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Hello again, blogworld.

I applied for a library card for the first time since university. A library recently opened at the mall opposite where we live, where a Daiso used to be. Small matter, but it made me so happy.

One of the pleasures living in Singapore is the community libraries. They are lively, volunteer-run spaces with activities like story hour for kids, twice-monthly board game meet-ups for teens, and interest groups for seniors. The one opposite us has a “makerspace” for children called the Tinker Truck, which my son likes to look at (he’s way too restless to actually sit down and craft). I volunteered in a few libraries before, shelving books and helping grandmas make their way to the computers. Once, I had a mom co-volunteer at a new library opening in Sengkang. Most of the time though, it’s students. They need the volunteer hours.

I read somewhere once that life after the structure of school is one long stretch; it’s only too easy to let the years run into each other. We lose track of time. I have this great fear of waking up fifty, sixty years from now wondering what the hell I’ve done with that finite resource. Hence, signposting — purposely engaging in meaningful experiences that make their mark.

So this past year, I decided to switch careers. Unfortunately that didn’t quite work out the way I hoped and I had to execute an elaborate Ctrl+Z in real life.  Thankfully that worked. Started over, but in some ways I’m fielding a new character.

I also started formally learning a language I’ve wanted to study for a while. It’s early days — my grammar is shitty and I only know a grand total of 150 words — but I’m pleased to say I know exactly what 你要的爱 means without looking it up on Google Translate.

The rest of the time, my signposts generally take the form of a bucket-list trip.  Hubby and I backpacked in October (more on a later post). I also just came back from a short “just us” trip with my siblings, our first since 2012 before I got married.  This time around, it’s my Ate’s turn, so this trip was kind of her hen party too. We had enough time for a day trip to Universal Studios (HP Wizarding World y’all), long train rides (I liked these the most), and slumber party questions over twee liqueur bottles. Being with them was my pocket of calm in between thinking about work and my usual worries, and for that I’m grateful.


For Mom, With Love (plus a FREE downloadable cookbook! ❤)

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giveaways / on motherhood / Parenting

I’m on Year 2½ of what is, arguably, one of the toughest roles I’ve EVER had, i.e. being Mommy.

Some days it goes really well and I feel like I GOT THIS FAM, I’m the best mama everrr. Naps are taken on time, bowls of food are wiped clean (walang tira! yay!), toys are put away in their proper places.

BB and Me aka Flower-Head. He made it at school for Mother’s Day (aww)

On other days, I want to curl up in a ball and growl at everyone to leave me alone. Bucketfuls of guilt over everything — from being a working mom to not giving my son more leafy greens at the table.

Guess what I realized, mama? We don’t have to enjoy every moment of motherhood. We don’t have to be the Insta-perfect mama 100% of the time.

And that’s okay.

It’s okay to have those ups and downs. It’s okay to need alone time one minute, then need the MAXIMUM amount of hugs the next. We don’t have to sweat the small stuff. More often than not, we are our own worst critics.

Remember, taking time out to de-stress is important, not just for yourself, but for your little ones too. 👌

If one of your favorite things to do to wind down is whipping up something in the kitchen, you’re in luck. ShopBack teamed up with RedMart to release its first cookbook, “For Mum, With Love,” which you can download here for free

It has 18 tried-and-tested recipes with varying levels of difficulty, from delicious meals like Sardines and Pineapples in Tangy and Spicy Coconut Sauce (sardinas with a twist!) to feel-good classic desserts like Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Singaporean coconutty favorite Ondeh Ondeh. 

So download away! Here’s to good food and to us “good enough” mamas! 😘

Disney On Ice: Everyone’s Story @ Singapore Indoor Stadium

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Honest Reviews

Image from SportsHub

We managed to score free tickets to Disney on Ice at SportsHub this weekend. Hubby and I had seen the show a few years ago (pre-BB) and we thought BB might enjoy it, especially since he had already started to remember Disney characters and enjoyed singing along to the YouTube videos of the songs. BB especially likes the Moana and Coco (technically Pixar) soundtracks, ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen, and ‘I See The Light’ from Tangled (he calls that last song the “lantern song”).

The program started with “pre-show” shenanigans from Goofy and Donald Duck, as both conspired to switch off the lights in the stadium. Zootopia’s Judy the bunny and Nick the fox encouraged the audience to use their mobile phone’s flashlight app to “shine” light on the stage to help them fix the problem. Quite cute as all the kids (and parents) were game.

Then after a short song from Pinocchio (with a muted reaction I thought — no wonder since that Disney film screened in the 1940s — even these kids’ grandparents wouldn’t have watched it! 😛), condensed versions of Finding Dory and Beauty and the Beast followed. BB was momentarily scared during the fight scene with Beast and Gaston (he insisted “Alis na tayo”, Filipino for “Let’s leave”) and we had to assure him it would all end happily and the Beast would live and turn to a prince. BB was actually following the story!

Finding Dory

A lineup of all the major Disney princesses and princes followed. It was good to see even Tiana and Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog in the lineup, along with the classics.

Then the big event: a condensed version of the entire Frozen movie. I thought it was quite well done, the set was complete with a working fountain, frozen castle, and a snowmaker machine. Even Olaf’s “In Summer” song got the full treatment, complete with his summer drink. I did an informal headcount of the number of little Elsas in the audience: there were too many. It was clear this was the part most of the kids were waiting for — and BB enjoyed it the most as well. He recognized the songs, and kept asking “Where Elsa go?” after she exited the rink.

An intermission followed. BB was still very engaged during break because a small ice resurfacer came out and started cleaning the rink — he knew all about the truck from watching Truck Tunes (video below) and stayed glued to his seat. :) BB and his trucks!

The second half flew by quickly, with a song each from Aladdin (interesting that they picked the Genie’s “Friend Like Me”) and Toy Story (“You’ve Got a Friend in Me”).

They also showed highlights from Mulan (including a cool dragon dance). It was good to see an Asian princess on the ice (representation is key, especially for the many young girls in the audience), although her beau Captain Shang was a Caucasian in a wig 😂. Small steps!

The program ended with The Lion King’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” — a lot of wicked skating and spinning for this routine, but I was most impressed with the fellow playing Pumbaa, because he was skating on all fours! All the characters came out for an encore.

By the end of the show, BB seemed ready for more. He even asked, “Where’s Moana?” Will definitely catch the show again next time it’s back in town.

BB’s favorite part of the show

What Baby Learned at the Baby Gym

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on motherhood / Parenting

When BB was around 1½ years old we thought he wasn’t getting enough interaction with other little bubs his age. There were older kids at the condo playground, but BB was mostly stuck with yaya at home all day. (Back in the Philippines, BB would probably have no shortage of ninangs / ninongs / titos / titas / lolos / lolas + little cousins dropping by, but given where we were, we had to think of alternatives.)

There was a baby gym near our place so we thought to give it a try.

Baby gyms — popular chains include My Gym, The Little Gym, and Gymboree — offer gym programs that allow kids as young as 19 months to engage in physical play in a safe environment (read: foam padded floors and equipment, colorful toys, friendly and helpful instructors, etc). Some also offer school-based programs like a preschool.

The baby gym we enrolled BB in, on a 10 x 1-hour session course plus unlimited free play during weekdays, was gym-based. (We weren’t keen on “school” programs as he was so young.) The course also required parent interaction, so one of us, either Hubby or me, joined BB on the gym floor during class time.

Class would start with the same song and actions (“Smash, banana, smash smash banana!”). I think the repetition allowed the kids to gain confidence joining the singing and the actions as the weeks went by.

One of the main focus areas was on developing the kids’ “gymnastic” skills. BB wasn’t turning cartwheels, but as the sessions progressed he was hanging on monkey bars, tumbling on the mat, balancing on padded beams, and diving into the ball pits.

There was plenty of music (a mix of popular kids’ songs, some were Barney songs I think) and dancing, with both kids and parents encouraged to actively participate. The good thing is, the teachers don’t force your kid back in the circle if he/she suddenly stands up to run and play elsewhere, but they do try and coax the child gently back.

There were games, races, and puppets at the end of each class, and a sweet send-off song with all kids getting their arm stamped with a cute cartoon. We noticed BB got increasingly confident with heights, speeding up the ladder to the slides with just one hand for balance.

I appreciated that parents were encouraged to sing and dance along with the children, because we could do the songs back home and it delighted BB to recognize the familiar tunes.

By the end of the program BB never actually got 100% comfortable with playing with his peers (it was a class of kids from 19 months to 3 years old, so there was a bit of disparity in ages).

But a lasting legacy from BB’s time in baby gym is his I-can-do-it attitude when faced with physical challenges — be it climbing and rolling off the sofas at home, scaling the kiddie climbing wall at the mall, or facing slides tummy-down.

Overall — thumbs up baby gyms! Highly recommended for active little ones.

The Group (or, a 1930s SATC)

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neri's reads

(My copy. Yes, sampayan po yan.)

The Group by Mary McCarthy, 1963

Published by Virago Press

First line: “It was June, 1933, one week after Commencement, when Kay Leiland Strong, Vassar ’33, the first of her class to run around the table at the Class Day dinner, was married to Harald Petersen, Reed ’27, in the chapel of St George’s Church, P.E., Karl F. Reiland, Rector.”


I’m 1/3 of the way into Mary McCarthy’s The Group and have not decided if I like any of the characters yet. Maybe because there are far too many. I feel some sections sound too gossipy, like those Maurice Arcache columns I used to skim in the Bulletin (or was it the Star?) — “Dahling, A said that B, a winsome brunette, said C, of Barangay Taktak, was on her way to the lady doctor’s” or something like that. All it needs is a “Trust me, palanggas” at the end of each chapter. Read More