Thursday, March 14, 2019

Asian Squat Squat Club - Happy 16th Anniversary to Us ♥

The boy and I celebrated our 16th anniversary together on Sat 2 Mar 2019.

As a treat, the boy got both of us matchy matchy t-shirts from Asian Squat Social Club, which is a parody{??} of another streetwear brand, Anti Social Social Club {ASSC} hehe.

I love silly puns and parodies like this!! I'll be sure to wear this when I PR my squats hahaha.. Thank you, Poogeo!! ( ˘ ³˘)♥

Kinda cool that we got featured on the uber-popular Asians Never Die IG feed...

 As well as the shop Asian Squat Social Club IG feed too. 

I never really noticed that this is a "special skill" for Asians, but since joining the gym, I do realise that not many are able to deep squat or go "ass-to-grass".

According to some text, it's because of stiff ankles but personally, I do believe that it's due to lack of practice and training. I mean since young, most of us who grew up in Asian countries would have needed to use the squat toilets while those in the Western countries probably needed to squat less since they used toilet bowls most, if not all the time?

Deep squatting just comes so easily for us and sometimes, it's my default resting position too haha.  

Yes, he got his little princess a mini version in black too for a family matchy-matchy outfit but hers was in the wash that day.

Looking at this pic, it's amazing that Lil Pumpkin is already past her daddy's shoulders! The boy took her height recently and noted that she grew about 1-1.5" in the past month omg... I think she should be about 1.45cm tall now??

Happy family pic ♡o。.(✿ฺ。 ✿ฺ)

We didn't really do much that day.. just went to the World Snack Fair at Expo, walked around at Changi City Point then dinner out eating my fave 麻辣香锅 {spicy stir-fry pot}.

When you are 老夫老妻, simple and relaxing days together are the best. No need for any fancy celebrations and extravagant shows of love.  

Sorry I'm late once again to note down this special occasion but nowadays when it comes to blogging, it's better late than never hahahaha...

Happy 16th Anniversary to Us, Poogeo ♥ Thank you for loving me.  

Other anniversary posts:
Happy 16th Anniversary - 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Best Basic Scone Recipe - 4 Ingredients Only! {Egg-free}

I love scones. Like freaking love them.

If they weren't so calorie-dense, and if I didn't gain weight as easily as I do, I would probably eat them every day haha. My fave ones are raisin scones from our country club. I reckon I would cry the day they take them off the menu.

Anyway, most of the recipes I've come across seem rather complicated and needed quite a number of ingredients. So, I was really thrilled when my friend's mum shared with me her scones recipe.

The problem is that her recipe calls for caster sugar. I, however, prefer savoury scones but since I don't usually eat salt {unless with tempura} or add salt to my cooking {I didn't even have salt at home before I tried baking the scones heh}, I wasn't too sure how to tweak the recipe and substitute the sugar properly with salt.

For my first batch, silly me actually thought that I should substitute the sugar {50g} with just slightly less amount of salt {35g} and salted butter! Woah!! Big mistake!!! It was waaaaayyyyyyy too salty for my liking but hmmm, kinda passable when eaten with honey butter {my favourite scone topping if I'm eating at home}.

For my second batch, I tried using 10g salt, raisins and unsalted butter, and although it was much less salty, I still found it too salty for my liking. The boy liked it though.

I tried a few more times and then last week, I baked the scones with Bak Kwa {a mixture from Lim Chee Guan, Kim Choo Guan & Fragrance} and just sprinkled pinches of salt over the dough. OMFG!!! This batch turned out really, really good in my honest opinion hehe #selfpraise

A number of people asked me for my Bak Kwa Scones recipe but that really is a random, DIY experiment and I didn't measure some of the ingredients so wasn't confident of sharing. However, I am happy to share this Basic Scone Recipe which requires only 4 ingredients!!

No need baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, buttermilk and so on. 

Using this basic scone recipe, feel free to add in your own extras if you like e.g. sultanas, cheese, cranberries, lemon, chocolate chips etc. and yes, even Bak Kwa hehe.

Super easy to do and you can whip up a fresh batch of scones in less than an hour.

Prep time:
40 mins

500g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
125g salted butter {take it out from fridge for 5-10mins}
300ml full cream milk
6-7 x pinches of salt
1 egg for glazing {optional, alternatively use milk}

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Put the flour into a big bowl.
  3. Add the slightly-soft {not melted} butter and pinches of salt.
  4. With clean hands, rub the butter into into the mixture so that it has a fine, breadcrumb texture. 
  5. Use a wooden spoon to make a well in the mixture. 
  6. Pour the milk into the well.
  7. Mix gently, keeping it light and fluffy. Do not overwork it or you'll squash out all the air.
  8. Scrape at the edges to form mixture into a ball in the bowl.
  9. Dust flour onto the work surface and tip the ball of dough onto this.
  10. Dust flour onto the dough so that it's not sticky.
  11. Knead very gently and brush away excess flour.
  12. Gently pat it flat to about 1 inch thick. Remember not to squash out the excess air.
  13. Dip a 5-6cm round cutter in flour, tap the excess, cut the dough starting from the outside, then lift the scone onto the lined baking tray.
  14. Gently glaze the scones with a pastry brush using a beaten egg or milk wash.
  15. Bake for 10 minutes, open the oven and glaze the scones again. Turn the trays around, if needed, to bake all the scones evenly. 
  16. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until you can smell the scones and they are well-risen {note: the original recipe calls for about 12 mins baking time but I usually like my scone tops a bit more golden}.
  17. Cool on a wire rack to prevent a soggy bottom.
  18. Serve warm.
Using a round cutter about 6cm in diameter, I can usually get around 14-16 pieces of scones. For scone toppings, I recommend eating with butter, honey butter, jam and/or clotted cream.

While there's debate whether to put cream or jam first, if I am eating my scones with these 2 toppings, I prefer to put the clotted cream first, then the jam {Devon-style}. However, the Queen of England herself is said to prefer jam first before a dollop of clotted cream {Cornish tradition}... so you decide. *grins* 

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 ❤