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We said, “Only if both of you finish eating your food by 6pm can we go to the Night Safari.”

Ellery is a slow eater, so Asher took matters into his own hands.

2014-07-24 18.34.24

2014-07-24 18.34.33

Cavalia

From the very first time I saw the advertisement for Cavalia on television, I knew I wanted to bring the kids to watch it.

I love horses! Always have! They are such beautiful, strong, yet gentle creatures. It’s my dream to learn how to ride a horse and to go for a horse trek in the big wide somewhere (I hear Wales is great for such things). I’ve only done one lesson that I bought from Groupon and had such a high after that! I’d definitely continue if I had the chance.

Anyway, Jon decided to give a big treat for my birthday and we all went! Yippie!

Ashers idea to do the horse hands :)

Asher’s idea to do the horse hands :)

One of the white tents

One of the white tents

The tent felt so much larger on the inside than it looked from the outside. It was also warmer than expected, but I guess it’s a temporary structure and we watched it at noon. Still, the warmth did not diminish our enjoyment of the show.

I loved seeing the horses running free (I use this term to mean they were running without a rider to guide them) around the performance area. The stage, if you would call it that, was large enough for the horses to gallop at high speed around it. Beautiful landscape scenes were projected onto the wide backdrop, transporting you to another location. Gorgeous, gorgeous horses with flowing manes took to the stage. There were also acrobats who performed in between the segments featuring the horses.

Picture taken from the Cavalia SISTIC website

It was amazing how the trainers were able to persuade the horses to move in certain ways just by talking to them, or with small gestures. What a contrast to the typical circus where you imagine the ring master cracking his whip to make animals perform. And really, it didn’t feel so much like the horses were performing as they were agreeing to be led. You can see the performers have a great respect for them.

 

This part was very Lord of the Rings (Picture taken from the Cavalia website)

There were some bits of humour thrown in and the boys particularly loved the surprise appearance of a miniature stallion!

It was especially beautiful when they flooded the performance area and the front portion became a pond. It was amazing how it was done and such a visual treat! The splashes, the grace of the horses, the scenery and the costumes all came together beautifully. Though I did wonder how they would get all the costumes dry and the sand dry in time for the next performance, which was just 2 hours after ours ended.

Splashing through the water (Picture taken from the Cavalia website)

In all, it’s a family friendly show with a Wow factor, though quite pricey I’ll admit. If you feel like a splurge, it’s worthwhile to go for it.

Cavalia, brought in by BASE Entertainment Asia, runs until 28 Sep and tickets can be bought from SISTIC.

 

 

Masak Masak

Another overdue post.

Last month I squeezed in 2 short visits to the National Museum with the boys to check out the Masak Masak: My Childhood exhibition. There was barely enough time on both days as we only reached at 515pm and the exhibits close at 6pm.

The first day we only managed to check out 3 zones. The boys enjoyed the Larger-than-Life games which was a super-sized version of our traditional childhood games like pick-up-sticks, marbles, and five stones. I had to drag them away to the Come and Play exhibit as we were running out of time. Come and Play was a room full of cardboard structures that the children were invited to explore, and there was a station where you could create your own structure too. The thing with these types of exhibits is that rather than recycling used cardboard, they always get new cardboard. I think it would be much more meaningful to used recycled cardboard. Anyway, Asher asked to do the activity, but it was quite rushed and he didn’t get much time to fill in the details he wanted. Ellery was happy running from house to house.

Cute cardboard people

Cute cardboard people

The last exhibit we caught was Rouleaux by Anastassia Elis. Ah! This was so inspiring! So beautiful! The artist worked with used toilet roll cores to make wonderful, intricate dioramas to the theme of “what I want to be when I grow up”. The boys and I had a great time running from peep-hole to peep-hole, exclaiming at the scene we saw inside. What patience, and what creativity!

Looks like just a wall with holes...

Looks like just a wall with holes…

But peep inside and...

But peep inside and…

Be amazed!

Be amazed! Dragon dance troupe

Love this ballet one

Love this ballet one

Le Paris!

Le Paris!

"Dinosaurs!" The boys loudly exclaimed

“Dinosaurs!” The boys loudly exclaimed

Sky diving!

Sky diving!

Day 2, we managed only to explore Sculpture Scribble by Guixot de 8. Another clever exhibit using recycled materials to make games of varying difficulty. Most were really quite challenging! I wasn’t able to accomplish quite a few of them. Even though the boys had difficulty too, they were happy to fiddle with the different stations and see what they could do. I liked that there was a guide on hand to tell us what certain stations were about because it wasn’t always immediately apparent.

Trying to slot the pipe onto the metal rod while looking only at the reflection of what he was doing

Slotting the pipe onto the metal rod while looking only at the reflection of what he was doing

Trying to roll the ball into the bag

Trying to roll the ball into the bag

Putting the finger into the nose!! Haha

Putting the finger into the nose!! Haha!!

Getting the ball to roll through the gap into the containers below

Getting the ball to roll through the gap into the containers below

Guide teaching the boys how to play the game

Guide teaching the boys how to play the game

When it closed the boys hurried over to catch another look at Rouleaux before we left. They declared Rouleaux their favourite still. Me too!

PoTeaTo

Was wondering around the Tiong Bahru area and stumbled upon PoTeaTo, a little bistro that’s tucked in a little corner with a pillar blocking your view of it.  It’s along the same stretch as the better known Forty Hands, and opposite Books Actually and Woods in the Books. I was looking at these other shops and nearly missed PoTeaTo. I only found it because I saw a man checking his phone, then walking intently towards somewhere then disappear.

PoTeaTo

PoTeaTo

The place is decked out in the now popular screeded concrete look, and isn’t exactly somewhere I’d describe as cosy, though it wasn’t un-inviting. I liked the space, especially since Forty Hands down the row is far from being kid-friendly. You don’t have to squeeze through a tiny walkway, and I actually saw a family with a stroller there. Good luck getting a stroller into Forty Hands. I never went back there after my first visit.

Inside PoTeaTo

Inside PoTeaTo

Anyway, about PoTeaTo. It was set up as a tea place to battle the dominance of coffee joints in Tiong Bahru. They have a tea time menu that I may go back to try one day. I was there at lunch and liked that they offer real, hearty food (again, not like the other one down the row…you can tell I really didn’t like that place huh?).

I ordered asparagus soup and bangers & mash. The soup was thinner than I expected,  but not thin on taste – which surprised me. I suppose it’s good for people who don’t like drinking heavy, creamy soups, though admittedly that was what I was expecting. The bangers & mash was great! Really yummy! There were three large sausages – one cheesy, one spicy, one plain. They were topped with a generous scoop of mashed potato and drizzled over with brown sauce. It was just the comfort food I was looking for!

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

Bangers & Mash

Bangers & Mash

If I’m in the area and pining for western fare, I’ll probably pop back in here again :) They offer brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and kid’s menus. Check out their menus online.

PoTeaTo is located at 78, Yong Siak Street, #01-18.

Opening hours:
Tuesdays – Fridays, 12pm – 10.30pm,
Saturdays, 10am – 10.30pm
Sundays, 10am – 9pm.

Becoming a mother introduces you to the world of baby slings and carriers. I’ve tried my fair share of them – the ring sling, the pouch, and a few types of structured carriers. It’s so important to find the right carrier as it really can make or break your day…and your back. Besides the essentials like diapers, the carrier/sling is the most important item I bring for each outing.

When I discovered I was pregnant with no. 3, I knew I had to find a way to carry baby comfortably while still having both hands free to hold onto the older boys’ hands when crossing the road. Having free hands was especially crucial as I pick the boys after school by myself everyday, and the carpark is big with everything from motorcycles to coaches going by frequently.

I knew I wanted something close to a sling style carrier as I like how cosy slings are for young babies with the cloth wrapped snugly around them, but I hoped for something that could give the double-shouldered support of structured carriers.

I drew up a list of requirements for my ideal carrier:
1 Comfortable and cosy for baby
2. Comfortable for me
3. Easy to use
4. Hands free

In the course of my research I stumbled upon the award-winning Baby K’tan and I was really excited because it seemed to fit the bill.

I was given the opportunity to review the Baby K’Tan Breeze, and after 3 months of use I can say that it definitely meets all my criteria! Here’s the low down on the Baby K’Tan sling, and the Breeze model in particular.

About the Baby K’Tan Breeze

The Baby K’tan carrier comes as two loops of fabric joined by a smaller loop of cloth. There’s also an extra safety sash to use for certain carrying positions. It’s a simple yet clever design, functioning as a cross between a sling, a wrap and a carrier. It is as light as a sling but you can carry baby in more positions, as cosy as a wrap but without all the fussy extra cloth dangling everywhere, and as comfortable as a structured carrier but without the bulk.

getting started

The basic structure of the Baby K’Tan

The Baby K’Tan Breeze is similar in every way to the original Baby K’Tan except that instead of being made entirely of cotton, each loop is half mesh, half cotton. I chose the Breeze in white to reflect heat since my aim was to have a carrier that was as cooling as possible.

Comfortable and Cosy for Baby

The Baby K’Tan Breeze is ideal for use in Singapore with our hot and humid climate (for those of you not from here, the temperature is around 28°C on average, going as high as 34°C on hot days, and our relative humidity is upwards of 80% on average, sometimes hitting 100% during the rainy season). We also have the problem of very cold shopping malls that over-compensate for the hot weather.

The Breeze gives me the flexibility to adjust the wrapping material depending on the weather and where I am. Outdoors I adjust the loops such that two layers of mesh wrap baby. On a cooler day, I use one layer of mesh and one layer of cotton. At shopping malls and supermarkets, I use two layers of cotton over baby to keep her warm and snug.

the cotton side

the cotton side

the mesh side - thin and cooling, but strong

the mesh side – thin and cooling, but strong

There are no buckles or rings that get in the way, so the only thing that touches baby’s skin is the soft wrapping of the sling. I have many curious passersby asking me about the Baby K’Tan and gushing about how great the mesh fabric is. The most common comment I get when I wear baby is, “Wow! That looks really comfortable for baby!”

Comfortable for Me

That comment is usually followed by, “And it looks so comfortable for you too!”

This is so important. I used to be an avid user of the ring sling. But for all the things I liked about ring slings (it’s lightweight, folds small so its easy to put in the diaper bag, comfortable for baby), the key flaw was that the entire weight of baby was bourne on one shoulder. That resulted in poor posture and back aches. I liked how structured carriers distribute the weight across both shoulders, but it was bulkier and less cosy for newborns.

Baby K’Tan is like a dream come true in this area. You enjoy all the benefits of the sling, plus you get the comfort of even weight distribution across both shoulders! How great is that?

Easy to Use

Putting on the Baby K’tan is as easy as putting on a T-shirt. Just put the loops over your head like a necklace, put one arm through each loop, and you’re basically ready to put baby in.

Having used ring slings a lot previously, I can tell you that using the Baby K’Tan is a piece of cake. I know many people like the cosiness of slings but shy away from using a ring sling because of the difficulty they have in adjusting the cloth. As for baby wraps, even fans of it move to other carriers because there’s just so much cloth it becomes too hot for baby in our weather. It’s also a bit yucky that the ends touch the ground, especially on rainy days.

With the K’Tan’s two loops, all these problems go away. You don’t need to adjust the length of the cloth, and there isn’t an endless amount of cloth to deal with. The extra sash used for certain carrying positions is not that long, and when not in use it folds into a bag to store the carrier (nifty eh), and is small enough to stuff into your handbag.

The Baby K’Tan stretches out a bit after some use, but like a pair of jeans, it shrinks back to size after throwing it in the washing machine! It’s also dryer safe so you can have it washed and ready for use very quickly.

There are a variety of carrying positions, and most require little (if any) practice at all. My favourite is the ‘hug’ position that I used from when baby was a month old (see this video for instructions to adapt this position for a newborn). Now that Alyssa is more aware and wants to look out I’ve been using the ‘explore’ position too. I’ve also tried the outward facing ‘adventure’ position which, unlike other outward facing carriers, provides a seat for baby rather than dangling her from her crotch.

She sleeps very soundly in the 'hug' position.

She sleeps very soundly in the ‘hug’ position

Enjoying the view in the 'explore' position

Enjoying the view in the ‘explore’ position

Hands Free

I can firmly attest to this. I find the Baby K’Tan Breeze wraps baby tightly to my body and provides enough head support for me to walk without needing to give baby extra support. This completely frees me to hold the hands of my two older boys when crossing the road or walking in the carpark. In fact, at the end of each week when the kids bring home their sleeping stuff from school, I carry baby, my diaper bag, two large duffel bags with their pillows, bedsheets and blankets, and still hold onto my boys’ hands. No sweat.

Me faking jumping jacks with the kids at their sports day

Me doing fake jumping jacks with the kids at their sports day (you really shouldn’t be jumping when wearing baby in any kind of sling!)

Downsides

The main downside about the Baby K’Tan is that you have to make sure you get the right size since the cloth comes pre-looped. It needs to be snug enough so that baby is held close to you when carried. It’s actually not that difficult, but just don’t make the same mistake I did.

I’m used to thinking in terms of UK sizing, so when I bought my first Baby K’Tan, I ended up getting a size too big (so it’s still brand new if anyone is interested to buy it from me! Original model, size M, in eggplant colour). I’m a UK size 10, so I got the K’Tan in M which is listed as being suitable for sizes 10-12. However, those are US sizes. Thus, when I was offered the Breeze I chose the S instead because it is for sizes 6-8 (UK10 = US8). Here’s the sizing chart for your reference. Again, note it is in US sizes.

As the sizing matters, you may not be able to share the Baby K’Tan with your partner if he is a lot larger than you. This isn’t really a problem for me as I have always been the one to sling the kids if they have to be carried for a longer time.

The other downside I found is that it’s a little hard for me to position baby to breastfeed in this sling. However, that’s just me. I personally know someone who breastfeeds her kid in the K’Tan while walking! What I do is I just take baby out before breastfeeding, No biggie.

Verdict

I would highly recommend the Baby K’Tan as it’s comfortable and easy to use, and I’d recommend the Breeze model in particular because it’s perfect for our Singapore weather. It’s a product I wish I had when my older kids were babies as it would have saved me a lot of back aches and shoulder pains.

I had wanted the Baby K’Tan to replace my sling for when baby was small, and move on to my usual structured carrier when she gets heavier. But I might consider using this when the time comes as the K’Tan is comfortable and can carry kids up to about 16kg.

Sound asleep

Sound asleep, wrapped up and cosy

– GIVEAWAY –

The Baby K’Tan Breeze is not available in Singapore, but Baby K’Tan has generously provided one white Baby K’Tan Breeze in size M worth US$59.95 to giveaway to a reader!

To qualify for the giveaway, please do the following by 1 Sep 2014*:
1. Like the Baby K’Tan Facebook page
2. Leave a comment below with your name, email address, and share which feature of the Baby K’Tan Breeze you are most attracted by!

Spread the word!

 *Winners will be chosen at random.

 

– UPDATE –

You have been heard!

The White, size M, Baby K’Tan Breeze for the giveaway has already been shipped to Singapore so the size cannot be changed.

But for those of you who are not a size M, Baby K’Tan has kindly agreed to give a 20% discount exclusively for Unlikely Lady of Leisure readers who use the code ULL20*. The discount code can be used if you purchase the Baby K’Tan baby carrier directly from their website here.

Happy shopping!

 *The code is valid until 31 Oct 2014.

————————————————————————————————————-

I was provided the Baby K’Tan Breeze for review. All opinions are my own.

Sweetness

These were taken in July, but I never got around to posting it!

I just love this picture!

I just love this picture :)

The boys often say their sister is “so cute and funny”, and they love to prod her cheeks. Brotherly love is not always so dainty :)

xx

Love Alyssa’s expression here, haha! “Ack, what are they doing?!?”

 

Eat Fat

Crunchy, salty, oily, tasty, sinful…

Oh I love eating fried lard. I don’t eat it everyday, so when I do see it, I eat it. Um yum yum. Good food is often cooked with lard, or lard oil.

And I found it. I found a place you can get your lard fix any time you want – RedRing wanton mee.

RedRing Wanton Mee

RedRing Wanton Mee

First, about the wanton mee itself. It’s a pretty good plate of noodles. The texture of the noodles is the starchy,chewy kind which I like. They use this fancy automated noodle cooking machine to make sure each serving is cooked for exactly the same length of time. I found the sauce alright. It’s supposed to be a signature sauce, but to me it was nothing spectacular. The char siew was charred but I thought it could be a little more charred and could do with a stronger caramalised flavour. Overall it was definitely above average, but not the best I’ve eaten.

But the star of the show, for me at least, is the lard! Hawker stalls often leave tubs of chilli and spring onions for customers to help themselves to. Here, there is a tub of lard. Yes. You can help yourself to the lard. I kid you not when I say that customer before me covered almost the whole serving of noodles with lard.

Lard!

Lard!

I had just gone for a pilates class and thought it quite defeated the purpose if I overindulged, so I took less than I wanted, but more than I would usually find in noodles. Mmm…

My less than dainty, but not overly gluttonous portion of lard to accompany my wanton mee

My less than dainty, but not overly gluttonous portion of lard to accompany my wanton mee

As Schwarzeneggar would say, though I suppose he’d never eat gobs of lard at a go, “I’ll be back!”

RedRing Wanton Mee (Holland Drive Stall) is found at:
Blk 46 Holland Drive
Chiangs Swallow Coffeeshop
Often everyday, 830am – 8pm
Closed on first and third Tuesday of each month

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