Category Archives: Lifestyle Goods

Good Riddance to Burning Pains With PRIMERO ErgoSilver Laptop Riser

We haven’t got enough space for a proper writing desk at home and we have resorted to working at the dining table when the need arises. Sometimes, I work on the laptop at my vanity dresser too if I want to be in the comfort of my room, but no matter where I work, I end up with burning pains in my neck and shoulders after 10-15 minutes. The kind that renders me unable to turn or tilt my head without screaming for the husband to help, the kind that bothers me so much that I can’t go to sleep.

It’s no wonder how much I try to avoid working on my laptop. I can’t be bothered to backup photos as often, edit or write if I can help it. I end up getting a lot of stuff done on the phone, but we all know that nothing beats going on the laptop for certain projects, and working became (literally) a real pain in the neck.

pb143328

Without the laptop riser
pb143329

With the laptop riser. See the difference?

When Laptop Stand Singapore contacted me to give their PRIMERO ErgoSilver Laptop Riser a try in exchange for an honest review, I jumped on the opportunity. It is touted to help reduce the physical stress that we get from working on the computer for too long, by raising the laptop to a more comfortable height.

I was curious at first, as I was certain I didn’t hunch over my laptop. It turned out that I was doing that unknowingly, because after using the PRIMERO ErgoSilver Laptop Riser, I could go on working on the laptop for at least 45 minutes before starting to feel the strain on my neck and shoulders. By raising the laptop to a height that is closer to the eye-level, I no longer subconsciously hunch or jut my neck out (like a pigeon) to read whatever’s on the screen (something that I notice I was doing when comparing my postures with and without the riser). The slanted keyboard did feel a little awkward at first, as I was used to typing on a flat surface, but I got over that gradient after about two sessions, and now I feel more comfortable using my laptop on the riser instead.

The laptop riser is very light and portable (26cm in length, 18.5cm wide and 8cm high), and as you can see, you could stuff your external hard drive etc under the riser if you need more space at the sides of your laptop. You could also collect the cables through the hole at the back of the laptop riser to neaten things up on your workspace. A laptop riser is really a multi-tasker then, if you take maximising workspace productivity into consideration. It has rubberized silica gel pads on the top surface and bottom surface to increase friction (so that your laptop doesn’t slip right off) and to prevent scratches on laptop. The riser is also suitable for laptops up to 17 inches and so it works for most laptops out there. The best thing is that this simple gadget is rather slim as compared to its counterparts and looks good in any household (long-time readers will know how obsessed I am about things like that). At only $34.90, it really is an affordable solution to enhance your experience working at the laptop and to banish the pains that you may get from working on the laptop for too long. I really can’t live without mine now; it’s a good thing the husband doesn’t work as much as I do so I don’t have to share!

pb143331

There are also plenty of other workspace solutions over at Laptop Stand Singapore if you are looking to maximise productivity and space, and I’d say if Christmas shopping for that practical someone in your life is proving to be a challenge, this might be a good place to start!

Thank you, Laptop Stand Singapore!

*I was given the PRIMERO ErgoSilver Laptop Riser 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.

Miracle for My Skin: Love Organic, Love Botáni

pa022969

In the third trimester that I was pregnant with Ethan, three eczema patches showed up on my face that left me wondering what went wrong with my skincare regime. At first, I thought it was just pregnancy hormones messing my skin up, but when the three scaly, itchy, dry patches grew larger, even long after I have given birth, I had a hunch that my body was reacting to the chemicals in the skincare products I was using and that it was time to overhaul my beauty regime. Yes, I was on a mission to clean things up, quite literally, because I am convinced my skin was suffering from the effects of harsh chemicals slathered on my face.

For many months, I used calendula on my skin. The formulation we had worked wonders to get rid of Faith’s eczema, and I applied the calendula ointment on my face to see if it might help with the patches. The wonderful bit is two of the three patches cleared right up. The bad thing is one stubborn patch remained on my left cheek. That patch annoyed me to no end, as it looked red if I didn’t put on any makeup, and if I did paint my face, the patch showed up dry and flaky and there was nothing I could do to conceal it.

After this, I tried different organic and natural skincare products from local and international brands in an attempt to improve the condition of my skin. Whilst the products have been excellent at really nourishing my sensitive skin without stinging or causing itch, none could get rid of the third eczema patch on my face. I was about to give up on the search and cave into using steroids when I stumbled upon the Botáni range of natural and organic Australian skincare carried by a local store, Love Organic.

Karen, of Love Organic, very generously sent me a couple of Botáni products to try, and one and a half months after using them, I am completely sold. Yes, COMPLETELY, you read that right.

Just a little background on Botáni products before I go into the details of how the products helped me. All ingredients used in Botáni products are Eco-Cert approved, and do not contain petrochemicals, mineral oils, PEGS, silicones, paragons, artificial fragrances or colours, animal derived ingredients, propylene glycol and sulphates. The signature ingredient of Botáni skincare products is Olive Squalene – nature’s only biocompatible ingredient which bears the closest resemblance to human squalene, our body’s in-built moisturiser. We are all born with 12% squalene and this starts to decrease from the age of 25 onwards, leading to premature ageing, dry skin and fine lines among others. In short, olive squalene should be your new best friend, even if the ravaging effects of time isn’t.

The Olive Skin Serum is my favourite of all the products that I have been given (or my favourite of all skincare products I have ever used in my life, for that matter). I would go as far as to call it a Miracle for my skin because the third eczema patch has been banished to oblivion two weeks after applying this serum on my face. My skin feels extremely nourished, and is so much suppler and smoother than before.  I noticed that my skin looks more radiant too and I feel more confident about going out without putting on makeup. This is unsurprising, given that the serum is infused with highly concentrated 100% phyto-active Olive Squalene, vitamins C and E. The serum has been clinically proven to increase moisture levels by 50% within 24 hours, to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production, and is ideal for sensitive/eczema skin. I have been told that it doubles up as a makeup primer too; in my case, it’s good for holding my makeup in place for about 4-5 hours. A little goes a very long way when it comes to this serum. I use it once in the morning and once at night, and only require two drops each time for my entire face and neck area. The best way to use it is to pat the drops onto damp skin (fresh from toning, don’t wait until the toner dries out) until it is completely absorbed. Because the serum is incredibly hydrating, I don’t always apply moisturiser after that (not even if I am about to go to bed in an air-conditioned room) and only do so if I want to give my skin a little extra pampering. The serum alone is enough to keep my skin nourished and hydrated, and I wake up with clearer, suppler and smoother skin even after a night in an air-conditioned room. This workhorse is a must-have for me. Case in point below.

This is a photo of me taken first thing in the morning under natural lighting. I just woke up half an hour before the photo was taken, was bare-faced and the photo is not filtered or altered in anyway. My skin is not perfect but it’s so, so, SO much better than before I started using Botáni skincare! I would never publish a selfie taken in broad daylight if my skin were looking battered like before. (Note: The two red blobs on the bridge of my nose are tell-tale signs of nose-pads from my glasses. Had to point that out as it’s nothing harmful caused by the products.)

The Rescue Eye Treatment, enriched with anti-inflammatory plant actives such as Arnica Root, Licorice Root, Acacia Senegal Gum and Olive leaf extract, works wonderfully to hydrate my awfully-dry undereye area. I used to sport fine lines not unlike wrinkled crepe paper and dark circles that were telling of the lack of restful sleep. Half a pump is more than enough to take care of my eyes and whilst the gel feels slightly tacky at first, once it’s absorbed into the skin, it no longer feels sticky. I would say that my dark circles have lightened by up to 40%-50%, and the lines are not so pronounced now. I highly recommend giving this a shot!

I absolutely love the Soothing Facial Mist too. It is alcohol-free and refreshingly scented with Rose Damascena, and makes me feel so good on a hot day or when I just need to perk up! I did use this as a toner before patting on the Olive Skin Serum, but it smells like such a luxury (and is much more expensive than the toner I have been using, which works well for me) that I like to keep it for critical moments throughout the day instead (like kids driving me nuts and I’m completely flat out of battery, or when I am feeling irritable and sticky, or when I am on the road and want to feel energised). I also spray this on to set my makeup, and…have I mentioned how refreshing this is?! Okay, I think you get the point.

The Olive Soothing Cleanser is a cream-based cleanser that is absolutely wonderful at cleansing my skin. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean, without stripping its moisture, or weighing it down like some cleansing oils do. It was also effective at removing non-waterproof makeup. Just 2-3 pumps for the entire face should suffice and it can be applied directly on dry skin before you wash it off when you are done massaging your face! Unfortunately, this is a little expensive for me as a daily cleanser but I would definitely purchase it to remove non-waterproof makeup because I know I’m in good hands when I use this. I mean, I had enough with gentle cleansers claiming to remove non-waterproof makeup AND not working.

Two other product samples that I was given were the Boost Balancing Moisturiser and the Olive Repair Cream. The former is very lightweight and easily absorbed, and works wonderfully to hydrate my skin as a day moisturiser. But what I really adore and will purchase again is the Olive Repair Cream which packs a punch when it comes to delivering moisture to my skin. I’m reaching my mid-thirties soon and I do appreciate intense hydration and healing properties of a good moisturiser, and the Olive Repair Cream, which is an ideal treatment for eczema, psoriasis,  redness and irritated skin, does just that. It is touted to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of scars and even out skin tone, but the sample I received was only good for 2-3 applications, so I can’t vouch for that but I am eager to test that out when I purchase the full-sized product!

So there you have it! I know this review is a little lengthy, but if you have made it down to the last lines, I hope my thoughts and experience with the different Botáni products will help you in some way! I have experienced the benefits of green beauty (I’m only months into cleaning up my regime) and  I must say that I am loving how nourished, clean and unburdened my skin feels now. Botáni has proven to be an excellent choice for me, and the products are mostly very affordable, so I’m definitely making it a huge part of my regime now. It doesn’t hurt that Love Organic is an online store based in Singapore, and there several stockists island wide too if you want to touch and feel the products. Please let me know if you have tried the other products and seen real benefits from using them! I would love to give the rest a try too.

*I was given the Botáni 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.

Shopping, Mummy-Style, with Agape Babies

[*SPONSORED POST] I have said it before and I will say it again, that I LOVE online shopping. I didn’t care for it before I became a mother though; I much preferred taking a walk, running my grubby hands carelessly over the terrain of merchandise on display, and feeling the thrill of actually bagging items upon checking out at the cashier.

BUT. Becoming a mother has changed my lifestyle on many fronts; I have to be careful about spending, and I have neither time nor energy to lug kids (who seem to choose to be exceptionally cranky when I need them to be un-cranky) to the stores.

I have been shopping online at Agape Babies since just before I had Faith four years ago. My very first purchase was the Medela Freestyle breast pump set, which I bought for 50% off the retail price and remains an incredible steal now. Since then, I have found many more fantastic deals for products that are crucial to our parenting needs. I have saved so much money on Laninsoh nursing pads, California Baby products, Melissa & Doug toys, books, you name it, and I hardly go to brick-and-mortar stores for things that the kids and I use. It no longer makes sense to go through the hassle of lugging the kids through the crowds when I can save tonnes of money shopping online at Agape Babies in the comforts of my own home.

This time round, I managed to stock up on the Laninsoh nursing pads (been using them for as long as I have been breastfeeding), California Baby Bug Repellant (our go-to spray when we are out and about), and carted two Handwriting Practice books from Letterland for F as she has been asking me to get them. And I did all this on the mobile phone!

For an avid user of the mobile phone like myself, the mobile-optimized website makes for a great shopping experience on the go. I don’t have to power up my laptop, and all I have to do is do quick searches and cart the items on my phone, even as the kids are pulling at me or glued to my hips. Major win.

Fans of Jujube, the poison of many mums, will be glad to know that Agape Babies has
expanded its brand & product selection to include more hot brands like said poison and 3M. Agape Babies now carry over 250 brands and 6000 products in over 10 categories at incredible prices, so it’s really a no-brainer for parents, newly-minted and seasoned alike, to shop on the site.

If you are a first-time customer, you get to enjoy $10 off your first purchase on top of getting a free gift. VIP customers get to enjoy special price reductions and also lifestyle privileges. If you’d like to save on shipping, which isn’t costly by the way, you can opt for the one-click self-collection from 3 convenient locations – Newton, Sengkang and Old Airport Road. Smaller parcels can be picked up from 72 locations across the island as well.

To sweeten the deal for you, Agape Babies is giving my readers 5% off all items except milk, diapers, wipes, Jujube, Medela breastpumps, sale and clearance categories. All you have to do is to enter the coupon code pleasuremonger5% upon checkout (valid from 22 Aug to 12 Sep 2016).

I am not sure what else I should say to convince you to give Agape Babies a shot in changing your mummy-and-me shopping needs, but seasoned mums who have tried will tell you that shopping at Agape Babies is a lifesaver, as it has been for me all these years!

*I was gifted shopping credit and paid for excess amount incurred from the items I picked. 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.

How I Protect My Skin From The Sun: NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen

[*SPONSORED POST] When I was in lower primary, I was often teased for having fair skin. I was called all sorts of things, including a vampire, and man, did I detest having a fair complexion.

When I grew older, I was still at the receiving end of this mockery and I didn’t embrace what I have until I was in my mid-twenties. I remember going out to the beach on weekends during my late teens, just to get a tan, but funnily, all I did was to turn into a lobster and then revert to channeling Morticia Addams. I must add that I sunbathed without sun protection, and I regret it because I do have a few spots on my face now that I am in my thirties. Had I known that exposure to the sun will cause hyper-pigmentation later in life, I would have been more consistent about sun protection when I was younger.

It’s a little late to start anti-ageing skincare routines in my late twenties it seems, because those spots had shown up on my face by then, but I guess it’s better late than never! I apply sunscreen on my face and body everyday, even when I stay at home; reason being our apartment is flooded with natural light and I get exposed to UV rays even when I am indoors. I also make school runs and the sun hits my arms and the right side of my face whenever I drive, so I am rather strict about applying sunscreen before I leave home.

For years, I wasn’t too concerned about using chemical sunscreens and I have unconsciously leaned towards those that do not leave a white cast (which means they are likely to be made with chemical UV filters), but lately, I have been reading up on greener and safer skincare options and realised that it is just better to use physical sunscreens (stable in sunlight, good balance between UVA and UVB protection especially if it contains zinc oxide, generally do not contain harmful additives). You can have a read about the general differences between a physical and chemical sunscreen over here. The dreadful thing is physical sunscreens are thick and opaque, and are known to leave a white cast even after you have had a good workout rubbing the product into your skin. I don’t mind it at all if I were just going for a swim but I don’t really want to be walking around looking like a splotchy plaster wall when I am out and about.

NAIF1

About two months ago, Tim invited me to give the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen a try. It boasts an SPF of 50 and protects from both UVA and UVB rays with its physical filters (15% zinc oxide, 5% titanium dioxide), is preservative-free, and is touted to be incredibly moisturising. I couldn’t say no after learning about its benefits, and it helps to know that the NAÏF line of skincare products is formulated with babies in mind, are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, pH skin neutral and the products are made without any harmful ingredients. Yes, you heard right. The products do not contain mineral oil, parabens, phenoxyethanol, SLS/SLES and harsh chemicals. Indeed, a quick check on the EWG site reveals that the ingredients of the Protecting Sunscreen are ranked low in hazard scores.

NAIF2

I have been using the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen on my body since then and it is amazing! It is runny, wonderfully emollient and incredibly easy to apply compared to other physical sunscreens I have tried; seriously, it takes only ten seconds to rub it in and the sunscreen does not leave a white cast. It keeps my skin moisturised, and I come off smelling clean and fresh. Have I mentioned that I am super-sensitive to smells and feel dizzy upon inhaling most scents? This, I have no qualms whatsoever!

The NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen really is a godsend, and I will purchase it once I run out as it is remarkable and convenient for daily use. Baby Pure Singapore, exclusive distributor of NAÏF products, also gives back – the company sponsored $10 vouchers for approximately 6500 Hair for Hope participants and it also donates a dollar to the Children Cancer Foundation for each Protecting Sunscreen sold. I can’t think of a better way to protect myself against the sun AND to do good at the same time.

NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen retails for a very reasonable $35.90 online and you’d be happy to know that one gets free delivery within Singapore with a minimum purchase of $60!

*I was gifted the NAÏF Protecting Sunscreen 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.

Babywearing: Review on K’Tan Active

[SPONSORED POST*] When F was born, I was the most clueless first-time mother around. I didn’t know anything about the importance of establishing routines (the horror), early bedtimes (where have I been?!) and what-have-you, and I certainly didn’t know that one could wear a baby.

Noob, right? I know.

I was first introduced to the world of babywearing by three lovely friends – Y, Y and P – who came bearing gifts and an arsenal of knowledge on slings, soft structured carriers, wraps and pouches. I was exhausted, frazzled and completely overwhelmed by an 8 week-old who didn’t sleep unless she was held in my arm, so you can imagine how grateful I was (still am!) to the three ladies.

Eager to try the different ways out, I put whatever I could get my hands on to the test. The pouch was difficult to manoeuvre for me as F seemed squashed in the cradle position; no matter what I did, I couldn’t get her chin away from her chest and that made me very nervous. The wrap, whilst highly adaptable to a growing baby and very versatile in terms of carrying styles, was much too intimidating; I didn’t attempt it until I gave birth to my son, E. I was most comfortable with slinging F in the kangaroo position, one that she loved and one that I struggled least with until she was ready for the soft structured carrier when she turned 5-6 months old. I didn’t stop babywearing until F was much too heavy for my swollen frame to bear when I was pregnant again.

Now that E is all small and squishy and warm in my arms, I am back on the babywearing track. I scoured the web for beautiful and practical options and I now have 3 slings, 1 wrap and 3 soft-structured carriers (but SSCs are too big for infants so I didn’t use them until recently) to play with. I am no noob when it comes to slings and bought a third one only because it comes in such a beautiful weave. But the wrap, oh that wrap…I love its lightweight fabric and how it offers even distribution of weight on my shoulders and lower back. You see, there is a particularly noxious point somewhere across my shoulders now, having borne the weight of a growing child for most hours of the day (and night) with poor postures for the past three years, and a wrap offers much relief now that I am babywearing again. Also, one can adjust the wrap to suit the favoured carrying styles well as the sizes of the wearer and baby!

There is a problem though. Actually…two. I don’t wear nursing clothes as I find that nursing wear tends to be expensive and unflattering, and the openings are much too restrictive for baby to get a good latch without having his or her face buried in fabric; I end up wearing normal tops and using a nursing cover instead. As you can imagine, nursing with normal tops whilst being bandaged with a wrap is a challenge, especially when I am out alone with my baby. It is difficult to thread my top back down to my waist through the ties from the wrap whilst cradling a squirmy baby in one arm (a baby with not-so-great neck control at the moment, if I might add). As such, I only use the wrap when someone heads out with me, so I can hand E to whoever whilst I cover myself up again after nursing. And the second problem? It is tough to try and re-tie the wrap if you can’t free up your arms. (Perhaps I should have invested in nursing tops because…I LOVE this wrap to bits!)

Of course, I am being a total noob again because there exists a wrap that does not requiring any fumbling of sorts, and I only realised this when my friend, S used it and again when Happy Coast Kids contacted me to try out the K’Tan.

It is basically a wrap that you purchase based on your clothing size, and it supposedly hugs your baby right, as a well-adjusted wrap does, without the need to fumble with knots and what-not! I jumped at the opportunity to try it out as it seemed to fulfill most of characteristics that I want – convenience, support on both shoulders, lightweight, breathable fabric – in a carrier. There are a few models to choose from, based on your needs. I picked the K’Tan Active as it blocks over 90% of UVA and UVB rays, and I figured this was a plus given that we get a lot of sun during our outings with the kids and even in our very brightly lit home. I did make the boo-boo of picking S instead of XS; word to the wise, make sure you select your true size (I went a size larger as I normally like loose-fitting clothes, but with the K’Tan, you would need it to fit you quite snugly for your baby to be worn safely)! Once I had the size sorted and made sure there wasn’t excess fabric around E when I put him in the K’Tan, I put the carrier to the test.

P6140120

For starters, it was easy as hell to prep myself with the K’Tan. I simply had to make sure my arms and head were looped through correctly; this is as easy as putting on your T-shirt. Popping E into the K’Tan was not a problem too; I am used to propping his knees up and drawing his feet up to his bum before putting him in a kangaroo position in the sling. This is no different, he was snug in the pre-set loops of the K’Tan in no time. Taking him out to nurse posed no challenge whatsoever, as there are no knots or tied loops to fumble with; I only had to pull the two sides of the fabric down to his bum and pop him back out of the wrap, and I could lift my top up to nurse him easily before making myself decent and putting him back in the K’Tan without help. The K’Tan is certainly a very user-friendly carrier! Just check out the videos here on the various positions one can easily put a baby in!

E remains relatively cool in the K’Tan as the fabric wicks away moisture and breathes; that’s a bonus as it can get really hot with the weather in Singapore. E also seems comfortable in the K’Tan as he didn’t struggle in it and slept rather quickly whenever I put him in it. Ten points for sleepy dust!

Whilst the K’Tan distributes the weight evenly between my two shoulders, I did find that if I carried E in it for more than a few hours, my middle and lower back would start to ache. I do tend to ache eventually after hours of babywearing, so perhaps this has to do with my longstanding back problem as I was thrown off a horse a few years ago and I failed to take care of my back after I became a mother. The other issue that I had with the K’Tan was how someone of a different size wouldn’t be able to use my carrier. My husband is really tall and wider than I am, so I would have to get two K’Tan carriers if he wants to carry E this way too. This wouldn’t be the case for the sling (M doesn’t like to use a sling), a wrap (M finds it too troublesome) and an SSC (which can run a tad large for E’s petite frame, but we can easily solve that problem with a simple gadget we found).

Based on my usage of the K’Tan over the past few months, I would say that it is perfect for solo outings with the baby as I don’t need an extra pair of hands whilst popping E in and out of the carrier. It is also wonderful for when babies are still too small for soft structured carriers (which I am a huge fan of) and a lifesaver for parents who aren’t adept with the sling and wraps. Simply put, it is completely fuss-free! The material is great for our weather and the fact that the K’Tan Active blocks out UV rays is such a bonus as I do not apply sunscreen on my kids until they turn(ed) 6 months old. This came in really handy as we head outdoors with F pretty often and I certainly don’t want E to burn in the sun! Personally, I would keep outings in the K’Tan to just 2-3 hours as my back starts to ache after that; this isn’t really an issue though because I don’t head out with E for longer than that when I am alone with him. I would recommend the K’Tan as the perfect carrier for babywearing noobs and parents to infants especially (to be used with care and according to instructions, of course)! Now that E is almost five months old, I have switched to using SSCs that I can share with M, but I have seen parents carting their kids around in a K’Tan even after the kids’ first birthdays, and that says a lot about its longevity! As long as one gets the right size, it does take A LOT of stress out of fumbling with knots and pieces of fabric when trying to wear a baby. I do wish the K’Tan carriers come in more attractive designs locally; wider ranges are available internationally, so perhaps this is something Happy Coast Kids can look into bringing in!

*I was gifted one K’Tan Active in Black in size XS (sans shipping). 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.

You may shop for the K’Tan on Happy Coast Kids!

Calling All Clean Freaks and Insect-Phobes!

[SPONSORED POST*] I’m pleased to share some good news with you! First up, The Pleasure Monger has been appointed one of the Ambassadors of Our Lifestyle Shop. It wasn’t a tough decision to agree to Su-Lin’s invitation because we genuinely love the products that we have been sponsored by and purchasing from the shop; some of the products, I have been using for over two years ever since F was born as I endeavour to keep our exposure to toxins to a minimum whilst keeping our home clean, safe and insect-free. Second, the festive season is just around the corner and the store is offering some pretty amazing Christmas bundles for all you clean freaks and insect-phobes like myself!

201407 KONK I 1

Just two of my favourite products!

The bundles are permutations of four of my favourite products that I use to keep my home clean and insect-free, and now is a good time as any to stock up on these babies!

1. ‘Deck the Halls with Clean & Merry’ at $79.90

The bundle consists of:

One KONK® I HH Flying Insect Killer (one of the most effective and safest insecticides known to man, and I have been using this for more than two years ever since F was born, to keep our exposure to toxins to a minimum while killing those pesky insects such as roaches and mozzies)

One B-Sanitized™ (a simple one-step solution for environmental protection against viral, bacterial fungal and mould contaminants, and yes, we used this to contain the spread of HFMD after F got infected at school)

– FREEBIE: Receive one SafeHands® Hand Sanitizer (Unscented) for free when you purchase this bundle

– Enter cleanmerry during checkout to enjoy this promotion!

2. ‘Jingle Bell KONK’ at only $126

The bundle consists of:

– Three KONK® I Flying Insect Killer Refills (used in the KONK® I patented Automatic Air Guard Timed Release Mister, it regularly releases metered doses of KONK® I, providing consistent, 24 hour round-the-clock protection against these flying and crawling insects, keeping your loved ones safe)

– FREEBIE: Receive one KONK® I HH Flying Insect Killer for free when you purchase this bundle

– Enter jinglebellkonk during checkout to enjoy this promotion!

3. ‘Santa’s Christmas TWIN pack’ at $199

The bundle consists of:

– One Automatic Air Guard Timed Release Mister

– Two KONK® I Flying Insect Killer Refills (used in the Mister, it regularly releases metered doses of KONK® I, providing you consistent, 24 hour round-the-clock protection against these flying and crawling insects, keeping your loved ones safe)

– FREEBIE: Receive one KONK® I HH Flying Insect Killer for free when you purchase this bundle

– Enter twinpack during checkout to enjoy this promotion!

4. NEW: ‘Wishing U a SafeHands Christmas ‘ at $59.70

The latest product to grace the inventory of Our Lifestyle Shop, the SafeHands® Hand Sanitizer is non-toxic, non-drying, non-flammable, non-irritating and alcohol-free. You’d be glad to know that it is the only hand sanitizer that kills MRSA, VRE and C-diff. Our Lifestyle Shop has rolled out a new bundle which consists of:

– Three SafeHands® Hand Sanitizer (one each of Unscented, Cucumber Mint and Clean Linen; my review will be out in January 2015)

– No promotional code needed. SImply click on this link to purchase.

All offers are valid until 31 December 2014. Don’t forget to enter the promotional codes when you check out to receive the bundles with the freebies that come with it! Now, go load up your shopping carts!

 *No monetary compensation has been received. This post was written as part of the Ambassadors Program.

Look Who’s Got New Wheels?

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.

201409 Combi Mega Ride review 3[SPONSORED POST*] My family and I have a love affair with Combi strollers. My brother bought two for my niece to suit their different needs, and I, having had the opportunity to steal my niece’s strollers for test rides, invested in one for F too. F has unfortunately outgrown the one that we have, no thanks to her unusually long legs for her height, and I was just about to run to the store to get a new one when Combi Singapore asked me if I would like to review their latest stroller, the Mega Ride (which just snagged an award from Mother & Baby magazine). Perfect timing!

I had a good look at its specs before committing to this review, because I really needed a stroller that fits F’s proportions nicely, one that will grow with her for another two years (at the very least), and I was very pleased to know that the Mega Ride Stroller seemed to pass the measurements test with flying colours.  So, I said yes!

201409 Combi Mega Ride review 2

When it first arrived, I thought the stroller looked larger than the one I had and to be honest, I was a little worried about its size. The last thing I wanted was to lug yet another heavyweight around the island. Surprisingly, it is extremely lightweight at only 6.8kg, perfect for days out when I am all alone and have to hoist the stroller in and out of the boot whilst grabbing onto F with my other hand. True to the quality that defines Combi strollers, its light weight does not detract from its stability. The Mega Ride feels good on the hand,  and F rides safely and stably in it.

The Mega Ride stroller stands on its own when folded up, and is super easy to unfold, with its very smooth catch-and-release lock and one-touch release button. I have been taking F out alone in this stroller, and I had no trouble carrying a diaper bag, holding onto F (who often tries to wriggle out of my grasp) with one hand, and using my free hand to unfold or keep the stroller.

201409 Combi Mega Ride review 5It comes with a really large storage basket underneath the seat, which doesn’t bunch up in awkward shapes and hinder the unfolding and keeping of the stroller. I can put my gigantic diaper bag in it and still pop in two to three bags of groceries. Definitely more spacious than what I’m used to, and that’s a plus! I no longer need to use this function now that F is 2 years old, but the handle can be easily swivelled around such that the stroller becomes front-facing; this is perfect for younger babies who might prefer their caregivers in sight, and for parents who would like to keep an eye on the young ones. Again, the direction is very easily changed with the catch-and-release locks on the lower sides of the handle bar.

PA114282

What I love most about the Mega Ride is how incredibly smooth the ride feels. It is an absolute dream to push around with its mega wheels which are designed to cushion the shock from rougher terrains; it almost feels like the stroller glides on clouds or something, no kidding! I can only imagine how comfy one must feel sitting in it….lucky F! The front wheels are also superbly engineered to tackle sharp turns very smoothly. I have been travelling in and out of very busy malls and lifts, and often have to do sharp U-turns to get in and out of tight corners. I had no problem whatsoever swivelling the stroller around, and I could do so without lifting the stroller or hurting anyone in the vicinity. I have also had to hold heavy doors open with one hand while pushing the stroller through with another, and the front wheels make it so easy for me to change the direction of the stroller with my free hand just to get it through the door. All I had to do was to release the swivel lock on the front wheels to get access to this awesome function and if one prefers the stroller to travel in a fixed direction, you only need to lock it back up on the wheels. How convenient!
201409 Combi Mega Ride review 4I also love that the Mega Ride grows with the child. The designers have thought it through and added additional holes to thread the harness straps through, such that the straps still sit comfortably on a child’s shoulders as he or she grows taller. F is still on the lowest configuration, so yay, more room to grow into this stroller to get extra mileage out of it! 
P9134270One of my pet peeves of strollers is that they aren’t roomy or long enough for F, who has long legs for her height. On normal strollers, the back of her knees would fall off the edge of the seat at an awkward angle, and yet her legs are not long enough for her feet to get a grip on the footrest. I can only imagine how uncomfortable that may be for her, and I am happy to report that we don’t have this problem with the Mega Ride. Because of its extra-long seat, the back of her knees are still comfortably resting just before the edge of the seat, and by the time she grows taller, her feet will be resting properly on the footrest, so we won’t have the problems of her legs feeling the strain of inadequate support AND dangling in the air!

P9134271

The seat on the Mega Ride also reclines to an almost horizontal level, making it perfect for children to have a quick snooze in the stroller. The seat is very roomy and as it is extra-long, it is almost like the business class of seats for sleeping children! F is very happy to go on it most of the time, and particularly enjoys sitting in it like a boss, whilst pulling the sun-shade down to play peekaboo with us. My husband and I love that the ride feels so smooth over all sorts of terrains and even in tight situations, and that it is so easy to handle, yet lightweight and stable. No prizes for guessing our favourite stroller of the moment!

*I was gifted one Combi Mega Ride Stroller (in Prestige Black) to 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.

Check out the wide range of Combi baby products on the Combi Singapore Facebook Page.

A Reason to Love Shopping (and Saving!) for the Kid

As a mother, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks for my daughter; ‘I Have My Eye On‘ is a collection of these finds.

Growing up is a tough act but parenting is hard work too; I believe that mummies and daddies need some lovin’! Whilst I am not busting my budget on the little one, I like to sniff out things that make our new routines a little easier, or sometimes, just a little prettier.

In this series ‘We Need Some Lovin’‘, I share some of my favourite things for us big people.

[SPONSORED POST*] I have a confession to make. I’M AN ONLINE SHOPPING ADDICT. I don’t like prowling through physical stores all that much, I mean, why do that when I can pop my favourite things in the cart whilst still wearing my pyjamas? Of course, this addiction was so not going away with the birth of Faith.  If anything, motherhood simply accorded me the license to shop without getting quizzical looks from the husband (‘It’s for the baby, honey……’). I don’t shop without a conscience though; if you must know, I am quite the bargain-hunter. After all, M is the sole breadwinner and works really hard to provide for us, and we do what we can to stretch our dollar without severely compromising on our lifestyle.

Enter Agape Babies, one of the first online stores that I fell in love with before I even became a mother. I was pregnant with Faith when I made my very first purchase from Agape Babies. Back then, I had done lots of research on the kind of breast pumps that may help with our breastfeeding journey, and badly wanted the Medela Freestyle, which retails close to (an insane) S$1000 in stores island-wide. I was not working then, and there was NO way I would plonk a grand on a breast pump even if I were, no matter how good the pump may be. I was a little disappointed that I would have to get something else when my cousin-in-law told me about Agape Babies and its incredible prices for Medela breastpumps. I promptly carted the Freestyle at a neat S$530, almost 50% off the retail price! And there was no looking back. Soon, I was shopping for all sorts of things on the site, including our favourite California Baby products (also generously discounted, as compared to other stores) for Faith, who suffers from eczema.

logo_banner (1)

The crazy number of brands that Agape Babies carry!

I have been shopping at Agape Babies for more than two years now, and I have always enjoyed the experience. It is easy to cart the items I want and shipping is quick. From the small(er) store that it was two years ago, Agape Babies has now grown to carry a huge range of products, with over 100 brands and 2000 products. Agape Babies continues to specialise in California Baby products, and they now carry diapers and milk formula of brands such as Huggies, Mamypoko, GOO.N, Friso, Similac, Gain IQ, Pediasure and more! The items are very attractively priced, and it helps that the store currently offers free courier delivery with a minimum of $80 spent and a free Disney stationery set given with every purchase of S120. I’d say it’s a pretty good way to shop for the essentials and not have to lug the items back home on your own! There is more reason to love shopping at Agape Babies now, too, as it has recently partnered with The Sunshine Kids, a kids fashion company to build a multi-store. This means that customers can shop between both stores and check out in just one shopping cart! Talk about saving time with the check-out process! How many times have we struggled to cart the items we need, only to have our kids thwart our efforts and demand for our attention NOW, just as we are short of paying for the items? With more stores & products to be added soon, Agape Babies aims to grow into a one-stop shop for all parents to create a super-easy and convenient shopping experience. This online shopping addict here can hardly wait!

Just to share some of the California Baby products that we recently purchased (this time with shopping credits gifted) from Agape Babies.

P9244281The California Baby Try It Kit (retails $49.70 but costs only $32.70 on Agape Babies) is one of my absolute favourites! Yes, I first bought it to try the different products out on Faith, who is prone to eczema flare-ups, and they work so well to keep her clean/well-moisturised/mozzie-bite-free whilst caring for her sensitive skin! They come in the perfect size for travel, and I have brought these items to quite a few countries on our holidays with Faith. I still have some leftovers from the first kit that I bought when she was only 3 months old, so a little really goes a long way, especially when it comes to the bath products and the bug repellant! I’d highly recommend this set, although there are other starter packs that may better suit your child’s needs, depending on whether you want to focus on suncare, treat sensitive skin, etc.

P9244280The California Baby Calming Hair Conditioner (retails S$28.90 but costs only $16.90 on Agape Babies) is a new product for us. Faith’s hair is getting longer now and I thought to give this conditioner a shot at keeping her locks luscious and smooth. The scent is incredibly lovely and (yes) calming! I’m tempted to steal this from her and use it on my hair!

(Can you tell we looooove California Baby already?! Especially when they are so heavily discounted on Agape Babies…)

PROMOTION FOR MY READERS:

Agape Babies is offering 5% off all purchases (except breast pumps, diapers, milk and sale items) for the readers of The Pleasure Monger. Simply enter the promotional code thepleasuremonger (valid for 4 weeks from 25 September 2014 to 23 October 2014) when you check out. Happy shopping!

*I was gifted shopping credits from Agape Babies to purchase the two sets of California Baby products photographed and paid 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 now shop online at Agape Babies! Like Agape Babies on Facebook and sign up for the newsletter for updates on promotions, contests and giveaways!

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!