Friday, October 30, 2015

Cirque Du Soleil - TOTEM

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A red carpet shot, usually reserved for the stars.
Last Wednesday was the first time that we got to watch the world-famous Cirque Du Soleil. Not that the kids had any chance to catch it in Singapore before since the last time they were here in Singapore was 10 years back, way before they were even born. The advertisements for TOTEM are now splashed all over Singapore, from MRTs, newspapers, to television and you wouldn't have missed it. Just search for the hashtags #CirqueDuSoleil and #TOTEM on social media and you will also find lots of awesome photos and accolades from those who attended the show. There are also lots of write-ups by fellow blogging friends from Sakura Haruka, SengkangBabies, Life's Tiny Miracles and HPility! and they will tell you how awesome TOTEM was. But I am just going to say what the kids got to enjoy!

Met many blogging friends at the show! Here's one with Andy and his brood from Sengkang Babies!
The kids got excited the moment they saw the big blue and yellow tents and immediately went monkeying around the courtyard. We spent lots of time soaking in the circus atmosphere and taking countless photos before we finally made our way to our seats. Met lots of celebrities along the way too. The first thing that caught Leroy's attention in the tent was the giant carapace of a chelonian. I was thinking to myself that it was probably some safety foam shaped like a tortoise shell for the acrobats just in case they fall. But it wasn't and the secret was revealed once the performance started. Just the opening act itself got the two kiddos glued to their seats!
Look who's gonna pull Leroy's ears? 
This is not the first circus we had seen, our first experience was at Chimelong International Circus in Guangzhou. China. The first act was about the origin of life and the acrobats in frog suits were really amazing with their precision and finesse and the crowd responded with their loudest clapping and cheers! It must have taken long periods of hard training together to put something like this together. I must add that they wore amazing costumes that truly mimicked the amphibians' shiny sheen on their skins and were spot on with their timing and the flock of their tongues!

The kiddos got to meet them up close and personal!
And there were of course hi-fives from the kiddos!
The other act which the kiddos enjoyed thorough was the skating scene were a performer who looked Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson performed amazing stunts on the smallest skating rink ever, with his partner (who reminded me of Pocahontas). Steffi said she loved this the most! There were so many other acts I would love to describe but then again, that would really be a spoiler if you intend to catch the show (which I really think you should, and with the kids too!). Some acts may look familiar and one might have probably seen elsewhere before, but there's only that much improvising one can do. Nevertheless watching it live is always amazing. Funny comedic actions throughout also kept the kids entertained and laughing out loud (or L-O-L like what Steffi would exclaim).

The performers from the act, Russian Bars. There were really a jolly bunch and picked the kiddos up for a nicer shot!
This being our very first Cirque Du Soleil show, I felt that the show was truly a visual feast for the eyes, with mesmerizing costumes and beautiful sets. Full of smooth mechanical transformations, wonderful light play and cool visual effects that seamlessly transforms set from one scene to another. The live music, often played using unusual "instruments" were also quite amazing, not to mention the beautiful and strong vocal of the African lady who sang live. If I closed my eyes, I would probably feel as if I was in the set of the Lion King! We attended the after show party, and the kids never wanted to leave, not until after midnight!

The only photo I took inside which showed the skeletal structure of the shell hoisted high up at the finale where the audiences gave a standing ovation for the awesome performances.
Met the ape after the show!
The Tracker was a strong guy and had both kids on his left arm!
The Clown Fisherman loves goofing around and the kiddos enjoyed his act too!
Valentino here loves showing off his bod and gyrating his hips, much to the kiddos' amusement.
Here's a photo with very obliging Jade Seah. Oh, I think that was Daniel's hand there.
We got to meet Jaime Teo again!
The kiddos found Patricia too! 
Thank you Base Entertainment for the wonderful evening at the circus and also to Hong Peng for bringing Steffi along! Check out Cirque Du Soleil's website to get your tickets now. Miss the show and you would have to fly to Tokyo to watch the next installation!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Spooky Junior 2015 - Enchanting World

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It was quite a last minute decision to bring the kids over to Spooky Junior at POLW, Sentosa last weekend and surprisingly it was the girls who wanted to follow me this time round. Leroy decided that going to work with mommy was a better choice. It was only when I got them dressed up and ready to get out of the house door when I realized that he was right, for I felt I was back in Genting highlands. The haze was back unfortunately.  

We had to wear masks as we walk over to Sentosa.
Nevertheless since I had promised the girls, we donned our masks and made our way to the State of Fun. The girls were expecting fun at the Halloween event since it was not their first time attending. Always fun to mix around and mingle with the other kids right? Unfortunately there was a much lesser turnout at the event due to the haze. The staff were still as enthusiastic as ever though ever thought there weren't as many kids! In any case, the parents who brought their kids out spared no effort in making sure their babies outshone the others! There were lots of very well-dressed kiddos indeed!   

The witch and the bat-eared fairy?
Little Stacci getting help with decorating her cookies!
I asked Steffi to pose with her cookie and she popped it right into her mouth. Yummy, she said.
There are also candy floss for the kiddos!
The highlight for the girls would be the completing of their activity card in exchange for a mystery gift in the magician's bag! Who could resist gifts anyway? One last party to go on this coming Sat, 31 Oct 2015 before Spooky Junior is gone for this year. So for all of who are interested to join in the fun, you can get your tickets online here!

Nice backdrop for photos!
The kiddos were really attentive to the emcees!
Stacci off to get some glitter tattoos.
But that's not enough and she got her face painted as well!
Steffi opted for the full-faced butterfly!
Making chocolate milk is also part of the activities to complete.
Haven't seen such happy witches for a while.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Noo Trees, only Bamboos

I[Sponsored Post]

I was never bothered about the brand of the tissue paper or wet wipes I use, since my skin is so rough, that the softness of the material doesn't make any difference on my face anyway. The price would have been my main consideration though, for 4 kids uses up quite a fair bit of wet wipes. But there is one brand that I wouldn't buy again, even though it is usually really cheap when on offer. They are called wet wipes, but they took the "wet" part too far and the wipes always break apart before I can get them out of the package!

Just got to know about a brand called "NooTrees" recently and was rather intrigued by the name. Did a little reading up and was pleasantly surprised that the company actually produces a whole range of toilet paper, tissues and wet wipes, not from trees but from bamboos instead. Now, we all know that the haze which is affecting Singapore and our neighboring countries right now is largely due to the irresponsible clearing of land through the burning of vegetation for the purpose of oil palm and pulpwood production. All companies that deal with large quantities of paper products are now steering clear from those blacklisted suppliers. They know consumers are really incensed now and would boycott anyone responsible for the haze directly / indirectly. Not NooTrees though, for bamboos grow really fast and are really grass. You can cut it down and it will regrow, unlike pulp wood. Read more here!

I received some samples to try out and found that the quality of their bamboo wet wipes ($5.95/80 sheets) were indistinguishable from those made from synthetic materials, The moisture was also just about right and they are pretty strong too. However they are scented and the smell might not be well-received by everyone. The 2-ply pocket tissue ($2.00/10 pack/9 sheets) feels a little rough though, but I find it okay to use on myself personally. Ladies with delicate skin may feel otherwise perhaps? Their most creative range would have to be their Bamboo Self Spa range consisting of 3 different types wet wipes ($8.95/pack/25 sheets) and I think the ladies would probably love it.
  • Aqua Skin - Fights dehydration with intense moisture with Hyaluronic Acid, Omega 3 and 6, Vitamin A and E.
  • Spa Skin - Improve skin radiance with Powerful Actives and Essential Oils
  • Age Impact - Fights ageing with concentrated anti-age treatment with Q10, Peptides and Antioxidant.

One thing for sure is that their range of products are definitely higher priced as compared to the regular brand that's made from pulp wood. However, this is all about sustainability and the legacy we want to leave the younger generations. And just to incentivize you to try out, all readers would be entitled to 20% off ALL products through their online shop, just by entering my discount code "TPFGREEN" upon checkout!

There will also be FREE delivery for all purchases $50 nett and above (after discount) and the company will also donate 5% to my 4 kiddos' education fund! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

AXA “Safer City Contest” and Free Protection

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We all know that Singapore is a very safe city right? Low-crime rate and everything is “Law-by-Law”. Unfortunately no matter how safe a place is, there are always uncertainties in life that one least expects. Who would have thought that having a late night supper after a long day at work would land one in hospital after the gas cooker exploded? Could that have been prevented? Well I guess so, a safer mechanism or a more reliable cooker perhaps?
(Photo Credit / Story :
We often take for granted that everyday will go on as per normal. We wake up, work and then go back to the family. But what happens when accidents strike? Many would describe the feeling as being helplessness. Check out how an AXA Claims service manager Kenny helps his client, a Japanese restaurant owner rebound quick from a fire that broke out in his eatery. He ensured his chef got free physio for his arm, a social worker to help his elderly mother and even made sure that renovations begun immediately. It is very important, because good ramen is hard to come by the right company would put client's interests first and that's AXA's born to protect spirit! 

One can always try to pre-empt, predict or prevent, but nothing is going to be perfect! Hence there will always be room for improvements and that’s what makes the following contest I am going to tell you about so easy-peasy, because there'll always be something to improve on!

AXA wants your idea on how to make Singapore a safer place for all and has just launched a “Safer City Contest”! And AXA will pick 3 ideas and make them a reality! Are there any cause that you feel greatly for? Now may be the best chance to make it happen! There is no right or wrong answers, but your idea should primarily be how/who/where to make Singapore a safer city! I am a contest junkie too, and I would advise you to think fast and join fast to be the first 100!

Contest Mechanics

Top 3 entries will have a chance to see their ideas come to life! The first 100 entries get $30 Taka shopping vouchers! So hurry, SMS to 76677 in this format:

AXA [Space] Your Name [Space] Your NRIC [Space] Your Ideas.

Winners will be announced on AXA Singapore Facebook page on 16 Nov (Mon).

AXA Free Protection

Okay, before you get the wrong idea, the company is REALLY giving out free protection, but it's against mosquitoes, cuts, dizziness or coughs! In a very innovation way of getting their message across, AXA had transformed 4 existing bus stop advertising panels into HUGE capsule machines (what I would call Gashapon machines) at 4 different bus stops located at -
  1. Bugis Street (opposite Bugis Junction)
  2. Dhoby Ghaut (at Plaza Singapura)
  3. Marine Parade (beside Parkway Parade)
  4. Church Street (beside OCBC Centre)
Free big capsule balls containing band aids, mosquito patches, medicated ointment and cough drops will be dispensed when you press the button on the "machine". It's free, so expect the balls to fly, but luckily there will be regular replenishments throughout the day, and the items will also be rotated on a weekly basis. Pop by to grab some if you are around the areas! The kiddos got theirs!

#AXASingapore #BorntoProtect #AXASaferCity

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oishii Japan 2015

[Media Invite]

Those who know me, would know that I love Japanese food, be it ramen or tempura! When the family visited Japan for the very first time last September, we had totally no problem fitting right in at all, for we all loved their food and culture. Japanese food tasted awesome, even those from nondescript roadside stalls. And it was also in Japan, where I bought the most expensive grapes ever, the Kyoho grapes! Being a first timer at eating them, I actually swallowed the skin as well (and I even wondered why it tasted so bitter)! But the flesh was so flavorful and I felt like I was having those Japanese grape-flavored sweets! Never knew that these Japanese grapes were really so fragrant! And of course, we had a swell time shopping in their supermarket, roaming the many streets and having sashimi on the go (and heavily discounted towards closing time) as well.

Even the fruits looked fresher, juicier and sweeter in Japan somehow.
Lots of delicious-looking seafood in the market!
Lots of expensive-looking but unknown fungi (to me).
First time seeing Kyoho grapes in a real Japanese supermarket for me.
The bunch of fragrant and juicy grapes was almost as big as Leroy's head!
When I received an invite to the media preview of Oiishi Japan 2015, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the wonderful time we had in Tokyo and I knew I cannot miss that lah, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was there I learnt that shochu can be drank neat, with warm water, cold water, soda or even mixed in a cocktail. My only experience with shochu then, was in Korea last winter, where I drank one hurriedly just to warm myself up in the cold winter. This time round, it was different as we tasted 3 different shochu from Kagoshima prefecture, made from different ingredients such as barley or sweet potato or rice. We tried different ways of drinking shochu, but I loved shochu cocktails best. Sweet and nice.

The differences between Shochu and Sake.
The many different ways of enjoying your shochu.
Demonstration of the mixing of the special cocktail using shochu.
So nice! He even posed for photos!
If I remembered correctly, this cocktail was called "Sakura Green" as it had green tea in it as well. A sweet and easy-tasting cocktail.
One of the three shochu we tried. This is Shifuku no Tousui that is stored for over five years. It has  a mellow flavour should be enjoyed on the rocks,  or mixed with cold/hot water.
Shifuku no Tousu on the rock, like they advised. 
We also got to the chance to view the live demonstration of fish-filleting of a sea bass (not your local Siakap or Kim Bak Lor, but a different species flown in from Japan). The Chef was really skillful and could even perform under the constant focus of many camera lenses! The meat was then made into carpaccios which we got to taste. It was also at this event, that I tasted fish scales for the first time (on purpose, and not that occasional scale I swallowed because the fishes were not descaled properly). It was the Amadai fish that was pan-fried. The scales were crispy with a tinge of fishiness while the meat tasted a little like Cod to me. A unique dish indeed, and the only other type of fish where one eats the scales as well, would be the freshwater Empurau from Malaysia.

Look at the number of cameras on the chef! All eyes were on him for sure!
He said he is never going to do that again in front of so many eyes and cameras. *Joking* But he did mention he was stressed by the many pairs of eyes!
The Amadai fish, meat, scales and even the flower were edible!
Oishii Japan 2015, the fourth edition in Singapore, would take place from 22 – 24 October 2015 at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre (Halls 405-406). However, the first 2 days would be for trade visitors only so please take note if you intend to visit as a consumer. It will only be open to the general public from 11am – 4.30pm on Sat, 24 October 2015. Tickets will be $4 for the general public while admission would be free for children 12 years old and below. Knowing Singaporeans, this is going to be a real hit with all the foodies, and possibly super crowded as well. But it would also be the best opportunity ever, to find different Japanese food and beverages from 42 prefectures in Japan all under one roof! I am really sure that many of you would have missed Japan, and the food, so check out www.oishii-world/en for more information!

Just to share some of the event highlights - 

Food technologies 
From the world’s smallest NigiriSushi machine that rolls about 1,200 pieces of sushi per hour, to noodle-making machines that can make different types of Japanese noodles such as Soba, Udon and Ramen with a simple change of blades.

Shochu tasting 
One of the highlights is the introduction of one of the national spirits of Japan – Shochu. 36 shochu products will be available for tasting. The flavours vary with the distilled techniques and ingredients used, such as barley, rice, sweet potatoes or buckwheat. 

Live tuna-cutting demonstration 
Watching a trained Japanese chef artfully break down a whole tuna is a rare experience outside of Japan. So don’t miss the live demonstration where the chef will deftly carve, fillet and slice a massive tuna flown in from Ehime Prefecture.

Various cooking demonstrations 
From sake ice cream making to patisserie demonstrations, Japanese fusion food to wagyu ramen preparations

And of course, there will be lots of Japanese products from almost over 300 exhibitors available for sale to the public such as -

Kyoto Beef Miyabi Sirloin - Look at those marbling!
Younamagasi (Exclusive Japanese sweets) - I will definitely grab these to satisfy my sweet tooth!
Grape (Shine Muscat) - Never tried before but I would love to try some!
So mark your calendar and satisfy your craving for all food and beverages Japanese, right here in Singapore! This is really the closest I can get, to experience Japan all over again!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Safari Boo 2015

[Media Invite]
Kiddos at their wacky selves again at Safari Boo 2015!
We don't really get invited to many Halloween parties. In fact I don't even recall going to any before I started blogging. Halloween would just be like any other day for me, or maybe just an excuse by the kiddos to have that extra candy or two from the childcare teachers. But last year, we went to a different kind of Halloween party (or Halloween trail) and the kids were sold! You can read about our experience from last year over here

Got to meet the friendly pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia again!
Fast forward to this year, some of these very talented staff from WRS will have to let their hair down and don their special costumes again to entertain the many rascals kiddos. I have not seen a single child being frightened by them before, for it is a Merry-Not-Scary kids event after all. Instead, the creatures were often heckled for their sweets, little toys and whatever nots by the many kiddos! And when Steffi, Leroy and Stacci heard that they were invited back for Safari Boo this year, they were practically over the moon!

So what exactly would you be expecting during the event this year? 

Be My Guests! (7pm, 8.15pm and 9.15pm)
Start the magical journey with a Royal Dance Ball hosted by the Fairy Godmother at Safari Square. Get dressed for the occasion and you might just be bestowed a gift by the lady!

It's A Snap (6 - 10pm)
Get ready those cameras you trigger happy humans! For you will get to meet lots of characters, as well as real animals (like even a miniature pony) along the trail! Preserve those memories forever! 

Kiddos with Geppetto and Pinocchio! 
Here's a big Green Iguana, the perfect pet for a witch!
Tummy Treats / Magical Memorabilia (6 - 10pm)
You will not go hungry even after dinner time, for the shops would be open and you can even purchase special merchandises.

Hansel And Gretel's House Of Fun (6 - 10pm)
Don't miss the various stalls near the Giant Panda's entrance / courtyard. Learn a little more about the animals and about science from the fairytale characters! A fun way to acquire knowledge for sure! Psst, there is also a sure-win spin-the-wheel game. *wink*

Captivated by the animal talk!
So, what animal does the egg comes from?
There were also fun games suitable for kids of all ages!
Learning more about UV lights!
Spin the wheel for cool prizes!
Twinkle Time Beauty Palour (6 - 10pm)
If being decked in costume is not enough, hand over to the River Safari Cruise and get your face painted, have some glittery tattoo applied or add some colour to your hair as well!

Furry Tales (7pm, 8pm and 9pm)
There will also be a theatrical performance "Furry Tales" at the Boast Plaza and it can really rival some of the other local productions houses! The performers were all in their characters and mesmerized the kiddos for sure. And when the various animals came out, you can really hear all the excitement! 

Very evil-looking ya? 
But the kiddos enjoyed every minute of the performance.
Here's "Short-White" showing the kiddos a hedgehog!
Who would have expected that the prince had a pelican for a pet?
I can't recall what "Bell" she was but am pretty sure she isn't Tinkerbell! The fairytale characters were a fun lot for sure!
Friends Of The Sea (6 - 10pm)
What's Halloween with Trick-or-treating? Look out for all the elaborately dressed creatures or mythological beings along the Wild Amazonia Boardwalk and be rewarded with some nice loots!

King Neptune himself!
Here's the not-so-little mermaid!
Jellyfish thingy! 
Mermaid Magic (7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm)
You may get a little tired or warm after all the activities, so you might wish to cool down in air-con comfort like we did at the Manatee Exhibit where the divers will be interacting with the mammals.

The kiddos were happy to meet old friends again! 
Safari Boo will only take place over 2 weekends, specifically 23, 24, 25 and 30, 31 Oct and 1 Nov 2015, starts from 6pm - 10pm with last entry at 9pm. Tickets cost $20 per adult while children below 12 enters free! It's cheaper at $15 for entry from 8pm on Sundays. For more information, or to purchase your tickets online, hop over to Safari Boo 2015 webpage! Thank you Wildlife Reserves Singapore for making the kiddos' day again!