Sunday, 5 March 2017

Fun Afternoon Spent at the National Gallery Singapore

Intermittent heavy downpours thwarted our outdoor plans for the day but it didn't dampen our spirits to have a fun-filled Sunday. Recalling a recommendation by a fellow mummy gf, we made our way to the National Gallery Singapore & it certainly exceeded our initial expectations!!

One point to note: For Singapore citizens & PRs, before starting your exploration, go to the ticketing counters at the basement concourse to get a free ticket & admission sticker which allows you to enter the exhibition galleries. Since we usually adopt a top-down approach, we took the lift to the 5th storey which brought us to the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery. From here, you can get a partial view of the city skyscrapers above one of the 2 reflection pools.

Walking around the garden, we came to our first exhibit for the day which is a series of compelling sculptures presented by Vietnamese-born Danish artist Danh Vo as part of his first outdoor installation in Singapore. Please note the warning sign displayed around the exhibit, especially on rainy days.

Don't forget to climb up the flight of wooden steps as you'll be in for a lil' treat at the Public Viewing Deck ;) BB can never resist the temptation of climbing up (as well as down) stairs so that's exactly what we did & it was all worth it! You can get a totally unblocked view of Padang & the Marina Bay area <3 

It started to drizzle again so we took the tour indoors. From the external architecture, to right inside where the Rotunda Gallery was, we were awed by the various parts of the building which were preserved. Lil' boy is still too young to appreciate these but he was enjoying the open spaces & stairs..yes, lotsa stairways within the building but u can always opt for the lift too *wink*

    Replica chairs, 1 of the 2 link bridges that connect the former Supreme Court & City Hall buildings
    as well as parts of the original architecture of the buildings.

    Originally, a circular law library lies beneath the smaller Rotunda dome of the former Supreme Court
    (viewed from Supreme Court Terrace)...coooool!!!

After so much walking, it was time for TEABREAK! We happened to chance upon some cube-like enclosures (in front of the main entrance of the Keppel Centre for Art Education) where some families were resting. Seeing this, BB climbed into an empty one & started monkeying around..lolz! We had the yummy traditional custard buns & pie we brought from Chinatown earlier but Daddy-O was still hungry so we decided to try out the Owl cafe which is just round the corner. The chicken strips in the prawn noodles were kinda Atough & soup was a far cry from our fave Beach Road Prawn Noodles but at least the 3 prawns were fresh & of a decent size. 

       Wefie inside the cube <3

Once recharged, BB cldn't wait to enter the Keppel Centre for Art Education (L1, City Hall Wing) where children can discover art through imaginative play. We noticed several huge rooms situated along the walkway so we decided to explore all of them. We were captivated by the interesting artworks of homes in the sky, buses & boats hanging from the ceiling of the Project Gallery so we purchased a $4 buses kit for BB to build his own miniature versions. Both the big & small boys got to work immediately so they were done in no time at all.

Next, we came to the Art Playscape which features a fantastical play area, The Enchanted Treehouse by Sandra Lee whose whimsical works bring the wonder of fairy tales, children literature & nursery rhymes to life through elaborate, intricate drawings. Here, LOs can explore a magical forest, roam through a labyrinth & even survive a treacherous river. I feel like I've entered the world of 'Alice in Wonderland' & BB was completely ecstatic! He was running all around, crawling the holes, climbing up the ramp & downtvthe stairs with other kids. There're also long benches where one can sit & read one of the books provided but that did not happen for us with the 'Energizer' boy who had found an outlet to burn off his unlimited energy..hee ;)

We skipped the Children's Museum that allows you to explore handling art tools & materials or purchase a special activity kit to create a pocket sculpture as BB had spotted the playroom he had been searching for next door. 

The playroom includes magma tiles, cardboard bricks & colouring areas for the kids to entertain themselves. BB loves building with the bricks & knocking them over gives him much pleasure too >.< 

We had intended to just wait out the rain then proceed on with our planned programme of bouncing time at Art-Zoo, kite flying followed by the i Lights Marina Bay 2017. Just when we were about to leave, we realised it had started to pour again. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we actually got to explore more parts of the gallery & found more fun areas for BB. Therefore, we procceded to the Ticketing Office to get our free tickets before backtracking to where we had stopped just before taking our break earlier. 

The Chief Justice's Chamber has a very solemn yet peaceful atmosphere & we only had some quick glances of the art pieces on display as BB were not really into them yet.

Exiting the gallery, we came to the Former Supreme Court Historical Lobby then proceeded down some steps & an olden days' police post was standing right in front of us at the Former Supreme Court Foyer. So nostalgic! Bet you didn't know that a time capsule containing Straits Settlements currency & newspaper, to be opened in the year 3000, lies underneath the original eight-sided foundation stone ;)

Evening was upon us so we mentally-prepped BB that we would be leaving for dinner then. On the way to the carpark, a cute-looking poster greeted us at L1, City Hall Foyer & who can resist taking a peek inside Who's in the Woods, right? So, inside the interactive platform we went & we sure weren't disappointed! All three of us, yes Daddy & Mummy included, each found a monitor & put our creative juices to work ^.~ After creating your masterpiece using different colours & patterns, you can even send a copy to your email before sending it onto the gigantic screen. Nothing beats seeing your animated creature walking across the day-to-night digital forest-scape & interacting with other animals.

Just as we thought we are able to leave finally, something colourful caught BB's eyes again. He dashed towards the Art corridor & wasted no time in fitting the colourful chips into the various slots, completely ignoring the colour & distance challenges. Well, at least he enjoyed himself immensely in the process. Voyage is actually a large scale, colourful puzzle artwork by Twardzik-Ching Chor Leng who has received the President's Young Talent Award in 2009. It develops curiosity, imagination & tactile sensibilities in younger visitors. One can learn about colour theory by observing the interplay of colours, patterns & rhythms.

The National Gallery Singapore never fails to surprise us around every corner & we'll definitely be back. Sad to say that while doing some research during the writing of this blog post, I saw the temporary closure notice of the Project Gallery, Children's Museum & the Art Corridor from 13 March to 19 May :'( However, this means that we can all look forward to a brand new experience from 20th May 2017!!!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Shoo Shoo, Stomach Flu!!!

Stomach flu seems to be prevalent in the recent months. Apparently, there's a very strong airborne stomach flu virus going around. BB was down with it & I've heard of many other LOs in numerous mummies' chat groups who had succumbed to it too..haiz! Thus, I decided to share some of the knowledge which I've gained from my experience.

Initially, I thought the chicken rice which we had eaten that fateful aftnoon was too oily for BB so it caused a bit of loose stools. To my dismay, it was something more serious & he had most likely contracted it from a neighbourhood indoor playground despite it been not crowded on a weekday & I follow basic hygiene of sanitising / washing hands before & after food as well as upon leaving the playground. That fateful night, BB started developing a slight fever just before bedtime. I immediately applied lemon essential oil to help support his immunity. Shortly after, he started to complain that his tummy was hurting. I then applied some ginger essential oil on his stomach to help support his digestive system. He fell asleep shortly after but I was awoken by his whimpers in the middle of the night. Asked him how he was feeling & his reply was "Tummy very pain". Knowing my boy well, I knew something was amiss so brought him to a nearby 24hr clinic straight away. The GP commented that he could hear a lot of wind in his stomach. Some probiotics & 2 other medicines to help relieve the abdominal pain & gas as well as for the diarrhoea were prescribed for BB.

The next morn, he was kinda lethargic which cld be due to insufficient sleep the night before. The medicines seemed to be working as BB told me his tummy wasn't hurting anymore. However, he was still having intermittent runs & bouts of mild fever. 

    Poor listless boy :'(

Unfortunately, his condition suddenly took a sharp turn on the 3rd night. After dinner, he diarrhoead numerous times & all within a span of 2 hrs. Worried that he might become dehydrated, we decided to bring him to KKH for a second opinion. After the expected long wait, it was finally our turn. I would say we were quite lucky to get a patient paediatrician who gave us very detailed explanations to all our questions. I've summarised them & added a few other frequently asked questions with reference to the KKH pamphlet handed to us.

Qn 1What's gastroenteritis?
Ans: It refers to a gut (intestine) infection where there is diarrhoea & is frequently accompanied by vomiting. Fever & abdominal pains (may be relieved for a while each time some stool is passed) are common too. 

Qn 2What causes gastroenteritis?
Ans: Viruses such as rotavirus are usually responsible. Bacteria, such as salmonella, campylobacter or shigella may also caused it, as in food poisoning.

Qn 3How long will it take for the virus to clear?
Ans: The vomiting typically lasts 6 to 24hrs whereas the diarrhoea usually lasts 2 to 4 days. Occasionally, it may go on for 10 to 14 days.

Qn 4What's viral gastritis (gastric flu)?
Ans: When the infection predominantly affects the stomach, the child has nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps & fatigue as the predominantly symptoms.

Qn 5Is gastroenteritis / viral gastritis dangerous?
Ans: A major problem is dehydration due to too much fluid lost. However, occasionally, the vomiting & abdominal pain may be early manifestations of more serious illnesss, such as intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, brain infection or a growth in brain, which require early attention.

Qn 6What're signs of dehyration?
Ans: Signs to look out for are
        - not passing urine for the past 6hrs or more (less than 5 wet diapers per day for an infant).
        - loss of weight
        - lethargy
        - dry tongue, eyes &/or lips
        - increase in heart rate

Qn 7How to prevent dehyration?
Ans: Increase the amt of liquid intake by giving small amt in more frequent intervals. However, if LO refuses to drink, u can offer small, frequent amts of barley water, rice water, clear soup, diluted milk or diluted juice (1 cup juice diluted with 4 cups of water). The KKH pd as well as one of the nurses also advise us that we can give him probiotics drinks like Yakult or Vitagen. Therefore, I gave Yakult Ace once a day till he fully recovered.

Qn 8What other medications can be prescribed for this infection (since the earlier prescribed probiotics & medicines don't seem to be working even though he had been consuming for 2 days already)?
Ans: Majority of children do not need any medicine so the main treatment is to ensure your child remains well hydrated through adequate intake of oral fluids. According to the KKH pd, the only proven & tested effective medicine is actually probiotics. Thus, he prescribed Lactogg probiotics for a course of 5 days. He went on to explain that doctors may occasionally give some medications to relieve the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain. However, generally, medications used to stop vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain in adults are not used in children due to their side effects. Now that I know this, next time (which I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there won't be) I'll just head to the nearest pharmacy to get Lactogg probiotics ;p

    Meds prescribed by 1st doc (top) & Lactogg prescribed by KKH pd (bottom)

Qn 9Is there any way to prevent my child from getting gastroenteritis?
Ans: Good hygiene is the key to preventing the spread of it. To reduce the risk
        - for newborn babies & infant, bottle hygiene is very impt. Use sterilised milk bottles if 
        - for older children, parents shld set a gd example by washing our hands & teach them to wash 
          theirs after going to the toilet / after changing nappies, before touching food, after gardening, 
          after playing with pets (healthy animals can carry certain harmful bacteria) as well as between
          handling raw meat & food ready to be eaten.
Qn 10What food can we give?
Ans: While there's no need for dietary restrictions, it doesn't matter if your LO has no appetite for solids. However, ensure that he / she continues to take sufficient fluids. Preferably start on a soft diet & fluid of choice. For older kids, bread / biscuits or mashed potatoes can be offered as alternatives too. Been a more cautious Mummy, I only gave him very light stuffs like organic chia seed mee sua with fish / chicken soup, watery fish oats porridge or bread with organic jam as requested by him.

Qn 11When should I consult a doctor immediately?
Ans: You should when
        - your child shows any signs of dehydration.
        - there is blood in the diarrhoea or vomitus.
        - the vomitus is greenish, which may indicate that there's blockage of the bowels.
        - your LO complains of persistent abdominal pain or severe headache.
        - the vomiting is persistent, that is, unable to tolerate small amts of fluid at frequent intervals.
        - your LO appears pale or lethargic.
        - there's painful swelling of the abdomen.
        - fever persists for more than 5 days.
        Whenever in doubt, trust & follow your maternal / paternal instincts as parents always know their kids best!         

The entire ordeal lasted 10 full days but we kept him at home 2 more days for good measure. Looking back, I think we've been quite blessed as BB only had diarrhoea & not vomiting or else it could have been worse. Furthermore, the only other person infected was me & I only diarrhoead once. Stomach flu is highly contagious & some gfs shared that their whole family took turns to come down with it. Thus, it is extremely crucial not to share food as well as wash hands more frequently & thoroughly, especially after handling soiled diapers etc. Take extra care & stay safe, peeps!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Siliskin Silicone Straw Cup - Another Plastic-Free Product

Replacement of BPA-free plastic bottles - checked off!

Next in line is BB's BPA-free plastic drinking cups ;) He's a lucky boy to be one of the 1st few in Singapore to try out the newly launched Siliskin Silicone Straw Cup by Silikids Singapore & Malaysia. Let's call it silicup in short, pronounced as 'silly cups' (pun intended), but they're far from silly..lolz!

As the name suggests, the silicup is made from 100% silicone & the advantages of silicone over plastic are summarised below:

- Always BPA free
- Always DEHP free
- Hypo-allergenic
- Inert
- Resistant to high temperatures
- Dishwasher, freezer & microwave safe
- Does not harbor bacteria

The cup itself comes with an embedded 100% stainless steel ring which ensures that it holds its shape & doesn't collapse when gripped by little hands. In fact, the entire cup is very thick & sturdy.

Furthermore, the universal silicone spill-proof lid prevents big, messy spills. I can really appreciate this feature now as BB tends to have 'accidents' whenever he tries to walk around with open-top cups. I was curious to know whether water will leak out after inserting the straw into the small cross hole so I tested it out. Depending on the force which turns it upside down, almost nil to very small amts (which I believe to be residual water in the straw) will drip out. Well, of cos if u give it a gd shake, more may leak from in btw the straw & hole but I don't think we'll encourage our LOs to do that, right? Thus, it definitely serves well to prevent accidental spills :) Another pt worth mentioning is that the lid is actually compatible with cups of multiple sizes so u can bring & use it with other cups when dining outside too!

Last but not least, you can also boil all the parts as & when you'll like to do a more thorough sterilisation but this is optional.

The introductory price available at BabyBuys is only S$12.90 (UP. S$19.90) & the full set comes complete with the cup, universal straw lid & reusuable silicone straw shown in the pic. There's also a sippy cup version if u've younger toddlers. Since BabyBuys are currently having their year-end sale till 31st December 2016, don't forget to shop for more great buys while u're at it..hee!

Disclaimer: Finanical compensation was not received for this post. The Siliskin Silicone Straw Cup is kindly sponsored by BabyBuys but opinions expressd here are BB's & mine ^.~

Monday, 21 November 2016

Giveaway for SmartParents 'Sure-win ways to correct your toddler's bad behaviour' Seminar

No idea how to tame your toddler's tantrums? Join this seminar & learn how to handle your tot's meltdowns like a pro! 

Directions to win:

1. Like "Grub n' Grow" Facebook Page.

2. Tag at least 3 friends to this Facebook Post.

3. Share this post publicly on your timeline.

4. Closing date is 30th November 2016, 2359hrs.

If you're keen to join me at the following seminar, you may either purchase your tickets here or participate in the giveaway to win a pair of tickets worth S$38.52. A total of 3 pairs of tickets will be given away to 3 lucky readers! Hope to cya all there ~.^

About SmartParents
We want to be a part of that rewarding journey you make to becoming a better parent. Which is why we started, a parenting portal by Mediacorp Pte Ltd. is a one-stop information resource for parents with children up to age 14.
Backed by teams from the former BabyCare and Mother & Baby Singapore magazines, brings you everything from real-life stories to easy-to-access insights by our panel of experts, so you can make smart parenting choices. Tune in to us and take part in our exciting events and seminars all-year round. Visit and like us on Facebook!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Are BPA-free plastic bottles really as safe as we deem them?

I'm pretty certain that most of us are using BPA-free plastic bottles for our LOs since they're readily available everywhere. However, are they really as safe as we deem them?  

Increasing studies are linking chemicals in our everyday products to serious health problems, from cancer, reproductive harm, infertility & endocrine disruption to even learning disabilities as well as development problems. There've been many researches done in recent years which have shown that BPA-free alternatives aren't exactly toxic-free too. For eg, BPS which is a common replacement for BPA is linked to endocrine disruption & potentially as toxic as BPA. In addition, phthalates which are commonly used to soften plastics have been associated with disruption to hormones & reproductive harm. With very little regulation around chemicals in commerce & undisclosed ingredients, it's very difficult for us to ascertain if a product may cause harm to our family. Therefore, to limit exposure to possible toxins, the best choice is to use stainless steel, glass & food-grade ceramic containers for both water & food storage.

Furthermore, I remember when I attended the antenatal classes conducted by Mrs Wong Boi Boi (Assistant Director of Thomson Medical & also a very well known Senior Lactation Consultant), she told us that even for BPA-free plastics, they may still leak toxic substances if scratches are formed due to wear & tear. In fact, it's recommended that even BPA-free bottles be changed every 3 to 6 months but, if there're chips, cracks, dents, discolourations, leaks or scratches, it should be discarded immediately. In reality, how many of us really change them that regularly? >_<

Knowing that it's high time I changed BB's bottles to non-plastic ones, I've been looking around for stainless steel bottles. Coincidentally, 2 of my gfs actually shared that they've gotten Pura bottles for their boys. After doing some research & reading up more, I'm totally in love <3 You can imagine my elation when Kidzloft generously agrees to the sponsorship!

See how it fits perfectly in the side pocket of BB's school bag as well as my haversack ^.^

Do you know that Pura is the only NONTOXIC CERTIFIED bottles in the world? Their products have been lab-tested to ensure they don't contain known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins or other known harmful chemicals before being certified by an independent third party ( as nontoxic & are the only such bottles on the global market to achieve this status!

Pura bottles' unique features are as follows:

1. 100% Plastic-Free - They're crafted from 18/8 (#304) stainless steel (with lifetime warranty) & medical grade silicone only. Therefore, all of them are absolutely BPA/BPS-free, EA-free & toxins-free!!

2. Baby Grows...Bottle Evolves technology All Pura Kiki bottles allow the bottles to grow with & adapt to the changing needs of your LO since their patent pending stainless steel lid design is compatible with all Pura silicone components. The Natural Vent Nipples were designed to mimic the variable flow rate of breastfeeding. When ur LO grows older, you can seamlessly convert it to their XL Sipper Spout or swap to the Silicone Straw depending on their drinking preferences. Subsequently, you can still 'upgrade' it again to the Big Mouth Silicone Sport Top (note that it's not designed for hot liquids though) which is also suitable for adults / athletes or a Silicone Sealing Disk for both snacks & a variety of drinks. This is actually the most unique feature that really left a deep impression in me as compared to other stainless bottles in the mkt!!! Unfortunately, it's also the only one which I didn't have a chance to benefit fully from it yet since BB has outgrown most of the stages T.T 

Look at how many sippy cups & water bottles have BB used since birth & these are excluding his numerous Tommee Tippee milk bottles which some have been discarded due to discolouration while the hardly used ones are already stored away. Too bad Pura bottles aren't available in sg back then or else I would definitely have gotten them instead! 

If you do the Math, a BPA-free plastic water bottle easily costs btw $11.95 to $18.95. After changing every half-yearly for 1.5yrs, you would have spent approximately the same amount as the cost of a Pura feeding bottle (325ml) with teat which is $34.90 only! Therefore, the initial capital outlay may be slightly more but since their bottles can effectively last u a lifetime, it's definitely an extremely worthy investment. Moreover, u can use it without having a nagging worry if it's time to change the plastic bottles again as well as having a peace of mind knowing that they won't be harmful to your LOs at all!! Life's too hectic in our fast pace society so u can absolutely do with 1 less worry ;)

3. Compatible with nipples & sip spouts from other leading brands - Some LOs die die only accept a particular brand of teats which may become a deterrence for parents from switching to another better brand. Since you may still use the existing ones with Pura bottles, this shouldn't be a concern anymore.

4. Wide range of sizes & accessories - From 5oz infant bottle to the mega size 28oz sport bottle, you can easily find one which fits your requirements!

5. Shatterproof - BB hasn't dropped it so far but I'm confident that stainless steel will be able to withstand the impact. 

6. Vacuum Insulation (for selected models) - keeps water warm for up to 6 hours & cold for up to 8 hours provided temperature is not extremely hot like 32°C & if u add ice into the cold water at the onset, the ice & cold water may last up to 24 hours! Therefore, u can have cool water anytime especially on days where the family is spending the day outdoors ;)

More about the Pura Sport 22oz Vacuum Insulated Bottle which we've tried out:

- The Sip Guard allows free flow of liquid when open yet prevents spills while drinking. Most toddlers may still get spill 'accidents' from time to time especially when drinking w/o a straw. To my surprise, since using this Pura bottle, BB has never once spilled water all over his clothes even though he's holding the big bottle & drinking by himself.

- I was kinda concerned because the silicone cover doesn't look very secure so I tested it by turning it upside down. Well, looks can really be deceiving at times & I was happy to be proven wrong as not a single drop of water dripped out from the leak proof closed lid.

Ease of opening & closing the lid even for toddlers like BB. He has been struggling with some of the bottle caps despite having pretty good motor skills (thks to all the BLW training). This is partly due to the fact that his fingers still lack the strength to overcome the friction between the straw & cover or push the tight buttons to release them (white button in the pic below). Thus, he always resorts to biting them open instead even though we've repeatedly reminded him to ask for help instead. See all the scratches made in the process..haiz! On the other hand, he can open & close Pura's sport cap with ease after just one demonstration by me =)

Easy to remove & clean - No hassles at hard to reach parts & even the gap on the lid can be accessed & washed easily.

- The reinforced carrying finger loop on the silicone sleeve, with its well thought out design, provides insulation for cold liquids, eliminates condensation on the exterior of the bottle & enhances tactile feedback with a better grip for small hands. It fits tightly so it will stay on the bottle when tugged by little hands yet easily removable for cleaning.

Frankly speaking, there's no turning back for me anymore..lolz! Stainless steel is definitely the way to go!!! Not forgetting my Grub n' Grow readers, Kidzloft has also agreed to extend the generous special 30% discount code till 2359hrs on 25th November 2016! Simply enter "30FORU" at checkout from this page:

In addition, Kidzloft's concurrent Xmas promotion also entitles you to a free gift pouchwhich is prefect for gifting, with every bottle purchase! I'm pretty sure that with such a thoughtful gift, your family & friends will thank you for many years to come..hee, I know I would ;p

Disclaimer: Finanical compensation was not received for this post. The Pura Big Mouth sport top insulated bottle is kindly sponsored by Kidzloft but opinions expressd here are BB's & mine ^.~