Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Kids Aerial Yoga Workshop @ Trium Fitness, Aperia Mall

This June holidays, unless most school holidays, we decided to stay put in Singapore and not go traveling. Well, unless you count that one time we took a day trip into Johor Bahru, Malaysia to bring Lil Pumpkin to Angry Birds Activity Park hehe..

With no more school rush, our days lightened up a bit {although we were both still working} and we made use of our time to relax as a family, clean up our home and also explore some of our local kids' attractions and activities. For the first time, Lil Pumpkin went to Amazonia indoor playground, KidsStop at Science Centre, learnt how to do simple coding and also experienced an exciting 3-days Kids Aerial Yoga Workshop at Trium Fitness in Aperia Mall, near Lavender MRT station.

As the boy's shoulder is currently injured, he has stopped CrossFit for a while too and now concentrates more on his own strength training and yoga. Yup, he's been taking yoga classes regularly to help with his mobility and rehabilitation.

For the past 2 months or so, he's been using the GuavaPass to try out different types of yoga classes at different yoga studios. Although it's not available on GuavaPass, one class he's been going to is the Adults Aerial Yoga class at Trium Fitness.

According to Trium Fitness, Aerial Yoga is described as "suspended off the ground in Cirque Du Soleil style, students in this class will enjoy the benefits of spinal decompression, pain relief and ease in inversions among other physical benefits. Combining yoga and aerial acrobatics with the use of a silk hammock, many poses include added benefits of lengthening and anti-aging."

The boy likes the teacher & class so when he found out that the studio was hosting a workshop for the kids {7-12 years old} too, he immediately signed Lil Pumpkin up!

It was the first time Lil Pumpkin tried any type of yoga o((*^▽^*))o

During the 1.5hrs workshop, the kids were taught how to explore aerial yoga in a fun and relaxed environment. Taught by Ming, who teaches the boy during his adult Aerial Yoga class, and another lady, the workshop was also designed to increase the children's flexibility, strength, stamina, self-confidence, and coordination to promote self-discipline, concentration, and teamwork.

Parents aren't allowed inside the workshop so I can't really review how the classes went, but judging from the photos taken by Trium Fitness and from what Lil Pumpkin says, it seems very hands-on. Lil Pumpkin had a really good time & was literally feeling "uplifted" by the experience! (/^▽^)/ Each day after the workshop, she couldn't wait to tell us what she learnt haha..

And I must say that once again, I am sooooo impressed by Lil Pumpkin's boldness. She isn't scared at all of being suspended off the ground or even flipping upside down, despite not trying anything like this at all before.

I find that as we grow up, we let our past experiences and knowledge of the world limit our ability to try new things. And sometimes, the fear of the unknown or of failure cripples us so that we are afraid of stepping out of our comfort zone.

Most children are like Lil Pumpkin, however. They are naturally curious and fearless.. and aren't afraid to push boundaries to see what they can do and achieve. Of course, fear serves a purpose; it’s a natural human emotion to warn us of possible harm – a call for us to protect ourselves. If this fearlessness is not coupled with common sense, it might prove detrimental to their well-being, but overall I think it's a good thing to be fearless {to a certain extent...}.

As her parents, I hope that we will be able to cultivate and nurture Lil Pumpkin's fearlessness to help her be bold and confident in her pursuits... to be able to to face the world head-on and make the most of every opportunity.   

I hope that if she dares to dream it, she will dare to achieve it ₊·*◟(˶╹̆ꇴ╹̆˵)◜‧*・

Anyway, the boy's going to check if Trium Fitness holds regular Kids Aerial Yoga classes or if she can join his adult class. If so, Lil Pumpkin might continue on in this and it will be a fun daddy-daughter activity for the both of them to do together ♥

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I'm not sure if they will continue to hold regular kids yoga holiday workshops in the future, but you can check their website for more information. 

Kids Aerial Yoga 3-Day Workshop
Trium Fitness, 12 Kallang Ave, Aperia Mall #03-01/02
Open 7am - 9am {Mon - Fri}, 9am - 5pm {Sat & Sun}, closed PHs
Cost: S$160/kid {includes 1 x complimentary 1hr adult yoga class}
Tel: 8782-8633

*Note: This is not a paid review or advertorial. Photos taken by Trium Fitness.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Bub & Me: Amazonia Indoor Playground @ Great World City

I'm not a terribly big fan of indoor playgrounds, but if I had to bring Lil Pumpkin to one, Amazonia Family Entertainment Centre at Great World City would definitely be my top few choices.

Let me explain why I'm not usually inclined towards indoor playgrounds first. For one, I think it's quite silly to pay relatively exorbitant prices to play at a playground, when there are so many free and spacious playgrounds easily available in Singapore. Some of the indoor playground admission prices I've seen are even comparable to USS or Adventure Cove theme parks!

Secondly, space is a premium in Singapore and most of the indoor playgrounds are rather small and cramped. I advocate "free play", which yeah means being able to play for free, but also to play and run freely in open, spacious areas... one of the reasons why I prefer outdoor playgrounds to indoor ones.

Thirdly, for some reasons indoor playgrounds seem to be always crowded!! What fun is there in waiting long for slide rides or bumping into people at almost every turn?? Plus the noise... oh goodness, imagine one kid screaming excitedly... now multiply that by at least 20-30 in a confined area!!

So why do I think Amazonia is one of the better indoor playgrounds then?

Well, mainly because it is not just an indoor playground, but Singapore's first fully themed and integrated Family Entertainment Centre where children and families can play and dine together in a 9500 sq ft air-conditioned facility. It's like a mini indoor theme park!!

See my video above for our playtime there! If it isn't showing properly, watch it on my YouTube channel here.

They have the highest indoor Wave Slides {8m}, a 6-storey {!!!} high Adventure Climbing Maze, a Toddlers Play Area, a Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf course, a Glow-in-the-Dark Spaceball Shootout room, an outdoor Crazy Bounce giant trampoline, and their very own AMAZON Bistro which serves quality family meals.

About 2 weeks ago, I went down with Lil Pumpkin, my sis and Lil J for a play-date at Amazonia. It's unlimited playtime on weekdays during the June school holidays and even though there was 40+ preschool kids on an excursion there in the morning, not to mention other customers, it didn't seem that congested at all.

There was plenty of space for the kids {and adults!!} to play and rest #winning

Lil Pumpkin spent most of her time inside the Adventure Climbing Maze. I have no idea where she gets her energy from but thank goodness I train regularly so I could keep up with her. Kinda.. haha.

The Adventure Climbing Maze is fun central with the huuuuge wave slide, mini spiral slides, ball pit, mini trampoline, suspension bridges and tunnels. Recommended for kids aged 3-12 years old, but of course younger kids and those young-at-heart *cough cough* can enter too.

Yup, I really appreciated that adults could freely join the kids in their games and play too. I was half expecting the staff to tell me to get out of the ball pit or don't sit on the slides.. but no such thing hehe.

Even inside the Adventure Climbing Maze, the tunnels, holes, covered slides and walkways etc. were big enough for me to pass through rather comfortably.

Lil J is about 1.5 years old now and she's played inside the Adventure Climbing Maze at times, but mainly stayed around the dedicated Toddlers Play Area with interactive play panels, musical keyboard, ball pit and mini slide.

The Todders Play Area is only for kids 0-3 years old and their parents, and I saw staff ask older kids to leave the area at times for the safety of the young children. However, if the older kid is a family member and there are not many toddlers around, the staff don't mind them playing there too.

Nearer the entrance, there's a small area where kids can play with Lego, wall activity boards and toys for pretend play too.

It may not be as exciting as the games rooms and jungle gym, but is especially appealing to toddlers or for those kids that want to get away from the bustling main play area I reckon.

The Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf course, Glow-in-the-Dark Spaceball Shootout room, and Crazy Bounce cost extra for use. The prices stated below are correct as of June 2017.

The Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf course costs S$8.60/player for 1 round of 9-holes. Long and short golf clubs are provided and you pay at the Bistro's counter to get 1 golf ball. There's no time limit and I think we spent about 15 mins playing one round inside the glow-in-the-dark room. We've never played mini golf in the dark before so it was quite an interesting experience.

Watch Lil Pumpkin playing the mini golf game in the video above and if it isn't showing properly, watch it on my YouTube channel here.

The different golf holes is divided into areas with different motion props & themes like Underwater, Pirates, Dinosaur etc. Lil Pumpkin was a little afraid of the area with the Dinosaurs as there was a moving dino statue too haha.

The ball is "eaten" up at the last hole so I guess if you want to, you can just skip the last hole to go for another round haha.

I think Lil Pumpkin loved Glow-in-the-Dark Spaceball Shootout the most! At S$5.35/player for a game of only 5mins, it is most fun, but also the most expensive activity there.

Players try to out-shoot one another by hitting on electronic scoreboards shot from air cannons. The balls are kinda soft, but you definitely have to be careful not to get hit and I don't recommend babies or toddlers in the room.

It was just Lil Pumpkin and me playing this time round but I think it would be even more fun if we came in a bigger group to really compete with one another haha

For me, other than the long wave slide which I must have gone on at least 10 times.. I enjoyed the outdoor Crazy Bounce trampoline the most. Who doesn't like bouncing and jumping to your hearts' content??! It is just outside the Bistro and costs S$12.86 for 20 mins. There's a capacity limit of 6 pax for players to jump safely.

One thing I found a bit off though was that you're still supposed to wear your indoor socks out to the trampoline (o.O)" I asked the staff if I needed to take off our socks or wear shoes instead, but she said no, just wear our socks.

Hmmm.. This means that you actually walk outside on the ground, to the outside giant trampoline and happily bounce, then walk back inside to the indoor activity areas and continue your play there, if you want. Soooo.. your socks would actually be dirty with all the outside grime and germs, and you would be spreading it all over the indoor activity areas. Won't that defeat the purpose of wearing indoor socks for safety and hygiene when playing??

We didn't eat at the Bistro during lunch but headed out to eat at one of the other restaurants in Great World City. Good thing about being located in such an established mall is that they have lots of food choices available e.g. Kenny Rogers, Poulet, Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant, Bangkok Jam, Kuriya, Mcdonald's etc.

And if you have unlimited play at Amazonia, you can go in and out multiple times. Just remember to get your re-entry chop.

The Bistro serves pastas, salads, sandwiches, cakes, smoothies etc. at reasonable prices though. Might try their food the next time we are there.

  • Bring your own socks. I suggest at least ankle-high and non-slip! If you forget your socks, you can purchase them on-site.
  • Amazonia will list school excursion dates and number of school children visiting on their website. Check it in advance to plan your visit.
  • Look out for special deals before you visit. There are currently promotions for UOB Ladies, Standard Chartered, Passion, Citibank and Maybank card holders.
  • 2 party rooms with various themed party packages are available for booking.
  • No outside food is allowed inside Amazonia, except for milk formula and baby food. 
  • No toilets or nursing room inside Amazonia, so you have to exit and use the mall's facilities. The nearest toilet is on the same floor {Level 3} and baby care rooms are at Level 1 & B1

Amazonia Singapore
Great World City Mall
#03-08, 1 Kim Seng Promenade
Tel: 6235 4522
Mon - Thu: 10am - 9pm
Fri - Sun & PHs: 10am - 9.30pm
Admission: Adults - S$1 {for first 2 adults}, Kids - S$33 {complimentary Spaceball / Mini Golf, Mon-Fri only}, Toddlers - S$22 {complimentary Spaceball / Mini Golf, Mon-Fri only}
Playtime: Unlimited for Mon - Fri and 2hrs for Sat, Sun & PHs
Website: http://www.amazoniafun.com/

Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities or list of kid-friendly places in Singapore :) Do also see my series on Playgrounds in Singapore! It includes information and details on both indoor, and outdoor playgrounds around our sunny island.. mostly FREE!!

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


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thailand 2017 | Ready-to-Drink Protein Shakes

Any serious gym user, body-builder or fitness enthusiast would know that protein is life (∩_∩) Exercise requires healthy muscles and protein is important for repairing, maintaining and building muscles. Whether your fitness goal is to lose fat, body build or gain strength, protein is an important part of your diet.

Nowadays my goal is to eat 120g protein per day. It's easier to plan when I'm at home to meal-prep and stick to a more routine diet, but holidays can make things a bit more difficult since the schedule is less fixed & I'd be eating out more often.

When we travel, I will usually bring my protein bars {see my other fave high-protein snacks} at least to make sure I've some "guaranteed" protein at hand as they are compact and convenient. The boy will usually pack his protein powder along too but I find those too much of a hassle as you still need to measure, add water & shake haha.

In one of our trips to Bangkok {BKK} last year, we discovered pre-made, ready-to-drink protein shakes from Meiji! Each milkshake bottle contains decent amount of protein, is delicious and really easy to find. Yeah, you don't even need to go to a nutrition or supplements store to find these.. any decent local supermarket should sell it.  

During my birthday trip to BKK last month, I went to buy the Meiji protein shakes and discovered other brands too! Super excited and decided to try them all haha.. If you are in BKK and need a quick protein fix, go try them out yourself too!

Some things to note though...

i. Not all protein is created equal and of course, protein quality matters too, especially if you are dieting and calories are restricted. Basically protein quality simply refers to how well or not the protein is used by the body once it has been digested. Obviously I don't expect the protein quality of these off-the-shelf shakes to compare to those made by supplement companies that sell direct e.g. Musclepharm, BPI Sports, Optimum Nutrition etc., but if you need to hit your protein count and as a quick fix, they are good enough👍

ii.  The major proteins in milk are casein and whey. These two milk proteins are both excellent sources of all the essential amino acids, but they differ in one important aspect—whey is a fast-digesting protein and casein is a slow-digesting protein. For the really, really serious and advanced gym users, protein supplement timing is crucial too and you've to take different types of protein at different times of the day.. but I don't think many of us, including myself, are at that stage yet haha.

1. Meiji High Protein Whey Formula {Chocolate}
Size: 350ml
Protein: 25g
Calories: 280 cals
Cost: THB49 {S$1.99}
Availability: High - Most supermarkets and convenience stores.

Review: This tastes just like thick, creamy Meiji chocolate milk actually, which I like and find really yummy. It is sweet and contains sugar, and has kinda high cals for the amount of protein but the good taste makes up for it haha. One bottle is rather filling and would be nice for breakfast, tea or as an after-workout refresher. Really good value-for-money. The Coffee & Classic Vanilla flavours have 50% less sugar, and there are Light versions in Banana & Plain Milk flavours that contain 18g protein, and 500mg L-Carnitine.

L-Carnitine helps the body to produce energy and is said to promote fat-burning. There's also Meiji High Protein L-Carnitine Formula {i.e. no added whey} that comes in natural, plain milk flavour. It has 500mg L-Carnitine, 18g protein and 210 calories per 350ml bottle.

2. Hooray Better Shake High Protein Whey & Casein Milk {Dark Chocolate & Coffee Latte}
Size: 300ml
Protein count: 28g
Calories: 180 cals
Cost: THB69 {S$2.81}
Availability: Medium - Family Mart, Big C, Tops, MaxValu Supermarket, Foodland etc.

Review: This is also a delicious and thick milk drink. Hooray Better Shake is the only one out of the 3 with a whey/ casein protein blend to take advantage of the different digestion and absorption rates of these two different proteins for better muscle growth. It also has relatively low cals for the amount of protein it contains, uses stevia instead of sugar and doesn't cost much more than Meiji High Protein so if given a choice, I would buy this out of the 3. It also comes in French Vanilla {20g protein, 160cals} and Coffee Latte {28g protein, 170cals}.

1% of total sales goes to charity so this might be an extra reason to support them too ♥ 

3. Rumble Ready-to-Drink Whey Protein {Chocolate}
Size: 500ml
Protein count: 31g
Calories: 170 cals
Cost: THB75 {S$3.05}
Availability: Medium - Villa Market, Central Food Hall, Tops, Terminal 21, Gourmet Market etc.

Review: I didn't fancy this the most out of the 3 ready-to-drink protein shakes. It was really watery {no milk added} and kind of bland. Felt pretty disappointed with the taste actually. It is, however, sugar-free and also contains the highest protein count out of the 3 and 500mg of L-Carnitine. This pre-made protein drink is not as easily available as Meiji High Protein Whey shakes. There is a Melon flavour, which is even more rare.

Are there any other ready-to-drink protein shakes in Thailand?

Shopping Haul videos:


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sudio Sweden Wireless Headphones - Regent White ♪ + {Promo}

Recently, Lil Pumpkin has upgraded to "adult headphones" that's a lot more stylish and sleeker - the Sudio Sweden Earphones in Regent White. They definitely are a pair I would gladly use myself too.. ♥

Lil Pumpkin is always on-the-go with us. We don't have a helper so if she's not at school or any of her extra-curricular classes, that usually means wherever we go, she goes. Sometimes this means that she's at work with us {either at my office or at her daddy's clinic}, or even if we go for our gym sessions / fitness classes.

We will always put her in safe areas away from the weights/ exercise areas in clear view, and give her strict instructions to not go anywhere with strangers or stray away.

Usually, the gym / fitness classes we go to have understanding staff who help to keep an eye out for her too and luckily for us, Lil Pumpkin is a good girl who listens to our instructions and knows how to entertain herself with school work, games {current favourites are word searches & puzzles..} or her favourite videos.

When Lil Pumpkin was younger, she used a kiddy pair of headphones from JVC that I bought from Japan. I've seen them in local stores though. I bought them mainly for our travel flights as the airline earphones are pretty uncomfortable and often slip off {can be such a hassle adjusting them with a trayful of food & blankets all over!}, however she also started using them if she watched her videos / listened to music outside of home.

I reckon good kids headphones are those that have an effective volume limiter {experts recommend 70dB or at most 85dB} to protect their sensitive ears, have minimum noise leakage, and fit comfortably on their smaller heads.

The JVC Tiny Phones {HA-KD5} are sturdy and have comfortable, soft padding. It also has an efficient volume limiter {85dB} and restrict noise leakage relatively ok. Cool thing is that it also comes with some stickers for Lil Pumpkin to customise her headphones and they aren't that expensive too. I'd recommend this kids earphones if you're in the market looking for one. They are built for ages 4 and up.

Lil Pumpkin has been using her kids headphones for about 3 years now and although they still work fine, the cords are rather icky and get tangled easily so I'd prefer her to have a convenient wire-free experience.

There are wireless kids headphones in the market but since she's growing up so fast anyway, adult headphones aren't such a bad idea especially if we are looking for quality headphones that last long and are comfortable. Plus, I can use them too! haha

The Sudio Regent headphones are really, really comfortable. There's leather padding on the headband even, and of course the ear cups, but I'm not kidding when I say that the padding is pillowy-soft and feels comfortable even during extended use which don't worry, isn't often. We tell Lil Pumpkin to rest her ears after an hour or so of use... but she usually doesn't use it for long periods at a go unless we're on a plane and she's watching a movie.

Even as an adult headphone, it fits snugly on Lil Pumpkin at the smallest setting. You can adjust the size easily by lifting the headband up and down its gold metal accents so that it fits a wide variety of head sizes.

As with any wireless headphone, Sudio Regent requires its own power supply and has an inbuilt rechargeable battery. It takes about 2hrs for it to be fully-charged and good thing that its battery life is about 24+hours too, because sometimes Lil Pumpkin forgets to tell us to help her charge it haha. Even with its inbuilt battery, it's just 177g and feels pretty light.

The Sudio Regent headphones connect to any devices via Bluetooth 4.1 and supports multi-pairing. We help Lil Pumpkin to set it up as she's still too young to figure it out herself.

All you have to do is switch on Bluetooth for the device, press the Play/Stop button on the headphones, then pair them after you see the blue and red light. Easy peasy. Bluetooth has a range of 10m so technically speaking, if she wants she can move 10m away from the source device and still hear her audio.

I'm no audiophile, but sound-wise I think the Sudio Regent headphones are pretty good. By that I mean that the sound quality is strong, clear and balanced. There's minimal audio leakage as the ear cups form a good seal {just nice for my ear size and covers Lil Pumpkin's ears fully} and you won't disturb others if your volume is too high but we've taught Lil Pumpkin not to do that. Sometimes she forgets, but most of the times she follows the instructions.

{As there's no volume limiter, the only way to really monitor is by checking on the volume every now and then.}

It's definitely good enough for Lil Pumpkin to use for casual music-listening and video-watching. 

The white & gold look is very attractive but I know it will get dirty pretty easily, especially when a kid is using it haha, so I try to give it a wipe-down with a slightly damp cloth after each use. If you like, Sudio Regent headphones also comes in Black.

One thing I'd have appreciated is if it came in its own carry pouch but no biggie, we've many empty bags at home to keep it in when not in use. The metal bars protrude out quite a bit though so they aren't very compact though.

While Lil Pumpkin's previous kids headphone came with stickers for customisation, the Sudio Regent also lets you have your own unique headphone with the customisation of its ear caps. Sold separately at S$29 each, you can choose from 4 fun designs that match Sudio Regent White or Black headphones. Lil Pumpkin chose these pink ones herself!

I hope they have more designs and colours in the future though! Or maybe even one where you can draw and design something yourself...  like those Starbucks "Create Your Own Tumblers"??

Sudio Regent Wireless Headphones are sold via Sudio Sweden's website at S$299 each and make a great gift for tweens like Lil Pumpkin, teens or adults. If you use my promo code below in addition to the tax rebate, it will cost S$156 i.e. you save S$143!!! That's excellent savings and it's not even a GSS promo haha.

Sudio Sweden delivers to Singapore with free express shipping {takes 3-5 working days} and currently, there is a complimentary summer tote bag {worth S$33} with every purchase. Have a look at their website for more information and product details.

Promo: Quote "sakuraharuka" for 15% OFF for any Sudio Sweden product from their website. Valid until Sunday, 31 Dec 2017. In addition, you get additional 20% instant tax rebate if you purchase outside EU!

P.S. Look out for a giveaway on their latest Wireless Vasa Blå earphones coming up real soon! (•‿•)

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