Browsing Category

The real supermom

All this blog's PR Stuff Reviews The real supermom

Minus Calories 30-Minute Workout at Active Hive [+Giveaway]

July 25, 2015

Many people wear their post-workout soreness like a badge of honour for having pushed their limits and worked  their muscles hard.

But me and lactic acid build-up – neh, we don’t usually go together. I don’t welcome it, and as a result I don’t like to exercise. When I do exercise and suffer the wretchedness of a sore body, I’d start swearing to myself I will never again exercise – and so begins the love-hate relationship with exercising and this damn thing called lactic acid.

So it remains then that should you take lactic acid away and dissolve it into the abyss forever, you’d find Motherkao all raring to go exercise.

Cue the Minus Calories Workout at Active Hive.

When I was invited to try it out for 5 sessions for a consecutive 2 weeks, the thoughts that ran through my mind were: me not eager. me not keen. I can think up a gazillion legit excuses, if I had to to avoid lactic acid.

Actually, I’m all for exercising, keeping fit, moving away from my sedentary lifestyle, lowering my cholesterol level, getting more cardio workouts, building my muscle mass, reducing my fat mass, and burning away all those calories from my sinful indulgences of bacon, egg yolks, organ meat and butter – things that I live to eat. I think I have more reasons to work out than not BUT the aching was my biggest issue.

And then I was told I would not ache a single bit if I did the Minus Calories 30-Minute Workout and I.was.sold.

I had to see this for myself – CAN I WORK OUT WITHOUT ACHING? Really?

Ladies and gents. I’ve tried it, done it, tested it.

And I’m here to shout out loud: IT’S POSSIBLE TO WORK OUT WITHOUT ACHING. REALLY.

A Body Composition Analysis first ...

At Active Hive: a Body Composition Analysis first …

The exercise machine within the Minus Calories machine

The exercise machine within the Minus Calories machine

Step in and work out!

Step in and work out!

Apparently, this “miracle” invention of a machine (of course together with the exercise equipment) promises you that a 30-minute workout is all that you need to burn calories five times more than the usual workouts. The infrared which is the secret to the NO ACHES, NO LACTIC ACID BUILDUP and ionized air not only optimises fat burning but also makes you sweat more and effectively remove toxins quickly.

So what if you had to work out in the sauna-like infrared enclosed space (totally safe level, by the way)? I didn’t mind that at all.

What I hear is in exchange for 30 minutes of my time (and watching my favourite hk and k-drama on tablet while at that!) and keeping my pulse rate at 75%, I get quintuple the effect of a normal workout, I sweat my toxins out, and the infrared technology improves the rate of my blood circulation, metabolism and absorption of anti-cellulite or slimming creams (I had anti-cellulite cream applied on me before every session. BURN, BABY, BURN!). The ionized air also supplies purified oxygen to rejuvenate my skin cells and improve my respiratory system and speeds up the process of purging toxins and weight loss.

By Session 2, I was encouraged by Nikki from Active Hive to push to burn more than 500 calories. Or course, the infrared was turned off at 30 minutes. And I continued to use the Step Exercise Machine.

By Session 2, I was encouraged by Nikki from Active Hive to push to burn more than 500 calories. Or course, the infrared was turned off at 30 minutes. I continued to use the Step Exercise Machine. And yes, I was watching some random HK drama.

This was by the 4th session. And Running Man kept me company.

This was by the 4th session. And Running Man kept me company.

I had a really incredible time pushing my limits (while keeping within the acceptable pulse rate) progressively throughout my five sponsored sessions – I absolutely felt no soreness nor any lactic acid build-up. ZILCH. I looked forward to sweating like a pig, catching up on action in dramaland, and drinking that slow-juiced glass of goodness from a concoction of beetroot, celery, spinach, xiao bai cai, carrot, lime and orange after every workout.

A treat I look forward to after every workout

A treat I look forward to after every workout

Definitely won't have taken beetroot under any circumstances!

Definitely won’t have taken beetroot under any circumstances!

...Or drink a concoction of celerey, spinach, and all imaginable leafy greens!

…Or drink a concoction of celerey, spinach, and all imaginable leafy greens!

The result that I lost 0.2 percent of my fat mass was just the cherry on the cake. I enjoyed the workout more than anything, only because I didn’t have to deal with any horrible morning-afters, also known as wretched lactic acid build-up.

Such should be the happiness of exercising.

Working out the sweat, with anti-cellulite cream smeared all over my belly, thighs and even my double chin!

Working out the sweat, with anti-cellulite cream smeared all over my belly, thighs and even my double chin!

More details:

The Minus Calories 30-Minute Workout is only available at Active Hive (65 Ubi Road 1 #02-88, Oxley Bizhub, Singapore 40872 | Tel: 6385 2758).

Active Hive will be conducting a holistic wellness workshop on 15 August 2015. Learn how to ‘Get the Right Balance’ to improve your overall health. Register for the event here.

AND NOW, for a GIVEAWAY:

5 readers will stand to win a free trial workout at Active Hive on the Minus Calories machine, complete with 1 free Body Composition Analysis and 1 post-workout juice worth up to SGD103*.

To participate, all you need to do is:

1) LIKE and SHARE Active Hive’s Facebook Page

2) Comment here on this blog to share one tip on how you handle soreness after you exercise

Giveaway ends 31 July 2015.

*Terms & Conditions*

  • Winners must provide Active Hive with full name, email, mobile number and NRIC before Active Hive issues a letter for redemption.
  • Winners will liaise direct with Active Hive for their trial redemption.
  • Winners must utilise their trial session by the stipulated time provided by Active Hive.

Disclosure: I didn’t want to exercise, but I went, because I was sold on the ‘no-ache’ part. But it was in exchange for working out in a machine that had infrared technology for about 30 minutes. I was cool with that – that was my ‘no pain no gain’. I received no monetary compensation for this review, and all opinions here are my own. Oh, and the glass of slow juice after every session was a chockful of veggie-fruit goodness I wouldn’t otherwise ingest if I had a choice. Do tell them if you absolutely hate something.

All this blog's PR Stuff Ben Kao Happy days Milestones and growing up The real supermom

Sundown with love, running at sundown with my loves

July 10, 2015

I wanted to give up long before race day. There were more than enough reasons to anyway.

I needed to focus on work and cancel out any distraction.  There were processes to settle, curriculum to prepare and ideas to incubate. I didn’t have time to train (except for the five calories-burning sessions at Active Hive – another post on that soon). My husband, who was taking part in the Sundown Marathon with me, was not well for a long while with a phlegmy cough that didn’t go away. Ben had been having the sniffles too with his sensitive nose acting up a lot these days.

But a commitment is a commitment is a commitment. I said I’d do the 5km Fun Run for Sanctuary House, which I’ve been attempting to canvass donations for.

When Race Day arrived – and we were supposed to report at 7pm – I was already totally exhausted from being at work 6 hours earlier in the day. Fatherkao had a headache and popped two panadols that evening. The only one raring to go was Ben. And I had two other whining, unhappy, digruntled children who wouldn’t give me a break with their incessant grumblings about why they had to stay home with the helper. Not even TV helped.

But still we went, because a commitment is a commitment is a commitment, and boy, were we glad we did. That cool, lovely evening on 4 July totally made it to one of the high points of my year.

It was beautiful to be running at sundown.

The sunset view from Fatherkao's phone camera

The sunset view from Fatherkao’s phone camera

Add to that, the thoughtful organisers timed the Fun Run flag off to coincide with the fireworks from the NDP Rehearsal. We stopped after 1 km, stood by the Singapore River facing the Fullerton, and took in the breathtaking sights of the fireworks display before our eyes. Absolutely spectacular.

How close did we come ti soak in this spectacular sight?

How close did we come to soak in this spectacular sight?

This close. What a treat for the run!

This close. What a treat for the run!

And then being able make it to the half way mark with my firstborn – holding hands, encouraging him to press on, and sometimes looking at him from the back (yes, he got ahead of his very exhausted Mama) and thanking God that I have been blessed with lovely, healthy children.

Had this picture of the boys' back edited as a sketch because it's more poignant that way. I want to give thanks for the fact that in front of me ran two healthy boys!

Had this picture of the boys’ back edited as a sketch because it’s more poignant that way. I want to give thanks for the fact that in front of me ran two healthy boys!

And also extremely grateful that my husband, who hates running very much, was doing this with us with nary a grumble, encouraging Ben and me along the way, and teaching my firstborn some of life’s precious lessons. Overheard many times was the father telling the son to press on, not give up and reach for our goal. There were so many precious bonding moments no amount of money can buy.

When we held hands and made it through the finish line, it was touching to see the look of pride my son had on his face. That beaming, proud face after experiencing his first 5km-run. That look that says he’s grown up a little more after that evening.

Just the 3 of us

Just the 3 of us

Ben's well-deserved medal!

Ben’s well-deserved medal!

We had a lovely night after the run, being hosted by the organisers for dinner at the VIP tent, and talking a nice long walk to the MRT station talking about the events of the day and what the run was like for us. It was really, really nice to be walking hand in hand – just the three of us – like we were the best of friends and it was a beautiful and special moment for our firstborn too. I want to be doing this some time soon with Becks and then with Nat. I think that would be equally incredible.

Thank you, OSIM and Hivelocity, for the invitation to join the Sundown Marathon as a Sundown with Love Ambassador. We received more love that day than we could give.

Donations for Sanctuary House via the Sundown with Love platform closes 31 July 2015. If you could show a little love, click this link.

Disclosure: We were invited to be social influencers for the OSIM Sundown Marathon. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions here are our own.

Everyday fun! Family life as we know it Learning fun! Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids The real supermom

How’s it looking, now that it’s April

April 14, 2015

I’ve been running round with a cape trying my best to be supermom ever since the year started and I can only say the road ahead will only get tougher for this super-tired mom. At this point of my life I am trying to do the entrepreneur-working-mom-slash-do-my-best-to-be-as-much-a-hands-on-mom but it’s one heck of an ambition and everyone around me tells me I am crazy / ambitious / crazily ambitious / ambitiously crazy / impossible.

I think so too.

My children are growing up so quickly before my eyes and if there’s only one consolation of being away so often now is the consolation that I did three kids back to back with only an 18-month gap in between each kids, and today Ben, Becks and Nat are BFFs. They entertain one another, help each other, and do everything after kindergarten hours together I now wear the back-to-back pregnancies like my badge of honour.

So if anyone reading this is looking for a reason to do their kids with a close age gap, I have just sold you one.

So how is it like to juggle the demands of running a business and being a mom? How does this mothering thing actually work now that I have a business to run?

Well, apart from not being able to do much meal planning and cooking (which my wonderful husband has kindly offered to step in to do) and having to outsource the mundane tasks like packing bags, showering and diapering (oh wait, it’s not a biggie anymore, with all the kids toilet trained, except for Becks and Nat for the night), and not hovering over and all around like the helicopter mom I always am, everything is still quite fine because we don’t take one another’s presence for granted now.

We now ask this question every day: how do we make the best of the time we have? 

My kids are gradually realising that being with Mama is precious; she doesn’t have all day to nag and wait for them like she used to when she stayed home for two years. We make the best of every moment we spend, and every short burst of activity we do becomes purposeful and meaningful.

So when it’s time for Mama School, the learning is differentiated. My helper supervises the work I prepare for the kids if I can’t be around…

Here’s sharing something I did with the kids earlier, when the boys were in the dinosaur craze:

Ladies and Gents, I need you all to meet Beth Gorden, one supermom who runs 123 Homeschool 4 Me, which has 300+ free printables and teaching ideas. She's got awesome theme packs to use, and here, I created a differentiated set from her free Dinosaur pack for my kids aged 6, 4.5 and 3

Ladies and Gents, I need you all to meet Beth Gorden, one supermom who runs 123 Homeschool 4 Me, which has 300+ free printables and teaching ideas.
She’s got awesome theme packs to use, and here, I created a differentiated set from her free Dinosaur pack for my kids aged 6, 4.5 and 3

I first made booklets with a cool cover page for each of them...

I first made booklets with a cool cover page for each of them…

Dino Work 03

I then culled what I felt was appropriate for each of my kid at his / her developmental level, sourced for more printables from the Internet and put them all together

For Ben, I made him learning bigger words

For Ben, I made him learn bigger words by creating my own set of worksheets for spelling

It's at least half an hour of engaged learning for the Kao kids

It’s at least half an hour of engaged learning for the Kao kids

And then they also come to Mama’s  actual “school” for their lessons. They interact with other children, and have lots of fun learning with Mama as their teacher…

This a Logic & Literacy class I run

This is a Logic & Literacy class I run

Learning at BlueTree 02

And another one for pre-primary children

My husband also takes them out to the amazing farms that are around us on some week days. We are living close to Seletar Farmway where the Animal Resort, Seaview Aquarium and Mycofarm (mushrooms!) are, and so they pop in and out like regular troopers on mini field trips…

Learning about fungi at Mycofarm (9 Seletar West Farmway 5, 798057), where you can buy mushrooms cheaper here

Learning about fungi at Mycofarm (9 Seletar West Farmway 5, 798057), where you can buy mushrooms cheaper here

Mycofarm 02

Just observing and exploring is meaningful time spent!

Sometimes, I schedule a quick bake break (especially when the bananas are turning black faster than we can say ‘bananas’), and they get involved…

The tasks are pretty much assigned for a banana cake. Ben mashes the bananas, Becks sieves flour and Nat whisks eggs

The tasks are pretty much assigned for a banana cake. Ben mashes the bananas, Becks sieves flour and Nat whisks eggs!

And then every night, we choose between catching past episodes of Running Man (which I believe greatly fuels their creativity) or reading bedtime stories. If they choose the latter, each of them gets to choose a book for me to read aloud. I bought all 50 books in this list so these titles (plus our Bible stories) are our bedtime staples.

And then it’s intense oiling and foot massage (if I still have the energy left) and time for bed.

I dish out like a million hugs and kisses at bedtime too. It’s to make up for not being around.

And when they go to bed, I start working again.

And the cycle goes on like this.

So.

I think it’s extremely doable – if you have an itchy backside like me and want to do things out there. You just need to make sure you have children who can keep each other company and be best friends and best enemies with, and then schedule in short bursts of fun and learning. Oh yes, that plus a really trusty right-hand aide (like a good helper whom you can outsource everything that is time-consuming to from ironing to steaming mantou for breakfast) and being able to reserve your last ounce of energy for a heartwarming tuck-in at bedtime every night.

You’ll be tired, I’m so sure you would; but nothing beats a healthy dose of ‘We-miss-Mama-we-will-treasure-her’ and ‘I-miss-my-kids-I-am-going-to-choose-my-battles’ every day.

Nobody’s gonna be taking nobody for granted these days, that’s for sure.

My babies and their Mama in a huddle

Wefie: My babies and their Mama in a huddle

***

P/S: If you’re all ready to start something and get entrepreneurial, you have a friend here. Hook up with me and we can give each other friendly, mommy support! :)

(Self) Examination Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids The real supermom

Memory Lane

February 12, 2015

Recently, a reporter from the papers rang me up to ask if she could do a story about what motherhood is like, having three kids so close in age. She then asked me some routine questions so she could find the interest angle in my story. I don’t know if what I shared would end up as a feature in the papers, but talking to her sure brought back a flood of memories.

Memories – though somewhat a little hazy now – of how I discovered I was pregnant after Ben was barely nine months, and having to deal with a very horrible, terrible, no good first trimester of wretching, wretching and more wretching, always feeling so sorry that I couldn’t last longer breastfeeding Ben (and to think I even wanted to try tandem feeding!) …

Memories of how tough being pregnant in the last trimester was, with a toddling toddler in tow, and being every bit the hands-on mom that I am, doing everything for him (and refusing to let the domestic helper do what a mother should do) …

Ben at Year 1

Memories of how Becks was such a difficult baby refusing to latch, Ben graduating from infantcare to toddler class at daycare, and me breaking down like a wreck seeing how hard he cried at our separation every morning after his sister was born …

Ben with Becks at Year 1

And memories of how the road to having an infant and a toddler was made even tougher when my husband broke his leg and was out of commission for the following half of the year…

And then discovering that I was pregnant again when Becks was transiting to solids well and learning to toddle like a pro…

Becks Toddling

Becks Year 1

To realise that the moment Nat was born it was almost an automatic given that Becks would enter her Terrible Twos, albeit half a year earlier …

And then I suddenly had in my hands – gosh, not enough hands! – two toddlers and one infant …

KaoKids7

And that when they were in childcare and infantcare, and falling sick quite often with germs having a heyday in the house, I had used up all my leave, my savings, and my energy …

Nat 3 Months

Nat 6 Months

Those years were insane years.

And then I was asked the question: if I could do it all over again, would I at least try to space them further apart? Or maybe… stop at two…?

And a deluge of sentimentality hit me so hard it took me quite a while to recover. While I sounded composed and did all my polite laughs, I was choking on the inside.

Those years were hard. Those years were crazy. What was I thinking?

But these faces.

KaoKids1

KaoKids2

KaoKids3

KaoKids4

These children today, at 6, 5 and 3, and the bond that they share being each other’s best friends, is the reason I say makes everything worthwhile.

I would do three kids, 18 months apart, in a heartbeat. My world has never known otherwise, and yet my world has been made complete with the three children I have today.

It has been one hell of a mad, mad ride, but it’s totally worth it.

KaoKids6

KaoKids5

All this blog's PR Stuff Happy days Reviews The real supermom

De-Auntify Me: From flat to wavy chic at Mosche [Review]

January 12, 2015

The hair’s flat out and the highlights are getting lighter by the day. Almost three inches of my hair from the roots is black while the rest languish in a pallid ghastly blonde-ness which makes me look, erm

Terrible.

As part of de-auntifying myself, I headed down to Royal Plaza on Scotts to review the hair services at Mosche Hair Salon. I was really blessed to have scored an invitation to try out the services at one of the oldest and more established hair salons in Singapore. Mosche Hair Salon has been around since 1979 and has had generations of loyal customers who would faithfully travel whenever they moved to locate them. The salon’s made yet another move to Royal Plaza on Scotts just a year ago, and is boasting of a bigger space and better façade.

The posh entrance of Mosche Hair Salon at Royal Plaza on Scotts

The posh entrance of Mosche Hair Salon at Royal Plaza on Scotts

At Mosche, I was introduced to the most dynamic duo I’ve ever met all my years visiting hair salons – paid or sponsored. There was so much synergy between my hairstylist, Leslie, and his partner, Annie. I actually had my hair checked and my appointment with Leslie booked a week before my first appointment (Leslie is a busy man!), to see if it was suitable to be permed. I told them I badly needed to get out of this flat hair and Leslie said he must have Annie to do a hair check-up for me before he would go ahead. The hair assessment was quick and after some tugging and routine questions, Annie said I could return another day to get it all done.

My first appointment

Upon my arrival, Leslie, together with Annie, conceptualised the look they wanted for me. They agreed the flatness of the hair needed to go, and a sassy digital perm was in order. Leslie was in charge of the cut and Annie was in charge of the perm. And I could see how important their individual roles were because Leslie’s experienced scissorhands were extremely crucial to give the hair its correct shape. He had to visualise how it would look permed while cutting. For the first time, my front was kept longer than my back – and it was most interesting to hear that this was to facilitate a soft look and not have the perm turn me into an auntie with a typical one-length cut.

This, I didn’t know. This kind of attentiveness, I never had. Ever.

Before: the ghastly pallid blonde-ness

Before: the ghastly pallid blonde-ness

One more 'Before' shot before the transformation

One more ‘Before’ shot before the transformation

Leslie Scissorhands

Leslie Scissorhands

And after the cut, Leslie had to pass me to Annie, because we’re talking about the most experienced woman to handle hair perms, ever. Her experience and professionalism was seen with her checking meticulously every segment of hair for porosity and density, things that many a salon have skipped just to get business from me and to get things done quick. At one point, I felt Annie was almost looking at my hair strand by strand! She was that thorough in making sure that my perm would turn out all right. She would fit the curlers in, take them out, try different sizes of curlers until she was satisfied. She was giving me a digital perm which she promised would make me look like Korean chic and not Singaporean auntie.

Annie applies a serum to protect my hair and scalp before the perm

Annie applies a serum to protect my hair and scalp before the perm

And then, perm in progress!

And then, curling in progress!

Very meticulously and properly...

Very meticulously and properly…

Hooked up, and "digitised"!

Hooked up, and “digitised”!

A thorough check before leaving everything in to settle

A thorough check before leaving everything in to settle

And she made good her word.

Because after almost 3 hours of sitting and waiting, this was the result:

Leslie checking...

Leslie checking…

...and styling...

…and styling…

Ta da!

Ta da!

Side profile

Side profile

Now I know why the front hair needs to be longer than the back - it's to get this soft effect of flow!

Now I know why the front hair needs to be longer than the back – it’s to get this soft effect of flow!

This is an example of synergistic teamwork, by this dynamic duo, I tell you. I’ve never been to any salon (and this, I am being honest) where the communication happens so seamlessly. Usually the stylist tells their subordinates and the latter gets going, just following instructions. But here were two stylists, both in their professional capacity conceptualising from start to finish, and I hear that’s the norm here at Mosche.

So the final product was this but Leslie and Annie didn’t look like they were ready to let me go. They told me I needed to come back after a week (we need to wait for the perm to settle), because to leave my hair in this colour was not what they wanted this look to be.

Not completed yet, but a photo with the people who made this first happened!

Not completed yet, but a photo with the people who made this happen first!

My second appointment

Five days later, I returned to Mosche all ready for my colour. I was half expecting Leslie to do up some dark maroon which I liked, but he didn’t. He told me he was going to mix a dark mocha brown for me. Reasons being, one, he was going for a mature, sophisticated look, not K-pop idol look; and two, given my busy schedule for the months to come, I probably wouldn’t have the time to upkeep a brighter colour and it is best I stuck with something as close to my natural hair colour.

I don’t know about you but this is the first time I’ve met a hair stylist so considerate. It’s like a friend saying, yes, you can be adventurous, but can I help you be a little practical so you can still look sassy chic everyday?

I like.

So I had my hair colour done. First near the roots which sat in for a little longer than the ends due to the already uneven colouring.

Leslie checking and showing his assistant, Bell, what he wants for my hair colour

Leslie checking and showing his assistant, Bell, what he wants for my hair colour

Before the colouring I told Bell my scalp gets really irritated and itchy whenever I colour it, and she applies a protective cream on my scalp. Am pleased to announce this was the best hair colouring session ever, because I didn't feel itch and irritation at all. No other salons have applied this pre-colour on me except Mosche.

Before the colouring I told Bell my scalp gets really irritated and itchy whenever the colour gets on, and she applied a protective cream on my scalp. Am pleased to announce this was the best hair colouring session ever, because I didn’t feel itch and irritation at all. No other salons have applied this pre-colour protection on me before, except Mosche.

Meanwhile, there was free flow coffee and tea.

The final result? This.

The final mocha dark brown

The final mocha dark brown

Looking a little more sophisticated, I would say

Looking a little more sophisticated, I would say

Gorgeousness.

I really like this look and although it may not have been brightly coloured as I wanted, I think this muted stylish-ness is going to be serving me in good stead for the new year and in my new job.

So considerately thought out and thought through by this dynamic pair. So easy to tousle and go in the morning. So ready to start a brand new year with a brand new look! Thank you, Leslie and Annie, and Mosche Hair Salon, for making this happen and for this wonderful opportunity to be acquainted with you!

With Annie, the woman who transformed me from flat to wavy

With Annie, the woman who transformed me from flat to wavy

With Leslie

With Leslie, the one who conceptualised the style from start to end, and gave me the haircut to the colour

Good things must share, and thanks to Leslie and Mosche Hair Salon, here’s a promotion you can enjoy at Mosche ALL YEAR LONG (yes, the whole of 2015) just for Motherkao readers:

1. Cut & Colour  – SGD 280 nett

2. Cut & Perm – SGD 450 nett

3. Cut, Perm & Colour – SGD 580 nett

4. All other a la carte hair services – 25% discount

Simply quote [Elizabeth from Motherkao Blog] to enjoy these offers for the whole year long!

Mosche Hair Salon is located at Royal Plaza on Scotts Level 2, 25 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228220. The number to call is 6734 0923 or 9628 8312. (Remember to ask for Leslie or Annie!)

Post-Script

You know I’m going to make this disclosure, as I always do: Motherkao was invited by Mosche Hair Salon for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are her own.

I’ve said that BUT I’m also going to add this, not just because it was a complimentary hair service:

I’ve really had one of the best customer service of all the hair salons I’ve been to – whether paid or sponsored – at Mosche, simply because of the un-pretentiousness that I experienced from meeting Leslie and Annie. They are not people who would pull a fast one on you; they come across as professional yet sincere and they get a damn good job done.

The prices at this place reflect their impeccable service here, and I’d be forthright here and now to say they are on the steeper end compared to most of the others their league.

But here, satisfaction is guaranteed and if you’re really game to try a new look here, they hardly disappoint, as seen by the happy transformations on their Facebook page and heard by their loyal customers’ reviews. I’ve a friend who’s been with Leslie for 23 years and still counting, and will never ask for anyone else other than Leslie. Her mother, her friends and relatives count among his scores of loyal followers. That, to me, is the true test of a really solid hair stylist.

That he’s got followers for more than TWO decades.

 ~~~

Heck, after this, I’m going to have to start saving money, because it sure looks like I’m going to be a follower too.

Read the other posts in this series of De-Auntify Me here and here too.

(Self) Examination The real supermom

2015’s first project: De-Auntify Me

January 5, 2015

It’s a new year and a new beginning once again. It’s certainly an exciting thought to be able to rewrite the next 365 pages of our lives with renewed hope and vision.

To kickstart the year, I’ve embarked on a project makeover to deauntify myself. Yep, you heard that right. Since I’m returning to work after staying home for two years, I thought the start of this year would be the best time to dust the dust off those shoes, bags and dresses languishing in the wardrobe, throw out the probably expired make-up and start sorting accessories by colour and clothes type.

It’s time to get brows shaped, hair done and blackheads exterminated. It’s time to get physically fit and more sleep in. It’s time to take the clutter away and out, dump the frumpy frazzled and embrace the sassy chic.

Goodbye, SAHM. For now. Hello, ???-M. I don’t know what to call myself anymore (???)

Aunty at 33 - no more!

Aunty at 33 – no more!

I’ll be working every day but doing full-time mothering duties every day too, so I don’t know what ‘M’ that makes me. But one thing I do know for sure, I am saying goodbye to the aunty aunty gig, the one where the eyebags are black and deep, the hair ends are split and the face is scrubbed with soap in less than a minute. Yes, the one that features only t-shirt and shorts seven days a week. I’ve made enough sacrifices for the kids so now it’s time to bring back ME.

Watch this space for the ‘De-Auntify Me’ Series.

Happy days The Kao Kids The real supermom

The 4th Baby

December 8, 2014

Finally, after many months of gestation, the 4th baby is finally born.

I’ve shared in previous posts about going back to work, making the work-from-home gig work out, and being a better mom for the kids because it’s back to work for me after staying home with them for 2 years.

I was at work making this baby.

If you're curious why BlueTree - blue is the colour of wisdom, and we believe in growing every child

If you’re curious why BlueTree – blue is the colour of wisdom, and we believe in growing every child

With Mom Blogger Friends who write at MumCraft, Mummy Ed, Xavylicious, Evespiration, RayConnieBaby and Amazingly Still

With mom blogger friends who write at Mum Craft, Mummy Ed, Xavy-licious, Evespiration, RayConnieBaby and Amazingly Still

And their kids!

And their kids!

We always knew that staying home with the kids was never the final destination of anything. It was to be the start of a journey to ideate and conceive the impossible.

I started this because I believe in education. I really do. I worked as an educator for 7 years and still miss every single day being in a classroom.

I’m not one of those crazy parents that hothouses her children but  judging by how the education landscape is changing and how increasingly populated we are as a country, I am beginning to think it is a little myopic to reject supplementary education totally and to dismiss it. Having been in classrooms at all levels from primary, secondary and pre-university, I see that there’s a lot that can be done with supplementary education that mass education cannot do. Mass education – and the quality of it – can kill the love for learning and the true motivations for thinking. Mass education can only do what it does best – to mass produce.

And hence, my little own “school”.

And so if this blog is becoming silent for a while, please forgive me. I’ve got a whole lot of nursing to do with this new baby. This space will still be what it was meant to be – a chronicling of my journey as a mother of the Kao kids whom I had back to back (and how time flies; they are 5,4 and 2 now!) which would be my gift for these precious babies who have taught me much about life. This blog will not become a business platform, I assure you. It will remain a sacred space where you will commiserate with me the woes of raising children (hurhurhur), as well as share vicariously the joys of happy moments and beautiful times.

I may be wrapped up with the new baby for now but my heart will always belong to the three babies at home who have so much love in their hearts to give. This space will always be for them, and about them.

Picture by Orange Studios

Picture by Orange Studios

 

P/S: For the record, this baby isn’t all mine. I’ve got support and help coming from everywhere. I’ve always believed in angels.

Family life as we know it The Kao Kids The real supermom

Family life as we know it

September 11, 2014

I’ve been missing this space, and missing in action on this space for a while. So much is going on at the moment, and it’s a season of change once again.

I am going back to being a full-time working mom.

After two years of staying home and incubating ideas, I’m finally going to be giving birth to what I’ve been pregnant with for the longest time (haha, not the 4th child lah!).

I’m going to return to work that’s promising to be more fun, more fulfilling and more meaningful. Best of all, it’s something which I can call my own, and it’s something that will help the family move forward.

So we’re saying goodbye to the humdrum of old routines, and welcoming change as it comes.

That also means I will be spending considerably less time with the kids. I won’t be able to hover over them as much as I would like to (like I have done for the past 2 years, hurhurhur) and while the mom duties of chauffeuring, coaching and cuddling will still remain unchanged for as long as there’s breath in me, the kids will not be having Mama around on some days and at certain parts of the day.

But boy, am I so heartened to know that even when I am not around, my all-grown-up-babies are very much able and willing to entertain themselves – and one another. I am so glad that we did 3 kids in 4 years, now on hindsight. Because in light of this new business venture I am undertaking, it is so heartwarming and assuring to be seeing this:

Picnic Together

And this:

Kao Kids Play Together

And this:

Kao Kids and Lanterns

The Kao kids play together so well now, and three’s really a crowd. A boisterous, lively and happy crowd that’s fun, funny and so entertaining to watch. Yes, there are fights and squabbles, lots of tattling and whining still but there’s also so much laughter in the house, more than ever before, which is so, so, so reassuring for me because it means that everything we’ve been doing is worth the while.

Although I’ve been so hard-pressed in every way – to learn the ropes of running a business, to plan my time more effectively, to fill love tanks and gas tanks, to keep the household in order, to exercise and stay fit for my health’s sake – it’s amazing how everyone is adapting to this change together with me – the husband, my kids, and even the helper. We’re all learning to give and love despite ourselves. We’re all learning to celebrate every little success as we go along the way.

And I’m learning that even when you’re stretched paper thin, you have this thing called family that you can always count on to give you the support and love you need.

Family life can’t get better than this.

(Self) Examination All this blog's PR Stuff The real supermom

Onwards to staying fit and fab, and running to live great

August 17, 2014
How much running took place yesterday? A lot to me - since my JC days!

How much running took place yesterday? A lot to me – since my JC days!

Ever since I joined the Great Eastern Women’s Run ‘Run To Live Great’ Programme as their influencer, I’ve been trying to convince myself that running can be fun, and most importantly, that I can run.

Anyone who knows me knows I never run and how much I dislike it. When I was 16, I walked the entire Cross Country route of my school’s annual Cross Country event at MacRitchie Reservoir as a sign of protest of how much I hated to be made to run every single year. I’m not going to the army, I’m not going to pursue anything athletic, why, oh why do you torture me like this, was what I always asked my PE teacher.

Now at 33, I suffer from constant fatigue and high cholesterol. If only I had made the decision to exercise regularly at an earlier age. Why, oh why, did I not have that maturity to understand that whatever I sow, I also reap.

Someone once told me, “If you want energy, sow it.”

Yesterday, I took time out to sow MORE energy into my life. I’ve already started to take small steps by jogging at least once a week for 15 to 20 minutes to get my heart rate up in preparation for the 5km I have to run in November, but yesterday was a major leap forward for the training.

At the Training Run organised by the GEWR’s ‘Run To Live Great’ Programme yesterday morning, I went through a session of understanding the different heart rate zones and experiencing what the various intensity levels of exercise feel like.

So I learned that exercise can be divided into three intensity zones: light, moderate and hard. Each of these intensity levels corresponds to various fitness improving mechanisms in our body.

When we alternate between intensity zones, we improve our fitness in the long run.

Greek to you? Actually, me too. But because I was put through the practical, I understood what all these zoning zones mean exactly.

Because this was what I did:

* Light intensity zone = slow run for 300 metres, then warm up with some stretches. Continue to jog at a comfortable pace for 1km

* Moderate intensity zone = Jumping Jacks, High Knee, Run-Like-Mad-On-the-Spot + run a little faster than the light intensity jog for 1.5km

* Hard intensity zone = 2 x 500m walk lunges, 1 x 500m walk-and-twist lunge, 3 x 500m shuttle run + 400m sprint + 2.5km jog

The kind of lunges we had to do, as demonstrated by our trainer, Adrian

The kind of lunges we had to do for 500 metres, 3 times, as demonstrated by our trainer, Adrian

* And then warm down with stretches using a weight from something we can easily find, like a 2-litre water bottle

Stretching and taking a selfie

Stretching and taking a selfie

Yep, these were all I did to understand exercise zones. Yes, the walk-to-protest-at-Cross-Country-unfit-me.

Which all equals to nothing but a super ZONED-OUT me.

Training in zones = zoned out

Training in zones = zoned out

It’s now officially agonising to walk and climb the stairs and carry my littlest because every single muscle on my calves and thighs and butt and feet are aching like crazy, that plus every other muscle I never knew existed.

But it has been fun training with a bunch of enthusiastic and lively women I ran and perspired buckets with yesterday morning, and I am beginning to think that running can be fun, if and only when it’s done with a group of people who has such a zest for life, like the ladies I met yesterday.

GEWR 2014 Polar Loop Training Run Photo Credit: GEWR 2014

GEWR 2014 Polar Loop Training Run
Photo Credit: GEWR 2014

I have been inspired much yesterday. Inspired to live great, not because I am forced to, but because I get to.  What a privilege!

—-

If you’re unfit like me but want to start a quest towards getting your fitness level up, you could try doing the workouts that I shared at the light intensity zone and the moderate intensity zone. You can also follow some of the moms here on the Fit and Fab Blog Train to get some exercise tips, motivation and advice.

—-

AJ and JLNext on the Blog Train is Jenn, who was an athlete in her schooling days.  Ever since her only son was born, she could hardly find time to exercise.  Her energy level declined and her health condition deteriorated fast, especially in these last two years. She decided that she should work on her health, so when Alicia from beanienus.blogspot.sg invited mom bloggers to join the Fit and Fab Blog Train, she was more than happy to participate and share with her readers her struggles.

Follow her blog to find out the steps she has taken to regain her fitness once again.

—-

Read also: how my quest to getting fit began here.

(Self) Examination All this blog's PR Stuff The real supermom

Running to live great

June 11, 2014

I don’t run.

Not even to catch the bus. I usually wave my hands frantically and hope the bus driver notices me.  When I was in school, I never ran at cross country meets. And just so you know, I’ve never succeeded in passing my 2.4.

I’ve got friends who take part in races and marathons, and while I am in awe of them for finishing 21-km- and 42-km-runs, at the back of my mind I’m thinking that I have better things to do. Like vacuum the house, scrub the toilet and teach my children. Won’t that all work out a sweat as well?

When it comes to exercise, I am the most sedentary person you can ever meet.

But being sedentary has its price to pay. You feel lethargic and unfit all the time. You’ve got no outlet to vent your stress and all you end up doing is lashing out at people around you and screaming in their faces. And if you’re sedentary, busy with full-time motherhood and not watching what you eat, you’d end up face to face with a doctor who looks at you with great astonishment in his eyes.

At your age, you shouldn’t be having cholesterol this high, he tells you.

Cholesterol Level

This. This was my medical report last year.

You ought to start some serious exercising, he adds.

And I did. I tried. I tried swimming with the kids and running in circles round our void deck. I tried playing games on Xbox Kinect that involved vigorous movements.

I still feel horrible, unfit, easily exhausted and toxic.

So when the folks behind the Great Eastern Women’s Run (GEWR) 2014 approached me to join their ‘Run To Live Great’ Programme as their “influencer” to encourage more moms like me to stay fit and healthy, I decided this was the perfect opportunity for me to start somewhere. Actually, it was also decided because my husband kept on saying I need to go run and get some stress out my system, and a friend who runs at least one race a month has kindly agreed to buddy me for this.

At the Event Launch on Saturday @ 313 Somerset: Between me and my buddy, we have 6 kids!

At the Event Launch on Saturday @ 313 Somerset: Between me and my buddy, we have 6 kids!

Clowning around the photo booth!

My running buddy and me: Clowning around the photo booth!

It took a lot from me to say yes. A lot from me to put on those running shoes. A lot from me to finish those 3 kilometres last Sunday as part of the GEWR 3km-Run-Around-Town Event Launch. You’re looking at someone whose last run was 15 years ago on the school track and whose last strenuous thing she did was pushing a baby out.

But I did it.

Yes! I ran with all these lovely ladies on Sunday morning along Orchard Road! (Photo credit: GEWR 2014)

Yes! I ran with all these lovely ladies on Sunday morning along Orchard Road! Photo credit: Great Eastern Women’s Run 2014

So we stopped at the traffic light crossing and posed for a picture! (Spot Super Tired Me!)

So we stopped at the traffic light crossing and posed for a picture! (Spot Super Tired Me!) Photo credit: Great Eastern Women’s Run 2014

Hurray!

So here I am, standing on the other side, and saying this to all you sedentary moms out there: “It’s not easy but it can be done!” Just look at super-unfit-high-cholesterol-me.

We can all take small steps to keep fit. Wanna join me to do so for the Great Eastern Women’s Run 2014? It’s in November and we still have time. We can all work towards a healthier us together!

More details:

GE_BANNERRUNTOLIVEGREAT

  • Asia’s largest all-women run returns, underlining Great Eastern’s continued commitment to helping women live well and stay healthy. This year’s run sees the introduction of a new programme, #RuntoLiveGreat, to encourage non-runners to take that first step towards healthier and better living. The full-fledged programme will challenge 50 pairs of women to step forth and commit themselves to a healthier lifestyle by attending various training sessions, fringe activities and eventually complete a run of any race distance on event day.

 

  • To participate, simply need to submit a photo of yourself and your running partner, telling the organisers what Live Great means to you and your reasons for participating in the #RuntoLiveGreat Programme together. In return, each of the participants will receive a complimentary #RuntoLiveGreat kit worth up to S$350, comprising an adidas workout T-shirt, a pair of New Balance running shoes, a Polar Loop activity tracker and tailored exercise programme including complimentary all-access to three pre-assigned Great Eastern Women’s Run fringe activities.

 

  • This year, the Run will flag off and end at The Float@Marina Bay on Sunday, 9 November 2014. The Great Eastern Women’s Run will feature three race distances – 5km Live Great! Fun Run, 10km and 21.1. For more details on race categories, early bird discounts and promotions, and how to register, visit http://www.greateasternwomensrun.com .