“Up” should have been down.

So I’ve finally watched the Pixar animation film “Up”. Maybe it was all the raving reviews from people around me that built up some high expectations for it, but I did not like it.

First off, why did the little boy have to be a fat and dumb Chinese boy?! Personally I feel it’s a tad racist, combined with my lack of tolerance for fat dumb boys – regardless of race/ethnicity – the character of Russell just made most of the movie quite unbearable.

Now, with the main character Carl… He irritates me even more. The film was focused on his days as a grumpy old man and his adventures of trying to park his house on Paradise Falls, but I just couldn’t get past the early scenes of the movie! I was so obsessed with the fact that he had “crossed his heart” and promised to bring his wife Ellie to Paradise Falls but never ever made it there with her until after she was DEAD. Maybe it’s just too similar to my reality, which is pretty effed up that way too except that I’m not dead… yet.

Despite the fact that they had started pooling savings for this dream trip to Paradise Falls, they never made it there due to broken tyres, damaged roof and other bank-breaking “little” problems of life. Which I must say is entirely realistic and believable, so that part I don’t fault.

What really irks the shit out of me is how Carl suddenly seemed to remember about his promise of Paradise Falls and goes out to buy plane tickets immediately. I mean, WTF, if he could just buy it when he remembered it, then why didn’t he do it earlier BEFORE his wife got hospitalised and shortly after, DIED?! How did he even FORGET about their agreement in the first place?! What kind of heartless husband is he?! Do his promises mean NOTHING?! (Yes, like I said, this strikes too close to my heart.)

And the irony of him being able to fly his entire house up to Paradise Falls with an army of helium balloons… and he never once thought of doing that when his wife was still alive?!

Throughout the movie I just kept thinking about how his wife had spent her entire lifetime with him, going through the loss of their child and never having any kids – in return she never even saw Paradise Falls in the flesh. Sure, her character is portrayed as a loving homely woman and never once faulted Carl for not carrying out the promise. Instead, she completed her adventure book and even thanked him for a lifetime of (mundane domestic) adventures. That totally mindfucked me.

Being someone (real) wearing the same pair of shoes, it’s beyond what I can comprehend. True that I definitely am not much of a loving homely woman as Ellie is, but betrayal of trust is betrayal. And how Carl could have forgotten their agreement… that to me is like, WOW what an ass. I mean, they didn’t even have kids! What was he so busy with that he could forget their life-long dream?!

So yeah, I really really HATED “Up”. I don’t care how many awards it was nominated for, and how many it won. It’s just fucked up that they had written the story so true to life in the beginning, then mid-way through had turned so impossibly unrealistic with a house being carried away by balloons, a colourful giant (dodo) bird and a humungous pack of dogs that speak through some ingenious collar.

I’m not too sure what the moral of the story is supposed to be. Is it that women are doomed to spend their lifetimes with unreliable men and never fulfilling their own dreams? Or maybe it’s that old people are crazy? Or that Chinese boys are always fat and dumb? Or that men tend to fulfill their promises when it’s already too late? What message was the movie supposed to send?

But one thing I do know: I hate this movie. It’s just so effed up in so many ways.

 

 

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HOLA ZALORA!

2014 is (almost) here!  

But instead of the somewhat obligatory list of resolutions that everyone’s sharing via social media, I am listing down a list of things I would like to buy. Because it’s just in style with my spendthrift bimbotic ways. :mrgreen: And I’ve found the perfect place to suss out and compile this list… ZALORA!

And to make for easier temptation is Zalora’s mobile app. I have a tendency to window-shop or play games on my phone while waiting for Mr Sandman and this just makes it so much easier to compile a wishlist. Signing up for Zalora’s newsletter also gets you a $10 voucher, and an access pass to all their latest deals!

1. (More and more) SPORTSWEAR!!
I’m proud to announce I’ve picked up a weightlifting habit at the gym under the watchful eye of my protein-and-muscle-packed personal trainer. I literally develop Restless Muscle Syndrome if I’m forced to skip my twice-a-week sessions, then I end up bench pressing Lisa or lifting 23kg Joshua and doing sumo squats for 12 reps. (No shit.) So in light of my newfound healthy hobby, I am in need of more sports apparel. Also, sports bras just triumph wired bras.

       

       

While we’re at it, a new PINK water bottle wouldn’t hurt… :mrgreen:

2. Finally getting another piece of Desigual clothing

Ever since I “outgrew” the pieces I got post-Keegan, I never did get around to replacing them. I love the loud prints Desigual has, probably because it’s as loud as me!

3. Doing my manicures more often 

It’s somewhat shameful to admit that I’ve literally gone weeks without any polish on my nails since the birth of Lisa. And now that she’s 18 months old, I think I may just be able to find the time to keep them manicured more often than naked… (I’ve also discovered that Gelish isn’t that much of a Godsend to me like how other women view it. But that’s another story for another time…)

       

4. Crowning my glory again

My hair… oh, my hair. It’s dry, turning grey and generally unkempt. I’d blame it on multiple pregnancies, hormones, tiredness, or whatever, but the truth is, life – and my hair – would be so much prettier if I just had one of these…

Yes I know it sounds kinda weird (especially to the men) that the way to fix my hair is to “fry” it straight. But no one gives two hoots about how women get their hair pretty as long as it’s pretty! It’s a superficial world.

All in all, come 2014 I want to be in better shape than I was in 2013 – in all sense of the word. And I don’t want to be round even though it IS a shape.

Recap & Loot: Parenthood Fair 2013

I can’t deny it. I’ve got this thing for pregnancy/baby exhibitions and fairs. There’s just something about seeing lots of pregnant women and cute babies that starts some sort of unknown joy running through my body. It’s all just so… lively, you know?

So it is no surprise that I brought Lisa along to the Parenthood Fair 2013 at Singapore Expo Hall 5B today, and came home with… THIS bagful of stuff:

Were there really great deals aplenty? Not really. They just happened to have a few fairly enticing offers and some interesting new products being launched. Below is the list of items (and prices) of my loot, and I will list some of the other offers available – to the best of my partly senile mommy-brain – to help you decide if this is an event you should take time to visit.

kidzloft lootFrom KIDZLOFT booth (in clockwise direction): TAGGIES plush $23.45, Bright Starts Peek-a-boo Mirror $14.95, TAGGIES carrier cushion $11.45, Bright Starts Carrier Toybar $19.95, TAGGIES Strap Covers $7.45. All prices stated are after 50% discount. 

All items at KIDZLOFT are on 50% off as part of their 10th anniversary celebration! But as their booth at the Parenthood Fair 2013 is small-scale, you would be better off visiting their warehouse outlet at Tagore Lane instead. The 50% storewide discount will run between 11th to 16 November and there will definitely be way more items available for amazing deals than at the Fair. For more details, visit the KIDZLOFT website.

So why did I spend a total of $77.45 at their small booth? Because we don’t drive and Tagore is inaccessible for us. Also, the daughter dearest just grabbed these toys off the rack and refused to put them back… She’s a totally “pink” kind of girl.

aden+anaisFrom Global Outsource Solutions Booth: aden+anais 2-piece muslin swaddle pack at $19.90 ONLY!!

Global Outsource Solutions has got to be one of my favourites whenever they show up at baby fairs. They usually offer significant discounts on the various reputable brands under their distribution belt, including my all-time fave aden+anais! Some of brands and promotions available at this weekend’s Fair:

  • aden+anais
    • Buy 1 Get 1 Free for security blankets and burpy bibs, priced at $25.90 each
    • 20% off selected Bamboo Muslin range
    • $19.90 for the following items: 4-piece plain white muslin swaddle, plain white washcloth, plain white dream blanket & 2-piece printed muslin swaddle (as in image above)
    • $29.90 for selected sleeping bags and dream blankets
  • 3 Sprouts:
    • Hooded towels at $29.90, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
    • Discounted prices on wall organizers and other small storage solutions
  • Baby Banana Brushes
  • BabyBjorn
  • Charlie Banana: Select swim diapers/training pants at $19.90
  • Clevamama
  • Babymoov
  • Heico Lamps
  • JJ Cole
  • Mum2Mum: Select 3-piece pack bibs at $25.90. Others are Buy 1 Get 1 Free.
  • Silver Cross
  • Tommee Tippee: Full range of products available on discount!
  • Unimom
  • YBike

Apologies that I’m not able to provide a comprehensive list of discounts because certain brands/products just aren’t applicable to any of my kids anymore. Also, my brain capacity is fairly limited. :p

misc
From left to right: Munchkin Snack Tower $11.90, from Infantino booth. Dermo-Cleansing Fluid at 3 for $55, Mustela booth. Cotton Tights $8, from Luvable Friends booth.

Mustela is having great discounts off their full range, including a super-value newborn starter pack. We have been using the brand since Joshua was a newborn with sensitive dry skin, and swear by the No-Rinse Cleansing Fluid, Diaper Barrier Cream and Dermo-Cleansing Fluid (it’s a top to toe wash, in simpler terms). The entire range is suitable for sensitive skin, even with eczema cases. We use the facial cream, massage oil and I’ve used their “9 Months” range for all of my pregnancies.

And look out for the launch of an interesting new product at the Infantino booth: The Diggin Active Skootcase!

skootcase

It’s similar to the Trunki ride-on suitcase for kids, except this one allows the child to steer! The Trunki unfortunately only moves straight and can’t handle even the slightest turn (and yet we have three of those…) -_- They should have brought the Skootcase here earlier! As a special limited time launch offer, the Skootcase is now going for $69 instead of the $99 RRP. It is currently only available in pink and blue, even though it’s also available in red and purple in the Diggin Active online store. Lisa was lemming for the pink one (obviously), but I seriously don’t think we need another (overpriced) child-size suitcase in this household. Unless… they start bringing the red one in. :p

And for my final loot share… the totally unexpected purchase of some I’ve-never-seen-them-before Korean organic baby snacks.

koreanorganicsnack That little foot is in the picture because Lisa is trying to “steal” a pack to eat…

Depending on the flavour, they are either going for 3 for $10 or 4 for $10. Lisa started screaming to taste them when we walked by, and ended up wanting to buy the Cheese, Banana and Strawberry flavoured puffs. All three were priced at 3 for $10, so I bought 3 for each flavour and ended up lugging home ELEVEN packs of these snacks. Somehow the lady boss gave us 2 extra Cheese ones, saying they’re free gifts. Maybe it’s because Lisa kept screaming “mum mum!!” at their booth and then exclaiming loudly with a “mmmmm…” that drew quite a bit of attention – and business – from the nearby parents. But this little girl did NOT like the onion flavoured ones AT ALL. Her reaction was a sordid “NO!” after trying the samples. It made the staff giggle quite a bit.

CONCLUSION: Can you afford to miss the Parenthood Fair 2013?

YES. Unfortunately there really isn’t much to offer unless you’re a big fan of Mustela and aden+anais – the only two brands that are having significant discounts – or just simply like to carry home multiple cartons of diapers. More than half of the booths are a combination of blogshops, pushy insurance-type companies and baby/pregnancy related services – which doesn’t make for much to actually buy. The other half aren’t having significant discounts justifiable of a trip all the way down to the Singapore EXPO.

On the bright side, it is one of the least crowded baby fairs I’ve been to in a long while, especially since I was there from 11.30am to 2pm. Most other baby fairs usually have people queueing up prior to opening hours!

If you would still like to take a gander at some of the discounts and promotions available, click here to view the Fair’s discount brochure.

The Parenthood Fair is at Singapore EXPO Hall 5B from 8th to 10th November, 11am to 9pm daily.

Massaging away the backache.

Due to the size of my belly – and Keegan’s slight overweight state – I’ve been nursing a sore back for the past few weeks despite being in a constant state of rest and proper posture.

As a last resort, I went and got a massage from this lady who runs a massage place from home.

For only $38, she gave me a 60 minute full body massage in a tranquil candlelight room with soft music playing in the background. I was also served a cup of ginger tea post-massage to soothe the nerves and get rid of “wind”.

While she didn’t have a massage bed that is specially catered for pregnant women, her massage skills were truly relaxing and I slept really well through the night – a first in weeks! My backache was also gone when I woke up the next morning, which was a great relief.

Now I know where to go for an affordable massage when the backache starts acting up again. Shiok! :mrgreen:

ZumFit with Pam!

My gal-pal Pamela has finally got her instructor license is starting her own exercise classes!

She calls it ZumFit – blending upbeat music and cardio workout – and she guarantees it to be a fun and sweaty experience. If it’s not, complain to her. 😆

Classes will be held at Dance on Us Studios No. 8 Claymore Hill, Claymore Point [see map here].

Check out more details of the class schedule here!

For a small fee, you can join the trial class on 18th May (Monday) for a test run to see if you enjoy it. The first actual class starts on 29th May (Friday), so hurry up and email Pamela if you’re interested.

Details of our 3D2N Batam getaway

Since coming back from our relaxing getaway in Batam, I’ve literally been spammed on MSN regarding the resort we stayed in and how much we paid for the entire experience. So here’s a breakdown of the nitty-gritty details:

Name of resort: Batam View Beach Resort
Type of accommodation: One-bedroom villa
Amount paid for 3D2N package: S$230 per adult based on twin-sharing
Package deal offered by: Shortaways.com, served by Isnarti

Package includes:
– 2-way adult ferry ticket
– 2-way transfer from pier to resort
– 1 peak night (Saturday) & 1 off-peak night (Sunday)
– Daily buffet breakfast

Other fees necessary:
– S$20/pax seaport tax to be paid at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
– S$4/pax seaport tax to be paid at resort during checkout
* Joshua had to pay for seaport tax as well.

Total amount paid to travel agent: S$478
Total amount of seaport taxes paid: S$72

Joshua classifies under “Infant” as he is under 2 years old. We only had to pay $18 for his 2-way ferry ticket as the resort provided a free baby cot for him to sleep in.

*My review of Batam View Beach Resort*

::

For the benefit of my fellow Batam-suakoos, here’s some FAQs about staying at Batam View and other general info about being in Batam. This way, I don’t have to answer your questions one by one via MSN! 😛

(Read my FAQs on holidaying in Batam…)

Review: Batam View Beach Resort

Batam View Beach Resort is situated along the shoreline of Nongsapura, and offers regular hotel rooms as well as private villas with one or two bedrooms. Of course, prices can differ greatly with your choice of accommodation.

The resort grounds are clean and comfortable, with a strong emphasis on Mother Nature, and the place truly delivers what their tagline claims: “Your home away from home.”

Batam View Beach Resort
Villa 809 – Our temporary beach-side home

The staff provides friendly and helpful service, with a smile, 24 hours a day. Some of them don’t speak very good English, but it doesn’t deter them from helping us with our luggage or our shopping bags.

They automatically offer us buggy rides to our villa which is about 5 minutes’ walk from the main resort lobby, and always arrive at our doorstep within 5 minutes of us calling the concierge for a ride.

Room service is affordable and quick, so food always arrives fresh and piping hot.

Resort amenities are fairly decent, providing a range of activities for those who want to be closer to nature, as well as thrill-seekers. Prices are also within affordable range unlike certain holiday resorts which seem keen to rip you off for the convenience of their amenities.

Batam View Beach ResortCute little flowers found at their Herb & Spice Garden

Granted, the resort is some distance away from shopping district of Nagoya, but if you’re looking for a quiet relaxing getaway, this is the place for you. No crowds, no traffic, just quiet time to spend on your own or with loved ones.

And despite the higher price we paid for a seafront villa in backward Batam, we have no regrets at all for making the decision. After all, how often can you get to live by the sea and laze your days away to a gorgeous seaview?

ON A SCALE OF 10 (based on 1-bedroom villa stay)
Cleanliness & Comfort: 9
Value for money: 9
Service: 10
Ambience: 9.5
OVERALL RATING: 9.5


Rubber heels.

Unwilling to continue trudging through the next 20 weeks of pregnancy in Havaianas flip-flops or my Birkenstock-ish Neckerman sandals, I finally took the plunge and purchased my first pair of rubber shoes: Crocs.

Having pretty much lived in flat shoes for the past 15 weeks of my pregnancy, I am damn sick of pik-piaking everywhere lor. Hubs suggested slip-proof Crocs wedges or heels for maximum comfort and safety, so we went to Plaza Singapura on Sunday and – with Uncle Henrie’s fashionable input – picked out this pair:

Crocs Cyprus in Silver/Lavender

The silver is versatile enough to go with all my maternity clothes, and it looked fabulous with my bootcut GAP maternity jeans when I tried it on at the store. And at S$58.50, it’s less than half the price of ALDO or Nine West heels. Granted, it’s not as sexy as a pair of 3″ strappy leather heels, but pregnant folks don’t have much options ok.

I’m sorry I can’t be your typical mom who lives in flat shoes and can’t be happier with the lack of fuss. I love my heels and I would continue wearing my knee-high leather boots with 3.5″ heels if my tummy wasn’t in the way of me pulling up them on.

It’s virtually impossible (to me anyway) to dress up nicely and complete your outfit with a pair of flat shoes. Women should wear heels. And women who can’t walk in heels should be sent to some bootcamp where they learn how to walk confidently like a proper woman.

Very gender stereotypical, I know, but heels instantly make you look slimmer and taller as well as improving your posture! What’s not to like?!

So, spot me strutting about town in my rubber shoes some time soon – wearing my maternity support band underneath it all, of course. :mrgreen:

Support for the growing bump.

So we all know I’m a vainpot, and I simply refuse to buy – let alone wear – the typical beige ugly maternity support belt. After trawling the Internet for over a week, I finally found the perfect maternity support garment that doesn’t require me to ship it from overseas: the Carriwell Maternity Support Band.

I chanced upon it at MyLittleAngels Maternity while browsing through almost all the local online maternity stores. I quickly arranged for a fitting appointment at the business owner’s home, bought a black piece in M size, and my bump has been well-supported since 2nd April. :mrgreen:

This garment not only does not roll up/down, it stretches comfortably to provide ample support for my growing belly. The material is not too warm (not to me anyway) despite being under my clothes for over 10 hours a day without air-con. It was a steal at S$24.90, compared to those typical maternity belts that cost at least S$50!

A few mothers I’ve been chatting with at the SingaporeMotherhood forum have also purchased it after I shared with them how my ligament strains and backache eased up almost immediately after wearing it.

It is now an essential part of my maternity wardrobe as my lower abdomen and back start to ache after going a few hours without it. Literally can’t live without it.

One note of caution though: You have to buy the right size for it to work its wonders. Too small and you’ll feel constricted, too large and it won’t be able to provide any support because it’ll move around and slip off.

Despite what the business owner told me, I still believe you should purchase the size for your hips measurement, and not your belly measurement. Afterall, the entire garment is stretchable and will work well to hug your belly properly as it grows through the months.

I believe if I had taken the L size like she had suggested, I would not be recommending this product to anyone because it would have sucked big time. I had tried the L size on top of my clothes and it didn’t feel snug at all. If it’s not snug, how do you expect it to hold up your belly?

Think of it like a matter of a well-fitting bra: A bra that is too large would not be able to support your breasts properly and prevent it from sagging. And as a maternity support garment is supposed to “push up” your belly, you would want the right fit that is not too big nor too small. If you expect yourself to grow larger in all ways, then purchase a larger size later into pregnancy to ensure the right fit.

With all that said and done, if you’re in serious need of some comfortable and affordable maternity support, the Carriwell Maternity Support Band in your appropriate size is the way to go!

MCF Addict!

It’s my rest day again and I’ve completed Mystery Case Files: Return To Ravenhearst in 7 hours, 41 mins and 22 seconds! I tell you, the game is FABULOUS!

Especially since Hubs booted his 15″ MacBook Pro in Windows to let me play it. Larger screen = less squinting while finding objects!

The folks behind the Mystery Case Files series never fail to pique my interest in each sequel, by reinventing the gameplay and creating an interesting storyling.

In their very first game Huntsville, it was a pure Hidden Object Game (H.O.G). Then slowly came varied H.O.G rules, the puzzles and intricate storylines.

And now, it’s become even more interactive as you:

  • explore the entire area with no hints given by the game
  • pick up tools to aid you in breaking windows, digging holes, etc
  • clear H.O.Gs to gain special inventory items – some of which are required in order to proceed with puzzles
  • trek through the various areas to uncover more areas (and the storyline)
  • remember various clues scattered throughout the map in order to solve certain puzzles (ie: numbers to key into a combination lock)
  • solve a myriad of puzzles ranging from simple 30-second ones to mind-boggling 30-minute ones (or you could just click “skip puzzle” if you give up)

I’d say Return to Ravenhearst is THE BEST they’ve made so far! I would play it again and again, except I already know the storyline and puzzles already. I’m just not the repetitive sort of person, I guess.

I’ve already completed all of the MCF games – except Agent X because my mobile phone isn’t compatible – so now I can only cross my fingers and hope the next installment comes soon.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to entertain myself with other not-so-fabulous H.O.G titles. I’ve also just completed Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends and it was done in record time because the game is too simple and somewhat… boring.

Now I’m halfway into Dr. Lynch: Grave Secrets and, despite being better than Murder Among Friends, it still can’t beat Return to Ravenhearst. Must.search.for.more.engaging.H.O.Gs…