Friday, November 25, 2016

Review: IMPACT Spinal Protection School Backpack

Shared in an earlier post, I have always been mindful of spinal care and posture for the kiddo. With her entering Primary school almost 2 years back, I bought her an ergo bag but found it to be unsuitable for her. The bag was a tad too long and the width was a tad narrow where Dumpling found it hard to slot the books in. So, that bag was put aside where we just use it to put the kiddo’s music books instead.

With the kiddo entering into Primary 3 in less than 2 months, the issue was still nagging at the back of my mind as she will have more books and worksheets to bring to and from school. That started our hunt for another ergo bag. With the recommendations from a friend, I visited ERGOWORKS showroom at Centrepoint to pick up a new bag for Dumpling in preparation for Primary 3 next year.



ERGOWORKS carries its own line of ergonomic bags called IMPACT. The line comes in a few models with different features shown below. The main differences are in the shape and in the back of the bags. 


Some target various back muscles (above left) while another has a groove to allow for the spine "sit" on it (above right)...


And one of its latest model is this bag above which allows the user to map the child's height to the strap length (adjustable).

Dumpling was fitted (with the help of the knowledgeable consultants there) for a suitable bag (something not too long) with a curvature which follows and allows for the spine to develop properly.



Importantly, we were looking for a bag that not only fits well but is not as heavy as some of the ergo bags are. 

video

The bag which she ended up choosing was the IMPACT Spinal Protection School Backpack. Besides the special groove, some of the other unique properties are:
  • It uses a Safety reflective material (by USA 3M) on the trimmings and part of its straps
  • It is 100% Made in Taiwan
  • Its high ballistic Nylon is treated with Anti-Water, Dust and UV resistance coating, 
  • As seen above, it uses a "loop lock zip" pull tabs
  • It also features an anti-Slip PU base with 
  • Multiple file compartments (with elastic band) to hold content upright and stabilise the Centre of gravity of load
  • It also has pockets for water bottle and school essentials
  • And importantly, the bag’s weight is lightest in its class at approx. 1050g

With that, the kiddo chose her favorite color (pink of course!) and tried it out during the last few days in school. :)

Here's what the kiddo thought of the bag:


"I like that the bag feels snug against my body. The old bag was soft (no structure) and so, the books were pulling down the other way. I had to keep pulling back the straps to keep the bag up. 

This IMPACT bag has a solid structure which allows me to put my books easily and did not pull away from my body. The bag also has a thicker backing. I cannot feel anything poking into my back when carrying it, unlike the previous one. 

I also like that there are sections (compartments) in the bag which helps me organise my books better ~ heavier books are now placed at the back with the lighter ones in the front compartment. 

All in all, I like this bag as it is comfortable."

Dumpling ~ 8YO.




Here's more information on the backpack:

IMPACT Spinal Protection School Backpack
Usual SRP: $149
Special: $129 (inclusive of 7% GST)
(Comes in Navy, Light Purple & Royal Blue)
Website: www.impactlifestyle.com.sg


ERGOWORKShowrooms

Causeway Point
1 Woodlands Square #03-26 Causeway Point
(level 3 next to Kiddy Palace )
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6893 8488

Marina Square
6 Raffles Boulevard #03-337/338 Marina Square
(level 3 Art of living furniture zone)
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6837 3370

Centrepoint
176 Orchard Road #03-36 Centrepoint
(level 3 next to LALU boutique)
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6836 8488

Connect with Ergoworks on their Facebook page! 

:: About IMPACT Brand
IMPACT brand was founded since 1997 and is sold internationally. Today, it is remains the ONLY ergonomic brand medically endorsed and recommended by Singapore Physiotherapy Association & The Chiropractic Association of Singapore.
If you have found this post useful, you may enjoy more posts on Dumpling's Primary school journey.   
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. We were invited to review the IMPACT Spinal Protection School Backpack so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions are entirely ours. 
If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: SRT's Charlotte's Web

Charlotte’s Web by EB White was one of my favorite books when I was growing up and Dumpling and I have watched the cartoon and the movie many times over, yet never gotten bored of it. You can imagine our joy when we were invited to review this play by Singapore Repertory Theatre.


:: The story

This story is a simple yet beautiful tale of friendship between a runt pig, Wilbur, and a barn spider, Charlotte. Wilbur was being fattened up (bacon anyone?) by the Zuckermans who owns a farm and Charlotte, taking pity on the runt, decided to help. And that was marks the start of a beautiful friendship…




:: The play

A familiar face, Ann Lek, previously played one of the pigs in SRT’s Three Little Pigs. In this production, she plays Wilbur. Wilbur was originally born on a farmhouse and lived with the Arables where Fern (played by Ethel Yap), their daughter, looked after it. As Wilbur grew bigger, the Arables found themselves unable to tend to it and gave Wilbur to the Zuckermans.

One of the things which I have always enjoyed in Singapore Repertory Theatre's (SRT) productions is their creative take on its set. Having caught previous productions such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Rapunzel, Three Little Pigs etc., the company has once again shown its creativity in the design of its props and the great usage of space.


The Farmhouse used by the Arables was easily transformed to Zuckerman’s farm and later, to a section in the Fair where Wilbur was at, with just some shifting of the props and the clever use of banners, lights, etc.

True to its story, Wilbur befriended other animals in the farm ~ a rat (Templeton), Sheep, some geese, etc. but it was his friendship with Charlotte that makes this story one of the best-selling children's novels (sold an estimated 45 million copies). 



Sharda Harrison who plays Charlotte (A. Cavatica) lives in the barn and with the clever use of ropes and karabiners, the actress played Charlotte well with her sleek and “spidery” movements. (Doesn't the photo below remind you of the classic scene in Spiderman played by Tobey Maguire?)




It was really interesting to see how she moved from one part of the barn to the next (she must have great abs)! And of course Charlotte used her superb web weaving skills to spell out the adjectives that soon made Wilbur a celebrity pig. :) 

I am the first to admit that I am sappy when it comes to characters dying and I was worried that the kiddo would be affected. In my opinion, SRT handled this part well, understanding the profile of its young audiences and while sticking to the story, it did not over dramatize Charlotte’s death. Instead, it highlighted Charlotte’s Opus Magnum (masterpiece), her egg sac which had all 514 eggs. Wilbur vowed to look after these eggs and stuck through to his words (like a true friend) and watched over them religiously till they hatched.     

Here's a video snippet of the play :) 


A heartwarming take on the story, SRT's interpretation is both entertaining and touching as it brings us on a journey to celebrate the tale of friendship and love between Wilbur and Charlotte. That, in my opinion, is the Opus Magnum of this famous story by EB White. 

Charlotte's Web runs till 11 December (details below).  

Event Dates
Fri, 28 Oct - Sun, 11 Dec 2016
Weekends & Public Holiday : 11am & 2pm
Weekdays : 10am
28 Oct 2016 (Fri) : 3pm

Venue
KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT (Previously known as DBS Arts Centre) 
To buy your tickets at SISTIC, please click here 

Disclaimer: We were invited by Singapore Repertory Theatre to watch the play so that we can give our opinions about it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours. Images are courtesy of Singapore Repertory Theatre. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both on the kiddo and my furkid), food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), outdoor fun, useful reviews, early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Busy Mum’s Cheat Sheet – Va va voom Eyelashes!

Let me first start off by saying that this is not a sponsored post nor is this an advertorial. Being a FTWM, I find that I am very strapped for time but I still want to look good hence I thought to share my experience here.

I have what I call the “work face” on weekdays and the “naked face” on weekends. (Though I can immediately think of 2 buddies who would say that I have the “RBF” instead. :p)

Weekdays are where I will have make up on which typically includes eyeliner, eye shadow, blusher and lip gloss as I have many interactions with customers on a daily basis. Weekends are where I would go almost bare face except for the sun-block and the brows.

I don’t know what about you but I go through a daily mad rush in the mornings where I need to prepare the kid’s snack bag (which can be anything from stir-fried tang hoon to cheese prata or to omu rice) and get myself ready to work and get her off scooting to school. Hence my make-up is done in the car which usually results in me making faces in the mirror to the amusement of fellow morning drivers. I love eye make-up because am blessed with double eyelids and I love how eye shadows can make my eyes “pop” a bit more. The removal of eye make-up at the end of the day, however, is another matter altogether, especially water proof mascara.

That’s when I decided to go for eye lash extensions.

:: What it is
Eyelash extensions is where a synthetic lash (could be single to multiple strands) is being attached to your natural lash forming a longer, curlier lash. It can be somewhat technical and this is where your lash technician can advise you on which option to choose. But as a rough guide 2D means that it’s 2 strands added to your lash, 3D means 3 strands and so on and so forth.

This is how a 3D strand looks like (mine) after it has dropped off.




:: The process
When I had my first extension, my lash technician suggested a more natural look for me so that it does not feel too dramatic. This is also the time where you can discuss with yours what “look” you like and your lifestyle ~ if you apply eye makeup often (lashes will need to be longer and fuller to be visible) or if you are pretty much prefer an au naturel look (lashes will then be shorter and less “dolly”).

Thus you will then need to discuss with your technician these things:
  1. Length
  2. Thickness
  3. Whether it is 2D, 3D, 4D, etc
  4. The Curl (i.e. the curvature ~ generally the curlier ones give a more dolly look)
Surgical tapes are placed on your eye area to protect and “lift” the eye lid to aid the therapist in gluing the extension to your natural eye lash. A few friends have actually voiced their concerns over the extensions – if it will be too “heavy” and causes balding, that it feels awkward etc.

This is where you need to note one important thing: the right way to do the extension is to attach the synthetic lashes above your root. NOT on the eyelid and certainly NOT on the root. Below are the typical questions that I get from my friends after they saw and like the dolly look. And because I am nice (LOL), I will list them here for you :)

:: Common questions

1) Does it hurt?
No, it does not and should not hurt. As shared above, the extension is on your natural lash, ABOVE your root so it should not hurt at all. Having said that, the glue does emit fumes and there could be feeling of "smarting" but it lasts no longer than a few seconds. I only experienced that perhaps twice / thrice in my 3 sessions. A note of advice: do check out with your lash technician on the type of glue and do highlight to her if you have any skin allergies.

2) How long does it last? 
Generally most websites that I visited prior to doing them will state that the classic lash extension (1 extension : 1 natural lash) lasts about 3 weeks in general. 2D can last about 4 - 5 weeks with 3D about 4 - 6 weeks. Having said that, it also depends on how you look after your lashes - if you sleep face down, then of course the lashes will break off.

3) Is it hard to maintain / care for it?
So far, I have not done anything different since having extensions except to skip mascara and eyeliner. The latter can be used but it needs to be water, not oil-based. Mascara is a no no as apparently, it causes the lashes to get crusty and honestly, you won't need them.

I still wash my face by gently splashing water to rinse off except that I am more gentle in drying my face after wash (I use my index fingers to gently pat my eye lids).

To show you, the top photo is my extensions after 2 weeks with the bottom photo, a refill. The top photo is not as "full" because I did not brush them out and also, some would have dropped by by then. But honestly, it looks pretty decent and it could have lasted another week before a refill.


And here's a side view of the 2-weeks old lashes - as you can see, it still looks very full and has a "lifting" effect :)


4) My lashes are sparse - can I still go for extensions? 
As long as you have lashes, you can go for some form of an extension. Unlike Dumpling who has thick and full eyelashes, mine are thin and sparse! Just see the pic below


And this is the front view of me after the extension! I personally love the "uplifting" effect and how I do not need to use mascara and spend so much time to remove them anymore! (Left photo is taken immediately after my refill while the right photo was taken the following morning.)


5) Do they feel awkward or heavy?
In all honesty no. If you have applied mascara before you will probably know that you can somewhat see the tips of your lashes and this was what I felt. Was it heavy? No, it was very light and "fluffy" and feels nothing like the falsies we stick on as those are much thicker and heavier.

The interesting thing is when I first did mine, I did a 2D extension. However, because I wanted a fuller set (hence more visible), I did a 3D extension in the next session. Interesting, the 3D felt lighter than the 2D and this would be because with 3D, the lashes need to be really thin.


6) Where can I have mine done?
There are many salons in Singapore so do look and ask around and ensure that your technician is properly certified. I did mine at a home salon because she was highly recommended by my (home salon) manicurist, whom I have been lusting over her lashes for some time before asking her for the recommendation. :)

In the event you are situated in the West, here's my lash technician contact.

:: Allure Secrets
Address: 229 Bukit Batok East Ave 3
Facebook page
Website
And here's the page to her charges
(And no, I am not getting any discount or any incentives from "referrals")

EDIT: Just so you know, lash technicians are like our facial therapists / manicurists where their appointments are often filled up very quickly. So, you will usually need at least 2 - 3 weeks of advance booking.

Disclaimer: This is neither a sponsored post nor an advertorial. All opinions expressed are entirely mine and your experience may differ so please discuss with your lash technician on your preferences. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: I Theatre's The Magic Paintbrush

:: The Story

The Magic Paintbrush by I Theatre is a classic tale with a realistic local twist. The play starts with Toni, a 10 year old girl in modern setting preparing for her exams. The scene was particularly familiar to me as we caught the play during Dumpling’s SA period. LOL! 


Toni was mugging for her papers where the mood was tense and temper ran high. Toni was tired and was losing focus to the horror of her father, a classic Tiger Dad, who believes in all hard work and no play as Toni needed to “study to succeed”. Toni subsequently fell asleep after she made a wish and was transported back to the past where her adventure begins...


Toni became the well-known Ma Liang in the Southern Province of China (just like “Under One Roof” ~ if you are from the same era as me, you will understand the joke!), who was gifted with a magic paintbrush by an “Old Man” played by Dwayne, a familiar face on stage having acted in many children productions. 


True to the original tale, Toni used puts the Magic Paintbrush to good use by painting food for the poor villagers. Tales of her “work” were heard and witnessed by two of the King’s imperial guards, Shrimp and Sotong, who brought Toni back to the Palace to meet the emperor who wanted Toni to make him rich, or in this case, even richer.


:: What we like
The modern day issue of paper chase and academic stress was captured well in the story by Tan Shou Chen who acted as Toni’s dad (also the emperor). The harsh words and the pushiness of Toni’s father made me cringe inwardly and at one point, I even turned back to ask Dumpling if I am like that. Ha ha ha ha…

Jodi Chan, who takes the stage for the first time in collaboration with I Theatre as Toni, was expressive and believable. She portrayed her role well as a struggling young student which was well balanced with childlike innocence. In I Theatre's usual fashion - puppets were used as some of the characters such as Phoenix (Mdm Hoang) and Chicken, adding more dimension to the production.

The kiddo’s and my favorite characters however, are Shrimp and Sotong, the two Imperial guides who added much comic relief to the play with their silly antics and physical comedy. Their song "Every Whichever Way" was catchy and fun. In fact, the song stayed in our minds and the kiddo and I found ourselves singing some of the lyrics at home!  


Living up to its usual puppetry mastery, my favorite scene has to be where Toni sent the emperor and the 2 guards off to sea. Without revealing too much, I enjoyed the visual treat and impact of the use of black light theatre which captured the ocean scene beautifully. I only wish that there were more scenes using this technique. :)

While the kiddo enjoyed the play as is, it made me reflect deeper as a parent. Toni’s father was all about the paper chase just like the Emperor with his single-mindedness in becoming even richer. Like many Singaporean parents, I often cave in to the pressure of working towards results as after all, this is a meritocratic society. I was brought up being reminded time and time again by my parents that results = good job opportunity = a better quality life.

So in the same way, I often chide Dumpling for her careless mistakes as I believe that she can do better. While not as extreme as Toni’s dad, I see so much of us, local parents, in him. The play did not just teach Dumpling lessons on greed and helpfulness but also taught me lessons on contentment and mindfulness.  

So what happens to Toni and the dad in the end, you might ask? Catch the play and find out for yourselves! After all, the Semestral Assessments in schools are over by now so why not treat yourself and your children to this play?

Event Details
Dates:
Thu, 27 Oct - Sat, 12 Nov 2016
27 0ct 2016 till 30 Oct 2016
Thu - Fri: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Sat & Sun: 11am & 2.30pm

Duration:
Approximately 1hr 30mins
(With 15 mins intermission)

1 Nov 2016 till 12 Nov 2016
Tue & Thu: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Wed & Fri: 10.30am
Sat: 11am, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 11am & 5pm

Venue: Drama Centre Theatre

Disclaimer: We were invited to the play, sponsored by I Theatre to give our opinions on it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours. Photos are courtesy of I Theatre. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Giveaway! ITheatre's Magic Paintbrush!

Improvised from the well-known Chinese folk tale, The Magic Paintbrush concludes I Theatre's line-up for 2016 after an impressive line up of plays such as The Rainbow Fish, The Boy who Cried Wolf, etc.



:: The Story 

Like many youngsters, Toni Lee, from present-day Singapore, struggles with the pressure and stress of schoolwork and parental expectations. With an accidental wish, Toni quite unexpectedly meets a Magical Paintbrush, and is transported back in time to a Southern Province of China, where Toni becomes Ma Liang 马良. In a series of magical adventures, Ma Liang’s story unfolds.

Meet the tuneful Phoenix who guides and helps Ma Liang with his quest. Watch out for the comical Palace Guards, Sotong and Shrimp, as they try to capture Ma Liang for the cruel, greedy Emperor and his wicked schemes!


Through the fun and laughter, a clear and strong moral message about the value of creativity, friendship, and the dangers of using, or abusing power is presented in this magical, musical family show. 


:: The Book
A unique feature of this production is that (maybe for the first time in Singapore) a brand new picture book was launched in conjunction with the first production of the play. Dumpling had the chance to read this book some years back and liked it very much!

Written by the playwright, Brian Seward, and illustrated by Francis Chua, The Magic Paintbrush was published by international publishers Marshall Cavendish International (Asia). Aimed at the Primary school audience, this beautifully illustrated colour picture book contains all the characters and the storyline from the play, and develops some story elements further in a way that the play could not.

I am pleased to share that I have 3 pairs of 2 tickets to this classic tale to give away! 



:: Terms and Conditions
1.                   These tickets will be to the 11am show on Saturday 29 Oct 2016. 
2.                   Winner is to collect the tickets directly from I Theatre office @ 27 Kerbau Road by 27 October (no onsite collection is allowed) during office hours.
3.                   Tickets are not exchangeable for cash or for other dates.
4.                   Please remember to leave a comment below on "Which other Chinese folk story you like and why?"
5.                  The giveaway is not endorsed, associated with administrated by Facebook.                  
6.          As the play takes place in Singapore, this giveaway is opened only to Singapore Residents. GOOD LUCK! 

Can't wait for the giveaway results? You can purchase tickets here!

Event Details
Dates:
Thu, 27 Oct - Sat, 12 Nov 2016
27 0ct 2016 till 30 Oct 2016
Thu - Fri: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Sat & Sun: 11am & 2.30pm

Duration:
Approximately 1hr 30mins
(With 15 mins intermission)

1 Nov 2016 till 12 Nov 2016
Tue & Thu: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Wed & Fri: 10.30am
Sat: 11am, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 11am & 5pm

Disclaimer: The giveaway is kindly sponsored by I Theatre. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 
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