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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas 2014 | Celebrating in Singapore City

It's been about 6 years since I've moved back to Singapore, and although I really, really miss winter and snow especially during Christmas time, the warmth of having family and friends around during my favourite time of the year sure makes up for it. And that's the best part about celebrating Christmas in Singapore actually.

One of our fave family traditions is to go down to Orchard Road to admire the festive decorations but it gets so terribly crowded nearing Christmas that we've to avoid it like a plaque these few days. Went down earlier in December though when the night light-ups just started. It's goes on at 6.30pm each evening now until 1 Jan 2015.

The Christmas decorations in Orchard seem more sophisticated now, but I remember that they used to be grander when I was younger. The shopping malls really went all out to dress their facades up to win the "Best Dressed Building" competition. Now, it's mainly the multi-coloured Christmas trees and glittering blue snowflakes that line the shopping street that steal the limelight. The malls themselves don't docorate much except for a few Christmas trees here and there.

Except for Tangs, of course. And Orchard Central, Paragon and Tanglin Mall. Those few still keep the tradition alive!

This year I decided to keep up with our Happy Mail Project and send out Christmas cards to some friends and families in Singapore, and overseas. Lil Pumpkin hand-wrote and sent out her first few cards to her friends too :)

I think next year I'll start early and design some personalised cards for Christmas. Most of my Japanese friends do that for their 年賀状 {New Year cards} and I love collecting them to see how their families have changed/ grown in the past year!

Other than Orchard Road, the joyous air of Christmas is also strong at places like Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Suntec City, Sentosa {have fun at Santa's Land in USS!}, Botanics Garden and even Changi Airport. You might want to check them out as well to soak in the festivities. These places will sure be crowded too, but I guess less congested than Orchard Road??

Feeling pretty excited for Christmas next week, but can't believe that there's just 2 more weeks left to 2014!! Will be taking things slow and probably take time to review my year, and to plan for the next one ;)

Happy Holidays and enjoy the Christmas season! I'll be posting on our Resorts World Genting getaway next week so remember to check it out, if you're thinking of taking advantage of the low Ringgit currency rate to travel into Malaysia too haha.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Home Living | New Bosch Athlet Cordless Handstick Vacuum

If there's one household chore I love to do, it is vacuuming. Some people like doing dishes, some like folding laundry but me.. I really don't mind vacuuming all day long!! :P There's something about the droning sound and watching all the dirt get sucked up that makes it very therapeutic to me. Even after a hard day's work, it is the first cleaning task I'm willing to tackle because it actually helps me to relax. Am I the only weird one that thinks that way?? haha

Someone up there must have heard me lamenting that my current vacuum cleaner is a hassle to lug around though because recently, I received the new Bosch Athlet Cordless Handstick Vacuum Cleaner!! Yippee yay! Vacuuming is so much more enjoyable now :)

The Athlet is very light {about 3kg} and compact. Although we don't live in a shoebox apartment, our home is filled with lots of toys, books and general family "stuff" which can make walkways pretty narrow. The Athlet is slim enough to maneuver around all these easily and since it is fitted with a flexible nozzle attachment, it is also easy to reach tight spaces like underneath sofas and cupboards. Even picking up dirt near the floor skirting is no problem.

Without a cord dragging behind it, the cordless Athlet can be used just about anywhere and doesn't get tangled with any furniture or toy behind, as what happened pretty often with my old vacuum cleaner! It's definitely less heavy and cumbersome, and I don't need to go searching for a power point all the time. Makes it unbelievably easy to go from room to room, especially when it glides so smoothly.

The Athlet does what it says it's supposed to do and is great at vacuuming Lil Pumpkin's slide, all types of tiles at home, and even my carpets.

I was pretty surprised at this since I heard cordless battery-powered models often lack suction power. However, this latest model from Bosch is as powerful as a 2,400-watt canister vacuum cleaner and is fabulous at picking up everything, even fine dust and random tissue bits from our carpets! And oh yes, our hair too. I've no idea why Lil Pumpkin and I shed so much hair! :P

I usually vacuum for about 1 hour at a time so there's no issue about battery life. It lasts up to an hour on full charge anyway. However, now that I don't need to waste time pulling a cumbersome vacuum canister, plugging in the cord, plugging out cord etc. I spend less time cleaning up the same areas and so a single charge is enough to last me for at least 3-4 runs if I use the lowest power setting for simple cleaning.

There's also a handy light indicator to tell you when its internal filter needs to be cleaned. No matter if you use a cordless vacuum cleaner or not, anyone with a bagless vacuum cleaner knows that you have to change the filters regularly to ensure optimum cleaning performance. That is the part of I hate to do though and usually leave it until it's too late and by then, the vacuum cleaner isn't as efficient. Oops!

With the Athlet, the system immediately indicates when the filter cartridge needs to be cleaned. It only needs to be given a rinse though, and not replaced. Like the dirt container {which I also don't like to clean}, it's very easy to remove and empty, even when full. I won't say that I like doing these jobs now, but at least it's not as troublesome as before.

The Athlet comes with a simple wall-plug for you to charge it with and can stand up by itself.  We usually tuck it away neatly in a corner of Lil Pumpkin's room. It's easy enough for her to use and she likes to vacuum too, just like me haha.

I'm not going to say no to extra help in cleaning our home, and love watching her help around the house :) I actually think it's pretty important that she helps with the household chores as it teaches her responsibility and an appreciation for the warm, loving home she lives in.

Check this cute video of Lil Pumpkin vacuuming her room. If it isn't working, watch it on my YouTube channel instead.

The Bosch Athlet is currently available at all leading departmental and electrical stores island-wide. It comes in dark navy or white, and prices start from S$599. It is probably more premium than other cordless vacuum cleaners, but for the convenience and advantages it comes with, you will get your money's worth back.

If you know someone who loves vacuuming as much as I do, this might make a great gift this Christmas for him/her ;) And with the Chinese New Year just around the corner, this handy home appliance is just what you need to get yourself and your home prepared to welcome friends and family.

* Disclosure: Bosch provided the Bosch Athlet Cordless Handstick Vacuum Cleaner BCH6255N1 for review. All opinions are my own.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Homemade Cucumber & Tuna Onigiri | Week 51

What's in my obento this week?
Homemade Cucumber & Tuna Onigiri with Pork Chop &Vegetables.

This is another version of Tsuki no Usagi lunchboxes
Just one more week to Christmas, and 2 more to the end of 2014!
Is everybody ready??!! :) 

Obento {お弁当} is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and doesn't always need to be complicated or time-consuming. I hope to inspire you to create delicious, everyday obento meals for your family with these simple ideas and tools.

These photos are part of the 52 Weeks Family Obento Ideas series.


Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Update on Hubby's Hernia & Lipoma Surgery

Firstly, thanks to everyone that sent their regards and well wishes to hubby, even though not all of you may know him personally. Really appreciate all your concern :)

In case you weren't aware, the boy went to surgery on earlier this week on Monday to patch his hernia and remove the lipoma on his head. A hernia is the protrusion of an organ or the fascia of an organ through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it, and this is the second time that he had to go to surgery to fix it {first time was in another area about 3 years back}. The lipoma is a benign tumour of body fat and recently, it seemed to have gotten bigger.

Happy to see her daddy after the surgery! Or is it because of the ice-cream? :P
A few weeks back, the boy felt pain in his lower left side and since he had experienced having a hernia before, he recognised the symptoms. When he saw the specialist to fix his hernia, the doctor suggested removing the lipoma on his head too, that's why he went for the 2 surgeries together on Monday, and that's why it took about 5 hours before he was out and back at his ward to rest.

Lipoma wound on Day 2 - why they cut his hair like that??!
There was no complications with his surgeries {thank God!} and he is currently recuperating at home. He's able to move about and eat on his own, albeit very slowly. Wounds are healing well too. Next week he has a review with his doctor to check them, and to remove the stitches for his lipoma wound on the head. According to the doctor, the excess skin will take a few months to regain its shape. Or in worst case scenario, he may have to go for another surgery to remove it too.

Lipoma wound on Day 4
It's weird seeing the boy look so weak, since he has always been my macho pillar of strength. But, I know he will overcome this and become his strong self again :) The boy said he might write a piece to note down his experience, and to correct some misconceptions about hernias. Although he does a lot of weight-lifting, hernias are not caused solely by that! So anyway, if you're interested or have any questions, leave a comment and I'll get him to answer them. 

Happy to be home together again!
We're going on a short trip tomorrow to Resorts World Genting. It'll be the boy and my first visit back in almost 2 decades, and a whole new experience for Lil Pumpkin! I hope she'll take to the 5-hours coach ride up there well :P She has taken longer plane rides than that so shouldn't be a problem I reckon. There's a Sesame Street Live Broadway-style musical that's going on now at Genting International Showroom and we're looking forward to catch it.

This trip was already planned before the boy's surgery date was confirmed. His doctor said he should be well enough to make the trip and currently, the boy is feeling up to it too. Actually, he is really excited to go as he's definitely not one of those people that can be cooped up at home for too long haha.

If you haven't been to Genting in ages too, follow our family holiday to RW Genting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Will probably give live updates there :) Have a fantastic week and catch up again when we're back! xox

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