Friday, November 20, 2015

X'mas Giveaway! Crackling, Crispy, Melt-in-your-mouth Roast Pork!

Fancy having a twist to your X'mas meal this year? Instead of the usual roast beef / ham, how about a nice crackling, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth roast pork! And not just any roast pork but one that is by Uncle G's Handmade?

If you have not heard, Uncle G's Handmade has been gaining popularity in the local pop-up scene with long snaky queues, all to sample that perfect marriage of crispy skin with juicy and moist meat. And being the foodie that I am, you can only imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I realised that Uncle G is none other than my ex schoolmate of ... well, ahem *cough cough* let's just say some years. :p

Here's sharing a bit more about Uncle G and his handmades and a GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!

Me: Hi Uncle G! I know how your name came about but for those who are new to your yummy treats, can you please share a bit about you, your name and your 'stall'?

Uncle G: “G” has the same pronunciation and intonation as “pig” in Cantonese.  Since our signature product is crispy roast pork, I find that this name actually fits in quite well!

Me: Why roast pork; all things why this particular meat and style? It could have been for eg Guinness stewed beef? :p

Uncle G: It all started after watching a roast pork video I found on Youtube by Marco Pierre White.  Also, most of the roast pork stalls we have locally are either too dry, too salty or the skin is not crispy enough.  Hence, I was very inspired to make my very own version.

Me: What is the hardest part to achieve when cooking this signature roast pork?

Uncle G: The hardest part was in achieving a balance of crispy skin and meat that is tender and moist which can take up to quite a few hours to achieve. I also roasting the meat personally to ensure that each order is not rushed and the taste is consistent.

Me: What do you like most about Uncle G's signature roast pork? What's is that unique difference that makes it so special?

Uncle G: When you take a bite, first you’ll hear the crunch of the crackling in your head, followed by the tender, juicy meat.  The fats also melt in your mouth, bringing together the flavours of crunchiness, juiciness, tenderness and saltiness.

Me: Let's chat about something else. :) What is/are the hardest dish(es) that you have ever prepared? Why?

Uncle G: Unbelievable as it sounds, it’s Fish and Chips.  I’m still trying to perfect the batter and get the perfect chips. 

Me: What is your favorite dish / meal?

Uncle G: I love egg dishes.  Favourite meal will have to be a sashimi bowl I once had in Hokkaido which was chock full of the freshest seafood I had ever tasted!

Me: Lastly, what do you think would be a nice Christmas treat? 

Uncle G: Definitely a 1.5kg of our Crispy roast pork which will certainly be a nice Christmas treat! (Coincidentally, roast pork is a traditional Danish Christmas dish known as Flæskesteg)!
I am pleased to share with you a special give away which will be perfect for this Christmas! Participate by click on the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Condition:
1. As this giveaway is a food item, all participants need to be residing in Singapore
2. The giveaway is for 1.5kg (weight before roasting) of roast pork (good for up to 10pax!)
3. Collection will be by the winner at an agreed location 
4. By taking part in this giveaway, you agree to share your information with the sponsor
5. As the giveaway is a food item, it must be consumed within 3 hours of collection
6. Lead time needed for order and collection: 3 – 4 days in advance (and available only on weekends and public holidays). Collection date is dependent on Uncle G's Handmade's availability 

Disclaimer: The giveaway and review is kindly sponsored by Uncle G's Handmade. The author of this blog is not responsible for any hunger pangs or cravings of roast pork. 

About Uncle G's Handmade
Uncle G’s Handmade was started together by Kenneth and Joey, a husband and wife team in 2013. Uncle G's Handmade debuted as weekend traders at Pasarbella’s soft launch, where it first introduced its Signature Crispy Roast Pork.

Kenneth has always enjoyed cooking and was inspired from watching cooking programmes and Michelin chefs’ videos on YouTube. Trained as an engineer, he enjoys hands-on hobbies which range from cooking, assembling and painting of model kits, wood work to mini electrical stuffs. This is why the word ‘handmade’ was added. However, cooking remains as his number one passion.

Together with his wife Joey, who loves research and all things pretty, they went on to attend professional baking classes and have since added chocolate, pastry and bread skills to their repertoire. In every pop-up, Uncle G’s Handmade strives to serve something new as they enjoy seeing others enjoy their food.

Kenneth and Joey at an interview with FM88.3's DJ 美香

About Uncle G's Signature Crispy Roast Pork
Uncle G's Signature Crispy Roast Pork is sold at $30 / kg (weight before roasting). Currently, orders are available only for weekends and public holidays. A 3 - 4 days of leadtime is needed and this is dependent on Uncle G's Handmade's booking schedule. Uncle G's Handmade also provides free delivery to any MRT station. Delivery charges apply for delivery to specific address.

Beanie N UsA Juggling Mom and Dinomama are pleased to bring to you a series of giveaways leading into December! Please remember to share and like our pages to keep abreast of our giveaway lineup!

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review! Our Music Journey: Cello Trial @ Aureus Academy!

I have always liked the warm and mellow tones of the Cello and was encouraging the kiddo to learn this string instrument but it was not meant to be as the kiddo prefers the sound of the violin since young. So, you can understand my pleasure when we were invited to a Cello trial by Aureus Academy. Cello classes are a new offering by this fast growing music school. Impressively, Aureus Academy’s team of music teachers has a combined 40 odd Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree with even one Doctorate in Musical Arts.  

:: Cello Trial

This Cello trial is Dumpling’s 4th trial with Aureus having tried the Piano, Guitar and Violin lessons at the various centres. Surprisingly, the kiddo was pretty excited as I think she was pretty curious about this strings instrument. I was actually quite surprised to find out that Cello was only added on recently to its myriad of music classes.

“We have been getting a lot of enquiries about the Cello over the past year. As our focus then was on setting up a new centre in the East (hence the commencement of the 112 Katong branch), we put this on hold until this year,” explained Julius Sarabi (co-founder of Aureus Academy).

“Aureus Academy is known in this industry for maintaining high standards in our music faculty where our teachers are not just highly qualified but also proven performers who were orchestra members. Hence we were very stringent in our interview process and the selection of our teachers. It took us a while before we found a suitable Cello teacher to add to our team,” added Julius.

:: The lesson

The session started with Teacher Linh chatting with Dumpling to understand her musical background and then introducing her to the Cello. The kiddo was actually quite intrigued with the instrument (partly because of the Piano Guys YouTube clips she has watched!) which I have observed as she strummed / plucked on the strings, noting the differences between the cello and the violin. 

(Teacher Linh measuring for size as well as teaching Dumpling the terms of the various parts of the cello)

As both the violin and cello use bows, Teacher Linh was careful to point out the differences in the bow hold so that the kiddo will not be confused. 

The kiddo was then taught the various strings – C, G, D and A versus that on a violin, G, D, A and E. Thereafter, it was open strings bowing exercises for Dumpling. Perhaps because of her background in violin, she caught on pretty quickly – bowing patterns and bow hold and even wanted to move into fingering towards the end of the class! Ha ha ha

The kiddo then experimented with pizzicato! :p

:: What we like about the lesson

Born to a musician father who is a pianist, Teacher Linh was very attentive and came across as someone who is very patient and nurturing. She took the time to understand what exposure and musical background Dumpling has and was able to use this information in the trial – drawing out the similarities between the two instruments yet was also able to highlight the differences between the two.

(Teacher Linh carefully setting up the bow hold for Dumpling)

Technicality wise, the bow hold is one of the most vital part of playing string instruments and on that end, Teacher Linh was very precise in guiding the kiddo. Her instructions were clear and systematic: “form a letter C with your hands, do not tense up and now, I will slot the bow in… Close your thumb on this part and there you go!”

She also gently reminded and corrected the kiddo’s posture consistently (in violin classes, the kiddo stands up to play it as opposed to the Cello where she is seated) and always with a smile.
Importantly, from a parental standpoint, the trial was not overwhelming and the lesson was not “hard”. The kiddo felt that she was able to follow the instructions and even commented that she had fun and enjoyed herself. J  

:: Teacher’s profile  

The cello is the most perfect instrument aside from the human voice.

I am pleased to share Aureus Academy is offering a FREE PRIVATE CELLO TRIAL. A 50% savings off the first month's school fees is applicable for those who enrol for term classes!

Trial is FOC and is for children from 5 years old
Trials are also on a non-obligatory basis.

Keen on trying out the cello? 

Just leave your name and email address in the comment section below so that we can be in touch! :) Do share the post and love with your friends so that they can enjoy the offer too!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored series of conversations and music trials between Aureus Academy, Dumpling and I. All opinions expressed are entirely our own.

About Aureus Academy:
Aureus Academy is Singapore’s fastest growing music school with nearly 1,000 students enrolled amongst its 3 centres. Aureus Academy specializes in providing individually tailored piano, violin, guitar, and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. It also believes that one-on-one is the best environment to learn a musical instrument. Recently awarded “Best in one-to-one Music Lessons” by Parent’s World Magazine, Aureus Academy offers free trial lessons so you can experience it yourself!

Aureus Academy is located at the campuses below:

:: Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
#B1-18, Singapore 238884
Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: Rochester Mall
35 Rochester Drive
#03-08/15, Singapore 138639
Monday – Friday: 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 7:00pm

:: 112 Katong
Newly Opened!
112 East Coast Road
Singapore, 428802

Phone: +65 6235 6488
You can also connect with Aureus Academy through its Facebook page!

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Birthday Blast! A Toothless Art Jamming Party!

I love birthdays and all celebrations. As a marketing professional who started my career in events planning, you can imagine why I am just as excited as my kiddo when it comes to her birthday planning. I get especially excited googling for ideas and inspiration for her themed birthdays. From looking for Gruffalo and Harry Potter cupcakes and to planning for our Alice in Wonderland party to a DIY Frozen themed party; our parties are as varied as they come.

This year, with the kid being older and having her own close circle of friends, we decided to do an Art Jamming party at Heart Studio Singapore, her Art school for the past 3 odd years. In one of Heart Studio’s previous holiday workshops, the kiddo wanted to attend one that was on the painting of one of her favourite characters – Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon. However, as we were unable to do so, we decided to do the workshop as a Birthday Art Jamming party instead. 

:: Invitation and Decor

We started doing the invitations together and in our usual fashion, we created 2 versions: 1 as an official invitation with the other being a reminder email. The artwork is relatively easy where we googled for some PNG files and put it together using PowerPoint. Dumpling directed what she wanted – borders, placement of Toothless and color choices while I put it together in front of her.

It was a small and intimate affair with 10 kids. The décor was also minimal because of a project which my church is working with the Children’s Liturgy group (which Dumpling belongs to) on. I was really proud that Dumpling decided to forgo her usual birthday helium balloons and donated the money to the project instead. What we have is just a simple bunting and in a true “party planner” manner, tent cards for the food.

:: The Art Jamming Session

The children were divided into 2 rooms and we had 2 teachers per studio which is something that I really appreciate from a early childhood professional's perspective in terms of student : teacher ratio. 

Upon entering, the children hunted for their own bags which had their name printed on the tag. Inside the bag was a blank canvas (for their art jamming) and we also included a copy of "How To Train Your Dragon story book". 

The kids were all eager to start their painting and even ran into the studios! From there, it was about 2+ hours of "peace and quiet" for parents to catch up with each other. :p 

Like all of Dumpling's regular classes, the teachers taught the children how to compose the dragons by starting with the basic shapes and outline...

Once that was done, the bodies and heads were painted in...

One of the things which I often struggle with when it comes to planning for her birthday party is if the activity is still fun for boys. With an Art Jamming party, it seems that our decision was a good one. :) 

Bit by bit, their dragons took shape - with detailing, shadows and highlights :) There was no 1 "model" Toothless. The teachers allowed the children to decide what angle and pose the dragons should have.

And for those who do not want Toothless? There were other dragons to choose from! :) 

Once the dragon was done, the children worked on the backgrounds. 

And if you are worried if the painting will dry in time for the children to bring them back, fret not as there are always hairdryers on hand! :)

You may have noticed the kids had different "styles" in the painting of the dragons. Can you spot the difference in strokes and technique? :) 

Look at the gorgeous paintings!

:: The Food! 

Heart Studio does not allow for hot chaffing dishes because of the flammable solvents the studio has. A buddy of mine suggested Pasta Mania which offers takeaway box sets which you can order here. Payment is collected on that day - cash or cheque and the delivery was on time too. :) The food was also packed in nifty individual boxes and it was just "open and place on the table". Disposable ware and black garbage bags were provided too. 

In line with the bunting and thank you tags, we labelled the food with some tent cards and it turned out looking pretty festive and a few of the kids had a good chuckle over the names! :)

 :: The Cake(s)! 

The cakes. We decided to do away with fondant cakes this year once again. I stumbled upon these lovely steamed cakes some time back but have never had the chance to try them but we managed to get a slot this year! Check out the cute cakes! As the main colour for Toothless and the party is loads of black, hence for the cakes, we decided to add in some colours - rainbow and polka dots! 

We ordered a main piece which was larger and that was for Dumpling to blow out and extras which are prepacked for children to bring home too.

Additionally for these cakes, you can choose if you want nutella, ovomaltine or specaloos fillings. The steamed cakes were absolutely delicious - the liquidity ovomaltine oozed out as we took bites of the soft moist cakes. If you are looking to order these cakes, you can visit Little Sweet Tooth Bakes

If you are keen to find out more about the Art Jamming Party, Heart Studio's contact details are as follows:

Operating Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11am to 7pm
Last Appointment: 6.30pm

Address and Tel
1 Charlton Lane #01-04,
  • Singapore 539631
  • T: (65) 6554 7563
  • Disclaimer: This is neither a sponsored post nor were we compensated for it. The Birthday Art Jamming was specially arranged for at Heart Studio. Birthday Packages are available for up to 10 kids, making this a perfect cozy party. All opinions expressed are entirely ours though the artworks can be yours. :) 
  • Don't have an upcoming birthday party? Heart Studio is also running a Holiday Programme during the December holidays. 
  • Enjoy an Early Bird Discount of 10% if you book for a class by this Sunday, 15 November!! (Each class lasts 2.5 hours and fees include material cost. There is no registration fee needed for workshops.)

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts (both to the kiddo and my furkid, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Giveaway! Adeline Loft's Swirly Decollete Mummy-Daughter Necklace Set

Being a mum to a daughter means many things of which one is to be able to dress up in matching outfits and even accessories. There’s something fun yet deeply gratifying to be able to don on identical items with the kiddo. :p

(Matching outfits and even hats!)

I started off with mum and kiddo matching clothes but evolved as she grew older to something more subtle such as matching hats, shoes and accessories.

I have been shopping at Adeline’s Loft for bespoke lifestyle jewelry for years. From earrings to necklaces, Adeline does them all. The process is straight forward and painless. I find that I am usually inspired by some of her creations online and will then approach her thereafter to work on my pieces based on the changes to the beads / stones and colours that I want.

One thing that impresses me is that Adeline is really creative with the pieces she designs – you can certainly see this from the varied necklaces and styles from some of my previous orders!

I then became “hooked” onto matching accessories:

(Pearl necklace for me and pearl bracelet for her)

(Matching long necklaces – darker tone for me while the kiddo gets something sweet and light)

And here’s my latest mummy-daughter matching set! Isn’t this absolutely gorgeous? With Christmas just around the corner, this adds such a festive cheer and will be perfect for our Christmas party! 

For this Christmas period, I am pleased to share that Adeline is sponsoring a “Swirly Decollete Necklace Set” worth $62! Made with felt and in shades of purple and marine blue (connected with double royal purple suede strand), this mummy-daughter set adds a fun and playful twist to your outfit!

About the set:
:: Mum's necklace:
Accented with black faceted glass beads, fluted silver beads and rose beads. Approx.4" at widest width. 17" length + 2" extension chain

:: Girl's necklace (suitable for age 3 and above):
Accented with smooth white porcelain beads and snow flake design, star shaped silver beads. Approx.3" in widest width. 14" length + 2" extension chain

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember to leave a comment and share on "What value you wish to instill in your daughter?" 

Can't wait for the give away or looking for Christmas gifts? Contact Adeline via email: or for faster response, connect with her at her Facebook page.

Matching mother and daughter necklace sets are generally priced between $55-$65, depending on final choice of beads and chosen materials. Do provide a color theme upon query and Adeline will get back to you on the mock up design. Current lead time is between 7-10 working days. Price quoted is inclusive of standard local mail. Or add on $4 for a Singapore Post smartpac option for next day delivery. Total above $100 will receive complimentary smartpac service.

Disclaimer: The giveaway is kindly sponsored by Adeline's Loft. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.

Beanie N UsA Juggling Mom and Dinomama are pleased to bring to you a series of giveaways leading into December! Please remember to share and like our pages to keep abreast of our giveaway lineup!

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Parenting with Love: Helicopter Parenting

Values. Indeed one of the the hardest things to teach and yet (to me) the most important thing in life. I grew up in an era where everything and everyone was less competitive and basically children were allowed to be children. To have the space to learn and to make mistakes, and perhaps with it they learn about integrity and resilience.

I recently took out a tube of toothpaste (had the idea from an ex colleague), showed it to the kiddo and told her to squeeze it. 

"What happened?" I asked. 

"Toothpaste oozed out." She replied. 

"Do you know how this is similar to the words we say?" I prompted. 

Yes, in a similar fashion, words cannot be retracted after we speak it so we must always be mindful.

Ironically, barely about a week after I spoke to her about this, both she and I had a not so pleasant experience with one of her classmates and her mum. 

It started with a whats app message which I received at 8+pm that evening: 

"Hi Alicia, can I check if XX (dumpling in this case) took a coin from YY abt 2 wks ago?" 

So I asked the kiddo and my reply was that "... she says YY passed her the money and she didn't borrow"

To which the mum's reply was "I din mean she borrow. Is during Social Studies YY felt a coin in her own pocket and asked XX who's $ as she was sitting beside her. XX replied it's hers and so silly YY pass it to her." 

So there was a bit of to and fro and to that end, my daughter said that it was not during Social Studies (SS) and she was not even seated next to this girl. So I felt that there were definitely some inconsistencies with the stories, her daughter and mine. 

In the few paragraphs that ensued, I repeated that the kiddo did not ask or said that the money was hers. As it was a "money matter", I brought up the topic to the form teacher to ask for her assistance in investigating. 

Discovery was that yes, my kiddo was not seated next to her kiddo during SS and no coin was shown to my kiddo and she did not borrow or ask or claim that the coin was hers. 

Yes, Dumpling took a coin from YY but what transpired was this: it was the end of the day and my kiddo was stuffing her books and all, frantically into her bag. In the midst of these all, YY walked towards her and handed a coin to Dumpling. Rushing for time, Dumpling did not think much of it and just chucked everything in. She did not even remember about the incident till I asked her about it.

Of course, we had Dumpling return the coin to the child in the presence of the form teacher and it was a learning experience for Dumpling to be more careful and mindful of things that are handed over to her. So in short, it was a misunderstanding gone wrong. 

Words - they carry such strong impact and can make or break someone's career, credibility and at times, even life. 

In this particular instance, what I did not appreciate was the comment "I din mean she borrow." 

As a mum and as an adult, I would think that we would know that children being children, may remember some details, yet not some while recounting stories. In the same way, some children are not good at retelling stories too. For me, I try to always give children the benefit of doubt, that they may have overlooked some details or misunderstood certain situations hence I asked Dumpling if she borrowed the money. 

With that one remark from the mum, it seems to me that her belief was that Dumpling lied to say that the money was hers and took it. If she did not mean for Dumpling to borrow, then I cannot imagine what other options there can be. 

As parents, what are we teaching them then? That it is OK to jump to conclusions and accuse? And are there things which we should also reflect and teach our children? Are we stepping in too quickly and at times, too blindly? 

Humans are meant to make mistakes (just look at Adam!) as it is through them that we learn and we grow. Of course some mistakes can be dire and it is exactly for that reason that we should step back and learn to let the kids sort out the issues and conflicts on his/her own. 

I would think that I am a fair person because if Dumpling were to be at fault, I do not sugar coat my words or allow her to hide behind me. I will usually reflect and think how we can use it as a learning instead. I have gotten her to own up to those mistakes, take responsibilities for them and apologise when necessary too. Earlier this year, the kiddo said some unkind words to one of her classmates, passing on some thoughtless and rude remark about her friend's mum. The mum texted me and I explained the situation to Dumpling and made her apologize to her classmate while I apologized to the mum. In another incident, she felt hurt by a close friend who suddenly stopped lunching with her and apparently passed a hurtful comment to her too. 

If I were overprotective or have over-reacted, I would have approached the mum (of the latter incident) on the comment. Instead, I chose to retract my tiger claws and let Dumpling handle it - suggesting and guiding her to find the time to speak to her classmate on how she felt about both the remark and the loss of companionship. 

Because by doing so, I wanted to let her learn to build up her social skills, understand how to regulate her emotions and manage conflicts. To also teach her values such as integrity, respect and responsibility. To let her have the space (and others too) to make mistakes and learn from them, to solve her own problems and yet through it all, to have kindness in her actions, intentions and in her words. It is of course, easier said than done but I believe that we are halfway there. In the meantime, I will continue to be a submarine parent, be real close but out of radar such that she learns these skills that will take her through life.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 
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