YIPPEE! This video has been taken me over half a year in the making but I'm glad to finally announce that it's done! *phew*
Why would it take so long, you might ask?
Firstly, I'm not a video making expert and know only the basic of the basics. Secondly, in a year, I probably captured thousands of pictures and hundreds of video clips and it takes me long, like super long, to go through them and shortlist the more memorable ones. Thirdly, for some reason, I need to slowly convert every single video before I can use them in Movie Maker and my laptop tends to shut down every time I do that due to overheating. Try to imagine me putting two huge fans to beside just to cool it down, yeah that happens. Lastly, okay I need to take part of the blame because there were days when I procrastinated and let other priorities get into the way.
Anyway, this is the longest video (21min 51sec) I have ever done for Angel and it contains precious milestones in her 4th year of growing up. This means she was only just three years old and yet to turn four when she did all these and I believe they will be precious milestones and loving memories for us to reminisce in the future. In fact, the hubby watched it and I could see it brought smiles on his face because like it or not, even things that happened just a year ago seemed to have slipped our minds somewhat.
Some mums like to make scrapbooks or Project Life, some prefer photo albums, some write letters on their child's birthday, for me, I just like to make these fairly simple but heartwarming videos for the loves of my life. Just so you know, not exaggerating in the least, the girls watch their own videos every single day! Yup, especially Ariel who just prefers to look at her past videos or jiejie's rather than Barney or Mickey Mouse, and she will always chuckle and laugh when she sees the 'baby' Ariel smiling or doing funny tricks. Well, at least I have some ardent fans in the house! Thanks for giving me the motivation to continue doing this, my darlings!
As you turned three, there were many big changes in your life. We moved back to Singapore from Karlsrkona in Sweden, which is the place where you were born and it is filled with so many of our happy, priceless memories. Shortly after, Mummy gave birth to your meimei and you know what, you became a big sister.
From the first day you laid your eyes on Ariel, I could see how much you love and dote on her. No matter what other people might say, I was secretly jumping for joy that I could give you a little sister because I think that's just about the best gift I can give to you. I saw how you tried to teach her things, how you did your crazy dances for her, how you would run to her when she cried and I was glad to see that you would never have to feel lonely again.
Some days, I have to take care of meimei so much and I know, I know that I had no choice but to neglect you. There were times where you had to play by yourself, look after meimie while i was cooking, drink milk on your own, do your writing exercises all by yourself and even our bedtime story sessions would get disturbed because she wanted to play a part by taking away all the books and crawling all over Mama. For that, Mummy felt more than guilty and I promise I will find more one-on-one time to make it up to you.
Please always know that I love you two just as much and never for one second think that you are less special in my heart. I know how family and friends always praise meimei for being a happy and friendly baby and I make it a point to tell them that Angel is just as lovable and is always my good, good girl. Everyone sees meimei growing up day by day here but no one saw you growing up in Sweden. But I did, my dear. And I will always remember all the love, joy and wonders you brought to me as a mum. In fact, you are the one who showed me how rewarding this journey can be.
Despite our many bad days this year, like the times when wouldn't take "No" for an answer and would insist on "Yes", or the times when you threw some really terrible tantrums and screamed yourself hoarse in your room, or even the times when you talked back at me, rejected me and broke my heart, I keep telling myself that this is just part of growing up. No one said motherhood will be perfect and free from heartbreaks and tears. You will never know how much I am learning day by day to be a better mum, to be your better mum, too. Let's make sure we always end a day with a hug and a kiss, and hand in hand, we will overcome our fears and tears, and enjoy the sunshine and rainbows together.
I love you so, so, so very much.
For more of Angel's and Ariel's growing up videos, visit my gallery here.
in My lovely Angel
YIPPEE! This video has been taken me over half a year in the making but I'm glad to finally announce that it's done! *phew*
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I've realised recently that my big girl is starting to grow more conscious about her looks. She would look into the mirror, she would tuck her hair behind her ears, she would insist on wearing a dress when we head out and choose many girly accessories to go along with it.
I knew I had to start teaching her something which I deem as a very important life lesson. We were on the topic of how girls like to look beautiful when I asked her "Where does beauty come from?" She was hesitant for a while and although she did not say a pretty face or pretty clothes, she also wasn't sure of how to answer the question. I looked at her earnestly in the eyes, then put my hand on her chest and said "From the heart". So we started talking about how it was more important to be a good, kind-natured and well-loved person rather than a beautiful, proud and selfish soul.
If there are two stories I would use to illustrate to her my point, they would be Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Grimm Brothers’ The Frog Prince. Other than teaching us not to judge a book by its cover, they also teach children to learn to care for others and most crucially, they let a child know that regardless what other people may think or say about you, the important thing to always remember is that you're just as special as anyone else.
What happens when you weave two classic fairytales into one?
This October, I Theatre breathes new life into two classic fairytales by weaving the stories of The Ugly Duckling and The Frog Prince into one original brand new family musical!
An ugly duckling who really does not fit in at home…
A frog who thinks he is a prince…
Both need a family.
Both need a best friend.
Both want to be loved but both are very very alone.
Is it just me or are you also excited to see what happens to these cute friends in their quest for acceptance and how they overcome obstacles by supporting each other? Combining top class performers, toe-tapping music, spectacular sets, glittering costumes, magical lighting and puppetry, this musical seeks to instill key values including racial harmony, tolerance and understanding, as well as self-worth, team work and creative thinking.
Event date: 29 Oct (Wed) to 15 Nov (Sat)
Weekdays: 10:30am, 2:30pm
Saturday: 2:30pm, 7:30pm
Sunday: 11:00am, 5:00pm
Duration: 85 minutes (excluding 15 minute interval)
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre, National Library
Recommended for: 4 to 18 year olds and families
Ticket Pricing: $32.00/$30.00 (Cat 1/2 Cat 2) for every adult/child
Family Package (4 persons): $121.60, $114.00 (Cat 1/2 Cat 2)
Big Family Package (5 persons): $144.00, $135.00 (Cat 1/2 Cat 2)
Tickets can be booked through SISTIC here, or through SISTIC hotline 6348 5555 and at SISTIC authorised agents islandwide.
A Happy Mum is always delighted to share joy with her readers so for those of you who are keen to watch this family musical, here's a giveaway for you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets from I Theatre for Hop and Honk in writing this post. All opinions are our own.
While blogging is not as easy as how some people may see it, I am always thankful to have an outlet to share my thoughts and to have gained exposure, made like-minded friends and received sponsorship opportunities since A Happy Mum started in 2011.
One of the opportunities that excites me most is going for sponsored family photoshoots. Thanks to a spontaneous hubby and two lovely kiddos who also like to capture precious moments, every of our photoshoot has left behind memories that would last us for a lifetime.
Thanks to Kids Pictures, we were kindly invited to do a studio family photoshoot in August. Started in 2000, Kids Pictures is a pioneer photography boutique studio which specialises in infants, kids and family photography. Through the years, they have grown to become a renowned family-oriented photography provider both locally and internationally. In fact, it is an honour for them to have had the privilege to capture precious photos for royal families around the world.
For the first time, we wore matching family outfits in a photoshoot! Thanks to our kind apparel sponsor MidouCeur (read our previous review here), four of us were clad in the Surfer Zag outfits. Instead of the usual girly hues, it was refreshing to see us dressed in white and blue for a change.
Apart from showing you all the gorgeous shots captured that day, I would also like to share with you a handful of things that impressed me about Kids Pictures.
1) Highly efficient
Excluding the time used in preparing the backdrop and for us to get changed, the entire shoot took less than 30 minutes. Yes, it was definitely the fastest shoot we have done so far. Previously, it would take us on average 1-2 hours, sometimes even more, and we would have time to change into more outfits, try out more poses or even have snack breaks for the kids. Thus, I was a little surprised and you might even say a little skeptical when it was a wrap.
That said, I began to think about the benefits of having a short photoshoot and while that means you might have less varied poses in less outfits, it would also mean many things like less tired kids and more time to spend as family on a precious weekend. You can never have the best of both worlds, right?
When I received the pictures, I was even more surprised at how Yan, the photographer, managed to capture so many lovely smiles and happy looks in such a short span of time. That, I must say, is true efficiency and professionalism.
You know how sometimes portraits just end up looking more posed than natural? For Ariel, much of it depends on her mood whether she would do what she is told or laugh for the camera. For Angel, I realise although she is usually cooperative and would smile, many a time it would end up looking posed and just does not exude a look of true joy. I like to avoid posed shots as much as possible and it was a relief to see that many of our pictures turned out to be informal and natural looking.
I have to say part of the credit goes to the hubby and I for being quite professional 'clowns' and have many tricks up our sleeves to attract the attention of the kids and make them giggle, smile and laugh. However, it would not have been possible if we did not have a photographer and an assistant who knew how to capture these shots at the perfect moment. It surprised me a little and was in fact quite heartening to see the kind folks from Kids Pictures getting on their fours to play tickling games or racing with the kids in a bid to make them laugh from the heart.
One of the things that struck me most about the photographer was her bubbly, positive self. Yes, I do think that photographers who work with children need to be more animated and dynamic than usual but Yan was so zestful and full of life that it was inspiring, even to me.
Besides being friendly and responsive, what impressed me was that Kids Pictures made an effort to personally pass us our printouts and soft copies when we were all feeling under the weather. No, I'm not saying it will be fair for them to do this for every customer but this instance just goes to show how they are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to providing service.
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Now that the September school holidays are here, if you are the parent who is always on the lookout for new child-friendly venues, this post might just excite you about a fun-filled learning haven for the kids.
In order to further expand their family-friendly offerings, The Centrepoint has just introduced 2 new concept stores on the 3rd level - The Better Toy Store and Studio Miu Art.
We were invited to take part in an experiential session with two of the tenants and had fun exploring, playing, creating and learning. Today, I'm sharing with you about the activities we did and the factors that make these family offerings outstanding, plus I have an awesome hamper filled with toys and craft supplies to give away at the end of the post.
Studio Miu Art (The Centrepoint #03-34/35)
Studio Miu Art is a gathering place for art enthusiasts. Having been around for over a decade with the only branch’s new location at The Centrepoint, it aims to foster creativity for both children and adults by teaching lessons in visual fine arts from beginner to advanced levels.
Fuelled by a strong passion in promoting the enrichment of arts in Singapore, Studio Miu Art provides opportunities to express one’s feelings and thoughts artistically through painting, drawing and craft.
Having been established in Singapore by Japanese artist and art entrepreneur Maya Takahashi, the studio has evolved to become a popular workspace that encourages children's expression of imagination through a wide variety of age-appropriate activities including Illustration, Manga, Chinese calligraphy and Ceramic art. For children above 4 years old, there are Regular Art Classes which seek to develop a holistic learning approach to art in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional forms.
For our session, Angel and I actually got down to doing something really fun and hands-on, something which we had never done before as mother and daughter - Ceramic Art! Thanks to our kind and patient teacher Saya Yamaguchi who comes from Kyoto, Japan and has been practising ceramic art for the past 16 years, we learnt about the step by step fundamental techniques of this unique art medium.
Thanks to Studio Miu Art for the delightful and fun experiential session we had!
Studio Miu Art, #03-34/35, The Centrepoint
• Store age range: Retail business offers art supplies for children from 2.5 years old to adults
• History: 18 years in Singapore, established in Japan in 1986
• Opening hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm
The Better Toy Store (The Centrepoint #03-07/07A/08)
Having lived in Europe for four years, I would be one of the first to vouch for the high standards of their toys. Back in Sweden, I remembered I was initially appalled by how the toys seemed to be more costly and was apprehensive if they were worth the buy. Years down the road, I see how these toys have proven to be long lasting and endured wear and tear, including biting, snatching, throwing and tossing, and I can safely say that the choice to invest in better quality toys was definitely a well worth one.
For one, I prefer wooden toys over plastic ones and it is rather contrasting when we compare our collection of wooden toys from Sweden against the plethora of plastic ones we have acquired in Singapore and other places. Not only are most plastics non-biodegradable, they are also perceived to have adverse long-term effects on human and animal health. When it comes to our children, we just wish to have the best for them, right?
When we knew that we were going to have a guided tour at The Better Toy Store - a brand that believes that our children deserve the best and offers award-winning toys carefully selected for excellence in play value, design, quality and impact on environment, you bet we were thrilled.
Having shifted out of the Takashimaya branch and officially opened at The Centrepoint in July 2014, The Better Toy Store has been presented with the Best Toy Store Award from Singapore Tatler - a prestigious accolade that recognizes the country’s best shops and sights - for seven consecutive years since 2007. While the main brands of toys found in the store are imported directly from Germany, France, Holland and Thailand, they also carry toys and gift items from Australia, Belgium, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S.
It was hard not to get mesmerised from the moment we stepped into the store. There was something charming, cosy and captivating about the ambience and once we were in, the kids seemed to have entered a toy paradise and couldn't wait to start exploring. Personally, I loved the wooden furniture and how it made the colourful toys look even more striking, and it was also an eye opener for me to come up close with so many uniquely and exquisitely designed toys.
If you are a Steiff collector, you are bound to find something you love from this timeless and classic collection where each bear tells a story of its own.
If your child loves to cook up a storm in the kitchen, he/she will be spoilt for choice by all the 'groceries' that can be bought here. We were impressed by the intricate design and superior quality of European crafted kitchen toys from HABA which combine style, innovation, learning and entertainment for the little ones.
a French educational toy company that produces whimsical wooden toys, games and puzzles. From painting to stamping and sand art, you can be sure to find something that is appropriate for your child's age and interest.
In terms of safety and quality, the toys conform and often exceed the European EN71 and the US ASTM standards of safety. For baby toys, natural materials like wood and cotton are preferred and finishes are non-toxic, water-based and sweat and saliva resistant.
If you are looking at getting toys for your children or as gifts for loved ones, note that The Better Toy Store has two main promotional periods annually during June and December. In other months, they hold brand-specific or themed promotions, for example this September, they are having a 20% off their entire range of Lilliputiens toys, a Belgium-based brand. In October, they will be celebrating Children's Day with a giveaway and hand out free candy during Halloween.
Thanks to The Better Toy Store for introducing us to fun and high-quality toys as well as reminding us on why our children deserve the best!
The Better Toy Store, #03-07/07A/08, The Centrepoint
• Store age range: 0-15 years old, with emphasis on babies, toddlers and primary school-going children. Gift items are available for all ages from 0-99, young and old alike.
• History: The Better Toy Store turns 10 this year and the owners have been in the toy business for over 25 years.
• Opening hours: 10.30am to 9.30pm
Just for A Happy Mum readers, we have a hamper of GOODIES to give away! Check out all the amazing items ranging from art supplies to games and toys!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation between Fraser Centrepoint Malls and A Happy Mum. All opinions are my own.
As a kid, when it comes to cartoons, I kind of dig Captain Planet, Doraemon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oh yeah, the classic four turtles named after the Renaissance artists, I suppose everyone from my era has watched their cartoon and is familiar with characters like Splinter, April O'Neil and Shredder.
Anyway, earlier this month, we brought the kids to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and as usual, the toddler slept for a good part of the show while the big sister was engrossed from start to end. Even though she had never seen any of the cartoons or heard about these turtles, she was really fascinated by their story and inspired by all their acts of heroism.
So, when we were invited to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 'Live' on stage at City Square Mall, you bet we gave an enthusiastic "Yes!" In fact, for the first time, even the hubby was interested to come with us for a meet and greet session!
Guess who is Angel's favourite turtle of all? Oh yeah, it's the leader in blue with the twin katanas - Leonardo! So she was really thrilled to receive a Leonardo figurine from the kind folks at City Square Mall and insisted on holding onto it for the entire show.
And it was time to COWABUNGA! You know, it's been 20 years since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in a comic book and through the years and decades, their ardent supporters have remained loyal to them. Now that they are making a comeback, I'm pretty sure it won't be hard for them to win over the hearts of many little boys, and girls, out there.
We enjoyed ourselves shouting "Turtle Power!" for a dozen times and then watched on as these endearing turtles did sparring and demonstrated the power of their individual weapons on stage. Unlike other live shows where kids get to sing and dance, this time round, they got to learn some basic martial arts moves which was totally fun for everyone in the family.
Check out Leonardo with his kungfu moves and awesome split at the end!
Shoppers who spend $50 at the mall will also get to redeem a Meet and Greet pass, limited to 50 passes per show and while stocks last. Well, to be frank, I wish we could spend a teeny bit more time with the characters but neh, it's basically go up the stage, take one picture, say byebye and leave. All within 10 seconds.
Still, we were pretty lucky that our shot turned out looking awesome and at the very least, everyone was looking at the camera! Wait a minute, I think Donatello was checking out Ariel, don't you think so?
After the show, we decided to hang around the mall for more turtle action. Remember our visit to Alive Museum and all the fun we had with the 3D art pieces? Well, we were excited to learn that there was a TMNT 3D floor art located at the first level, alas it was impossible to capture a good shot as the place was bustling with shoppers. Still, the girl was just happy to be surrounded by the four heroes. If you are on Instagram, share your picture taken at the floor art with the hashtag #TurtlesAtCitySqMall and you stand to win $50 worth of Metro vouchers.
And if you find that the night is still young like we did, make your way to the B1 Fountain Square at 8pm where the kids will not only get to have fun with colouring, they also get to watch 2 different episodes of TMNT Season 2 on a big screen! Admission is free and if you are craving for some snacks or ice cream, McDonalds is just beside.
This is quite an awesome treat for the kids and those of us who would like to reminisce our childhood, right? Happy September holidays, everyone!
The Total Turtle Takeover at City Square Mall runs from now till 14 September. For showtimes and more details, see below.
Disclosure: We were invited to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 'Live' on stage and received media passes for the Meet and Greet session. The kids also received an awesome goodie bag with the Shellraiser toy and Leonardo figurine. All opinions are our own.