Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mum to a teen !

You know you have a teen girl in the house when:

  •    You  have embarrassed her in school  but you are completely  clueless as to when, why, how?
  •   "Don't you dare  talk to me in that tone" is the new "I'm gonna count till five "
  •   Your lipsticks  mysteriously disappear & then reappear but look a bit  concave (you later  discover that she has made a lip gel for herself by breaking  off a piece and  mixing it with Vaseline!)
  •    Most  of your time with her is spent you waiting for her to come out of the shower!
  •    Her bestie comes over to study but you walk into her room and discover both lying with their  face masks and eye pads with the music blaring away.
  • She informs you that she has to borrow her friend's top as she has nothing to wear for the school disco!In spite of a very recent shopping spree which gave you more than 10,000 steps in your FitBit.
  •    Reading time consists of she flatly refusing to listen you read or  laughing at your choice of books and your pronunciation (Where did those days of "The  Gruffalo" or "A very Hungry Caterpillar" go ?) 
  •  You are never ever funny! If you try to be funny, you'll get an eye roll and the "OMG,Mom you're so lame!".                                                                                                                                              
  • In spite of all the daily  drama, you desperately want time to slow down for you to enjoy her antics  before she spreads her wings & is off to university ! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Etsy Craftivist Fair

Handmade table mats, iron on patches, beeswax wraps , unique paintings by Instagram artists, tote bags which could  be customized by beautiful monograms, bespoke jewelry -"Etsy Craftivist Fair" was so soul-soothing !

Remember the days when mum used to make guava jam and grandma used to knit sweaters ? Well those days are back :-) In a different way, of course .

Handmade is back with a bang and many credit "Etsy" of ushering in  the trend.Etsy is an online platform  dedicated to  crafts and artisan  goods. People are now becoming increasingly interested in handmade stuff as they are greener and more easily customized as you are dealing directly with the artisan of the products.

I was so  enchanted with the crochet and knitted items! They can add a very homely touch to your living space.

This is the  third appearance of  the Singapore Etsy Fair in the outdoor plaza of Capitol Piazza in Stamford Road on the 30th November and 1st of December.

In many ways, handmade and artisan products are the future of retail in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. People would increasingly buy standardized products online and look for unique ones in community spaces.

This was an encouraging space for local crafters and the perfect place  to shop for people who prefer bespoke Christmas gifts for their loved ones.

 The products in the Craftivist fair  were sustainable, had a human touch and a different kind of beauty. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Fun(zing) Evening Out!

Pop up movies seem to be a stand-out trend in Singapore nowadays. So decided to give it a go a few weeks back and the movie my friend and I chose was "Theory of Everything".

Buying the tickets was a breeze and the email confirmation came through promptly. There's a high level of social media engagement in pop up movies which I kind of found exciting. In the event page "likes" poured in as soon as I hit "going" 😊.

On the day of the screening ,however, I felt stressed out when I realized that  the place was quite  difficult to locate😓.When I called up the organizer, he wasn't of much help and confused us further . I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally landed in the place, because I was beginning to dread that we would be late and miss out on  a large chunk of the movie.

Upon reaching  we discovered that the  movie was due to start half an hour later than the scheduled time which was another dampener on our spirits.We went with three exhausted kids and a half an hour delay was a lot as it was a weekday. 

The venue was Science Drive 2 and we explored the area briefly as we had a little bit of time before the  movie .The restaurants/eateries were mostly quite expensive but there were a variety of choices such as Middle Eastern and Mexican. The place had lots of open air seating and seemed to be the perfect place to hang out after a day's work. 

We went to the hall when it was time for the screening .The seats weren't very comfortable. But that bothered us less as we got absorbed into the movie. The crowd was good and we could tell that they were mostly people from the neighboring Biopolis. It was less formal than watching movie in the theater which felt great and we could extend our legs and chat briefly and explain things to the kids. Felt somewhat  like a movie night at a friend's place.

It was a moderately good first experience of a pop-up movie and the tickets were pretty reasonable at S$9 per person. However, if you add peak hour taxi fare to the tickets then the amount you're spending swells up quickly. Made a note to self that  will only watch a pop up movie next time,if the venue is accessible.

Having said that, I must add that  I follow Funzing's  FB page and I give two thumbs up to  their selection of movies . Many of them are classics and interesting documentaries.Also, with the upcoming screening,you can have a say on the date of the screening by suggesting a date,which I think is a wonderful idea!  However, because of the timings, these screenings aren't very child-friendly .

Looking forward to trying out Peroni Sunset Cinema next.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Encouraging children to memorize things

Happy 2017 Everyone!!

During the Christmas vacations, I tried something with my sons. It was an experiment to see if they can do rote learning or memorize facts. My sons are of different ages, hence my attempt was very simple and basic.

For my older son (11 years old), I gave him the times tables to memorize daily. 2 tables at a time starting with the 12 times table. Now, for the record, my son is good with maths and we never had an issue. My mission was to get him to say the times tables just the way we did while in school.
For my younger son (5.5 years old) I did not have a math related memory experiment.
What I did with both of them was to learn the Marathi alphabets (barakhadi) and learn to read simple words.

For the younger son, the language part was relatively easier as he was doing Hindi in school. The older one had to learn everything from scratch.

We did the times tables daily for a week; he read them loudly twice and then said them without looking. Once he was confident about them (which was usually the 3rd attempt of saying them without looking) he would write them down. What I noticed was that he enjoyed the memorizing part and felt good about himself when he saw that he could reproduce the tables from memory.
We continued for a week and at the end of that week he was able to recite them.

The language part which the brothers did together, they had a great time. They had fun while learning the various alphabets and would make up their own jokes about them. The interesting part is that they both can talk quite well in Marathi (our mother tongue). This fact helped me in teaching them the alphabets using word associations. We had amazing results with this also. My older son was able to read simple 2 and 3 letter words.

I am no expert in child education or memory building techniques, nor did I refer to any book or online resources to achieve what we achieved. You may have better techniques that have worked for you and your kids; so do feel free to share them with me. What I realized is that the kids are not averse to rote learning; they are just not being trained like that at schools anymore. The emphasis is on logical reasoning and critical thinking. I belong to the generation where rote learning was the way forward if you wanted to succeed at anything. I do see benefits of memorizing; and hence wanted to just try to see if the kids are open to the idea and whether they will see the reward of actually learning something by heart.

After seeing the success of memorizing with the children; I wanted them to take up Countries and Capitals; but we were not able to do that due to last minute travel plans. But I do intend to take this up now while school is still on. If anyone has any ideas or resources to help me with this, do let me know.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

On my bookshelf: "We Should All Be Feminists"

"We have evolved .But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much."-
this line brings out the essence of Chimananda's book " We Should All Be Feminists". It is adapted from her much viewed  TEDx talk with the same name.

 I would highly recommend this short ebook to all, especially to young people and to those interested in gender studies. It would also be a rather useful read for teen girls because  it's the perfect intro to those who are just starting to understand gender issues.

Chimananda writes gently but effectively and she draws on  experiences from her homeland Nigeria and from USA- her own and her friends'. She speaks of the time when she wasn't made a class monitor just because she was a girl, even though she met the criterion by scoring the highest . It was something that shook her nine year old self to the very core.

Chimananda speaks of how a woman is often criticized for the same attributes that a man is praised for.For example, a woman CEO is often spoken ill of if she's assertive, whereas a man CEO is likely to be admired for the very same trait.

For the discrimination against women, rather than attacking men, she talks about culture and mindsets, which I think is a good approach.She says that the culture must be inclusive and must evolve according to the needs of the time where physical strength is no longer important and therefore men's dominance no longer makes sense.

Some of my favourite lines from the book:

"We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough,which is bad enough,but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons."

"We define masculinity in a very narrow way.Masculinity is a hard,small cage, and we put boys inside this cage."

"The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are."

Chimamanda's tone in this book is conversational and not at all pedantic, which makes it a great read!Looking forward  to reading more of her work!

Monday, November 14, 2016

This instead of that......

As moms, we wear many hats.One is that of a  hunter-gatherer, always on the look out for wholesome food for the fam.

Here I share some substitutions (suggestions based on products available in  Singapore supermarkets) that I have come up with while navigating the aisles:

Chocolate Spreads 


Commercial chocolate spreads  are fingerlickingly delicious  but they are sugar bombs !




Instead of 

 You can substitute chocolate spreads such as "Nutella" with the likes of Coco2 from Pure Harvest which harnesses the benefits of  coconut and cocoa and is delectable. I tried it and my kids gave two  thumbs up to the taste.I am not endorsing any particular brand here and there are many more healthy chocolate spreads other than the ones that you see here  .You can find them in Mustafa or in Cold Storage and  also at Fairprice .




Cheese is another favourite of the little people in our lives ! So we might as well give them the best .....



When selecting cheeses, just go for natural cheeses which are the real stuff and full of the goodness of dairy ! 





  Instead of that 

Processed cheese doesn't have much food value as it contains a lot of fillers.In fact you'd be  surprised to know that the final product contains very little  cheese!

 Soup stocks 


 For soup stocks, it's a great idea to choose one which has less salt and  made from free range chicken.My kids like  noodle soups when they get tired of rice and so I prefer a wholesome broth base instead of a chemical concoction full of MSG and artificial flavours. A tad expensive but worth it.....

More to come as my exploration continues........and very keen to hear about the smart substitutions that you have made!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Yay! First Pet!

 A first pet is a  kind of a rite of passage for any child! I think pets add  more fairy dust to the magic of childhood and create warm and fuzzy  memories to look back on !

Our kids have been asking for a four legged friend  for a while now but we have been reluctant  because of the enormous responsibility it would entail. And where would we keep it while we are vacationing in our hometown was another question that lingered in our minds. My siblings and  I always have had dogs and some of our fondest memories consist of Woolly,our beloved dog, who was unique and very playful . And so at times I felt that I was depriving my children of this fun aspect of childhood.

But life is full of surprises and my kids were thrilled to  get their first pet quite unexpectedly a week ago. It's  a lovely gift from a lovely friend. 
And it's a perfect pet for first time pet owners.Fighter (Betta) fish  is hardy and low maintenance. His name is Lil Mia  and my photo totally doesn't do justice to his beautiful colours !

The kids are thrilled and enamored of their new pet. They google "fighter fish" countless times a day  to see how best to keep him happy and cheerful. They were quite amused to learn that his vibrant colours were meant for attracting a female partner.

And the best part is we need only 3 items for Lil Mia's care :

I hope Lil Mia will prepare my kids for "bigger" pets in future ! I eagerly look forward to the day when they  can have a furry friend ! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

#Growth Mindset

Came across this wonderful  #Growth Mindset poster by Sylvia Duckworth and shared by Vicki Davis ( It's  meant  for teachers but I think it's equally important for parents !

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Things kids do & say

Last week, I was a bit unwell and was feeling tired and hungry in the evening. I called my older son, and told him to bring me something to eat. Condition was that no cooking was involved & no cutting. I allow him supervised access to the stove-top & chopping anything.
So he went and made me a sandwich, it was delicious & simple with unconventional ingredients going into it. Here is what he made: 2 slices of bread, plain yoghurt speard on them, a slice of cheese between them. Some tomato-chilly ketchup. This was plates with a fist full of roasted peanuts.
It was a tasty snack, that served to satiate my hunger pangs.
I really loved how he used his imagination to make something that he's never eaten or seen!

The second incident is about my younger son, who just turned 5.
We were watching a famous Marathi song, which showed innumerable fireflies appearing during the course of the song. He asked me what they were. I replied 'they are insects and are called fireflies'.
To which he immediately asked, 'are they hot?'
We had a hearty laugh at his honest and innocent question.
Oh, yes I did explain to him, why they were called so and why they are not hot to touch.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Update #haircare

In the previous post, I had mentioned that I had generously slathered my hair with a cream hair mask (i bought it at my local Cosway store). I was to wait for about 20-25 minutes before I go ahead with the shampoo and rinse.
I followed these steps, and I am happy to report that my hair looks nice, they look well conditioned, soft and best of all, no frizzy hair!!
I'm definitely going to do this often.

Recently a friend introduced me to the hair vitamin capsules at the pharmacy. These capsules contain some oil base enriched with vitamin E, argan oil, etc. There are a few options to choose from, based on the hair type.
The contents of one capsule is to be applied to towel dried hair.
I discovered that using these capsules were exactly whati had been looking for to allow my dry frizzy hair to get smoothened out, to give my hair some shine. They actually look healthy, and well taken care of!

If anyone wants details of these products, the hair mask, the hair vitamin capsules, do let me know, I will be happy to share.

Let's work together to ensure that we all have happy hair days!!

This & that and everything in between....

There is just so much that I wish to write down; and I actually got worried sick about how I was going to do it all! So I decided to start with baby steps (we all know a thing or two about baby steps...don't we?)

This week I am sort of free. Free only from the content-writing that I have started last year. So I have time on hand; and so this Monday I spent a day at the nearby mall watching a movie with the kids and another friend & her beautiful daughter. After the movie, we visited the Body Shop; as we both (mommies) wanted to pick up some stuff. I chose the Tea Tree Oil BB Cream. My friend recommended it to me; and I like what it does to my skin.
So to cut a long story short; since Monday I have been in this mental zone of researching about skincare products for my age group. My problem areas are endless...but for starts I wish to minimize the gigantic craters called pores! Secondly hydration for my skin is a worrying issue right now.
I have zeroed on a few products; like the ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream; and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. Both have excellent reviews and are highly recommended products. My worry is their price point; secondly that these are not available in trial-size packs. If they were, then we could just buy those samples, try the products for a month, then make the decision to purchase.
While I was at the home country, I greedily grabbed a big (biggest available) jar of the Biotique Bio Wheat Germ cream. It used to be my favorite; but now it leaves me super greasy! So I don't like it as much but I can't discard it also because it cost hard earned money!! So I have decided (for now) that I will first finish off this ginormous jar of cream; and only then think about purchasing any other skin care product.

Last month I also learnt over YouTube (Yes I am an avid YouTube watcher); that trick to smoother hair is to first apply conditioner; wait for some time, rinse it off; then apply your shampoo. I have tried this and it seems to be working. Today I have actually applied a hair mask, which I will wash off before shampooing my hair. Let's see how that goes!

The younger ones birthday is soon approaching, and I have to finalize the cake and that should keep me occupied with something constructive to do for the next few days.
How fast these little munchkins have grown up!

Lastly....while I was on the lookout for skincare products...I chanced upon something very ingenious! I saw one one of the pharmacy websites a product so useful, so needed...that I am going to grab a few packs when I visit the store next. The product was Disposable toilet seat covers!!
We need them....don't we? When we are outside, at a mall or the movie, and we need to visit the restrooms...get the picture? Now you know...that you also need to buy few packs!!