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DIY Terrarium - Masons Home Decor

Monday, 22 May 2017

I have always wanted to grow some simple herbs or vegetables in our own home, but I do not have green fingers. Most plants that landed in my hands died. When Masons Home Decor approached me to review their Premium DIY Terrarium Kit, I was worried that the plants will not last long. However, I read that terrariums survive pretty well and are low maintenance. Hence, I took up the challenge. Furthermore, it will be a good bonding activity with the kids.

Everything arrived in this big box...


...with all the tools and accessories required to put together the terrariums. It comes with two big glass jars, shovels, decorative pebbles, terrarium soil mix, activated charcoal, water spray bottle, some decoratives and 9 small pots of succulents and plants.


It even comes with a guide on how to make the terrarium. It is as easy as 1-2-3!


Both Js are eager to start making their own terrariums. Let's get started!


Step 1: Cover the bottom of the jar with some small pebbles to provide drainage. Done!


The steps are really easy to follow. Even Big J has no problem following and reading the instructions. 


Step 2: Put a layer of activated charcoal. Done!


Now comes the messiest part of the whole making process. I actually get quite bothered to see the soil falling all over the table and on the floor. And with the fan blowing, the soil is flying all over the living room! Nonetheless, the boys had fun scooping and pouring the soil into the jars. 

Step 3: Fill your jar halfway with soil. Make a hole in the soil and put in the plant.

When we were about to put in the plant, we realised that the roots of the plant is taller than the soil we had in the jar. So we tried to add more soil to try to cover up the roots. Then, we realised that we need to brush off the excess soil from the plant before putting them into the jar, otherwise it will be too big for the jar. So through much trial and error, we finally put in the plant properly.



After all the plants are in, here comes the most therapeutic part - decoration! I can feel my anxiety from earlier going away as I slowly decorated the terrarium. 

Step 4: Decorate the surface with pebbles and decorative accessories as to your liking.


Ta-daa!! Our finished product!


Here's a close-up.


We had so much fun making this terrarium together. Just nice that we were doing some Earth's Day activities during the week when we made these and the boys learnt about how planting can help to save the Earth. The process also reminds me that it is inevitable for some messes when we are creating memories.

Here are some tips if you are keen to make your very own terrarium:

1) Get something to contain everything you need, including the mess. You can do this in a huge tray or even with the cover of the big box that the terrarium kit comes in.
2) Cover the floor of the work area with newspaper so that it is easier to clean up.
3) Do not have any fan blowing at the working area.
4) Plan how you want to put the plants into the terrarium and how you want to decorate them before you get started.

If you are interested in making your own terrarium, do check out Masons Home Decor. I think this makes a great gift for any occasions! Apart from terrariums, Masons Home Decor also carries a variety of home decor products, party supplies and seasonal decor.

Masons Home Decor

Address: 14 New Industrial Road #05-02A, Hudsons Industrial Building, Singapore 536203
Contact No: 6285 2815
Email: hello@mason.com.sg

Web | Facebook 


Disclaimer: We received a complimentary Premium DIY Terrarium Kit from Masons Home Decor for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

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Pretend Play @ The City, Liang Court

Monday, 15 May 2017

When Kidzania first opened, we wanted to bring the boys there. However, after reading reviews of the place, we felt they were not suitable. They are not that patient to wait for their turns and might not be able to fully follow the rules and instructions compared to other older kids. 

If you have a child who is keen in pretend play but is too young for Kidzania, you might want to try out The City. Designed for 2 to 8 year-olds, The City is an indoor playground that allows children to try out the different occupations in a city. 


Let's find out what are the jobs available at The City!

Police Station



The police station comes with the police uniform and police cars. This gotta be my boys' favourite station, not because of the dress-up but because of the police cars! 


Children can ride the cars around the track and pretend to be police chasing after thieves. Do keep a lookout for these cars if your children are playing around the area as the cars can get pretty fast. The staffs do go around telling the drivers to be mindful of the speed, but when cars and boys go together, it's fast and furious! Unfortunately, Big J really got into an accident and bump into one of the staffs. So sorry about that!

Supermarket



The supermarket is the biggest play area at The City and is also the favourite of almost all the children who visit the playground. The mini trolleys, real packaging of the goods and being a cashier make the experience so real.


What I like about the supermarket is the use of the real packaging of the food and products, just like shopping in a real supermarket! It also raises the awareness of recycling to the children.


In the supermarket, the child can be a shopper. There are shopping lists which the child can use to purchase items. Prices of the items are placed near the items so the child can learn about money and budgeting. 


Apart from being a shopper, the child can also choose to be a cashier. Here, the cashier will scan the items, input the price into the cash register, total up the purchase and bag up the purchases with the recycle bag. The shopper will pay for his purchase with 'City Dollars'. How real!



The Heroes



In the Heroes area, the child can use the foam blocks to create whatever they can imagine. This is where the child can be his own hero of his city, building the city of his dream. 

To add an educational element, there are pictures cards which challenge the child to build a structure as seen in the picture. Staffs will be around to guide and help the child.


Of course, you are free to let your imagination run wild and build your own city or even to destroy them.


Together with the help from Daddy, the boys built a car fortress! The boys had great fun hiding inside the car and scaring each other as they jumped out of the hole.


Classroom



In the classroom, there are educational toys such as construction toys, puzzles and letter games. Children can pretend to be students or even teachers. 



There is also a world map in the classroom. There are some activities written on the board that encourage your child to learn about the world.


Post Office



Next up is the post office. Here, the child can write little postcards as send it out. Crayons, stamps and cards are provided.


The child can also pretend to be a postman. Here's Small J collecting the postcards from the mailbox and sorting them into the different slots at the post office.


Clinic



For children who like playing doctor, they will enjoy the clinic. There are some dolls and soft toys which the children can pretend to give them a check-up. There is also a huge poster on the wall showing the parts of the body.


Salon


There is also a salon where children help to dress up the dolls with accessories. My boys have no interest in this though.



Cafe



In the middle of the playground is the pretend cafe. It comes with a kitchen which is well-equipped with pretend food and equipment. There are also tables and chairs for the customers. 


A menu is also provided to make the dining experience more realistic. The child can take order from the customer and prepare the food for serving.


Dress Up


If your child loves playing dress up, there is quite a variety of costumes, from princess to superhero, over here. 


Facilities


Like most indoor playgrounds, The City has a lounge area for parents to sit back and relax. They do not serve hot food but has some simple snacks and drinks for sale. Free WiFi is also available. However, do note that there is no nursing or changing facilities available in the playground.


There is also a party room if you are looking for a place for birthday celebrations. Check out the birthday packages available here.


Verdict


We visited The City on a weekend and spent about 2 hours there. For my energetic boys, they enjoyed driving the Police car, playing at the Supermarket and building and destroying towers at the Heroes area.

I really like the use of real empty packaging for the supermarket which makes the experience more realistic. Apart from just normal pretend play, The City also adds on an educational element to the play. For example, learning about money at the supermarket, body parts and personal hygiene at the clinic, construction and imagination at the classroom and heroes area and many more. There also have staffs who go around 'popping' in and engaging with the child in their play.

If your child really likes pretend play or enjoys dressing up, they would definitely like The City. I think this is will be a good place to try out pretend play if your child is still too young for Kidzania. 

Admission Rates


Children can enjoy unlimited play time on Weekdays and 2 hours playtime on Weekends, Public Holidays and School Holidays.

Babies under 1 year: Free (if accompanied by a paid sibling)
Under 2 years old: $18
2 years and above: $22
Adults: Free

For more information about membership and package promotion, please refer to here.

GIVEAWAY


Thanks to The City, we have 2 entry passes to giveaway to 2 lucky winners (1 pass per winner)! 

Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below to win! Giveaway ends Sunday, 21 May 2017, 11:59pm. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
1. Giveaway ends on Sunday, 21 May 2017, 2359 hours (Singapore time).
2. Open to Singapore residents only.
3. All entries have to be completed. Incomplete or invalid entries will be disqualified without notice.
4. Limited to one winner per household.
5. Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
6. We reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions without prior notice.


The City


The City Flagship (Liang Court)
Address: 177 River Valley Road, #03-04A Liang Court, Singapore 179030
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm, Daily
Contact No: 62506507

Email: info@thecity.com.sg

The City @ Katong
Address: 112 East Coast Road, #03-31 i12 Katong, Singapore 428802
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm, Daily
Contact No: 64441520

Email: katong@thecity.com.sg

Web  |  Facebook  |  Instagram


Disclaimer: We were invited to The City for a play session for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram



uBook - Your Part-time Helper For The Daily Household Chores

Monday, 10 April 2017

Picture this: Laundry lying around, toys thrown all over the house, sink that always seems to have some dirty dishes in it and there is always a layer of dust on some shelves and cabinets. To be honest, our house is not in a spick and span condition most of the time. In fact, if anyone wants to visit our house, we will be busy doing some last minute hiding clean up before welcoming anyone. 


Furthermore, with two young children at home, it is really difficult to keep things clutter free and tidy. You know it! Just minutes after tidying an area, a kid comes along bringing out his toys and starts playing on the floor, often forgetting to keep everything back after playing. Sometimes, I could be in the midst of doing housework when one of the boys decides to ask me to read or play with him.

'Please excuse our messy house, our kids are making memories.'

At times, I wish I could just drop all the housework and just spend time with the boys. Of course, that is not possible. So how do we manage everything? My tip is to close one eye, occasionally, both eyes. I do not want to spend my precious time and energy on housework, so I make do with things just being ok. It is ok to have laundry lying on the sofa for a few days when I am busy attending to sick children. It is ok not to vacuum the floor every day when we have a busy schedule to keep to. It is ok to leave some dust on the high and difficult to reach shelves and cabinets when the kids can’t reach these dusty areas. 



An easier method to tackle the housework is to engage external help. However, getting a stay-in helper is not something that we, as a single income family, can afford. I also do not feel comfortable to have someone else living together with us. Furthermore, if I am staying at home, I should be the one cleaning up the house, isn't it?

Another alternative is to engage a part-time helper! About half a year back, I got to know about uBook and was offered an opportunity to review their service. I was so happy because that really took a big load of my housework load and I got to spend more time with my little ones.

What is uBook?


uBook is an online portal offering part-time cleaning services. You can choose to book a cleaner on an ad-hoc or recurring basis. For a fee from $20/hour onwards, a cleaner will come by your house for some basic cleaning. These include wiping and dusting of surfaces, vacuuming and mopping of floors, cleaning of toilets and shower stalls, making of beds, washing dishes, tidying clutters in a simple manner, etc. You may also add on additional cleaning hours for the following extra services: ironing, cleaning interior windows, fridge, cabinets, oven, etc. For more information on the services provided please check here



How to book?


It is very fast and easy to book a uBook helper online! Just go to uBook’s website, click on ‘Book Maid’, fill in the form and submit it. Payment is done securely online via credit card and payment will only be deducted after the cleaning job is done.


Three days before the cleaning day, a reminder is sent via SMS and E-mail to remind you of the cleaning appointment.


Service review


Every alternate week, a helper from uBook will come over to our house to help out with the housework load.

Of all the housework chores, ironing is something I don't really enjoy, especially hubby's working shirts. I have a tendency to pile up the clothes until hubby starts saying he has no clothes to wear. Oops!! I'm so blessed that I have help from uBook for these couple of months and I'm able to take a break from the ironing.



Apart from ironing, which is an add-on service, uBook also helped me with the basic cleaning, such as washing the two toilets, vacuuming and mopping the floor and wiping of surfaces. I'm surprised that the helper can finish all these within 3 hours, sometimes even earlier! If it were me, I am sure I will not be able to finish all these within the stipulated time, because I will be distracted by the kids and social media.

Having someone to help with these regular cleaning means I can use the free time to clear some of the long outstanding tasks on my to-do-list. For example, I managed to declutter our home learning cabinet, clean out the medicine box, packed away the clothes which the boys have outgrown, etc. It also gives me the motivation to put in more effort in maintaining the tidiness in the house, such as our dining table which more than half of its surface was used as a drop-off area for all kinds of stuff we brought in. Now it serves as our real dining table and work area for the boys.

While the helper is here, I use the time to play and learn with the boys. I'm really grateful that uBook helps me with my housework so that I can spend more time on things that matter more.


When it was near the Chinese New Year period, I requested for another add-on service, cleaning the windows. In past years, I will be slogging to declutter and clean the house up till the last minute before the festival. This year, I had the help from uBook, which makes spring cleaning so much easier and faster! Since they had taken care of the regular cleaning, I was able to concentrate my efforts in decluttering!


There were a few occasions when I need to leave the house to run some errands and I am assured by uBook that I can safely leave the house to the helper and run along with my errands. Frankly, I was quite worried about this. What if something goes missing or something happened? uBook assured me that stringent checks are conducted on their helpers - they interview them in person and must pass criminal records checks. This is to ensure a safe and reliable helper for their clients. Indeed, when I came home from my errands, the house was tidied up and nothing valuable was missing.

Over the past 6 months, we were assigned with different cleaners to let us have a feel of how different cleaners worked. I really like a few of them and I requested if I can have the same helper for future cleaning. 'Sure!' was the reply from uBook. Since each cleaner is different, their working style is also different. Some like to do the ironing last while some like to do it first. Some like to clean room by room while some like to do the same chore for the whole house first. Some are very detailed with the cleaning while some try to get as much cleaning done as possible. It was entirely fine for me as long as they can finish everything.

Overall, the whole cleaning experience was great. My house gets cleaned and ironing gets done. There were a few issues with punctuality due to bad traffic conditions. I am ok with that since I will be at home anyway. However, this could be a problem for customers who have a very tight schedule. The helpers are friendly and reliable. I only need to brief them what need to be done, provide them with the cleaning tools and they get started right away. After the cleaning session, uBook also contacted me to ask if the cleaning session was fine and if I have any feedback so that they can improve their service in the future.

I am fortunate that uBook has offered to help me out on the housework chores front. This has given me some relief from the daily never ending housework. At least, I do not need to do heavy cleaning on that particular lucky day when uBook comes by.


uBook

Operating hours: 8am to 7pm
Contact/SMS/Whatsapp: 9898 7339
Email: enquiry@ubook.com.sg
Web | Facebook


Disclaimer: We were sponsored cleaning sessions with uBook for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends. I would be glad if you could follow me on Facebook or Instagram


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