Monday, 18 September 2017

West Side Story [Review]

Inspired by William Shakespeare's tragic love story Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is about a girl, a boy, two rival gangs and one fatal love affair that concluded from the crossed battle feud. Set in 1950s at New York, it spoke about race relations in the olden times of America, with their trying effort to make peace with governed aid. Between the two ethnic gangs - Americans and PR (originally written as Jets and Sharks), Tony and Maria sparked love which was not accepted by the people around them.

The opening scene was introduced with a high energy dance by both gangs on street where audiences were led on to witness the rivalry between two teenage street gangs as Tony and Maria found themselves caught on opposite sides of this dangerous turf war. The initial scenes were a little more slow moving as it led us into the main of the story. Scenes after intermission were more forward looking where the tragedy unfolds. It was a good hold to our suspense.

Some parts were made real with conversations in Spanish.
This easy to enjoy musical adapted from Arthur Laurents' book is directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. It has cleverly weaved drama, music, songs and dance into a timeless classic musical on stage. The crisp clear and high pitched vocals partnered with intended dance moves were simply astounding. It was rhythmic beauty on stage! If you love the classic and nostalgic, you will find familiar songs like Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty. 

Is feud and hatred ever over? Only after a tragedy, when Tony breathed his final breath. Both gangs assembled next to his body, indicating an end. Next scene was followed by both gangs dancing in white, which very much indicated peace and unison.

This musical is a good catch for couple date night, but may not be appropriate for children as there are mature content and scenes. We did enjoy our night treat, without kids.

Night out with the man

Great catching fellow Mums!

The musical is about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Get tickets from sistic.
Show details
Wed, 13 - Sat, 30 Sep 2017
Tue - Fri: 8pm
Sat (23 Sep): 2pm and 8pm
Sun: 1pm and 6pm
Venue: Grand Theatre
Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)
VIP Reserve : S$185
A Reserve : S$155
B Reserve : S$135
C Reserve : S$105
D Reserve : S$85
E Reserve : S$55
VIP Box (For 4 seats): S$740

Disclaimer: A pair of tickets were given the purpose of this review. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Friday Book Feature 2: Fortunately, The Milk

Had my co-writer in again! Jazz did up her second book review.  

My Book Review

The book I would like to recommend is Fortunately, The milk. This wonderful story is about a father who went out to buy some milk, because his children ran out if it. When coming back with the milk, he encountered a dangerous, yet adventurous journey. He almost got eaten by vampires and almost got sacrificed to a volcano god. He was kidnapped by aliens and met some pirates. The pirates asked him to walk a plank, where there were piranhas and sharks circling in the water. He also time travelled back with his newly found friend, a professor stegosaurus.

I enjoyed following his journey in meeting pirates, aliens, vampires and dinosaurs. Come join him as he saves the world from being redecorated by aliens! I bet you want to know how the aliens redecorate the world. Well, the aliens plan to change the landmark of the world by replacing with a picture of the landmark on a plate. He managed to save the world and tell this story to his children, but his children did not believe him.

I think this book is very special not only for its content, but because of its title. It is inspired by something simple, that is milk. Do read this book! It is creative and fun!

This book was written by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Skottie Young.

Amazon has it at  USD 5.60
Book Depository has it at SGD 7.41
Popular online has it at  SGD 8.45
Prices are for paperback copies
National Library Board, call number: English GAI

You may also read about my other book review here:
Friday Book Feature 1: World's Worst Children 1 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Paying for water at restaurants, would you?

Do you have a concern paying for drinking water when dining at restaurants or cafes? I find it a disturbing trend.

It is almost ubiquitous for restaurants to charge customers drinking water. And most times, they serve water from tap which doesn't quite make sense to me. Maybe it makes a little more sense now due to the water hike.

When restaurants don't serve or charge for water, I deem them as being unfriendly to our little diners and elderly grandparents who do prefer a healthier drink option. How inconvenient is it to serve water in a restaurant, one that taxes and imposes service charge especially?

For this, I'm quite certain the number of non-water option have risen among diners. Did we just hear about a healthier drink option at the National Day Rally?

Recently, I was out lunching with Jazz when it was one of the rare incident that we left our water bottle home. We requested for water and was turned down. I was so dumbfounded that I didn't bother asking if there was even an option to purchase bottled water. If there are options, I am not inclined to purchasing bottled water. It's totally environmental unfriendly. So then, when I requested for a cup of ice, they gave! On a wise note, we can simply wait for the ice to melt at the expense of hoarding onto their seats. That was however not my intention. I had Juboy's hot water in a vacuum flask and I thought I could cool it with ice for Jazz.

Water is the best and healthiest option, isn't it? That's what Health Promotion Board tells us! Alright, I know I'm sounding sore and whiny, but I just can't make sense out of this, especially when:
  1. I have ordered a good spread of food and will be paying for my fancy drink. I just need water for the kids.
  2. food is overly dry that I need water to wash it down my throat. In case I create a choking saga at the restaurant. Which means, food is bad tasting! 
  3.  our tap water, which is also our pride, is safe for drinking.
  4.  served water is not boiled or filtered, but off the tap.
  5. I need to help the planet by not purchasing bottled water.
  6. we want to promote healthy drink choice among the kids.
  7. service charge is levied.
  8. food is msg laden,
  9. overly spicy and
  10. overly sweet
Yes, 10 solid reasons that consumers should not pay for water when dining at restaurants.

FOC Iced Water. Menu from Sinpopo

It is embarrassing that charging water or choosing not to serve water has become a dominant trend. How did our cost of living get this calculative?!! With that ability to set up cafes, restaurants and even mega chain of restaurants, what is the cost of serving water from Public Utilities Board? If I can request for additional plates and cutlery without the restaurant being mindful about the cost of washing them, why not serving water? It's probably about the same amount of water used to wash another plate.

Coming to dessert joints, it is absolutely unkind that water comes at a cost. How often have you encountered being desperately in thirst after sinking your teeth into sweet tasting dessert? Water should be freely available! And I've one kind soul in mind. Kudos to Udders who offers free flow water from its cooler and even with tissues available conveniently! Though it's self help, it's highly appreciated. Shall leave you the brain work of listing the misers.

I cope being a whiner by bringing our water along for meals. There are just some days when our water runs dry after a long day out. So yes, I do give in to purchasing water. Most importantly, I want to advocate the kids that water is always the best option.

Dear Consumer Association of Singapore, I think this is worth a serious thought. Even though Singaporeans love eating out, our interest and trade should be considerately protected.

And since I am on this, may I add that food or items that require a charge shouldn't be left on consumer's table for double guess if they are complimentary or not. Talking about nuts, crackers and wet towels that you have to reject upfront, if not it goes into the bill. Automatically. Such can be a rude shock to tourists.

To the minority of restaurants with that gesture of serving free flow water, Thank You for breeding such good will among customers. Much is appreciated from families with kids and elderly.

But seriously, can we impose some regulation on this? Like if you want to run a restaurant or cafe with service charge, especially if selling alcohol, serve complimentary drinking water!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Friday Book Feature 1: The World's Worst Children

It has been a bugging thought to ask if Jazz would like to recommend and review books that made it into her favourite list. She reads a wide range of books. More than me. I am glad that she agreed to do a recommendation, and I am more than happy to share this online space with her love for books! So here's her first post of book review. All on her own, with very minor editing from Mummy. In case you start wondering on the grammar, structure and flow. Good effort from an eight year old, I thought.


The book I would like to recommend is 'The World's Worst Children.' This book tells the tales of the world's 10 worst children. The author is David Walliams. I am a big fan of his books.

The first child in this book is Dribbling Drew, a boy who dribbles drool. He causes disaster wherever he goes. On an adventure in the Natural History Museum, he fell asleep and created a sea of drool. He loves sleeping so much that he had heavy consequence of not being able to sleep for the next 10 years.

The next story is Bertha The Blubberer. Anything and everything would set her off. Bertha has a brother called William. She hated him the moment he was born. One day she had a wonderful idea, she would cry and cry and blame it all on her brother. She is a very dishonest girl. A lie will always be found out, and she got an extremely bad punishment. 

The third story we have, Nigel Nit-Boy. Nigel loved nits. What is so interesting is that this ordinary boy became the most evil villain who causes trouble wherever he goes, stealing toy and spelling rude words. In the end he was over. Now he is a new super villain. 

Fourth, we have Miss Petula Perpetual-motion. This is a story of a girl who could not stay still. She creates pandemonium wherever she goes. She goes to a posh boarding school, Modesty Place. On a trip to a porcelain museum, Petual got the head mistress into a lot of trouble. This always manage to get away. 

The fifth next revolting child is Peter Picker. He picks his nose to find snot. He wants to make it into the world's record of the biggest bogey, his gigantic ball of snot causes mayhem all around the globe. His giant ball breaks free and rolls around the globe with various land marks including Buckingham Palace, exposing Her Majesty The Queen sitting on the loo! The queen ordered her guards to fire at the giant ball of snot. Everyone returned to their normal places except one small boy.

Peter Picker Booger

Our sixth child is Grubby Gertrude, this girl loves being dirty if you entered her room you would see a rubbish dump. Her mother is a very clean and neat lady who wanted to clean up her room, but failed. Some thing had broken her vacuum cleaner, which in the end, that thing ate Gertrude up. 

Seventh, we have a really clever boy, Brian Wong who was never ever wrong. Wong feared that one day he might be proven wrong. His Math teacher was telling the class that nobody can count to infinity and Wong thinks that it can be done. He didn't want to be proven wrong, so he kept counting and forgot about his family and friends.

Eighth, Windy Mindy. She discovered she could break wind and had a list of things that would make her bottom burp. She is a very mischievous child. One day she discovered a new talent, she could use her wind to play the tuba. While playing at a concert at The Royal Albert Hall, it accidentally sent mindy flying into space.Never to be seen again.

Playing the Tuba

Ninth, we have Earnest Ernest. Ernest had made it to twelve years without cracking a smile. He had super boring hobbies such as collecting pencil, sharpeners and photographing traffic lights. His favourite hobby was guessing what type of metal objects were made of. His clothes and everything was grey as it was the colour of metal. His diet is cold peas. His mother brought him to see a professor. They succeeded in getting Ernest smile, but he laughed at the misfortune of others. 

Last but not least, we have Sofia Sofa. This girl glued to the TV. She would watch it no matter what was on. For watching it everyday, she soon became wedged with the sofa. She is now a half girl half sofa and half TV.

If you enjoyed this introduction, you should read this book! Followed by 'The World's Worst Children 2!'

Amazon doesn't offer free shipping for this book
Book Depository offers it at $19.12 (Free delivery worldwide)
Popular online at $34.36
National Library Board, Call number: English WAL

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ergonomic Kids Table [With Discount Code]

Ergonomics in simple term is the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. In terms of products, it is the process of designing or arranging workplaces so that they fit the people who use them. In terms of kids and ergonomics, I believe sitting with a good posture increases stability and provides a sturdy foundation for written output and can increase attention and focus.

A simple guide to a child’s posture at their table or desk should follow the “90-90-90 angle rule”
  • Their feet should rest flat with a 90 degree angle at their ankles
  • Their knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle and about 1-2 inches away from the seat of the chair
  • Their hips should be at the back of their chair and positioned at a 90 degree angle

It's been our longest thought ever to get the kids some proper tables for writing. Not that they haven't got one, but theirs have been long outgrown. Jazz is 8 and Jare is 6, it's high time we proceed from their preschooler IKEA tables to ergonomic tables and chairs. 

A search around we were appalled at the prices ergonomic tables are. And that we have 2 school going children, we needed 2 sets that work within our budget. We thought this hunt from take A seat is quite a gem, which most importantly, the kids love it!

Sitting side by side tables

We set our eyes on the E1200 Kids Ergonomic Study Table Set. It measures 120cm by 75cm with an adjustable height of 56cm to 76cm from the floor to the desk surface. If you do some visualisation, this is one that will go a long way in the kids' years of studying. It is one suitable for ages 3 to 18.

Features we love
1. Adjustable height
The only consideration most parents are willing to spend much on ergonomic furniture is that they last a long way for growing children. To adjust the height of the table, it can be easily adjusted by turning the side lever clockwise or anti-clockwise. This German design cranking system for height is an easy and effortless adjustment, where even the kids can handle it. It won't be one that will be frequently adjusted though, unless they are working on a project that requires their standing posture. 

On the leg of the table, there is a recommended height and level chart to adjust the table according to your child's height.

Height adjustment chart

2. Incline table surface
We love how clever the table is designed to only incline one bigger part of the table. Which means not all books sitting on the table will slide down, they can be easily carried over to the left to sit on the fixed level, while inclining only the right.

Only one side inclined

The inclining of the table is of certified hydraulic gas lift. The inclining and declining is one that can be easily handled by the kids too. I had a tad concern that they may get their fingers caught from the inclining and reclining of table, but weeks into it, everything is good. They know the drill and is always on a look out for their little brother.

Hydraulic lever for lifting

3. Shelves
I did have a slight concern when the kids wanted to put toys and display items on the shelves, but I managed to convince them on putting only frequently used items and books on the shelves. The last I will like to see is the shelves being cluttered or accumulated with dust with untouched items. With shelving provided there really isn't much consideration about getting any storage boxes for that part of the table. 

4. Drawer
There is one drawer space to keep their stuff or any unsightly things that don't go well on the table. It's a pity that there isn't a compartmentalise drawer to organise stationery, but that can be easily contended with a pencil cup holder.

Treasure chest we say!

5. Bag holder
Do you often nag the kids on keeping their bags away? I do! The table comes with a metal bag hook that allows them to hang their school bag by its side. It holds and tucks the bag neatly under the table. Space saving I thought! We had our tables placed side by side, and it didn't hinder too much when the kids tried to hang up their bags. It may be a little tight though if they want to rummage through their bag while hooked up.

Dr Kong bag on hook

6. Book holder
The kids insist on that being a gadget holder, but I like to say it's a book holder because they don't have any gadgets to own. So yeap, it's good for putting books and especially good to open hold a book while they are copy referencing. Brilliant idea! Don't have to fumble with holding a book page down and copying.

The book holder may be stowed away neatly if not in use.

Good for copy referencing

7. Round table edges
I have a roaming 1 year old, so having a table with rubberised edges is highly critical, considering his eye and head level is also about the height of the table. Safety!

8. Without wheels
A table without wheels is highly sturdy and stable, there's no rocking movements during writing. Though I did wonder about relocation, I had rather not compromise on stability. The table does weigh quite abit, so it's best to have a firmed place of where you had like to put it before setting it up. 

9. Magnetic board
We love this board that allows the kids to hold magnets and clip little notes, reminders or photos. Which can be aesthetically refreshing to those eyes.

Magnetic board

10. Easy clean
The table is made of non-reflective laminate wood and is easy to clean and wipe if there's any water spill.

This model comes only in blue and pink. I think having a neutral colour like grey or brown may be a good idea too. To better match more theme rooms. If space is a constraint, you may consider the other model, E950 which measures smaller in length and width.

Ergonomic Study Chair
The Ergo Prime Kids Ergonomic Study Chair comes in both pink and blue. We got blue for Jare. It measures 43cm by 42cm with an adjustable height from 31cm to 56cm. The seat depth and back rest of the study chair can also be adjusted to suit the child's individual needs. The height and depth adjustment is one that may require the assistant of a grown up.

Firm and Sturdy

Seat and back rest adjustment

This height gauge feature allows us to adjust the chair to Jare's height without guessing with trial and errors. 

Suggested adjustment according to height

It also has a gravity braking system where it automatically locks the chair wheels when a child sits on it, preventing them from moving around or sliding unnecessarily away from the table. This is another one feature that is highly considerate for our roaming one year old. I've gotten my feet and kids' feet rolled on countless times by my roller swivel chair. It's ouch!

We got the Ergo Mind Kids Ergonomic Study Chair for Jazz, which is also comparatively good. They are however phasing this out and is only left with pink at the moment.

Here's a video we have put together with Jazz's help. It is a good summary of the features of the table. Music please...

I was honestly more comforted and convinced when the pieces came with warranty. It is 3 years for the table and 1 year for the chair. It covers the malfunction of the tables and chairs, without including wear and tear. 

It sounds like an assured buy now, isn't it?!! Prices are already inclusive of set up and delivery. What you see is what you get and pay.

The E1200 Kids Ergonomic Study Table Set is priced at $600 and the chair is available for top up at an additional $149. You may head down to their showroom to view the furniture pieces and other designs. Their salesman do not over flatter their products, what you need to know or want to know will be responsibly make known. So yeap, the sets are manufactured in their China factory. Nonetheless, they look and feel really strong and durable. Otherwise I wouldn't be collaborating with them. 

We are much happy and satisfied with the tables and chairs. Most comfortingly, we know we have provided the kids a suitable writing and reading space that is readily available in the home. I grew up writing and working everywhere else other than a proper table and chair to be called my own. It feels really accomplished, as parents to provide the kids a good and proper space for work. With ergonomic furniture being a bonus.

Showroom Address:
No.27 Mandai Estate
(Tower 2)
Innovation Place #06-07
Showroom hours:
9.30am to 1pm and 2 pm to 5.30pm on weekdays
9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays

Take A seat Facebook and website

Discount Code
Primary school registration has just ended. We know sourcing for a writing table and chair is next in mind, a discount code may help ease your decision a little. We have got a 5% discount code for all kids ergonomic tables and chairs purchased online from take A seat. Shop and check out with code 'mumscalling17'. We hope this made the deal sweeter. Discount is valid from now till 10 October 17.

Disclaimer: We were sponsored a set of table for chair for the purpose of this review. We bought another discounted set additionally on our own expense. All photos and opinions are solely ours.