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.
This is the time of the year when everyone is clearing unwanted stuffs at home. As a mummy of two, I know how cluttered a house with kids will be. Toys, kids’ equipments/ furnitures, books and many more.
When we were clearing all the old toys of Lauren’s, we were so heartached that we had to forgo the good toys that Lauren is not playing anymore. Most are also not age appropriate for Alexis thus the idea of waiting a few years before she can play was immediately ruled out.
After googling and also with information gathered from friends, we found a few options to hand down all Lauren’s preloved items.
Here are some of the places you can donate your preloved items to someone who will truly benefit from having them.
1. Sanctuary House
A non-profit, grassroots organisation whose has been providing foster care to children deprived of family care for various social reasons.
Please arrange for an appointment with them to drop off any items in advance also that they may check if they need those items.
They are located at 159A Thomson Road Singapore 307612
Please see their contact information here
2. MINDS Shop
MINDS runs 5 flagship thrift stores named MINDS Shop, where they provide pre-vocational training to their clients in retail and customer service. Each store carries a unique range of carefully selected furniture, clothes, collectibles and house wares that they think deserve a new lease of life. MINDS strive to create an enjoyable shopping experience for their customers by ensuring that their goods are value-for-money and constantly updated.
MINDS Shop serves as a valuable avenue for their intellectually disabled clients to learn how to interact with customers. It also provides a chance for members of the society to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by their clients. Besides the day-to-day operations of managing the store and sorting through the goods, their clients also learn how to be resourceful such as by making good out of recycled and unwanted items.
By shopping at MINDS Shop, you not only empower their clients through meaningful work engagement, you are also doing your part to save the environment! You can also help them by donating your pre-loved goods at the locations mentioned on their website
3. TOUCH- Thrift Mart
TOUCH Ubi Hostel offers a stay-in residential programme for adults with mild intellectual disabilities.
The Thrift Mart was set up as a simulated training platform for the intellectually-challenged adult clients to prepare them for open employment and total integration into the society.
The Thrift Mart allows for experiential learning in a simulated retail environment where clients are allowed to make mistakes and learn in the process. Through it, they learn the value of money, appropriate social behaviours, customer service, work together as a team, etc. All of these prepare them for vocational life in the outside world.
At the Mart, they sell items such as clothes, books, electrical appliances, CDs, CD-roms, toys, household items, clothes, bags, ladies’ accessories, computers & peripherals – donated by kind sponsors. The Thrift Mart’s operating hours are as follows:
Wednesdays & Fridays: 11.00am to 3.30pm
Thursdays: 11.00am to 2.30pm.
They are also in need of items that are still in good and working condition to fill their shelves at the Thrift Mart. If you have useable items to donate to them, you may drop them off at Blk 301, Ubi Avenue 1, #01-295 during these hours (except public holidays and during the hostel’s term break) –
Mondays to Thursdays: 9.00am to 7.30pm.
Fridays: 9.00am to 5.00pm.
Sundays: 6.00pm to 8.00pm.
You could also call them at 6744 9712 or email Kwok Li Mui at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website if you have any queries..
4. Toys From The Heart
Every year, corporations, schools and individuals pitch in by holding toy drives, assisting at special events, and helping with gift preparation and distribution. In 2014, Food from the Heart collected close to 8,000 toys that went to new homes, staying out of landfills and bringing smiles to young faces.
Toys donated by schools and corporations are given to needy pupils in neighbourhood schools during the annual Toys Buffet.
Visit their website for more information on how to donate your preloved toys.
5. Pass It On
A non-profit project started by Central Singapore CDC and managed by The Helping Hand. The project connects the general public to the needy via Voluntary Welfare Organizations VWOs. Anyone within Singapore can donate as long as the items are useful and of good working condition.
Kindly note that Pass It On do not take in your donations and give them to the needy on behalf of you. Please find out how to liase with the organization from their website below.
Pass It On
The Helping hand
819 Upp Serangoon Road Singapore 534678
Mobile: 85119160 (Ms Gina Ang)
6. Salvation Army
This needs no further introduction. Drop the items you intend to donate at one of their doantion booths location on this page
In May 2000, the New2U Thrift Shop opened its doors. The Shop is managed entirely by volunteers, some of whom have been volunteering with New2U for many years. The shop sells pre-loved clothing, accessories, household items, ornaments, books and etc. All goods are donated, and prices start from as low as S$1.00.
Proceeds from the store go towards Star Shelter and the various SCWO Initiatives.
If you would like to donate your pre-loved items* (in good, clean, resalable condition), they welcome:
Clothes – Men, Women and Children
Books & Toys
Bags and Accessories
Crockery & Utensils
Visit their site here for more information
8. Willing Hearts Orphanage
Willing Hearts Orphanage INC. is a 100% volunteer-based non-profit organization. They are a non-political and non-religious.
Your good old things that you clear from your closets will be well appreciated by them; clothes, shoes, bags, toys, books, kitchen-ware, household-ware, appliances, electrical. All the earnings of their sales go towards financing the operation of the Orphanages.
Among the places in the list above, we selected and donated the toys to Willing Hearts Orphanage. The collection centre is located at Serangoon North’s First Centre. The reason we chose Willing Hearts was because it is located right next to Lauren’s school and also it is very near to our place. We intend to donate to the other centres the next round. Willing Hearts Orphanage is run by Thomas and his wife, Alice. We went there twice; the 1st time we were there, we passed the opening hours of the centre but we were told that we could leave the items outside the centre.
I called again a few days later and managed to speak to Alice. I went down and was greeted by a very humble lady probably in her late 50s. I found out that Willing Hearts Orphanage was started because the couple’s previous domestic helper who went back to the Philippines kind of suggested the idea and from then they started this orphanage. Willing Hearts takes in everything (but please QC ok, don’t take them like garang guni or a place to dump your unwanted stuffs), the centre will sort out the stuffs and send the non-bulky items to the “Thrift Shop” in the Phillipines. Of course those that are of use to the orphanage will be kept for the orphans while the rest will be left at the Thrift Shop for sale. All the proceeds will then be used for the daily neccessities of the orphanange. The revenue generated from the Thrift Shop in Singapore is to help fund their rental and some overheads cost. Alice told me that most of them time, the rental would have to come out from their own pockets.
Here are some of the items on sale at the Thrift Shop in Singapore
Thomas also hoped that there would be good samaritans that can help to donate the shipping cost of the donated items to the Philippines. Each box costs S$175 to reach the orphanage. I could see from the centre that there were many boxes waiting to be sent but were sitting at the centre waiting for donors.
Another way to help the orphans are to sponsor their education;
Primary students at S$250/year
Secondary student at $750/year
The orphanage is currently taking care of 26 children. Anyone who is keen to visit the orphanage to offer physical help can make a trip there at S$380 for a 5D4N stay inclusive of meals and homestay.
More information about Willing Hearts Orphanage can be found at their website here
*Sources of images of Organizations’ logo: Courtesy of Organizations’ website.
Every December Kel and I will plan a family holiday. Unfortunately this year due to several reasons, we needed to be in Singapore. We know it is school holiday and Lauren will be busy with Primary 1 next year. Thus we wanted to make her school holiday as exciting as possible even though we are just going to explore our own sunny island.
While planning, we realized that a staycation in Sentosa may do the trick. We booked a 3D2N stay at Equarius Hotel. The last 2 staycations we had in Sentosa were at Festive Hotel and Amara Sanctuary Resort. We were not pleased with our stay then. A friend recommended Equarius Hotel and here we are..
The standard at Equarius Hotel is wayyyy better than Amara Sanctuary Resort or Festive Hotel. The room was huge, clean (very important factor for me) and smell really nice.. The bathroom was big enough for the entire family to be inside. The girls in the tub, me cleaning their bottles and papa watching after them. OK the only not so good was the distance from the attractions. Equarius Hotel is supposed to be the SPA hotel so tranquillity is their business, away from the busy streets and attractions. If you really want to walk from Universal Studio back to the hotel, it will probably take you 20 to 30 mins. There is a hotel shuttle bus every 15 mins that will bring you around the hotels and to the casino. You can drop at the casino and walk to the attractions. For us, it was not easy even with the shuttle bus arrangement as each time we had to unload all the stuffs from the stroller (the stroller was full of stuffs above and underneath) and load again. Most of the time we just drove to the East carpark but you will incurred extra carpark charges as the hotels’ carpark (West) and attractions’ carpark (East) are not linked. You can get the complimentary parking from hotel but you are only entitled to one complimentary carpark pass a day for hotel guests so if you have to go in and out of the carpark then one complimentary carpark pass is definitely not enough.
We spent Day 1 at the Adventure Cove and Alexis got to play on the water slides too!! There are many activities and you will really need 1 full day there, especially so if you plan to include Dolphin Island. Lauren’s favourite activity in Adventure Cove was the Rainbow Reef. Initially she was really scared because the staff told her the water at the Rainbow Reef is 3 metre deep. Upon hearing the 3 metre, Lauren came up with all sorts of excuses to not get into the water… eg. the goggle was too tight, the water was too cold (the water was indeed quite cold)… bla bla bla.. I was very upset with her as we queued for awhile.. So I used a little “Mummy’s angry” tactic and soon Lauren was in the water. She was so engrossed that Papa had to keep pulling her back. When she was up, she told me the fishes were so colourful and beautiful.. This is definitely a must try even for adult.
Papa and Lauren then went on to Dolphin Island. Of course Lauren loved this particular section of the visit.. She is an animal fanatic and dolphin is one of her favourite animals. The whole session took 90min. Out of the 90min, the actual dolphin interaction was only 30min while the rest were pre and post interaction briefings and choosing of photographs taken during the session. The trainer briefed them on the hand signals to interact with the dolphin and the ways to stroke and handle the dolphin.
Lauren was very much in love with WaWa, the dolphin she was interacting. She kissed and kept giving WaWa the hand signal to talk to her.
Alexis, Aunty and Mummy continued the water play while waiting for Papa and Lauren. For parents bringing young toddler, these are the attractions that are suitable for younger kids. Do note that an accompanied adult needs to be with them at all time.
Grab a tube and take a leisurely ride down Adventure River, floating through 14 stunning scenes including a lush jungle garden, a mysterious grotto and an underwater tunnel with a sea of marine life swimming above and around you.
Get wet and wild at the Big Bucket Treehouse! Share the rush of the giant bucket tipping over gallons of fun in an action-packed wonderland of interactive water plays. It’s the coolest place for kids to be.
You’re sure to catch a wave at Bluwater Bay where the surf’s always up! Come share the rush in this giant wave pool and have a swell of a time with the family
Lauren was sulking when we told her it was time to leave..
Our day 2 was kept for Universal Studio. Lauren was super excited about USS. She woke up very early and pestered us to get ready. She even proposed to skip breakfast and lunch. Honestly when you are out with a 6 years old and a 13 months old toddler, how fast can you be.. So by the time we were done with getting dressed and food, it was past 12noon. We bought the Universal Express passes on top of the regular tickets and those were our BEST INVESTMENT EVERRRRR!!!!! Please… do yourself a favour, if time is an issue, please get the pass. You can always check out the crowd inside the park before deciding if you want to get the express pass. There are many shops selling the express pass inside. Due to the fast track queues from the express passes, we completed all rides (except Battlestar and The Mummy due to Lauren’s height) within 4 hours.. In fact, we took a couple of rides twice or thrice. We walked past the long snaking queues with all the envies of the others queuing.. FYI, most of the rides need 50-60min of queuing if you do not have express pass during peak season.
Before you leave the park, if you do plan to come back soon, especially Singaporean. Please upgrade your ticket to the 6 months season pass. We did that to all our tickets and now I can just bring my girls as and when we want.
Day 3: Honestly to explore Sentosa properly and if you have the luxury of time, I will suggest a 4 days stay. Resort World Singapore will take you 3 days to fully enjoy all the attractions, not forgetting Sentosa Island also has tons of activities for you to explore. This time round we skipped S.E.A Aquarium and Trick Eye Museum as we were very worn out from the walking and Alexis was starting to get very cranky. Papa and Mummy decided to go for a SPA session at ESPA to unwind. The ESPA is heavenly….. We do not have the time to stay and enjoy most of the facilities although we very much wanted to.
We ended our staycation with The Luge ride inside Sentosa Island, Lauren needed this before agreeing to go home. We saw the soon-to-open Kidzania Singapore next to the Beach Station. Sentosa is going to be “The Place” to go the next school holiday.
Our kind AIA insurance agent gave us 4 priority pass to this year’s Garden by The Bay’s Christmas Wonderland. So yesterday we decided to head down and immersed ourselves in the feeling of Christmas. It was probably a hot favourite among Singaporean as the queues to all the carparks nearby were extremely lonnnngggg when we were there at 5pm… Kel had to drop us at the drop off area and valet park at MBS.
There were many activities for everyone. We under estimated the time needed as we could not finished everything by the time we left. We managed to bring the girls to the Fairground where we took the Carousel and the Helter Skelter Slide. Papa also won a small plush toy for Lauren at one of the carnival game booths.
Lauren wanted to go into the Ice Palace and play. There are 2 activities inside the Ice Palace, Ice Skating and the Snow Playground. The ice skating seems more appropriate for Lauren’s age. It costs $14 per pax for a 45min session. You will need to have gloves and socks to go into the ice skating rink, they do sell them at $4 and $2 respectively if you do not have them with you. There are guiding tools inside the rink and Lauren was totally engrossed the entire 45min. Our dear Papa is like Lauren’s guardian angel always behind her watching her back.
There are many eateries within the Supertree area, I will suggest family to try dining at the Spiegeltent or “Mirror Tent” as the range of food and beverages options are specially curated by Harry’s. Children can go for their finger food. Culina is another good option for a grab and go sandwich and drinks.
The Christmas Wonderland is open at 4pm to 11pm daily from 27th Nov to 27 Dec. Admission is free but you may want to check with your AIA agent if they do have the priority pass as it does help when queueing for Carousel ride, free candy floss and also the 15% discount when getting the Dome ticket. Oh and each pass comes with 10 free tokens. Tokens are needed at all the rides and game booths and each token costs $2.
For the program highlights and the timing of the performance, you can refer to their official website here
Eyes are often known as the window to our souls. If I needed to do a 3 min eye make up, I would go with just my eyebrows and eyeliner. That would have the immediate perk-me-up effect.
Many years ago, I did my eyelash extension at one of the smaller scale beauty salons in town. After 3 cycles of eyelash extensions, majority of my eyelashes dropped and I was left with 7 pathetic lashes. You didn’t read wrongly. Yes! 7 eyelashes! I was left with no choice but to use falsies daily. I recalled Kelvin telling me that I was the Singapore version of “Sadako” (The ghost from the movie, The Ring) as “Sadako” also had no eyelashes. With that horrifying experience, I swore to steer clear from eyelash extension.
Lately, I noticed that the trend for eyelash extension is back again. Many of my friends would battle their eyes at me with those super natural eyelashes. To be honest, I could hardly tell that they were extensions. That was how natural it looked. I told myself I am not going to repeat the same old mistake I made 8 years ago. But knowing how vain I am, I gave in and made an appointment with Graceous Lash at Mohamed Sultan.
It is just next to The Pattisier, my favourite bakery. 🙂 I was given a reminder 2 days before my appointment to be on time and to go without eye makeup. Graceous is on the 3rd level of the shop house. More like a 3M, 3rd level Mezzanine. It is a very small salon with 2 lash stylists. The stylists are Japanese and they were very polite. My stylist, Sara, apologized profusely to me as I had to wait for 20min. She took a longer time than expected on the customer before mine. She explained the types of lash design, the different kinds of curl and also the length of the lash. I chose the Sexy, Ends longer design type with C curl lashes, and length ranged from 8mm to 10mm.
I was then led to a bed, where Sara cleaned my eye area and applied glue before sticking the lashes one at a time. I requested Sara to also style my lower lash. It took about 90 minutes for the session to complete. I walked out feeling very pretty. I have to say the extension felt really light and natural. The effect was like having nice lashes with mascara applied on.
After completing 2 cycles of lash extension with Graceous Lash, I removed the extension and rested my lashes for 2 months before heading to try Dreamlash.
Dreamlsh is recommeded by a friend of mine who swears by it. I booked an appointment through their sms service. They were very prompt in replying the SMS and was also given a reminder a day prior to the appointment date.
My therapist Eunice walked my through the entire process; explaining the different types of lashes and styles. I chose the Elegant style with Diamond Mink eyelashes. Eunice did a range of 9mm- 12mm on me.
Eunice took about an hour to apply 60 -70 strands of eyelashes for me. It was a shorter timing compared to Graceous Lash because I did only the upper lash.
Here is the before and after of the eyelash extension.
Overall I found both Graceous and Dreamlash to be very similar. Both were comfy and light, very natural looking and would last around 3 to 4 weeks.
Price wise, I think Graceous is slightly lower in terms of the unlimited lashes option. Both shops offer a 20% discount for first time customers.
In terms of location, Dreamlash is convenient for those who are not driving as they are conveniently located at Citylink Mall where it is near Esplanade/ City Hall MRT. For Graceous, I went to the one at Md Sultan, which was not as accessible but I understood they do have another outlet at Bugis.
Fixing an early appointment at Dreamlash also seemed easier than Graceous; probably because Dreamlash has more staffs.
With so many eyelash extension salons popping up. We know we are definitely spoilt for choices.
River valley Outlet
10AM to 8PM (last reception time: 630PM)
10AM to 8PM(last reception time: 630PM)
River Valley Outlet
9 Mohamed Sultan Road #03-02 (Attic level) 238959
Nearest MRT station: Somerset or Clark Quay
26A Purvis Street Singapore 188603
River valley Outlet
Citylink Mall, 1 Raffles Link #B1-09A Singapore 039393
Tel 6884 8019
Most of the children will attend 4 years of preschool before progressing to mainstream.
Lauren had attended Calvary Baptist Kindergarten since Pre Nursery. I clearly remembered the day where I hid behind the walls and watched her from far. Like most of the children, the separation anxiety was there. It was heart breaking for any parent to see their precious little one crying for them and yet they could not do anything because that was for the best for the children.
Time flies and today is the last day Lauren is going to CBK. I am very grateful to CBK for nuturing Lauren to who she is today. I have to admit there were times where I would debate with the teacher or principal over matter where I couldnt agree upon but that aside, CBK has groomed Lauren to a confident child with all the important virtues.
When I was recording the video of Lauren performing today, my eyes were teary. To see who she has become, I am very thankful and grateful.
Before Lauren will embark on to her next journey, I will like to thank all the teachers in Calvary Baptist Kindergarten who had taught Lauren, Mrs Kueh, 优老师, Mrs Cynthia Lee, 翁老师, Mrs Ruth Yuen and Mrs Violet Chua. Thank you for giving Lauren her wings to soar. I will like to thank her current Principal, Mrs Pamela Chan. Lauren is happy to see you in school everyday. She told me you are always dancing with all the children and that makes her very happy. Not to forget her former principal, Mrs Fiona Tan, who made Lauren from an anti social child to her super confident self now. Thank you for sourcing for all the nice outing locations and enrichment programs for the children.
Lauren’s diary are full of wonderful memories about her preschool life. I now pray that Lauren will be equally happy with her primary school years.
More information of the school can be found here: Calvary Baptist Kindergarten
A clip of Lauren doing her rock n roll. (I think she is abit too over in this video)