Friday, August 22, 2014

Fun For Free SG: Marina Barrage

Initiated by Adora of Gingerbreadmum.com, a group of mummy bloggers bring to you a full list of places you can bring your kids to FREE-OF-CHARGE. Let me guess – Your eyes must be wide open  and glistening with interest by now. I’m not kidding you – Go to one place on the list once a week, and you have more than half a year covered. The full list is now at the bottom of this post!

If I seek within my heart and ask myself, “What is my favorite kid-friendly place in Singapore?”, I would say Marina Barrage without batting an eyelid. Apart from the fact that it’s totally free, there are plenty of open spaces for the kids to run and roam, bountiful amounts of lush greeneries and of course – WATER. That might be the only reason my kids need actually. You see, my kids have not learnt swimming. So going to the swimming pool has lesser appeal to them because they’ve got to hang out at the shallow parts of the pool while watching the other kids plunge bravely into the deep waters. At Marina Barrage, it’s a totally different thing altogether – Everywhere is shallow and safe, and they can splash all they want and no one will complain.

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The water jets from the fountain make it even more fun, and my kids would spend a lot of time screeching and laughing. It’s obvious they always have fun there at the Level 1 water play area. If you have a chance to bring your kids there during the weekdays, the whole place is quiet and your family can have a nice little picnic and splashing good time.

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After the kids have had enough fun at the water play area, go up to the sky garden and enjoy the breeze and magnificent views from up there. Break the rules and let the kids lie down on the grass! Otherwise, try flying some kites! The wind’s pretty strong and it’s easy to get the kites flying. It’s a wonderful feeling hanging out there – You’ve got to try it sometime if you have not done it before. The views during the day and at night are very different but just as charming. :)

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These were taken by my husband a few years back when my girls were smaller and chubbier! I still remember that we brought the girls’ scooters along that day, and they had such a great time. :)

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Next on the blog train is Finally Mama! 

Mom and B (1) 
Mei is a Malaysian born Peranakan Chinese who blogs at Finally Mama. Having lived abroad for over half of her life, she is proud to call Singapore home with her hubby and almost 3-year old boy. She loves the abundance of free, fun and SAFE places for family here, and is delighted to share them with you at #funforfreeSG.

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Want to know what other Fun For Free SG places have been covered so far? Check out the following list for ideas! I know the September school holidays are coming – YOU ARE VERY WELCOME!

1 Aug: Tiong Bahru Park by Gingerbreadmum
2 Aug: Queenstown Heritage Trail by Princess Dana Diaries
3 Aug: Jurong Regional Library by Finally Mama
4 Aug: Singapore Maritime Gallery by Peipei Haohao
5 Aug: Singapore Philatelic Museum by Kids R Simple
6 Aug: Sculptures of Singapore by Gingerbreadmum
7 Aug: Fire Station by The Js Arena
8 Aug: Esplanade + Merlion by Prayerfull Mum
9 Aug: Bukit Batok Nature Park by Meeningfully
10 Aug: Lower Pierce Reservoir Park by The Kam Family
11 Aug: I12 Katong - water playground by Universal Scribbles
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
13 Aug: Tampines 1 Water Playground by Amazingly Still
14 Aug: Sengkang Riverside Park by Itchy Finger Snap
15 Aug: East Coast Park by Toddly Mummy
16 Aug: Sembawang Shopping Centre Playground by Joey Craftworkz
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum's The Word
19 Aug: Police Heritage Centre by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: Venus Loop, MacRitchie by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children's Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Changi Airport T1 Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade + Punggol Waterway by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mid Autumn Festival 2014: Peony Jade Mooncakes & Giveaway!

Product Review

Mid-autumn festivals get more and more exciting with each passing year because there are so many innovative and yummy new mooncake flavors appearing in the market. My personal favorite has always been snow skin mooncake, and this year, my family had a chance to savor some really refreshing flavors from Peony Jade.

It’s hard not to love them – Look how pretty they are! This is a box of 4 fruity flavored mooncake known as The 4 Heavenly Flavors.

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We tried the mooncakes after dinner and finished everything in one sitting! They were sweet and refreshing, and every bite was a burst of flavors in our mouths.

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The 4 Heavenly Flavors are Mao Shan Wang Durian, Soursop, Yuzu and Cempadak. My favorites are the first two! The kids and I were practically fighting over the last bite for those. =P

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Of course, how can we miss out on the traditional mooncakes? They go best with hot Chinese tea, and perfect for families to enjoy together.

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Do you prefer the baked traditional mooncakes with lotus paste or the flaky skin ones with ‘orh ni’ (yam) paste? I like them both, especially if they come with egg yolks as well! =D

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There are also other interesting flavors available from Peony Jade this year, such as Mango Philadelphia Cheese, Chocolate Salted Caramel Glaze Banana and Walnuts, etc. Go check them out on http://www.pjmooncakes.com/. I am sure you will be tempted to get some to try. :)

For orders or more information on these delicious Peony Jade mooncakes, visit http://www.pjmooncakes.com/. Online purchases are available from now until 28 Aug. Onsite purchases at Peony Jade restaurants are available till 8 Sep.

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GIVEAWAY!

The kind folks from Peony Jade want to wish my readers a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival by giving away 3 boxes of Mini Snowskin William Pears Mooncakes (8 pieces in each box).

To qualify for this giveaway, please ensure the following criteria have been fulfilled:

1. You must be a fan of The J Babies fanpage. If you are not yet one, you may like us here.

2. Like and share this blog post on your Facebook wall with this comment, “Peony Jade Mooncakes Giveaway!” and tag me at Klessis Lee or The J Babies so that I may track your participation.

Terms & Conditions:
1. This giveaway will end on Wed, 27 Aug 2014, 6pm.
2. Participants who fail to fulfill all the stated criteria will be disqualified.
3. Should any selected winner fail to respond within 3 days after results have been announced (winners will be tagged in Facebook), the organizer reserves the right to select a new winner.
4. The winners are to self-collect the mooncakes from Peony Jade @ Keppel Club (Bukit Chermin Road M Level Keppel Club).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Transitions® Signature™ Lenses: Enjoy Life Well Lit

Sponsored Review

If you’ve not been living in a cave, I’m quite sure you would have heard of Transitions lenses. Yes, they are the type of lenses that react to UV Light, so they turn dark outdoors when exposed to the sun’s UV rays but remain fully clear indoors. The Transitions Signature Lenses are the newest and most improved version of Transitions lenses. With their exclusive Chromea7™ photochromic technology, Transitions Signature lenses are more reactive to UV light than their predecessors, and get darker in more conditions. They also adapt to indirect light such as light reflected from buildings, cars, etc. In fact, they continuously adapt to changing light so they’re always exactly the shade you need them to be. Even lenses are so smart nowadays. If you’ve been a long-time spectacle-wearer like me, you will understand what a big difference that makes in terms of user experience. I’ve been myopic since I was 10 years old, but it was only recently that I got myself a new pair of spectacles fitted with Transitions Signature lenses. To be frank, it was nothing short of an epiphany experience for me.

For people like us who live in countries with tropical climates, the sun rays can get very glaring sometimes. That was one of the reasons why I disliked wearing spectacles whenever I needed to be outdoors for a long period of time. The sun rays made it hard for me to fully focus on what I was doing and that was really frustrating. When I wore my spectacles with Transitions lenses out for the first time, I was amazed at how fast the lenses reacted to the UV rays, helping to cut away the glare almost instantly. Most of the time, I wasn’t even consciously aware that my lenses had turned that dark until I took them off for a look. In the words of my kids,“It’s like magic!”, and they couldn’t have described it better. My primary motive of wearing spectacles is to correct my myopic vision, but it is just as important to me that the whole experience is comfortable as well. Transitions lenses helped to achieve that, and more. Here are my top 3 reasons why I love my Transitions Signature lenses, and why they worked for me:

1. I don’t have to squint my eyes under the sun anymore!

And that’s a huge plus for me. It used to be that when I stepped out under the sun wearing my specs, I would inevitably squint my eyes because the sun rays were too glaring. I couldn’t see clearly or focus with full attention, and It’s especially frustrating when I am out with my kids, who are hyperactive and constantly on the move. With my new Transitions lenses, the glaring sun rays were no longer an issue! This was what my lenses looked like within 10 seconds of stepping under the sun. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

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During my last visit to Legoland Water Park, I purposefully wore my Transitions lenses to test them out. They turned out to be perfect! The whole time I was out under the sun with my kids, my vision was clear and the glare was completely blocked out. From the shade of my lenses, I am sure you can tell how hot that day was!

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That was how dark my Transitions lenses became when I was playing in the wave pool with my husband and kids – Absolutely perfect, isn’t it? :)

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2. I can see better, so I am happier!

Clear and vibrant vision is a very important thing to a person with myopia. My close friends will testify that whenever my eyes are giving me problems, I get very depressed. I hate it when I cannot see clearly, and that affects my productivity. Transitions lens not only gives me clear vision indoors, it also gives me good and vivid vision outdoors. Their great adaptability to different type of lighting conditions is great for people like me, who is constantly on the move from indoors to outdoors and back to indoors many times in a day. Just as it can quickly turn dark outdoors, it also fades back to clarity quickly when I get back indoors. Ingenious invention!

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I remember the last time I visited the Legoland Mini Land, I had such a hard time looking at the various creations and all the details because the sun was just too glaring. This time when I went there again, I had such a great time examining every tiny Lego piece and taking photographs of them, simply because I had my specs with Transitions lenses on. In fact, everything looked more vibrant, colorful and vivid this time round!

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3. It protects my eyes from harmful UV rays!

Everyone knows how important our eyes are, and since I cannot avoid going under the sun, the only way I can prevent harmful UV rays from hurting my eyes is to put on my pair of specs with Transitions lenses. The best part is that while doing that, it maintains its vivid and sharp color perception. I am a huge fan of vibrant colors, so I expect my vision to be crystal clear and vivid all the time as well.

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Recently, my right eye suffered some redness and blurriness of vision because of overuse of contact lenses, so I had been wearing my spectacles for the past few weeks. My eyes were so sensitive to light that I couldn’t even open them without tearing when I was out under the sun! And it occurred to me that if I didn’t have a pair of specs with Transitions lenses that helped to block out the harmful UV rays and glare from the sun, I probably had to stay indoors this entire time (Unthinkable!). My specs with Transitions lenses definitely came in handy at this time and I am so thankful for that.

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Having experienced first hand how good Transition lenses are, I seriously don’t think I can go back to ordinary lenses anymore.

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Want to know what your world will look like through Transitions Signature lenses? Here’s an interesting site you can go to -
Transitions Viewer: http://www.transitions.com/en-sg/virtual-viewer/ For more information on the Transitions Signature lenses, go to http://www.transitions.com/en-sg/products/transitions-signature/

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kid-Friendly Restaurant: The Playhouse & Cafe @ Rochester

Media Invite

Sometime back, I did a series on “School Holiday Specials”, and under the category of my top 5 picks for kid-friendly restaurant, I mentioned Rochester Playhouse. After recent renovation works, the playhouse is now even more fun for the kids. We were invited back for a review last week, and as always, everyone had a great time. If you are looking for a venue for play dates or just a gathering with your parent friends, I recommend The Playhouse & Cafe at Rochester. There’s good food and plenty of play time for the little ones.

The Cafe

The dining area is in alfresco style with no air-conditioning. I like going there in the evenings when it’s more breezy. It’s got a very chill and relaxing ambience.

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Outdoor Play Area

Right next to the cafe is the outdoor play area for the kids. This whole area is further divided into 3 sections –

1) Free play area with toys, little cars and slides on grass carpet

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2) Mini water play pool

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3) Huge trampoline and a mini garden

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The Indoor Playhouse

No worries if it’s a rainy day because The Playhouse also has an indoor play area, which in my opinion, was the real deal. It’s air-conditioned with different areas for pretend play, dress-up, slides, ball pit, wooden blocks, coloring and craft tables etc. It’s very comfortable and cosy to be inside, and there are staff helping to engage your kids as well.

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The dress up corner was obviously popular especially with the little girls. =)

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If your kids are old and independent enough, they can be left playing inside the playhouse while the adults continue having their meals in peace.

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I like it that the whole place is clean and there are many different toys to keep the kids entertained. Every kid would probably dream to have a playhouse like this!

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The Food

We tried several items from the menu and enjoyed everything!

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A must-have for a kid-friendly restaurant is a kids’ menu of course.

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The kids ordered Fish & Chips (all-time classic!) and it was served with a cookie and a juice.

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The adults ordered a few dishes to share. First up, Classic Caesar Salad ($11.90)! The veggies were fresh and I like it that sauce was just right and not overpowering.

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And there was even a poached egg on top of it! Made it very hearty indeed. :)

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I love the starter dish we chose – Prawns With Roasted Garlic ($14.90). The prawns were so huge and succulent, and tasted superb! Totally whet our appetites for the main courses to come.

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One of the main courses we particularly enjoyed was the Chicken Fajitas ($28.90). The chicken chunks were so well done with slightly charred sides, peppers and onions! Delicious!

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Wrap it up with jalapenos, lettuces, avocado spread and salsa sauce – Perfecto!

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We simply had to try the Weekend Roast because they are only available during the weekends. This Prime Rib of Beef ($52) was a huge slab of meat – Perfect for meat lovers, or for two ladies to share. Served with truffle mash and veggies.

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The husband was all praise for it. =D

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I’ve always enjoyed the Prawn Aglio Olio ($16.90) here, so I had to order it no matter what. Let’s just say it did not disappoint. =P

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Ordered another beef steak main course – Rib-eye ($29.90) - and it was really tasty with black pepper sauce. And that mountain of French Fries was just too awesome.

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Desserts was a plate of cute macaroons ($2.90/pc) – Sweet endings to a really delicious meal.

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Thank you Rochester Playhouse & Cafe for making it such a wonderful evening for my family. The kids had so much fun playing with one of the staff – Taj! Thanks for taking good care of them in the Playhouse! :)

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If you are interested to bring your kids to the Playhouse, here are the charges and other info for your reference:

Opening Hours:
Open 6 days a week
Tuesdays - Friday: 10 am till 7pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am till 8pm

Play Rates

1 hour Play-pass @ $8
2 hours Play-pass  @ $10
Unlimited Play-pass @ $15

Superheroes @ The Playhouse!

By the way, The Playhouse is having a special Superheroes @ The Playhouse event this coming weekend on 16 Aug 2014 (Sat), 11am to 6pm! Do bring your kids down to have some fun! For just $15, the kid can play in the playhouse and participate in games, take photos at the photo booth and enjoy a free kid’s meal with free flow juices! I think it’s super worth it! =D

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