Life After Kayla Itsines BBG

I am so elated to announce to the whole world that I have completed BBG vol. 2 đŸ’Ș! That means 24 weeks of Kayla Itsine’s torture by choice 😏. I started BBG vol. 1 for the fourth time in Sep 2016 after failing to persevere on to complete it for thrice. Yea, for those who think it is easy had better eat up their words. Somehow I got this motivation to carry on because I did coolsculpting aesthetic treatment that month. I know coolsculpting will help me in my body contour, but nobody says the body contour will stay that way forever if one continues to be a couch potato. If I don’t want the effort of doing coolsculpting to go to waste, I had better find ways to maintain it. The answer is – a home exercise regime 🏋. 

To start off BBG was tough, of course. To do 2x 2 circuits three times a week can often be a dread than a joy. There were many things that I could think of to postpone my BBG workout – time, energy, fatigue, you name it. But I also learnt that if I want these to be my obstacles, they will be, and I will not progress. Somehow, after three failure, the motivation to preserve on this fourth time is a lot stronger. So, persevere I did.

BBG Vol. 1 Week 1

Then I completed BBG vol.1 miraculously in Dec 2016 (clap! clap!). Before I even pondered to think whether I should proceed on to vol. 2, I did it without hesitation. Reason?

BBG Vol. 2 Week 24

In Nov 2016, when I went NUH to meet with 2 fellow mummies working around there for lunch, I met an auntie on the train. This auntie came out of the train door around the same time as me, but her swiftness caught my attention. For those who know me, I walk fast (because I dislike wasting time). But I will walk exceptionally fast if I am late. This auntie looked like she was in her 60s, she overtook me and like anyone who is in a hurry, she climbed up the escalator on the right lane (the speed lane). Frankly, I will only do that if I am late, so when this auntie did it, she caught my attention, mainly because of her age. I decided to trail her because I was curious how long she could walk at this speed (the speed I would walk if I am late). Knowing that the escalators are long and steep in Circle Line stations, I really had my doubt if she would complete the entire journey up. She proved me wrong. She completed the entire journey. And without panting, without even pausing to catch a breath, she continued marching out of the station in the same speed. I trailed her until we had to part due to our different destinations. I was totally awed how a 60+ auntie could walk as fast as me without having to pause to catch a breath or pant. That incident set me thinking, and motivated me further to continue with BBG vol. 2 because I do want to be as strong as her even when I reached her age.

I only realized how important strength training is when I started to do sports, because you need strong enough muscles to help protect your joints from injury and to increase balance and coordination :) also important, it gives the body nice lines – Jamie Teo (local celebrity)

The wonderful part about BBG is that it not only gives nice body lines, it gives me very strong (but not bulky) muscles. Am I still continuing BBG? Yes, I am restarting BBG vol. 2 with a tweak. Instead of doing 2x 2 circuits of legs, arms or abs (total 4 circuits of legs, arms or abs) each time, I am doing 1x 2 circuits of legs, 1x 2 circuits of arms and 1x 2 circuits of abs (total 6 circuits of legs, arms and abs). What would I do after completing the second round of BBG vol.2, I’m not sure yet, I will got to see what comes around by then.

Food Lovers Only - FLO

[Media Invite]

The Jurong region is rapidly transforming itself into a second CBD. Jurong  East’s attractions include established housing estates, comprehensive amenities, diverse recreational options and proximity to commercial and industrial employment areas. New malls, new hospitals, new bus interchange, new hotels, new Science Centre (coming soon) and many more. It is so vibrant and happening that you wouldn’t mind living and working there.

And if you are already living or working (or both) there, good news to you! I was invited recently to an eatery in IMM Building for food tasting.  I have not been to IMM for many years and didn’t realize it has transformed itself too!

Up on the 2nd floor of IMM Building (west wing), very near to Charles and Keith boutique, is FLO – Food Lovers Only. As the name implies, this place is for you and me, the Food Lovers. FLO is a halal cafĂ© that has a capacity of 36, and is open daily from 11am to 10pm. It does not include service charge or GST (say ‘yay’!). 

Established in 2016 by the Manuka Group, FLO is the newest casual dining cafĂ© at IMM that features a melting pot of cuisines. Having opened its New-Zealander cuisine CafĂ© Manuka in 2014, the Manuka Group took some inspiration from its first cafĂ© while adding various Asian influences into its second venture, FLO’s menu.

Besides the food, another highlight of this café is the chef. Chef Kim Jin Myeong is a bubbly 18 year old Korean who comes up with fresh and innovative recipes at FLO. The fresh-faced Seoul Tourism High School graduate has been cooking since she was 14 years old. Besides cooking Korean dishes and creating Koreanfusion dishes, Jin Myeong also has a soft spot for cooking Western food, her personal favourite cuisine.

FLO features all-day breakfast favorites like FLO’s Rosti Special and the classic New Zealand style pancakes, Pikelet Stack.

Pikelet Stack $12

We tried the FLO’s Rosti Special and are all praise to this dish. The potatoes are freshly grated and pan-fried upon your ordering, thus explains the 20 minutes wait. The Rosti is very fragrant and crispy, yet not too oily. You can have your eggs done sunny-side up or scrambled. The marinated pulled chicken slices go well with the rocket salad seasoned with salt and olive oil. This dish is a mush have if you love potatoes. 

FLO's Rosti Special $15

We managed to catch Chef Kim in-action cooking the Rosti.

Step 1 to 6 - bottom left clockwise

Another dish that we tried was Chef Kim’s creation – Korean Inspired Marinated Chicken served with Korean-style fried anchovies and Kimchi fried brown rice.

Korean Inspired Marinated Chicken $16

I find the marinated chicken mild, not over-powering, the Kimchi fried brown rice is not spicy too. Overall, I think a child can manage this dish without much difficulty. The Korean-style fired anchovies is da-boom. I wiped up all the anchovies.

Her other creation is Korean Beef Bulgogi Sandwich ($15), but we didn’t get to try that.

Another hot favourites in their menu are Tom Yam Prawn Pasta and d’Orange Pasta. We tried the d’Orange Pasta because it is something unique which you couldn’t find elsewhere easily. It didn’t disappoint us. The tangy orange blended in nicely with the pasta, surprisingly! We had thought that it might be a sweet dish rather than a savoury one. The balance of both sweetness and saltiness was in equilibrium. Both my friend and I like this dish pretty much.

d’Orange Pasta $14

Tom Yam Prawn Pasta $15

Besides its Korean-inspired dishes, FLO also features western dishes such as its Flank Steak and Chicken Egg Waffle. We didn’t try them not because they are not appetising, but because we had limited stomach space for more food. And we needed to save some stomach space for FLO’s curate collection of specialty cakes that include Rainbow Cakes, Durian Pandan Cake and Ondeh Ondeh Cake.

 Flank Steak $18

Chicken Egg Waffle $17

We tried the Ondeh Ondeh Cake because anything coconut rocks me. But I find the Ondeh Ondeh Cake not quite up to my expectation. The fragrant of coconut wasn’t strong enough and the gula melaka was a tad overwhelming. But, it is subjective, because I prefer stronger coconut fragrant and less sweet stuff. I have friends who went to FLO, tried their Ondeh Ondeh Cake, and like it.

High-Tea or High-Coffee Time, can?

For the essential touch to the café, FLO has quite a good range of desserts like this Bountiful Choco-Brownie. Those with sweet tooth might like to try this. The intensity of the chocolate in the brownie is just right, the waffle is crispy and goes well with the vanilla ice-cream. It is especially great to share with friends.

Bountiful Choco-Brownie $14.50


Besides the options above, FLO also provides lighter starters like their Soup of the Day ($7.50), Tomato Mozzarella Salad and Wild Rocket Mushroom Salad ($10). Other savoury picks also include the Sausage Trio Platter ($13) and Savoury Crepes (single $8, double $14) with a choice of 3 fillings (turkey ham/ cheddar cheese/ mozzarella/ egg/ mushroom/ turkey bacon/ spinach). Not forgetting the yummy caffeine free Iced Butterscotch Roasted Almond Latte and frizzy drinks ($5.50)

Tomato Mozzarella Salad $12

Passion Fruit Mint Frizzy Drink $5.50

Iced Butterscotch Roasted Almond Latte $7

FLO is also a kid-friendly cafĂ© that eases the minds of parents during their busy shopping trips. They have a kids’ set menu at just $8 and toys, books and colouring tools to make sure their energy is well-spent while parents can have a break at the cafĂ©! FLO is also available for rent for private events, and delivers for free in the west area for orders $150 and above (order one day in advance). It is great for office party!

So if you live, work, shop or just happened to be in Jurong East, do pop by FLO for a meal or tea. It should delight you.

2 Jurong East Street 21
IMM  #02-15A
Singapore 609601
11am to 10pm daily
6896 1396

Managing Our Children’s Online Activities And Screen Time (Part I)


AJ doing programming with Rasberry Pi

AJ is growing up in an environment surrounded with electronic gadgets like smartphones, tablets, laptops and Rasberry Pi. My husband works in the IT industry and I am a gadget junkie as well, so, it is not surprising that AJ is more Internet savvy than most of his peers. Having said that, he didn’t have his own smartphone and tablet until he was 9, and that was handed down from me. We are all very aware of gadget addiction, but at the same, we are also aware that our children are growing up in the digital age. We should not shield them totally from Internet exposure – there must be a balance, but that is hard to maintain if parents are not monitoring their children’s online activities. Parents have to grapple with 2 main challenges: managing their children’s online activities and managing screen time.

I have read reports that say children these days spend more time on the Internet than watching television because they have access to it outside the home, such as in school, on the bus/train, or when ‘out and about’. I’m not surprised, because I think adults are doing that too.

As parents however, we should play the role of mentor to our children when it comes to such an important growing-up issue. So as parents of an IT-savvy child in this digital world, here is what we are doing:

(1)  Set time limit 
On school days we set surfing curfews of 30mins for AJ to use his smartphone or tablet. He can use this time to chat with his friends, check emails, watch YouTube videos, record his own videos, etc. (he doesn’t play online games). On non-school days, the time is more flexible, it can be up to an hour. All this is only permitted in a presence of at least one adult. So if there is no adult around, there is no access to these gadgets.

AJ watching youtube video

(2) Place laptop/desktop monitor in the living room
Pornography or sexual predators from any undesirable sites would inevitably creep up onto your child’s screen, but if you place the laptop or desktop monitor in the living room with the screen facing outward, there is a higher chance you could stop this in time before disaster strikes. 

AJ doing C-programming

(3) Keep distraction physically at bay
We know the notification sound of an email or a WhatsApp message coming in can be quite exciting to a child, so we have requested him to set all notifications to be on silent. When he is doing his work, he should place the phone or tablet far away so that the temptation to check on it is minimised. He is also not allowed to bring his phone or tablet into the bedroom when he sleeps. In so doing, we are managing his data access.

(4) Build mutual trust
If your child has Facebook, Instagram and twitter accounts, let him or her know you would like to follow him/her or be friends with him/her. Let the child know you do that not to stalk him/her (though we would like to :p), but, more so to coach him/her along the way because life case studies are far more valuable. Should there be any potential dangers arising, it would be easier for parents to step in to help.

Google hangout chat with friends

I have also set up AJ’s email accounts on my phone, with his permission. That way, I get to screen all the emails and Google Hangouts chat messages of his. He is fine with me doing so, because of the many case studies I get to share with him on how to handle cyberspace issues wisely, thanks to this arrangement. To some adults, it may seem like an infringement of privacy. I beg to differ. There is no infringement when permission is granted. In these vital years of development, we have to teach them to communicate effectively online, to exercise self-control and to be a responsible online user. One of the best ways I can teach him is to shadow him online.

We constantly discuss issues happening in the digital world, I believe such discussion will build his awareness of its inherent dangers and be a wiser user over time.

(5) Aid from third party applications and services
As a StarHub user, I was recently alerted to their service known as JuniorProtect Plus. It is a value-added service for all StarHub mobile and broadband subscribers. With this service, parents can manage the mobile data usage of their children, block undesirable sites, get reports on their web activities, trail their locations, and many more. This StarHub service is especially useful because we cannot be with our children 24x7 so controls like this will give us an added peace of mind.

Without hesitation, I got AJ's SIM card activated with this. In this age of constant Internet threats, we recognise such a service provides a much needed assurance and cyber protection. I will be sharing more with you about its benefits and our experience as end users in my next blog post. Meanwhile, to find out more about StarHub's JuniorProtect Plus, please click here.

There is a lot more we can do or not do, when it comes to the freedom we allow for our children. It is often a dilemma for parents how much they want to let go so that their children can grow, and how much to control so that their children won’t have to face a major disaster. It is like flying a kite, it is a dynamic issue – when to pull, and when to let go. Let us all learn from each other and from the professionals, so that together, we can better help our children.

Some useful websites

A Peter Rabbit Tale - by The Little Company

[Media Invite & Giveaway]

A Peter Rabbit Tale is staged based on the beloved century-old children’s classic by Beatrix Potter. The highlight is the mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit who ran away from home and landed himself in many mishaps. After all the unfortunate events, he realised Home is still the BEST. This play teaches children the importance of family and to cherish their loved ones.

I was a little apprehensive at first because I was unsure how well would AJ receive this play. Afterall, he is already 11 years old, would he find this play too childish?

Alas, the worry was uncalled for. He enjoyed himself very much and he told me he learnt precious lesson from this play - Home is still the BEST. Being a musical boy, he also enjoyed the music and songs the artists sang.

I am particular impressed with the voice of Siti Maznah who played the roles of Mother, MsGregor (the farmer), Owl, Milly Mouse and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (the hedgehog). You have got to listen to her powerful voice!

SRT’s The Little Company is currently staging A Peter Rabbit Tale until 14 Apr 2017. You can get your tickets from Sistic here. Alternatively, you may participate in my giveaway - a Family Package of 4 tickets on 1st April 11am. All you need to do is:

1) Like Singapore Repertory Theatre Facebook Page
2) Like Mylilbookworm Facebook Page
3) Share my Facebook post on your profile set to 'public'. 

Tasting The Goodness From Nature's Glory

[Product Review]

After trying out Dr. Bronner's products distributed by Nature's Glory, and after knowing more about the business of Nature's Glory (NG), we started purchasing more organic stuff from NG knowing that they are trusty worthy and hold high integrity in their dealings.

Recently, we were given these products to try:
1. Aloe Vera Concentrate
2. Manuka Honey (Total Activity 15+)
3. Chia Seeds
4. Plum Balls

Premium Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Concentrate

NG's Aloe Vera is organically grown without pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers, in pollution-free volcanic mountain soil, that is rich in minerals, trace minerals, especially rich in iridium and rhodium, which may help to repair damaged DNA. 

The Aloe leaves are processed within three hours of harvest using a special high temperature and short temperature technique that ensures stability and maximize the biological activity and potential healing properties of Aloe Vera, also minimizes bacteria contamination. 

For many centuries, Aloe Vera has been well known for its many health benefits and its properties have been intensively researched and widely accepted. Nature’s Glory Premium Whole Leaf Aloe Vera helps in the gastro-intestinal functions, improve protein digestion and absorption, shorter bowel transit time and a healthier microbial flora in the intestines, improves intestinal disorders such as colitis, constipation, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, piles and systemic Candida. 

It is also good for skin conditions like burns, cuts, eczema, mouth ulcers, athletes’ foot, and other fungal / parasitic infections, psoriasis, damage of skin tissue due to radiations, sunburns, it helps to sooth the pain due to inflammation. Aloe Vera is like a moisturizer and it helps to rejuvenate the skin 

It may also help to lower the glucose level, stimulate the immune system as Aloe Vera is rich in acemannan, a polysaccharide that stimulates the production of gamma interferon and interleukin 1 to fight bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Aloe Vera also helps to lower the risk of heart disease, improve kidney, liver and gallbladder functions, also aid in blood and lymphatic circulations. Aloe Vera is a synergistic catalyst for better nutrient absorption. 

Available size: 1litre $28

Nature's Glory Manuka Honey (Total Activity 15+)

Prized for its highest anti-bacterial activity among honeys, Manuka Honey has been used for centuries, good for centuries, good for ailments including wounds, ulcers of the skin, leg and stomach, cold sores, sore throats, toothpaste, gum diseases, diarrhoea, eye infections, hemorrhoids, stomach health and others.

Nature's Glory Organic Total Activity 15+ Manuka Honey is a little special. It's honey is harvested in the South Island of New Zealand (NZ) that is protected by the Department of Conservation, with clean air and pests free. So the bees are not fed with sugar or antibiotics. It is organically certified by Agriquality NZ (IFOAM Accredited) for no pesticides or additives used. No heat pasteurisation or irradiation is practised either.

The honey is lightly filtered into a high quality-premium nutrient rich honey. The high anti-bacterial activity in Manuka honey termed as "Total Activity" has been attributed not only to the presence of hydrogen peroxide, but also to non-peroxide components, which is stable and are not affected by environment factors unlike most honeys.

Available Sizes: 350g $28, 700g $51.50, 1.4kg $95

Nature’s Glory Organic Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, iron, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B, C, E. They are a good source of antioxidants and a variety of amino acids and are gluten free. The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds are good for high blood pressure and cardiovascular health, improve digestion, and have an ability to stabilize blood sugar level. The anti-inflammatory properties of chia seeds are beneficial for arthritis. They boost metabolism, good for weight loss and weight maintenance programs, help in improving the function of the brain. The essential fatty acids promote efficient nerve transmission. 

Available sizes: 250g $13.80; 1kg $48

Nature's Glory Plum Balls

The Japanese believe that a plum a day keeps 100 illnesses away. Plum (Japanese Ume) is also known as the “Blue Diamond Fruit” and is indispensable in every Japanese household for its many therapeutic properties. They contain more citric acid, calcium, iron and phosphorus and twice as much proteins any other fruit. Ume is also rich in other organic acids and minerals, which help to maintain good health. Plum is also known for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects. Japanese Ume is bigger, rounder and richer in nutrients compared to the Chinese and Taiwanese varieties. 

Nature’s Glory Plum Balls come from the concentrated juice of Japanese Ume, harvested when the acid content is at its highest. The plums are boiled to form thick syrup that yields a concentrated extract 30 times stronger than the fruit itself. It is combined with Wild Japanese Mountain Yam (Jinenjo), a digestive aid to increase potency of plum balls. One fresh plum of 25g makes two plum balls. 

NG’s Plum Balls are rich in organic acids and minerals to help promote vitality, convert fat to energy, aid in digestive systems and boost immunity, and improve liver functions. They promote vitality, retard aging, and maintain slimness by improving metabolism.

Because plum is known as the “king of alkaline food”, I usually suck NG's plum balls before and after my workout to boost my energy level and to break down the lactic acid produced during the workout.

There are plenty of health benefits consuming NG's plum balls, you may click on this link to read more about them.

Available sizes: 150 balls $16.30;  750 balls $70

I have added since these products to my existing food repetiteur to add more varieties, so while food stays healthy, it is less boring. 

Chia Seed Pudding
(1 pax serving)
1. 3 teaspoons of chia seeds
2. half a cup of water
3. 2 teaspoons of aloe vera juice
4. 1 teaspoon of manuka honey

The key element is the chia seeds pudding, you may add any type of fruits that is in season or of your choice. It is best to pre-make the pudding so that the chia seeds have the 'opportunity' to absorb more water to become more jelly-like. You can store the chia seed pudding in the fridge in closed container for a few days and top it up on your fruits as and when you want to eat.

Chia Seed Oatmeal
(1 pax serving)
1. 3 tablespoons of chia seeds
2. 3 tablespoons of instant oatmeal
3. half a cup of hot water
4. half a cup of milk
5. half a teaspoon of cocoa powder
6. 1 teaspoon of manuka honey
7. 1 teaspoon of aloe vera juice

You can make this an overnight version by adding all the ingredients into a mason jar, except to use cool water instead of hot water. And top up with any toppings you like when you are able to consume it. It is a time-saver hearty breakfast.

Nata de Coco Cocktail
(1 pax serving)
1. half a cup of water
2. 2 teaspoons of aloe vera juice
3. 1 teaspoon of manuka honey

AJ loves Nata de Coco. Those selling in the supermarket are soaked in syrup water. So I will usually drain the syrup awayand rinse the nata de coco in drinking water. By add them into this cocktail, he gets to enjoy a more nutritious dessert.

Honey Lemon Aloe Vera Juice

1. freshly squeezed lemon as desired
2. 2 teaspoons of aloe vera juice
3. 1 teaspoon of manuka honey
4. half cup of cool water
5. half cup of hot water

This is our daily morning dose, before we start our body engine to consume anything else. Lemon is rich in vitamin C and has lots of health benefits. I can stomach up to 15 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice with a cup of warm water without the need of adding any honey. The boys, however, can't. So for them, they will only have 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Since now I have superfood Aloe Vera Juice from NG, I added 2 teaspoons for each of them.  

There are indeed many goodness you can find in Nature's Glory. It is a company we trust when it comes to organic produce/products. You can buy their products in their retail shop or online.

Nature's Glory

What To Do This March Holiday? - Blossom Bliss At Gardens By The Bay

[Media Invite]

I had been to Japan but had never seen the Sakura before. With the fear of Fukushima radiation exposure, the visit to Japan is highly unlikely for us in the near future. Thankfully there is Blossom Bliss at Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay (until 24 March), we can enjoy the stunning Sakura in a safe environment.

If you are considering visiting Flower Dome for Blossom Bliss (Sakura), here are some tips for you:

1. Visit on Weekdays
The Gardens are expecting huge crowd to Flower Dome so do visit the Flower Dome on weekdays if you can if you really want to immerse yourselves in the atmosphere. We went there on a Saturday and there was practically no chance to take any nice photos without any people in it. You can witness the kind of crowd from my last 2 photos. Most of my photos were taken pointed upward to avoid having people in them.

2. Timed Entry
The Gardens are practising timed entry 9am / 11am / 1pm / 3pm / 5pm / 7pm to the Flower Dome to better manage the crowd, and strictly no re-entry is allowed. However, Friends of The Gardens will be allowed entry anytime of the day.

3. Buy Tickets Online
You now have a feel of the crowd, so do book your tickets online to avoid disappointment because there is quota to each time slot. Do check The Gardens' Facebook for updates on the state of flowering before you go.

The Blossom Bliss will end on 24 March (next Fri), so do plan your visit early.

The Gardens by the Bay