Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Reusable Silicone Drawing & Colouring Kids Mats - DrawnBy: Jessica

Last day of Chinese New Year 2019 was on Tuesday {19 Feb} and now it is officially over *sobs sobs*

We enjoyed the extra long holiday of basically eating, resting, eating again {hah!} and just some light visiting of close friends and relatives because Lil Pumpkin and I were recovering from a long bout of viral infection that left us coughing and sick for about 1-2 weeks.

Lil Pumpkin certainly enjoyed spending time with her cousins again (。♥‿♥。) As the kids get older with more and more activities, it gets harder and harder for them to meet up, especially since us parents are working with our own tight schedules too.

Nonetheless, it is always heartwarming to see them scream, laugh and chatter with excitement even if they haven't seen each other in a while. I do hope that they will still continue to grow up with a strong bond and support for one another... (●♡∀♡))ヾ☆*。

My old school mate, Jessica, started a small online business, Drawn by: Jessica, selling environmentally-friendly reusable silicone drawing and colouring mats for kids. Lil Pumpkin got her newest product, the Draw My House mat, while Lil J got the Big Blue colouring mat.

When I asked my sis which design I should choose for Lil J, she said that Big Blue would be best because it isn't cluttered with too many details & drawings and seems easiest for 3 year-old Lil J to get into. Excellent point.

Lil J was thrilled when I passed her the colouring mat set and wanted to start colouring immediately!

Each set comes in a clear plastic drawstring bag with 12 oil-based colour markers that are certified to be non-toxic so that they are safe even for the little ones. Even if the kids draw on their skin, tables or walls with them... no worries, because they are easily cleaned off with a wet sponge or tissue!

When Lil Pumpkin saw Lil J colouring, she couldn't help but pick up a marker to colour too. Good thing the mat is big enough {30cm x 40cm} for both of them to share and colour comfortably haha..

Bonus point? These soft silicone drawing mats also have a high-temperature tolerance {220 °C} so you can double them up as table mats during meal-times. Babies/ toddlers are welcome to pick food directly off the mat {although I suggest you wipe away the colourings first, even if they are food-safe}, as they are made of food-grade, U.S. Food and Drug Administration {FDA} approved silicon.

I find that as Lil Pumpkin gets older, she doesn't enjoy colouring simple drawings as much as she used to, but she still loves to doodle {remember how she used to always have a small notebook with her to doodle??!}.

The Draw My House mat is perfect for slightly older kids like her to explore the reaches of her imagination and learn to draw common household items. In addition to the plastic drawstring bag and washable markers, it comes with a 12 page fully-coloured prompt book full of beautifully hand-drawn icons found at home to encourage her to fill the rooms of her DrawnBy: House with plenty of personal and unique items.

It's intriguing to see how she imagines her dream house to be, and who she wants to build her home with! ♥ And oh, what wonderful stories she can come up with!

Even if she doesn't want to draw anything house-related, there's still plenty of space available on the mat to draw whatever her heart desires or even practise her writing {... and spelling with Mummy sometimes? hehe}.

Looking back, I'm glad that I got to witness Jessica starting her business from nothing, and growing it to be a well-loved item with the local mummy community #golocal

Jessica was actually in her final trimester {May 2017} just waiting to pop and killing time at home so started doodling based on various themes. She shared her creations on Facebook {I remember liking those posts from the beginning hehe} and in the process, a lot of her friends started asking if she wouldn't mind if they printed her drawings for their own kids to colour.

This got her thinking and in early 2018, decided to start a business to share more of her fun drawings, and encourage creativity and imagination in kids! Each product is lovingly hand-drawn by Jessica and she makes sure that every design have a great many things to keep her customers engaged and happy.

Fun Fact: The brand name was something that her hubby came up with! DrawnBy: Jessica is a true-blue family business and Jessica once shared with me that it's all hands on deck when it comes to running it. For example, her hubby would help her to individually check and QC the product for flaws {the imperfect mats are available for sale at heavily discounted prices at her pop-ups!!} while her cute kiddos are her "models" and would be with mummy at her to help her promote the mats at her pop-up stalls.

When Lil Pumpkin was younger, I used to make our own reusable colouring sheets by printing pictures and laminating them, then letting her colour with washable markers haha. Did you do that too??

It was a tedious, time-consuming process and I'm glad that Jessica came up with this fuss-free and inexpensive alternative instead!

See? It all fits neatly in the complimentary drawstring bag! 

If you or your kids like to colour / draw, or you just want to support this local mama in encouraging creativity and imagination through her range of washable silicone mats with hand-drawn depictions of everyday things and creatures, go check out DrawnBy: Jessica website and keep updated on her new product launches & promotions on her Facebook page.

Prices start from S$4.90 for colouring stickers {set of 3}, and the mats in carry-bags start from S$17.90 without markers, or S$24.90 as a set with them. The washable colour markers are sold individually at S$7.90 too. Customisations are only available for large orders, but do feel free to contact her if you've any suggestions for future designs!

She doesn't have a physical store {yet!}, but if you'd like to see and touch her reusable kids mats in person, you can currently find them in these restaurants and stores or head down to her pop-up stalls when she has them.

This will be my new fave things to get friends with young kiddos from now on! In fact, I'm thinking of ordering the Animal Friends set for one of them, Xiao R, soon. I like that this design includes lots of animals hand drawn for your little one to recognize and sound words doodled all around!

Xiao R and his family are going to holiday in Japan in April and I know this will be a fun and enjoyable activity to bring along for the trip, especially for those long plane and train rides!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Her First Valentine's Day Flowers...From Daddy! ❤

A father is every daughter's first love.

Not only does he love her as his sweet child, but he also shows her how other guys should treat her and sets the tone for many other male relationships in her life. Is he open and warm? Or is he distant and dismissive? Does he order her around? Or does he speak to her gently and adoringly?

As she grows up, every guy the girl meets will automatically be measured against her dad, and that bond she has with him. Subconsciously or not, a father is a daughter's ultimate standard and role model for manhood!!! (≧∇≦)/

The boy understands this strong responsibility that comes with being a father to a daughter and has always treated Lil Pumpkin as she rightfully deserves to be treated by any man in her life.

As any person close to our family knows, the boy has always been a hands-on dad since day 1. He has never shied away from staying up throughout the night whenever Lil Pumpkin couldn't sleep as a baby {which was very often!!}, or cleaning her poo, or giving her baths, or chauffeuring her around to school and activities...

He sees her as an individual - not just an extension of himself. Whenever she speaks, even if it's just random ramblings or childish chatter, he listens patiently to show that he cares, responds and respects her thoughts, dreams and ideas.

Lil Pumpkin isn't your typical, gentle girl. She can be rough and rambunctious at times with her own unique personality. But, the boy never makes her feel like she needs to change or be pressured to look or act in a certain way. To him, she is perfect and beautiful just the way she is (*^▽^*)

But I guess the best way he shows her how a man should express his feelings to her positively... is by the way he loves, supports and cherishes her mama ... me ❤

This Valentine's Day, the boy took it up a notch and got Lil Pumpkin her first bouquet of beautiful red roses as a surprise!!!

Now, although the boy is always willing to splurge and yes, I do love to receive fresh flowers, but the practical side of me is not a fan of giving/ receiving flowers during Valentine's Day because of how exorbitantly expensive it can be. Every year, I'd remind him constantly to not waste money and give me flowers on V-day... and I don't mean it in a actually-I-want-even-if-I-say-no kinda way, I really do mean what I say!!

However, this year, we came across FARM Florist, a local online florist that offers free same-day delivery for a variety of bouquets with prices kept low throughout the year. Even during the Valentine's Day season where most florists infamously mark up prices, FARM Florist flower prices remain unchanged and wallet-friendly! 

You can read about how they keep their prices so low here. If price is a barrier for you choosing to send flowers during Valentine's Day like me, please go ahead to check them out. Prices start from as low as S$35 for a charming hand bouquet of 1 red rose, purple statice and baby's breath, hand-wrapped in paper with a personalised printed card message. 

I helped the boy to choose this beautiful bouquet called Rachel {S$119} that comes with 8 fresh red roses and other beautiful blooms. I put in a special request to add some lovely lavender {love the smell!} and have it wrapped with a red, satin ribbon which FARM Florist happily acceded to at no additional cost.

Note: Customisation of bouquets are quoted on case by case basis.

The bouquet arrived yesterday and looked absolutely gorgeous!!! Images from online shops may sometimes be deceiving and I was a bit skeptical on how fresh and well-put together they would be especially during this busy period, but Lil Pumpkin's FARM Florist bouquet looks just like how it does on the website {excluding the bits of customisation done}. Yay!!

Even as I was taking photos of the bouquet, the flowers smelt so strong and fresh like they were just picked from a garden haha.. sorry if my photos don't do them justice!! Their colours are really vibrant but I can't seem to capture them properly.

FARM Florist offers 2 delivery time slots, i) 11am - 5pm, and ii) 6pm to 10pm on all days, including weekends and public holidays {except first 2 days of Chinese New Year & Christmas}. All orders made before noon for the same day will be delivered within the time slot of 6pm to 10pm.

As part of their service commitment, failure to arrive on time {more than 60 mins after the end of the time slot, e.g. 7.01 pm for first time slot and 11.01 pm for second time slot} will result in FARM Florist issuing you with a full refund. And I have to emphasize, this is even on Valentine's Day.

Even if you don't intend to send any tomorrow for VDay, well, just keep this online florist shop and their full range of flowers in mind hehe.

As you can see from the first photo, Lil Pumpkin was absolutely elated to receive her first bouquet of Valentine's Day flowers from her daddy! I'm so happy that he did this for her too, even if I didn't get any flowers from him this year myself haha... Honestly, if she ever meets a boy half the man her daddy is, she will be truly blessed indeed. 

A father's is every daughter's first love. And to Lil Pumpkin, her daddy certainly is ❤

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chinese New Year 2019 | 新年快乐!万事如意!♥

For the first time ever, the boy wasn't around for the first few days of Chinese New Year as he went back to Japan for a short trip.

Lil Pumpkin and I caught some horrible viral infection so we both took turns to be sick for the longest time I could remember {2 weeks for me!! I only just recovered!} so we didn't do much visiting this year, and apologies that our CNY greetings are a little late {again} #oops.

Hope everyone have been enjoying the past few days of rest, feasting and time spent with your loved ones! ♥

Wishing you a Healthy and Prosperous Chinese New Year 2018
from my family to yours! (V●ᴥ●V)

More Chinese New Year posts:
Family Chinatown Walk in 2018

Monday, January 21, 2019

mifold One Non-Folding Portable Booster Seat {GIVEAWAY}

mifold Grab-and-Go portable booster seat would probably not be unfamiliar to parents that use ride-sharing companies e.g. GRAB, GOJEK, Uber a lot.

Singapore's GRAB actually uses mifold booster seats for kids aged 4-7 years old, as it is against the rules set by LTA for children below the height of 1.35m to use an adult seatbelt without a proper child restraint in a private hire vehicle and mifold booster seats meet all the requirements set by the Singapore Traffic Act..

Designed for kids aged 4 and above {up to 36kg/ 150cm}, it is an advanced, much more compact, portable booster seat that's 10x smaller than a traditional booster seat, yet just as safe.

Yes, you can use it in Singapore, and a lot of overseas countries since the mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat is regulated under the most universally accepted global car booster seat regulations, specifically: European Union ECE R44/04; FMVSS 213 in the United States, and the RSSR regulations in Canada.

How does it work? Well, unlike a regular booster seat that elevates the child to fit an adult seat belt, the mifold lowers the seat belt so that it's brought down from more delicate areas like your child's shoulder, face, neck and stomach and positioned on their shoulders, hipbones and across their lap.

Do note though, that the belt fit will vary by child's size, vehicle and seating position. There are 3 width settings of small, medium, and large, with a fully variable shoulder height.

We got the mifold for my sis and little niece 2 Christmases ago, and they found it so useful! Who knew that one day you could actually carry a booster seat in your bag with you?? haha.. The lightweight, compact size makes it super travel-friendly so that it fits neatly inside her handbag and she can easily bring it around when they need to sit in a cab or rented car during vacations.

Last year, mifold also released a non-folding portable booster seat - mifold One.

Just like the mifold, the mifold One acts just like a regular booster seat but instead of elevating your child, it works by bringing the shoulder belt down onto their collarbone, which is stronger than their face and neck. The lap belt is also brought down to their hipbones instead of their stomach, which is a lot more delicate and vulnerable.

And just like the mifold, it has a strong metal chassis that's made of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum {as strong as steel}, and Dupont Delrin 100ST, a very tough plastic polymer for superior impact resistance. At 697g, the mifold One weighs just about the same as a small bottle of water!

So how is mifold One different from the original mifold?

Firstly, the very obvious difference is that mifold folds in half, while mifold One doesn't. If you need to carry a booster seat around e.g. when taking cabs or hopping a ride from friends/ grandparents, mifold would be more compact and flexible {although mifold one is slim & small too}, but for those parents that want a non-bulky booster seat on an everyday basis or to leave in the same car between uses,  you won't need the folding feature and mifold One would be a better choice. Even though this version of the mifold doesn't fold into a smaller size, the mifold One is still incredibly slim and would fit in the car seat pocket nicely.

Secondly, the mifold One features the new Quick-Clip2 shoulder belt guide that allows you to install it with one hand. With practice, you won't even need to look!

Thirdly, mifold One's larger seat size {made of Denseform that stays cool even on hot days & acts to provide constant support at pressure points} also ensures additional comfort while maintaining it's compact build. It also doesn't have the folding hinge area so is more comfortable for the child too.

Car seat regulations can be quite confusing as different countries have different requirements that could be based on a child's age, weight, height or a combination of all three.

Taxi Baby, a local company that's passionate about increasing the awareness of child passenger safety in Singapore and Asia, recently had an exclusive collaboration with mifold to release this limited edition orange mifold One booster seat. A lucky colour just in time for our Chinese New Year celebrations!! haha...

This verson of mifold One is certified to ECE R44.04, which is approved in Singapore, Europe, and most of Asia, but not legal in the United States, Australia and Canada. You can verify this with this orange label on the shoulder strap.

If you wish to use mifold One booster seat in US, Australia or Canada, please get the other version that conforms to US (FMVSS 213) and another for Canadian regulations (RSSR) from other shops.

All mifold One booster seats comes with a handy manual that fits neatly in a pocket of the booster seat cover. A video tutorial on how to use the mifold booster seats is available too.

mifold One does not have side impact protection but you can get additional products that do provide side impact protection from Taxi Baby.

mifold's creative innovations are inspired by their objective to lower the percentage of children that travel without a booster seat and the risks that come with the lack of one. By designing a lightweight, portable and equally safe version of the traditional booster seat, there really is no reason to not have your child travel in one when needed!

But, the opportunity cost of having a lightweight, portable and safe backless booster seat design like this is that it cannot offer the added weight and build that a booster seat with side impact protection would have.

For my own special friends & blog readers, I've ONE mifold One Non-Folding Portable Booster Seat in Orange {worth S$69} to give away!!

mifold One is suitable for children aged 4 and up, or between 15 and 36kg and up to 150cm in height. It can be used in Singapore, Asia, Europe and other countries that follow European regulatory standard (ECE R44.04).

Giveaway Method: Random Draw

1. Be a Sakura Haruka Facebook page fan

2. Subscribe to my upcoming newsletter. Make sure the email add you used to subscribe is working as I'll be using that to contact the winner. Remember to confirm the subscription and check your junk folder in case the confirmation email goes there.

3. Like & Share this Facebook photo and tag 3 friends. Make sure your post is public!

4. Leave me a blog comment telling me your best tip for traveling overseas with kids + FB name you used to like the page + name you used to subscribe to the newsletter. For those unsure of how to comment, choose "Name/URL" option then add your name and comment.

Bonus entry:
1. Follow @AiSakuraHaruka on Instagram
2. Repost this photo on IG & tag @AiSakuraHaruka #ASHxMifoldGiveaway + your FB name + 3 friends. Make sure your post is public!

ONE random winner will be chosen. Just complete all 4 simple steps + bonus entry {if you like}!

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. The winner is Cynthia Koh-Aw. Stay tuned for more blog giveaways on Sakura Haruka! Check out my current readers promos too. Thanks for your support!

* Open to Singapore residents only.
* Ends Monday, 28 Jan 2019 2359hrs {Singapore time} 
* Incomplete or inappropriate entries will be deemed invalid and will not be included.
* Winner will be announced by Wednesday 30 Jan 2019 on this blog post and notified via email with further instructions on how to collect prize. Winner have 2 days to reply, or the prize will be redrawn.
* Sakura Haruka is not responsible for any prizes lost, damaged or misplaced in delivery.

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