Monthly Archives: April 2013

GymKraft Trial

We went for a trial gym class at GymKraft two Saturdays ago. GymKraft is located at the former Singapore Badminton Hall at Guillemard Rd so the space is really big. I was very excited to see that they have a 12 metre high aerial silks training facility. Really wonder if I’d be able to climb that high!

waiting for class to start

waiting for class to start

GymKraft

GymKraft

kay poh-ing while Nathan does his handstand

kay poh-ing while Nathan does his handstand

attempting a supported handstand

attempting a supported handstand

ta da!

ta da!

arms in the air

arms in the air

forward roll

forward roll

done!

done!

balancing

balancing

walking backwards

walking backwards

helping to pack up

helping to pack up

getting stickers

getting stickers

Some of the activities were similar to what Anya used to do in Little Gym, but with no music or learning aids (balls, sticks, bubbles, etc), focusing instead on fundamental gymnastic skills. The instructors were very enthusiastic and energetic and Anya definitely enjoyed herself.

While I’d love for Anya to develop flexibility and gymnastic skills, GymKraft is a little too far for me so we’d be looking at other options that are easier for us to get to. Meanwhile, Anya has her swimming to keep her fit so that’d have to do for now. If you’re interested in a GymKraft trial class, there’s a giveaway going on at Evespiration until 5 May that you can participate in!

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When Billy Grows Up

So the other day I was wandering around Serene Centre thinking about getting a foot massage when I stumbled upon this little gem of a shop: When Billy Grows Up. I stepped in and spent so much time browsing and looking at all the charming things for sale that I had no time left for a foot massage!

When Billy Grows Up is a treasure trove of whimsical children’s clothing and accessories, most of which are from Australia. There are lots of little bits and bobs that I haven’t really seen anywhere else in Singapore. Definitely worth a trip down to this happy shop even if you don’t usually go to that area.

When Billy Grows Up

When Billy Grows Up

map pendant necklaces

map pendant necklaces

necklaces that are safe for babies to chew on

necklaces that are safe for babies to chew on

amber teething necklaces

amber teething necklaces

wooden earrings

wooden earrings

colourful hair ties

colourful hair ties

books

books

story character dolls

story character dolls

take a happy pill!

take a happy pill!

LEGO figure crayons

LEGO figure crayons

I need one of these for my bike

I need one of these for my bike

loads of pretty clothes

loads of pretty clothes

love that cat face shirt

love that cat face shirt

Adrian loves freckle pops

Adrian loves freckle pops

When Billy Grows Up is at #02-15 Serene Centre (beside Cluny Court). They are open from 10am to 3pm from Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm on Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

Wikki Stix Review, Giveaway & Discount Code!

Wikki Stix are colourful pieces of yarn dipped in food-grade wax. They can be bent into different shapes and can stick to each other and to smooth surfaces. We were sent a few packs of Wikki Stix to review and I let the kids decide if they were fun to play with. We unleashed the Wikki Stix on the kids (or was it the other way around?) and sat back and watched them.

Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix

Anya gets to work

Anya gets to work

Aidan makes a headband

Aidan makes a headband

Asher spells out his name

Asher spells out his name

decorating an Easter egg

decorating an Easter egg

Heather makes a little ball

Heather makes a little ball

game where the Wikki Stix ball gets rolled under a rainbow

game where the Wikki Stix ball gets rolled under a rainbow

bracelets and rings for all the girls!

bracelets and rings for all the girls!

Aidan's self-portrait masterpiece

Aidan’s self-portrait masterpiece

With the Wikki Stix, you are only limited by your imagination. The kids had a lot of fun and they used the Wikki Stix in various ways: form alphabets to spell out a name; create accessories such as rings, bracelets and headbands; make 3D objects like a ball and rainbow which became components for a game; decorate an Easter egg template and ‘draw’ a self-portrait!

I was initially sceptical because I thought the Wikki Stix were just like the fuzzy pipe cleaners/ chenille sticks commonly used for crafts. But the fact that they stick to smooth surfaces really opens up many other possibilities for how they can be used. I also think Wikki Stix are safer than pipe cleaners because the latter have wires inside that tend to poke out! The only thing I didn’t like about the Wikki Stix was the waxy after-feel they left on my fingers but we did a wet wipe test and that solved the problem!

I think Wikki Stix would be great for long road trips or flights: the kids can stick their Wikki Stix creations onto the windows! I now carry a few pieces around with me so I can use them to entertain the kids in the restaurant before our food comes. They are a lot less messy than crayons and a lot more interactive than a smart phone for sure! And since they stick to smooth surfaces, they don’t fall onto the floor so easily and my back appreciates that! I’ll definitely think about putting Wikki Stix as party favours in my next party goody bag.

GIVEAWAY! :)

Wikki Stix is giving away five Primary or Neon colour packs worth $15.30 each! To qualify, simply do the following by 2 May 2013, 2359H:

1. Like the ‘In the Wee Hours’ Facebook page.
2. Like the ‘Wikki Stix Asia’ Facebook page.
3. Sign up for their mailing list. The link is on the Facebook page!
4. Leave a comment here telling me what your kid(s) would do with some Wikki Stix! Check out the site for some fun ideas!

DISCOUNT CODE! :)

Get 20% off online purchases! Just key in the coupon code ‘APR13‘ and click ‘Apply Coupon’ upon check out. This promotion is valid until 31 May 2013.

I’m planning to use the code to get the Bible Fun Kit! ;)

RESULTS! :)

Wikki Stix

Congrats to the following people: Kathryn Ng, Rina Lim, Wenli, Sharon Ng and Juan! I will be contacting you shortly. :)

Disclaimer: I was given a few packs of Wikki Stix for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Circus Aerial Arts Intro

candy cane

candy cane

I just completed 8 exhilarating weeks of circus aerial arts intro at Circus Swingapore. The assessment was last Monday and there was a time when I thought I might not pass. We were supposed to do a series of poses on the silks, trapeze and hoop and there were some poses that I wasn’t very good at. For example, it took me some time to figure out the candy cane pose in the picture above. I also had trouble climbing up the silks, which we were required to do as part of the assessment.

A few weeks before the assessment, I started going for practice sessions during the days between our actual classes. I developed calluses on my hands and various parts of my body were constantly aching. On the day of the assessment, I was a nervous wreck. I guess I’m very good at giving tests but not so great at taking them! Thanks to all the practice sessions I’d attended, I managed to do everything that was needed and I passed. Such happiness! I’m starting Level 1 next month and I’m so excited. Level 1 is apparently very tough and the passing rate is significantly lower than the intro level, but I’m looking forward to it.

Some learning points/ takeaways/ random thoughts:

1. It’s not the final outcome, it’s the journey leading up to it. When I first started the intro class, I couldn’t even make it up onto the hoop without someone to help me. I couldn’t make it 2 ft up the silks. In the process of attending those 8 intro sessions and the practice sessions, I’ve gotten a lot stronger and I can feel it! It’s a good feeling. I keep telling people, “Touch my arm! See how un-flabby it is!”

2. Technique is everything. There were some poses I struggled to perfect: candy cane on the silks, amazon on the hoop and trapeze. After talking myself through and trying over and over again to use the right technique for each of the poses, things fell into place. Poses that felt awkward or even impossible to execute initially became natural and easy.

3. Mind over matter. Sometimes, there’s absolutely nothing difficult about a pose but my nerves get in the way. I get self conscious, and I rush through it and screw it up. When I forced myself to relax and tried some positive thinking, I did so much better.

4. Just because I’m old/ a mother of two/ a boring teacher doesn’t mean I need to act my age/ be all mumsy/ only participate in practical activities. When something is fun, you’d naturally want to do it. This is the only class I didn’t find myself trying to find an excuse to skip now and then. Yes, it probably doesn’t have any real-life application. Maybe I could use my new, improved arm strength to climb up a tree and get away from an angry bear. The point is, if something is a drag, why bother to do it? And this is the complete opposite of being a drag; this is so much FUN.

Just a few of the poses we have to do:

birdcage

birdcage

imperfectly executed Amazon

imperfectly executed Amazon; didn’t use the right technique

doing a front arch on the top of the hoop

doing a front arch on the top of the hoop

sitting plank; this makes me think of Bride of Dracula

sitting plank; this makes me think of Bride of Dracula

my class with our lovely instructors

my class with our lovely instructors

Pre-War Air Raid Shelter

After exploring the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail, we joined a tour of the air raid shelter at Blk 78 Moh Guan Terrace. The 1500 square metre air raid shelter was built in 1939 and can hold 1600 people. It is the only pre-war air raid civilian shelter still in existence today.

Tiong Bahru was not the main target of Japanese bombing during WWII so the shelter was hardly used. People would enter the shelter through a trap door in the ceiling. That entrance is now sealed and it is in what is currently PS Cafe Petit.

The short tour was an eye-opener; I had no idea that something like this exists in Singapore. The air was musty and I felt claustrophic inside even though I was there for only 20 minutes. Can’t imagine what it would be like to hide there for hours, or even days! I don’t think I’d do very well in a war and I can only hope that the peace we enjoy in Singapore will not be rudely interrupted.

entrance

entrance

No Dumping

No Dumping

a glimpse inside

a glimpse inside

looking towards one of the storage rooms

looking towards one of the storage rooms

shelves for storage

shelves for storage

reserved for wardens

reserved for wardens

original door

original door

supposed to hold 50 people in one room

supposed to hold 50 people in one room

trap door

trap door

Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail

My aunt and I went on the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail last Sunday. It was very interesting and we learnt a lot about this old neighbourhood. On a personal note, I finally understand why my grandma and older relatives refer to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) as Si Pai Por! The present SGH compound used to contain roads named Sepoy Ave, Sepoy Lane and Sepoy Lines. These roads were named for the Sepoy camp in that area. Hence, Si Pai Por is dialect for Sepoy Plains.

We started our trail at Tiong Bahru market where we learnt about the history of Tiong Bahru and the origin of its name. I’d always thought that ‘Tiong Bahru’ meant ‘New Centre’ as in tiong (中, or centre, in dialect) and bahru (new in Malay), but it actually means ‘New Cemetery’ because the tiong is 终 which means ‘to die’ or ‘in the end’.

You can read an overview of the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail on the NHB website, find out more about guided tours for this trail and the air raid shelter, or download the brochure here. Here are some photos I took along the trail but it’d be a lot more meaningful to go on a guided tour to discover Tiong Bahru for yourself!

This bird corner at Link Hotel replaces a popular one that used to be across the road at the Wah Heng coffee shop. The area which the original bird corner was found in is now part of Nostalgia Hotel.

bird corner

bird corner

I go to Tan Boon Liat building now and then to visit SKS Bookstore but never knew that there are graves just across the road! And not just any graves; these graves belong to Tan Tock Seng, his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter-in-law. I generally like visiting cemeteries so this was my favourite part of the tour because it was such a surprise to see the graves there, out of sight just above a busy road.

grave of Mdm Chua Seah Neo and Mdm Wuing Neo

grave of Mdm Chua Seah Neo and Mdm Wuing Neo

Tan Tock Seng's grave

Tan Tock Seng’s grave

We walked by the former Institute of Health which has since moved to new premises at Singapore General Hospital. One thing I like about the older buildings in Singapore, built before air-conditioning was commonly used, is the consideration for ventilation with air vents being a prominent part of the design of the building.

former Institute of Health

former Institute of Health

If you have ever watched any version of the popular Journey to the West series, you would be familiar with the Monkey God. The Monkey God Temple in Tiong Bahru was founded in 1920 and moved to the present location in 1938. There are more than 10 Monkey God statues in the temple and the oldest is almost a century old.

dragon pillar outside Monkey God temple

dragon pillar outside Monkey God temple

During the heritage trail, we also looked at the different architectural styles of the buildings found in Tiong Bahru, with quite a difference between the pre-war and post-war buildings. The pre-war buildings were built in the Streamline Moderne style, a late development of the Art Deco movement, with aerodynamic lines. The post-war buildings were built in the International Style with clean and simple lines.

Streamline Moderne architecture

Streamline Moderne architecture

International style architecture

International style architecture

fair-faced brick work

fair-faced brick work

The Dancing Girl scuplture found in Seng Poh Garden was created by Lim Nang Seng, the same sculptor who created the (in)famous Merlion. It is supposed to depict a girl doing a joyful harvest dance.

Dancing Girl sculpture

Dancing Girl sculpture

Blk 78 Moh Guan Terrace is in the shape of a horseshoe and is the largest block of flats in Tiong Bahru. One of the oldest surviving coffee shops in Tiong Bahru, Hua Bee, is found in there. It was started in the 1940s and was the set for Eric Khoo’s 1995 movie, Mee Pok Man. Blk 78 includes a purpose-built air raid shelter and we went on a tour of the shelter after our Tiong Bahru Heritage Tour.

horseshoe block

horseshoe block

Hua Bee Restaurant

Hua Bee Restaurant

Qingming Festival

I don’t observe Qingming but tagged along with my parents and aunt when they went to visit my dad’s brother and parents, and my great grandmother on Sunday. It was the last day of Qingming so there were plenty of people at Choa Chu Kang cemetery that day. The atmosphere was almost festive and there were some families who had brought along food and drinks and were having a picnic in front of their loved one’s tombstone.

My folks began by using water and rags to clean the tomb thoroughly. Then they laid out food offerings and bags of ‘paper money’. My mum even brought along black coffee for my great grandma. I bought two little bunches of bright yellow orchids from a roadside stall while my parents and aunt burnt some incense and paid their respects. The joss paper was folded into ingots and burnt. My aunt also flung a handful of ‘paper money’ over the tomb. I noticed that when other families flung ‘paper money’ over the tomb, they would shout “Huat ah!!” very loudly.

After my mum and aunt were done ‘talking’ to my great grandma and getting her answers by throwing two coins into the air and observing how they landed, we made our way over to CCK Columbarium. While my great grandma occupies ‘landed property’, my paternal grandparents and uncle have to share a niche in a ‘high-rise’. Even the dead have to deal with land scarcity woes!

cleaning the tomb

cleaning the tomb

lighting incense

lighting incense

paying their respects

paying their respects

burnt offerings

burnt offerings

speaking to the departed

speaking to the departed

trying to communicate with Ah Zou

trying to communicate with Ah Zou

guardian

guardian

reading the signs

reading the signs

folding paper ingots

folding paper ingots

sending money to the other side

sending money to the other side

going up in smoke

going up in smoke

at the columbarium

at the columbarium

niche

niche