GIVEAWAY! Win Up To S$100 Worth of Vouchers From Children’s Clothing Store Paley & Love

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a mother to a little girl, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks.

In the series ‘I Have My Eye On‘, I share my favourite finds for my daughter.

[SPONSORED POST* - GIVEAWAY and PROMOTIONAL details in this post] I find myself wandering into children’s stores more often than those that used to be right up my alley before I became a parent. Either of two scenarios would play out whenever I walk into a children’s boutique.

ONE. I would wrinkle my nose at the kitschy designs and/or the violent riot of offensive cartoon characters splashed across otherwise well-cut clothing, and then make a hasty exit before the salesperson offers his/her assistance.

TWO. I would sigh in pleasure as I run my fingers through racks and racks of to-die-for pieces, and then leave the store empty-handed because I don’t want to spend a bomb on clothes that my daughter will outgrow all too soon.

I have since resigned to shopping at online stores that are based overseas for the kid. We have relatives living in the US, so I get all keyboard warrior on the laptop and have the orders shipped to them; we get a new selection of clothes every six months or so, depending on when our relatives return to Asia for a visit. I am really grateful for this arrangement as we have managed to amass a wardrobe of clothes that are cute, stylish, comfortable AND fairly affordable. Having said that, I often wish there are more vendors in Singapore who can deliver good-quality outfits for little ones that are equally good-looking and easy on the pocket.

201404 Paley & Love review

When Paley & Love, a new children’s clothing e- store, approached me for a review, I was super stoked! I mean, JUST LOOK AT THE CLOTHES! I took a cursory glance at the site and quite a handful of designs caught my eye. The brilliant thing is they are very affordable, ranging from S$20-30+ for an outfit! I am really happy to add a few pieces to Faith’s wardrobe, and now you can pick out some outfits for your children too, thanks to a giveaway and promotion hosted by Paley & Love!

201404 Paley & Love review 2

GIVEAWAY FOR MY READERS:

Paley & Love is giving away FIVE S$20 vouchers to lucky readers of mine. This giveaway is open internationally (international shipping charges will apply to your purchase when you check out). Read on carefully on how you can win one (sorry, my site does not support Rafflecopter, so we’re going to do this old-school way).

1. Like Paley & Love on Facebook.

2. Like The Pleasure Monger on Facebook.

These two steps are compulsory and give you 2 entries in the draw! Existing followers are eligible too, so just get on with step 3 to win!

3. IMPORTANT! This step is mandatory for me to pick a winner. Please comment on this blogpost after to let me know the steps you have done to take part in the giveaway. All comments will be hidden from readers to protect participants’ privacy.

Paley & Love Facebook: Liked, Your Username
The Pleasure Monger Facebook: Liked, Your Username
Email: Given when logging in to comment, so make sure you enter a valid email address!

For more chances, feel free to do the following. Each step gives you an extra chance of winning in the giveaway.

3. Follow Paley & Love (@paleyandlove) on Twitter.

4. Follow The Pleasure Monger (@pleasure_monger) on Twitter.

5. Share this blog post on your Facebook account. Remember to keep the post public and tag me (@The Pleasure Monger), so that I can see and verify it, should you win.

6. Tweet this blog post on your account. Again, remember to keep the post public and tag me (@pleasure_monger), so that I can see and verify it, should you win.

You can share/tweet this blog post as many times as you wish between 10th-30th April 2014 (giveaway ends 2359h) for more chances to win.

7. Don’t forget to comment on this blogpost to let me know which steps you have done and your respective social media usernames.

8. Winners will be selected randomly using Random.org. I will announce the winners on this post and the various social media platforms, and email the voucher codes to the winners after the giveaway closes.

201404 Paley & Love review 5

I am especially in love with the bottoms and had a hard time picking one out. The Neon Yellow Striped Shorts would be such a cheerful addition to Faith’s wardrobe and the flirty Blue Flora Shorts is something that even I would want to wear if it came in my size! But of course, I couldn’t, couldn’t resist the Pink Oxford Shorts with Blue Ribbon, as it has preppy chic written all over it and is such a modern classic. Upon receipt, I was happy that it is really comfortable, smooth to touch, and that the waistband does not cut into the flesh. The best part is the Pink Oxford Shorts, which boasts a length similar to that of a pair of bermudas, can be folded at the hem (exactly what I have done for Faith in the photos as the shorts are a tad long for her) and it looks great cuffed! Because it has a hidden elastic band with numerous button holes to accommodate different sizes at the waist, and it’s cut longer than most shorts, this pair grows with the child, and that is always a plus-point for me. I reckon this pair of shorts will fit Faith until she turns 3.5-4 years old even though it’s meant for 2-3 year-olds. That’s a lot of bang for your buck!201404 Paley & Love review 3

The collection of dresses over at Paley & Love is gorgeous too! The Casual Orange Trimmed Jersey Dress is perfect for weekends, the Purple Flowers Print Summer Dress is too pretty for older girls, and the CalliArt Ink Dress is just….*le sigh*.

Faith is almost 20 months old now, and for her age, I looove the Rose Tyrien Square Dress, which is so fun, breezy, bright, and flirty! I carted one that is meant for 2-3 year-olds; Faith is quite slim for toddlers her age, so the dress looks a little big on her at the moment. The A-line cut, square neckline and roomy cap sleeves give this piece extra mileage; it will look good as a top when it gets too short for her. Again, more bang for your buck! I also bagged the Tri-colour Shift Dress, an A-line off-white embroidered dress with bohemian designs stitched onto it, very versatile, neutral yet stylish. As a few of our friends are getting married, the Sophisticated White Lace Dress with Classy Black Bow is perfect for a wedding banquet! These two pieces are a little oversized for Faith at the moment (hence, no photos), so I can’t wait to dress her in them!

201404 Paley & Love review 4

PROMOTION FOR MY READERS:

Paley & Love is offering a 10% discount for the readers of The Pleasure Monger until 30 April 2014. Simply enter the promotional code PaleyIM when you check out (standard shipping and exchange terms apply). Happy shopping!

GOOD LUCK FOR THE GIVEAWAY, AND THANK YOU, PALEY & LOVE!

*I was gifted a S$100 worth of shopping credits at Paley & Love. I paid the remaining sum out of my own pocket. No additional monetary compensation has been received and I do not stand to gain any commission arising from sales using the discount code given to my readers. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

You can shop online at Paley & Love!

Like Paley & Love on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram using their handle @paleyandlove to be updated on the latest news and promotions.

 


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Not Your Average Superheros

201404 My Monsters

These two people boast an arsenal of mysterious superpowers that can make me feel ANYTHING.

They can drive me nuts. When I’m awake. When I’m asleep. When I’m just trying to be alone with my thoughts. When I’m trying to talk to them (ANSWER ME, DAMMIT).

For the annoying ticks they are, they have the strange ability to make me laugh. When I’m in the middle of a WAAAAAAAA-WAAAAAAAAA breakdown. When I’m out somewhere where it’s highly inappropriate to snort like a sow as I attempt to stifle my laughter. OMG, awkward much.

And then, they often harness the kungfunoshadowkickdrunkenfist power of making me melt into a puddle of loveydoveychocolatey goo. Like the other day, on a late afternoon after M came back from his overnight shift. F was really driving me up the wall with her wacky new tantrums the entire day (hello, Terrible Twos!) and I was flat out of battery by mid-day. M promptly took on his parenting duties, in spite of exhaustion from lack of the sleep the night before, and distracted F. He thought she might be running high on fuel and decided to chase her back and forth between the bedroom and the living room, where I was plastered to the couch. That’s not an unusual sight as we often chase F around and she LOVES to be chased. But on that day, M decided to kick it up a notch and he….planted a big kiss on my lips whenever he reached the couch. And you know what, F followed suit.

So it was RUN-LIKE-ELEPHANTS-ON-A-STAMPEDE-and-SHRIEK-WITH-DELIGHT followed by a big fat kiss on Mama’s lips, rinse and repeat.

Sigh.

Told you they aren’t your average superheroes.

 

 

Dear Faith: One and a Half

Dear Faith,

I have been feeling a little anxious lately, as you would know, because you, my dear girl, have been feeling a little anxious too. The time has come for you to be away from me for just a little bit, and you know what, it hasn’t been easy for either of us.

We have spent almost every waking moment of your life together since you were born. Singing, dancing, cuddling, learning, hugging, laughing, chatting, crying, bickering even! There were, no doubt, times when I was so overwhelmed by the challenges in being Mama to you, that I wished for split seconds of solitude. But you know what, I love us together in spite of those moments. We make such precious memories, ones that you and I share, ones that only I will remember.

I will never forget the first time you recited your favourite bedtime story; I was moved beyond words to see you sitting with your legs stretched out, as you flipped through the pages of the book on your lap…to listen to you take on the words with the same rhythm and animated voice that I have adopted every night since I started reading the story to you over the past year.

I will never forget the first time you belted out Edelweiss, with so much gusto if I might add, whilst we were sitting by the beach at Changi; I couldn’t believe that you knew every word to one of my favourite songs. You continued (you still do!) to surprise us by singing just about all the songs that your music aficionados of parents have crooned, be it a nursery rhyme, hymn, a tune from a musical, an advertisement jingle, a Disney favourite or a Mandarin song. And oh, how you love to dance to any sort of tempo that comes on; the awkward bobbing of your head, shaking of your diaper-clad bum and bending of your fleshy knees keep me so very tickled and make me so very proud.

I will never forget the times when you bury your head in the crook of my neck and gently ask for a hug, and the times when you sprint into my arms before leaning in for a kiss. How about the times when you would ask me to nurse, sayang, kiss, hold and hug Bear, Pig and Kitty? And the times when you would come running to us whenever we exclaimed ‘Ouch!’, with a grave look of concern on your face and your hand, ever so ready to stroke us where it hurt? How…how can I possibly forget the incredibly loving, sweet girl that you have become?

As we see you hanker after what the world has to offer, we know that you are not quite a baby anymore, and the time has come for you to spend some time away from me, to make memories of your own and to take flight. You might think that I am being melodramatic here, but my first memories of being away from Ah Ma and Ah Gong were made in school. One day, you are going to adore your teacher so very much, just as I did. One day, you are going to want to spend more time with your friends than with Mama, just as I did. One day, you are going to fall in love and (heaven forbid) have your heart broken, just as I did. But know this, my darling, that I will always be waiting in the wings as you play different roles on the stage of Life. I will always be here to mend your costumes, to hand you sips of water, to laugh and cry with you, to listen as you tell your stories, and to applaud you. Yes, I am sad that you are growing up much too quickly, that you are already making memories that I will never be part of, and I am far from ready to let you go and take more than a few tumbles in life, but the world is your oyster and I know that parenting is not and should never be about me. It is all about you and helping you take flight.

So, go.

Go forth and create a life worth living for. Fly.

Love always,

Mama

201403 Dear Faith One and a Half

 

The Here-and-Now

I have lost count of the number of times that I chased after the has-beens, what-ifs and maybes.

When I was a child, I was in a hurry to grow up in every way possible. I would try on my mother’s high heels, play with her humble stash of makeup, ask to go to the playground on my own, plead to go out with my friends, and buy my very first grown-up wallet (my mother used to attach a coin pouch to the inner lining of my pocket using a safety pin so I wouldn’t lose it….again). I even saved up to buy five curry puffs from my primary school canteen (and kept them in the pocket of my skirt…) for everyone in my family because that made me feel like a steward. I remember thinking that it would be nice if I could be an adult, kinda like Tom Hanks in the movie ‘Big‘, because I wanted to make my own decisions, and that seemed like the coolest thing a kid could do at that point.

When I started working, I was in a hurry to be somebody in the company I was working for, and to earn a handsome salary so that I could give my parents an allowance, buy them a house with a pretty garden, get my first car, etc. (But of course, I had to throw myself into the pursuit of a postgraduate degree and regress to being a student who was broke as hell from the age of 25 to 28, which largely represented a stage in life where my peers were starting to climb up the ladder at work and have some semblance of financial independence.)

When I was slogging through PhD, I couldn’t wait to graduate, so I could kickstart my late-bloomer of a career, be (yay) finally un-broke and put the skills I have learnt to good use. And yes, as I got married whilst getting my degree, I yearned to have a child too but we shelved the plans because pursuing a PhD whilst having a kid in a foreign country just didn’t make sense (to my disappointment).

Then I finally became a parent.

The sleepless nights, and state of being generally clueless about what a newborn needs, had me wishing that my daughter would grow up as soon as possible. I also thought about the times when I was young and carefree (read: before I became a parent), and occasionally wished that I could turn back the hands of time, and be the kid that I was. The kid who had the drive to propel herself, without incessant worries weighing heavily on her mind and cumbersome burdens on her shoulders.

Today, Faith is a little over 19 months old; she is is learning incredibly quickly and trying to be the big girl she wants to be. I look at her, and then at my dear husband, who has really, really gone through thick and thin with me since we became parents, and my heart aches a little. I whip out old photos and videos, and giggle as I watch my then-newborn sneeze for the first time. And then, I shed a tear or two at how she used to fit in my forearm, and how she and I used to spend the waking moments talking about anything under the sun. Well, I talked, and she listened, babbled, laughed and sometimes, cried. I can’t help but wish for her to stop growing up, to let me hold her tiny being close to me for a little longer, before her desire to be big gets…bigger.

As I meditate on this, as I lament the future of my past and the past of my future, I realise that the only sensible thing to do is to live in the here-and-now. For today makes yesterday’s future and tomorrow’s past, and try as I might to cling onto the has-beens, and get a whiff of the maybes, only the here-and-now matters. After all, it is the here-and-now today that makes tomorrow’s memories, memories that I will keep for life, memories that I will share with my loved ones.

So yes, Faith will grow up to be an angsty teenager at some point. My husband and I will only be getting more wrinkles here on out. A couple more spare tyres may unfold on my belly. There is no stopping time and the scary thing that is change. But I reckon the here-and-nows with my loved ones make everything so much better than if we were stagnant, living in the past or over-thinking the future.

To all of our here-and-nows.

I Have My Eye On: Affordable Reads from The Groovy Giraffe + A Promotion!

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a mother to a little girl, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks.

In the series ‘I Have My Eye On‘, I share my favourite finds for my daughter.

201402 The Groovy Giraffe

[SPONSORED POST*] We have been reading to Faith since the day she was born, and she has grown to be very fond of books. We read all day long, in the mornings, in between sessions of active play, and in the evenings as part of her bedtime routine. At times, Faith would sit on my lap and listen intently as I read to her. Others, she would seize a book and flip through the pages very enthusiastically. Lately, she has even progressed to reading the stories out loud (in her sing-song toddlerish-gibberish English), complete with the most theatrical gestures you can think of – a super adorable sight to behold!

Building a library isn’t easy on the pocket though; you should know that children’s books these days can get really expensive, let alone the board-book versions which are hardy and can withstand wear and tear in the hands of a young child. I DO love the experience of walking into a charming bookstore, feeling the weight of a good tome and leafing through its pages, but I have had to sacrifice that rite of passage in order to save considerable sums of money by shopping at online bookstores…not.

WHO AM I KIDDING? I simply spend my time browsing at my favourite brick-and-mortar stores, make a mental note of the books I want to purchase, before heading straight to my favourite online stores to cart them. Sigh, I sound like a complete cheapo now, huh? But, hey, I need to save ‘em pennies to raise my toddler!

The Groovy Giraffe is a really good site that stocks super affordable books for children and boasts a rather comprehensive range whilst bringing huge discounts to book-lovers! Picture books, pop-up books, board books, activity books, audio books, cloth books, you name it, and these cater to different age groups.

My picks for Faith, who is almost 19 months old now, include Baby’s First Bible in a Slipcase (4 Books) (S$14.90 instead of S$20.31, 27% off) and Charlie and Lola’s Opposites (S$6.90 instead of S$8.74, 21% off). As she will be off to pre-school soon for a few days a week, I picked out Charlie and Lola’s I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (S$9.90 instead of S$21.24, 53% off) as well to prepare her for the change in her daily activities. As you can see, these are heavily discounted and I saved about S$18 simply by purchasing them from The Groovy Giraffe! You might wonder why these books are heavily marked down as compared to those sold at brick-and-mortar stores. Well, The Groovy Giraffe stocks overprint and overstock books, otherwise known as remainder books, but rest assured that all these books are brand new. The curators are very transparent about the condition of the books too – remainder markings and minor shelf wear (sustained from moving to and from shelves) are clearly stated on the description of individual books on the site, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. The book on Charlie and Lola’s Opposites that we received, for instance, was specified to have gone through minor shelf wear; it was only very slightly noticeable on the spine and didn’t bother me at all.

You would be glad to know that The Groovy Giraffe does not just stock children’s books; we, adults, get a real kick out of browsing at this site too! Books on parenting, self-help, hobbies, craft, puzzles, and my absolute favourite, COOKBOOKS *gasp*, are carried on the site at much lower prices. Think cookbooks by Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, and all sorts of books on bread-making and baking, these make such wonderful gifts. I’d be delighted to receive them!

By the way, Faith ABSOLUTELY loves her new books, especially Baby’s First Bible in a Slipcase (4 Books). She climbs onto the couch, pulls the slipcase off the shelf and reads all four books from page to page, exclaiming ‘babeeeee!’ when she sees baby Moses, or ‘apple!’ in the story of Adam and Eve, or ‘zeezus!’ in the story of Jesus. Too cute!

PROMOTION FOR MY READERS:

Here’s the best part for you. The Groovy Giraffe is offering a 10% discount (not applicable for bargains) for the readers of The Pleasure Monger until 30 April 2014. Simply enter the promotional code RachelTPM when you check out. Happy shopping!

*I was gifted a S$20 voucher and 10% discount on my purchase (discount not applicable for bargains) to try out the service for the review. I paid for the remaining sum, including shipping, out of my own pocket. No additional monetary compensation has been received and I do not stand to gain any commission arising from sales using the discount code given to my readers. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/services. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored service/items, should I find the products/services unsuitable.

You can now shop online at The Groovy Giraffe!

Like The Groovy Giraffe on Facebook to be updated on promotions and what’s-what in-store!

She Said What?!

We were whizzing around town in the car when Faith and M had the most insightful conversation.

M: Faith, do you love Papa?

Faith (with gusto): YESH!

M: Do you love Mama?

Faith: *pause* AIIIIIYOOOO!

Geez, so much for my ROI (return of investment) as a mother.

201403 She said What?!

‘Huh *through gritted teeth and a forced smile*, she said…what?!’


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Read about my food-gasmic adventures in San Sebastian here! Also please come by and check out the prettiest cake I've made over here!
Macarons: Be Inspired
Dark Chocolate & Coconut Cookies
Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake
Pan-seared scallops, jamon iberico chip, pomme puree, jamon iberico foam and chestnut
Red Velvet Cake
An English-themed Dessert Table
Chocolate & Hazelnut Salted Caramel Cake
Gula Melaka Salted Caramel Buttercream Macarons
The Ispahan Cake
The Ispahan
Sunflower Seed Macarons with Black Truffle Salted White Chocolate Ganache
Lemon Cupcakes with Lime & Ginger Whipped Cream
Portuguese Egg Tarts
Ba Zhang - Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Braised Pork Belly
The Fat Duck
Strawberry and Cream Pancakes
Pandan Souffle Roll with Toasted Coconut Whipped Cream
Red Velvet Cake
Lychee and Emperor's Seven Treasures tea-infused macarons
M's Spanish Paella
M's birthday cake - Japanese Cheesecake with Rose Whipped Cream
Lor Bak Gou - Fried Radish Cake
Pandan Chiffon Cake
Homemade Scones
Marmite & Coffee Pork Chops
Quick and Easy fried rice recipe!
Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons
Pumpkin & Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirls
Matcha, Milo and Plain Polvorons
Kampar Chicken Biscuits - A popular Malaysian snack
White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies
Hustling the Xiao Long Bao in my kitchen
Bailey's & Coffee Macarons

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