Oct 23, 2014

A TV that is Smarter than Smart

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It's getting increasingly hard to buy a non-smart television these days. The norm for televisions these days seems to be the ability to go beyond watching usual TV shows - whether they offer one-touch access to apps, surf the web and stream internet videos from the comfort of one's sofa. Popularly known as Smart TVs, televisions have certainly come a long way since the days of black and white shows.

But not all Smart TVs are created equal and with Toshiba's newly launched TV with Android L54 series, it looks set to the leader in the field of Smart TVs.

First things first, the Toshiba L5450 series is one lean machine, and comes packed with a suite of innovative features such as CEVO Engine Premium, Intelligent Scene Optimiser and new eco-friendly initiatives essential for bringing home viewers closer to professional theatre experience on a larger screen.

More importantly though, it has the honour of being the FIRST digital TV with Android in Asia so what this means is one will be able to enjoy abundance of Apps with the sustainable Android open platform.

Think having an Android phablet or tablet, but on a much much much larger scale! Not only will there be thousands of apps available for download from the Google Play Store, watching online movies and music videos, browsing the web and playing online games will never be the same again.

Yes, even viewing Word documents, spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations on the TV.

And speaking of playing games, I had the opportunity to try out a game app that was downloaded from the Google Play Store. I had initially wondered if the graphics would suffer as a result of the huge screen size but as things turned out, my gaming experience on the big screen was anything but disappointing.

Oh, and did I mention that the L54 series is also capable of supporting external game pads for playing Android games? No additional drivers are needed to make the controllers work, I was told.

Just like any device that runs on Android, one will be able to customize the home screen with “live wall paper” - think swimming kois - and drag & drop widgets too.

Web browsing is also a cinch, with the option adding instant bookmarks to the home screen a breezy affair.

The great thing about Toshiba's TV with Android L54 series is everyone in the family will be able to personalize their apps and settings by logging into their individual user accounts. Even an Android tablet cannot do that!

One of the great advantages that Toshiba's L54 has over its competitors is the presence of far more onboard memory within the TV. Other brands' Smarts TVs typically come with less than 1GB of memory space, leaving inadequate free space for the download of desired apps. Toshiba's L54 contains more that twice of the memory space, which essentially translates to being able to download more apps for the family.

Love singing? The Toshiba L54 is able to fulfill your karaoke cravings by turning YouTube music videos into karaoke soundtracks with its “Audio Source Filtering”. Don't ask me how it is done, but all I know that you will be able to block out the lyrics of the music video while keeping the music in the background.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this feature was that of Ale singing 'Let It Go'... on Repeat mode.

All in, my first impression of Toshiba's TV with Android L54 series is that everything is beautifully simple. Whether it is web-browsing, watching online videos or playing games, the interface is as easy to use and intuitive as one can get... all because it is run on the familiar Android platform.

The downside? It may be tough to wrestle that remote away from every one else in the family!

Check out all the cool stuff the Toshiba TV with Android L54 series can do in the video below!

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Oct 22, 2014

What is your Parenting Superpower?

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I think you should know this by now - Parenting requires a superhuman level of effort.

It can be like facing the villains from the Marvel AND DC universe all at once or having to take down the entire army of foot soldiers (and Shredder). Because I have often wondered where my kids get their paranormal strength, screaming fits and energy from. But yet, we parents also have abilities to combat these super villains.

True, we parents have not benefited from being bitten by radioactive spiders, or being the last son of Krypton but that is not to say we do not have power.  On the contrary, our dormant superhero genes are awakened the moment our child is born. Come to think of it, my own mother had the “eyes in the back of her head” superpower when I was growing up.

So yes, there are many other types of parenting superpowers out there. Which parenting superhero are you?

1. Super Hearing. We can hear the slightest cry when we are showering in the bathroom, or even if they were on the 20th floor of a high-rise building. Of course, that would also mean we can pick up the slightest of sounds when the baby stirs in the middle of the night. Luckily for us Dads, we do not seem to have this superpower.

2. Superhuman Agility.  It only takes one time stepping on a LEGO brick or Hot Wheels toy car before we learn how to navigate through the toys on the floor.

3. Telepathy. There is a mental connection between parent and child. It usually involves the child stealing a fear from the parent, and implementing it with brutal accuracy. How else will we know that our child is going to wake up the moment we sit down for a rest, or whine about wanting a Princess Elsa doll while walking through Toys ‘R’ Us?

4. Spider Sense. Just like Spider-man, our sense of danger usually tinkles when we already know that our child will spill his drink a split second before the hand swipes the cup. Or when the kids have been quiet for far too long.

5. Super Smell. We can smell the first wafts of whatever that comes out of our kids’ bottoms, even when they are a few metres away.

6. Healing Touch. When our child wakes up in the middle of the night crying and complaining of pains in the body, we do the magic healing rub on him and get him back to bed quickly enough. All these, without having to fully awaken ourselves.

7. Sonic Booms.  A single yell of “Go to Bed NOW!” or “STOP it right NOW!” is enough to make everyone stop dead in their tracks, and the children cower in fear.

8. Mind control. Just the widening of the eyes will be able to convey the message of  “Just wait til we get home” and in some cases, powerful enough to our kids stop whatever wrongs they are doing.

9. Teleportation. Scrambling to three different schools to drop off the kids,  including peeling off that clingy toddler and running for our lives, and still be at work by 9am with a coffee in hand. How do we do it? There can only be one reason.

10. Super Strength. Step aside, Hulk. Carrying 2 sleeping kids while pushing another pram after a day out at Disneyland back to the hotel has got to count for something.

So, what is your Superpower?


This article first appeared on Maybe Baby Singapore, as part of my monthly contributions to the website.

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Oct 20, 2014

Organic Milk Goodness in a Tablet


Did you know that when it comes to our children's health, building healthy bones by adopting healthy nutritional and lifestyle habits early in childhood is paramount in preventing osteoporosis and fractures later in life?

The bone mass attained in childhood and adolescence is an important determinant of lifelong skeletal health, so neglecting bone health is far more likely to lead to brittle bones. All the more important to form good bone health habits from a young age then! And the two most important lifelong bone health habits to encourage now are proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity.

So what of us parents, who are already in our late twenties and thirties? The hard truth is that as our bones reach maximum density at the age of 30, we start to lose bone mass at a faster rate. Lack of proper calcium supplementation can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, arthritis, and even rickets. These conditions are real and can affect everyone from the very young to the old, and even the seemingly healthy.

And as much as we would like to be eating for healthy bones - which means getting plenty of foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D - this can sometimes be difficult due to our hectic lifestyles. This is where supplementation, particularly from natural food sources, is beneficial.

Omical is the only organic milk supplement in the market and might be the closest-to-natural way to top up our daily calcium levels. Most of the other calcium supplements that are made of calcium carbonate, lactate or gluconate are derived from sources such as crushed up rocks, shells and bones, which carry potential contamination with toxic substances like lead or mercury. *shudder*

And this is where Omical is different - it is derived from pure milk, the first and most natural, wholesome form of calcium that allows optimal absorption compared to other supplements.

In fact, Omical is certified to be free from antibiotics, pesticide residues, dioxins, artificial colour, gluten and preservatives, INCLUDING a lab test by HSA confirming that Omical has no traces of lead, mercury, and arsenic. Which makes it safe for everyone, including children!

The convenient thing about Omical is not only is it a calcium supplement, it contains other key components like magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc and copper - minerals that are combined to be
closest to human bones, ensuring optimal bone health.

Each tablet contains 250mg of elemental calcium per tablet, which is easy to swallow and free of any smells or after-taste. The recommended dosage is two tablets one to two times a day, or as directed by your physician.

All the calcium content and its advantages are good but for me, the main selling point of popping Omical tablets into my mouth daily can be attributed to one benefit: I am able to get my calcium intake minus the fat!

Because dairy products can also be high in saturated fat and if you know me, that is a luxury I can ill afford. So with Omical, it is able to help me meet your calcium needs in a safe and convenient manner. Even better for those who are lactose intolerant, which effectively rules out the consumption of milk. Omical is also safe for this group of people!

With Omical having the best absorption with mineral ratio closest to the human bone, it is NOT only a calcium supplement but a milk mineral complex as well. Because nothing beats consuming something that is derived from pure milk AND getting all the nutrients from milk, but WITHOUT the fat, steroids, antibiotics and hormones.


But don’t take my word for it – try it out for yourself! Omical is giving 10 of our cheekiemonkie readers the chance to receive some samples just by filling up the form below.

Or better yet, how about winning a full-sized bottle of Omical? I have FIVE to give away! To take part, just answer this simple question:

How is Omical different from other calcium supplements?

Leave your answer either in the comments section of this post, or in the corresponding Facebook post HERE.

The giveaway is open to residents in Singapore, and closes on 31 Oct 2014. Good luck on winning the samples and the full-sized bottle!

Omical is available at pharmacies like Watsons, Guardian, Unity as well as OG and hospital pharmacies. For more information on Omical, visit www.omical.com.sg.

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Oct 17, 2014

Parenting Confessions of a Cheekiemonkie Dad


Being a Dad is the most amazing title that I hold. But sometimes being a Parent just does not turn out the way I intended, especially when projectile vomit and spilled milk on freshly mopped floors are involved.

I strive to be the perfect Parent, but I am only human. More accurately, I am a guy. Yes, that minor detail inadvertently hinders my efforts to earn the accolade of 'Parent of the Year'.

Because there are things that I must do, short-cuts that I must take in order to get through my days as a parent. But that's okay, at least we are all still happy.

And alive.

1. I throw away most of the monkies' school artwork because they are taking up too much space in the house. BUT I have kept every single Father's Day and Birthday cards that they have made for me.

2.  I hate reading bedtime stories because they are fundamentally boring. Like, mind-numbing. I only do it because I know I have to. And sometimes, I just let them fall asleep watching TV.

3. Regarding the weekly allowance their grandparents give them which they pass to me for safekeeping until we get home, I sometimes forget and spend it. But I mostly return it to them - when they remind me.

4. I eat the sweets and chocolate from the birthday goodie bags they receive from their classmate's birthday celebration. And then I say the ants ate them.

5. I know which monkie is responsible for smearing boogers on the wall.

6. I have secretly thrown out some of their toys that I just did not like.

7. I love all of them equally, but I do have a favorite monkie. Just that it changes by the day, depending who is more obedient.

8. I fart in public and politely blamed them when they were babies.

9. I love watching them when they are sleeping.

10. I sneak them kisses while they are asleep and hold my finger up to their noses to make sure they are breathing. I wonder if that will be creepy when they turn 18.

11. Sometimes, instead of playing with them, I pretend to be watching them but instead I am on the computer or smartphone.

12. I have ever lied about their ages so that I can score that 1-for-1 offer at the movies.

13. I use the monkies as a convenient excuse to get out of things - kids-are-too-tired is always a winner.

14. I fret over their future, and wonder what kind of persons they will turn out to be.

15. They are the light of my life. I am terrified that I will not be theirs one day.

Do you have your own parenting confession to make? Share it with me in the comments below!

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Oct 16, 2014

Struöc is Courts

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Media Invite

The truth is finally out.

In case you are still wondering where Struöcfurniture is from, all you have to do is to flip the name Struöc back to front and tadah - it is actually by Courts!

Whaaaat? Yes, Struöcfurniture is the start of a campaign for Courts' rejuvenation of its furniture range, breathing new life into the selections by introducing 75% new sofa and dining sets and tripling its home accessories – all available at affordable prices.

I have to admit though, when I first saw images of the new range online, I never expected them to be from Courts. Simply because they were just so un-Courts... which probably was a good thing that I was invited down to the showroom at Courts Megastore Tampines to dispel any lingering doubts.

Guided by the principle that there should never be a compromise between stylish furniture and affordable prices, the new range comprises three distinctive styles – ClassicUrban and Funk to create dream homes.

If you are feeling nostalgic, the Classic range is designed to hint at the past or simply destined to stand the test of time. Expect each piece to possess the quality and aesthetics to become a modern heirloom.

View more pieces from the Classic collection HERE.

For those who believe that less is more, the clean lines of Urban home décor serve to de-clutter one's living space. Simple lines and angles create a sense of flow, evoking a calming effect to achieve contemporary harmony.

View more pieces from the Urban collection HERE.

But for those who prefer to live out loud, Funk could be your cup of tea.

Here, conventional knick-knacks meet quirky colours to exude individuality and charisma. Mix unexpected pieces to exquisite effect and stamp one's unique signature to end up with something truly individual.

Erm, notice I took many more photos of the furniture pieces in the Funk section? The Classic and Urban collections are great, but the Funk range definitely caught my eye with its quirky and fun-loving style!

I love how a tinge of retro is infused into the designs and my personal fave? It has got to be this unique dual rocking chair, perfect for a couple to share a quiet moment together.

View more pieces from the Funk collection HERE.

Tastefully curated with a wide selection of colours, designs, and mix-and-match accessories, trust me when I say there will be something for every home.

The three new ranges are already available at all Courts stores islandwide. And if you need another reason to head down to the stores, how about this - all new furniture range are going at a whopping 40% discount, PLUS an additional 30% off the second item!

The promotion is valid until 31 December 2014, so there is nothing like getting one's Chinese New Year shopping done early right?

For more information, visit www.courts.com.sg/yourfurniture.

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Oct 15, 2014

Stretching your Dollar with POSB Child Development Account

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Sponsored Post

Ask any Singaporean parent what are some of the many practical decisions that he or she will need to make upon the arrival of a newborn child and one of them will likely to involve the opening of the Child Development Account (CDA) with a local-based bank.

The CDA is a special savings account that rewards parents for saving up for their children. The savings will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Government up to the cap of $6,000 each for the first and second child, $12,000 each for the third and fourth child and $18,000 each for the fifth and subsequent child. One can save in the CDA any time until 31 December in the year your child turns 12 years of age.

I know there are some parents who lament that the money may be too little but if you have 3 monkies like me, any form of monetary help is always a big bonus. Especially since it essentially halves my preschool fees for Ale every month!

Yes, the savings in the CDA may be used to pay approved expenses for all children at Approved Institutions registered with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) under the Baby Bonus Scheme, like childcare centres, kindergartens and special education schools. The CDA savings can also be used for medical expenses, approved healthcare items and even purchase MediShield or Medisave-approved private integrated plans for all your children. Or how about at optical shops registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) too?

Currently, a parent can opt to open a CDA account with either OCBC or Standard Chartered banks. But come the second quarter in 2015, POSB will be offering CDA services as well. And in celebration of its recent appointment a CDA-certified bank, POSB has launched an attractive Early Bird Bonus offer to encourage pre-registrations before the official launch in May 2015!

All you have to do is to register for the Early Bird Special by 31 October 2014 and open a CDA account with POSB by 30 June 2015, and you will get to enjoy 6 months Early Bird Bonus Interest of 1% per annum on top of POSB Child Development Account (CDA) Interest Rate on your children's savings! Existing CDA Holders with other banks can also switch easily online in 2015, but you will also have to register your interest via HERE.

I guess no parent will object to having S$5,000 credited into his/her child’s CDA account too, no? Just upload your child’s cutest photo accompanied with a creative caption and #POSBBabyBonus to POSB's Facebook page before 31 October 2014 and you might be S$5,000 richer! Or your child, actually.

Finding that cute photo of your child has never been so lucrative.

For more information and to register for the Early Bird Special, visit www.posb.com.sg/cda. To stand a chance to win S$5,000, submit your photos at www.facebook.com/posb. But hurry, as both end on 31 October 2014!

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Oct 14, 2014

The Playhouse @ Rochester: All-new & Up-sized!

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Parents can never get enough of kids-friendly dining places, especially if one has a huge play area plonked right beside it. So after undergoing a round of refurbishment since the beginning of this year, The Playhouse @ Rochester House has re-opened... with its awesome play haven for kids AND MORE.

Housed in a grand colonial bungalow, The Playhouse @ Rochester House is unlike your usual indoor playground. As parents get the chance to relax and dine in the Rochester Cafe, the real action for children takes place in The Playhouse right beside the Cafe.

And the contents of The Playhouse were enough to make the Diva go wild with excitement.

If you are expecting tall spiraling slides or giant foam ball gun machines, then perhaps this indoor playground is probably not your cup of tea. But if you are looking for a day's worth of indoor (and air-conditioned) fun for the kids to play dress up, dabble in crafts and indulge in some role-play, then they will not be disappointed.

One hour of fun at The Playhouse starts from $8 per child (or $15 for unlimited play) but trust me when I say one hour is never enough for the entire play area is peppered with loads of toys in every corner - a make-believe cooking kitchen play area, an area where dress-up play is encouraged, a table with lots of building blocks and trains to keep those tiny hands occupied, as well as a craft area where kids can opt to do some quiet colouring or handiwork.

For toddlers and younger children, there is a separate soft play area which comes complete with a slide and ball pit. 

As you can probably tell, even the older kids could not resist sliding into a pit full of balls! I initially thought that the 2 older boys would get utterly bored inside The Playhouse but as things turned out, the wifey and I had the luxury of enjoying our food while the three monkies were wrecking havoc inside the indoor playground.

On our last visit to Rochester House more than 2 years back, the boys had fond memories of bouncing on a certain trampoline beside the dining area. So they were delighted to see that it was still around after the makeover.

Speaking of makeover, the biggest transformation of The Playhouse has got to be its outdoor play area. While the pre-makeover Rochester House only featured the trampoline as the only outdoor entertainment for children, the new outdoor play area now boasts a fantastic play area filled with toys and more toys!

Quite simply, pure heaven for every single kid. And for parents too, since the outdoor play area is located just beside the dining area.

Besides the usual outdoor playground equipment, kids can put their driving skills to the test by driving around the AstroTurf 'road' too!

And did I mention water play as well?

Too little water, you say? How about a mini water play pool then?

For those who are planning to stay dry, there is even a mini garden where kids can learn more about plants.

Be warned though, all those playing and running around burns up a huge amount of energy so it will probably a good idea to order food for the kids in advance, courtesy of Rochester Cafe's Kids Menu options.

Sure, the usual suspects of Fish & Chips and Chicken Nuggets are there but the people at Rochester Cafe wanted to offer healthy food options for the little ones, such as such as steamed fish and veggies or meat loaf, as well.

Ale had the Poached Dory ($9.90), and this must have been one of the rare times that I have seen her devour her meal in record time. I could be wrong, but I figure The Playhouse might have something to do with it.

Ever the burger person, Ash settled for the Wagyu Beef Burger ($21.90) which turned out to be a rather huge portion.

But any thoughts of me hoping to try the burger evaporated the moment Ash sank his teeth into the burger. Yes, he managed to finish the entire burger on his own!

Ayd, on the other hand, is a pasta person so there was no surprise when he opted for the Carbonara ($16.90).

Yet another one who polished off everything off his plate.

The wifey had the Prawn Aglio Olio ($18.90) which didn't disappoint. The taste of the roasted garlic and fine chillies brought out the flavour of the dish which to our surprise, even had Ayd wanting to try it!

As for me, I had the Rib-Eye Steak ($29.90), which came topped with pepper sauce and served with cajun fries and summer vegetables. Not the best I had, but pretty decent.

For the monkies though, the main attraction of Rochester House was clearly not the food. This must have been one of the rare moments that the wifey and I got to slowly savour our food - and even had time to sip our coffee - while the monkies went for countless rounds of fun at both the Indoor and Outdoor play areas.

But just how much fun? I suppose the icky perspiration-laden head of Ayd said it all.

Luckily for him, there is the cooling down option of picking a book from The Playhouse's bookshelf as well.

One great thing about The Playhouse is that its staff are always present within the indoor playground, helping to engage and keep an eye on the kids. Perfect opportunity for parents to just sit back and chill!

Granted that the Playhouse isn't exactly in the same league as those massive Indoor Playgrounds, but it is still the best bet for friends with young children in tow to get together, have a meal together and make decent conversations without being rudely interjected by a 'Can we go home now?'.

Because with The Playhouse @ Rochester House, it is playground and cafe heaven all rolled into one for both kids and parents.


Thanks to The Playhouse @ Rochester House, I have THREE Chop Chop Cards worth $150 each to give away! Each Chop Chop Card allows for TEN Unlimited Free Plays, has no expiry date and can be shared among different children!

To take part, simply follow the following steps:

1. LIKE The Playhouse's Facebook Page HERE.

2.  Leave a comment either in THIS blog post or on our Cheekiemonkies' Facebook corresponding post HERE to let me know once you have done so.

Simple right? 3 lucky winners will be picked! This giveaway is open to all residents in Singapore. Giveaway ends on 20 October 2014, 2359 hours. Good luck!

Useful Information

The Playhouse @ Rochester House
7 Rochester Park, Singapore 139218
Rochester Cafe Opening Hours: Tues - Fri 11am - 8pm | Sat & Sun 10am - 8pm
The Playhouse Opening Hours: Tues - Fri 11am - 7pm | Sat & Sun 10am - 8pm
Play Rates: 1 hour Play-pass $8 | 2 hours Play-pass  @ $10 | Unlimited Play-pass @ $15
Tel: 67731312 (Rochester Cafe) | 67766683 (The Playhouse)
Website: www.rochesterhouse.com.sg

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