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All this blog's PR Stuff Family life as we know it Food, glorious food! Happy days Motherkao loves... The Kao Kids

Cold spell spelled W-A-R-M-T-H for the family (ft. IKEA serveware)

January 26, 2018

[Sponsored – this post is IKEA-inspired]

The five-day cold spell where temperatures dipped to 20-22 ºC as a result of the monsoon surge earlier this month not just inspired us to take out our winter wear and thicker blankies, but also prompted us to go shopping at IKEA.

Because steamboating* time draws nigh!

Inspired by the never ending stream of Insta-stories and steamboat feasts on my newsfeed, I decided to gather the extended family to ride the cold spell together at a place where having steamboat is never exactly comfortable (read: no airconditioning) but will now be because the weather would, for sure, bring the chills.

My parents’ place would finally be perfect for that steamboat feast which we would otherwise be eating while perspiring endlessly.

And the opportunity shall be seized.

So off to the Gramps’ we go, but not before going to IKEA for some inspiration. This dinner was also in part all about welcoming the new year, and spending it with people we love, and I thought it’d be brilliant to dress up the dining area a little more to accommodate our party of 9. The extended family consists of Grandpa, Grandma, Yiyi, Jiujiu and all of us from the Kaos.

Most of the time it was usually hard to fit in everyone with all the food laid out for steamboat occupying most of the table, and so we usually take turns to eat if it was a steamboat affair.

This year, I was determined to seat everyone at the table to 打邊爐 in the cosiest fashion and so the first thing I purchased for the occasion was this beauty:

For a steal at $39.90, this beauty quickly transformed into a handy cart for our fresh food. Couldn’t been more pleased with having thought of using this like how the restaurants do it.

Next, I took the liberty to get the FULLKOMLIG table cloth (at a steal for $9.90!) and really also because the description says “The table cloth is made from a material that is always smooth directly after washing, so that you don’t need to iron it.”.  I figured a table cloth will always set the mood for a cosy time together, as well as invite the diners to stay longer at the table. I know my mom would probably scream at the impracticality of a white cloth on a round table while having steamboat, but at that price, it was worth taking the risk.

She didn’t scream at me by the way.

Because I had gone over and set it up like this:

While shopping at IKEA, I had also grabbed some new dinnerware like the VARDAGEN sauce bowls for our sambal chilli, the VARDAGEN bowls in 2 different sizes for soup and rice as well as a few sets of TREBENT chopsticks to symbolise happiness for the year. As a gift “筷子 (kuàizi)” represent “快乐 (kuàilè)” which means happiness in Chinese culture.

Always glad to bring more kuàizi to the house!

And so with the table set, the reunion of the family began; first with taking our first 2018 family picture, followed by filling our tummies with food for the soul.

This is a first on two counts: you see me in a cardi seated at my parents’ and we fit in 9 people round the table

Time to tuck in to get some warmth on so many levels.

My wish this year is for more cold spells and more monsoon surges so we can always take refuge in the warmth of family whenever it’s cold.

~~~

Disclosure: This is the third of three in a series of collaborative work with IKEA. IKEA sponsored all the dinnerware and serveware we’ve used in this post. All ideas here are our own. #IKEASG#ad#sponsored#incollaborationwith #IKEA

See the previous IKEA posts here and here.

All this blog's PR Stuff Family life as we know it The Kao Kids

Getting ’em organised and all ready for a new school year (ft. #ikeahacks)

December 25, 2017

[Sponsored – this post is IKEA-inspired]

When you have three kids and a really small living space, you got to make the space work very hard for you.

So when we moved into our new flat a few years ago, the bulk of the renovation cost went to carpentry. We fixed up a platform and bunker bed with six huge compartments under for the Kao kids’ toys, and then custom made their wardrobes and study desks.

The kids share one room in our current living space. At least from now till our next move.

With all custom-made things, it has been very difficult to get proper storage solutions to get organised. We can only admire but not buy organisers or beautiful trays like these:

From IKEA: SKUBB Box with compartments

RAGGISAR stackable tray from IKEA

So we very much end up with internal chaos like this…

Ben’s personal drawer – obviously he keeps photos he treasures safe in here, and Kidzos, pouches and knick knacks

this…

Becks’ drawer: of mozzie patches, card collections, hairbands and wigs and all sorts of bags and hair-ties

and this…

Nat’s drawer: the most chaotic of all. Clearly he loves his masks (Spidey & Bumblebee), inflatable globe,s tickers, sketch book, pencil case and toy spider too much as to keep them away from his siblings

 

My kids have an amazing to hoard, stuff and shove. I don’t know what’s in all their personal drawers but I don’t think the things stuffed all the way in there get any attention at all.

Drawers transformation

I can’t readily find a quick fix to get these drawers organised neatly because they are custom made to fit an existing wall space, but I am so glad I found these from IKEA such that I can put them in good use:

VARIERA Box: 24x17cm

VARIERA Box: 10x12cm

GESSAN Box: 10x10x10cm

GODMORGON Box with led: Set of 5

GLIS Box with lid: 34x21cm

I got a couple of these VARIERA boxes in the above two sizes in colours red, black and green, as well as a couple of GESSAN boxes plus 1 set of GODMORGON.

I also got one GLIS box to see if anyone would opt to use this to try to work their drawer space around.

The instructions for the kids were simple: empty your drawers, take as many of these boxes as they can fit into your drawers and fit them all in as neatly as you can. Then fill the boxes by deciding what you can fit in and what you wish to keep or throw.

This drawer-organisation project took half a day. And this was what the kids came up with:

I like it that these boxes from IKEA lets the kids still keep their drawer personalised but gives them a clear idea about how much space they have to keep their things organised.

Ben’s drawer transformed

Becks’ drawer transformed (love it that now her photoframe that has a picture of me & her plus Cinderella is now in sight!)

Nat’s drawer transformed

~~~

Study desk area transformation

On our last shopping trip at IKEA, Fatherkao was fascinated by this metallic knife rack:

GRUNDTAL Magnetic Knife Rack

I love my husband for the fact that he sees what I cannot see, does what I cannot do, and makes magic happen. This man singlehandedly removed all the random hooks and decals the kids pasted on their study area wall, wall-puttied and painted it to a smooth finish, then installed two of these magnetic racks (who says you can only use it for knives, LOL) – and at eye level somemore! – for the kids so that they could magnetically stick their notes and notices (every so often the school gives us notices which our fridge has no more space for) more systematically and neatly.

He even got the RIMFORSA tablet stands so the kids can use them for their iPads, spelling lists and reference books whenever they sit down at the desk.

I can’t believe this was all conceptualised and done within half a day by their very competent father. I love that their study space has gotten neater as compared to using blutack to stick on notes in the past.

Love it even more that the first reminder that Ben stuck on this new metallic rack was a reality check: school starts soon and it’s time to pack his bag. LOL.

Speaking of bags, they have also been organised neatly, thanks to these which we found at IKEA:

These FIRRA Boxes (we used them without the lids) are great for keeping the kids’ school bags and can be rolled out with their wheels. The plan is to have the kids put the bags in these boxes after school, and roll them out when it’s homework time, tuition time or pack-your-bag-for-the-next-day time.

 

~~~

In the spirit of getting organised, the kids also helped to think of ways for room improvement, and this was what they came up with, with their LEGO DUPLO blocks:

Love it that they have been inspired to look for solutions all around!

Truly, small things can make a big difference when it comes to getting organised, and I think the Kao kids are ready to start the year right, now that the mess they had once lived with is now put completely away.

~~~

Disclosure: This is the second of three in a series of collaborative work with IKEA. IKEA sponsored all the hacks we’ve used in this post. All ideas here are our own. #IKEASG#ad#sponsored#incollaborationwith #IKEA

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

This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner by the Kao kids’ (ft. kids-friendly recipes)

November 28, 2017

[Sponsored – this post is IKEA-inspired]

Now that the kids are older, I have every plan to work them hard. I mean, why not? They are bursting with so much creativity, so much energy, and so many ideas it would be such a waste if I don’t tap on all these while they are still willing.

So I told the kids that in November, they’ll have to cook up a Thanksgiving dinner for the family.

I was surprised there was absolutely no protest and zero whining. In fact, they were excited. They started talking about what they could do – should we make sunny side ups, Mama? shall we bake a big cake? maybe we can make some pasta? hmm, how about some cookies? ok,  let’s make chicken wings!

I had to source and tweak some recipes in order for a few things to happen: one, the family gets a complete meal; and two, the meal prep and work is something that an eight-year-old, a seven-year-old and a five-year-old can manage on his/her own individually.

I needed more tools in the kitchen to assist their meal prep, and so also we headed to IKEA to get some shopping done.

This was what we did. This was Thanksgiving dinner, prepped by the Kao Kids. #iamaproudmama

~~~

First to enter the kitchen last Saturday afternoon (which we dedicated as our very own Kao family’s Thanksgiving Day) was Becks. She loves to bake. She love treats. And she is all ready to make us an orange pound cake.

Chef Becks is pictured here in her best festive garb, the VINTER 2017 children’s apron, complete with a chef’s hat. Fits her to a tee, and gets her in the mood for baking. I think this girl takes after me – we both love to bake!

Before she started work, I laid out the ingredients and utensils she might need and did a run through of the steps and what she would be doing with what (equipment / utensils).  Becks is an auditory learner, and she functions better being told verbally what to expect. I followed this really easy recipe here from Del’s Cooking Twist and ran through the steps with her, all while pointing to the equipment and tools she would use:

First, the eggs and sugar that Mama’s prepared and measured go into the KitchenAid; second, the flour and baking powder will be sifted with the IDEALISK Flour Sifter; third, the butter needs to be melted in the saucepan; fourth, the orange needs to be juiced with the SPRITTA Citrus Squeezer,and lastly, the batter needs to mixed well and poured into the moulds on the baking tray to be popped into the oven.

Step 1: Eggs and sugar gets beaten well

Step 2: Sifting the flour & baking powder (actually just clicking away!) with IDEALISK

Steps 3 & 4: While the butter is slowly melting in the saucepan, use SPRITTA to squeeze juice out of one large orange

Step 5: Mix the batter well and pour into baking moulds – we used the BAKGLAD baking moulds to give us 2 cute foxes & 2 bears

Of course, Mama hovered around the kitchen as her assistant and preheated the oven, handled all electrical appliances (I helped with the melted butter, for sure!) and doubled up as sous chef when she needed me to. But these 5 steps were more than doable for this seven-year-old, and Becks was more than able to rise to the occasion in making four mini orange pound cakes for our Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, [spoiler alert], they turned out so well, that a friend tried (she came by while we had dinner and sampled some) and wanted to order from Chef Becks so she could give away as gifts for Christmas.

~~~

Next to enter the kitchen was Ben, all ready to handle some protein.

I modified this recipe by Ina Garten, by tweaking some of the things to our liking (no thyme, 1 lemon instead of 4) and making it less daunting for Ben. Actually, to prep this dish, in my opinion was the easiest to do, just ’cause the chicken spends more time in the oven than anything else. But preparing this dish takes the most guts to do – as it requires massaging the cavity and every bit of the chicken – and so it was tasked to the oldest kid among my three.

You don’t see his disgusted look here, but he was basically squealing for the first minute of touching the chicken.

How cool is my eight-year-old chef in his TOPPKLOCKA apron and chef hat, touching protein for the first time in his life

After he became familiar with how cold and slimy the skin of the chicken and cavity felt, he was all ready to stuff and rub ’em all in. In went the garlic cloves and quartered lemon, some butter, salt and pepper.

And then the skin was rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper before it was covered with streaky bacon rashers. He worked atop the KONCIS stainless steel roasting tin with grill rack, which contained the mess efficiently and let him pop the chicken straight into the preheated 220°C oven.

~~~

So there needed to be carbs for the dinner, and I decided to task the youngest for this. Doesn’t sound very easy for the youngest to be preparing the mains, but hey, the solution was pretty straightfoward. We would be skipping the pasta and mashed potatoes, and having all-day breakfast for dinner instead.

‘Cause this was the EASIEST recipe I could find for a five-year-old to do. And I thought: why not?

French toast for dinner, it is.

With this really easy recipe, you’ll pretty much get pretty carbs on a plate in three steps, and this was as easy as it gets for a fiver.

All you really need is a large stainless bowl and a whisk and uber large pie dish (the BLANDA BLANK 36-cm stainless steel bowl, VARDAGEN balloon whisk and VARDAGEN 32-cm pie dish are ideal for this task), some eggs, white bread, honey, salt and single cream and you’d churn out the staple in no time.

Of course, Nat had to be heavily guided by my verbal cues. He listened and worked as I instructed: whisk together the single cream, eggs, warmed honey (so it’s more loose liquid), salt, and then pour mixture into the pie dish.

When we were ready to eat, he dipped each slice of bread into the mixture in the pie dish and let the bread soak for 30 seconds on each side. As he removed each slice onto a rack and worked with more bread, I fired up a non-stick pan with butter and cooked each slice till golden brown.

Then we’d slot the slices of french toast into the oven for another 5 minutes for that perfect crunchy bite.

~~~

Would you please have a look at the finished products after about 5 hours of labour in the kitchen? The adults helped with the plating but look at these gorgeous browns, and bursts of colours!

Serving ware really do dress up the dish: the roasted chicken sits on a VARDAGEN oven dish, the french toasts were plated with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries drizzled with maple syrup on matt-glazed DINERA plates and the cakes rest on the festive VINTER 2017 side plates.

Thanksgiving dinner by kids, for the whole family.

We couldn’t wait to tuck in.

This Thanksgiving, our hearts and bellies were full.

On this cosy dining table for our family of five, I had food prepared by my kids for the first time ever. This Thanksgiving meal wasn’t just tasty. Every bite of what I ate melted every ounce of fiber in my heart.

And I gave thanks for that.

Disclosure: This is our first of three in a series of collaborative work with IKEA. IKEA sponsored all the bakeware, cookware, utensils and tools mentioned in this post. All ideas and creativity are our own. #IKEASG#ad#sponsored#incollaborationwith

All this blog's PR Stuff Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Gentleness and goodness in a bottle [Review of Alobaby]

August 10, 2017

We’ve been taking something along with us for a while now, every time we head outdoors.

It’s easy to use (just spray!), comes completely DEET-free, and protects our skin from the sun (at SPF 15). It repels insects, is made from natural ingredients and is additive-, synthetic perfume- and colouring-FREE. It is also specifically created for delicate skin (that of a baby’s).

It’s a new brand on the block called ALOBABY.

And for sensitive skin like mine, and my kids’, we are so glad that a product so, so pure like this has finally been created. I was spraying it like crazy that weekend sitting around watching my kids swim. It was also subsequently on hiss mode covering my kids during their tennis practices and weekend pool fun times. My pet peeve has always been that most insect repellents and sunscreens give us an icki-ness I can’t stand, and usually if we want many things like hydration, protection from mozzie bites and prevention from sunburns, we have to slather a slew of separate products like how we marinate meat before we bbq them.

And because the Alobaby Outdoor Spray is so pure and natural, it really doesn’t matter how often we use it and for what we use it, we just ANYHOW spray also can  – it feels refreshing and is extremely effective.

They also have an extensive range of products from moisturising care and baby bottom cream to massaging oil and UV lotions.

There’s comfort and safety in natural ingredients, and it really doesn’t matter if my babies aren’t so anymore – products like these give me a peace of mind even then, for sure!

Good things must share, and we’re doing a GIVEAWAY, yay!

Alobaby is giving away 2 sets of the products of their UV & Outdoor Mist (retailing at SGD35) and Outdoor Spray (retailing at SGD25) to 2 Motherkao readers.

Just launch the Rafflecopter app here for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends 16 August 2017!

Disclosure: We share only what we love, and we’re loving our complimentary Outdoor Spray from Alobaby. All opinions here are our own and no monetary compensation was received for this post.

 

 

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Ben Kao Reviews

Making it personal this Teacher’s Day with Bright Star Kids

August 4, 2017

As a teacher, on that one very special day I am celebrated, thanked and honoured, I always loved the gifts that had a personal touch. Red pens are nice, chocolates are nice and flowers are definitely welcome but the students that prepared gifts with a little more thought – like a picture of me taken in secret (yes, I have had that – those sneaky people took pics of me in my most dramatic), or something with my name on it (like a personalised card or mug) – warmed my heart a tad more on Teacher’s Day.

Would so totally be nice if I got something like that for Teacher’s Day (source)

I confess: I haven’t been thinking like a teacher when it comes to gifts to buy for my children’s teachers for Teacher’s Day.

We have been giving chocolates and red pens.

So terrible, and lazy, I know.

I do tell my kids to make personalised cards but that really is about it.

This year, I resolve to be a little more thoughtful. The older two are in primary school now, and we have had the privilege of having two very caring form teachers in our kids’ school life. Ben has the same form teacher and Chinese teacher for two years now, because most P1 teachers follow their classes up to P2, and they have been awesome in nagging encouraging him with their positive affirming words to display exemplary conduct and demonstrate focus in his endeavours. Thank God for MORE people who would nag guide him like this.

Becks had a rough start to school mainly because we’ve discovered that she might have some learning difficulties that require remediation and intervention (I’ll share more in another post when I am ready), and her form teacher has been the most supportive and kindest person anyone can be to a lost 7-year-old who’s still transitioning from preschool to primary school. The local education system punishes late bloomers harshly (and I have no qualms saying this as an educator and mother of 3 who’s been born and bred in this system herself) and her teacher’s nurturing ways are a gentle reprieve from the cruel realities of KPIs and academic outcomes.

I digress. Point is: I’d better spend more thought to show my gratitude to my kids’ teachers this Teacher’s Day.

And so I did with Bright Star Kids. They do the most gorgeous personalised gifts from lunch bags and rompers to stickers and mugs, and I so had to ink my kids’ teachers’ names on these canvas totes bags that come with an inspiring quote to encourage them every day. Teachers carry a lot of things to class, from marked worksheets and resource guides to whiteboard markers and water bottles and these tote bags make a practical gift for any school teacher. Besides, if it’s forgotten and left at some corner of the school, it’ll be picked up and returned easily because the teacher’s name is on the bag.

Thoughtful enough, for sure!

And here you have it, my little girl parading with the bags customised for her teachers. Ben says he wouldn’t do anything cheesy like that, it’s already embarrassing enough I am making him bring the bags to school next month. Hurhurhur. My wimpy kid and his half grown up mind.

One for the form teacher

One for the Mother Tongue teacher

Imagining how her teacher will look when she gets it

Yea, probably a happier face would be more like it, girl!

More details:

Shop for customised gifts for your kids’s teachers here at Bright Star Kids (still got time!) and use the discount code ‘TEACHER’ to  check out. You get 30% off with that code for a $30 minimum spend on all gifts. Pretty good deal and impetus to start shopping and making your gifts more personal, this Teacher’s Day!

Disclosure: Bright Star Kids reached out to us probably already guessing what a lazy mom I have been and offered to sponsor my kids’ Teacher’s Day gifts for the purpose of this review. All opinions here on what I would love to get as a teacher are my own. But I think I speak for most teachers lah.

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

The earth laughs in flowers, so did my team that day – ft. A Better Florist

July 25, 2017

Who wouldn’t like flowers when they come wrapped up nicely in a bunch and delivered to your doorstep? I don’t think there would be anyone who would protest.

Just look at these faces.

Meet my lovely team (one missing from the picture though) – the ones that I work with daily and the ones whom Trehaus depends on for everything to run smoothly.

The lovely gerbera bouquets were couriered by hand to these lovely ladies from A Better Florist.

These folks make it so easy to send love; all that was needed was an email, an address to send to, and a message on each card that read:

“May you be proud of the work you do, the person you are and the difference you make.”

And in a jiffy, the flowers arrived at the timing I wanted, for the people they were for. And I am so glad these blooms made their day!

If you’d like these blooms to make someone’s day too, use the discount code “MOTHERKAO20” when checking out on their website to get a 20% discount.

Disclosure: A Better Florist sent these flowers in exchange for this post; no monetary compensation was received. These folks believe that sending and receiving flowers should be easy, affordable and beautiful, and that every reason is the perfect reason to send out flowers. Well said!

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Holidays! Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Worry-free luxury for a holiday – Review of Original Sprout (again)

July 6, 2017

OS_Motherkao_review2017 (1) - Copy

When you tell me that a brand believes in an ethical philosophy of promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, I am definitely one happy user. I love sustainable brands and products.

And I want my children to love them and make supporting them part of their lifestyle when they start making consumer decisions as they get older.

Which is why while on our UK holiday last month, the kids got to enjoy their baths and the best skincare with Original Sprout. We were acquainted with the brand when the Kao kids were younger (we fell in love with the Miracle Detangler, and have been using it ever since) and now it was only befitting that I would lug the Original Sprout Natural Shampoo, Deep Conditioner, Miracle Detangler, Scrumptious Baby Cream and Hair & Body Babywash all the way to London and Scotland where the weather was colder, the air was drier and worry-free luxury in baths (and post bath, for skincare) was what the entire family could benefit greatly from while away from home.

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tubs in our AirBnB apartment

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tub in our AirBnB apartment

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

For effortless combing

For effortless combing

Applying to dry skin - our skin wasn't too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

Applying to dry skin – our skin wasn’t too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

I love it that Original Sprout was the brainchild of a mom who loved her daughter so much she had to create a product that could effortlessly detangle her daughter’s hair, and that it’s a brand that believes in utilising ingredients that are free from synthetic hormone disruptor, oestrogen disrupting ingredients, sulphate and parabens.

I have to say if you have a daughter with long hair or thick hair or tough curls, this Detangler (definitely Original Sprout’s bestseller) works instant magic. I never needed to go through another day where I have to hear Becks scream ‘ouch’ whenever I comb her hair, or when she tries to work through the hair on her own, even though she already has pretty fine hair to begin with since this Miracle Detangler came into our lives.

Happy to share that Original Sprout is back, and is now available at Watsons, Guardian, Kiddy Palace, Motherswork and 1010 Mothers & Child Essentials. Alternatively, you can purchase Original Sprout online on at www.originalsprout.com.sg.

Happy to have lugged them all in our luggage last holiday and pampered ourselves with worry-free luxury.

~~~

Disclosure: We are users of Original Sprout since we did a review for the brand when it first launched in SG back in March 2014. Original Sprout sponsored the products we packed in our luggage and all opinions here are our own. Unless we love it, we won’t share it. We’ve loved it since the day we used their products!

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

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.

Ottica review by Motherkao (P1) - Copy

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

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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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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

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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

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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!

All this blog's PR Stuff Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Add surprise to your shopping – Lazada GSS Sale: 3 more days to go!

June 3, 2017

I’ve been a mother for the last 8 years which also means one thing: I’ve been shopping online mostly for the past 8 years too. It’s amazing, the amount of browsing and “screen” shopping I do while tucking the kids in bed.

I’m super thrilled to learn that Lazada Singapore is having one of our biggest sales of the year in June and to celebrate the annual Great Singapore Sale, they’ll be bringing back the “Surprise Boxes” which received overwhelming response during their Birthday Sale earlier in March.

I got my firsthand experience receiving the Lazada x Beautiful Me Mum & Bubs Box lately, and by golly.

It was a surprise, alright; it was a huge one!

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Each surprise box consists of a range of exciting products from brands such as Maybelline, Logitech, Laneige, Blackmores, Philips Avent, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Sennheiser and Nature Republic, just to name a few. Each box is customised to who you are and your choice of preferred lifestyle, so to speak – are you a health and beauty junkie? a gaming couch potato? a techie? a parent with young bubs? – and features a specific category of products.

No surprises here, what my choice of category was.

And my little reviewers picked and chose what they like from the nine items we received from the “Surprise Box”.  Love it how they have a mind of their own now, and are helping me to partially reveal what you’ll get in a Lazada x Beautiful Mums & Bub Box.

Aveeno Baby Lightly Scented Natural Oat Extract Wash & Shampoo

So the little girl loves anything that would prettify her. She picked the Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo that’s soap-free, tear-free, paraben-free and allergy-tested. She lathered it on her hair and skin for a gentle wash and came out smelling fresh and fragrant, like any girl who loves a good bath and hair wash would.

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Loved it that a brand like this cares for sensitive skin. First time hearing of Aveeno Baby, though definitely not the last if I can be ordering it from Lazada.

Blackmores Kids Fruity Fishies

Fish oil is something I can never get my kids to eat. They say they hate the aftertaste if they burped.

The packaging with the cute fishy face and the capsules in the bottle looking like cherry tomatoes managed to convince Nat to take it on as its reviewer.

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Well, he was a little apprehensive at first, when I told him something’s gonna burst in his mouth, and had to calm his own nervousness with his fidget spinner (hurhurhur). But as soon as the burstable capsule released some orange-raspberry flavour, he was all smiles and said it was yummy. Yay!

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy development in children but too many kids these days don’t eat enough fish to get sufficient omega-3s from their diet (tell me about it – fish is expensive here ok). One burstable capsule contains 500mg of  concentrated omega-3 triglycerides-fish oil, and is naturally-flavoured and tooth-friendly,

Happy to be giving one to every kid since it’s passed the test of taste with the youngest!

Bioglan Kids Smart Vita Gummies

I make the kids eat elderberry supplements often but I never knew this was available in the market as a gummy. Black elderberry is an excellent immunity booster and the kids have been taking them in chewable tablet form every time I sense a cough and cold coming.

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This was much loved by everyone – who wouldn’t like chewy gummies that would pack a punch of zinc, vitamin C and elderberry juice?

The kids wouldn’t be saying no, for sure, and they loved it that the Bioglan elderberry gummies were found in the “Surprise Box”.

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With participation from so many awesome brands, there’s bound to be a “Surprise Box” tailored for everyone. We hear that this GSS, there’ll be flash deals every 2 hours and items going for up to 90% off. If you’re a mum with bubs like me, you can go straight for the Mum & Bubs box, and go find out what else awaits you besides what we’ve revealed. I’m sure the health & beauty or gaming or home & living boxes wouldn’t disappoint too in terms of surprises, and you can definitely look forward to shopping with a twist this GSS from 6 – 8 June 2017 for your surprise boxes!

Gonna be upfront here too, to suggest that you use my affiliate link so I can get some good stuff from Lazada too, heh. And if you’d like more discounts, check out with this voucher code*: GSSLIZ18  so you can get more for less!

Happy shopping, this GSS!

~~~

More details:

During the GSS, each Lazada Surprise Box consists of items worth a minimum of $100 and goes for $29 nett. The voucher code GSS LIZ18 is applicable from 6th to 8th June for new customers, 18% off capped at $8 with no minimum spend required.

Disclosure: We’ve been invited onboard the Lazada Affiliate Programme, and received this box courtesy from Lazada Singapore. No monetary compensation was received and all reviews done by the Kao kids are feature our own honest opinions. 

 

All this blog's PR Stuff Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Solution to tracking after-school routines: the 3M Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface [Review]

April 15, 2017

I need a way to keep track.

Of my kids, and what they need to do at home, that is. 

Every day, while I am busy at work, my kids would call me on my mobile (and sometimes they sound so like one another) and ask if they could watch tv / go to the playground / go downstairs to scoot / play catch at the stairwell and I have no way of checking if they have followed the routine I set for them – which includes completing their school work, doing at least 30 minutes of homelearning and packing their room and study area.

And when one says (and sometimes I need to ask: Who am I speaking to? because they sound so alike!) “I’ve done my homework!” and I say, “Ok, you can head to the playground for an hour”, it usually means that ALL THREE of them ascend into the playground madness WHETHER or not ALL THREE of them have actually finished their homework.

And because I am not physically home to ensure the home routine is followed and my helper is usually busy with other more important things like laundry and dinner prep, the Kao kids have found a way to circumvent the after-school routine which I have set by just getting the one that’s done what he/she is supposed to do to call Mama to ask for tv time or play time.

Which also leaves me with a huge headache when I come home because I would check school bags (for Ben and Becks) and find worksheets undone, spelling not learned and revision of tests/quizzes totally not part of their after-school discipline.

I’m trying to get some things automatic here – like checking school bag for homework and completing it before play. It’s a good discipline to have and keeps the school-going ones doing at least the bare minimum for consistent academic work.

All this long-windedness to say one thing: HALLELUJAH for this timely delivery!

My favourite brand sent me this lately and it was in such appropriate timing to solve my present woes. The 3M Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface was a simple yet effective tool to help me keep track of the after-school routine.

This was how we did it:

Find an empty surface for an instant, flexible whiteboard solution - in our case, we have a wall space

Find an empty surface for an instant, flexible whiteboard solution – in our case, we have a wall space

Slowly and gently remove the backing so that the self-stick film can stick onto the wall - Nat (the shortest in the brood) needs to be the gauge for the height limit

Slowly and gently remove the backing so that the self-stick film can stick onto the wall – Nat (the shortest in the brood) needs to be the gauge for the height limit

Smoothen out bubbles with the 3M cloth provided

Smoothen out any bubbles with the 3M cloth provided

Line the borders with tape so that writing does not go beyond

Line the borders with tape so that writing does not go beyond

Remind children where the writing can start and where it must stop

Remind children where the writing can start and where it must stop

Allocate and task-check corner (I used black tape to create a table); and give instructions - every day after school check for (1) school work to be done (2) home learning revision to be done AND then put a smilely face in the box once completed

Allocate a task-check corner (I used black tape to create a table); and give instructions – every day after school check for (1) school work to be done (2) home learning revision to be done AND then put a smilely face in the box once completed

Declare the rest of the surface a doddle and practice corner. Becks immediately practises ting-xie words!

Declare the rest of the surface a doddle and practice corner. Becks immediately practises ting-xie words!

And this was how I solved my tracking problem by making it somewhat self-regulated; every school day there must be accountability for these two areas – school work and homelearning. And all by using a flexible whiteboard on an available wall space in the house.

So far, it’s been proving to be quite effective. Except I must say I am beginning to hate the marker dust bits settling everywhere and the kids have to be nagged all the time to wash their hands after every session  of scribbling on the wall.

Oh well, hopefully someday, someone invents a dust-less marker.

For now, some parts of the wall is also stained with marker stains, which is a little annoying. Although they aren’t writing on the wall, their enthusiasm when erasing things with a duster (think using broad arm strokes) sometimes cause some staining here and there at the edges.

Other than that, I am quite happy that such a sight is found daily in the evenings when the kids are winding down before going to bed:

Playing tic-tac-toe

Playing tic-tac-toe

Doodling and self-expression - notice how each kid has associated his/her favourite things by drawing them under their names

Doodling and self-expression – notice how each kid has associated his/her favourite things by drawing them under their names

…And I am happy to put up with some marker dust and a stained-markered wall in exchange for sibling moments like these.

Hopefully the self-regulated tracking doesn’t lose its momentum too!

~~~

More details:

3M introduces its first flexible whiteboard solution, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface, designed to transform ordinary surfaces into instant work and collaborative spaces. Utilising a proprietary dry erase coating, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface is a rolled, self-stick film product that easily adheres to horizontal or vertical surfaces, converting them into a pristine, dry erase board. It is light-weight and able to be stuck on painted dry/steel walls, finished wood, glass or existing dry erase/chalk boards. It also features a stain-proof writing surface that provides smooth writability and erasibility, and is less susceptible to scratching.

Utilising the Post-it® Super Sticky adhesive, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface does not require tools for installation or wall repair after removal.

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The Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface (60.9cm x 91.4cm) retails at $55.95 (w/ GST) and is available in selected Popular bookstores. The Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface will retail at a special price of $39.90 (w/ GST) at the Popular Book Fest that will be happening from 2-11 Dec at Suntec City.

Disclosure: The Kao kids received this flexible whiteboard last month for the purpose of this review; no monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are our own.