Friday, December 30, 2011

Sherlock might need these

To wrap up my experience with the Bausch + Lomb contact lenses with HD optics, I'd like you to view the lens demo here. These contact lenses have been designed to help reduce spherical aberration, something I experience in digital photography with lower quality lenses. Basically it affects my shots when something very bright is shot with something very dark (eg. the leaves on a tree against a bright sunny sky), there will be a colour cast around the edges where dark and light object overlap, a little blurry with halos and glares. The Bausch + Lomb contact lenses with HD optics are in photography terms, like prime lenses, they reduce all those halos and glares especially in low light conditions. I noticed this when I watched Sherlock Holmes and two other movies recently while wearing these contact lenses. They are also great for long wearing as they are one of the more breathable lenses available today, designed to let high levels of oxygen pass through the lens. They are also one of the thinnest lens on the market and makes for a more natural feel throughout the day. 

If you are like me, getting on in years and have some blurred vision especially at night, I highly recommend you try the Bausch + Lomb contact lenses with HD optics and feel the difference. Below are details on how you can win yourself a month's supply of these remarkable contact lenses. Enjoy and let me know by leaving a comment here if it made a difference to your night vision :)
Name 3 benefits of Bausch+Lomb 's High Definition™ Optics contact lens vs normal lens - email your answer together with your name and contact number to before 30 January 2012 and stand to be among five winners to each win a month supply of SofLens Daily Disposable contact lenses(worth up to $110)!]**Contest winners will be picked via a random draw and will be notified via email, within one week after the contest ends. Winners’ list is final and no further correspondence will be entertained by the organisers. 

Here is a review of Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows by my good friend and uni mate, Yvonne :)
"The second installment of the legendary detective and his capable sidekick turned out to be just as interesting as the first. Robert Downey Jr put up a remarkable performance as the super intelligent sleuth whom even Scotland Yard detectives constantly turn to for assistance in solving the various crimes that baffle them. And Jude Law also did a splendid job as Holmes' sidekick, Dr John Watsons. The playout-in-Holmes'-mind-first-before-action-takes-place technique which Guy Ritchie used for the first Holmes' movie was re-used here to great effect. And this isn't just another detective movie, there were plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes planted throughout the movie which made it so entertaining. The action scenes, especially the fights in the back alley and on the running train were pretty well choreographed. Overall, the movie didn't disappoint me as a sequel and I would give it 4 stars. Sherlock Holmes fans shouldn't miss this."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

102mins of childhood nostalgia

Brought my 6 year old Kayden to watch The Muppets today thinking it will expose him to the kind of "cartoons" I watched when I was his age. It's hard to accept but in their generation, the only muppet they know is probably Barney :p

Growing up, The Muppets, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Fraggle Rock etc were my generation's TV staple and muppets were present in all of these shows.

We went into the cinema not knowing the storyline or what to expect. I just know my boy will be so lost as he's not acquainted with Kermit or Miss Piggy at all. To be frank, it was a movie for ME and not him :D He didn't get the witty jokes of hecklers Statler and Waldorf, his heart didn't smile when Fozzie Bear (my favourite) appeared, he didn't know of the one sided romance between Miss Piggy and Kermit, he didn't laugh when Gonzo stripped off his suit to reveal his cape, he was a bit shocked by Animal's rowdiness and wondered why Beaker spoke the way he did. But I was familiar with all this and more, and just silently hoped that the muppets charm will win my son over like they did me when I was a kid.

And they did! He even figured out the villain was Tex Richman and whispered to me to confirm,"Mummy, is he the bad guy?" We rooted for the muppets to hit the $10 million target to save the muppets studio from Tex and cheered when they were closed to succeeding. When Kermit performed "The Rainbow Connection" with Miss Piggy, I was singing along to the first verse before my tears engulfed me and I started sobbing uncontrollably as my childhood came flooding back and the sweet and innocent memories hit me hard throughout the song. It felt as if I missed that part of my life terribly amidst this crazy adult life and when Animal came in with the drums, there were no stopping the tears! I was glad no one saw me crying and also glad that I was wearing the Bausch + Lomb's HD contact lenses which enabled me to continue watching the movie clearly after wiping away all those tears :p I have included below the movie's version of the song (just the song, no visuals). Tell me if it doesn't jerk out your childhood!

I was also impressed with a rendition of one of my all time favourite grunge band Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" sung by the muppets barbershop quartet. Old favourites like "We Built This City" by Starship continued to fill you with nostalgia (that's provided you are of my generation) :p I also like the finale "Life's A Happy Song" which was catchy and upbeat and left you with a skip to your step :)

Overall a really enjoyable movie and more so if you were born in the 70s, the Muppets rule!
*hums* "Life's a happy song when there's someone by my side to sing along....."

Win yourself a month's supply of Bausch+Lomb's HD Optics contact lens!
Name 3 benefits of Bausch+Lomb 's High Definition™ Optics contact lens vs normal lens - email your answer together with your name and contact number to before 30 January 2011 and stand to be among five winners to each win a month supply of SofLens Daily Disposable contact lenses(worth up to $110)!]*
*Contest winners will be picked via a random draw and will be notified via email, within one week after the contest ends. Winners’ list is final and no further correspondence will be entertained by the organisers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A grateful Christmas

Last Christmas, I gave thanks. This Christmas, I am grateful.
Grateful for
your love
your friendship
your loyalty.

Embrace the spirit of Christmas that in giving, we receive.
Here's wishing one and all a truly merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Contact lenses with HD optics?!?

Ok, you got to be kidding right? That was my first reaction when I was given the opportunity to try out this revolutionary contact lenses with High Definition Optics by Bausch+Lomb. These lenses boast of outstanding vision in low light conditions, sharper details, enhanced contrast and reduced halo and glare especially while driving at night.
Now all that sounds too good to be true but I have been given the contact lenses to try them out for a month and shall give you my verdict soon enough! You can be sure I am pretty familiar with contact lenses as I've been wearing them since I was 14 years old. That's like 20+ years ago.... let's not start counting how old I am now, shall we?! :p

Anyway, you can win yourselves some of these awesome HD contact lenses in the following contest:
Name 3 benefits of Bausch+Lomb 's High Definition™ Optics contact lens vs normal lens - email your answer together with your name and contact number to before 30 January 2011 and stand to be among five winners to each win a month supply of SofLens Daily Disposable contact lenses(worth up to $110)!]*
*Contest winners will be picked via a random draw and will be notified via email, within one week after the contest ends. Winners’ list is final and no further correspondence will be entertained by the organisers.

My first experience with the Bausch+Lomb's HD Optics contact lenses was when I went to catch the movie Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol with my good friend Qing Shan. More on the lenses in another blog post but meanwhile, here's a review of the movie by my friend. He's a total MI fan but really, the movie was great!

Mission Impossible 4 : Ghost Protocol movie review by Qing Shan

When the trailer surfaced, it was hard not to get excited about the movie. The infectious Mission Impossible tune cleverly mixed into the action and edited with Eminem and Pink's song. And the selected scenes (mostly the action scenes) shot with IMAX cameras, there was a lot to look forward to.

The forth in the series, Mr Tom Cruise's pet project since he bought the rights to the franchise, has his main character Ethan Hunt behind in a prison cell. For those who remember the last movie, you will have many questions like what happened to his wife and how did he get there. Of course, he gets out and we start the roller coaster ride for the next 2 hours with the answers revealed along the way.

Director Brat Bird's first live action movie (wrote/directed and won Academy Awards for The Incredibles and Ratatouille), sets the tone early with the animation style get-away chase scene together with the fun, understated humour jail break sequence. Dean Martin's 'Ain't That A Kick in the Head' is well used as a song and fight soundtrack and trigger for the escape.

This time, there's no IMF and Ethan's team disavowed after being tagged as terrorists responsible for the bombing of the Kremlin. He's joined by Benji (Simon Pegg, the comic relief), Brandt (Jeremy Renner who lands some credibility) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton, the eye candy and necessary female balance to the group).

Ethan and team uncover a plot by Cobalt to 'restart' the world with nuclear devastation. They have to act fast to save the world with the newest BMW i8 car, retina scanning device to "blue is glue, red is dead" gloves. Tracking down the bad guys from Russia, to Dubai and to Mumbai.

Those who have been following the series would have a sense of minor deva ju, as some of the scenes; like the dropping and hoisted in midair, to the high building jumps and even Mr Cruise's haircut is nothing really new. But Brat Bird's manages a fresh treatment of those familiar and keeps the audience pacing from suspense to heart pounding thrills.

One of the main attractions of the MI series, is watching Mr Cruise doing all his own stunts. Yes, he's the one hanging outside the world's tallest building - the Burj Khalifa tower and running and jumping all over the movie. If you are afraid of heights, do be warned its been said to cause some vertigo.
Ever since the second movie's reported argument between John Woo and Tom Cruise wanting to do his own cliff climbing WITHOUT safety ropes, I think it's his way of wanting to do all these crazy stunts, get them on film and get paid doing so!

I have to say, I wished there was more of a romance factor, previously brought along by Michelle Monaghan's Julia as Ethan's wife, but as you watch the movie, you'll understand why it is so. If I  go on any more, I would be spoiling the movie for you.

The movie's well paced with humour, action, entertaining pop corn fun and a good balance of human drama. And if you can, you must try to watch it in IMAX; the 25+mins worth of footage is beautiful, sharp and really immerses you into the movie, especially the Burj Khalifa scenes.

For a taste of the action view this featurette from the movie :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goodbye CM, Hello P1

He spent the last four and a half years in this pre-school. It's been a place of learning and building of character. It was here that his first friendships were forged and many goodbyes along the way. Today Kayden bids farewell to his kindergarten, friends and teachers who have all been a wonderful and important part of his young life.

The school organised a farewell party for all the K2 children and they were to come dressed in their primary school uniform! Very apt! We parents were invited as well and all of us brought too much food for the party. The kids had a ball, Kay was a little shy as usual to see us in the classroom with him :) Flashes of him on his first day here in Character Montessori came to me and I marvel at the young man he has become, ready for the next chapter of his life - primary school.

Here are a few photos from his first day and last day in school!

last time signing in... 

group shot of everyone with the teachers 

Kay with his BFFs, Alden & Keafe 
the budding photog felicity 

laughing at himself when he appeared in the video of their 4 years in CM 
Last friday was the graduation concert and there was no stopping my tears as I saw him go on stage receiving his scroll in his graduation gown, performing in a skit and a spanish dance. I'm so proud of you Kay! You have certainly come into your own and mummy and daddy are really lucky to have you as our firstborn :)

(Kay is the second boy out on stage)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Baby Elephant's Tea Party

Nila Utama is one! He is the first elephant born in nine years at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. A BIG bundle of joy to his mother Nandong and father Chawang at 151kg, the one year old asian elephant is now a whopping 544kg! :p

We were invited to Nila's little tea party where the little one whose name is that of the Palembang prince who founded the kingdom of Singapura, was presented with a giant birthday cake made of carrots, wheat and ice, among other ingredients. Us humans had a mighty delicious elephant shaped chocolate cake and other tea-time yummies.

"The birth of Nila Utama was a significant milestone for us as it underscored the importance of education and conservation of Asian elephants in the wild," said Mr Kumar Pillai, General Manager, Night Safari. "This mini event is not only a birthday celebration for Nila – it also highlights the success of captive breeding programmes like ours and the plight of these beautiful animals in the wild."

The Asian elephant is an endangered animal. There are only between 25 600 and 32750 of them in the wild. Poaching of Asian elephants for ivory and meat remains a serious problem in many countries especially in certain regions of India where some people consume elephant meat. The illegal trade of live elephants, ivory and hides has become a serious conservation problem. You can help by not buying ivory products and spreading the word about the plight of the elephants.

Here's wishing little Nila Utama a very happy birthday and the continuing survival of the Asian elephant!

the kids doing some wild art work for Nila

Dylan enjoying the elephant fondant, he ate the entire elephant without touching the cake! :D

the yummy chocolate cake

my two elephants

we had a lovely tram ride to the elephant exhibit

all the kids were excited to meet Nila!

here he comes with his mummy! and there's the huge birthday cake prepared for him by the zoo

Kayden just recovered from HFMD thus he wasn't very chirpy :(

Dylan trying to feed his "elephant" peanuts :p

cheeky bugger!

the boys loved their elephant plush

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Farewell ngiah ngiah Ah Mah

To differentiate this Ah Mah from my maternal Ah Mah, my brother and I call my paternal grandmother ngiah ngiag Ah Mah. "Ngiah" is teochew for beautiful :) She had this portrait of herself in her house which showed an elegant young lady so the term ngiah ngiah Ah Mah was coined and stuck to this day.

Last Saturday afternoon, ngiah ngiah Ah Mah left us :'(

During my childhood, my brother and I will spend afternoons at her flat in Farrer Road. It was a house full of curios and knick knacks and we loved the white arowana fish she had in a 4 feet tank and the couple of canary birds she kept. Once they even made nest and laid a few eggs! She was strict with us when it came to manners and will smack our legs with a cane if we shook them while eating at the dining table. But still my brother and I enjoyed ourselves at her home and looked forward to Chinese New Year visiting every year.

Towards her last couple of years, she got dementia and will keep giving us ang pows when we visited her during the new year as she forgets that she had already given us one. Aunty Mary will joke and tell us to stick around longer for more red packets :p This CNY when I took this shot of her with my iPhone, I was hoping it will not be the last one ever but unfortunately it was...

Today as we bid Ah Mah farewell, the sun was shining and that reminded me that it was her that gave Kayden his chinese name. She named him Yong Ming - Forever Bright, he was born on a sunny afternoon. And it was another sunny afternoon that we say goodbye to you. I chose a white rose and placed it over your heart. Dear Ah Mah, I have no doubt you lived a great 90 odd years, and understand that it's time for you to rest in peace. See you on the other side, I'll miss you. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Win a WowART lesson this holiday for your child!

Your budding little artist at home will be thrilled to know that WowArt Learning Studio is having a holiday program this coming year end school holidays. During the September holiday, they offered art workshops only but this time, they will be taking the classroom outdoors and offering WOW Camps! Students will be able to explore, experiment, feel and play in these hands-on sessions. In the Artist & I workshops, your child will be exposed to great artists of all times such as Henri Rousseau, Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas through painting on canvas.

To know more about WowArt, do visit their website or read my boys' experience with them here and here.

Now for some exciting news! WowArt is offering one lucky reader of my blog a free workshop pass for your child! This is what you have to do:

1. Please "Like" the WowArt Facebook page
2. Help us re-post this blog post url on your own Facebook wall
3. Let me know that you have done all this by leaving a comment on this post
4. Drop me an email with your contact details so that I may contact you if you are the winner

That's it! Last date for participation is Wednesday 16 November 2011. My boys will be at the workshop too on top of their regular Sunday lessons, hope to see you there! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My day with the chicken pox boy

I spent today with my elder son Kayden, who has been down with chicken pox since last friday. He isn't having a bad outbreak as he has been inoculated previously. Don't ask me why he still caught it but we are thankful it's just like 15 pox over his upper body. His sexy legs were spared haha, not even one!

As I was helping him get dressed after his bath, I started to notice things about this not so little boy. His bermudas have become shorts... he doesn't dislike pink... he owns a cute baby paunch... he has a lovely smile and nice lips... he is bashful... and this is the best thing I noticed - he still loves me despite the younger brother and my work claiming almost all my time! *yay!*

After doing some artwork, we walked over to the neighbourhood mall for his favourite Japanese lunch. The usual order is cold soba noodles and egg sushi. Once we sat, he proceeded to take a plate of Tamago off the sushi train. Followed by another in quick succession. I exclaimed that he must be famished! He replied,"No, this plate is for di di." But di di is not here darling. "It's for him when he comes back from school." *melts*

So there I sat across the table from this sweet boy, all grown up and independent, doesn't seem that long ago when I was still cleaning up his diapers. I can't help feeling that I had lost precious number of moments with him since Dylan came along. It's like he was 3 years old then 6 years! Where did all that time go? I got a little sad. I made a decision there and then that I must get to know my firstborn again. His dreams and ambitions, his joys and heartaches, I want to know them all and for him to share with me his deepest thoughts. I want to be his mother and best friend again. But for the moment, we are mother and son sharing a day together, and that hug and kiss from him when the day ends was just what I needed to remind me that I have a wonderful son who loves me.

I love you Kayden! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Canada Cuppies

A few months ago we tried our hand at photographing cupcakes by the very talented Audrey from Sugar Pie Gourmet Cakes and Classes and yesterday I planned a session for the girls Wen Lin & Joanne to have a cupcake decorating class with her and yes, we took more photos :p

Here are some shots of the cupcakes which Audrey made for the Canadian Association of Singapore. We were after an autumn feel with warm hues. All those leaves you see are handmade with fondant and totally edible!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cetaphil Giveaway

Tell me if this sounds familiar in the mornings. Walking into the bathroom, you stand infront of the mirror, a ton of products sitting at the basin area waiting to be applied onto your face. You end up using just one or two. That's me! Cleanser then moisturiser. IF I am not lazy, I will apply a sunblock but that's rare. I prefer a fuss-free facial cleansing ritual and Cetaphil fits the bill.

Originally developed by skin experts, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a soap substitute that preserves your skin's natural moisture. So it softens your skin as it gently cleanses. Its special formulation won't sting your eyes and can remove light make-up without clogging pores. It also does not leave a sticky residue over the skin surface. Developed to be used with or without water, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is pH balanced and lanolin and fragrance free. It's non-drying and non-irritating properties makes it a gentle formula ideal for every age, every stage and every day. Cetaphil is the leading brand of gentle skin cleanser in Singapore.

Now for some good news - Cetaphil has travel packs up for grabs! Simply tweet (or retweet) the following text:

4 Cetaphil Travel Packs up for grabs! Tweet this & stand a chance to win! More abt Cetaphil on @maryannkoh #cetaphilsg

Giveaway is limited to one entry per twitter account, and those residing in Singapore only.

There is also a Cetaphil roadshow at Jurong Point on 29 & 30 October 2011 from 12pm to 9pm where you can win travel packs, iPad2 and cash! So if you are looking for a fuss-free way to keep your skin healthy and beautiful, try the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and clear some space from your basin! :)