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Friday, December 30, 2016

Outdoors Family Shoot at Gardens by the Bay {East} ❤

So after much postponement and rescheduling, we FINALLY fixed a date with good weather to have our annual family photo-shoot with Alwyn! Woot woot!!

I had almost given up on having one for 2016 but God is good and we arranged with Alwyn to meet up one Sunday at Gardens by the Bay East. On one of our cycling trips at East Coast Park, we cycled all the way there via the Park Connector Network {PCN} and found it to be lovely spot for photo-taking with the beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere.

It isn't as crowded as Bay Central Garden with the popular main attractions like the Flower Domes and Supertree Grove and you can still capture the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands as backdrop.

It was a pretty short, casual photo-shoot. Nothing pose-y or contrived... very much Alwyn's style. We just knew we wanted something to show our current fit family lifestyle so wanted it outdoors and only decided on our outfits that morning from something we already had in our wardrobe!!

We also decided to cycle to the photoshoot area from East Coast Park so arrived looking a little disheveled and sweaty haha.

Alwyn was amazing, as always, in capturing a lot of our spontaneous family moments. Love love love how all the photos turned out... I even bothered to go and print some to frame up haha ❤

Also glad that the boy was still able to carry me up like this and still look pretty relaxed! haha..

The photoshoot was after our trip to Hong Kong where I binged on 鸡蛋仔 {egg waffles} EVERY DAY and took some time off training so I definitely wasn't at my fittest nor leanest {at 15% body fat composition} anymore...

... and I really wanted to have film memories of that period but never mind, I don't need to be at my fittest or leanest to show how blessed I am with this little family of mine (*≧▽≦)

These are fond memories to treasure and look back on..  

to see how far we have come through the years...

... and how Lil Pumpkin has grown from a wee little bub to a beautiful, precocious, and kind young lady. 

But no matter how much she has grown, she will always be her daddy's little girl.

Our darling baby girl ❤

This is one of my fave shots actually and perfectly shows how strong and supportive the boy is to us.

He has been there for me through so many milestones {and dark periods} of my life and I know he will be there for us both in the future too.. 

Love you, Poogeo.

Love you both a lot.. ❤

Our family photoshoots:


Sunday, December 18, 2016

P2 Parenting: StickerKid Personalised Name Labels & Stickers

I can't believe a whole year just flew by and Lil Pumpkin successfully completed her first year of primary school!!  She worked hard and played her and I'm truly proud of her. It seems like yesterday when we were just shopping for her new school uniforms or spying keeping watch on her during orientation... 

There's just about 2 more weeks before school reopens and she will be going to her new school year as a Primary 2 kid. Awww! #wheredidmybabygo

A new school year also means new school books and supplies to prepare and label which any school parent would know, can be a rather tedious task ( ᐛ )و

Growing up, I've to admit I've lost a lot of things. Sometimes it was small items like an eraser or pencil, sometimes it was important things like.. my wallet or shoes {why somebody would want to take another person's dirty old shoes beats me too}. I remember my mum telling me time and time again to take care of my things, but still patiently writing my name with permanent marker on my school uniform, water bottle, shoes, lunchboxes, books etc, because she knows that I'm quite a scatterbrain. It really was quite a painful process, considering how many school years we have... thank you mummy!

I'm glad that as a mother to a scatterbrain kid now, life is so much easier with the labeling process thanks to companies like StickerKid, which has printed millions of labels for more than 100,000 parents worldwide! Their colourful labels and stickers clearly identify children's clothes, shoes, bottles and other belongings that are too easily lost or difficult to identify in playgrounds, schools, pools or anywhere with a whole bunch of kids actually!

All you have to do is to go to StickerKid website to choose the type of stickers you want. They are pretty versatile and you can customise the background & fonts with different colors and characters that your kids like. You can even add your own photo to the stickers. It doesn't get any more personal than that!

Just choose your label shape {rectangle, heart, circle etc.} then type in your text, choose your logo/ colour of sticker / colour of text and follow the simple instructions to check-out! Easy peasy!! And you get a whole sheet of stickers each time, without manually labeling each item by hand. Saves so much time!

The stickers are of high quality, water-resistant and stick well to a variety of surfaces. However, if you want to remove them, you can and they don't leave any sticky residue. Even their clothes stickers are easily applied and removed with a heated iron. Very useful when passing on clothes and belongings to younger siblings or friends.

We've stuck them on to Lil Pumpkin's bags, uniforms, bottles, shoes and they seem to be holding up well despite my dear daughter's rough handling (❛▿❛✿) The different sizes are really handy for the different items.

The heart-shaped name labels are too sweet and are my fave!! I also like that you can use Chinese or Japanese characters in their name labels for mother tongue class supplies.

If you're looking to get some good quality name labels for school {or even yourself!!}, check out StickerKid on their website or Facebook page and use my promo code below for extra discounts.

All their products are shipped from Switzerland with Priority Post. Shipping price is only S$3 and packages are delivered directly into your letter box. There are value packs available where you can save at least 30% and even special Christmas edition name labels for presents (⌒▽⌒)☆

Happy holidays and start of the new school year!!

Promo Code: Quote SakuraharukaSK for 10% of ALL StickerKid products!! Excluding gift vouchers, valid only on StickerKid {Singapore} website until 25 Dec 2016.

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary 1 journey:

For more tips on P1 preparation:

* Disclosure: This is a review for StickerKid. All opinions are my own.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Learning to Cycle as an Adult {in my 30s} !!!

Confession: Until 3 weeks ago, I did not know how to balance on a bicycle and cycle on my own.

Don't get me wrong, I love cycling {and do it very often on our Assault Airbike for exercising}... it's just that I can't balance on my own?? haha.. It's not that I haven't tried learning before. I remember my mum brought me to learn when I was a kid and just on that day I almost manage to master it, we got into a car accident and she never brought me back out to practise again (*≧▽≦)

Over the years, some of my friends tried to teach me too but I just couldn't get the hang of balancing on my own. Of course, I am kinda bummed not being able to ride a bike on my own sometimes but it never really bothered me too much. I don't use it in my daily life for transport, especially in Singapore, and my family/ friends and I are hardly ever out cycling for recreational purposes. If there's a need to, I'd just rent a tandem bike and cycle with someone.

Or, there's always my trusty 2 legs haha... I love going for strolls and walks to explore places.

In Japan, bicycles are widely used. People ride it all over to the shops, park, school or work. When I was studying and staying the dorm at Ryukoku, my friends and I used to love going to this 100円回転 sushi place to binge on delicious and cheap sushi! It isn't that accessible by public transport as there's no direct bus or train there. It takes about 20 minutes by bike... or about 45 minutes by walking. Most of them are able to cycle but we would usually all walk together. Sometimes though, they would take their bikes and because Min and I can't cycle, we would walk. It really worked up our appetite though and gave us a good exercise to burn those calories after our full meal so honestly, I didn't mind one bit!!

Yup, it was nice knowing that there was someone else who didn't know how to cycle even as an adult too haha.

I was resigned to my fate of never being able to cycle on my own until recently, a cycling enthusiast friend found out that I couldn't cycle and took it upon himself to want to teach me and another friend who happened to not be able to cycle too.

A group of us went down to East Coast Park one Saturday to try and get this other friend and me to learn how to cycle. I didn't bear much hope of mastering the bike in one session but lo and behold!!! I manage to balance and cycle on my own after about 30 minutes!!! Hooray!!! So so pleased and thankful to my friends who were patient enough to teach a me to cycle even after 30+ years...

So you see, you can teach an old dog new tricks haha ( ᐛ )و

I love my new-found freedom of riding a bike and have been rather addicted to riding. Can't wait to go faster and further!!

I've been practising at least once a week since I learnt how to cycle and on my second practice session, my family and I went from East Coast Park all the way to Gardens by the Bay via the park connectors. I never knew that it was so close and accessible to one another!!

Really, it's amazing how much you can discover and explore on a bike...

Unfortunately when we reached there, my rented bicycle's rear derailleur broke and I had to walk and push it all the way back to East Coast Park again to exchange for another one *groan*

Last weekend, I learnt how to shift bicycle gears to pedal up and downhill more efficiently, and how to brake more smoothly.

I am still sticking to the park connectors and even then, I get nervous when I have to cycle near other people so will try to go to less crowded areas. Slowly, I'll try to gain confidence to cycle on pathways, roads and maybe even mountain trails haha...

I'm planning to get my own bicycle for Christmas but have not decided on what to purchase yet. Any ideas or suggestions for a first bike??

Ever since I shared that I only recently learnt how to cycle as an adult a few weeks ago, at least 6 people have come up to tell me that they still don't know how to cycle too! Well, I hope that they get to learn real soon!!!

Most adults would already know how to cycle so if you can, just grab a patient friend / family member to teach you. However, if you don't want to impose on them and don't mind paying someone to coach you, I searched online and found that there are structured adult cycling classes that you can go to at Biking Singapore, Cycle School SG and Singapore Bike School {founded by Daddy Kenneth who shared about his fatherhood journey on my blog previously}.

Cycling is not a necessity in our society, but it does help improve our health in many ways by increasing cardiovascular fitness, increasing muscle strength and flexibility, improving joint mobility, improving posture and coordination.... not to mention it is super fun, relaxing and can be enjoyed by the whole family!

I foresee us going for many more cycling sessions in the near future haha (⌒▽⌒)☆

Know anybody who still can't ride a bike?
What do you suggest to get for a first bike? Something cheap or second-hand? 
Or invest in a good, expensive one?

P.S. If you want to get fit & have fun with your family, Safari Zoo Run 2017 is coming up!

There's an early bird promo until 30 Nov 2016 and just for my blog readers and friends, enjoy 10% off current rates when you register from now until 15 Jan 2017 using my promo code: SZR2017BGPSAKUHARU10 (*^▽^)/


Friday, November 18, 2016

15% Body Fat Target Reached! | Operation 健康アップ

Sorry that I haven't been updating as often on my blog for my fitness journey at the gym. I still do it frequently on my other social media accounts i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even post videos on YouTube so if you are interested, do connect with me there.

Decided to post an update now because of two things. Firstly, over the past few weeks I've had various strangers reach out at my gym {!!!} or online to tell me how inspired they are by what I have achieved and shared on the blog, and how it has motivated them to start exercising more too. Thank you so much for telling me.. it really makes me so encouraged to carry on and share more of my fitness story.

Secondly, I had a measurement last weekend and finally, FINALLY... I hit my body fat composition target of 15%!! Wooohooo!!! I'd been stuck at 16% for half a year and finally had a breakthrough!! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

The amount of body fat you have is an important measurement of health. Too little fat isn't good as you need essential fat for basic physical and physiological health, while obviously too much fat isn't ideal as well. As a rough guide for women, an obese lady has 32+% body fat, an average lady has 25-31% body fat, a fit lady has 21-24% body fat, and an athletic lady has 14-20% body fat.

It's important to track body fat composition when getting lean as you need to know that you are  losing fat, and not your muscles when training. That's why the numbers on weighing scales don't really matter and how 2 people who weigh the same can look perfectly different when one person trains, while the other doesn't. Since I started training regularly, I've lost only 4kg on the scales but more than half my body fat {32.2% to 15.57%}.

Here are a few ways you can measure your body fat percentage by yourself, or go to a GP. Jen helps me to measure mine at the gym.  

In the grand scheme of health, I don't need to hit 15% body fat as I'm already considered lean at 16%. But I want to, just for kicks ੧(❛▿❛✿)੭ It gave me a goal to work towards, motivated me to stay on track with my training / diet.. and provided me with a measure on how well I was doing.

I probably could have achieved this milestone earlier as I had already hit 16.1% in May 2016. However, I went on various holidays and breaks in my training, and for the past 2 months had to nurse a back injury which disrupted my usual training quite a bit. Other than that one day at CrossFit where I hit my conventional deadlift PR, I have not been lifting heavy for the past 2 months and for a period of time, only trained my upper body.

However, thanks to Superman who conscientiously planned my rehab programs, forced encouraged me to do more heart-pumping metcon workouts & dreaded prowler pushes, and reminded me constantly to watch my diet & recovery.. at long last I reached my body fat target. Appreciate other people at Genesis like Jen and Boon who helped me to plan my nutrition plan and execute my training program, as well as my family for their constant support too (*⌒∇⌒*)

If I have only one tip for you on how to stay on a fitness journey, it is that you really need a village for support. The first few days are easy as you are powered by enthusiasm and positivity. However, after you hit a few roadblocks, feel beaten by tiredness and hunger a few times, or see no significant progress.. you tend to lose hope and willpower. And that's when you need to lean on your village for encouragement and support to just keep going.

I am beyond thankful for mine

So what next after hitting this body fat composition target of mine? Well, Superman thinks I should try to go lower to show my more of my abs by June next year haha. Currently I kinda have 4-pack that plays peek-a-boo with me throughout the day... {another gym client was there when Superman was helping me to take the photos & she told me "nice abs!" though haha}  

Jen also thinks that there's still room for me to decrease my body fat percentage while building muscles and the boy is supportive of this too.

I am ok with just maintaining at 15% but I love a good challenge and if my village thinks I can and should go even lower, why not? (☆▽☆) I will work towards that.. however now I want to focus more on building back my muscles and hitting my strength targets too i.e. squatting at 1.5x body weight, deadlifting 2x body weight and doing pull-ups with 0.25x body weight.

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

P.S. If you want to get fit & have fun with your family, Safari Zoo Run 2017 is coming up!

There's an early bird promo until 30 Nov 2016 and just for my blog readers and friends, enjoy 10% off current rates when you register from now until 15 Jan 2017 using my promo code: SZR2017BGPSAKUHARU10 (*^▽^)/