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Friday, October 24, 2014

PR Pitches that Make Me Go Whaaat!?

I had initially planned to post on something else, but I received a pitch that really irked me so much and just made me so, erm.. flabbergasted that I had to write something about it and all the other #PRfail pitches I receive. Warning, slight rant ahead so run now if you don't want to read a rather negative post.

I don't usually rant on the blog because I like to have it as a positive place and my mum taught me that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. However, right now, I'm in the mood to let some people know that they are really pushing it and need to think before clicking on that "send" button.

Most of the time, the brands and PR reps I work with are super nice and I enjoy those working relationships a lot. A few have even blossomed to friendships, and I'm thankful that blogging has brought me such wonderful souls and opportunities to enrich my life.

However, there's also the other side of the coin and if you've approached me but I haven't replied or worked with you before, it might be because of one of the following reasons:
  • you sent me a "Dear Blogger" or "Dear Blog Name" email. 
  • you called me by another blogger's name
  • you called my kid by another blogger's kid's name {seriously, I'm not making this up!}
  • you say that I have 3 kids... o.O"
  • you make it sound like you are doing me a favour by sending me that pitch or invite
  • you sent me an invite to your event, which is happening the next day 
  • you say that you don't have a budget for bloggers, but you are one of the "big brands"
  • you offer me a measly voucher that is only valid with a minimum spending sum on your site
And the list goes on. Really. If you are a brilliant brand and I haven't gotten back to you yet, it also might be because I have to go through so much crap like this in my inbox and missed your email. For that I'm truly sorry, and please contact me again!! :P

Most of the time, I just roll my eyes and delete the email or if it's really a joke, move it to my #PRfail folder. Yes, I do have one. It's like my blacklist of sorts.

I'm generally a nice person, and I won't go around b*itching about your brand or PR firm because I think that you sent that email maybe due to inexperience, maybe due to lack of time or maybe just human error.

Also, ain't nobody got time to deal with crap all the time.

Let me state outright as well that I don't think that I'm so high and mighty as a blogger, that all pitches and invites should make me feel like a queen. No, I'm a human being just like you and like any other, I expect you to treat me, and my work, with common courtesy and respect.

Sending me an email without addressing me correctly, is not giving me respect.

Sending me an email blatantly saying you love my blog, but not showing that you actually read it and understand my work and my readers, is not giving me respect.

Sending me an email inherently saying that since I blog with passion, why should I be compensated for my time and effort when I'm already doing what I like, is not giving me respect.

Sending me an email inviting me to your event, but dictating that it should be my honour to be invited and I am required to send in a blog post by a certain date, is not giving me respect.

I wonder if the brands and PR firms know that such invites and pitches just pisses bloggers off. How about if it went something like this,

Brand: Hey, I want you to handle this account for me.
PR firm: Ok, what's your budget?
Brand: You mean I've to pay you?? How about I give you a sample.
PR firm: Erm, but I'm working for you, I need to get paid.
Brand: But I'm so popular, this will give you exposure and help boost your reputation.
PR firm: Yes, but it's also work. I need to feed my family or work on other projects that actually pay.
Brand: But you like to do PR work, right? That's why you are in the business so why expect payment? How about I give you a S$20 voucher? But you'll need to spend S$50 and no free delivery.

Or like this,

Brand: Hey Monkey, you are selected to come join in my event.
PR firm: Erm, actually my name is Bananas. Selected? Is there a prize?
Brand: No, but you are honoured to be part of 10,0000 other people to come to my picnic.
PR firm: Oh ok.
Brand: There's lots of opportunities to interview our GOHs and photo ops for you too! Don't forget to bring your camera.
PR firm: Rigggghhhht.
Brand: And you must write about it and print a full-page ad for me 1 week later.
PR firm: Am I paid for this?
Brand: No. And it's not a request, it's a requirement.

This my friends, this is what we bloggers have to deal with sometimes.

Just like there are some bloggers that give the blogosphere a bad name, so are some brands and PR firms. I'm not saying that everything has to be dealt with in money terms, because relationships are very important to me and respect is key in building that. Respect me as a blogger, and I will respect and respond to you.

As a blogger, what frustrates you the most?
What's the worst pitch or weirdest request you've ever received?


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Healthy Kids Snacks Pack | Week 43

What's in my obento this week?
Banana & Honey Yoghurt Drops, Blueberry Fruit Sticks, Raspberry Yoghurt Muffin Balls,
Cheese & Yoghurt in Hello Kitty foldable lunchbox.

Discovered these healthy, yet soooo yummy snacks from Mother Earth & Kiwigarden!
Like that they are all individually-packed for extra freshness.
We've been eating them so fast I have to get more from Foodpath soon haha.
Packed this simple snacks pack for Lil Pumpkin's trip to the playground this morning :)

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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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where to Make Custom Toys & Jewellery from Kids Drawings

Lil Pumpkin likes to carry a notebook  with her whenever we go out be it to playgrounds, theme parks, other people's homes etc. Her fave question when she hears that we are going out will be "can I bring out my notebook?".

Sometimes I try to dissuade her as it's actually not a small notebook, but a huge A3 notepad {!!} that can't really fit in any of the usual bags we carry but she'll be adamant about it. Most of the time, we let her as we realise that that's the way she likes to capture the memories of what she sees and does. It's her fave past-time while waiting for the food to be served when we eat out as well and is certainly a better option, in my opinion, then letting her be glued to the tech devices :P Keep those eyes healthy, right?

She's getting better at writing Chinese characters on her own now and even knows how to form simple sentences like "爸爸妈妈有-只小{Lil Pumpkin's Chinese name}", which translates to "Daddy and Mummy have a small Lil Pumpkin" haha... So cute!

Lil Pumpkin is also happy to describe her drawings when we ask, and will even throw in a back-story to the scene as well. For example, this is us out going to her grandma's place to have dinner. On the way there, we stopped by her friend's apartment to pick her up because after that we were going to the zoo...

She likes to draw complicated robots too! According to her, this is a machine that "can make anything and does everything"! How handy to have something like this :P

I'm thinking about turning her artwork into something else. Like maybe customising her doodles into a soft toy or her scribbles into a necklace pendant. I'm sure she'll be happy to see her drawings come to life! It'll be a special keepsake for her, and for me too :)

Here are some online shops I found that do it, but unfortunately, none based in Singapore and with the shopping costs, seem quite expensive. Worth a look though, as their work seem pretty good and maybe one day, I might decide to splurge on it haha.

Turn kids artwork into plush toys
1. Budsies - based in U.S.A., from US$69
2. My Own Cuddly - based in U.S.A., from US$70
3. Sunny Little Studio - based in U.S.A., from US$75
4. Child's Own Studio - based in Canada, from C$250
5. Doodle Your Toys - based in Croatia, from US$65
6. Happy Softies - based in Australia, from A$60
7. Cryoow - based in Bali, from US$149

Turn kids artwork into jewellery
1. Kidz Can Design - based in U.S.A., from from S$129.99
2. Formia Design - based in U.S.A., from US$129
3. KiDoodles - based in U.S.A., from US$60

Have you done this before? Any local companies to recommend?
What other things can we make with our kids' artwork?

I Blog on Tues with Essentially Jess.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored or paid post. All views expressed are my own.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bub & Me: Madame Tussauds Singapore, Sentosa - A First Look

We had a family day out yesterday at Sentosa {again!} to visit their newest attraction - Madame Tussauds Singapore - the first wax figure museum in Singapore!! It's only open to public next weekend on Sat 25 Oct 2014 but we had an exclusive first look.

My aunt and her family lives in London and when we were younger, we flew over a few times to visit them. One of the strongest memories I have of our trips was definitely our visit to Madame Tussauds London. Madame Tussauds has branches in some major cities like New York, Bangkok, Shanghai.. and now Singapore, but London was where it all started in 1835. It contains waxworks of historical & royal figures, film stars, sports stars and infamous murderers {quite scary to me as a kid then!}, and the one in Singapore is although smaller, not much different.

Except that it doesn't have a zone for infamous murderers, phew!!

There are 6 zones inside our local Madame Tussards featuring over 60 iconic wax figures from all over the world - History & Leaders, Sports, Authentic History, Music, Film and A-List Party.

Some of the famous people we met included the Queen, Lady Gaga, David Beckham!! Unfortunately, just the waxworks but you can't really tell from the photos, right?? hehe We'll probably never get to see them in real-life so unless you can photoshop really well, this is the best alternative ever! :P

Our local stars like Stephanie Sun {singer} and Gurmit Singh {actor} were represented at this world-famous attraction too #sgpride

Something exclusive to Madame Tussards Singapore is the Spirit of Singapore, the first ever Madame Tussauds boat ride that travels through a lush tropical garden filled with Singapore's famous icons e.g. Singapore Flyer, F1 Night Race and even an SQ plane. It also highlights our rich multi-cultural society with scenes from a Chinese opera and Malay play but unfortunately, we didn't get to experience it as it was still not ready. Do look out for it when you visit after it officially opens!!

The wax figures are just so life-like you really have to do a second-look to see that they are actually, erm, not real people. The attention to details like the skin tone, eye colour, hair texture, fine lines is just truly amazing.

Do you know that there are more than 250 precise measurements of the head and body taken so the was figure is as accurate as it can be?? Each strand of hair {real human kind, if you must know} is also inserted individually, taking approximately 4 weeks to complete each head.

Lil Pumpkin was really interested in how these wax figures were made and she couldn't fathom how they were not real people! We spent quite some time inside Authentic History zone to satisfy her inquisitive mind as it tells the history of how wax figures are made in London and the life of Madame Tussaud herself.

My mum came with us too and she said that compared to our visit to Madame Tussauds London years ago, their technology and skills have really improved as the wax figures seem even more life-like than she remembered them to be.

Unlike most museums where you can't touch this or that or take photos, Madame Tussauds encourages you to take the photos and there's no ropes or glass barriers preventing you from hugging or maybe even kissing the wax figures to make it really believable that you "met the stars"! Extremely fun for Lil Pumpkin too ;)

Really a high level of trust on their part for the visitors to not ruin the wax figures since apparently, each figure takes a minimum of 3 months to make and costs more than S$300,000! *gulp* 

I can't remember the last time we had so much fun taking so many photos together haha. Some areas have interactive areas and props for you to play around with during the photo-shoots too. Look out for Phua Chu Kang's famous yellow boots & Madonna's walking stick! 

It's very exciting to have this new attraction in Singapore and it's definitely worth a visit, at least once. If you do, share with me your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, ya? Would love to see which stars you cozied up to! :)

  • Early bird promotion is now on. Buy online at their website for S$20/pax tickets that are valid even on weekends and public holidays, until 31 Dec 2014.
  • Nearest Sentosa Express station is Imbiah Station. From there, walk out of the station towards the opposite escalators, and then up to Imbiah Lookout. 
  • No food or drinks sold inside. 
  • There's enough space for strollers, prams and wheelchairs.
  • Friendly staff are around to help you take your photos with your personal cameras. 
  • Avoid peak periods as it will be difficult to take nice photos with the "stars" otherwise due to the crowd, especially at Sports and Music zone where some wax figures are close to one another
  • Don't miss out on 2 special wax figures {Bruce Willis & Serena Williams} at the Gift Shop - just before you leave the attraction!

Madame Tussauds Singapore
40 Imbiah Road, Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa Island
Open daily, 10am - 9pm {last admission at 7.30pm}
Admission: S$30 {adult} and S$20 {child}
Website: http://www.madametussauds.com/Singapore/

Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities or list of kid-friendly places in Singapore too. Since so many of you ask, matchy-matchy clothes here are from Glitter Glam :) Look out for a special promo for my friends and readers coming soon!

* Disclosure: The event coverage was due to an invitation from Madame Tussauds Singapore. All opinions are my own.