Saturday 29 November 2014

Foodlicious meal at Holiday Inn Atrium

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium had just revamped it lobby interior, refurbished its guest bedrooms and launched an all new dining concepts. We were wow-ed at the newly launched revamps when we were there to dine at the Atrium restaurant, which was formerly known as Melting pot cafe. Sounds familiar eh?

The new Atrium Restaurant opened in October 2014 boasts a bright and modern interior to feature its new buffet and ala carte menus. Hold that drool while I announce the new exciting dishes - Mussel Otah, Curry Laksa, Asam Fish and Chilli crab! It sure added some vibe and excitement to the spread. We love it for being so local. Thank you for remembering us, the local residents and bringing our delights to your guests from all around the World.

The man shouldering these signature dishes behind the scene is Executive Chef Chua Yew Hock, whom the hotel have recently welcomed to head their kitchen. He brings with him more than 30 years of culinary experience with stints in 5-stars establishments. Be sure to say 'Hi' if you see him. He is extremely amicable and friendly.

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Jare's signature expression with Mr Chef

We had unlimited go on the buffet line. The first dish I pounced on was the assam curry snapper fillet, maybe I like to begin with something sourish spicy. I scooped some portion onto my plate, and thought it would be perfect to compliment it with rice. And there, I found it! My first taste of it was mind blowing (not the rice), it was out of this World! Very awesome! For the Aisan root in me, I think it was cook to perfection! The fish was very fresh with the mix of assam and curry. Love those purple onion in it too.

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Assam curry snapper fillet

We gave the signature dishes priority before savouring the rest of the spread. A pleasant buffet does require some strategic planning after all. Being Laksa lovers, we knew it was good tasting upon the first sip of its gravy. It wasn't over spicy and extremely rich in flavour. Don't hope for cockles though, if you're a lover of it.  Even with the absence of cockles, it was very enjoyable with the good enough ingredients. The man endorsed its goodness with both thumbs up too!

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Chilli crab was made near perfect too. Not to expect the huge Sri Lanka crabs you get at the seafood restaurants. These crabs are perfect enough for the price one pays for a decent buffet. The sauce was very tasty and not overly spicy for me. Good enough to satisfy one's chilli crab craving. The best part, it was served with fried man tou (buns) just next to it.

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Yummy crabs!
Onto the mussels. We aren't great lovers of it, so we scrapped the otah to taste. Was not bad, just thought it would be better if we could taste more of it without sacrificing the mussel to waste.

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Mussel otah

We got ourselves almost filled with the signature dishes, but the Singaporean in us taught not to give up easily on buffet. We continued diving into the other regular spread, which was significantly outstanding too. There were a good number of sections and varieties for anyone's dietary requirement and taste preference. Even for our little diners, there was a dedicated kids' corner. Lowered to their level for self help. Most nice to always keep our little ones in mind.

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Kid's corner with colourful cutlery

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Local delights

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Cheese and salad bar

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The cold spread with sashimi and sushi

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The sweet treats

Let me continue raving about the food. Lamb steaks are best savoured only if they are cooked to perfect tenderness with no tinge of strong piquant. I held my usual breathe when I saw the lamb, I didn't think it could be taste impressive, till I tired. Oh man! It took my breathe away, all too good! I had really wanted a second serving of it, but I thought it was wiser to save some space for other tries. The lamb has to be a permanent stay on the buffet line, because I'll be coming back for more!

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The lamb steak!

No matter how stuffed you've got, don't miss out on good desserts. They had a wide spread of dessert from chocolates to cakes, macrons, fruits, ice cream and many more! I will say, you just gotta try those pralines. Alcohol infused, Lychee and champagne pralines were awesome! So good that I was tempted to sneak some into my bag, for my TV time at home. Nah, I'm not proposing a naughty idea. You've to try to know why I've such a thought.

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Ice cream on cones!

And Js were in for an exclusive excursion to the tanks behind the walls. Chef Chua brought them to view the live fishes and lobsters. A good sign that everything is fresh and cooked straight from the tank. The kids enjoyed their little tour.

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And they declined an offer to cuddle the lobster

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Overly satisfied fill!
We were very stuffed at the end of the session, but we knew it was all well worth calories. Highly recommend this place for its delicious selection of International tastes, along with those local signature delights. The pleasant lingering taste is holding me hostage to come back for those yummies soon.

Well, all good things come to an end. Before we left, we checked out the hotel's lobby. They had a kid's check in counter! Wasn't that a creative and cool idea?!! I thought and I desired, if only they could extend a complimentary stay after that sumptuous meal, and get the kids to perform an authentic check it, all would be too perfect. It didn't take me long to wake the senses up, we headed home.

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Ready for check in!

Yeap, definitely a nice buffet venue that's worth the calories. I just read of this promo and it's only 2 days left. All DBS card members get to enjoy 30% off buffet lunch and dinner, till 30 Nov 14. If your weekend permits, go for it!

Buffet Lunch: 
Mon to Fri: $45 ++ (Adult) $22.50 ++ (Child)
Saturdays: $50 ++ (Adult) $25 ++ (Child)
Sundays: $55 ++ (Adult) $27.50 ++ (Child)

Buffet Dinner:
Mon to Thurs: $50 ++ (Adult) $25 ++ (Child)
Fri to Sun: $55 ++ (Adult) $27.50 ++ (Child)

(Paying child between ages 6 to 12)

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
317 Outram Road S(169075)
Tel: 6733 0188

Disclaimer: We were given the opportunity to this food tasting session. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions and pictures are solely our own.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Legoland Theme park (III)

The theme park was definitely our highlight. Every single person in our family, from the youngest to the oldest enjoyed different portions of play. There were 5 areas of theme fun - Lego Technic, Lego Kingdoms, Imagination, Land of adventure and Lego City. The wise choice to begin play with a child below 100cm is to go right once you entered from the entrance. That's where Jareth could get on most rides. We began from the left and it kinda dampened his mood a little when he couldn't get on the rides.... till we discovered further, he became a happy boy again.

We entered the park at about 10:30am and left at 6:30pm. Hotel guests do get time privilege to enter the park earlier. It wasn't crowded, so whatever time was perfect for us. We had a good amount of well-paced time in there. Most rides were tagged with quick or no queues, and this was definitely a bonus. Much time saved! We thought of our theme park days in California where most time was spent in queues, and we had to strategically plan our day to maximize our time in there. It was the total opposite in here. Nice to be strolling at a relaxed pace.

These are the rides in the different theme areas. About 10 rides for Jare and Jazz could get on most, except Dino Island - A steep log ride down into splashing water. In the order of left to right when entered:

Lego Technic
  • Technic Twister (Min 110cm with an accompanying chaperone)
  • Aquazone Wave racers (Min 100cm with an accompanying chaperone)
  • Project X (Min 110cm with an accompanying chaperone)

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Project X - These kids are thrill seekers!

Lego Kingdoms
  • Dragon's Apprentice (Min 100cm with accompanying chaperone)
  • The Dragon (Min 100cm with accompanying chaperone)
  • Royal Joust (Min 92cm and 4 to 12 years old)
  • Merlin's challenge (Min 100cm with accompanying chaperone)

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Royal Joust. He went thrice on it!

Jazz commands our salute whenever it comes to adventurous rides. She is one true thrill seeker when it comes to roller coasters. She went on the Dragon thrice! First with Daddy, second with Mummy and third time with Grandpa! Surprised that my Dad took on her challenge.

Kid Power Towers (100cm with accompanying chaperone)
Duplo Express (Min 100cm)
Observation tower (above 1 year old)

We missed out most fun here, not because we ran out of time. We just conveniently walked past and decided not to turn back. We tried catching a 3D show at the Lego studios, but it didn't run due to technical fault. 

Land of Adventure
  • Lost kingdom adventure (Min 80cm with accompanying chaperone)
  • Beetle Bounce (Min 90cm with accompanying chaperone)
  • Dino island (Min 120cm with accompanying chaperone)

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Beetle bounce
Beetle bounce was probably my most memorable ride. We went on it thrice! It ain't exciting or adventurous like any roller coaster, but because my sunny boy broke into laughter throughout the ride, when it challenged gravity! It gave him an intriguing feel. According to him, it sent his tummy rumbling. Somehow, that became my happiest moment of the day. We know it's quality fun at the sight and sound of our kids' laughter.

Lego City
  • Lego Rescue academy (Min 90cm with accompanying chaperone)
  • Lego City Airport (Min 80cm)
  • Boating school (Below 120cm needs to be accompanied by chaperone)
  • Driving school (6 to 12 years old)
  • Junior driving school (3 to 5 years old)
  • Legoland express (Below 110cm needs to be accompanied by chaperone)

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Lego rescue academy which got my parents excited!

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Lego city airport
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Boating school

So yeap, there was still fairly some rides for the little boy. And it was evident that some rides had no queues, so that explained our repetitive adventure. 

We then spent some time at the Miniland, where you see how some Asian countries were brilliantly and creatively built up with Lego! It was definitely nice to be visiting Malaysia's Legoland while all are still new. I recalled the ones we visited in San Diego were fading out from the constant sun rays. The builds and figurines were discoloured, while these are still fresh looking.

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Aren't they looking so real?!!!
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A familiar miniland. Welcome to Singapore!

And of course, if you are the hard core star wars fan, you must not miss the Stars wars miniland. All to impressive! One thing about Lego, they aren't just good on the exterior, they look into the core  details. We've a few comprehensive Lego sets at home, and we know it's lots of work inside to fix up one.  

When Legoland first opened its doors, friends who have visited would talk about how hot and humid it was to journey through fun. No doubt, we got back in 2 or 3 shades darker, but we were blessed that it wasn't scorching hot. Weather was threatening with gloomy skies which held up for us, and this made it really comfortable to explore around. I think Legoland heard you, Star wars miniland is a whole new indoor experience that's fully air conditioned! Great place to hideout from the heat. 

The exhibit is made up of seven rooms each depicting scenes from each Star Wars movie, in chronological order. First room is based on episode one (The Phantom Menace), second room on second episode (Attack of the clones) and it goes on to episode six. The attraction impressively features more than 2000 Lego models. Keeping your eyes really occupied in there.

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Star wars miniland
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Met Darth Vader

It wasn't many characters that we met in there. Darth Vader was the first we saw, and glad to have caught him for a picture.

There were many other indoor play areas to hide out from the heat or rain. Consider having some Lego play at the build and test station or play time at the indoor playground, Pharoah's revenge. For this coming season, we entered the newly enhanced city stage found in the city area. This fully air-conditioned attraction is created to entertain visitors with shows and musicals. That's where we caught the musical, "When Santa got stuck up in the chimney!" Just a tad sad that Santa didn't make an appearance eventually. Still a great show though. About 20 mins I think.

Show times as follows: 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 6pm 

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Casts from "When Santa got stuck up in the chimney!"

There's also a Medieval musical show from 24th Nov 14 to 04 Jan 15 at Castle stage, Lego Kingdom. A pity we were there too early, they have not staged this. Should be engaging though.

There were a couple of restaurants within the theme park. We had lunch at pizza Mania, but nothing tasty about it. That was also where we caught the Musical quartet street entertainment at 2pm, singers who will sing upon your request if they come by your table. I pre-warn you, they are multilingual, and can sing upon your song request! 

Schedule for Musical quartet as follow:
12:30pm: Market restaurant at Lego city
2pm: Pizza Mania at Imagination
4pm: The cafe at the beginning
5:30pm: At the beginning

Truly, it was a fun filled day in the park. We have worked hard and its only fair that we played hard too. Our times at theme parks never fail to exhaust us, but it was a worthy exchange. You know what's the best? Being able to get on rides and rides we love without joining any long lines. It's a pain to stay in line. Visit Disneyland and you'll know.

At the end of all fun, the kids accomplished much joy and even got their imaginary 'license' to drive a car, steer a boat and fly a jet. Sure memorable for them, I hope! It won't be anytime near that we'll visit again. The man says pricey.

And if you think Lego in Malaysia's Legoland might be cheaper, you'll be disappointed. Not at all. Still, we couldn't resist walking out empty handed, bought 2 little Lego sets for Js. 

Last to share is being rewarded with great food. For yummier feast, we drove out of the resort to settle our dinner on both days. We knew and had been well informed of the delicious and sumptuous seafood meals we can get in JB, (some say Batam) at a much discounted price from local. With my parents, it wasn't a tough decision to drive to Gelang Patah for cheap seafood feast, about a 10 minute drive from the resort. Remember to validate your parking coupon at the hotel's reception before driving out, else you'll need to pay for exiting.

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We bought yummy Keropok!
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All too yummy!

We had very tasty and worth the calories meals at: 
1. Tian Lai (天来) Seafood Garden
Address: 158 Jalan Leong Bee, Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru 

The crabs and promfet we had in Restoran Tian Lai were awesomely good too!

2. Restoran Star Chef  星名廚
Address: 51 Jalan Gelang Emas 1, Tama Gelang Emas, Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru
Both occasions, we managed to find good parking lots within our sight. Just be extra careful if you intend to drive out for meals. Keep the blings and fancies away. Stay safe.

Wow... glad to have finally stored in some beautiful memories. Thankful for great fun, great food and great company!

Our water park and hotel reviews here:
Our time with Legoland - water park (I)
Legoland resort hotel (II)

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Legoland resort hotel (II)

We knew the Legoland hotel was a 'must-stay'. For the elements of fun, excitement and comfort, we needed a night there. It's true, you'll find it tough to peel your kids away from the hotel. I was very much unwilling to bid it farewell too.

We paid about MYR 965 per night, pricey but worth the stay. The hotel had many children activities at its lobby and it was most nice to be able to wash up at the comfort of a hotel room after water play. There were 3 room themes - Adventure, Kingdom and Pirate. We chose the Pirate room and were very much wow-ed by everything the moment we stepped in. From carpet to walls, everything impressed.

Oh, remember to get groovy when you step into their disco elevators! 

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Love the details in the carpet

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The bunk bed

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Js favourite area, their personal TV!!

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Mesmerized by the deco

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The king's bed

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The treasure hunt

I was thrilled and Js were more happy than anyone. The premium room we booked was huge, it can sleep 5 adults comfortably. The room was partitioned into 2, one side the bunk bed with a pull out and the other a king sized bed. We shared the bunk bed with the kids. Just be cautious when you rise and shine at the lower deck. You might bump the bed's roof.

There was a welcoming game in the room. A treasure clue sheet which requires you to solve in order to unlock the treasure chest. We solved the mystery and the kids were overjoyed to receive their surprise treats. The room itself had endless entertainment. There was also a box of duplo for play.

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Lovely treats

The room came with 2 TVs which receive good reception of local channels. The kids were on a cartoon buffet and my parents were on their channel. No disputes. There was also in room wi-fi, but you will need to tolerate its snail moving speed. Bathroom was also well equipped with 2 basins (lower level for kids), dental kits, vanity kit, shower cap, comb, shaver, shampoo and body wash. There were cookies, coffee sachets and mineral water too. We were pampered!
Next morning, we reported for our complimentary breakfast at 8:30am. There was a swelling crowd at the breakfast venue and we waited for about 10 minutes before being called in for a ready table. Breakfast was international buffet with a good variety of food. Asian spread was very good too. Just that they were constantly running out of cups at our point of visit. Taste wise, feels average to me.

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Breakfast venue

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Nice lego model!

You'll probably spend some good time in the breakfast venue because of its spread. After a sumptuous 'take our time' breakfast, we headed out for theme park fun.  

And that share in final installment...

Sunday 23 November 2014

Our time with Legoland - Water park (I)

We visited the Malaysia Legoland Resort last weekend. Spent a day for the Water Park and another day for the dry. Oh yes, we spent an awesome night in its hotel too! 

Together with the Ang and Lee families, we set off at about 9am on Saturday to Tuas (Second link) checkpoint. The car lines were snake long, and we snail-ed for about an hour before crossing the checkpoint. I reckon it could be the start of the school holidays, that's why the jam. So yeap, remember to get the kids to clear their bladder before setting off. After crossing the checkpoints, it will be a 10 minutes drive to the resort. It's pretty straightforward once crossed, there's signage and directions to bring you into the bricks land.

No worries if you don't have a 'touch and go' card for toll payment, which is MYR 7.50 in and MYR 7.50 out, just drive into the lane that doesn't mention 'touch and go.' Though might be a longer line, you may purchase one or pay cash there. It's recommended that you buy one, if you intend to drive in often.

After arriving, the Daddies parked their cars while Mummies checked in for rooms. Hotel guests are able to park at the hotel for free. Rooms were not ready, so we deposited our luggages in their luggage room. It was rather crowded at its hotel lobby, but we were very 'wow-ed' by its embellishments. Kids will be very much entertained while you do the check in peacefully.

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Majestic looking ship

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Duplo castle

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In the sea of lego
It was already nearing lunch after the jam, check ins and some loitering. Oh, remember to pack out your swim wear and accessories before handing the rest to the luggage room. Knowing we'll hit the water park first, I actually had them packed in my backpack at home, just so we can grab and save the trouble of sorting out at lobby. There's a Brick cafe in the water park and 2 restaurants within the hotel. We had KFC just outside the theme park's entrance, there are a few eateries there as well.

After which we changed up and attacked the water park! It's best to put away your unnecessary belongings in the your car or hotel, unless you plan to go for their locker rental - Locker rates are RM20 for a small one and RM40 for a large one per day. My parents were with us, they offered their care taking service over our barangs. Senior citizens are wonderful people, aren't they?!!!

The first stop we played was the Joker soaker. I would relate it similarly to the waterplay area in our local zoo. Think the huge bucket that pours gallons of water every few minutes. Except that they contained more adventurous slides. Some which requires a minimum height of 91cm or 102cm for the taller slides. We were taken over by fun, I went all over with Jare and he seemed to have entered all the slides alone, successfully. There were a good number of lifeguards around and the slide stations were manned too.

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Joker Soaker

I was then bonding with my little boy at the wave pool, while the man took Jazz to explore the more adventurous fun, which requires a minimum height of 102cm. Jare was only slightly over 90cm. There really is limited fun for the below 102cm. He enjoyed his time in the wave pool though, where gentle waves were simulated for some exciting swim. Life vest is provided in this area.

After which, we gathered again at the Build-a-raft river for some relaxing fun in that lazy river. We collected floating legos as we sailed along.

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Jazz and her bestie
So yeap, Jare could only get on these 3 stations, plus a splash safari which we didn't explore (For kids below 5 only).

It wasn't too long later when it started to drizzle and pour. We were rather satisfied with what had been conquered, packed up and left for shower. Yay! Hotel room was ready.

I do think it will be a more well-worth fun if your kids are above 102cm to qualify for most rides. Some requires at least 107cm. About 8 water rides are suitable for the above 102 and 107cm. Tickets are priced according to age and kids above 3 require a ticket. Legoland should consider pricing for kids above 4 years instead.

We bought the 2 days ticket for both water and theme park when we booked our hotel stay:

Combo (Adult 12 - 59 years old): MYR 175
Combo (Child 3 - 11 years old/Senior citizens 60 years and above): MYR 145

Raving about our hotel room next... too much to share! Posts are coming up in 3 installments...

Saturday 22 November 2014

Get dreamy with Sofzsleep

Having a good night sleep is the best gift any babies or toddlers can present to their parents daily. I'm blessed to have Js sleeping independently and habitually on time, at least for weekdays. A matter of fact, I'm a stay home Mum with an everyday goal of sending them into dreamland no later than 9. All so that I can put those legs up and pop the champagne to celebrate 'me time.'

To achieve that, I'm committed to give them the best sleeping environment, just so that I don't have to entertain excuses on uncomfy bedding which might lead to extended bedtime. After all, a good sleep is the best booster to our everyday activities, a well rested body is essential for anyone's learning and immunity system.

Talking about pillows today - the roles of a good pillow is essential for our little ones. It's more than just having good dreams. Jare often gets stuffy nose during sleep, usually due to cold. A good pillow allows his head to be elevated to ease breathing and respiration difficulties from blocked nose. At least he'll stop waking up to fuss over stuffy nose.

We came to know about Sofzsleep, and found him the perfect pillow! When we first received it, I fell in love with it's firmness, height and structure. All too well thought and designed for little children. Upon receiving, I got him to test some chemistry between the pillow and him. This was the sign I received:

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Ahh... comfy!

and within the next 10 minutes, he fell asleep. His sleep position was as authentic as it was. I didn't move him, though I suspected some soothing music coming out from that pillow.

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In deep sleep

Sofzsleep's pillows are no ordinary, nah, not any music. They are quality pillows made from natural latex, designed to give maximum comfort and rest. Don't belittle the role of a pillow, comfortable ones give you a restful sleep with you waking up to an energized day. Terrible ones will probably send you nightmares. Choose one wisely, based on your personal preference.

Here are some good features about their pillows:

Excellent Support: Supports the head and neck in a natural spinal alignment and reduces pressure points by adjusting itself as we move throughout the night. I like its perfect measure of elevation, just nice for Jare's build and his stuffy nose.

Durable: Retains its shape for many years and does not require fluffing before use. It's snugly firm and bounces back when pressed. I believe this will also stand through the times of his pillow fights. Anything for kids has to come durable.

Hygienic: Naturally anti-microbial and dust mite resistant. Perfect for allergies prone kids. I get comforted that his head and hair is sleeping comfortably clean. I don't have to worry about what's accumulating within his pillow.

Temperature regulation: The open cell structure of the latex offer good ventilation and guarantee good moisture regulation. I love this feature because Jare perspires to sleep on some nights, when he's overly active and the air con can't cool him down in time. Highly suitable for our weather too.

Natural Bamboo cover: The outer Bamboo cover has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and excellent permeability. You can use the pillow instantly after removing it's packaging, but I used a pillow case over to protect the all white bamboo cover. More for aesthetic too.

These features make their pillows very ideal for young children. Their junior pillows are available in two sizes, S and M. S is recommended for toddlers between 2 to 5 years old and M for 5 years old and above. I got S for Jare, which he whined that it was too small, he still secured his good sleep though. It became evident to me that little kids have their personal preference on pillows too!

Sofzsleep carry a wide range of adults and kids mattresses, as well as bedding accessories. Check them out for your needs and preferences. You can also follow them on Instagram (@sofzsleep). Here's a good deal if you're keen, readers of Mum's calling are entitled to a 15% discount off any product during the promotional period between 22 Nov 2014 to 04 Jan 2015.

To get a 15% discount. Quote Mum's calling:
  • when you order from their facebook page (send them a private message) OR
  • when you order through phone: 61004569 or Email:

Oh wait... don't leave yet. We have a giveaway! The nice people in Sofzsleep are giving away 2 junior pillows (M size) to 2 lucky readers of Mum's calling (Worth $57.90 each!). To participate, simply accomplish the following 3 steps:
3. Leave me a comment on this blog post below, tell me one good feature about Sofzsleep pillow. Do remember to leave your Facebook account name and email.

Yeap, just 3 simple steps to qualify!

And of course, if you know of any friends who are in that high and low search for quality bedding, feel free to share this dreamy post with them! Click [share on Facebook] at the end of this post.

Terms and Conditions:
  • This giveaway ends on 28 Nov 14, 11.59pm 
  • Open to Singapore residents only 
  • Winner will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. 
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. 
  • To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win."

Disclaimer: We were given a junior pillow for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions and photos are solely ours.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Gifts to gift for the season!

While Christmas creeps nearer, have you got the gifts ready for this season of love? We've got some favourite items for gift, or if not, you may even consider them for birthdays too. Since our days in the states, we've been great fans of Amazon. For its convenience, price and variety, it has it all. We were more than exhilarated when it started shipping to SG. Though some items are not available to SG, I think it's good enough this far.

I love putting great thoughts when we come to gifts. As much as possible, I do hope to get the most perfect gifts for our friends' kids and hopefully, parents will enjoy it too. We've crafted out our top favourites based on Amazon, from varying budget range, for ages 2 to 12 years old kids. And of course, they ship to SG too. However, it's sometimes a trial and error to double confirm its shipping to SG. Some days it states that the item ships to SG, but when I checkout my cart, it states otherwise. Prices fluctuate along at different days too, gotta monitor like the stock market. Nonetheless, have fun shopping!

Crafty Fun
Photo credit: Amazon
1. Melissa and Doug triangular crayons. USD 5.99 on Amazon. It's for any kids who love doodling or drawing. We are loving these crayons because they are triangular, which means they don't roll off the table easily. Oh yes, I won't have to do that up and down bends and twists to pick fallen crayons when we bring them out. Good for plane ride or when waiting for food in restaurants or food court.

Photo credit: Amazon
2. Melissa and Doug dinosaur figurines. USD 7.99 on Amazon. It states suitable for ages 8 and above, but I think it boils down to the level of perfection parents can accept on that art piece. They carry other paint figurines too.

Photo credit: Amazon
3. Melissa and Doug lace and trace pets. USD 9.89 on Amazon. Suitable for 2 years old to 5. Like it that it promotes fine motor skills, hand and eye coordination for the really young children. Can always easily pick one thread and card for on-the-go.

Photo credit: Amazon
4. Melissa and Doug Animal stamp set. USD 14.99 on Amazon . It states for ages 4+ up, but I think 2.5 years old and above will enjoy some creativity out of it. It's endless creativity out of the set. There are different stamp themes too. 

Realised I'm quite a Melissa and Doug fan. Well, that's because they make one of the finest quality toys around.

Creative and educational Fun
Little kids are filled with creativity. It's about giving them plenty of room to free play. Love it when we blend creativity and educational games/toys with fun.

Photo credit: Amazon
5. Melissa and doug color-n-carry. USD 4.99 on Amazon. Suitable for ages 5 and above, but if your child knows slight reading and writing before that, then it's very much alright. It comes with 6 markers and pages of puzzles and games. We bring it out often for Js, who have ants in their pants when waiting for meals to be served at restaurants or food court. It's very portable and entertains the kids anywhere and anytime. Good for plane rides too. They have a wide range of selection for children below the ages of 5.

Photo credit: Amazon
6. Melissa and Doug bead set. USD 9.27 on Amazon. It states for ages 4 and up, but 3 years old is good. These bead sets are too lovely, it will definitely capture the hearts of our sweet young girls. Watch them create beautiful bracelets and necklaces out of it. Great for motor skills, hand and eye coordination. After which, just keep everything in a ziploc bag for the next play. 

Photo credit: Amazon
7. Boogie Board. USD 28.75 on Amazon. Price varies for different colours. It's for anyone who loves to doodle! Js have one each and we use it very often for on-the-go or when Jazz asks me on spelling certain words, I prefer writing it on here. Else most times, I'll probably have to repeat up to 5 times verbally on how to spell a word. It's very easy to use, doodle and erase!

Photo credit: Amazon
8. Magformers rainbow 30 pcs set. USD 40.37 on Amazon. Its states suitable for ages 6 and up. But Jare had fun with this when he was 2! There's no permanent form for these magnets, the kids can create whatever they like with it. I like it that it boosts creativity and for it being magnetic, it's clean and mess free with no loose pieces lying around.

Jare with his Magna-Tiles
9.  Magna-Tiles clear color 32 Piece set. USD 51.50 on Amazon. Suitable for ages 3 and up. We got the 100 piece set for Js and they really love it. They would build farm, zoo, carpark, airport, rocket and whatever they could think out of it. You know it's well worth fun when they play it frequently.

We love games that build family bonding. Having some games home will always be needy for the rainy days ahead, when we need indoor activities. If a game's for 2 players, we can always do teams. A game for 4 or more is where everyone gets to play. Always a win when great bonding is achieved. 

Photo credit: Amazon
10. Rory's Story cubes by Gamewright. USD 6.84 on amazon. It states for ages 8 and up, but I feel there no limit to imagination. We just added this to our shopping cart, and we're waiting excitedly for its arrival. It goes somewhat like throwing the cubes and link up a story with the pictures on the cubes. We'll be in for a crazy storytelling time. Let those imagination run wild!

Photo credit: Amazon
11. Spot it by Blue Orange! USD 11.17 on Amazon. It states for ages 7 and up, but Jare is playing it very well at 4. A really easy game about spotting same object with another card. Fast to spot is the simple strategy.

Photo credit: Amazon
12.  Monopoly junior by Hasbro. USD 11.88 on Amazon. It states ages 5 and above, but Jare is playing it relatively well at 4 too! We own the version by Parker Brothers, but that doesn't ship to SG for free. I guess this works the same and yeap, there's lots of fun during family game time. Lots of little strategy we can teach from here, savings and investment!

Photo credit: Amazon
13. Hedbanz by Spin master games. USD 11.99 on Amazon. It states suitable for ages 7 and up, but I think 4 and above would play it relatively well. Players take turns asking 'yes' or 'no' questions about the picture on their headband, which they won't know. First player who guess it, wins! They have the limited edition bonus board game, which comes with more card pictures. 

Photo credit: Amazon
14. Candy Land by Hasbro. USD 12.99 on Amazon. It states for ages 3 and above, but Jare started it at 2.5 years old, when he had it as a gift. This is Jare's first board game. We love it for being simple and easy for the really young ones, with no complicated rules or instructions to adhere to.

Photo credit: Amazon
15. Big boogle by winning moves. USD 13.99 on amazon. It states suitable for ages 8 and up, but I think even if your child can spell some simple words like cat or dog, it's a good game. A thinking and concentrate game which we like.

Photo credit: Amazon
16. Blokus by Mattel. USD 35.63 on Amazon. Suitable for ages 5 and up. It's a really fun game about thinking and strategizing. Conquer the play board with the most of your colour, you win. I love playing this with the man. It's about time to rope the kids in for battle.

We love funny books. As much as parents would buy books with great moral for their kids, leave the really hilarious for friends to gift!

The day the crayons quit

17. The day the crayons quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers . USD 10.75 on Amazon. This book gives kids great insight to look at crayons differently. Js enjoy it very much, especially when we came to the colour beige. It's rather wordy, either parent read for the child or if your child can read, he'll be able to handle the book himself. Only thing is, if you don't mind the US way of spelling colour as color and grey as gray.

Book synopsis: "Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit! Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other."

Photo credit: Amazon
18. The Book with No pictures by B.J. Novak. USD 10.79 on Amazon. This is a hybrid, I say this because it's of good suit for both parents and children. It takes an adult to read this, and for sure, it's gona make any grown up look silly! At that expense, it will definitely make any kid laugh. After all, it's alright to sound and look silly aside our serious mood. Everyone needs some laughter!

Photo credit: Amazon

19. Press here by Herve Tullet. USD 12.32 on Amazon. This is a really fun book for little ones, which might send them into stitches. More for the ages between 2 to 7. You have to watch the video to know why it's funny! Jazz read it to her Daddy.

The following is not from Amazon, but I think it makes an interesting gift for this season too!

Gingerbread house kit
20. Gingerbread house kit. SGD 23.90 from our local supermarket, NTUC. This will be a great time of family fun, for parents and little ones to build a sweet house. I'll never forget the wonderful moments we created when we did our gingerbread house last year.

I hope these are some great gift ideas for you. Oh, Lego make great gifts too, if only Amazon would ship them here. Nonetheless, can always get them in stores. In whatever hunt and journey you went through for sourcing gift, the best gift is probably the thoughts behind that gift. Have fun shopping!

To my friends' kids, you could probably guess what's coming up from us during this season.