Cake, Candles and Balloons!

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F turned two a while ago, and we held an intimate garden party for our amazing family and friends. Truth be told, I’m no hostess with the mostess, and I’m not quite a party animal nor a social butterfly (yes, contrary to the fact that I have a blog, I really am socially awkward in person). I had written off holding a party for F’s 2nd birthday (having gone through the life-shortening madness of planning her 1st), and tried to sell the idea of us three going on a short, stress-free and fab getaway to M instead. M wasn’t keen on that, and I don’t really blame him because we have travelled quite a fair bit in the first half of this year, and his work schedule was rather (still is) punishing.

I sulked a little at not being able to travel And so, I was really quite happy to spend the day quietly with F, at the zoo or something, until M suggested that we could hire the ice-cream man (you know, the one with the old-school pushcart) and invite a couple of friends with kiddos over for a tea-time treat. I protested, of course, because…why would any parent bring their kids over, knowing that they are going to get sugar-high, hyperactive and run into epic meltdowns later in the day?! Geez, M…

He wouldn’t let the idea go, that stubborn man, and I decided we would have to plump the party up a bit and make it a little more reasonable for our guests to haul their kids over for an afternoon of fun. Any logical person with a crazy toddler on the loose would cater, you know, like PAY someone else to cook the food, bake a cake and set everything up. But I, (a) was not happy with the catering menus out there, (b) couldn’t bring myself to break the tradition of baking my family’s birthday cakes, (c) have terribly itchy fingers and (d) love to torture myself, and so I decided to…DO EVERY FREAKING THING BY MYSELF (except the curry puffs and fried chicken wings we got from OCK, because those are definite crowd-pleasers, unlike our food…).

*CUE MADNESS AND STRESS AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS*

Of course, I recruited my minions, M and my darling sister, J, to help me with the food preparation, and begged my future brother-in-law, J, to babysit F (who probably terrorised him) while we were slogging away in the kitchen. The preps started two days before the party. Many curses, countless regrets, and one massive birthday cake mishap later (the weather was too hot even in the air-conditioned kitchen, and the four-layer cake did a BBC-news-worthy landslide on me whilst I was putting on the crumb coat, so I had to RE-DO the freaking cake), we were done.

I hope everyone enjoyed the food (though the humidity killed some of the crispness of my signature roasted pork belly and that pizza toast) and the cake (I was disappointed with the way it turned out, unlike the previous ones I made), and that the kids had fun playing with one another and chasing after bubbles. F had a most wonderful day, in spite of the glitches, did not have a single bite of the ice-cream (the irony, she wasn’t in the mood for any), and was genuinely sad and puzzled when everyone left (that’s testament to how much she enjoyed your company). Thank you, our family and friends, for your presence, love and gifts (we are allowing her open only one gift every month, and you guys have been so generous, she will be opening presents into her third birthday!).

Alright, Mama should probably stop rambling and let the pictures do the talking. I’m sorry that there are so many of them over here (there are more on my camera but I have to keep them away from the public eye to protect my family members’ and friends’ privacies), I had to take as many shots as possible because there is no way in hell I am going to DIY a party to this extent ever again.

Till the next birthday (which is hopefully a quiet getaway because I need to rest from planning this one)!
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A simple, styled table, laden with food and peachy, minty colours, perfect for a tyke!

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We made everything except the OCK curry puffs and wings, and store-bought nachos. Word to the wise, cater if you don’t want to lose your sanity.

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Putting the chalkboard easel we bought from Perth to good use again this year.201408 Faith turns 2

I’m all for reusing silk floral arrangements. I did this for F’s 1st birthday, and I didn’t have time to get fresh flowers, so this came in handy.

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Homemade spicy guacamole with store-bought nachos.
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My favourite salad to make, inspired by one of Ottolenghi’s recipes – roasted aubergine salad with pomegranate, basil, toasted pine nuts, saffron garlic yogurt dressing and roasted buttermilk chicken.201408 Faith turns 2 3

Always a crowd-pleaser – curry puffs and fried chicken wings from OCK. Thank goodness for our Airfryer, which did a fine job of crisping them up again.201408 Faith turns 2 5

Another of my favourite foods to make – roasted pork belly (also known as siu yuk) with garilc aioli dipping sauce.

201408 Faith turns 2 6My favourite snack to eat since I was a kid – Papa used to make this for us every Sunday morning. Pizza toast with cheese, fresh tomatoes and bacon, grilled to gooey, crisp goodness. Perfect for kids!
201408 Faith turns 2 17Another shot of the table, just because.
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The ice-cream man and his old-school pushcart! 201408 Faith turns 2 11

F, being absolutely delighted to be surrounded by one of her favourite things in the world, BUBBLES!201408 Faith turns 2 12

The kids looked like they were having fun!201408 Faith turns 2 13

Goodies bags we prepared for the young ones. The parents must hate me because I filled them with treats. I did try to soften the blow by putting in some balloons and self-inking rubber stamps.

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The birthday cake, which caused way too much drama during the preps. My cake-making mojo wasn’t there.

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Devil’s food cake with raspberry curd, cream cheese frosting and topped with fresh raspberries.
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I couldn’t help notice how F has grown and matured since her 1st birthday. My poor mother’s heart can’t take her growing so quickly! Happy birthday, my love. You must know that Papa and Mama love you so much that we would die planning a party for you. Just sayin’. By the way, all the practice sessions we had to sing the birthday song, make a wish, blow the candle and cut the cake? Went down the drain because F had stage fright. GAH. She did it at bedtime with her imaginary cake that night, though. I guess that counts, somewhat?

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Dress Up with The Lady General

 

201409 The Lady General cheongsam

[SPONSORED POST*] I am terribly picky when it comes to fashion, and that’s not because I’m a clotheshorse or a fashionista. In fact, I’m the total opposite. I can’t quite carry off the latest trends, and am far from willing to plonk large sums of money on a wardrobe of clothes that would make Anna Wintour beam with pride. For casual days out, I ONLY go for baggy and loose and shapeless and cooling outfits, which is why I’m mostly sloppy on days when I don’t have to dress up. Unfortunately, the body-hugging thing seems to be all the rage these few years and oh my, I end up having to purchase pieces that are two sizes up just because I am not comfortable and know that I don’t look good in fitting clothes. For smart casual or formal days, I prefer to go for well-cut pieces that hide the flaws which I’d like to think have been hidden pretty well, especially these two years after I became a mother. I mean, I was a whale for 9 months and pushed a baby out of that pelvis. I don’t feel that great when everything jiggles more than before I was pregnant, so I’ve resorted to a little trickery on the eye with cleverly cut outfits. 201409 The Lady General cheongsam 2

It is, however, incredibly difficult to find pieces that give me that much-needed boost. More often than not, I walk out of shops feeling frustrated over the lack of suitable sizes or cuts. The pretty clothes only come in small sizes that I can’t zip up, or in cuts that only flatter Heidi Klum (bareback, crop top, low cut, too short, OMG). I’ve also encountered one too many sales assistants who threw me are-you-sure-you-can-wear-that glances whenever they see me browse the racks with a baby strapped onto me. Yes, that’s the mummy-stereotype we are talking about here. GAH. After many failed attempts to spruce up my wardrobe over the past few years, believe it or not, I have practically stopped shopping for clothes.

For half a year now, I’ve been feeling a little frumpy. I put on some weight and can’t fit into my old clothes without looking like a stuffed dumpling. Whilst I’m not oversized, I knew I needed clothes in a new size, what with some gatherings coming up. I didn’t want to show up in clothes that are zipped up halfway; that would be such an eyesore. So I scouted for a while before chancing upon The Lady General. All I can say is, WHAT A GODSEND.

201409 The Lady General cheongsam 4The Lady General carries beautifully designed, and well-cut modern cheongsams to flatter all shapes and sizes. Unlike many boutiques that churn out one skin-tight cheongsam after another, The Lady General offers three styles to cater to our whims and fancies. Fit and Flare which is generously cut at the hips (MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE because I have a very generously-sized pelvis too), Column styles which are wonderful at hiding the tummy whilst still giving some room at the hips, in addition to the Classic Fit (as the term suggests, in the style of a classic cheongsam).

I am wearing the Jia cheongsam in size M, which is cut in the Fit and Flare style. It has a full skirt that hides my child-bearing hips (I’m not trying to boast, but I can’t tell I have a generous bottom in this dress!). I did send the cheongsam to be altered at the waist but even after taking the waist in, the skirt still skims over my hips nicely. The sky blue stripes are cleverly orientated to instantly slim one down (I rarely take a full-frontal shot because that’s the most unflattering angle, but it wasn’t a problem in this dress), and the skirt reveals a beautiful blush-pink lining when one twirls (I tried to capture the blush peeking out from under by twirling around and taking a selfie, but the most highly skilled selfie expert AND octopus would be stumped, so check out the photos on the listing for Jia to have a look at that gorgeous lining). I can’t capture the pink coming through the blue layer on the outside, but trust me on this, you’d see this in real life and you will fall in love with the pink-hued blue! The seersucker cotton is perfectly lightweight and cooling for a substantial, full-skirted, high-neck dress such as this, and I feel absolutely comfortable in it. The full skirt comes in a good length, and lets me run after my toddler without compromising my modesty. WIN-WIN-WIN!

There are a few ways to wear this dress, of course. You can wear it alone, with a nice pair of flats of heels, or belt it up with a tan-coloured one like what I did in the photos for a more neutral take. I thought a fun way of jazzing up the cheongsam would be to pair it with a red belt with cute pumps, but I don’t have the said accessories in such strong hues, so I couldn’t try that out. I reckon that it would look very cute, and slightly retro!

I’m lusting after a few other designs too, the Kyoto Cheongsam in Clouds (which is sadly out of stock) and Hui and Mi (in neutral tones). Every design comes in a very limited quantity (so the chances of you bumping into someone wearing the same thing are pretty slim) and I would urge you to like their page on Facebook to stay updated on their collection before everything gets sold out!

*I was gifted a Jia cheongsam for the review. No monetary gift was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored items, should I find the products unsuitable.

You can now shop online at The Lady General!

You Are Always On My Mind

It’s 10.24pm on a Friday night.

Most people I know are spending time with their family and friends after a dreadful week of peak-hour commutes, school runs, deadlines and run-ins with their bosses, colleagues, clients or (gasp) children.

I, on the other hand, am alone; yet again lounging in bed and having some me-time online. And I know that after I finish penning my thoughts, I will curl up with a good book before turning in for the night. Such is the story of my life in recent months.

You see, M has signed up to work in one of the most intensive departments. He yearned to pick up whatever he can learn from this rotation, but in return, his hours are long, gruelling and intensive. He practically works the graveyard shifts now, and rarely gets to sleep partly due to a largely confused circadian rhythm, and partly because he tries to see Faith and me as much as possible during our waking hours. Our family of three has been thrown into the deep end once again with his work schedules. Well, it kinda feels like the times when F was still an infant…you know, the times when days and nights are not what they should be.

It’s very tiring, this solo-parenting-not-seeing-M-as-often-as-I-wish-thing. As is juggling between work, rest and family time for M. Even F is feeling the heat from the recent arrangements. She didn’t used to cry when Papa left her in the past, but ever since M started work in this department, she has taken to wailing whenever Papa ups and goes to work at different times of the day. It’s hard for us to stomach the separation, and harder for her to grasp the abruptness and irregularity of it all. I would be lying if I said this isn’t taking a toll on us. These days, I’m usually flat out by the end of the day and I can’t sleep because I worry about M. M would be shattered with exhaustion and torn with guilt on neglecting us and his buddies because of unyielding demands from work (I mean, you can’t just leave your patients and insist you want to knock off at the end of a stipulated shift). M doesn’t say it, but I know from the glances he throws at us, that he misses us terribly too.

But we are, strangely, stronger in parts and as one. And I am very thankful for that bond and love we have for one another. For the most transient father-daughter exchanges that I get to witness in that few seconds and beam at for the rest of my life. For the times when F goes, ”Papa?” and she quietly nods when I remind her gently that ‘Papa is at work.’ For the times when I stir as M reaches home in the wee hours of the morning, squeezes my hand and whispers, ‘Don’t worry, I am here.’ just before he falls into a deep slumber. For the bunch of the most beautiful blood-red roses that M (wouldn’t have usually bought because he doesn’t believe in buying flowers) surprised me with after a 10pm-8am shift, and the way he asked me to not forget that I am always on his mind even though I am mostly alone these days. For the times when I throw my arms around M and watch his favourite Hobbits series, just because I know he would like some company whilst trying to get himself accustomed to sleeping on demand, when all I really want to do is to catch some sleep.

Suddenly, every word spoken, every second spent together, every gesture is much more precious and memorable than before.

While our lives are currently fraught with unpredictability, exhaustion and our future, with uncertainty, I cannot remember a time when we were happier, more contented, and more comfortable with walking on a tight-rope. It’s almost as if we have truly grown as family, even with F at the tender age of (almost) two and we are somehow (surprisingly) letting the obstacles roll off our backs like they don’t matter. Children are creatures of habit but F seems to know how important it is to flit and float with us now that our circumstances have changed, and she has adapted well, save for the separation anxiety when Papa leaves for work. I cannot be more thankful for what we have going on here to cope with our new lives.

So, on this Friday night, as people around us snuggle up to their loved ones and recharge for the coming week, we fight together in spirit and take comfort that we shall see one another tomorrow morning, even if it’s for a few minutes.

Because…Faith, Papa thinks of you all the time, and M, you too, are always on my mind. And that is enough to keep us all going.

201408 Red Roses

GIVEAWAY! Yamatoya Norsta Desk & Chair Set Worth S$158

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a mother to baby Faith, 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 little girl.

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[SPONSORED POST* - GIVEAWAY details in this post] Now, you have heard the story of how Faith has gone all Picasso on us, and how Fairy Godmother aka Yamatoya Singapore heard our cries for THE desk & chair set that would grow with Faith. Well, Santa must think we have been really nice this season, because we have been gifted another desk & chair set, this time, the Norsta (in White), waaaaaay head of Christmas this year! You know what this means, don’t you? Yamatoya Singapore is giving one of you a Norsta desk & chair set too! Before you get all too excited, I thought you might want to know what we think of the Norsta and how it compares to the Buono Amice.

The Norsta is a real lightweight beauty; it is made of 100% pine wood, as opposed to the Buono Amice which is constructed out of 100% rubber wood, and is much lighter and more portable. Being lighter than the Buono Amice, naturally, it can only bear weight up to 30kg, which is still a reasonable number because this set is suitable for kids of up to 5 years old. Despite being very light, the set is rather stable; the legs of the tables and chairs are strong and sturdy. The only downside of it being lighter than the Buono Amice, is that Faith accidentally shifts the set if she leans her weight on either piece of furniture when she is standing against it. I noticed, though, she quickly learns that she shouldn’t lean against the set if she wants the set to stay put, so that isn’t a huge problem for us. We chose the set in White, which means the writing surface, back rest and seat of the chair are in white. The combination of the natural colour of pine wood and the white parts lends a bright addition to the furniture in our home; I actually love these colours more than the rubber wood on the Buono Amice! 

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The Norsta is also designed in Japan and manufactured in Indonesia and boasts superior carpentry that works to enhance the safety of the set. The edges are all nicely buffed and very smooth; there are no sharp corners that may hurt a child. As with the Buono Amice, the screws are all deep-set and there aren’t any protruding metal bits that may cut or snag when one runs their fingers over the set. Similar to the Buono Amice, the built-in drawer has a stopper within to prevent children from pulling the entire entity out.

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This set grows well with the child too. The desk is adjustable at three levels, and the chair at two (note that the Buono Amice has three settings for the chair). Unfortunately, Faith is still a little short for the lowest height on the Norsta chair; as you can see from the photos, her feet do not rest flat on the floor. Yamatoya suggests the Norsta for children from the ages of 8 months to 5 years, but I reckon your child needs to have pretty long legs to sit comfortably on the chair when it’s at its lowest setting. Not that this is a major problem, as we all know, children grow up much too quickly and soon enough, Faith will be sitting in the chair with her feet flat on the floor!

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As for the useable space on the Norsta, it does seem smaller than the Buono Amice at first glance but if you look carefully, this is also because the Norsta desk does not have any space designated for the trinkets like those on the Buono Amice. I would say the areas of useable writing surfaces on both sets are about the same. The Norsta also has a rather spacious drawer to keep your child’s writing materials out of sight when the set is not in use, and this is always a lovely feature for all you clutter-phobes.

I was also surprised to learn that the Norsta is even easier to assemble than the Buono Amice. I spent less than 15 minutes on my own, and all the parts are simply put together with the supplied screws and an allen key. It helps that the parts are much lighter than those in the Buono Amice set. Even Faith had a go at tightening the screws on the Norsta!

I am keeping the Norsta set for when Faith is a little older, as her feet aren’t quite resting on the floor when she sits on the chair at the lowest setting; I reckon this set will be perfect for her in another six months’ time. I love that the set is very light and portable, and when Faith is older, she can move the desk and chair around on her own to whereever she likes when she wants to do some colouring or reading. In fact, she loves to move the chair to where the television is now, so she gets to watch from the comfort of her very own ‘throne’ when she gets a TV treat from us!

We are very spoilt for choice with the Buono Amice and Norsta at home. I would say, while the two sets are a little different, both have met my requirements in terms of (adult-friendly) appearance, safety, longevity (grows with the child!) and functionality. We feel the same way about the SukusukuES high chair as well, and are very impressed by the range of good-quality products that Yamatoya has to offer. Suffice to say that it is one of our favourite to-go brands now for children’s furniture, and I hope they keep up the good work of filling that gap in the market!

WANT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THE NORSTA SET?

If you’re interested to have a look at the set up-close before purchasing it, I’d highly recommend you to drop by the Yamatoya Singapore booth at the SUPERMOM BAZAAR at Suntec City Hall 401-404 from 22-24 August 2014. As Yamatoya Singapore does not have a physical retail store or stockists, this is a great opportunity for you to have a look at the Norsta set, Buono Amice and other products (we love the SukusukuES high chair too, which we have given away a few months ago!) at a central location in Singapore!

GIVEAWAY!

Now, Yamatoya has kindly sponsored one Norsta Desk & Chair set to a lucky reader of mine (you have to be based in Singapore as Yamatoya does not deliver internationally). It comes with 1 desk and 1 chair, a built in drawer, and the tools required for assembly. Delivery is provided free-of-charge as well! What are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway here. Some steps can be done once a day, so don’t forget to check back to get more entries into the draw!

Terms and Conditions of the giveaway:

- One winner will be randomly selected to receive the Norsta Desk & Chair Set; choice of colour depends on availability.
- Giveaway is only open to those based in Singapore.
- Free delivery within Singapore; assembly service of the set is not provided.
- Yamatoya Singapore will contact the winner after the giveaway closes.

GOOD LUCK, AND THANK YOU, YAMATOYA!

*I was gifted one Yamatoya Norsta Desk & Chair Set to review, and another set worth S$158 to give away to a lucky reader. No monetary gift was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored items, should I find the products unsuitable.

You can now shop online at Yamatoya Singapore!

GIVEAWAY! Yamatoya Buono Amice Desk & Chair Set Worth S$198

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a mother to baby Faith, 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 little girl.

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[SPONSORED POST* - GIVEAWAY details in this post] So. Faith, at the grand old age of (almost) two, has discovered the magic of pens, crayons, pencils and markers. She makes herself comfortable on the floor and Picasso-s anything which resembles a piece of paper (I’m glad that she knows not to draw on OTHER surfaces, that would be criminal) but sometimes, she ends up spilling her masterpiece over onto my poor parquet floor because she doesn’t know how to restrict her overzealous movements to MInistry-of-Mum-Approved drawing surfaces. Faith has also been going to pre-school for a few hours every week, and enjoys doodling with her teachers. When we were sitting in with her during the first few classes, she was absolutely enamoured with the desks and chairs at school and practically rearranged the furniture to pander to her newfound obsession. I told the husband that we needed to get her a desk and chair set, pronto. We headed to a couple of places to hunt for a set that we think would work well for Faith and still look great in our living space, which we have conscientiously tried to keep in neutral tones ever since Faith was born. We failed. The ones we saw were either good-looking or functional; it was impossible to have the best of both worlds. The sets we saw couldn’t grow with the child too, and I most certainly didn’t want to spend on something that Faith will outgrow quickly.

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We were a little disheartened with the search and almost gave up, when Yamatoya Singapore approached us to review the new Buono Amice Desk & Chair. How timely is that; Fairy Godmother must have been listening! Some of you may have heard of the original Buono, and the Buono Amice is a bigger and better version of it! I swooned over the photos of the set I saw on the Yamatoya Singapore site, and was absolutely eager to try it out because it looked like everything we wanted in a desk and chair set! And it is!

P7303800Designed in Japan and manufactured in Indonesia, the set is made of 100% rubber wood; the natural wood grain is something that I really, really, really like (I’m very fond of wood when it comes to furniture). Being made out of solid wood, the set is a little heavy but this means it is incredibly sturdy and can bear weight up to 60kg. I squished my butt on the chair, put my full weight on it and I didn’t break it; the chair didn’t tip over due to a significant change in the centre of gravity either, because the side bars and leg protrusions of the chair distribute the weight very effectively. When Faith sits on the chair, she isn’t able to rock the chair backwards because of the unique design of the legs. That really puts my mind at ease; I recall a kid in my primary school who rocked his chair, fell backwards, hit his head hard on the floor and suffered from a concussion. True story that haunts me to this day!

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While I have seen Faith struggle with the chairs in school (which are ironically made for kids her age), Faith gets in and out of the Buono Amice chair fairly easily on her own. It really helps that the heights of the chair and desk are adjustable at three levels as well; this means that the set grows with the child, something that I am always on the lookout for when I purchase furniture for children. Mind you, the Buono Amice is suitable for children from the ages of 1 to 5! For her height and proportion, I have assembled the set on the lowest levels to accommodate her frame, and she sits in it so comfortably! No hunching over because the desk is too low. No raising of arms to rest her elbows on the desk because the chair is too low. Her legs tuck nicely under the table without having her thighs and knees rub against the underside of the desk. Her feet rest flat on the floor. And look at her posture, it’s so well-maintained with the ergonomic design of the chair!P7303802

The work surface of the desk is also very spacious, allowing Faith to work on larger masterpieces at any one time. The cute red and blue trinkets are excellent holders for stationery, and fit in pre-carved grooves on the desk to prevent them from getting knocked over easily. There is also a shallow ‘pool’ of sorts in between the two trinkets to hold extra pencils and what-not. Faith has no problem reaching for her coloured pencils and decorative pieces stored in the trinkets and the ‘pool’; I like that she doesn’t have to go, ‘Mama, help, please’ whenever she needs something. Everything is so easily accessible on this workstation!P7303781

The desk comes with a built-in drawer that glides in and out smoothly for ease of access; it doesn’t fall out when Faith yanks on it because a built-in stopper prevents that from happening. Brownie points for safety! It is a rather large drawer and I find it useful for storing materials, books and more stationery. I’m a clutter-phobe, so I’m all for furniture that boasts storage space! Of course, Faith loves hiding her favourite belongings in them and I end up finding all sorts of weird things in there…but that’s a story for another day.P7303790

For something that is so thoughtfully designed for children in every aspect, I would have expected it to be a challenge to assemble. But it was SO FREAKING EASY that I, being far from acquainted with the ways of carpentry and heavy, manly tools, could assemble the desk and chair in 15 minutes. I have to say the Japanese are really at the top of their game in coming up with the simplest, yet highly functional designs! The set comes with an allen key and all the screws you will need to put the pieces together. The most difficult part of all, which isn’t tough to begin with, is to figure out the height you want to fix the desk and chair at for your child. And the truth is, even if you get it wrong, the set is very easily disassembled and re-assembled at the correct heights. Just check out the gallery below for the photos of how I assembled the set. And yes, again, it was so easy that I could hold the parts together with one hand while photographing with my other hand. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?!

We are incredibly happy with the Buono Amice set, and so is Faith; every time she comes home, she runs to her workstation, pulls out the chair, plonks her butt down and starts scribbling or reading. I have to say it is one of my favourite products to-date, largely because it is so very beautifully made and yet, highly functional and safe for Faith to use. The rubber wood is so smooth and there are no offensive, sharp corners that may hurt Faith. The screws are all deep-set; hence, there isn’t a chance of her scratching herself on protruding metallic bits and bobs. Most of all, she sits so comfortably in the set, and I know that she will continue to do so even when she grows taller (or fatter, tee hee) because the heights are easily adjustable. Even Mama’s childbearing hips can fit in that chair! I’d like to add that I use the beautiful wood grain on the desk as THE background for my food photography these days…tell me about maximising the potential of my kiddo’s things; don’t you dare judge, you would too if you own the Buono Amice!

WANT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THE BUONO AMICE SET?

If you’re interested to have a look at the set up-close before purchasing it, I’d highly recommend you to drop by the Yamatoya Singapore booth at the SUPERMOM BAZAAR at Suntec City Hall 401-404 from 22-24 August 2014. As Yamatoya Singapore does not have a physical retail store or stockists, this is a great opportunity for you to have a look at the Buono Amice set and other products (we love the SukusukuES high chair too, which we have given away a few months ago!) at a central location in Singapore!

GIVEAWAY!

Now, Yamatoya has kindly sponsored one handsome Buono Amice Desk & Chair set to a lucky reader of mine (you have to be based in Singapore as Yamatoya does not deliver internationally). It comes with 1 desk and 1 chair, a built in drawer, red and blue trinkets and the tools required for assembly. Delivery is provided free-of-charge as well! What are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway here! Some steps can be done once a day, so don’t forget to check back to get more entries into the draw!

Terms and Conditions of the giveaway:

- One winner will be randomly selected to receive the Buono Amice Desk & Chair Set.
- Giveaway is only open to those based in Singapore.
- Free delivery within Singapore; assembly service of the set is not provided.
- Yamatoya Singapore will contact the winner after the giveaway closes.

GOOD LUCK, AND THANK YOU, YAMATOYA!

*I was gifted one Yamatoya Buono Amice Desk & Chair Set to review, and another set worth S$198 to give away to a lucky reader. No monetary gift was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored items, should I find the products unsuitable.

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The Kid Doesn’t Always Say No

So. Faith is turning two in a month’s time and of course, the terrible twos have descended upon this peace-lovin’ home. In fact, I think we were first hulk-smashed when she was 19-20 months old and have since lived through some pretty jaw-dropping episodes. The tantrums have somewhat given way to a subtler, more civilised form of protestation, where F launches into verbal diarrhoea that has the consistency of 10364 resounding No’s. Case in point:

‘Faith, can you please drink some water?’

‘NO.’

‘Faith, can you please eat your dinner?’

‘NO.’

You get the picture.

She doesn’t shout when she says no, but it can be really grating when *clenches teeth* I.just.want.to.get.the.job.done.

But of course, things are getting more complicated now that Faith makes sense of the world and understands more than we think she does.

After a particularly rough night, I was just about to fall into deep sleep when F woke up. I practically dragged myself by my nostrils as I shuffled over to her room to pick her up, and promptly hauled her to my bed, in the hope that she would snooze a little longer and let me catch some winks. As any parent’s luck would have it, the kid was fresh as a daisy and buzzed like an Energizer bunny; I tried to sleep through her jumping on my bed and of course, I couldn’t. I don’t know what came over me but I decided to reason with her.

‘Faith, Mama is tired. Can Mama sleep?’

‘No.’

‘Please? Mama wants to sleep.’

‘No.’ (pause) ‘Mama wear spectacles!’ (That’s Faith’s way of getting me up from the bed because I always put on my glasses the instant we wake from our lunchtime naps.)

‘But Mama wants to sleep. Mama is tired.’

‘No.’

(resigned to fate) ‘You want Mama to wear spectacles?’

(exuberantly) ‘YEESSS!!!’

Well, I wish the kid said no, like she used to. But with any parent’s luck…

201407 Faith 22 Months