[Review]: Grow Old With Me family photography

We – the man and I – are photography snobs.

For our wedding, we chose to get a cheap wedding dress and a regular tailored suit for him because we didn’t think our outfits were worth splurging on.

Instead, we spent on photography. After all, a photo is forever(-ish), a dress is not. We (okay, I) scoured the internet for hours and hours, and spoke to a few photographers before we found the right guy. And we never, ever regretted our choice of priority.

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

Since then, we have done a couple of family shoots and they have all been with photographers whom we knew and trusted. So when Gideon from Grow Old With Me wrote to ask if he could do a shoot with us, I hesitated. Believe me when I say that I am picky – I don’t do studio shoots with contorted bodies and a shiny smile. And honestly, any review opportunity that comes my way has to pass my “is this something I would really use” test.

I checked out his site and realised that, hey, this guy is pretty legit. His style – beautiful natural light, sweet moments captured as a “fly on the wall” – was in sync with ours and I decided to give it a shot (unintended pun but, PUN!).

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

On the evening of the shoot, it rained cats and dogs. GAH. Seriously, it was like our wedding all over again. We met up with Gideon and discussed our options, he suggested waiting it out and we ended up sitting at Satay by the Bay, chatting. Turns out that he loves Lego like we do, and he actually stays pretty near us! The rain was a blessing in disguise because it meant that he could get to know us, and vice versa, and we were able to get comfortable with one another.

When the rain lightened to a drizzle after almost an hour (!), we proceeded with the shoot. Gideon was great at engaging the boys, he knew what to say and do to get them to react. For instance, he told them that we were going to play a game and you could literally see their eyes light up.

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

For that hour, we played games and laughed and hugged and kissed. The littles had so much fun, there was so much joy. And that was encapsulated in the series of photos that Gideon handed to us. The photos show the personalities of my babies, and how they love to chortle with glee. The entire set resonated with love and happiness – I am sure you can see it!

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

ESPECIALLY FOR BUBSICLES READERS
Grow Old with Me is currently running a Mothers’ Day promotion. For $288, you can a 30-minute portrait shoot, 10 high-resolution images and a unique 300mm x 210mm OnStone medium frame with gift box. If you tell them that Yann sent you their way, they will give you an additional 10% discount on top of the promo price!

Go check out their Instagram and Facebook pages to see their lovely, lovely work.

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

Timbre @ Gillman – Super Social BBQ

Before the kids came along, we went out at night. A lot. Weekends were usually spent hanging with our friends: choir practices, arcade gaming (yes!), movies, pub-crawling. One of the places we used to go to was Timbre @ The Substation – how could we say no to awesome live music, good grub (ROAST DUCK PIZZA YUM YUM) and ice cold beer?

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in...2007

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in…2007

Then we had kids. Overnight (HUR HUR PUN), our nightlife disappeared. We were either putting the babies to bed or nursing (okay, I was nursing) or sitting zonked on the sofa or snoring in our beds. We were, and still are, exhausted. We stopped heading out to nightspots.

And then Timbre contacted me and told me about their Super Social BBQ. Huh, what’s that? you might ask. Well, GOOD NEWS FORMER NIGHT CRAWLERS, you can now have your cake and eat it too.

Essentially, Super Social BBQ is a weekend event at Timbre @ Gillman which is family-friendly. That’s right, you heard me. Kids-friendly. Child-friendly. Toddler-friendly. Everybody-friendly. Every month, Timbre @ Gillman runs a themed event on all Saturdays and Sundays that is especially catered to families, starting from 4pm.

Have you been to the Gillman outlet? Well, I hadn’t, until I received the invitation and I was super impressed. The restaurant retained its rustic, super chill vibe, which is cool, but what was even cooler was that gigantic backyard behind the eatery. During the weekends, the backyard turns into a play area for the kids – you can expect bouncy castles, wading pools and live BBQ.

When I was there, it was storming outside so we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Timbre had thoughtfully set up an activity station indoors, where kids could colour or get their faces painted or do some crafting. There was even a balloon sculptor onsite. My boys ended up putting together a carousel – in line with the Carnival theme for November – out of paper plate, paper cup, pipe cleaners and paper cutouts.

Other than providing fun activities, Timbre @ Gillman also put together a menu just for the kids. There are items such as bolognaise, chicken and pancakes, minute steak and cheese frites and fish & chips, all affordably priced below $15. We ordered the bolognaise with heart shape pasta ($10) for the littles to share and the portion was more than enough for them.

As for the adults? I was honestly pretty darned happy to be there. I could indulge in my roast duck pizza once again and wash it down with an chilled alcoholic ginger beer. There was a live band playing. It really made me nostalgic for those days when we could stay out till the wee hours without a care, swigging our beers and making merry.

In fact, I was feeling so sentimental, I decided to order me an earl grey martini (my first martini since FOREVER). It was so surprisingly good that I cheered up immediately.

The mark of a true family-friendly restaurant is in the happiness level of all members of the family. Did Timbre @ Gillman’s Super Social BBQ hit the mark? I will say YASSSSSS. My boisterous boys had fun participating in the activities and they especially loved the live band. They were gleefully dancing after shoving the pasta and pizza into their mouths. The man and I were thrilled to be out at a nightspot once again, eating the grub that we had loved.

We had so much fun that I started making plans with our friends and their kids to check it out again!

The Carnival edition of the Super Social BBQ will run till this weekend! For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Timbre @ Gillman for dinner and given dining credits. However, all opinions are solely mine (and totally honest!) and no other monetary compensation was received.

Wash them hands!

[Author’s note: I am not a medical expert – far from it – so this entry is a personal opinion piece.]

I have quite a few bottles of hand sanitisers sitting around the house. We used to dutifully carry a giant bottle around in the diaper bag when Elliott was younger because hand sanitisers equate to clean hands, right? I cannot remember where I read this (probably one of those articles shared by friends on Facebook) but did you know that unless hand sanitisers contain alcohol, they are largely ineffective against viruses that causes illness?

I did a bit of snooping on the internet and found this and this. I’ve extracted some bits here:

From the first article:

Is using a hand sanitizer a good substitute for soap and water?
It can be—depending on the particular product and situation. The best way to clean your hands is to wash them with plain soap and running water for at least 20 seconds, especially if they are visibly dirty. This creates mechanical friction to loosen and rinse away microbes. If you don’t have access to soap and water, the next best thing is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60 percent alcohol (typically listed as ethyl alcohol). These products kill most (but not all) bacteria and viruses on contact. They also work well against fungi but not against bacterial spores (such as those created by C. difficile bacteria).

What about alcohol-free sanitizers?
Instead of alcohol, some hand sanitizers contain quaternary ammonium compounds (notably benzalkonium chloride or benzethonium chloride) to reduce microbes. These agents are less effective than alcohol, plus they lack evidence of real-life benefits. Moreover, they may be contributing to bacterial resistance (see inset). Other alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain “natural” ingredients like tea tree oil and thyme, which may kill some germs but not enough for them to be good alternatives to an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends only alcohol-based products.

From the second article:

Frequent hand washing is the best way to keep yourself healthy and to prevent the spread of illness. The most effective way to wash your hands is with plain old soap and water.

Hands should be washed: Before, during and after preparing food; before eating or drinking; before and after caring for someone who is sick; before and after touching a cut or wound; after using the toilet; after changing diapers; after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after touching an animal or animal waste; after touching garbage.

While antibacterial gels can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands, they do not eliminate all types of germsIf soap and water is not available however, antimicrobial gels are the next best thing.

It was such a revelation to me (like, OMG I’VE BEEN DOING IT WRONG ALL THIS TIME?!?!) because there I was, insisting that Elliott use the hand sanitiser after each playground visit, or before partaking in a meal. I always thought that it would do the job of keeping his hands clean. I did wonder why he was still falling ill despite my religious use of the hand sanitisers (the ones we use are alcohol free, safe for children, etc etc).

As it turns out, the only way to keep those damn viruses away is to wash both hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. To be honest, trying to balance a heavy toddler against a wet sink while trying to wash his both hands with your one available arm (because the other arm is wrapped around him, holding him up) is really not the easiest. What usually happens is some random squirting of soap onto his palms, some quick rubs, then a rinse. I guess that is better than not getting the hands washed, yes?

Ever since I discovered this fact, I’ve made it a point to get Elliott to wash his hands with soap whenever we are out. I have also noticed that this frequent hand-washing does lessen the number of times he has fallen ill. I do not have clear evidence that washing his hands after any activity helps in keeping the viruses away but so far, so good. To me, the following (among others) are hotbeds for viruses to be passed on – indoor playgrounds, outdoor playgrounds and kiddy rides. We cannot walk past kiddy rides without him having a go at it so we always whisk him off to get his hands washed ASAP.

This article from Singapore General Hospital sums it up nicely. Have a read! Here are 2 important points, in summary, on what people should clean their hands with:

Liquid soap and water

Water alone will not remove dirt and bacteria. Soap allows these to be scrubbed off easily as they bind to them. Any regular soap will do. Antibacterial soap kills bacteria more effectively but has not been shown to be more effective than ordinary soap in reducing the rates of colds and infections in generally healthy people, said a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States this year. What matters more is good hand hygiene, independent of the soap you use.

 

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser (containing at least 70 per cent alcohol)

Hand sanitisers are a quick and effective way to disinfect your hands when soap and water are not available. Cleaning hands with alcohol-based hand sanitisers takes probably 20 seconds, while washing hands with soap and water needs about a minute including the time taken to lather, rinse and dry the hands. But alcohol-based hand sanitisers are not effective if the hands are visibly dirty. Dirt needs to be washed off with soap and water.

IMG_9751
(I do wish more public toilets have child-friendly sinks like these. Maybe one day…)

So everybody, please remember to wash your hands (whenever you can), especially of our little people! They touch everything (and anything), and those same hands reach out and touch their face ALL THE TIME. Stay healthy!

Leading parallel lives

Last Saturday, I texted my girlfriend this picture over WhatsApp:

20151110054156

Me: How are you dealing with your brood today?
Me: I’m in the tent. Two crying children outside. I’m hiding.

Her reply was swift.

Her: Hahahaha.
Her: Enjoy camping.
Her: I so know the feeling. I’m hiding in my room now.

20151110054206

Her: Staring at my walls lol.
Me: Hahaha
Me: Nice wall
Me: Does the print soothe you?
Me: Or is it like The Yellow Wallpaper
Her: Count circles instead of sheep
Me: What a morning

So there you go. I’m sure we are not alone – most of us would have periods when we need to hide from the tiny tyrants in our lives. Just to get that moment of peace, to regain our sanity (and possibly temper).

In my case, Aidan was riding his little fire engine in the room and he ran over Zac’s toes. Zac started bawling and husband promptly gave Aidan a good scolding, who then started wailing too. All that happened before 9am. On a Saturday. Mmmmkay. I crept stealthily into the tepee and stayed quiet for a while before I was busted by the three-year-old.

If you have a regular hiding spot, tell me where! (Promise I won’t let your kids know.)

This is home, surely

On National Day, we had grand plans of camping at the Marina Bay area to catch/shoot the fantastic SG50 fireworks.

On National Day, the boys – yes, all three of them – napped until 430pm, which made it impossible for us to head on down to Marina Bay area without being squashed like sardines.

In the end, we decided to go for an early dinner and then watch the parade live at the field near our home. We had seen posters advertising the free event in our lifts and since the organisers had promised fireworks, we thought that it would be a great alternative to the real thing happening at the Padang.

So that’s how we found ourselves taking the (free!) bus out to the interchange and squelching our way down to the muddy field, stroller and two kids in tow.

SG50 in our hoodIt was not a fancy do, for sure, just a tent with plastic chairs and a makeshift stage with a giant screen. Occasionally, the festivity would be punctuated by off-key singing from the organisers/emcees. Which was, frankly, quite hilarious. But yes, the mood was so amazingly festive. The attendees who managed to snag seats under the tent were constantly clapping their hands and cheering and singing loudly and waving their flags. And when the emcees called for some enthusiasm, the attendees – comprising all sorts, from the elderly to aunties and uncles to parents with children – would deliver the goods proudly.
(more…)

The case for having two

In one of the Facebook parenting communities that I belong to, one of the questions that popped up recently was about knowing when you want to have a second child. The original poster had arrived at the “deadline” for planning for a second baby but found herself utterly unprepared for another child.

That post resonated strongly with me. Because, as I was telling husband recently, if I weren’t already pregnant, I may not feel the inclination to procreate at all.
(more…)

%d bloggers like this: