Welcome to CLAK! I am Charlene and I own an online skincare boutique, www.efreshsingapore.com. I will love to share about my sweet family, skincare tips and reviews, my travelogue and everything that excites me.
Welcome to CLAK! I am Charlene and I own an online skincare boutique, www.efreshsingapore.com. I will love to share about my sweet family, skincare tips and reviews, my travelogue and everything that excites me.
November is an important month to me. November is my wedding anniversary and also Alexis’ birthday.
As my hubby had planned a Europe holiday for our anniversary, I wanted to do my part to plan some nice date-nights for him too. It was also meant to part of a celebration for his victory at this year’s Apex Sustainability Award.
Before I share the details of the outings, let me introduce Mileslife; it is an app which I can use to quickly earn miles on major airlines. The beauty of this app is that I can use my credit card to earn my rebates or miles even when I am paying through the app. I used the app to pay for our date-nights and you will be amazed at how many miles I collected just for these 2 occasions!
As I will be travelling to Melbourne with my family on Emirates next year, I was thrilled to find out that Mileslife has recently partnered with Emirates Skywards. With this tie-up in place, Mileslife app users who are Emirates Skywards members can now earn Skywards Miles through dining, hotels, spas and other recreational activities with both local and travel merchants in Singapore, China and beyond. For every SGD spent, members will earn up to 5 Skywards Miles and an additional bonus based on their Emirates Skywards tier. Emirates Skywards Silver members will earn 25% bonus Miles on every purchase, Gold members will earn 50% bonus Miles and Platinum members will earn 75% bonus Miles. To celebrate this partnership, for a limited time, members can instantly earn 200 Skywards Miles when they link their Emirates Skywards account to Mileslife, as well as earn triple Skywards Miles on all purchases via Mileslife till 30 November 2017.
Let me share more about our date-nights and the details of my Skywards Miles collecting journey:
Our 1st date-night was a dinner date at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Bacchanalia. And you know what? The restaurant accepted payment via the Mileslife app!! The staff told us that quite a few customers had requested to pay by Mileslife! Alright, I shall admit – this is no coincidence. I chose this restaurant for a reason as there was no better time to impress the Hubby and earn Skywards Miles at the same time.
We had an eight course dinner with wine pairing for my hubby. Needless to say, the service was impeccable and the food was world class.
The dinner was $537, and given the current promotion (which lets you earn triple Skywards Miles on all purchases till 30 November), a whopping 4,833 Skywards Miles were awarded!!! My hubby was so impressed by the amount of Skywards Miles I received that he immediately downloaded the app and linked his Emirates Skywards account, receiving 200 bonus Skywards Miles in the process. LOL. The Skywards Miles were automatically credited into my Emirates Skywards account within a few working days! How convenient!
The 2nd date-night was a SPA session at SPA by JW. Located inside the 5-Star JW Marriott Hotel, we were welcomed by the warm and friendly staff of the luxury spa. We picked a 50-min massage in a couple room. Of course, we told them we wanted to enjoy the much raved-about facilities of the SPA before our massage. My tip – do plan to spend an additional 1 to 1.5 hours on top of the allocated time for massage to truly enjoy the facilities. From the relaxing warm Jacuzzi pool, to the steam bath and sauna, and I would highly recommend to try the relaxing space chair in the Relaxation Lounge over a cup of tea or coffee. We were told most customers fall asleep on the space chair. Totally unwind the mind and body from the stress of the day.
For the massage, I fell asleep almost immediately into the session. I loveeeee the massage bed, it was a heated bed. Not the usual heated bed but one where the temperature differs from head to toe. The masseur set a nice body temperature for the upper part of the bed where my body was and warmer temperature for the lower part for my cold feet.
The SPA session costed us $376 and we were awarded 2,907 Skywards Miles on the Mileslife app!!!
Wow!!! A total of 7,940 Skywards Miles on Mileslife. I am really on track to my Melbourne holiday! FYI, a return reward Economy Class Saver ticket between Singapore and Melbourne requires 45,000 Skywards Miles on Emirates. All I need is just 5 more dates-nights like this and I am on my way to book another trip Down Under! Definitely the smarter way to fly!
To make your deal sweeter, input my personal referral code “MSCLAK” after you download the app and receive 1,000 bonus Skywards Miles when you make your 1st purchase!
*This is a sponsored post but all reviews are non-biased.
My darling Alexis turns 3 today, penning my thoughts on this post made me realised how fast time flies and soon my little feisty Alexis will become a young tenacious lady (a figure that Hubby and I always visualized Alexis would grow up to be). Every time I looked at her, I am very thankful to have her in my arms. The fact that both Alexis and myself almost could not make it during delivery made me treasure my girls in every possible way. I had got a complication when I was pregnant with Alexis that I almost delivered Alexis at 14 weeks. Yes 14 weeks! I was pushed into an emergency surgery to stitch me up and then put on a strict bed rest for a good 22 weeks. When I finally delivered Alexis at 35 weeks, I had an uterine rupture which the doctor told me both of us could have died. I was truly thankful to my gynae for pushing both of us out of the operating theatre safely.
On this special day, I would like to write a short Birthday note to my girl.
Happy Birthday!! Thank you for coming into my life. For teaching me how to fight hard for something that I yearned for. For making me believe what love at first sight is and for completing my life.
You are such a pain to care for as you are always so demanding and persistent in whatever you wanted. But that is also something I am really proud of you for; your courage and tenacity. You made me take back my words when I told everyone around me that I have absolute control over my children as each time you kicked up a fuss, I would quickly find the easiest way to make you calm down. That had never happened to your sister, Lauren. There were many times I hoped you would grow up fast and be independent so I did not have to run over to your room every night just to calm you down from the nightmares or thunders. Yet, I often cried myself to sleep thinking about the day you will grow up and Papa will walk you down the aisle. I am sorry if I had spent lesser time with you compared to your Sister as I believed your Sister needed more 1 on 1 time with me for her school work. Maybe because of that you are much more independent than her.
I love you Alexis, very very much. Please continue to be that little baby whom surprise me each and every day and thank you for giving me the best 1095 days (and counting) in my life.
As I got really caught up with work, I told myself that this year’s birthday celebration for Alexis would be just a simple family and school celebration for her.
Here were the highlights of her birthday celebration at the school:
We celebrated slightly earlier as we were going away and her birthday was actually during school holiday.
A special mention to Sweetest Moments for helping to solve this busy mom’s woes. I got my cakes, cupcakes and customised cookie (as goodie bag) from them. Glad to know that they are Halal-certified as there were other religious students in her class and all the bakeries were yummy!! Do opt for the surprise M&M chocolates in your cake as the children from Alexis’ class loved it!
We got the personalised cookies as gift for the goodie bags. Grandma and Great Grandma loved it so much that they took half of what I had prepared to give them away. LOL.
Sweetest Moments has just launched 3 new premium flavours for their Celebration Cookies – Melting Butter, Velvety Brownie and Cocoa Marshmallow, and is having a launch special! From now till 4 Dec 2017, standard cookies label is at $5.20 per tin (U.P. $6.50) and personalised cookies label is at $5.90 per tin (U.P. $6.90). T&Cs apply. For more info, visit www.sweetestmoments.com.sg.
*Products from Sweetest Moments were sponsored but all reviews are non biased.
I decided to cook a fun meal for Lauren over the weekend. It started when Lauren complained that she was hungry and yet she did not want to go out for a meal. I remembered the media drop from Myojo, so I thought of an instant noodle meal but with some cute ingredients to make the meal irresistible. Not only was it quick to cook, it turned out to be fun as well with Lauren involved in the entire cooking process!
When I showed the end result to my friends and relatives, they all commented that we are busy working parents, how to spend so much time preparing just for a instant noodle.
Ok you are wrong. I took less than 15 minutes for this. Let me show you how:
Here is the end result. The girls were fighting to have that bowl of noodle.
Great news!! Myojo is having a Decorating Together Contest and there are attractive prizes to be won. All you have to do is to decorate your bowl of noodles and post it onto your social media (Instagram and Facebook) with the hashtag #decoratingtogether.
Some of the attractive prizes are:
Weekly Prizes (announced every Friday)
8 x $10 Capitaland Shopping Vouchers to be won every week in July.
5 x $10 Capitaland Shopping Voucher to be won every week in August.
Grand Prizes (announced after promotion end on 31 August 2017)
1st Prize: 1 x Family Outing Package (valued at up to $500)
2nd Prize: 3 x Family Outing Package (valued at up to $300)
3rd Prize: 10 x Family Outing Package (valued at up to $100)
Consolation Prize: 24 x Myojo Variety Packs
Please do also check their website http://decoratingtogether.myojo.sg/ for more details.
If you need some help with the decoration, Myojo will be retailing the Myojo Limited Edition Box at Fairprice from 4th August 2017.
I have to say I am no novice when it comes to enrichment classes for children. Lauren has attended numerous classes since young as I had always believed in the importance of a good basic foundation. Although Lauren is blessed with good grades, I do not take things for granted. I am always open to explore when family or friends introduce effective learning programs for children. Thus when I was approached to give People Impact a try, I agreed with no hesitation at all. I had heard about this course and was curious about the concept of the program that focused on enhancing various soft skills, such as communication, heightening self-esteem, leadership skills, money and time management, arithmetic and linguistic reasoning, creativity and critical thinking.
I was totally intrigued by this concept. I always believed that I want to groom Lauren to be independent; to be not just book-smart but street-smart as well, and to have good interpersonal skills, etc. So glad that there is actually a class for these now!
As a market leader in providing intelligence training to children, People Impact’s programme weaves in and interlinks cognitive, social and emotional skills to help children develop to their full potential. Currently, in Singapore, their programme is suitable for children aged 3 – 12 years old, but very soon, they will have a Baby Programme!
In a nutshell, People Impact’s programme touches on:
IQ – creativity, logic, linguistics and memory skills.
EQ – leadership, time management and coping skills.
AQ – develop strong critical thinking and reasoning powers to face the daily challenges and learn how to complete tasks productively. People who can think out of the box with multiple solutions will be a strong asset in future.
We arranged for a trial lesson on a Saturday at Upper Thomson branch. We arrived early and I had a brief chat with the Director, Mr Teo Chee Keong. He explained to us on how the class would be conducted. Contrary to the notion that children must be engaged in constant academic learning, People Impact strongly believes in the power of PLAY to nurture the young minds, and effectively engage children and unleash their maximum potential. Noticed what Lauren is wearing? That big word on her tee – PLAY! Certainly not pre-planned to wear that. We were then welcomed by Teacher Khogi, who was also an ex-principal with many years of experience with young children.
The 1 hour 45 min lesson was broken up into 3 parts. What I learnt later on was that the team at People Impact put in so much effort to come up with different materials and games so the children who attend the class would be welcomed by something new every week.
The 1st part of the lesson was a game called The Changing World.
The class was broken up into groups and they were asked to come out with a new subject in school. They were asked why they wanted to include that new subject and to elaborate on it. The kids spontaneously highlighted new subjects such as Dancing, Karaoke, Swimming and Acting to be included into the school syllabus. They were also asked a few other questions in this game. I liked the way the children discussed among themselves on the question and how they confidently explained their choice in front of the class.
This game was meant to
• Strengthen creative and critical thinking skills
• Develop team collaboration skills
• Improve communication skill
• Enhance the verbal reasoning skill.
Next up was a game called Police and Thief. This was a board game created by the school. The teacher would throw two dices; one dice with the colour and the other showing the number, eg Blue, 4. The police would be on the step of Blue with 4 dots. Then the steps would be repeated to get the placement for the thief. The police would have to reach the thief by jumping on the same colour or same number in a vertical or horizontal manner. Players must analyse and show the number of steps the police could take to reach the thief; the other players were encouraged to see if they could beat the 1st player in a shorter number of steps.
I was surprised how good and how fast the children were at playing this game. I was standing in a corner cracking my brain on how to solve each set. The child who won was also encouraged to help the others who were still playing. Each and every child was really thinking hard and I could see they were enjoying every minute of the game.
What I loved about this game;
• Strengthen perceptual reasoning skill
• Enhance speed thinking
• Develop cognitive flexibility
• Improve visual focus and processing
• Strengthen the ability to think under pressure
• Learn to cope with losing
Last game in the class was called Reverse Charade. The groups took turns to act and guess. One player would guess what the other players were enacting the clues. The children had a good laugh at each other because of the acting.
• Strengthen team synergy and collaboration
• Enhance non-verbal communication
• Develop creativity
• Improve confidence in self-expression
Standing in the class for 1 hour 45 min, I observed how different the class was conducted compared to the usual enrichment classes which Lauren was or had attended in the past. There was no particular focus on the academic aspect but I felt strongly about this class; like how the class could help children with a lot of things that were probably not taught in a textbook or tested in school, like how the class could help my child in so many ways. Lauren would be in the cohort where MOE is moving away from the score segregation. Our government has been trying to fine tune our education system to allow more holistic development among children. They have probably realised that many children are talented in so many ways. Some have extreme music talents, while others have great memory, good grades or creativity abilities. I find this is the right platform to start grooming my children in that direction.
There is no better time to give People Impact a try. Good news, folks, People Impact is offering my readers a super good deal of $20 for 2 classes. (Usual is $120 per lesson). Quote “Charlene Sim” when making the appointment.
People Impact is located at the following branches:
UPPER THOMSON BRANCH SINGAPORE HQ
213 Upper Thomson Road Level 3 Singapore 574348
Tel: +65 64514908
EASTPOINT MALL BRANCH
3 Simei Street 6 #03-01/02
Tel: +65 91769239
WEST COAST PLAZA BRANCH
154 West Coast Road #01-74
Tel: +65 6635 8573
For more information about the programme, please visit their website at:
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but opinions are all of our own.
I love the land of the rising sun. Food had always been the top of my list, and not forgetting the hospitality in the Japanese culture and of course the nice weather. Bringing the girls to Japan for a holiday had been on my mind for the longest time. I worried a lot about the radiation to the girls but after speaking to a few doctors, I decided to just stop being worrisome and enjoy the destination. We planned 7 months ahead because we heard about rooms being sold out in popular ski resorts. We planned a 16 days holiday; 16 days also partly due to the fact that my helper is going for her home leave for 3 weeks and I thought being away would be the best way to avoid the chaos at home. We finally decided on Tokyo and Hokkaido. Tokyo for the Disneyland and Hokkaido for the snow.
Red eye flight into Tokyo. The kiddos slept throughout while Daddy and Mummy became their pillows. We arrived deadbeat and stiffed. Because of my prior experience of the teeny weeny rooms in Japan with Mum in May, we wanted bigger rooms because the kiddos would be running around in the room. We tried the Hilton at Odaiba City this time. We were very impressed with the size of the room given. It came with a nice view of the rainbow bridge. Due to its close proximity to Aqua City and Diver City, staying at the Hilton Odaiba was pleasant. Nice restaurants were 2 mins walk away and there were alot of kids’s activities in Daiba. Hilton Odaiba is a good neighbour hotel of Disneyland and thus there were free shuttle for us to and fro Disneyland and Disneysea.
Although we had a week in Tokyo, we planned our schedule leisurely. Daddy always liked his holiday the chillax way and with Alexis around, there was no way to be chillax. If I were to pack the schedule, I would end up with a grumpy Daddy. We are late risers and daylight in Tokyo was short during winter. With that, we basically had a few hours a day to walk around. Once the sky turned dark, the weather became too cold for all of us to stay outdoor.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
We were told that the LEGOLAND is small and we would probably be disappointed. However it turned out that we had to beg the kids to leave. The centre was indeed small but the kids were so engrossed into the activities. They had indoor playgrounds, 4D cinema, an interactive lego laser ride and a lego model building class.
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Tokyo
Island Mall 6F, Decks Tokyo Beach,
1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku,
Initially we set aside 3 days for Disneyland and Disneysea. After visiting Disneyland for the 1st day, we decided to just keep the other 2 days to visit other places in Tokyo. Disneyland Tokyo was alright. Just that the feel we had was too similar to Hongkong. It was really crowded too, each ride took us at least 45min to queue. A few of the roller coasters were also closed for maintenance. The kids were disappointed with that. The restaurants were also jam packed with park goers. We had a hard time getting tables and queuing for food. Good thing was we all had the magical feel that was always given during a visit to the Disneyland. Get the tickets at Disney stores in the city Disney Store or online to avoid the queue.
Tsukiji Fish Market
We were initially told that the fish market would be relocated by the end of 2016. Good news for us! The relocation has been moved back till further notice. Getting to the fish market was rather straightforward via the train. We brisked through the inner market. There was tuna auction on most days but limited to the 1st 120 visitors per day. The auction would start at 5am and queue could form as early as at 2am. We got our brunch fixed at the outer market, it was rather hard for us as we were walking around with the stoller. For mummies going there with your bubs, use a baby carrier instead. The streets were crowded and it was literally impossible for our stroller to pass through. Do check their website for the calendar and opening days.
My 2nd time here in 2016. Visited the famous temple with the kiddos and soaked in the atmosphere of the busy streets vendors and rich culture. A brief stop before we headed over to Tokyo Skytree which was one train station away.
Pokémon Centre at Skytree
Add: 1-1-2 Oshiage | Tokyo Solamachi, Sumida 131-0045, Tokyo Prefecture
Do not expect much at this venue. It is merely a merchandise store that sells a lot of toys and souvenirs. However even though it was just that, that was enough to make the kids go crazy.
Love the tranquillity of this place. Lauren left her wishes here.
This small café exceeded our expectation. 60 min session was truly educational and highly recommended. Lauren had the chance to interact with all the owls and even handled them on her arms. Booking is required so make sure you reserve your slot at the link above before you head down. If animal café is your cup of tea, there is another cat café down the road. Mocha Cat Café
Off to our next destination, Hokkaido!!