Thursday, October 19, 2017

Letter to my girl #20: Your First Major Exam

Dear Lil Pumpkin,

You're having your first-ever "major" exams now..

Since you started primary school, we've been blessed in the sense that your school has always placed spiritual and character development over academic excellence, so there has not been much stress in your studies.

There's no stress over tedious spelling lists to memorise, daily homework, weekly tests, or regular after-school hours enrichment classes that some of your peers in other schools are going through even from P1. Perhaps because of this, you love going to school and learning with your school friends at a comfortable, leisurely pace. Even during the holidays, you would tell me that you miss school and your friends (◡‿◡✿)

Since there's not much pressure from school, Mummy and Daddy has been pretty chill with your studies too _へ__(‾◡◝ ) Too chill, perhaps?

Now with your first "major" exam, I guess studying is feeling more intense than usual. Mummy definitely is feeling the "heat" as like any parent, I hope for you to do well.

Throughout the school year, you complete your homework as required and fare pretty well in your spelling and tests, so there is no reason for you not to pass your exams. However, "mini tests" are definitely different in scale and complexity from year-end exams whereby you have to remember everything that was taught for the whole year, so that's why we've been spending much more time on revision and practice recently. 

平时不烧香,临时抱佛脚... Perhaps we should have started exams prep & revision earlier, rather than trying to cram everything in this past month. I'm sorry Lil Pumpkin, that Mummy didn't help to plan earlier and instead left everything so last minute. The time constraint certainly makes Mummy even more anxious and I'm sorry if it made me even more impatient and bad-tempered.

Mummy will learn from this experience and teach you to have better, more consistent study habits too, I promise. Especially with your Chinese. Your Daddy and I are not worried much for your English or Maths.. but your Chinese, sigh... much work needs to be done there.

You have no idea how happy and relieved we felt when we found out that you didn't need to have Chinese composition exams this year! haha.. (*^▽^)/

Even during this hectic exam period, Mummy and Daddy still remembers that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". We make sure that you still get to do your favourite crafts at home {painting & hama beads-work}, play outdoors and even join a few parties with your friends to "de-stress" and have fun! ( ◞・౪・)

It may not be as care-free or relaxing a time as what you are used to, but I hope that you understand that there are different seasons and time for everything. There are times to eat, times to rest, times to exercise, time to watch TV, times to play, times to be with friends, and times to be with your books.

Just hang in here for a few more weeks and soon, we can all enjoy the year-end holidays and head back to Japan where we promised to bring you to Disneyland again!

I love you, Lil Pumpkin. Even when Mummy scolds you harshly over your studies, Mummy still loves you very much and just wants the best for you and your future. Remember that, ok?

Love always,

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fitness Diary :: 10 How to Meal-Prep Tips

I've been meal-prepping for about 9 months now since the beginning of the year, when I started training one-on-one under Superman. Although tedious, and sometimes quite boring, when coupled with my daily calorie-tracking, it has definitely guided me in making better and healthier food choices.. most of the time haha.

This meal-prepping habit I've formed has benefited not just me, but the rest of the family too since I also prep some meals for the boy and Lil Pumpkin too. This year, although I'm still not cooking often, I'm happy that we get at least 6-7 homecooked meals a week and I do feel like we're eating much cleaner and healthier.. plus getting a good deal of fresh, wholesome food, especially vegetables, into our bodies.   

I'm no expert in meal-prep, but here are some things I've learnt and 10 Tips on How to Meal-Prep I'd like to share with you. Feel free to comment and let me know some of your other meal-prep tips too! ( ◞・౪・) 

1. Think Positively
Don't think of meal-prepping as a chore for the week, or something you must do to keep healthy. Instead, think of the time, money and effort you can save from cooking daily, or as a relaxing me-time to create food made with love for the family {and yourself}, or even the freedom it gives you from worrying about what to eat for each meal and how you can focus on other things that matter.

2. Cook for the whole week
Plan ahead to save time and money when you buy in bulk. Make sure you have a grocery list before you go shopping for the week. When cooking, prepare them in one batch, then portion for your individual meals for the rest of the week or pack the food dishes separately and portion before each meal, “buffet-style”. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.

3. Buy food in bulk
It will keep the cost lower, and you can prepare them in a variety of ways to keep the meals interesting. Stock up especially on staples e.g. frozen meat, fruits and vegetables {less expensive & last longer}, and rice, beans, oats etc.

4. Go for convenience
Get food that require very little prep-time e.g. pre-cut veggies, pre-washed salads, cooked rotisserie meat. Make use of protein shakes / protein bars to fulfil your protein needs on the go, but do so sparingly {at most once a day} and you can also order pre-packed healthy food delivery services for busy days e.g. YOLO Food, Grain, Maki San, Fit Three, AMGD

5. Portion and Go
Ready-portioned meals save time for you to weigh the individual ingredients each time, and prevent you from mindless eating from the bag or jar.

6. Invest in the right containers
Proper food storage containers allow you to re-heat your meals and eat from them, saving you time and effort from extra washing. Use air-tight, microwavable containers {preferably glass} or zip-lock bags for dry snacks to keep them fresh.

7. Set a Time Limit 
It's not enough just to set time aside to meal-prep {I usually do mine once a week on Sunday} but it's very easy to go overboard and spend a long time in the kitchen cooking and prepping since in your mind, you're prepping for so many meals so you should spend more time on them. No, you don't have to spend your whole day prepping food for the week! Set a time limit of maybe 2-3hrs, focus and learn to multitask e.g. bake something while cooking on the stove. 

8. Use MyFitnessPal app
It can be more than a calorie-tracking app. Use it to record recipes and meals so that you can reuse them again in the future, with modifications if needed, without needing to weigh the food and calculate the calories again.

9. Think Outside the Box
Be consistent, but not boring. You don't always have to eat the same thing all day, or even the same meal for lunch the whole week. Create standard "meal bases" e.g. salads or rice, and change the toppings or side dishes to shake things up.

10. Be Kind to Yourself
Even with the best-laid plans, things may not always go your way. You might not have time at all over the weekend to meal-prep, you might have to eat out unexpectedly, or you might just give in to your cravings and go overboard with unplanned snacking. It's really ok. Don't beat yourself up over it, but most of all, don't let it affect the rest of the meals for the day or even the week! Refocus and push through!

Follow my Fitness Diary posts here or on Instagram {#AiFitnessDiary}

Other Fitness Tips:
10 Tips on How to Meal-Prep

One-on-On Personal Training Updates:

Genesis Gym Personal Training Updates:
The Beginning - Signing Up for Personal Training

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Last Time - Parenting Inspiration for the Tired Soul

There certainly are days when I feel so tired, beaten and worn. Even now. Especially now?

It's been 8+ years since I became a mother and sometimes just as I feel like I'm getting the hang of this parenting gig, new challenges and struggles appear.

Indeed, parenting is a journey with so much to learn everyday.  The saying "Parenting isn't a practice. It's a daily learning experience" certainly holds true! 

But, I'm glad that I've the boy by my side as my light, my confidant, my partner in this parenting journey. He keeps me steady, gives me faith and reminds me of the important things that matter when I'm just about to lose it.

And boy, have I been close to losing it recently!! Lil Pumpkin's having school exams for the first time this month so I've been spending more time revising work with her. Maybe I'm stressing over her exams more than I should {c'mon, she's only P2!!}, but coupled with juggling work, gym and other family chores... my patience is low, temper high and overall being a very grumpy mummy.

The boy and I had a chat on Tuesday during breakfast before work and helped me to put things in perspective though. These hard times may be tiring to bear, but as they come, they too will go and there will be a last time for everything. We must cherish the fleeting moments, both good and the bad, and make them count. 

I remembered a poem I read sometime back, The Last Time, prayed more, and felt my burden somewhat lighter ❤ I hope that if you're feeling a little tired for whatever reasons in your own parenting journey, you'd be uplifted with the words below too:

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
You will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feeding and burping,
Whining and fighting,
Naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don't forget...
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby
for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip,
then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.

One afternoon you will sing 'the wheels on the bus'
and do all the actions,
Then you'll never sing that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your
last dirty face.
They will one day run to you with arms raised,
for the very last time.

The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time
until there are no more times, and even then,
it will take you a while to realise.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them and
when they are gone,
you will yearn for just one more day of them
For one last time.

- Author unknown

Friday, September 29, 2017

Home Gym & Fitness Equipment Shops in Singapore

There are many reasons why people build their own home training space. Convenience is definitely a major factor.

With your own home gym, you can work out any time of the day, right in the privacy and comfort of your own home. You don't have to jostle with the crowd at commercial gyms, don't have to wait for machines, don't have to be disgusted when you've to use smelly, old equipment that people don't wipe their sweat off, don't have to worry about being judged, don't have to be distracted by others... you basically have your own personal sanctuary to get fit and fab ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

No more excuses about the gym being too far, or the weather preventing you from getting a good exercise, or the kids not letting you out of their sight.  

Yes, the initial cost and space required has to be considered, but your home gym can be as big... or as small as you want it to be. If you want, you can dedicate a room like we have and put in a power rack, bench, weight plates, air bike, dumb-bells, barbells etc., OR you can just have a small workout corner and invest in a few basic equipment that don't cost much.

Based on my own experience and on what I've researched, here are some essentials for decent whole body workouts:
  • Bench
  • Adjustable dumb-bells
  • Doorway Pull-up bar
  • Skipping Ropes
  • Resistance bands
  • Rubber floor mats
Of course, depending on your own needs and program there are other equipment you should get and many regular / advanced gym users would say that barbells and weight plates are essentials in any gym, but they do cost more and take up more space. Plus, you may not want to worry about damaging your floor or disturbing your neighbours when you drop the weights.

Although.. I know one of my friends is very ingenious and actually uses a trolley to transport her bar and heavy plates down to her nearby playground to work out haha °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Anyway, I've compiled a list of brick-and-mortar, and online shops for people that want to get home gym and fitness equipment in Singapore. We got our own equipment and stuff from some of the shops too. I don't think this list is exhaustive, and if you know of any good shops that I should add into my list, feel free to contact me.


1. Active Lifestyle Singapore
Showroom: 970 Toa Payoh North, #04-04 Toa Payoh Industrial Estate, Singapore 318992
Hours: Weekdays {9am - 6pm}, Weekends {By appointment only}
Tel: 6258 4678
*Associated to Reflex-O Singapore

2. Decathlon Singapore
Showroom: 1 Joo Koon Circle, #02-21, Singapore 629117
Hours: Daily {8am -10pm}
Tel: 6225 4773
*Also at Bedok & City Square Mall

3. F1 Recreation
Showroom: 20 Sin Ming Lane, Midview City, #01-57, 573968
Hours: Mon - Thur {10am - 6pm}, Fri & Sat {10am - 7pm}, Sun {By appointment only}
Tel: 6846 7666

4. Fitness Activist
Showroom: Blk 9005 Tampine St 93, #03-222, Singapore 528839
Hours: Mon - Fri {10am - 6pm}, Sat {10am - 12pm}, Closed Sun & PHs
Tel: 8812 8686
*Closed during lunch 12pm - 4pm

5. Gymsportz Fitness
Showroom: 7 Mandai link #05-27 {Block B} Mandai connection, Singapore 728653
Hours: Mon - Fri {3pm - 6pm}, Sat {12pm - 3.30pm}, Closed Sun & PHs
Tel: 8333 9816

6. HomeGym.SG
Showroom: Blk 9 Yishun Industrial St 1, #02-68, Singapore 768163
Hours: Mon - Fri {11am - 6.30pm}, Sat {11am - 5pm}, Closed Lunch 12pm - 1 pm, Sun & PHs
Tel: 6710 5787
*Closed during lunch 12pm - 1pm

7. JMall Fitness
Showroom: 63 Ubi Avenue 1 #06-08, Singapore 408937
Hours: Mon - Fri {8.30am - 5.30pm}, Sat {8.30am - 3pm}, Closed Sun & PHs
Tel: 6747 4789

8. Movement First
Showroom: 8B Admiralty Street, #04-20, Singapore 757440
Hours: Mon - Fri {10am - 6pm}, Fri {10am -  9pm}, Sat {9am - 1pm}, Closed Sun & PHs
Tel: 6481 0412
*Closed during lunch 12pm - 2pm 

9. Primero Fitness {equipment review}
Showroom: #07-01 Woodlands Horizon, 31 Woodlands Close 737855, Singapore 577182
Hours: Weekdays only, 11am - 9pm
Tel: 9670 7516

10. SG Home Gym {online only}
Tel: 93859664

11. SportsCo {online only}
Tel: 9889 8620

Of course, working out in your own home gym can be a bit boring and lonely at time... which is why some people like the social aspect of going to a commercial gym I guess. It can also be demotivating when there's no one there to push you to go for that extra rep or to increase your weight, and maybe you don't even know how to work out on your own. What training program to do? How to keep myself safe when exercising? How to even do that exercise??

In case you still prefer to train at home and have the above concerns, then it is probably best that you get a personal trainer - someone who can help you to plan your exercise program according to whatever equipment you have and your individual needs, motivate you and make sure that you're keeping to proper forms and techniques. I'd of course recommend my personal trainer, Superman, whom I've been training with for nearly 2 years, if you're looking for one.

Please send me pics of your home training space if you do decide to set one up. I'd love to see what you've come up with! ( ᐛ )و

One-on-On Personal Training Updates:

Genesis Gym Personal Training Updates:
The Beginning - Signing Up for Personal Training

*Note: This is not a paid review or advertorial. All opinions are my own.