pediped®: The Best Shoes For Your Kids

Ethan is wearing Cliff White Navy shoes from the Grip ‘n’ Go™ range

I don’t always go for the best for everything that my children use but I insist on good shoes that promote healthy foot development. The shoes should be comfortable to walk in and they shouldn’t bite those little active feet! One brand that we keep going back to is pediped®; F, for example has been wearing them since she started walking at 13 months old! Safe to say that she has gone through three ranges in the pediped® footwear system, from Originals® (for children learning to walk) to Grip ‘n’ Go™ (for those transitioning from early walking to a confident stride) to Flex® (for confident walkers), and they are all superb. It’s been four grand years of wearing pediped® shoes!

Faith is wearing Maggie White sandals (one of the latest designs for SS17) from the Flex® range

Ever since E started walking at 16 months, I too bought him pediped® shoes because we had such great experience with them. In fact, E has a few hand-me-down pairs from Faith. I can attest to the quality and durability of pediped® shoes, they keep well and I even managed to sell most pairs off as they were in excellent condition in spite of daily wear and storage after the kids grew out of them!

Yes, they are more expensive than regular shoes, but if you break it down, one really gets more bang for buck in the long run because of the astounding quality. I cannot even begin to count the number of times F pleaded with me to purchase cheap shoes that look good (and I cave because they ARE cheap) and she ended up limping because she suffered from blisters within half an hour of wearing those shoes. This doesn’t ever happen with pediped® shoes!

The nice thing about these shoes is they come in a variety of good-looking colours and designs. I tend to go for white-based ones to pair them with as many outfits as possible. F’s Maggie White sandals are a fine example of a classic design that looks good AND feels good on the feet! Shoes from the Flex® range also come with insoles as part of the Flex® fit system, allowing us to adjust the fit of the shoes to prolong wear. I tend to size up when purchasing from this range and use the system to increase the mileage for these shoes.

For new parents who aren’t aware of what to look out for on the market, trust me and give pediped® a shot. They are well worth the money (don’t forget to follow these guys on Facebook and Instagram to get first dibs on warehouse sales which offer MASSIVE discounts for when you want to stock up in large quantities). Just one pair with a classic design will take you through any occasion and they will survive daily wear much, much better than shoes from other brands; for this reason, I consider this money well spent! Take it from this mama who has been purchasing pediped® shoes for a total of five years between the two kids!

You can shop online for these shoes over here.

*I was given two pairs of shoes of my choice and I was not obliged to write a review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and no other monetary compensation was received.

Cloversoft: Helping Us Save Trees and Polar Bears One Wipe at a Time

I have been looking to replace our household and personal grooming products with more sustainable, eco-friendly, non-toxic, yet equally (if not, more) effective options, and sometimes, it is an uphill, not to mention expensive, task. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that we are completely green now, because we still use a fair amount of disposables and are unable to see ourselves doing without them given our needs; we are a busy household with two young children and I do lots of heavy cooking and baking.

It is therefore good news all around when I learnt that we can now get hold of sustainable disposables at competitive prices from Cloversoft. We go through a lot of baby wipes, tissue, toilet paper and paper towels in our home because of the kids and all that cooking/baking. We also go through a lot of water and I am ashamed to say that our water bills are still a little higher than that of our neighbours, even though we have made conscious attempts to cut our usage down. With Cloversoft products in my arsenal, we can reduce our usage of unsustainable, toxic yuckies, and that of water, and I have to say that I am very pleased!

What’s the difference between Cloversoft products and counterparts on the market?

The wipes, tissue, toilet rolls, kitchen & hand towels, multipurpose cloth from Cloversoft are made from 100% unbleached bamboo, NOT from trees! Counterparts on the market are made from plastic (wipes) and trees (all others), and they are bleached; these spell trouble for our skin and environment. Bamboo is a more sustainable option that constitutes less carbon footprint, and it has natural anti-bacterial properties (that also means there’s no need to use pesticides in growing bamboo). Cloversoft products are also very competitively priced, and it makes perfect sense to switch to them if you haven’t already done so. Cloversoft also donates part of the proceeds to Polar Bear International, to save our beloved polar bears, one at a time.

“MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO SAVE AT LEAST 10,000 TREES AND A POLAR BEAR IN YOUR LIFETIME.” – Alps Group

  1. Organic Baby Wipes Extra Moisturising (70 sheets per pack) I first purchased these wipes by the carton and was sold on my first use. Each sheet is extra thick, large, and one goes a long way in cleaning whatever mess, as compared to me having to use 3-4 wipes from another brand. The wipes are very gentle on the children’s skin, and that’s saying something as my firstborn has very sensitive skin. I use them at mealtimes, potty times, everything, and I can’t live without them. These wipes are free of alcohol, chlorine (unbleached), phthalates, paraben, phenoxyethanol and formaldehyde, and are unscented and non-toxic. I love them so much that I purchased another carton again when we ran out, and bought the travel-pack anti-bacterial version for when we are out and about.
  2. Organic Anti-Bacterial Wipes (40 sheets per pack) These are so incredibly useful for when we are out and about, as we want portable packs that can help us clean out 99.9% of bacteria when we don’t have access to soap and water. I brought these to Bangkok when we were there for a holiday recently because I wanted these to go into our diaper bag, so we didn’t have to lug the 70-sheet-packs out of the hotel. I didn’t even finish using one pack of this in the four days we were in Bangkok because each sheet is extra thick and large, and was so efficient at wiping dirty surfaces and hands down. These are free of nasties as well and are very gentle on the skin.
  3. Unbleached Bamboo Facial Tissue (2 Ply, 150 sheets per pack) I have also switched out all the paper tissues in our home for bamboo tissues, and they are as strong, absorbent and are suitable for sensitive skin.
  4. Unbleached Bamboo Travel Tissue (2 Ply, 50 sheets per pack) These are travel packs and needless to say, they lighten our loads for when we are out!
  5. Premium Bamboo Kitchen & Hand Towels (160 sheets per pack) I go through A LOT of paper towel rolls because I cook and bake a lot and I need to be very hygienic in my preparations. I even dry my hands on them instead of hand-drying cloths because I want to move on quickly to the next step (especially important in cake decorating) and be 100% clean when preparing food. These are absorbent, strong, and do a fantastic job, and they are made from bamboo, so I feel much better about using disposables when I know that hygiene cannot be compromised.
  6. 100% Unbleached Bamboo Cloth Multipurpose Wipes (52 sheets per roll) Now, this is MAGIC! It acts as an oil sponge that can be reusable for up to 20 washes. I don’t know how it works but it effectively removes grease when it is wet. No detergent is required, all one has to do is to wet a sheet and wipe down greasy pans, surfaces, etc, rinse it quickly (and very easily) under water (all the grease just slips right off the wipe and the sheet can be re-used)! The sheet remains intact with high tensile strength and does not break off like regular paper towels when they are wet. I find that this helps me save so much water and detergent. Previously, I was stuck between using plenty of paper towels and gallons of running water and dishwashing liquid to remove cake batter or food grease from my mixing bowls, pans, etc. Using these wipes to remove food debris prior to a wash has helped me save so much water and disposables, and I am very pleased with that! Just check out the photos below and see how clean the wipe is after rinsing the batter off very briefly under running water.

Clean sheet ready to be used

Cookie batter residue largely removed with one wipe and the sheet is loaded with grease

After second wipe and second rinse, the grease just slips off the sheet and the sheet can be reused!

I have had a very good experience using these products and will continue purchasing them. I strongly encourage you to make the switch to using Cloversoft, it’s really a no-brainer because the products competitively priced, as effective (if not more), and they represent a means through which one can help to save the environment (less deforestation, less chemicals washed into the oceans, less toxicity to all lifeforms) and polar bears, and to reduce the exposure of our families to nasties. In short, you do more with the same amount spent. You also get free delivery within Singapore for orders above SGD40, so it’s a win-win all around!

*I was given some Cloversoft products and purchased the majority of them. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and no other monetary compensation was received.

Love Your Leather Right with The ShoeTree Project!

Ever since I became a mother, I abandoned many of my belongings in favour of child-friendly ones. Bags that I wouldn’t cry over if they were scratched or stained, shoes that I wouldn’t mourn if they were stepped on. To put it simply, all my leather goods went into storage because I knew they wouldn’t stand up to use and abuse. But being a leather noob, I had no idea that they would start drying up and cracking if I don’t use them, so one day, when I unearthed my fancy leather heels for a date night out with M, I was horrified to see that the leather had cracked after so many years in storage. The shoes were beyond repair.

M, on the other hand, uses leather goods almost everyday. Shoes, wallet and belt for work, mostly, and his shoes take the most beating. We have been very negligent and lazy when it comes to taking care of his shoes, and we do see scuff marks and creases forming, but we just couldn’t be bothered to do anything about them, because…LIFE.

The good people at The ShoeTree Project approached me to give their Saphir Renovateur Leather Cleaner & Conditioner a try. It is touted to prevent cracks and prolong the life of leather shoes (or even bags) by keeping the leather supple and moisturised with its proprietary blend of all-natural mink oil, lanolin, and beeswax. The conditioner is awarded the Medaille d’Or (gold medal) in Paris, 1925, so I thought it must be good stuff that my leather goods would drink up!

I first tried it out on two pairs of M’s leather shoes. All I did was to dab a small amount of the conditioner on a clean and dry cotton cloth and rub it in in a circular motion all over the shoes.

The first thing I noticed was the fine creases looked less obvious or even disappeared after the moisturising conditioner was applied. The deeper, more stubborn creases which have been formed over time at areas where bending/folding mostly occurred are still there, and I can understand that because we had not conditioned any of his shoes from the time of purchase (some have been used for ten years!) to the time when the Saphir conditioner was sent to us. This just tells me that we have to be start conditioning our leather goods before it’s too late! Also, the conditioner has mild cleaning properties and grit and grime were largely removed. You can clearly see the cleaning and conditioning properties of the Saphir Renovateur Leather Cleaner & Conditioner by comparing the before-and-after photos in the animated GIF above.

The second thing I noticed was that the conditioner appears to darken the colour of M’s (second pair of) shoes but the colour has gradually lightened in the days after. They look more supple, if you will, and the conditioner imparts a nice sheen that isn’t too glossy or unnatural on the leather.

My qualm with the conditioning process is that the action of rubbing has deepened some scratches/cracks that were already present on the shoes. I suppose this is inevitable; we all know we can’t just go rubbing into these cracks and not expect something to happen. It’s a painful lesson to learn for us, that we REALLY have to condition leather goods right from the beginning, so as to prevent cracks from forming in the first place. No amount of conditioning would work to reverse the process once cracks or deep scratches are there. Don’t neglect your leather goods like I did!

I do like the Saphir Renovateur Leather & Conditioner. At $25 a pop, it’s pretty affordable given that you only need a tiny dab to work a large surface. I’ve barely made a dent in my jar after using it on our shoes and bags. Be careful when rubbing the conditioner, or anything for that matter, on cracks/deep scratches, the friction will cause more damage so be gentle! If you are fortunate enough to have your leather babies still in pretty good condition, start showing them some TLC today if you haven’t already.

Saphir Rénovateur Leather & Conditioner is available for purchase on The ShoeTree Project. You’d be glad to know there is free shipping for all local orders!

*I was given a jar of Saphir Rénovateur Leather & Conditioner for the review and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Dear Ethan: Two Too Soon

Dear Ethan,

They say that the years pass us by as the kids grow older, and I thought I understood that full and well having watched your sister sprout much too quickly from an infant to a toddler to the preschooler she is today. But, oh are the years really whizzing past with you in the mix! How did you grow from that scrawny little orange kampong chicken that you were to the strong-willed, fearless, active, snail- and dinosaur-loving, conversing boy with a cute tum-tum that you are today? It’s as if you have decidedly stepped up, just so you could catch up with your sister, who sings, talks and plays with you everyday.

Now, I know I said in my previous letter to you that you would wait in the wings for Mama, no matter how badly you wanted me. Well, I take that back. Nothing’s too urgent for you now, my son. “Mama, I want eat dinner.” “Ethan, I still need time to cook. ” “NOOOOOOOarrrrghhhh!!!!!” ” Mama, play big piano.” “Ethan, please let me finish up my dinner.” “NOOOOOOOarrrrghhhh!!!!!” “I want Mama play wif meeee.” “Okay, please wait for a while.” “NOOOOOOOarrrrghhhh!!!!!” When push comes to shove, you vent your frustration and smack the floor, table or even your poor sister right on the head if she happened to be the one who was, intentionally or not, in your way.

I’m not sure if this is what comes with being two, but to be honest, your sister was not as insistent at your age. This is somewhat new to me and it is proving to be a real challenge managing your big emotions whenever we have to say no or have you wait. You can’t take no for an answer, and wouldn’t have things any other way, and you certainly make yourself heard a million miles away if we don’t accede to your demands. There lies the dilemma, of whether to take the easy way out of giving in to you and risk having you learn that all you need to is scream to get your way, or to take the long, hard road of talking things out and teaching you to regulate your emotions. It’s so easy to give in to you though, your big Bambi eyes are my Kryptonite, and the smiles you flash melt everyone who has laid their eyes on you; but in the bigger scheme of things, I know better than to pander to your every whim, because I know that it’s far more important to nurture your strong-willed nature into something that will take you further in life. You must find it difficult to understand why Mama and Papa have to be firm and stern with you, and I don’t blame you, you are after all only a little more than two years old, but I hope that you will appreciate our thoughts by the time you are able to read this letter.

The wonderful thing about that titanium will of yours is that you are determined to complete any task (dangerous ones included) once you have set your eyes on it. You will not budge or give up, much less succumb to temptations that we toss your way in an attempt to distract you from whatever you are bent on doing. It is an impressive trait to see in your cherubic self, and it is my greatest wish that you will grow up pivoted on this and channel it to doing good.

As much as I look forward to seeing you grow and mature into a fine young man, it is bittersweet to watch you shed that baby-ness with each day. You started school at 23.5 months old, 4.5 months later than your sister did. I was torn between keeping you home so Mama could have you all to myself for a little longer and having you learn to interact with others, hence the delay in putting you in school. You would think Mama would be all heartless as I have accumulated a wealth of experience in dropping your sister off since she was 19 months old, but I remember being nonetheless anxious and tearful when I said goodbye to you after sitting in with you on your first day of school. Three weeks were all it took for you to stop crying (and me, in the car) at drop-off, a lot sooner than your sister did, but my heart ached much more this time round and I’m not sure why. Perhaps, it’s because I have learnt to be less hung up about the minute details of parenthood and to simply relish in you littles being…little, and I knew that dropping you off in school means you will grow to be independent of Mama that much sooner. Indeed, just slightly more than three months in, you have grown so much quicker than what Mama’s heart can grapple with. I peek at you from outside the classroom and I see you reading books aloud to your new friends, singing songs and growling as you plonk the safari animals around, truly enjoying social interaction and chatting with your teachers and friends. These are all good things, incredible milestones to celebrate, don’t get me wrong, but I sometimes wish…that you could stay a baby, my baby, forever.

These days, you run into my arms whenever I pick you up from school and you rattle on and on about what went on throughout your day. “Mama, I sing Happy Burfday.” “Mama, I eat cake today. Nice.” “Mama, I go playground today. I like (b)icycle.” “Mama, Teacher (Di)ana read book.” “Mama, Archie bite me.” Each time you do that, it strikes me (hard) that you are creating memories of your own without Mama in them, and my heart breaks at that thought. And when you beckon me over as you say, “Mama, come, come play, come ON” or when you lecture, “Ethan no beat Jie Jie, no shout people, not nice, hands are for sayang, right?” I wonder if you are a big boy trapped in a toddler’s body, and I dread what’s to come. Is Mama too selfish to want to be your only world? Is Mama…foolish to not want to lose you to time?

While I pray that you do not slip away into adulthood without me noticing, I shall relish in you being little. At two years old, you may no longer fit into my arms, but I will cradle you. I will blissfully sink into the pillow propped up on the daybed in your room, cuddle you close and listen to you read your favourite bedtime stories (Time For Bed and Shhh, We Have A Plan). And we will clap spiritedly as you finish narrating (and asking me a thousand questions, “Mama, why so many birds?”). Then I will ask if you would like Mama to carry you to sleep; you would hop onto my lap with a big smile on your face with your tongue wagging, and you would make yourself comfortable in the cradle of my right arm. Then I will ask you if you are happy, and you will tell me all the things that delighted you that day.

“I like Mama. I like Jie Jie. I like Papa.”

“I eat fish. I like fish.”

“I like playground, and and and dye-o-saur.”

“I see (ptero)dactyl today. I touch dye-o-saur leg. SO BIIIIG! I not scared.”

“I like snail. Mama, why Papa Snail go home? Where Baby Snail? Baby Snail die??”

“Mama, Papa bring me play rock today. I like rock. I like running.”

“I like swimming wif Papa, Mama and Jie Jie.”

I will do all of the above for as long as you let me. And perhaps, one day, at bedtime, when you are old enough to ask Mama what makes me happy…I’ll say,

“I like you.” And you will know how much you delight me everyday, too.

Don’t grow up too quickly, but if you must, let Mama hold your hand for a little longer, okay?

Love always,

Mama

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Say Pest-Free Car?!

I AM TERRIFIED OF PESTS. Anything that creeps, crawls, lurks in dark corners, then comes flying right at me, completely freaks me out. I have invested in anything and everything to keep pests away from our home and our car, whilst making sure that ‘anything-and-everything’ are safe to be used around my children, and so far, so good…but that’s not to say that I don’t, at times, enter the car with simmering suspicion that I may be attacked by A COCKROACH whilst driving, which was what happened to me when I was driving a replacement car loaned to me by a workshop after this bugger (pun unintended) rammed into the back of my car.

My first car was almost a grand decade old and gave me lots of grief because it broke down pretty often. It was in a gritty state, because we bought it as a second-hand car for real-cheaps, so when the husband bought us a larger car so we could comfortably accommodate E’s car seat and still have room for human beings, I was determined to keep it in a pristine, or at least, hygienic condition. I went all military on everyone who would hitch a ride with me…”NO EATING OR DRINKING ALLOWED, UNLESS IT’S PLAIN WATER (and coffee for the man).” I was determined to keep roaches out because nobody likes to be attacked by a cockroach creeping up the leg whilst driving.

That said, I did not sent the car for any sort of grooming, not until recently when EA Detailer approached me to give their interior and exterior detailing services a try. This is because car grooming services can be expensive for the minimal amount of cleaning done and I shudder at the thought of having my kids sit in a car that has been exposed to toxic cleaners. I am not fussed about how shiny and water-resistant my car is, so instead, we use eco-friendly and natural cleaners to wipe the interior, keep pests at bay with a once-weekly spray-down using my trusted non-toxic insecticide, and do a soap-and-water wash on our own for the exterior.

As life would have it, kids climbing in and out of the car in their grubby shoes means that my car get dirty much too soon after a wash, and while grime can be mostly removed, I hope they don’t bring roach eggs into the car with ’em dirty shoes. There’s only so much we can do with surface cleaning and vacuuming. Our carpark can get drafty and dusty, so my car tends to be marred by ugly, gritty watermarks after the rain as well.

BUT! My car is now all shiny, pest-free, looks brand-new on the outside and inside, and smells wonderfully fresh, thanks to the outstanding detailing service by EA Detailer! I sent my car in to the latest branch of EA Detailer at Dunearn Road (housed behind Caltex, next to Barker Road Methodist Church) on Tuesday, and more than one week on, after a few downpours, my baby is still spotless!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SEND YOUR CAR FOR GROOMING AT EA DETAILER?

We started off with a very detailed consultation with the friendly staff at the spotless workshop.  No stink-eye from staff who think women don’t know better. The space is so clean and bright that Faith, who was with me when I went back for the car, was happy to hang around. I don’t know about you but I have always been intimidated by the typical environment related to anything-cars; many a times, I find that people tend not to take women (let alone those with children) seriously when it comes to cars and are less than friendly (which explains why some ladies I know leave petrol-pumping, car repairs and grooming to the men in their lives). The staff at EA Detailer are, on the contrary, very friendly, warm, accommodating and understanding.

Numerous photos were taken by the very attentive staff to ascertain a baseline from which EA Detailer would work on. Problematic areas were highlighted, and I was given the opportunity to raise my concerns, which were eventually addressed by the different stages of detailing. Reasonable disclaimers are put forward, such as those concerning scratches that cannot be removed without compromising the integrity of the paintwork. I was also walked through the steps that would take my car from the state it was to being thoroughly groomed upon pick-up. I left my car for about 5 hours and returned to one that looks and feels brand new!

MY WISH-LIST:

  • To get rid of pests, if any. I have been doing this on my own with non-toxic insecticide and I did not see any pest in the 1.5 years I have been driving this car, but I was worried that roaches may lurk somewhere I couldn’t reach.
  • To remove stubborn water stains from the fabric seats (these stains were made every time I tried to open/close an umbrella whilst getting in/out of the car and I gave up trying to prevent/remove them)
  • To deep-clean and sanitise my children’s car seats because some parts (fabric/cushion) are not removable and I couldn’t completely wash them as a result
  • To safely disinfect the car
  • To remove as many hairline scratches as possible (there were so many pointed out by the observant staff and I was appalled at that)

EFFECTIVE AND NON-TOXIC!

As I understood, the cleaner, freshener, fumigation solution used are effective and non-toxic. The anti-viral surface cleaner and freshener used, for example, have been certified by Singapore General Hospital to be effective against a number of viruses, including a 99.98% effectiveness against HFMD. I was also very pleased to know that the anti-pest solution used during fumigation is an extract from a plant enzyme, and that it is bio-degradable and digestible. Moist heat and UV are also used to deep-clean and sanitise the car, reducing the amount of chemicals used. These were the main reasons why I agreed to having our car detailed by EA Detailer; safety is paramount when it comes to my children.

WHAT WAS DONE TO MY CAR?

(A) INTERIOR: 4-STAGE INTERIOR STEAM PURIFICATION

  1. Anti-Pest Bio-Fumigation

A plant-based anti-pest solution is loaded into a fumigation gun and sprayed into the interior of the car. The car is kept closed for about 30 minutes and during this time, pests (if any) will be forced out of their hiding areas and most will be killed. Those that aren’t killed should be weakened enough to slow their activities and these can then be easily caught.

1.5 Hydro-extraction Vaccum

A two-stage HEPA neutraliser filtration hydro-extraction vacuum is then used to remove nearly 100% of dirt and contaminants such as dust, dust mites and mold from the interior of the car. The technology used is certified asthma- & allergy-friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

2. Anti-Viral Sanitisation

After the pests are removed, the car is sanitised with an anti-viral cleaner that has been certified by SGH to be safe and effective against a number of viruses. It has also been proven to be 99.98% effective against HFMD.

3. Ozonic Treatment and Leather Treatment

Ozone is up to 3000 times faster and more effective than chlorine at killing bacteria, mold, cysts and inactivating virus. Micro-organisms also do not build up immunity to being treated with ozone. Ozone is approved for direct contact with food products by the FDA as an antimicrobial agent and granted full USDA approval with no restrictions for use on organic products. This primes it as the perfect candidate for sanitising the air within the car. It also helps to remove odour and cleans the air within the car following fumigation, to remove as much of the fumigation solution as possible.

The leather trimmings and seats within the car will also be cleaned, then nourished and protected with a Matt Dash Finish leather protectant to maintain its finish. There are only leather trimmings on my doors, dashboard, steering wheel and gear box areas, and my fabric seats were treated differently instead (see below).

4. Steam Cleaning and Tornado Intensive Wash

(a) Steam Cleaning (Anti-Dustmites)

Steam is shot out of the gun to dislodge dirt, grease and stubborn stains without the use of chemicals.

(b) Tornado Intensive Wash (Dirt, Dust, Stains Removal)

A ‘gun’ is used to propel water out at a high speed, and the jet powers through the surface it hits to further remove dirt, dust and stains effectively.

4-STAGE INTERIOR DETAILING IS INCLUSIVE OF BABY CAR SEAT SANITISATION:

Baby car seats will be thoroughly sanitised as part of the 4-stage interior detailing. The fabrics will be steam-cleaned and subjected to a tornado intensive wash, followed by physical sanitisation using the SGH-certified surface cleaner and hydro-extraction vacuum to remove all debris and bacteria that have been dislodged from the seats.

(B) EXTERIOR: 3-STAGE EXTERIOR GLOW

1. Foam wash

2. Claying to remove grit and grime

3. Compound Polishing to remove hairline scratches that aren’t too deep, and to restore shine with a protective nano sealant that will last up to 1-2 months.

The engine bay will also be cleaned up, rims and exhaust pipes will be polished. All door shuts, boot shuts, bonnet edges, fuel cap and crevices and gaps that a sub-par groomer might miss will also be detailed.

MY REVIEW ON THE SERVICES RENDERED:

CONS

  • All these steps took a whopping 5 hours and I was initially very reluctant to leave my car at EA Detailer for that long as I really needed the car to run errands, go for appointments and to drop off and pick up the kids. I am now fully appreciative of the long period of time spent on getting my car back to tip-top condition, because when I returned to pick it up, it was clear that my car has gone through a complete transformation. EA Detailer had put in a sheer amount of effort into restoring my car, and that explains the length of time needed.
  • The services can be rather expensive at first glance, but the good news is first-time customers get really affordable trial prices at only $128 for a 3-stage interior detailing service for a saloon car for example (lower if you go for the promotion given to my readers..see below!). I guess one could stretch out the detailing services required to maintain the car in a good condition. That’s what I intend to do, coupled with more conscientious maintenance on my part in between car grooming sessions.

PROS

  • We have never eaten in the car, so it came as a shock that the staff found two baby cockroaches. I am beyond glad that we managed to nip the problem in the bud because we all know that roaches breed very quickly!
  • Stubborn water stains (from rain) on my fabric seats have been completely removed, thanks to the steam cleaning and tornado intensive wash! We had plans to upgrade the fabric seats to leather ones, but it looks like we don’t have to now!

Before: Water stains on fabric seats

After: Water stains on fabric seats removed

  • My children’s car seats are not completely washable as certain parts are not removable from the seats, so I am exceptionally pleased that the car seats have even deep-cleaned and sanitised, something that I couldn’t do on my own. This is included in the 4-stage interior detailing service. If you’d like to go for the 3- or 3.5-stage interior detailing but would like to add on baby car seat sanitisation, you can opt for it at $69 for one car seat and $120 for two seats.Before: Baby car seats harbour plenty of hidden dirt, much deeper from the surface.After: Baby car seats are thoroughly sanitised!
  • The car is all clean and freshened up after all that sanitisation using the SGH-certified disinfectant.
  • My car looks completely brand new with matt finishes done on the interior and the removal of most hairline scratches from the exterior. The paintwork looks stunning with all that shine restored to it! After a few downpours, no watermark has been left on the body of my car, thanks to the nanosealant that has been applied.After: My car is all glossy and scratch-free again!After: Interior of the car has been completely spruced up, cleaned and sanitised, with delightful matt finishes added.
  • Even the engine bay and rims have been cleaned and they look brand new!

EA Detailer is located at a few locations, and if you are sold like I am for the detailing services, do take advantage of the promotion for my readers to try the services out! Alternatively, you can take part in the giveaway!

GIVEAWAY:

EA Detailer is giving away one 3-Stage Interior Detailing package to a lucky reader! This includes Anti-Pest Bio-Fumigation, Anti-Viral Sanitisation, Ozonic and Leather Treatment. Simply like their Facebook Page to stand a chance to win! Don’t forget to leave your FB username for verification purposes. Click on this link to join the giveaway.

PROMOTION for my readers: Click on this link to book either of these two options.

[OPTION #1]

1. 50% Off 3-Stage Interior at $108  (Usual Price $219)
-> Anti-Pest Bio-Fumigation
-> Anti-Viral Sanitisation (Covers Physical and Air environment including aircon system)
-> Leather Treatment
-> Dashboard Treatment
-> Indepth Vacuum
-> Anti Mold/Odour Smell Ozonic Treatment

(Duration: 4 hours)

[OPTION #2]

Take both 3-Stage Exterior and 3-Stage Interior Detailing at ONLY $198 (Usual Price $299)
(Duration : 4 to 6 hours)

*Additional surcharge of $50 applies for MPV/SUV/Large & Flagship Luxury Sedans

*I was gifted a 4-stage interior and 3-stage exterior detailing service by EA Detailer. No monetary compensation has been received. All opinions expressed are my own.

Down the Rabbit Hole into…Wonderland!

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would, you see?” – Lewis Carroll

And what was supposed to be, it wasn’t, we found out as while we slipped down the rabbit hole into Wonderland to meet Alice, the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, White Rabbit, Card and *gasp* the Queen at the Tea Party.

Now, I can’t give away too much about what goes on in Wonderland. It’s a secret, you see, and only those with Muchness and those who are Mad are in the know. What I’d say is Faith and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during the 45-minute play, and I’d highly recommend for you to go scurrying for tickets if you want to be Mad as well.

We were sent a secret message to show up at the most random of places in mismatched socks. Faith was utterly delighted at the fact that she was finally allowed to go crazy on her choice of feet warmers, so much so that she has been asking to go out in mismatched pairs everyday after we went down the Rabbit Hole. “I knew who I was this morning but I’ve changed a few times since then.” I can safely say that Faith is definitely having an Alice moment when it comes to socks now.

Now, I didn’t want to fit in (or did I, I swear this trip to Wonderland has messed with what’s normal and what’s not) and didn’t wear socks (let alone mismatched ones), but I ended up getting told off by the White Rabbit for not doing so and I’m just glad the Queen didn’t scream for someone to take my head off because I had at least mastered the secret phrase to be let into Wonderland. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THIS BECAUSE YOU WILL REGRET IT IF YOU DON’T.

Then, Faith’s and my realities were switched up a little when we were told to go through the wrong (or…right?) doors and we finally tumbled down the Rabbit Hole into…Wonderland.

Having arrived 30 minutes earlier (that’s the earliest they will let you in) prior to the start of the play, we were treated to wonderfully neurotic banter between the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. The children teased them, and the pair were more than convincing in their roles and it was a great introduction for the children to understand their personalities a little more before the start of the play. I highly suggest arriving early for that half an hour of unofficial pre-show, so you get more bang for buck (total of 75 minutes, if you will). Faith was tickled pink during the pre-show (so was I), and I reckon that it is a fair indication of good fun!

During the show, a general story played out (I shall not give this away) but because it is immersive and interactive in nature, children were more than welcomed to speak up and engage with the actors. I’m not an expert on theatre, but I reckon a play of this sort is much harder to execute, as the actors wouldn’t know what to expect from every audience they are playing to. During the show we attended, the children participated actively and the actors very smoothly transited the audience back to the storyline.

At many points in the dialogues running through the show, the actors had me thinking about life, what it means, what our realities, expectations, emotions and dreams are, and how we can break them if only we are willing to. I left the show feeling thoughtful and hopeful, although I must say younger children will miss the nuances as intended by Lewis Carroll but as far as I could tell, children who were the same age as Faith (she’s turning 5 this year) or older thoroughly enjoyed the main storyline, as well as comedic stunts and mid-play ‘activities’ put up by the actors.


  To be honest, Faith was a little scared and shy at first (you might want to take note of this if you intend to bring children who are younger) , but the pre-show helped warm her up for the play and by the end of it, she was reeling in the action of it all and asked to go again as she loved the show very much. Just look at her happy face as she took photos with the cast after show! I, on the other hand, had a hard time picking my favourite characters in the cast of Wonderland, but if I really had to choose, I have to say the Mad Hatter and the March Hare have my heart!

No food is served during the show (as opposed to its predecessor, Dinner in Wonderland) but we did tumbled back out through the Rabbit Hole into The Queen’s Bar after the play and bought ourselves a yummy Oreo milkshake before heading home, so be sure to check it out if you are feeling peckish or parched.

Word has it that the Wonderland by ANDSOFORTH Junior (the one we caught) will be running at the current location (Lorong Ampas) from 8-10 June 2017 and then the same cast will be acting in Kids in Wonderland at a different site with a new set design thereafter.

Bookings for Wonderland by ANDSOFORTH Junior can be over here, and that for Kids in Wonderland can be made here instead. Tickets are going for $28 per person (accompanying adults will need to buy tickets as well). The show is said to be suitable for children who are 2 years old and above, but I’d say 4-5 years is a better age to appreciate the play better. Tickets are selling well, so hurry on over to grab yours while they are still available!

Like Andsoforth on Facebook to receive updates on what they have to offer!

*We received four media passes to Wonderland by ANDSOFORTH Junior and only made use of two tickets. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. Thank you Andsoforth for the tickets!

 

We Choose What We Choose

Today, I bumped into a university classmate whom I haven’t seen in about ten years.

“So…are you still a stay-at-home-mother?”

“Yeap, I am.”

“Oh my…but it’s..it’s such a waste..! You could be a high-flyer by now.” (At this point, my friend was in disbelief, placing a palm over his forehead.)

I knew he didn’t mean any harm. I knew that he was just thinking aloud about how a girl who used to be one of the top students in the cohort could go from having a paved road to success ahead of her to being a mother who stays home now.

A few months ago, I would have been utterly shattered by a remark such as this. Because that was how I used to feel about myself most of the time, that I was worthless because I was doing something that couldn’t be measured by assessments, key performance indicators and results, and hence, it felt like I was doing nothing even though my exhaustion and lack of time to myself spoke otherwise.

Today, I blinked back my tears (that reek of years of being ridiculed and talked about) and put all naysayers (intentional or not) in their rightful place.

“No. I choose to be with my children. I am lucky in that we don’t need two incomes to survive, so I decided that it is more valuable for me to be with my kids than to be out there advancing my professional life. It is hard, because I don’t like everything that is associated with staying home, but we choose what we choose.”

“But, wow, you could have been…”

“Yes, I could have been a professor or a research director by now, but I am raising my children to be the future of our society, and that is priceless.”

“…Yeah…I guess women can choose. Men can’t.”

“No, men can choose too. My husband chose and lives with the consequences and ridicule from family, friends, colleagues and patients everyday. But, we choose what we choose.”

“…”

I have always known that I am not the sort who can juggle work and family life. I know I would not do remotely okay at all, on both ends, because I am an all-or-nothing sort of person. In a parallel universe, I would be completely focused on my career and having children may not even be part of my plan. But right here, right now, in this universe, I am very blessed to be in a situation where my husband is alright with and comfortable with being the sole breadwinner. We are not in need and do not require both of us to work to make ends meet. When I was faced with the dilemma of going back to work and staying home for the family, my hands and legs were not tied, and I chose what I chose because of my circumstances and outlook then. Faith refused to take the bottle and I didn’t have an alternative, trusted caregiver who was willing to take care of her when she was screaming bloody murder at every feed. M was working 100 hours a week and we hardly saw him. I knew that I wanted to be home for Faith, to tide her through; weeks became months, months became years. I don’t like everything that is associated with the (at-times) thankless, mundane, unglamorous job of being a stay-at-home-mother. I have struggled long and hard with it over the past five years and I often questioned myself if I was doing any good being home. Over the past few months, certain things have surfaced on the personal front and I have changed; I am no longer that person.

Now, when someone says that I am wasting my talent, intelligence, education and time by being home, instead of letting them run me to the ground, I wonder, in defiance, if people would say that it is a waste of a woman’s talent, intelligence, education and time by being the director of a company or the top investment banker instead of being home all the time to take care of her children. Not common, I’d say. But, I know how people jump to conclusions and say that a working mum isn’t spending enough time with her children and how ridiculous it is that she should delegate caregiving to helpers, nannies, or grandparents when she, as a mother, should do it, as if these naysayers know her struggles and tears? How can it be fair to the mum who works herself to the bone, trying to succeed, make ends meet and be there for her children at the same time, when someone says something like that to her? And how can it be fair to someone who stays home like I do, when I am being told that I am wasting everything I have got by being home?

We walk different paths, steered by circumstances and our personalities which ultimately shape our decisions. Some decisions are more easily made than others, some decisions require a heart (not guts!) of steel to pull off, and some decisions have us wondering if we are doing the right thing for the rest of our lives. We make a myriad of these decisions, everyday, and it is terribly taxing on us.

So…working mums, SAHMs, WAHMs, mums with help or not, we are full-time mothers. It’s hard enough as it is to be a parent, to raise our children to be decent, loving people in this mad, mad world. Let no one run you down, whether the person is doing it intentionally or not, because it takes an ocean of courage and unparalleled strength to walk the paths of thorns we chose. Take a deep breath, assert yourself, look at the person in the eye, and say, “We choose what we choose.”

 

 

Wonderland – an Immersive Theatrical Children’s Show

“Just a little further” said Alice to the herself as she plunged deeper into the depths of the cake. How is it that it never ends? And how will I ever find the plate? By this time the Mad Hatter had arrived to see a pair of legs sticking out of a very large cake.

I don’t know about you but it’s my life ambition to plunge into a cake, as long as it’s delicious, so wherever Alice goes, I AM GOING!

This coming June holidays, Andsoforth (a nomadic theatre group which creates pop-up theatrical feasts immersed around stories, drama and secrets) Junior presents “Wonderland”, a children’s play based off Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. What sets it apart from regular plays is that Wonderland is an interactive show hosted in an immersive set where children get to be seated amongst the cast. It is the first of its kind, where characters of Wonderland interact with and engage children in the play, allowing them to be part of the story while watching the story come to life, so you can imagine how keen I am to…yeap…somehow dive into that cake!

On a serious note, I like that there are a couple of learning objectives for this play, the key ones that shout out to me are to encourage expression of self through interaction with the actors in a safe and fun environment, expand imaginative abilities and to build confidence by taking part in a play where everyone gets to be engaged (as opposed to having kids stand on stage and risk having stage fright as the boundary between stage and audience can prove to be overwhelming). I am eager to see how Faith (she is turning 5 years old this year) responds being part of an immersive theatrical experience for a change! We will be going for one of the runs so see you there and say hello if you spot us!

By the way, if you are wondering how long the play lasts, it is 45 minutes long, so it’s perfect for children who might not want to sit still for too long. It is also suitable for children who are 2 years old and above, and children under 7 years old will need to be accompanied by parents. Please note that parents and children will need their own tickets to watch the play.

Ticketing details are as follow:

Dates: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 June

Timings: 11am, 2pm, 4pm

Price: $28 per person (food will not be provided, but munchies will be on sale at The Queen’s Cafe)

Tickets are available online! They are selling out fast, so hurry! All tickets sold are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

*I will be given 4 media passes to this play and will be writing about our experience after the show! All opinions are entirely my own. Watch this space!

 

Keep Your Home Clean, Green and Baby-Friendly with Dapple

Some of you may know that I have been pruning our home-cleaning and even skincare routines, keeping the products we use to the greenest that we can afford, all this without compromising on efficacy. This clean and green movement is looking really good with more products that are readily available locally now, and I am happy to add the Dapple family of goodies to our cleaning regime!  I was sent a couple of Dapple products, including the Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid (Fragrance Free), Toy & Highchair Cleaner, and Baby Stain Remover Spray and I’m really happy with the cleaning prowess of these products and am most impressed by the Baby Stain Remover Spray (see photos below for evidence)!

Dapple Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid

The Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid is excellent for removing milk residue and odour from Ethan’s sippy cup and cooler bag. Even though he has been weaned off breastmilk, I pack a sippy cup full of fresh milk in a cooler bag for his snack time at school. Unfortunately, the cup isn’t spill-proof and some milk leaks out into the cooler bag. The teachers don’t have the time to clean the milk residue off immediately and when left to fester for an entire day before we get home…let’s just say the cooler bag smells extremely offensive. As the cooler bag isn’t supposed to be washed, what I do is to wet a cloth with a smidgeon of the Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid, and wipe! I don’t even rinse the cooler bag and I know it’s safe as the Liquid is free of SLS, SLES, artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, chlorine, formaldehyde, and alcohol. The offensive smell is removed and the cooler bag is all cleaned up for the next day. With the sippy cup, I simply wash it as per normal with the Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid, and it gets all cleaned up in a jiffy. A little goes a really, really long way, so I do see the 500ml bottle lasting us for quite a while before we purchase the refill. I was also given the travel-sized bottle (88ml) with a lavender fragrance, and I’m eager to bring this with us on our next holiday!

Toy & Highchair Cleaner 

Ethan is a really messy eater. He picks up bits and pieces of food with his hands, puts them on the spoon before eating (don’t ask me why) and then smears his greasy hands all over his hair, face and the highchair. Every meal time ends with either a massive wipe-down or a wash in the bathroom (I’m referring to both Ethan and the highchair). These days, I have been using the Toy & Highchair Cleaner to take the grease off the highchair and it’s doing a pretty good job! After removing solid bits of food, I simply spray and wipe and the chair is spotless again. I love that the cleaner is free of SLS, SLES, artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, chlorine, formaldehyde, and alcohol. This means that it is safe to use on highchairs and toys, as Ethan often picks things up from the table on the highchair to eat and puts toys in his mouth, and I like that none of these nasty chemicals are getting ingested.

Baby Stain Remover Spray (Fragrance-Free)   

I decided to give the Baby Stain Remover Spray a try when Faith spilt some orange-coloured multi-vitamin liquid on her white pyjamas one morning. All I did was to remove the excess liquid by dabbing on it with a piece of tissue paper, applied some of the Baby Stain Remover Spray on the stain, rubbed and agitated the stain, left the stain to soak in the stain remover for about 10 minutes before putting it into the wash. And the pyjamas came out looking like brand-new! To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this to work because the stain was pretty obvious on the white fabric, but it did! I think this will come in really handy as Ethan often spills food on his clothes and some of his onesies have been badly stained because we couldn’t remove them with anything we have at home. The Baby Stain Remover Spray is said to be formulated for cloth diapers, so I reckon it is pretty effective for everything else that isn’t as offensive!

Before applying the stain remover

After applying the stain remover, rubbing on-site and leaving it for 10 minutes. After this, I put her pyjama top into the wash.

The stain was completely removed after the top came out from the wash!

I think there is a common perception that green products are usually expensive and ineffective. Whilst the former can be true of most green products, I can attest to the fact that only very small amounts of these Dapple products are needed to clean effectively and that means we save more in the long run whilst keeping our homes and the environment cleaner, greener and safer. It’s really worth the switch to environmentally-friendly products that are free of toxins for our children and I cannot recommend these products enough!

PROMOTION

For those of you who are keen to give Dapple products a shot but do not wish to commit to full-priced items, you may be keen to purchase a Dapple starter pack at a promotional price of $30 (retail price  $40.70, usual price on Qoo10 $32.90) from this site on Qoo10. Don’t forget to quote “pleasuremonger” at the <Memo to seller> field during check out to obtain free samples too! This promotion is valid from 8 May to 15 May 2017.

*I was given the above products for the review. No additional monetary compensation has been received. 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.