It huffed and puffed, and BLEW us away {Review of The Three Little Pigs by SRT's The Little Company}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 26.8.16
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The Three Little Pigs has always been our of our favourite bedtime stories. We don't just read the book, we will even act out the story and it has never failed to attract squeals of delight from the girls. They love pretending to be the pigs who protect and look after one another, and unless the hubby is around, I always end up being the Big Bad Wolf. Which I really don't mind because it's kinda fun to be able to huff and puff and run around chasing after the little ones.



So, when we knew that Singapore Repertory Theatre's (SRT) The Little Company was bringing back The Three Little Pigs this year - after making its world-premiere in Singapore in 2012 and subsequently blowing its way around the world, including countries and cities like New York, Finland, Sydney, China and London - I knew that this was one show that we could not miss by hook or by crook.

You know, we've watched plenty of theatrical shows for kids because my girls just seem to enjoy them tremendously. I can't say the same for the hubby, or even for myself sometimes, because there were occasions when it seemed like the show was designed and dedicated for the enjoyment of the young audience only. 

However, TLC's shows are different. Really different. I don't know how they manage to do it but time after time, I've been so impressed with them and I walk out of the theatre, feeling like I'm just watched a smashing good show that kept me glued to my seat and brought smiles onto my face. It wasn't just the kids who were enjoying the performance, every adult who was present was entertained and we truly enjoyed The Three Little Pigs from start to end too. 



Okay, actually all of us enjoyed it except for the one little sleepy pig. Yes, the tiniest one in my brood. I have to be so thankful that infants are allowed to admit, otherwise we might have to skip such outings since the baby is with me 24/7. Yes yes, babies do need tickets too but at least they are allowed to enter, right?



I usually walk into the theatre, not knowing what to expect for the next 50mins. Will the songs be catchy? Will the plot be different and creative? Will the dance choreography be memorable? Will the stage set resemble what we see in storybooks? Will there be any new elements that will impress the audience? Will we be laughing in our seats? Will the kids learn about any morals or values? Will we be talking about this show a month later?

Honestly, I'm the kind of person who doesn't set high expectations. It's not that I fear disappointment, but I just like to be contented with things that come my way and anything that is extra good becomes a bonus. You know what I mean? I'm happy to say that The Three Little Pigs is definitely my favourite show so far this year. In this post, I'll share with you the main reasons why.



1) Engaging, witty plot 

Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs. If you think just because you know the story and will not be in for any surprise, then you are absolutely wrong. What I love about The Three Little Pigs is how it builds on the classic fairy tale and adapts along the way to become something so fresh, so unique and so full of.... meat. It makes me think "I know what's going to happen next! Oh wait, do I?" and even when I did guess the sequence correctly, the plot never failed to add in some twists and turns in between so that all of us became totally engrossed in it.


2) Talented, distinct characters

You can never guess the names of the three little pigs in this show. Well, they were called Cha Siu Bao. Yes, seriously. Angel was the one who read about it in the booklet and told us excitedly before the show started. These pigs don't just have cute names; they each have a distinct personality, for instance Cha is brawny, Siu likes gardening while Bao is a bookworm. Despite their differences at the start, they came together eventually to pit against the Big Bad Wolf and I love it when Mother Pig said "A family sticks together". I have to say that all the cast were so awesome that it's hard to pick a particular favourite. If I have to, I would say both the hubby and I were particularly impressed by the Big Bad Wolf who played the part of the howling, starving, sneering villain brilliantly.



3) A touch of local flavour

There's something special about watching TLC's shows - the local flavour that can't be replicated easily by overseas productions. I was particularly tickled by the appearance of a convenient tradesperson who happened to pass by and sold straw, sticks and bricks to the three little pigs. I mean, she appeared as a samsui woman and went off saying "Kopi Siu Dai". That was totally funny and never mind that the kids didn't understand it, all the adults were laughing (I know I did, and quite loudly in fact)! The Big Bad Wolf also had some hilarious moments such as when he said things like "So Malu" and "Double Whopper". Yes, to eat one pig - roasted pork. Two pigs - double whopper. Three pigs - all you can eat buffet. Who thinks of such clever lines like these?



4) Catchy songs and memorable lyrics

Now, while I can't say that the dance moves were impressive and I assumed that it was in the first place pretty hard to move about with those gigantic hips, I did love the repertoire of songs. These original songs were superb and a couple of them struck a deeper chord in me than the rest. I was particularly touched by how Bao encouraged his siblings to build a house with him so that they could all stay together. "A little house, a little home", yup, this line is going to stay with me for a long, long time.



5) Creative stage set and props

For a production of this scale and a ticket pricing that is friendly on the pocket, you don't usually get to see an impressive stage set or a wide range of props. That is another area in which TLC excels and totally deserves a pat on the back. In The Three Little Pigs, the scene changes and you can really watch the story unfold as the pigs leave home, build houses and eventually trap the wolf. I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you how he huffed and puffed down the houses (they did collapse!), so be sure to watch out for it and also be amazed by the dainty house of bricks - which has a door that can be opened, a window that can also be opened, a ladder for the wolf to climb up and even a chimney to drop into. I totally give it to the team who worked behind the scenes to create this from scratch. It looks fantastic, guys!

6) The moral of the story

We like to talk about what we've learnt after watching a show, rather than just laugh and forget all about it tomorrow. The Three Little Pigs has so many lessons for us to learn and reflect upon, from how hard work pays off, never look down on others and unity is strength. The biggest takeaway for us was how a family needs to stick together to overcome hurdles in life. You know what I love most about the story? It was the ending where the three little pigs not only got together and stayed inside ONE house, they also invited their dearest Mummy to stay with them. Yeah yeah, I know, that's not going to happen with my three little pigs two decades later and there comes a day where I need to let go. But, such happy endings always warm my heart and I'm always going to remind myself and my kids that no matter what happens in life, a family sticks together.

A big thank you to TLC for bringing back this awesome, spectacular show once again! I've no question on why it will make a comeback because I, for one, don't mind bringing my kids to watch it again in future if there's a chance. One thing I'm very sure of, this show totally made us howl with laughter and blew us away.

For more reviews and thoughts on The Three Little Pigs from fellow mummy bloggers, head over to A Million Little Echoes and Mum in the Making.

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Show Details

Dates: From now to 17 Sept 2016
Monday to Friday 10am; Saturdays 11am and 2pm

Prices: From $25 excluding SISTIC fee.
Group discounts/ Family Packages available

Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT

Ticketing: SISTIC at 6348 5555 or www.sistic.com.sg

About SRT’s The Little Company 
The Little Company (TLC) is a professional theatre company that produces quality plays for children. Since 2001, over 400,000 children and adults have been delighted by our performances.  We aim to enthral children from ages 2-12, with theatre that is written, designed and performed specifically for them by professional adult actors. We strongly believe that theatre can help children develop socially, mentally and emotionally. TLC was founded in 2001 by Singapore Repertory Theatre, based on the belief that children deserve the same quality of theatre as adults.

Disclosure: We received a media invite to review The Three Little Pigs. Production pictures are provided by SRT. All opinions are our own.

Creativity 521 #98 - Family Fun in Punggol SAFRA Part II {Review and Giveaway of ARTARY}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 22.8.16
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I like exposing my kids to art. Yes, I believe most of you know that by now if you follow my blog. I love how art doesn't have a right or wrong, how it allows the little ones to be imaginative and free, how it helps to unleash their creativity and let them see things from different perspectives.

So, we've previously shared the first part of our experience in Punggol SAFRA and did a review of Splash @ Kidz Amaze. In today's Creativity 521 post, I'll be sharing with you on our art session at ARTARY and give away passes to some lucky readers too. Read on to find out more!

ARTARY is a children's art studio that offers art programmes specially designed for children aged three to 14 years old. Students learn and experience through artworks, interaction projects, songs and games, imagination workouts and other activities. Classes are also conducted in small groups with a learning ratio of one teacher to four students.


So, our girls were all set to be Little Van Goghs for the day! Guess what they would be doing? Well, painting, of course! It's something they really enjoy and love doing so it was easy to tell that they were both excited and looking forward to this art session. When they knew that they would be doing their own version of "Sunflowers", they just couldn't wait to start!


Firstly, they were tasked to use oil pastels to draw out some shapes of flowers. These needn't be sunflowers per se and the kids were free to draw any type of flowers they liked.



This session, being part of a Family Fun day at Punggol SAFRA for bloggers, was special in that the hubby and I were allowed to sit in and help the kids out whenever possible. Considering that we only had less than 45 minutes or so to complete this activity before moving onto the next, it was a little of a rush for us and I would have loved to have more time to savour the experience with my kids.


While parents were asked to draw and outline a vase on the artwork, the kids got down to painting their flowers after the tedious job of cutting them out (which was mainly left to the grown-ups). The painting part was their favourite because they had the freedom to choose their own colours, mix them up or combine them in any way they wanted.



To finish it off, we applied glue and stuck the flowers onto the final artwork before painting black lines for the stems. See their proud creations above? I was really happy to see that they chose to paint multi-coloured flowers and that everything looked so strikingly vibrant in the end.

It was definitely an enjoyable session for the kids and I am sure they will love to come back for more unique and fun-filled experiences in future!

For more information on Artary Punggol, please visit http://artary.sg/locations/punggol/.

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Here's a giveaway on A Happy Mum for those who are interested to let their kids attend classes at ARTARY! Note that this giveaway is targeted for those with kids aged between 5 and 12 and that the classes are NOT parent-accompanied.


Terms and Conditions

• Children aged 5-12 years old are eligible to attend the sessions.
• Students must attend the programmes independently. If for any reason they cannot attend the session independently after 15 minutes, it will be terminated and considered consumed. 
• Reservations for sessions to be made with ARTARY prior to attending. Email punggol@artary.sg to arrange for appointments.
• Passes are to be used in SAFRA Punggol, ARTARY Punggol Junior Campus only and are valid for 6 months from date of issue.
• Student's suitability to attend the program is subject to the discretion of ARTARY. If for any reason the student is deemed unsuitable to attend, no refund will be provided.
• No make-up session will be provided if the student is absent after reservation has been made.

To take part in this giveaway, leave a comment with your name and email address. Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: We received a media invite to attend a session at ARTARY in Punggol SAFRA. All opinions and photographs are our own.

I just wanna make the world dance - Ariel is 3!

Posted by ~Summer~ on 16.8.16
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Yay, it's finally here! I've been working on Ariel's video compilation for the last couple of months and with a sigh of relief, I'm happy to say that it's done! Woohoo! Six precious months of growing up compressed into a 16-min video, it's not that easy when you realise just how much has happened, how many places you've been and how fast your little baby has grown.

The girls were so excited to watch the video the moment I finished it and you know what, for that 16 minutes, two of them sat beside each other, and they laughed, they cheered, they sang and they said "Mummy! I remember! We were at this place doing this!" That brought so much warmth to my heart and although this video came pretty late, the fact is they do remember some of the things in the past and they do reminisce and relish the joy in those moments, just like I do.

So, I still believe that it's better to be late than never. And I'm definitely going to keep on doing all these clips for each of my three gems. Just give Mama some more time, okay?



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Dear Ariel,

Happy 3 years old! Gosh, it's been three years already since you came into my life and I still remember the cute, round and chubby little girl that I gave birth to on 22 December 2012. Yes, you! The baby who would cheer up my day with her wide smiles, the baby who brought joy to everyone around her, the baby who was seemingly easy to look after, the baby who stuck to me like a koala, the baby who became an adorable little sister, the baby who is to become an elder sister as she turns three.

Yes, Mummy gave birth to didi just two days before your birthday, you know that? When you came to the hospital to visit us, I was very concerned about how you would feel. Angel jiejie has already been an elder sister for three years so I'm not that anxious, but you, my baby girl, you are going to be the middle child now, how are you going to feel?

So, as best as I could, I tried to ease you into our new environment and I continued to shower you with as much love and care as I could. It was your birthday two days after didi arrived and all of us went to your school to celebrate your special day with your teachers and friends, do you remember that? We brought goodie bags to distribute, you had a cute logcake and even your tiny little brother was there to spend this special moment with you. How awesome, right?

You have been a a great big sister and I was amazed by how you didn't complain about Mummy spending too much time with didi or that I was unable to have one-on-one time with you. In fact, you adore Asher so much and it's plain to see just how much you care for him since Day 1. You look so beautiful and sweet when you sang to him as he laid across your lap, you know that? Even when he was in my tummy, you spoke to, stroked and sang to him every night without fail. That really, really touched my heart and I'm sure didi heard you too, his loving er jie. Having more kids will only bring our family closer, not make us drift apart. Remember that, okay?

You've also been learning a lot of new things, I especially love how you can scoot pretty fast now and even make sharp turns, how you jump into the pool with no fear and swim towards me, how you try to read some of your picture books and can do it 10 times in a row, how you pick up nursery rhymes very quickly, how you like to shake and boogie to every song you hear, how you are a risk-taker and are not afraid to try out new things, how you never suppress your laughter but instead make everybody burst with joy too when they hear it.

I hope you had a splendid time at the Sophia the First party with jiejie, Mummy really wanted it to bring happiness to two of you before I went to deliver didi. I was glad to see that you were rejoicing and enjoyed yourself during the games. Now, it might be harder for me to plan birthday parties for each of you but I'll definitely try my best, okay? 

May you continue to be my happy sunshine and spread joy and love to everyone always. I love you, my dear Ariel baobei.

Love,
Mummy

For comfort and convenience - Our top 8 PIGEON products {Review and Giveaway}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 10.8.16
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I have to say that we don't just own a single brand of baby products in our house. In fact, like most parents, we usually try out quite a handful of baby product brands in the similar range and then stick to the one which works best for us. However, there are some brands that pop up around our house more than others and one of the most prominent ones is definitely PIGEON.

I've been a faithful supporter of many PIGEON products for years and if you ever stop me on the streets and look into my diaper bag, it is 100% guaranteed that I will have at least two Pigeon products in it. Yes, I'm very, very sure of that. So, despite the fact that I do reviews and advertorials on the blog, I make sure that I only share with you things that truly work for us and benefit my family in one way or another.

In today's post, I'll be sharing with you a list of our top 8 Pigeon products and what I love most about them. Thanks to PIGEON Singapore, I'll also be giving away hampers to three lucky readers, so read on to find more.

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A Happy Mum's Top 8 Pigeon Products

First, I must admit that I don't usually pump my milk. I mean, come on, I'm a stay at home mum and I am with my kids 24/7, so it is much easier for me to latch my baby on instead of having to sterilise, pump, wash, store and heat up. That said, I do make it a point to have a breast pump readily available at home because there will be days when you feel engorged or when you just feel like taking a break and let someone else take over the job of being mother cow.

Having tried out both manual and electric breast pumps before, I much prefer the latter due to the ease and convenience of using it. I love that the PIGEON Electric Breast Pump Pro is easy to assemble and offers a 2-phase technology - Stimulation mode gently stimulates the breast to initiate milk flow while Expression mode maximises milk flow.


With 7 adjustable suction levels and 4 adjustable suction speeds to choose from, you can easily adjust and customise your pumping style. How thoughtful is that, right? One of my favourites is the LED monitor which is easy to view and even comes with a backlight too! It also makes it straightforward for you to check how much time has lapsed, the current suction level and suction speed.

The best part of being able to effectively pump out milk is that I get to let the other family members try feeding the baby too. See? The sisters were totally ecstatic that they could take over Mummy's job, for once! Well, whether or not the baby actually wants to drink the milk is another thing altogether. Okay fine, I admit, he much prefers my boobs. However, I do believe that perseverance pays and more practice will make things easier over time.

Now, don't ask me how many baby wipes I use in a month, or even a week, because I can never keep count. Yes, this is one of my all-time favourite PIGEON products and you can be sure to find at least one packet of baby wipes or wet tissues in my bag at all times. I can't even begin to describe just how useful these are in keeping my kids clean, wiping off stains, cleaning utensils, killing bacteria and even preventing mosquitoes.


What I use most will be the PIGEON Baby Wipes and the Hand and Mouth Wet Tissues. It wouldn't be too much to say that I can't imagine my life without these lifesavers ever since I became a mum. The Baby Wipes are fragrance free, alcohol free, consist of 99% pure water and the Hand and Mouth Wet Tissues are microbiologically tested and made of 100% food grade ingredients. I love how gentle these wipes are on my babies' skin and that is why I've been using them for years now!

The MagMag All in One set has everything you need to train your baby to transit from breastfeeding to drinking with a straw. It comes with three interchangeable tops - nipple cup, spout cup and straw cup - for ease of training and helps babies develop their oral skills.

What's my favourite part about it besides the fact that it is all in one? I love that it is leak-proof and spill-proof! Yes, the water doesn't even come out when my baby overturns the bottle, which happens very often at mealtimes.

Now, I feed my baby homecooked meals everyday and anything that helps to ease my workload and make cooking more convenient is always welcome. The PIGEON Home Baby Food Maker comes with a dish with grater, storage lid, grating plate, squeezer, mortar and pestle, strainer and feeding spoon - which essentially allows you to grate, strain, squeeze, grind and store all with just one set of tools. How convenient, right? It also comes with a feeding spoon so you can feed right after preparation.


With a baby who is starting to wean and loves to try new food, the Home Baby Food Maker has come in pretty handy for us and I love how easy it is to grate and mash his food up nowadays. The food maker is also very lightweight and easy to store as the layers stack up nicely and doesn't take up too much space.

This has been one of my most loved baby products ever since day 1 of becoming a mum - a feeding dish that is easy to hold and comes with a non-slip surface and mashing dots for you to grind your food anytime, anywhere.

I cook porridge for the baby everyday now and sometimes, there are bits of fish, meat or chopped vegetables that are too big for his liking. This grinding dish has become indispensable whenever we are out because it just makes it so easier to mash up any food bits and feed him with the spoon that clips onto the inside of lid. I'm so thankful that he isn't a fussy eater and usually gobbles down whatever I cook!

When it comes to cleaning, I use the PIGEON liquid cleanser for baby utensils, accessories and even fruits. I love how it has anti-bacteria properties, contains 100% food grade ingredients to ensure maximum safety and best of all, it is very effective in getting rid of stubborn milk stains. Yes, I love using this to wash the nursing bottle for the toddler who still drinks formula milk sometimes.

I hope it's not just my babies who are always looking for things to munch on, regardless of whether they are teething or not. Starting from three months old, Asher has been trying to find things to put in his mouth and simply likes to chew on everything he sees. Thus, for this reason, he owns more teethers than his sisters. The PIGEON training teethers are one of his favourites because they are easy to grip, soft to chew and offer different shapes and textures. In addition, there are also the cooling teethers which are made of a soft material, BPA free, filled with tested sterilized water which is safe for baby and can be chilled in the fridge to provide a different sensation. How cute it is that he gets to chew on an apple, carrot and strawberry, right?

I've made sure that I bring along at least two teethers with me when we go out because this baby just won't stop munching and chewing (despite the fact that he has no teeth and can't bite yet!)

Lastly, we are currently using the PIGEON Baby Shampoo and Baby Wash 2in1 which are enriched with natural SAKURA extract to give extra nourishment. These products are hypoallergenic, safe for sensitive skin and comes with a tear free formulation. So far, they have worked well for us and I find that they are gentle on skin and cleanses effectively.

In addition, I love the handy travel pack which is convenient and comes in useful whenever we go for swims, staycations or overseas holidays. It isn't always that you can find shampoo or shower foam which are suitable for kids in hotels, resorts or swimming pools so I make sure that we always have our own with us just in case.

These kids look forward and love taking their baths everyday and I'm really thankful for that. Thanks to PIGEON for giving our family so much comfort and convenience in our everyday life!

For more information and updates on PIGEON products, visit pigeon.com.sg or follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PigeonSingapore.

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Good news! You know that I love breastfeeding and strongly advocate it, right? Now, for those of you who love PIGEON products and are currently breastfeeding, here's a giveaway just for you!

To join in this giveaway, leave a comment in this blog post with your name, email address and tell me your favourite PIGEON product (doesn't have to be on this list). Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you can choose to carry out the rest of the options. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: We received a year's worth of PIGEON products in writing this review. Product pictures are from PIGEON Singapore's website. All opinions are our own.

Creativity 521 #97 - Dinosaur fossils {Review of heART Studio Part V}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 5.8.16
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Dinosaurs. These animals that went extinct 65 millions years ago fascinate every child, and adult, don't you think so? Well, my kids have watched Jurassic Park 1/2/3 and Jurassic World with me, we read books that talk about the different types of dinosaurs and we have visited dinosaur exhibitions that showcase life-size dinosaurs in the Science Centre.

While we might never be able to truly understand the mystery of dinosaurs, I think it's good for kids to be exposed to such knowledge at a young age. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I knew that the theme for Ariel's latest art project at heART Studio was "Dinosaur Fossils".

In today's Creativity 521, I'll walk you through a step by step tutorial of how she ended up making a terrific and awesome piece of fossil artwork.

What are fossils?

Fossils are the remains of ancient animals and plants, the traces or impressions of living things from past geologic ages. The word fossil comes from the Latin word fossilis, which means "dug up".  Most fossils are dug from sedimentary rock layers formed from sand, mud, and small pieces of rock. The fossil of a bone doesn't have any bone in it; it has the same shape as the original subject but is chemically more like a rock.

In the first lesson, the kids were taught about fossils and paleontology, the branch of science concerned with fossil animals and plants. Next, they were to pick out their choice of dinosaur from the many which were showcased on the wall.

Step by step, they drew the shape of the dinosaur fossils. Now, this is entirely different from drawing a dinosaur body and I must say there were plenty of details involved. What the teachers did was to guide them by drawing on a separate piece of paper and stroke by stroke, the students had to try their best to create their own drawing.



In the second lesson, the kids were in for a surprise! Each of them got to paint using a easel stand and had their very own canvas! See, don't they all look like little Picassos? I was very thankful that these young kids had a chance to be exposed to canvas painting and I know that these are really not cheap! So kudos to heART Studio for giving them such awesome opportunities!



What they had to do first was to paint the background. This was done using short strokes and alternating between three different colours of paint. For Ariel, she chose an earthy colour instead of pink, which was given as one of the options, and I was quite glad because I thought it looked very natural after she blended them together.

In the next lesson, the kids started work on the fossils. Firstly, they had to pick out another dinosaur of their choice and then trace the outline of its fossils, which had been drawn by the teacher, using a marker. This was a little challenging yet good practice for the little fingers, especially for Ariel as it really isn't often that she draws using such a thick marker.

The next part is the most fun one, or so we thought. Using black modelling clay, the kids had to shape it in order to fit into the different parts of the tracing. So, they had to press, mould and flatten while ensuring that the shapes of the dinosaur bones were still intact.

See? Not bad, right? This was what they achieved by the end of the third lesson for this project, which couldn't have been made possible if without the help and guidance of the teachers.

For the fourth and final lesson, it was time to add on some colour! The teachers had painstaking cut and pasted the black fossils from the paper onto the canvas for every student. I can imagine how time consuming it must have been! In this session, they were tasked to use a dabbing technique by using a sponge to apply paint onto the clay fossil.

To make it more interesting, they had to use two different colours. Ariel chose her favourite colour, purple, and complemented it with a pink colour. I thought it made quite a nice combination, right?

Lastly, to finish off her masterpiece, she did a little spray painting onto the background by using one paintbrush to hit against another. Looked at how it created a nice splatter of black paint!


Ta-dah! Here's her final artwork! I'm really pleased to see how it turned out and glad that she managed to learnt a little more about dinosaurs and fossils in the process too! This marks the end of our reviews of heART Studio for now but do continue to check out my social media for more of their artwork!

P.S. It's been a tough time at home as the kids have fallen sick. We'll be back in action soon for Creativity 521 when the kids recover and I hope we will have more fun-filled art and craft projects to share!




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