Jan 30, 2015

A Vacuum Job So Easy & Fun, Kids Will Be Fighting Over It!

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Product Review

The Bosch Athlet Handstick Vacuum Cleaner really sucks.

Becasue above all, it is a vacuum cleaner after my own heart: it makes the monkies tussle over the job of vacuuming my house!


The Bosch Athlet is the first cordless vacuum cleaner from Bosch. Boasting a SensorBagless Technology that ensures maximum dust pick-up. this cordless wonder is not only convenient to use but also powerful. All well and good, but what is it really like to use?

The packaging comes with 4 pieces in the box: main vacuum body, vacuum head, handle and charging cable. Putting everything together took mere seconds, as all of the parts easily slotted into the right place with minimal fuss.


If I were to be completely honest, my first impression of the Athlet was that there was absolutely no way this skinny vacuum would be able to replicate what my current larger vacuum does or better yet, do an even more competent job.


Well, I need not have worried because for starters, the Athlet already trumps its larger competitors with its smaller and lighter body. If flexibility is a feature that you care about, the Athlet excels in that.

At approximately three kilograms, the Athlet is a lightweight, and with its low centre of gravity and balanced ergonomics, it handles comfortably. It offers impressive versatility and handling, even for seniors and children! Just ask Ash.


Fitted with a flexible nozzle attachment, it is extremely easy to manoeuver to reach around and underneath sofas, beds, cupboards and in tight spaces. Without a cord dragging behind it, the cordless Athlet can be used just about anywhere and stored away neatly in an instant.


It comes with three suction levels which make it suitable for cleaning various surfaces. The first suction level is for light jobs while the second level is suitable for daily vacuum and the third is for turbo vacuuming.

To ensure users get superior cleaning with this vacuum cleaner, the Athlet is the first cordless handstick vacuum cleaner to boast the proven SensorBagless Technology, a well-known feature on Bosch's corded bagless vacuum cleaners. The sensors ensure excellent airflow and monitor the performance of the unit.


The vacuum cleaner is equipped with Bosch's Lithium-Ion Technology, which is capable of providing power to the unit for 60 minutes depending on the setting selected. The amazing thing is we did not experience any decrease in performance for as long as the battery is active. I was impressed with the Athlet's excellent run time, as this means the monkies will be able to each have their vacuuming turn before the battery runs out!


Okay, so vacuuming is always the easy part but cleaning the filter or emptying the dust can be a pain in the butt when it comes to vacuum cleaners. Again, I was left impressed with the Athlet's quick release debris collection unit - it was so easy to us that both Ash and Ayd were able to empty the dirt container all on their own!

The Athlet's system indicates immediately when the filter cartridge needs to be cleaned. And thanks to its efficient separator system, the dust is separated even before it hits the filter. This ensures that the majority of the dust ends up in the dirt container and not in the filter, keeping the required
maintenance to a minimum. Best of all, there is no subsequent cost because the innovative lifetime filters from Bosch are washable and do not need to be replaced - for the entire lifetime of the appliance.


Frankly, I am struggling to find any fault with the Athlet. Although it is a very lightweight vacuum cleaner, it boasts the performance of a conventional vacuum cleaner and moves effortlessly from different kinds of floors and carpets without any adjustment needed. Its free-standing slim design makes it easy for storage and thus an option for people who have limited space in their homes.

Most important of all, if you are planning to outsource the cleaning to your children, the Bosch Athlet really sucks so good!


The Bosch Athlet is retailing for S$649 at all leading departmental and electrical stores island-
wide.


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Jan 28, 2015

Hassle-free Bountiful Harvest Meals this CNY

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Sponsored Post

No other family meal is as heart-warming to eat - and time-consuming to prepare - as the the Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner. Or if you are intending to head out to eat, chances are the more popular restuarants will have 2 designated dining times which means the reunion dinner is going to be one rushed affair.

OR you could just do it the fuss-free way, and enjoy a sumptuous meal with your loved ones at the comfort of your own home. With professional food catering services, hosting a dinner becomes easier than ever. Slowly savour the food, mingle and chat with everyone by leaving all logistic jobs that may cause a lot of hassle in hands of the food caterers.

Like One Paradise.


One Paradise - the catering arm of Paradise Group - has introduced the Bountiful Harvest Party Set for this year's Chinese New Year celebrations. So much like the Christmas Feast we had last yearwe could not pass up the opportunity to sample the new festive offerings!

Already, the sight of just the menu was enough to cause my salivary glands to go into overdrive.

Appetizer

Fortune Treasure Combination 
(Prawn Salad, Japanese Octopus, Marinated Top Shell, Nori Seafood Roll & Vegetarian Shark’s Fin Omelette)

Main course

Braised Duck with Sea Cucumber & Mushroom

Honey Soy Asian Baked Salmon Fillet

Signature Wok-fried Wasabi Prawns

Mixed Vegetables Deluxe
with Trio Mushrooms, Carrots & Black Moss

Seafood Mian Xian

Steamed Pumpkin Rice

Dessert

Chilled Mango Puree with Sago

Mini Macarons

Ditto for Ale, I think.


There seems to be something about the carbs dishes from One Paradise. The Truffle Oil Infused Rice we previously had in the Christmas Menu was a hit with everyone and this time around, the Seafood Mian Xian and Steamed Pumpkin Rice were so flavourful that everyone went for second and third helpings - diet or not.

I also have to single out the Fortune Treasure Combination for special mention. Akin to the appetizer cold dish that most Chinese restaurants serve, the platter consisted of Prawn Salad, Japanese Octopus, Marinated Top Shell, Nori Seafood Roll and Vegetarian Shark’s Fin Omelette.


The Mixed Vegetables Deluxe with Trio Mushrooms, Carrots & Black Moss and Honey Soy Asian Baked Salmon Fillet were pretty decent as well.


But the dishes that had the monkies going back for more were the Braised Duck with Sea Cucumber & Mushroom and Signature Wok-fried Wasabi Prawns. Yes, there was wasabi in the latter dish but the wasabi flavour was mild enough for the kids to feast on.


Of course, a festive meal is never complete without a dessert. And One Paradise's CBountiful Harvest Party Set comes with two desserts, Chilled Mango Puree with Sago and Mini Macarons, that will please every child's sweet-tooth without fail.


Frankly though, I reckon the kiddos enjoyed the savoury food more than the desserts. 


So it was a good thing that while the party set is meant for 10 persons, the portions served are pretty substantial... which means there were more than enough food to go around!


In 3 weeks time, Chinese New Year will be in full swing and it will be the time of the year when family and friends start popping by each other's homes. Instead of whipping a storm in your kitchen and attempting to clean up when you are already totally drained, get someone else to do the dirty work for you.

Worry no more about preparing food, or cleaning the area after the leave of the last guest since all food items are delivered in disposable containers. Instead, make the best use of your time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and usher in the Year of the Goat in the most relaxing manner possible.

GIVEAWAY!


Win a complimentary catering Party Pack, courtesy of Silver Tray Catering, a subsidiary of One Paradise and a Halal Certified Caterer! Visit HERE to take part!



The Bountiful Harvest Party Set is good for 10-12 persons and is priced at $388 (with GST $415.16). For more information on One Paradise CNY Festive offerings, visit www.oneparadise.com.sg/catering-menu/festive.


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Jan 26, 2015

Feeling Grateful

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The boys volunteered briefly for the first time when we were one of the Official Bloggers for the Marina Bay Countdown 2012. Then, they mingled and brought much joy to the elderly folks from the Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre. 

We had a few more volunteering activities ever since. But the wifey and I have always been looking for more opportunities to help the less fortunate among us, and involve the kids at the same time too. One such opportunity came up when Community Chest approached me to get the family to help out at its Festive Care and Share Fu Dai event.

In support of SG Care & Share Day, Community Chest arranged for a Fú Dài (Festive Pack) containing sponsored festive items and necessities to be delivered to a person in need (such as a lonely elderly, or a family in difficulty) from its social service programmes. And the number of packs in question? 2,000 of them! 

So last Saturday, we together with scores of other volunteers congregated at Dunman High School to help out in the packing of the festive bags. The same afternoon, we were also tasked with delivering them to the seniors in their homes.


We roped in some of the monkies' buddies for the event, and I was very happy to see all of them being so enthusiastic in offering their help!


After a short briefing, the kids were raring to begin.


I think there were close to 30 items in one festive pack so while the adults had to go draw the items from each respective station, the kids assisted by placing each individual item into each bag. Sounds easy but believe me when I say it was tough work... especially the routine can get really mundane after the novelty wear off with the first few bags.


But we had a quota to meet and for that, the kids really did their jobs well. Perhaps it was the awesome company that everyone had during the packing session but all the festive packs were completed just before lunch time!


Yes, we were on the same packing team as Dr. Jiajia and his two adorable sisters. Very cute, and helpful kids! :)


The kiddos then had a well-deserved lunch break, refuelling in anticipation of our next task.


The wifey and I had a little chat with the monkies beforehand to explain what we would be doing and the reason behind the delivery of the festive packs to the the elderly who were living - often alone - in the poorer estates in Singapore.

So after another short briefing, we set off armed with an address list and 21 festive packs in the car boot. Actually, we had more items on top of the 21 packs. Prior to all of this, the boys had also contributed $20 each from their own savings and purchased additional items like 3-in1 Milo sachets and instant oats, which they would pass them to the elderly folks we were visiting.

As we made our rounds in housing estates, the monkies handed the gifts to the elderly and chatted with them a little while. They lived simply, with many of their homes hardly furnished, filled with either cardboard boxes or plastic bags, and were not in the cleanest of conditions. But everyone was friendly, each having a story to tell.


All of them came to the door, received the festive packs with smiles beaming on their faces and shook our hands warmly as we wished them 新年快乐 (Happy New Year). Their faces lit up when the boys passed them the additional Milo sachets or instant oats, and even more so when they found out the items were bought using the boys' own savings.


Overall, the monkies including Ale were terrific sports. They lugged along their own items, held open the lift doors, knocked on doors and exchanged warm greetings with the recipients. Before the event, we had the intention of setting out to spread some CNY festive cheer and bless the less fortunate with some necessities. Well, it turns out that we were the ones who would be blessed instead.


I am not sure how much difference we made to the lives of the elderly folks that we met, but I am thankful we were able to bring some cheer - however little - to them. But for us and the monkies especially, it was a truly sobering experience to see the other side of Singapore that we hardly come into contact with. Most, if not all, of the elders are living alone and it really made me feel truly grateful for all I had.

Family, friends, nice meals, a cosy bed and above all, a warm home.

These are things the monkies often take for granted, that they do not realize they have been blessed with.



Though the Fu Dai event has ended, you can still contribute in other ways. So do visit www.comchest.org.sg for more information.

*Photos with the elderly folks were taken with permission. 


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Jan 23, 2015

Spend the March School Holidays with Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf!

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Sponsored Post

For the monkies, Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, or 喜羊羊与灰太狼, is the ONLY Mandarin cartoon that they watch and one that they thoroughly enjoy. So when Pleasant Goat and gang last made their stage appearance here in Singapore, they lapped it all up - even Ale!

This year, just because it's the Year of the Goat, Pleasant Goat and Wolffy will be back for yet another stage musical titled “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf – 3 Wishes".


Plot-wise, the musical is relatively straight-forward (and hilarious):

Five goats discover a bottle with a magician, Kalala, in it. Kalala boasts to grant his master three wishes with his limited magical power. This is overheard by the cunning Wolffy who steals the magic bottle. However, the three wishes of Wolffy do not come true, and he turns into a big pig head instead. 


Through the musical, the adorable Pleasant Goat and family will be sharing more on going green, friendship and also the love for Mother Earth. And if our past experience is anything to go by, the musical will be a highly interactive one, with loads of high tempo songs and kids in the audience being encouraged to brainstorm together to solve problems or just simply stand up and boogie along.

Of course the nonsensical antics of Wolffy would not hurt either.


If you are looking for fun and interactive ways to introduce Mandarin to your kids through catchy music and vibrant stage settings, the live stage show of “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf – 3 Wishes" would count as one of those.

Even more so since it will be staged during the March School Holidays!


Useful Information

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf – 3 Wishes
Date: 20 – 22 March 2015
Time: 20 March (7pm), 21 March 2015 (3pm & 7pm), 22 March (11am & 3pm)
Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes
Venue: Esplanade Theatre
Ticket Price: $108, $88, $78, $68, $58, $38 (exclude booking fee)
For more information and to buy tickets, visit HERE.




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Jan 21, 2015

Ordering of Chinese New Year Hampers Made Easy

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Advertorial

Barely a few weeks after welcoming 2015, the whole town is decked in red once again in anticipation usher in the Year of the Goat! When I was young, I loved whenever Chinese New Year (CNY) rolled along. Of course the collection of ang pows was my fave to-do activity but the other thing I loved doing was unwrapping the hampers that my Dad received from his business associates or friends.

Because unwrapping a hamper is just like unwrapping a Christmas present, but only with yummy goodies like pineapple tarts, cookies and love letters! So I guess Ale must have inherited my love for unwrapping CNY hampers then, upon receiving one such hamper from Wonderful Flora.


Wonderful Flora has been in the business of flowers and gifts for over 27 years, offering reliable and personalised services to its customers. Headquartered in Singapore, Wonderful Flora has over 1,000 products under its collection and delivers flowers, gifts and hampers for all occasions including international flower delivery to more than 25 countries through its network of affiliated florists worldwide.

Which is great news, considering how busy we tend to get as the first day of Chinese New Year beckons. Spring-cleaning, shopping for new clothes, buying CNY goodies - all these definitely take up a lot of time so if you have the added to-do item to send CNY hampers to your clients or friends, Wonderful Floral allows you the convenience of shopping for gift hampers during festive season with a few clicks of the mouse.


For starters, Wonderful Flora has a huge array of CNY hampers to suit every budget (from $68 and up). Oh, and did I mention there is no GST charged and free delivery in Singapore is offered for all purchases? I zoomed in on the Superior CNY Hamper ($88) and, chose my delivery date and time.


With that, the hamper was added into my shopping cart. And that was about it really. Simple to use, and definitely hassle-free.


Come check-out, it was a breeze too as it is not mandatory to create an account with Wonderful Flora.


I just had to enter the sender's and recipient's information and I - or rather, the hamper - was good to go!


And when the hamper was promptly delivered to my place, it should not be difficult to guess who was the one who could not resist making a beeline to the hamper and urging me to unravel the packaging immediately.


The Diva, of course.

You know how some hampers are often packed with many and many layers of sticky tape, making it an arduous chore to free the items in the hamper? Our hamper was not like that at all. In fact, every item was so neatly packed with minimum tape that Ale could unwrap the hamper on her own!

The hamper came packed with the following goodies:

Bird’s Nest with Rock Sugar & White Fungus 70ml x 2
Dragon King American Ginseng Slice 10g
NPH Shrimp Roll 80g
NPH Chicken Floss 100g
Sweet Ching Teng 128g
Kjeldsens Chocolate Chip Cookies 50g
Korean Red Ginseng Candy 60g

And among them, Ale had to pick out the Chocolate Chip Cookies as her fave!



Well, I suppose that means the wifey and I will get to enjoy the Bird's Nest and other good stuff then. Heh.


The products in the hamper were exactly like what were depicted in the photo on its website but the best surprise I had was how it was ridiculously easy to browse and place my order on Wonderful Flora's website, saving much needed time in the process.

And with CNY less than a month away, time and convenience is what we all could do with.


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Jan 19, 2015

Asian Tales Floral Display at Gardens by the Bay

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This year, Gardens by the Bay embarks on a story-telling journey with SIX Chapters of colourful floral displays in the Flower Dome. Step into the magical world of folklores, legends, fairy tales and nursery rhymes - as told through the language of plants. 

And first up, the Asian Tales Floral Display to usher in the Year of the Goat!


Yes, you know it's dong dong qiang time when one witnesses an explosion of colours at every turn in the Flower Dome... complete with auspicious Chinese New Year decorations, of course.


Entitled 'Asian Tales', this floral showcase draws inspiration from the scenic landscape of mountains and valleys often depicted in Chinese brush paintings.


But the real centerpiece, or rather centerpieces, of the Floral Display has got to be the wooden goat sculptures. Which is perfect as the coming Chinese New Year will be known as 'Year of the Wooden Goat'.


Perched high above on wooden poles, the life-sized wooden sculptures are made from thousands of pieces of driftwood. Truly majestic-looking, so said the boys. Okay, they mouthed "COOL!" so it's more or less the same thing.


For Ale though, what perhaps stole her heart were these adorable goats made from brightly-coloured flowers.


Definitely cute enough to warrant for a few snaps of the camera!


If you are heading to the Flower Dome, be sure to pick up your free copy of the self-guided Asian Tales Garden Trail from the ticketing counter as well. Take in the picturesque landscape of sculpted mountains as you set your sights on the colourful display of a range of flower varieties like the Dahlias.


Signifying good luck and prosperity, the Dahlia is a symbol of inner strength, creativity and standing strong in your sacred values. Also the national flower of Mexico, it comes in a variety of colours, sizes and shapes and are commonly used to symbolize various ideas such as everlasting union between two people.

Another festive flower that one should not miss is the Boat Orchid, with its name being derived from the hollowness in the lip of the orchid. The plant symbolises nobility, grace, love, beauty and refinement. It is also prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers.


Oh and don't forget to pop by the Craft Booths within the Flower Dome too! Create something fun and memorable with your children to take home this Spring at the Craft Booth at the Flower Dome (Mediterranean Garden).


And just specially for this weekend (24 & 25 Jan 2015), catch an array of puppet performances within the Flower Dome (South American Garden) and be amazed by the myriad of stories retold with puppets. Check HERE for show timings.


So this Chinese New Year, welcome an auspicious start to the Year of the Goat set in the company of colourful blooms such as cherry blossoms, kumquat plants and chrysanthemums!


Useful Details

Asian Tales - Year of the Goat Floral Display
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Date: 16 Jan - 8 Mar 2014
Time: 9am - 9pm daily
Charges: Entry fees into the Cooled Conservatories apply. For admission charges, click HERE.
Website: gardensbythebay.com.sg/springsurprise

Craft Booths @ Flower Dome
17 - 25 Jan 2015
Weekdays 11am - 6pm | Weekends 10am - 6pm

Puppetry Workshops & Performances @ Flower Dome
24 Jan 2015 | 1pm - 1.30pm, 3pm - 3.30pm, 5pm - 5.30pm
25 Jan 2015 | 11am - 11.30am, 1pm - 1.30pm, 3pm - 3.30pm

Chinese New Year Promotion
Visit Asian Tales floral display during the weekends of 31 Jan/1 Feb and 7/8 Feb and stand a chance to be one of the lucky 28 to win a floral hamper from the Gardens! Simply visit between 6pm - 6.30pm and 7pm - 7.30pm when the God of Fortune will be in the Flower Dome to distribute ang pows. Find your floral fortune in the ang pows! There will be 7 hampers given away per session.



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