policy. We’ve found decent and simple lodging nearer the beginning of Soi 4, and are super stoked we’re just next to a 7-11 and literally a minute’s walk away from the glorious street food prepared and cooked by the same locals who could still remember us from last year.

The kids pretty much delve right into being at home in BKK and know the drill well – no balking at street food (the locals here take pride in what they prepare), say thank you and hello with palms pressed together in a slight bow, smile whenever things get lost in translation and speak in English slowly, and watch out for cars before they cross even the tiniest of alleys.

When in BKK living at the outskirts beyond the tourist façade of malls and high rise, here are 5 things to do to experience life as a local. Or at least, here’s 5 things we have done.

Go ahead and try it; the experience might surprise you.

1. Be ferried down the soi, the local-way

Right in front where we live, there’s a hut with parked motorcycles on the left that ferries people from place to place and pedal carts queued up to take groups of people down alleyways (with seats enough for 6 and pedalled by a local) on the right. Hop on to a pedal cart for 5 baht or onto a motorbike for less than 30, and you can get ferried from one end of the alley to the other (or beyond, perhaps!) without having to walk!

Definitely an experience for the kids on a pedal cart and a luxury for those whose legs are aching from walking too much!

Getting a ride on the pedal cart

Getting a ride on the pedal cart: the uncle pedals hard all day to get people from Point A to B

2. Play old school video games at arcades/shopping mall

A 10-baht coin slotted into any arcarde game machine is great mileage. It lasts for 15 minutes. Put 4 in and you get an hour of rest while your boys expend their energies.

Totally worth it.

Game: 40 cents Brotherly bonding: priceless

Game: 40 cents
Brotherly bonding: priceless

My father taught me how to drive

My father taught me how to drive

At the arcades in the city centre, the games are double the price (20 baht for a race car cheap thrill) but still, they are great ways to hang out with the locals or hang out like the locals. Many of the local school kids are there dancing their para-para-dance and might even challenge you in a bike or car race.

3. Explore community malls

We checked out The Commons at Thonglor and frequently go to The Mall at Ramkhanhaeng, and The Nine. These are awesome community and neighbourhood malls to be in to watch the world go by. You can sit at cafes, eat lots of crepe cakes, pretzels and donuts, and take lots of pictures. Best part is, everything where we stay (in the area of Ramkhahaeng) is almost ten times cheaper than anything in the Greater Metropolis like Siam.

The Commons has an entire storey for kids that allows for free play (if you get food and drinks) and facilitated play (200 baht for the 1st hour); methinks this is great if you want to just chill out but your kids are raring to go. I hear they also run holiday camps like crafting and cooking. They also organise block parties where you can hang out and participate in community-building activities, similar to our RC and CC activities back home.

The Commons at Thonglor, the latest community mall in Bangkok

The Commons at Thonglor, the latest community mall in Bangkok

It's not a huge mall at all; merely a space for people to hang out, but there are interesting things around

It’s not a huge mall at all; merely a space for people to hang out, but there are interesting things around

Like these giant fans to cool the space

Like these giant fans to cool the space

And lots of space and stairs to monkey around

And lots of space and stairs to monkey around

The Kids Common is where kids can have fun

The Kids Common is where kids can have fun

And where play matters

And where play matters

Driving around in a cloth bus and using all our imagination

Driving around in a cloth bus and using all our imagination

The top yard has lots of space to chill out and a herb garden to explore

The top yard has lots of space to chill out and a herb garden to explore

Lego fun at Kids Common

Lego fun at Kids Commons

Play area that's chargeable because kids get to craft under supervision

Play area that’s chargeable because kids get to craft under supervision

4. Do as the locals do + watch Thai tv for cultural immersion

December marks the beginning of mourning for the Thai people who are grieving the passing of their late king. And every now and then the tv zones out from its regular programming and broadcasts funeral rites and rituals happening live at the Grand Palace. What a great way to be immersed in the history and culture of of a country through tv broadcasts, in a time like this.

Beyond that, my kids would sit in front of the tv to watch Boomerang and cartoons in Thai. Even if they have no idea what’s being said, the constant listening in gives them the immersion I’ve always hoped they would get. They can say some simple words in Thai, which is not bad for a start!

When we head to the malls, we also take the time to walk around the various exhibitions and appreciate the many artwork and installations in memory and honour of the late Thai king. We left flowers where they were freely available for anyone who wished to pay their respect and stood in silence to watch the many videos the malls were playing.

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One of the many picture exhibition happening right now at the walkway between MBK and Siam Discovery

One of the many picture exhibition happening right now (time of writing: Dec 2016) at the walkway between MBK and Siam Discovery

Taking a moment to watch a video of celebrating King Bhumibol's life

Taking a moment to watch a video celebrating King Bhumibol’s life

The pictures even have QR codes to scan so you can download it for keeps

The pictures even have QR codes to scan so you can download it for keeps

This art installation by a local artist features some form of kinetic energy to light up a rendition of lights making up the face of the late king

This art installation by a local artist features some form of kinetic energy to light up a rendition of lights making up the face of the late king

Step on the platform, and this comes out - how brilliant!

Step on the platform, and this comes out – how brilliant!

This installation features lots of heart-shaped people as a reminder to show love and compassion to people around you and the less fortunate (it's even some form of a charity drive!) because that's how they'd like to remember King Bhumibol

This installation features lots of heart-shaped people (and free “hugs”!) as a reminder to show love and compassion to people around you and the less fortunate (it’s even some form of a charity drive!) because that’s how they’d like to remember King Bhumibol. That’s really also what he exemplified in his life.

The kids got to learn a little more about King Bhumibol’s significance in Thai society and history, and it was, in my opinion, an honour to mourn together with the people. We also tried as much as possible to wear dark colours every day.

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Leaving a special flower as a mark of respect at the atrium of Siam Paragon

5. Savour the sights and smells of street food

Nobody really cooks at home, I hear. The locals settle their breakfast, lunch and dinner at the roadside street stalls and that pretty much is their way of life.

Our rule-of-thumb for street food: food must be cooked in high heat (which means we don’t really patronise the carts that sell fruits or som tum).

We love it that we get to try everything from fried dough fritters and pork porridge to beef noodles, phad thai, wanton noodles and chicken soup right at our door step. Not to mention the freshly made Thai tea and local desserts from flavoured soy milk to coconut pancakes at such an affordable price.

The locals who make a living selling street food are a hardworking bunch who never fail to tirelessly show up to cook – every single day, including Sundays and public holidays – and we have so much respect for them; we love to stand around to watch them prepare the food we want to tabao back.

They have so much pride in what they do.

This was such a godsend: I'm hacking away with this awful cough and the porridge every morning with so much ginger and spring onions and flavourful meat balls is so much comfort

This was such a godsend: I’m hacking away with this awful cough and this porridge is what I have every morning with generous slices of ginger and spring onions and flavourful meat balls is so much comfort. I’m so regular that the stall owner just knows what to do when she sees me.

How comforting

How comforting

Dough fritters for 20 baht

7 dough fritters for 20 baht which is old school youcharkway, except that it’s pop-in-your-mouth-bite-size!

Having a feast after tennis, and it's only 9 in the morning!

Having a feast after tennis, and it’s only 9 in the morning! Ben is having pad thai freshly made and the rest of us had pork soup (fatherkao), porridge (Becks and me) and some sort of coconut and yam kueh (Nat & helper)

This.

This is the best part of being in Thailand. There’s nothing not to love, and we’re enjoying every day we’re here living like we’re one of them.

All this blog's PR Stuff Motherkao loves... Reviews

Give meaning & memories this Christmas – Print for Fun photo prints

December 2, 2016

This Christmas, may I encourage you to give your loved ones your presence and meaningful presents that add value and meaning to their lives.

Like memories.

And precious moments.

We received an early Christmas present this year from Print For Fun which completely surprised me. I would say it was one of the most meaningful gifts my family had ever received.

I mean, someone actually took the time, culled through my IG feed, picked out the many happy memories my family had this year and put them beautifully in a collage.

And then framed it up and delivered it to my doorstep.

I mean, how thoughtful can a gift like this get?

I’m so thrilled by the idea of this idea – going online and choosing a collage of photos (2×2, 3×3 or 4×4) and have them within a 9″x 9″ black frame.

Or making a collage poster for your favourite family.

Or printing the loveliest of a friend’s smile on canvas; and then having her get your gift in the mail.

They say it’s the thought that counts, and with this gift idea, it’s making every thought (of that someone you’re gifting to) count.

And just for Motherkao readers, get a 10% off all photo print products on Print For Fun by entering the promo code MOTHERKAOXPFF when checking out (promo ends 31 Dec 2016).

How’s that for the most wonderful time of the year?

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up Motherkao loves...

The birthday party that was for My (not so) Little Pony – Celebrating Becks’ 6th

September 10, 2016

When I had to check myself into the hospital 6 years ago to deliver this 3.3kg baby, I was screaming my way all the way from the triage to the delivery suite. This girl, my gosh, is going to be a feisty one, I know. Gawd‘. The pain she was giving me kicking and shoving all my innards away and the contractions I was getting that made me scream ‘LEVEL 10!!!!!’ whenever someone asked me to rate my pain was just how I knew this girl was going to be one tough cookie.

Fast forward 6 years and look at this beautiful thing right before our eyes.

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She’s given me my fair share of heartaches with her fits and tantrums and her night terrors in her toddler years but has more than made up for it by growing up so gorgeously.

So for the princess of the house, we have granted her royal highness her wish to have a party to celebrate turning 6 with her friends.

Becks decided that for her 6th birthday, she wants My Little Pony (MLP) for the party theme. I was not ready to vest too much money with getting a crazily elaborate one to add to the many things I had to do day-to-day, so I decided to focus on her having fun and resolved to keep the party simple and fuss-free.

So here’s how I did her simple MLP 6th Birthday Party with a few phone calls and emails after deciding on the theme:

1. Venue

Where else would it be but at Trehaus, where our beautiful sun-drenched Atelier lets in the most gorgeous natural lighting and its glass windows and high ceiling make it such a simple, uncluttered space to be with family and friends on a weekend. I booked the Studio + Atelier from 3-6pm on a Sunday a month in advance, and that’s basically how fuss-free securing the venue was.

Here's the venue we chose for my little girl's 6th. A shot here while everyone is prepping!

Here’s the venue we chose for my little girl’s 6th. A shot here while everyone is prepping!

2. Decor

We had a simple one done up by Floral Garage SG who recently expanded to go beyond floral artistry to providing party decor services. I briefed the coordinator about the theme choice and colours, and she promptly turned up to put up pom poms, buntings, some tassels on the dessert table and letter balloons on the wall spelling ‘Becks’.

Simple, clean decor by Floral Garage SG

Simple, fuss-free decor by Floral Garage SG

Putting the rainbow tassels

Putting the rainbow tassels

They threw in a unicorn piñata for good fun, and I was reminded to purchase confectionery to fill it. Which I did, easily. A supermarket run to get some marshmellows, nougat bites and chocolates did the trick!

3. Dessert table

I DIY-ed this so I didn’t need to burn a hole in my pocket. I had @qiannybakes (follow her on Instagram) to do the two tier cake in rainbow and in rosettes; and had her also make the rainbow cupcakes, lemon meringue tarts and macarons (which were super delish and snapped up within an hour of the party) for the dessert table (she’s a homebaker, so she’s really affordable for a budget-conscious mom like me).

And that really was it. The table was also supplemented by me with fruit servings of blueberries, grapes and strawberries, and mini marshmallows in pretty cups (get them all from Phoon Huat).

The birthday cake! Too pretty!

The birthday cake! Too pretty!

The cake with the whole jing gang of My Little Ponies

The cake with the whole jing gang of My Little Ponies

Macarons in Rarity colours

Macarons in Rarity colours

Lemon meringue tartlets

Lemon meringue tartlets

Rainbow cupcakes with Speculoos toppings

Rainbow cupcakes with Speculoos toppings

Super nice of @qiannybakes to lend me her cake stands and pretty plates

Super nice of @qiannybakes to lend me her cake stands and pretty plates

4. Canapes

I got a coworker turned friend who owns @WhollyVida (Instagram follow tag) to take charge of prepping canapés for the guests. Since the party was going to be at 3pm, I figured most would be in the mood for light bites instead of something heavy. My friend, who’s also a raw food chef, nutritionist and a vegan-food enthusiast prepped us devil’s eggs, mushroom tahini crostini and cherry tomatoes polenta. They were simple pop-in-the-mouth wholesome goodness, and balanced out the sweet stuff from the dessert table.

Prepping the canapes at the pantry area

Prepping the canapes at the pantry area

Pretty polenta bites

Pretty polenta bites

Crotini bites for the taking

Crotini bites for the taking

5. Party activities

Ah. This was the one I scratched my head a little. How would I keep a group of 6-year-olds plus the other accompaniments ranging from toddler to much older siblings occupied?

I could get a magician – but that’s so not fitting for a party for Becks. She’s super reserved and if she gets singled out as the birthday girl all the time, she might really just hide in the toilet till the party’s over.

I could organise some painting activities; but she’ll be in white and purple and I wouldn’t want anyone well-dressed to have paint on them. (I’m considerate and practical that way, hurhur. For my helper, at least!)

So I made a call to my friends who own and run Tickle Your Senses, and asked what they could propose to do for a group of 6-year-olds and potentially some toddlers and 8 to 10-year-olds at a party. Playdough and waterbeads was the answer, and they agreed to do it as close to MLP theme as possible, with MLP colours and cookie cutters. I later found out they also threw in jewels for playdough play and the jewels kept Becks and her friends really really happy.

Water beads in Rarity colours

Water beads in Rarity colours

Home made, taste-safe playdough

Home made, taste-safe playdough

Ready for little hands to play

Ready for little hands to play

Rarity - Becks' favourite pony

Rarity – Becks’ favourite pony

Pretty in play

Pretty in play

Tickle Your Senses make the best taste-safe, non-toxic playdough in the history of DIY playdough making. I assure you, you’ll never find playdough anywhere else that’s wonderful-smelling, therapeutic to mould and keeps children (and adults too) engaged for a such a long time!

Announcement: Tickle Your Senses tell me you can check out with “motherkao10off” for 10% off ALL products from now till 30 Nov 2016. Go try their playdough – you will change your mind about all other playdough!

6. Party favours

And because they were so, so kind – I’m referring to the ladies behind Tickle Your Senses – they sponsored mini playdough tubs with a Rarity ‘Thank you for coming to Becks’ 6th birthday’ sticker as the party favours, complete with moulds and cutters all nicely wrapped.

I also went online to MTRADE – The Novelty Wholesale Store to order some old school (water) games and some MLP trinkets to put in brown bags I bought from Daiso to make into little carrier bags the little guests could take away with thank-you printables from Etsy. While shopping at Mtrade, I also bought some purple disposable table cloths and an MLP themed disposable table cover.

Party favours, loving prepared by yours truly and Tickle Your Senses

Party favours, loving prepared by yours truly and Tickle Your Senses

7. Photography

This was a godsend because Fatherkao is usually the assigned photographer for any family event (which means he won’t be in the pictures and can’t really catch up with friends) but it turned out, through some new connections I’ve made at Trehaus this year, the photographer behind Tabledreamer Photography (follow Immanuel on IG @tabledreamerphotography), who absolutely loves photographing children in action, was available to be our photographer for the day.

I must add that our photographer for the day took on a rather challenging feat though – Becks is very used to being photographed only by her dad, and so Immanuel had to get her to warm up to him before being able to snap away. She’s terribly reserved around men, and it was very, very difficult to get her to even look at the camera.

Did he succeed, you think?

I’ll let his pictures do the talking.

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And while I left the experts to handle all the above 7 items that make a birthday party, I focused on getting to know who’s who in my daughter’s class pre-party and during the party.

I’ve been pretty much disengaged with Becks’ school life, except the occasional bed time whining about friendship woes (they start early!) with some girls in her class whom I never had a face to put the name to. And so finally, sitting down with Becks to finalise the guest list (we invited everyone in the class even though she was adamant about not having boys at the party, haha) and updating the birthday girl herself on the RSVP list helped me understand my little girl, her take on friendships and how school life was for her.

And actually spending time during the party to get to know her friends and their mums and dads during the party.

Which was really precious.

On the day itself, all we did was to show up and have a good time. And so did Becks’ friends, our close friends and family.

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And it was MOST important my birthday pony had the best time of her life.

Looking at the pictures, I think she did.

~~~

Thank you, everyone – family, friends, sponsors and partners – for all your love and for making this so very amazing for a 6-year-old who would be growing up beautifully in the year ahead and the years to come!

~~~

NOW FOR THE CREDITS *drumroll please*

Thank you, Chef Bibi and Chef CP, for prepping the food. And Fatherkao for prepping awesome pork ribs to share with everyone.

Thank you, Floral Garage SG, for putting up the decor at such short notice!

Thanks, @qiannybakes, for rushing down after baking and helping me plate those yummy desserts! And for loaning me all those pretty cake tiers and plates!

Thank you, Immanuel, for your patience in capturing many of these treasured moments which we will cherish for a long time.

Thank you, Chiao Chyi, for your patience with the girls at the playdough table, and for meticulously planning the activities for the party. I really appreciate you taking pains to prep each party favour!

Thank you, to all friends and family, who came to bless Becky with your presents and presence. Your love means a lot to us.

To Becky’s friends – you may all be parting ways after this year, but your paths may cross someday some way. She has wonderful memories with so many of you, and so thank you, for being her friend!

And lastly, THANK YOU, JESUS. I survived 6 years of that feisty baby since Day Zero at the delivery suite.

All this blog's PR Stuff Everyday fun! Motherkao loves... Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Handy helpers with their handy helper – Review of the new Dyson V8 Fluffy

August 12, 2016

Apart from that time when we were maidless in the Kao household, my children have never volunteered themselves to do any form of cleaning.

My helper has been with us for her third year now, and I haven’t had the need to write any more maid woes related posts (phew) because she’s been super amazing. Except that it leaves me with one problem.

She does everything so well and quick that there isn’t any need for my kids to learn to clean up after themselves.

The living room’s messy with 964 Lego bricks in all shapes and sizes scattered everywhere… Who do we call?

AUNTY A!!!

The craft trolley’s in a huge mess and we’ve spilled glue and glitter and cut up lots of teeny weeny bits of yarn… Who do we call?

AUNTY A!!!

We’re shredding paper cos’ it’s so fun and Mama lets us do lots of sensory play with dough and water babies and all the bubble wraps and we’re so tired we can’t clean up… Who do we call?

AUNTY A!!!

But one fine day last month, something changed.

Ok, only one Fluffy came to stay, not three.

Ok, so only one Fluffy came to stay, not three.

This came into our lives on a fateful day in July and took permanent residence in the Kao household. And now, the default “person” to call isn’t Aunty A anymore, but Fluffy.

And can I say something? Fluffy’s arrival has changed my children. FOR THE BETTER.

You see, this amazing Fluffy has turned my kids into handy helpers overnight and got them suddenly interested in doing housework. These kids, especially Ben, are cleaning floors, picking up dirt after craft and doing a great job keeping our walls and floor spotless. Even the fans are largely dust-free these days, thanks to them and Fluffy.

Unwrapping Fluffy

Unwrapping Fluffy

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Fixing up our handy helper

Mr James Dyson, I already adore you for inventing the bladeless fan that’s been keeping those little curious fingers in my brood safe. Now I love you even more for trying 5127 times getting this V8 out in the market and making little helpful troopers out of my children.

We learned from the box that James Dyson made 5127 prototypes!

We learned from the box which Fluffy came in that James Dyson made 5127 prototypes!

You’re a genius.

And here – just for you, I’ve listed 5 reasons why the new Dyson V8 Fluffy is amazing, all thanks to Mr Dyson, freeing my helper’s hands and keeping my children’s hands busy.

Here’s why it’s really great to have one, and why we all love this vacuum cleaner.

1. The new Dyson V8 Fluffly gives a whole new meaning to lightweight.

Fluffy weighs 2.6kg. ONLY. Inside the cord-free Dyson V8 Fluffy, key components like the motor and battery are positioned near the hand. This shifts the centre of gravity, making the cleaning end of the vacuum much lighter, so it’s easy to clean up top and down below.

Which is why even a 4-year-old can pick it up and help with the cleaning.

Keeping the walls dust free is so easy!

Keeping the walls dust free is so easy!

2. It looks like a really cool weapon which Ben uses while pretending to be a super hero = it’s great to be cleaning up while using it for pretend play 

Fluffy has no cord. So there’s nothing to unravel, plug in, drag around and restrict your reach. Equipped with a docking and charging station, you can grab and clean whenever you need to. Much like going to a weapon room and picking up a weapon to exterminate the bad guys to satisfy every boy’s fantasy like Iron Man.

Looks like a cool weapon for a cool boy. Image taken at the V8 Media Preview

Looks like a cool weapon for a cool boy. Image taken at the V8 Media Preview

That’s what Ben thinks, at least. Dust, hair and eraser shavings are the ‘bad guys’ these days.

Eraser shaving attack!

Eraser shaving attack!

So easy! So fun!

3. Its dirt ejector makes it so easy to handle dirt.

So once upon a time, I was a paranoid mother when my children picked up brooms and vacuums. I’ll worry that dirt would fly into their respiratory systems and make them cough/sneeze/wheeze and give them clogged pores.

Fast forward to today, after welcoming Fluffy.

Fluffy features a new bin emptying mechanism that’s never been seen in any other. As the bin is emptied, a rubber collar slides down the shroud, scraping dirt off. This enables the user to hygienically drive out trapped dust and debris in a single action, with no need to touch the dirt. Additionally, the bin has higher capacity than previous generation machines.

Side profile of Fluffy's dust ejector - you can see what gets sucked up clearly without needing to breathe in dust!

Side profile of Fluffy’s dust ejector – you can see what gets sucked up clearly without needing to breathe in dust!

Plus, Fluffy has a whole machine HEPA filtration, which means that it captures and retains more dust using patented 2 Tier Radial™ cyclones. 15 cyclones, arranged across two tiers, generate powerful centrifugal forces to spin dust and dirt out of the airflow. Any remaining particles are captured by the post motor filter – including allergens and bacteria as small as 0.3 microns.

And because the entire system is engineered to be sealed, the air that leaves the machine is cleaner than the air you breathe.

Speak English, you say.

This just means that if you’re near the vacuum cleaner, it is filtering air for you and you are breathing cleaner air than if you were away from the vacuum. Geddit? 

Kids, use Fluffy all you want, anytime, all the time! Mama is paranoid no more about dust!

4. It’s so quiet nobody knows you’re vacuuming (playing with it).

Now, in our household, we’ve been through vacuum cleaners over the years that look like R2D2 on the loose and tell the whole world you are vacuuming the house with the loud, driveyoubatshitcrazy-kind of motor.

What I particularly like about this fella called Fluffy is that it purrs. So UN-loudly.

Which means sometimes, I don’t even realise my son is engaging in his Iron Man fantasies exterminating dirt and dust because it doesn’t tell the world he’s with a vacuum in the house. Or my daughter sneaking Fluffy into the room and pretends to play house with it. Fluffy never gives her away.

Dyson invests heavily in optimising the acoustics of its technologies. Where more power typically translates to more noise, the Dyson V8 makes only a light reverberating sound despite its powerful suction.

That’s the kind of quiet cool I like.

I found her quietly engaged in pretend play one evening in the guise of cleaning the bed

I found her quietly engaged in pretend play one evening in the guise of cleaning the bed

5. Versatility, uninterrupted + drop also never mind.

Strong materials with durable and lightweight properties were chosen in the construction of the Dyson V8. The polycarbonate clear bin is made from the same durable material as riot shields.

And have I mentioned that Fluffy is extremely versatile?

Fluffy excels at picking up both large debris and fine dust particles at the same time

Due to their design, many conventional cleaner heads are unable to suck up fine dust and large debris simultaneously. In order to suck up large debris, a large gap is required between the cleaner head and the floor. This gap can allow suction to escape, and fine dust is left behind on the floor surface and in crevices. To remove fine dust from the floor surface and crevices, a cleaner head needs a tight seal with the floor to prevent suction power from leaking. A tight seal means that large debris is pushed along the floor.

Frustrated with the limitations of conventional cleaner heads, Dyson engineers went back to the drawing board to design a new kind of cleaner head that was effective at picking up both fine dust and large debris at the same time. Instead of a brush bar with bristles, the Dyson V8 Fluffy cordless vacuum has a roller covered entirely in soft woven nylon. This traps large debris, whilst four rows of anti-static carbon fibre filaments remove fine dust.

English please, again, you say?

Just means that it’s sturdy and clever and can use to clean practically anything VERY EFFICIENTLY.

Real solid, this fella.

Cleaning made so easy for a 7-year-old

Cleaning made so easy for a 7-year-old

Now, if I can have my way to influence Mr Dyson’s next invention, or an improved version of Fluffy, may I suggest the following?

I’d like Fluffy to be able to pick up wet things too. Because my children put milk in their cereal and accidents always happen at breakfast, I really hope for once that they can settle their own mess without needing an adult to go on all fours with a cloth.

I’d like Fluffy to go longer than 40 minutes (Fluffy works hard for 40 minutes when fully charged). 40 minutes doesn’t seem enough if you have kids multiply by 3 who love to sharpen their pencils and erase non stop, leaving a trail of shavings from coloured pencils and charcoal erasers AND who like to take turns indulging their own weaponry fantasy while cleaning up.

Other than that, all’s good.

You absolutely need to get one to get your kids started.

I probably need to have 3 to have peace at home, because everyone’s fighting over Fluffy now.

More details:

The Dyson V8 is now available in major departmental stores and electrical multiples. The machine includes a 2 year warranty on parts and labour and retails at SGD 1, 099.

Disclosure: The Kao kids new handy helper was given to us by Dyson for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions, including my utmost adoration for Mr Dyson and my son’s deep love for Tony Stark are our own. And we’ve got nothing against R2D2 looklalikes, by the way.

Becks Kao Motherkao loves... Reviews

The haircut after the haircut that went wrong (ft. a review of Aqua Korean Hair Salon)

July 19, 2016

So we all know that my little girl had a haircut gone wrong.

She was very upset with how short her hair turned out to be and threw a fit two weeks ago. Thankfully she is also one happy-go-lucky girl who bears no grudges and after we kissed and made up that night, she showed her mama she loved her more than she ever did.

What a wonderful little girl. Feisty and stubborn as she can be, sometimes hurling hurtful words to break my heart but also endearing and very expressive with her little acts of affection at the same time.

Just last Wednesday, after I returned home declaring that I was done with filming (the Channel 8 folks came by and interviewed me for Money Week 财经追击), my kids promptly echoed a chorus:

‘TIME TO CUT YOUR HAIR, MAMA!’

You see, out of panic at the salon the other day, I had randomly asked Becks if she wanted me to cut my hair too to ‘keep her company’. To which she said a resounding yes. I was held ransom immediately by the offer but got off the hook when I told her that I could only do it after Wednesday because I didn’t want to have short hair for TV.

She remembered. And so did her brothers who overheard everything we said.

Oh well. Don’t believe your kids if they tell you they can’t remember anything.

~~~

For my haircut, I took the chance to try out a Korean hair salon near where I worked.

So after this…

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (2)

this…

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (3)

and this was done…

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I am happy ]to say I now have shorter hair than Becks’ and ain’t no one’s going to be complaining anymore about any haircut gone wrong.

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Of course, the little girl was really happy she’s finally got company.

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (6)

 

~~~

A quick review about the hair salon:

I love k-culture and have been immersed in it for close to 6 years now. It started with Running Man and quickly morphed into a crazy love for everything K – food, hairstyles, fashion, people, drama and history. For the longest time I’ve wanted to get a Korean hairstylist to do my hair, and when I finally did at Aqua Korean Hair Salon, I did it over very few words and lots of quiet flipping of CeCi magazines.

You need to completely trust that a Korean hairstylist knows exactly what to do when you give him simple words like ‘short’, ‘c-curl’ and ‘volume rebond’, and even then with Moon, my stylist, he was first to suggest I was good to go with just an A-line bob because my hair’s really straight anyway, and if I were to be diligent to blow dry it daily, I would have a similar c-curl effect. I liked that he was honest, and didn’t try to hard sell anything that didn’t make sense.

But I’ve always wanted to try the c-curl and know for a fact that no one else would do it better than a Korean (plus I love Kim Ji Won’s hair in DOTS) and told Moon to go ahead and try it on me.

KJW in DOTS (Photo credit: KBS)

KJW in DOTS
(Photo credit: KBS)

And he did. He unassumingly worked on every strand and step, with quiet confidence and finesse.

The result? I. loved. it. much.

I managed to even tell him that in Korean.

좋아. 진짜좋아. (Joa. Jjinja joa.)

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (5)

More details:

Aqua Hair Salon is at Delfi Orchard #03-16, next to the best place to do your brows, Browtisan. Connect with them on their FB Page – you can make appointments and get a non-obligatory consultation by leaving the stylists a message on FB, or contact them at 6732 8011.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All recommendations and opinions are solely my own.

Motherkao loves...

그냥

July 10, 2016

Just because…

Seorae (1)

Seorae (2)

Thank you, Big Boss.

Plaza Singapura, #02-01, 68, Orchard Rd, Singapore 238863

Opens daily from 11:30AM – 11PM

Postscript: Not the best banchan (no spread!) but there’s free flow egg and cheese in the grill pan. Galmaegisal was ok and steamed egg was a tad salty. So, this post isn’t a review of any sorts. Happy to just have SJK tie my laces. Hurhurhur.

Going Out! Learning fun! Motherkao loves... Reviews The Kao Kids

4 places you absolutely need to play at this June holidays

June 19, 2016

We’re left with one more week to the start of school and if you’re back from your wanderlust and crazy travelling schedules finally to settle back, here’s 4 very enriching places to play at while you ease into the week before school reopens.  I’m recommending them because these places resonate with me so much about my beliefs on play (if you don’t already know I co-founded Trehaus and run the programmes in TrehausKids inspired by the Reggio approach, and moderate a group called ‘Let the Children Play (Singapore) on FB).

I believe in back-to-the-basics kind of exposure and providing children calming yet engaging and mind-stimulating opportunities. As far as my own kids are concerned, I pretty much want them to remember childhood like that. I advocate for children wondering, exploring and imagining as capable and curious individuals without too much adult interference. And I strongly believe that we should always ‘rope in’ the environment as the third teacher in a child’s journey of discovery, play and learning.

Bring back play at its purest, I say.

1. PLAYEUM

If you haven’t visited Playeum‘s new hands-on exhibition – Hideaways: Creating with Nature – you absolutely should. This new installation invites children to explore, observe, construct, reflect, innovate and engage with nature and natural materials through hands-on exhibits and interactive artists’ installations.

Led by Creative Director Jeremy Chu, and joined by artists’ collectives The People’s Atelier and Shogun Creatives as well as artists Madhvi Subrahmanyan, Isabelle Desjeux, Bartholomew Ting and Richard Kearns, each installation provides an interdisciplinary and engaging experience serving as an important reminder of the world’s ecosystem.

It was a full sensory experience here at Playeum and I watched my kids as they played with all 4 senses (except taste) and did a whole lot of observation. A whole lot. Rarely do I see bouts of silence from quiet observation and keen eyes. At Playeum, I witnessed my children engage in a kind of somewhat structured (yet at many times, free) play that stimulates cognitive thinking and critical questioning.

Some of the questions my children asked at Knock Knock, Who Lives There?:

Ben: How do you hide a camera in all the shrubs? You mean I can watch the insects live?

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Becks: Would the insects hurt me? Are they alive?!?!

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Nat: I can write to the insects?! Is that true?! How will they hold a pencil and reply me?

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It was a relief to have Isabelle Desjeux, the creator and artist behind the installation, on site that day we visited to answer all the Kao kids’ questions about insects, show them how to make sense of a bug hotel and all. Phew.

Playeum_Hideaways (12)

Playeum_Hideaways (9)

Knock Knock, Who Lives There? invites children to view insects via special surveillance screens in their natural habitats and record what they see in a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with creepy crawlies in their natural environment.

Questions asked at Make Believe Hideaway:

Ben: We’re making ant homes? How? Are they going to let ants live here? What about termites? Can we let termites stay here too?

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Playeum_Hideaways (44)

Becks: Can we make this for a caterpillar? I’ll make a nice flower shape home!

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Nat: Eww, why is clay so sticky and also like powder on my hands??? MOM!!!!

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Make Believe Hideaway is an installation that invites children to experience playing with clay and building imaginary habitats inspired by nature, resulting in a collaborative installation.

Convos overheard at Sounds of the Earth:

Ben: Can we go outside? What’s that outside? Can these really be musical instruments?

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Playeum_Hideaways (49)

Becks: Hey look, guys! I found a watering can and flowers!

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Nat: (wandering away from Sounds of the Earth) HEY GUYS! COME SEE THIS!!!!

Playeum_Hideaways (47)

Did someone mention termites earlier? Ewwwww…

Sounds of the Earth – Nature’s Ensemble is an interactive sound installation where children can create and build musical instruments with natural materials.

As you can see, my kids weren’t too immersed in any musical extravaganza. They couldn’t shake off the distractions of flowers and insects. We made music later nonetheless, on our way out.

Questions at Welcome to My World:

No questions asked actually. These kids just gravitated towards creation and construction. Immediately. Such pros.

Playeum_Hideaways (62)

Playeum_Hideaways (60)

Later Ben did finally ask something and it was about tying the most secured knots. Which became a teachable moment between father and son, and great chance for his father to show his son what he’s learned as a scout.

Welcome to My World is where children can imagine a world where they are as small as insects and encouraged to create shelters on a giant scale. Lots of creative fun to be had here – without glue, or any man-made materials. Au naturel, for the win.

Like, like, like! that the four hours we were there equated to curiosity in action and translated to hunger for knowledge and interaction with natural materials to make sense of the world we live in.

This is an extremely well-conceptualised children exhibition with very strategic artistic direction to engage children to think about nature and its ecosystem. There’s no better teacher than nature itself, and Playeum has thoughtfully recreated a “classroom” for learning right within its doors. Amidst the bouncy castles, iPads and mobile phone games our children are growing up with, I’m so glad a place like this exists here where we live.

Playeum_Hideaways (1)

More details: 

2. Imaginarium

Imaginarium at Singapore Art Museum @8Q is back for its second year. The annual children-focused exhibition is titled ‘Over the Ocean, Under the Sea’ this year, inviting adventurers of all ages to explore the watery realms of our Earth through immersive and interactive artworks from Singapore and beyond. It promises to be a whimsical introduction to the many stories and ideas that surround seascapes and presents tactile and interactive works that encourage discovery through exploration and play.

One of its key installations on the first floor is called Dimana Mogus – which is an awesome visual and sensorial burst of colours and textures made from knitted yarn displayed as coral reefs and sea creatures – has appeared on several IG feeds this entire month alone (#dimanamogus). My mom blogger friends have excellent visuals on this installation here (MummyEd) and here (growinghearts123) and you can read their reviews on this children-focused annual exhibition, back for its second year.

But what I’d like to draw your attention to is this particular installation which I feel needs to be given a mention here because it provided such an immersive experience walking through it. For me at least. It  struck a chord, created a poignant teachable moment for my kids and delivered an experience that no other exhibits and installations could.

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Imaginarium2016 (3)

Aptly called Plastic Ocean, this installation was, in my view, tapped on the transformative power of art to confront the audience with a pressing issue.

In this case, the issue of ocean pollution.

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We walked through a sea of 14,000 pieces of non-biodegradables, and when we reached the end, I actually felt an unexplained sense of suffocation.

Suddenly it dawned on us that we have walked through this entire room like sea creatures, swimming in a dark world of floating trash.

Well, I really didn’t have to say much to the kids. But I did ask them how they thought the fishies would feel if this was their home. My kids looked at me with an overwhelming sense of helplessness, and I knew they got the message right away.

Plastic Ocean is the best reason, in my opinion, why you should pay Imaginarium a visit this year. Just for this experience alone is worth your while.

More details: 

Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea will be held at SAM at 8Q from 14 May 2016 to 28 August 2016.

Find out more about the exhibition and its programmes online at www.singaporeartmuseum.sg. You can also download the exhibition brochure here.

3. KidsSTOP™ at Singapore Science Centre

Recently, KidsSTOP™ launched a new exhibit that deserves a mention and many thumbs up for supporting and educating children about environmental conservation causes. Called ‘Ocean Buddies’, this new immersive and interactive exhibition and activity corner features 3-dimensional sea creatures to engage preschoolers and lower primary school goers on the topic of marine conservation.

Children will learn through experiential play by personalising their own sea creature (through colouring). They can then scan their sea creatures and watch them come ‘alive’ in the virtual ocean floor.

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I like that immersive technology was used to wow my kids. I’m pretty sure every child that participates in this would be awed too.

But what REALLY wowed me wasn’t the fact that the shark, puffer fish and clownfish that Ben, Becks and Nat coloured appeared on the virtual ocean and swam around but the fact that KidsSTOP™, in conducting this activity, was actually living the message of reduce, reuse, recycle.  They’ve partnered with Pilot Pen to educate the public about environmental conservation, and the kids were actually colouring with the world’s first pen with erasable ink!

The Pilot FriXon series used in the Oceans’ Buddies exhibit lets KidsSTOP™ reuse every single piece of paper coloured by each child. The ink is thermo-sensitive and disappears when subjected to heat at 65°C. Toshiba then comes in to provide the special ink recycling machine to emit heat and erase the ink on the paper, which then allows each sheet to be recycled and reused up to 5 times.

I get thrilled just knowing that trees won’t die for this Ocean Buddies’ cause of watching fishies swim virtually, and I am actually more excited learning the fact that corporates are practising social responsibility here.

I’m seriously considering stocking up on these Pilot FriXon pens and turning the thermostat on my oven to 65°C to save more paper with the kids doodling so much at home. Brilliant idea.

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More details:

KidsSTOP™ is located next to the Singapore Science Centre at 21 Jurong Town Hall, S609433.

Admission charges in this link here and operating hours here.

4. The TrehausKids Atelier!

This place gets an exclamation just because I co-founded it (*insert victory sign), and hence this disclosure: affiliation to mentioned organisation.

If you have very young children, this Reggio Emilia inspired Atelier is an aesthetically beautiful and open space for infants, toddlers and preschoolers to wander and wonder. Play becomes an organic process as the environment invites children to explore and discover. The facilitators in TrehausKids also engage children in child-centric activities like drama, art, sensory play and music.

We’re pretty much also in sync with all the main children’s exhibitions’ theme on conservation this month in all our provocations and invitations to explore at the Atelier. This month, we delve deep into learning about the earth being our home, its endangered species, and the flora and fauna around us.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking and I hereby invite you to come join us in play!

The Earth Our Home (6)

The Earth Our Home (71)

The Earth Our Home (19)

The Earth Our Home (30)

The Earth Our Home (9)

More details:

Make the best use of the remaining one week, and bring back PLAY before the madness of school starts!

 

All this blog's PR Stuff Motherkao loves... Reviews

New year, old perm, and magic! [Review of Mosche Hair Salon]

January 7, 2016

This new year, I had my hair “refurbished” instead of getting a new look.

I’m not sure if you remember this exactly a year ago – but I got hooked up with two very experienced stylists who heard my plea for bounce and texture to my otherwise very limp, fine hair, who did this for me as part of my ‘De-Auntify Me’ Image Improvement Project at the end of 2014:

The BEFORE

The BEFORE

A soft perm at Mosche in December 2014

The AFTER, Part I: A soft perm at Mosche in December 2014

And then a final touch of brown

The AFTER, Part II: And then a final touch of brown

And the perm that I got done at Mosche exactly a year turned out to be the very FIRST perm that I’ve ever had that lasts. For one entire year.

I’ve had fine, straight hair all my life. And I’ve had countless perming done to it. They lasted from 2 weeks to 3 months at most, most of the time. None has ever proven my money’s worth (and time too).

Until this.

I think only Magic Scissorhands can give a defined cut like this and a perm that can last for a year

I think only Magic Scissorhands can give a defined cut like this and a perm that can last for a year

Which makes me love these folks at Mosche, namely my stylist Leslie and his assistant, Annie, and all the very experienced colourists, so very much. They are good folks who won’t fleece a cent out of you and would go all out to make sure that everything that’s done for you is worth your time, money and effort making your way there. They would suggest hair colour that matches your skin tone, take the time to learn about the image you need to portray at work, and recommend hair styles that suit your personality and habits. I’m used to going to stylists all around Singapore whose first question is always, ‘So what can I do for you today?’ but ever since stepping into Mosche I realised that they work a little differently around here. They actively take a keen interest in what really, really suits you.

With Leslie, before the cut and after the colour

With Leslie, before the cut and after the colour

At last, a perm that lasts!

At last, a perm that lasts!

So this was why I only had a hair colour (done twice in fact, because Leslie’s perfectionist streak wouldn’t even allow any uneven patches!) and hair treatment done.

Because the perm has retained its wave for a year and the hair is growing out very nicely with it. Because there’s no need to do another for the sake of it.

Same hair, same perm, different year!

Same hair, same perm, different year!

And this is how magic happened. I am starting the year in total awe of such professionalism and talent, and all ready to kickstart the year looking refurbishedly refreshed, all thanks to the good people at Mosche, who take their work and my crowning glory very, very seriously!

Happy New Year!

More details:

Mosche Hair Salon is at ROYAL PLAZA ON SCOTTS, Level 2, 25 Scotts Road, Singapore 228220.

Operating hours:
Monday to Friday – 10.30am to 8pm
Saturday – 10.30am to 7pm

Tel: 6734 0923 | 9628 8312

The person to ask for is Leslie Yap, the Artistic Director of Mosche Hair Salon, without whom this magic would never have happened.

***

Disclosure: This is not a paid review. All opinions here are my own.

All this blog's PR Stuff Food, glorious food! Going Out! Learning fun! Motherkao loves... Reviews The Kao Kids

Family Day Out at City Square Mall

December 27, 2015

If I could give out an award for the most family-friendly mall in the country, it has to be City Square Mall. I’m not just saying this because the kind folks from City Square Mall hosted us to a day out in November, but because every time I go to the mall (which is frequent enough), it’s like a one-stop for so many possibilities for every single one in the house. We’ve had lessons at Eye Level there since 2013, attended the ZooMoov launch party there, gone to Fun N Laughter for birthday parties, shopped at Babies ‘R’ Us for presents, ate at Food Republic, Astons, Swensen’s, Pasta Mania, Streats Hong Kong Cafe – all the food that the children liked, and chilled out for a cuppa at Delifrance and Starbucks when the kids were busy playing at a party or having lessons.

I really love this mall.

Like I was saying, the folks at the mall deepened my love for it even more when they hosted us for a family day-out last month and showed us even more things we could together as a family. It came at a time when I badly needed to spend quality time with my husband and children, and I am so grateful that I got to do that amidst the craziness at work.

First Stop: Art Jam for the Entire Family

I like the notion that we would be doing something so artistic (hurhurhur, like I am so in tune with my artsy self!) and yet so differentiated all at the same place. Which is what the entire hour (and a little more, I thought) was about at Global Art (04-23) to kickstart our Family Day Out. I had gotten my hands dirty and my nerves flustered once with acrylic painting – and then never tried it thereafter – so I was so glad that both the husband and I got the chance to learn the techniques step-by-step. What a difference a guided session makes. And how important it is to have a patient teacher, too.

Paying close attention to the teacher so we can model after her

Paying close attention to the teacher so we can model after her

Practising on paper first before starting on the canvas

Practising on paper first before starting on the canvas

Following the instructions on the task sheet and getting familiar with the palette knife

Following the instructions on the task sheet and getting familiar with the palette knife

And we started when we were ready!

And we started when we were ready!

Whilst the adults were busy learning the basics of acrylic painting, the Kao kids were equally engaged learning the techniques of colouring and shading with oil pastels, something I am grateful that they got to pick up. I am also impressed that teaching instructions and tasks were differentiated for Ben, Becks and Nat at our session at Global Art, and the kids were all engaged sufficiently.

It was crucial that the tasks were differentiated as each child was at a different skill level, and Global Art teachers made sure of that

It was crucial that the tasks were differentiated as each child was at a different skill level, and Global Art teachers made sure of that

All three of them of pressed on through the hour to complete their respective tasks.

Presenting the Kao Kids' masterpieces...

Presenting the Kao Kids’ masterpieces…

And so did Fatherkao and I!

And our completed flowers painted on canvas with acrylic paint!

And our completed flowers painted on canvas with acrylic paint!

Second stop: Flying on flavoured wings at Wingstop

When we were done with painting, our stomachs needed to be filled. Lunch was calling out to us in the form of wings. Chicken wings, that is. I thought the kids would be thrilled, but it turned out that I was more thrilled than them. This was like a dream come true, eating a buffet of flavourful, marinated wings and challenging my spice level at the same time. I thought Nene Chicken did it for me; but I’m happy to say Wingstop (B1-33) did more.

Did what?

Filled our tummies with American-style buffalo wings that contained too much goodness.

Warning: Drool-inducing pictures of food ahead First, the deliciousness of the salsa chips and fried mushrooms

Warning: Drool-inducing pictures of food ahead
First, the deliciousness of the salsa chips and fried mushrooms

And then they kept coming... This is Garlic Parmesan

And then they kept coming…
This is Garlic Parmesan

The Lemon Pepper and Louisiana Rub

The Lemon Pepper and Louisiana Rub

The Mango Hanebero

The Mango Hanebero

Teriyaki... And then my hands got too busy and too messy to be taking pictures

Teriyaki…
And then my hands got too busy and too messy to be taking pictures

Kids loved the Garlic Parmesan and Teriyaki, husband loved the Louisiana Rub and I loved the Mango Habanero best, although I also did challenge the Atomic.

Wingstop is all about “sauced and tossed, and made to order” chicken wings with 11 flavours to choose from – the first ten comes from the States: Original Hot, Cajun, Atomic, Mild, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory Smoked BBQ and Louisiana Rub; and the 11th, the Oriental Soy Pepper is specifically made for the local market. It already is in 660 locations in the U.S; and this is its 2nd store in Singapore at City Square Mall. You have to absolutely try them to love them.

Nat loves the drumstick!

Nat loves the drumstick!

And this was me before I conquered the Atomic

And this was me before I conquered the Atomic

Third Stop: Becoming Baking Geniuses

All ready to bake

All ready to bake

When we were done with lunch, we proceeded to Genius R Us (07-07/08) for a time of mother-and-children bonding session. If you followed this blog since I first started, you would know I baked a fair bit with the kids and for the kids when I stayed home. Baking has always been therapeutic for me before the kids and when they were younger and could only assist in some tasks.

Unfortunately, I’ve become a little bit more OCD as the kids got older, and I’m quite sorry to say that I’m a pain in the neck when it comes to precision for measuring out ingredients, and becoming really, really fussy about mess.

So you can imagine me doing the happy dance inside when I learned that I would get to bake and not need to worry about cleaning up.

The Kao kids were really thrilled to be baking with Mama again, although I think the Mama three years ago (when we all started baking together) and the Mama now is very different; the former being more relaxed in the past and the latter now being a tad naggy. I had to constantly nag at the kids to listen to instruction, wait for me to help them with measurements and not break the eggs.

We're making ice cream cone pops today!

We’re making ice cream cone pops today!

My little bakers

My little bakers

My littlest baker

My littlest baker

And their ice cream cone pops

And their ice cream cone pops

Nonetheless, I think the kids did a terrific job despite their naggy mother. We had many cake pops to eat after that, and I had to nag them about hydration and pacing their chocolate intake. Well, the successful cake pops made everyone happy at least!

Last stop: Sweetness in Cocoa Heaven

Who was I kidding when I nagged about pacing chocolate intake with the cake pops? Our last stop was choco heaven and that was the most joyous part of the day for the kids. I think all nags from Mama was quickly thrown out of the window. Bring on the adrenaline, and the cocoa here at Cocoa Colony, is what they said.

And after the first few round of cocoa drinks, I succumbed too and asked for more.

Ordering our drinks...

Ordering our drinks…

From this list of Top 10 Faves at Cocoa Colony

From this list of Top 10 Faves at Cocoa Colony

And going 'wow' at all the desserts!

And going ‘wow’ at all the desserts!

We got to try the signature creations at Cocoa Colony (01-12) and learned about the history and origin of each cocoa gem in liquid form, solid form, gelato form and even powdered form. Cocoa Colony is a local company that believes in using quality cocoa in everything they make and sell, yet keeping prices affordable and accessible for everyone. That’s great news because the last time I went to another specialty cocoa place at the Esplanade some years ago, it dented my wallet a fair bit.

I’m hopeful now that we’ve all tried the deliciousness of the liquid gold that is cocoa in drinks, tasted it in gelato and savoured it in other forms like their Cocoa Bolas and chocolate bars at Cocoa Colony and can safely say that their avant garde cocoa isn’t any lesser in quality than the famous one we all know that’s moved to Vivo. I love the affordability at Cocoa Colony which gives me the option to try many more items on the menu.

We sampled the best cocoa in Cocoa Colony hot

We sampled the best cocoa in Cocoa Colony hot

...and cold

…and cold

I tried the pure cocoa in powder form

I tried the pure cocoa in powder form

And the kids couldn't stop savouring the gelato

And the kids couldn’t stop savouring the gelato

Oh well, cheers!

Oh well, cheers!

What a sweet, sweet end to the Family Day Out!

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I couldn’t believe that I had spent ONE entire day doing so many things with the family, and that a mall with its family-friendly tenants provided this opportunity. All in all, it was a fruitful weekend well-spent with the family at City Square Mall, and I cannot say enough that it’s altogether impressive and convenient as a one-stop to do so many things!

Disclosure: We were invited to spend a day out with the family at City Square Mall and hosted by the kind people from the mall mentioned in this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are strictly our own.

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LATEST EDIT: Cocoa Colony has since ceased operations at City Square Mall as of 2017. For a list of updated stores, visit their site here. The menu and drinks remain largely unchanged and are wonderful sweet treats to have to make your day, nonetheless.