Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Surviving Adam's Primary One orientation: the start of a new chapter in his schooling life journey.

Our first-born going to official school is a BIGGIE for me.
I've cried huge tears for this, and no matter how I console myself, I cannot reconcile with the fact that my baby is so grown up.
I know it is important for his psychosocial development, for him to learn independence, his role in society blah blah blah, but I love all my babies and can't bear for them to grow away from me.
When I told Adam that Mama feels like crying, he comforted me by telling me to have another baby and name it "Adam". ZOMG #facepalmmoment
Anyway, back to the topic of Adam's primary one journey.
We registered him under Phase 2C at a neighbourhood school because Andy's alma mater is no longer around, and mine is in Woodlands which is another end of the island for us.
Since we both went to neighbourhood schools, as did our siblings, any school didn't matter.
Initially, I had wanted to register Adam in a Catholic all-boys school, but hubby wouldn't approve as he felt that boy schools are notorious for bullying and gangsterism, and also he wanted our children to go to co-ed school.
So in the end, we chose a neighbourhood school for Adam. Whether or not we made the right or wrong choice, we can only find out in 6 years' time. It's too late for what-ifs and regrets now.

Watching my baby for the last time getting off his kindergarten school bus and shouting out "Good morning's" and "Good bye's" to his friends. *dabs eyes*
Or the last time watching him go on stage from these pews which has grown so familiar to us over the past 3 years.
Watching him develop from a shy, quiet boy into a confident child performing on stage.
This is the last bit of memory we will hang on to, of our pre-schooler being pre-schooler no more.

Adam's got mail! Received the mailer one week before the orientation.

Uniform list - most schools adopt the PAL system now, so they wear PE shirts for 4 out of 5 school days.

Primary 1 booklist.

By the way, if your child is a Singaporean attending primary school in Singapore, the school fees are only $13.00 per month.
That's a far cry from the $300+/ month kindergarten fees I pay for one child only (Ashton goes to a fullday childcare at $800+/mth *gasp*), not forgetting the full payment during the gazetted school holidays too!

On Orientation day...
Hubby & I peeping at our kid from the outside. There he was, just by the window, seated in a class of strangers he will soon call friends.

The number of books needed for Primary One is enough to induce a seizure.
FYI, I have already withdrawn Adam from his enrichment classes - CMA abacus & mental arithmetic, and LCentral English.
I shall just let him be overwhelmed by his primary school curriculum and CCA alone. #sweat

But good thing is, nowadays the books are already pre-packed into boxes by the book vendor (for us is Pacific Bookstore) according to levels of the Primary (P1-P6) and Mother tongue language.
For eg. P1-Chinese = 1 box.

Tips for parents of primary school-going kids:
- Drive your child past his new primary school and better still, to the new school, if allowed.
Let him recognize this new place and what to expect.
- Talk to your child way before he's ready for primary school. We started beginning of his K2 year.

- Things we prep him include asking him whether any of his friends from Kindergarten are also going to the same primary school?
If Yes, then who?
If No, then it's Ok, he can make new friends.
- Tell him that he will meet new friends, new teachers, and learn how to buy food and drinks from the canteen. During the orientation, show him his new classroom, and introduce him to new friends. Make friends with the other mums and teachers.

- Tell your child what were your fondest memories of Primary school and what you did in Primary School.
Was it playing Catching at recess, the coloured ice sticks selling at 20cents, etc?

- Teach him the concept of money using coins (10c, 20c, 50c and $1) and play with empty yogurt cups, Yakult bottles etc.

Soon, my son, you will come to know that the best parts of childhood are getting an allowance and not paying any bills.

- For you Kiasu parents, go to Popular Textbook Online Ordering for a list of your child's required books and materials.
There is a drop-down list on your right-hand column, where you can select the school your child is going to, and the appropriate list of books will appear. 
This was shared by one of my Mummy friends, Raising Our Successful Children (Adam's friend's Mummy =)

- When buying books at the primary one orientation, purchase more exercise books than the book list suggests because most parents share they need more exercise books than recommended, for spelling, Chinese writing etc.

- Go with your spouse or if he/she is not available on the orientation day, bring along your next best person. You will need all the help you can get to combat the long queues and crowds. One person can queue while the other brings the child to try on uniform, shoe sizes, fill in and pass up forms etc.

- Bring at least $300 in cash. You can never be too prepared, unless you don't mind returning another time to purchase the items you missed out.
- Purchase more PE sets than the uniforms because with the Programme for Active Learning (PAL) implemented in most to all primary schools since 2011, the students will have 4 days of PE days and only 1 full uniform day.
Hence I would say, the bare minimum would be to buy 3 PE sets and 1 uniform.

To all Mums whose 2009 Ox babies are going to Primary school next year, cheers to you!
May you survive the kiasuism of our education system :P

Sigh... Every stage of my children's growth is a new milestone for me. I can't be there enough.

Monday, November 9, 2015

SG50 National Play Day Singapore: Shout out and Giveaway!

Hello all!
The inaugural National Play Day happening on 19 December 2015, Saturday, 0800am - 1000am, invites you to celebrate parenthood and enjoy a great time of family bonding with them!
 You wouldn’t want to miss the key highlight of the event -  National Play Day Stroller Walk, which marks the finale of SG50 Jubilee Baby campaign.
So join them as they strive to set a new record for the “Most Number of Strollers in a Walk Event” in the Singapore Book of Records!
You will  also  love  the  endless  fun  and surprises lined  up  just  for  you  and  your  child.
Walk Highlights:
· Strive to set a new record for the “Most Number of Strollers in a Walk Event” in the Singapore Book of Records
· Photo opportunities with the SG50 Baby Mascots
· Take part in the scavenger hunt to spot the SG50 Baby character to win big in the lucky draw
· Share your walk moments on Social Media and win prizes worth $3500, including travel vouchers, electronic and many more!

· Enjoy endless play time after the race from 10am onwards. Look out for free rides, art and craft workshops, photo fun with your favourite superheroes, and much more!

Starting point: Riverside Walk next to Kallang Wave Mall.
End point: OCBC Square.

I have a GIVEAWAY for you!
2 lucky readers will win yourselves a Family Bundle pass each (each pass good for up to 5 family members, one of whom must be a child in stroller) + Get a FREE fun pack with the goodies listed in the photo above worth $150 :)

Click on photo for enlarged image.

***All you have to do is to go to my Facebook page "Confessions of a Mumzilla"
1) Like the post

2) Share the post (make sure it is public)

3) Tell us why you should win a family bundle, 
and hashtag #NationalPlayDay and #StrollerWalk in your comment.

P.S. Please do not comment on this blog post. Head on to Confessions of a Mumzilla on Facebook now :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday brunch at DC Super Heroes cafe, MBS Singapore.

After attending the Hermes exhibition and having dinner at CUT last weekend, we are back again this Sunday.
This time, we brought our poker faced boys to DC Super Heroes café for brunch.
DC Super Heros Cafe 2 Bayfront Avenue, Level 1-03/04/05 Bay Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018972
Tel: +65 6688 7610

I asked Hubby when he wants to shave and he told me "December" #faints #movember

Food presentation level: 1000!
My kids loved the Batman charcoal burger and their drinks.

The café was opened in September 2015 by our local celebrity chef Eric Teo.
Expect to see lots of DC Comics heroes and heroine figurines, merchandise and themed food.
Price is slightly on the high side.
Sadly, they do not have any child-friendly DC themed play corner which I thought would really be good for families.
Nonetheless, we had a good time and finished all the food.
The charcoal burger was something different too.
It would be a great venue for teens and youngsters to throw superheroes-themed gatherings and parties, take lots of photos, and enjoy the food and company.

{sponsored} Simply Life: Quality products from parents to other parents.

Once upon a time (in 2004), there was a couple named Gilbert and Yih Min, who decided to start their own business, Creative Moms Pte Ltd, which caters to the needs of mothers, babies, toddlers and the home.
The couple have three boys themselves and know the frustration parents face with lack of quality and safe children products.

The idea of Simply Life came up in recent years when Gilbert and Yih Min believed that a brand based on hope and positivity can better inspire people.
Gilbert's enthusiasm and strategic planning, coupled with Yih Min's creativity, saw the birth of their fourth child, Simply Life.

simply life mumzilla sg mom blogger bamboo towel
We received their signature bamboo towel, and a BPA-free water bottle.

"Mummy, my water bottle is so nice" said Ashton to me :)

singapore mom blogger mumzilla bpa free bottle simply life
It had all the vehicles he loved.

singapore mom blogger veron zhen bamboo towel simply life
As a first time bamboo towel user, I'm loving its soft texture.
I've never bought it before as I thought bamboo towels sounded a little gimmicky.
I've always stuck to terry cloth towels before, but I guess the softness and absorbency of bamboo has really impressed me.

It is Sooooo much easier to dry my impatient, wriggling imps! Especially their wet hair after a shower.

simply life bamboo towel Veron zhen mumzilla singapore mom blogger
Measurement: 120×60 cm; comes in pink, baby blue, and white.
Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

I don't know which is softer - my baby's skin or the bamboo towel.
Apart from bamboo towels and BPA-free bottles, there are many more quality products Simply Life has to offer of course!
We could not attend the Simply Life launch party, but fellow mummy Beverly did, so head on to her blog to check out more photos and her account of the product review :)
Photo source: Hello Little Sunshine
For a full range of their available products, please go over to Simply Life's website.
They offer free delivery if you order more than SGD$60 worth of products.
Thank you Simply Life for sending us the bamboo towel and water bottle even though we were unable to make it to the launch party.
Ashton won't go anywhere without his new bottle now :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

{sponsored} Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark ii review.

A couple of weeks back, Olympus sent me their new prosumer camera model, the OM-D E-M10 Mark II, for a review.
I've always been a Canon girl.
I've been using my Canon DSLR for many, many years now, and while the old body has stayed with me throughout, I upgrade the lenses once in a while.
Before my Canon DSLR, I actually started with a Canon prosumer camera, the Canon Powershot series.
The "latest" Powershot I own now is the G10.
Therefore, receiving an Olympus is a different kettle of fish altogether.
It will certainly be my devil's advocate on whether I should be updating my camera collection.

The Olympus OM-D EM10 mark i received much fanfare when it launched.
It's like the answer to intermediate photographers who want both form and function, minus the bulkiness of a DSLR.

Let's take a look at the new upgraded version, the Mark ii!

olympus OMD EM10 mark ii review blog singapore mom
It looks like a film camera, but is actually digital.
Don't be fooled by its retro look, because it is actually very high-tech.

Technical features:
1) 5-Axis in-built stabilization using VCM (voice coil motor) technology. For the techies, read more about VCM here.

2) 2.36M dot OLED viewfinder with new Stimulated-OVF mode

3) OM-D Movie stabilization with full HD 24/25/30 fps options; CLIPS video mode

4) AF Track Pad with touchscreen AF point selection

5) 4K resolution time-lapsed movies

6) 16.1 megapixel LiveMOS sensor

7) Tilting 3" Touchscreen LCD with 1.04M dots reolsution

8) High-speed AF and minimal shooting lag with Olympus Fast-AF technology

9) 8.5fps burst rate (RAW/JPG)

10) Wi-Fi control and picture transfer with smart devices

Too technical and don't understand half of what I just mentioned?
No worries, me neither!
Now just take a look at some of the camera functions, simplified.

olympus omd em10 mark ii review
Palm-sized and lightweight, easy to bring around.
Built-in flash function

Tilting 3 inches touchscreen LCD with 1.04M dots resolution.

The function toggles.

14 art filters:
- Pop art
- Soft focus
- Pale & light colour
- Light tone
- Grainy film
- Pin hole
- Diorama
- Cross process
- Gentle sepia
- Dramatic tone
- Key line
- Watercolour
- Vintage
- Partial colour

Upload your high resolution photos to Instagram and Facebook instantaneously with Wi-Fi control and picture transfer to mobile devices (Android and iOS using Olympus OI.Share app).

There's a function for you to collage your photos with 5 different layout templates to choose from.

Example below:
olympus omd em10 mark 2 review blog singapore mom
Take a series of photos to create a montage instantly.
Here's a comparison of using my Canon EOS 550D vs Olympus OM-D E-M 10 mark 2, in terms of image sharpness and light exposure:
There is a toggle to adjust brightness of the subjects you wanna take. Low light situation? No problem.

Sample photos I took with Olympus OM-D E-M 10 Mark II in natural daylight for another of my product review.

Sample photos: taken in extremely low-lighting during Halloween night out.

The Olympus OM-D E-M 10 Mark II is now available at all authorized Olympus retailers, priced at the following:
Single Lens Kit - $1148
Double Lens Kit - $1348

Finally, here's what I think about the Olympus OM-D E-M 10 Mark II:

- Small and compact, fits easily into a small handbag
- Has many filters and montage function that allow you take away the extra step of editing with mobile apps. Time-saving.
- Built-in wifi function allows you to transfer your photos to social media on your mobile. Very convenient and no time lapse from moments to media.
- Performs as good as some entry- to mid-level DSLR cameras.

- Not user-friendly (too many function buttons)
- A bit on the pricey side for a prosumer considering many entry level Canon DSLRs are around that price.

Thanks, Olympus and Vibes media for sending me this Olympus to review :)
For those tech junkies and camera professionals who have differing opinions, please feel free to email me or drop me a comment so I can improve on my photography knowledge.

Disclaimer: I was provided a set of the Olympus camera on loan for review purposes. All opinions are mine.