Calling for your votes!

Halfway into our visit at the Singapore Zoo

Hi there folks,

Our resident cutie-pie, Eva, is in her first baby contest organized by Pupsik Studios, a company that makes baby pouches, and we’re hoping to get your vote! Above is the picture they chose out of the few I submitted in!

Just click on this link and choose Baby No 2 for your vote!

Each person is entitled to one vote and the 3 babies with the most number of votes walk away with photo packages from popular photo studios specialising in childen’s/family photography + a gift hamper worth over $100 from Pupsik Studios (no Disney vacations but that’s okay)!

Voting ends 30 April 2010 so spread the word around if you can, ya? 🙂

Till then, Happy Voting!

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What to do.

Throughout my journey as a new mum, particularly with breastfeeding, I’ve never been so sure about what I wanted for Eva…until today.

With this current menses, I have been much more tired out than usual – I nearly fell asleep twice and did fall asleep once in the span of three hours! – with all the house-hunting, running errands, coming back home with Eva from the sitter’s every day (it’s a 20 minute walk from the MRT back home and often leaves me sweating like buckets) and working on assignments that range from insurance reviews to “sell textbooks” ideas. All this coupled with the fact that I only go to bed around midnight every day and then wake up at 530am every morning just to pump out milk OR feed her. Of course I could feed her later but that means working out a new schedule, testing it and making sure that I have eight ounces of milk for the sitter while not killing myself on the pump with stress. Then yesterday, she bite me – not on purpose but rather accidentally as she half-asleep and searching/rooting around for the boob.

Lets just say that I’m sorely tempted to stop. The only thing that’s stopping me is just time…I just want to wait till she’s old enough to go on cow’s milk, but I don’t know if I can make it till then. 🙁

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Buying a property in Singapore – Part I

Since our move to Singapore last year and the realization that the rental prices are just simply phenomenal as compared to the time when Nil and I first met, we had been toying with the idea of buying a place to stay in and then later, for future investment. Those thoughts became more real when we explored the option of me going back to work a few months after arriving (and settling down) in Singapore. When I finally bit the bullet and started job-hunting, it was also then that we decided that we would invest in a place.

Our reasons are as follows (in case you’re thinking of coming down to Singapore to stay in the long run):

  1. Rental – Currently, I’m paying about $1.4K every month to stay in a two-bedroom unit that is around 80 sqm. It’s just nice for two people but it’s a lot, frankly for a small place. If I rent the place for two years, I’d end up spending at least $34K. And this is just for a HDB unit. If you’re thinking of renting a two-bedroom condo, be prepared to fork out at least $2.5K in rental. Your housing loan, on the other hand, will be around $1.5-2-5K depending on how much you take out and how long your loan is for.
  2. Future investment – By renting, I have nothing to show for the amount I pay. At the end of the day, everything belongs to the owner – from the walls to the mosaic tiles, fixtures and so forth – not me. If it were my own home, I can sell it or do what most people here do – rent it out. The Singapore rental market is always alive and at the moment, it’s booming. With careful selection, you can purchase a property that will never run out of tenants and I am not stupid to avoid doing just that. Also, putting my money to rest in a savings is a safe move but it’s not a smart one especially considering that interests in the bank is not even 2% but rental yield for a lot of properties are around 4% or higher.
  3. Rising prices – The property market here is booming. If I don’t buy now, I’ll never be able to afford a place. I’ve been monitoring the market for close to half a year and talking to people in the business. I know it well enough to know that renting is foolish despite what some people may think. In a country where the rental is higher than the loan, if you’re staying here for over one year and am with a family, buy a place.

Note that this applies to people like Nil and myself – family units. If you’re a singleton whereby your rental is affordable and cheaper than a loan, of course, it makes much more sense to rent a place. But for a good many of us who have families – Nil and myself, our friends with babies and all – buying is still a better option.

Over the coming few weeks, I’ll cover a series of entries dedicated to property hunting here in Singapore, my own experiences with procedures and the legalities. I figured that it’d shed some light into the whole process, especially for people who are not familiar with the Singapore real estate market. And yes, if you haven’t guess, we have found a place and started the paperwork. More on that – hunting down your dream home – in the next entry!

🙂

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My first DIY mei tai!

My DIY mei tai!

DIY Mei Tai
Fabric | Cotton drill (Spotlight), regular cotton fabric (IKEA), fleece (for padding)
Pattern | Mei Tai tutorial

I was supposed to blog about this earlier but got caught up with a lot of other things, namely housechores, groceries, picking Eva up from the babysitter, house-hunting and so forth. Still, I surprised myself by finishing this quite quickly once I sat down to it. I had been slowly working on it on an on-off basis and often blamed it on my lack of sewing mojo (sometimes I think my sewing mojo needs some form of insurance like an NC health insurance). Well, no more!

When I first started off this project, my sewing machine was already a little clunky. Then halfway through when I was putting the fleece together with the drill, it died on me. I went through a few breaks in the thread before it finally came to a halt. So off it went to the doc’s – well, he’s just a guy with a stall at the market near my place – and the prognosis was quite grim. The machine needs to be serviced, it’s been a while and well, it’ll take a couple of days and I’ll let you know the cost. For a moment there, I thought he was going to tell me that it would cost an arm and leg, but no, it turned out to be an affordable $60. Well-worth it consider that the machine hasn’t gone for servicing since the 80s!

After I got it back, I could tell that there was a lot of difference to how it ran – smoother and definitely quieter! But I didn’t really get to work on it often as Eva was going through some teething-related sticky bouts and my nights were more for relaxing instead of sewing (*shifty eyes*). So it sat in one corner and finally saw the light again when Eva started going to the babysitter. Before I knew it, I was very close to the end of it all.

Then it happened.

I broke THREE needles try to put the hood strap loops onto the straps! All that padding and folded killed three needles before finally submitting to a leather needle. Of course I had to go ultra slow as well. But yes, three needles! *shakes head* But when it was done, I realized another mistake I made. I sewed the hood straps on the wrong end of the hood!!!! ARGH! After more ripping, or rather snipping, I did some simple zigzag sewing and voila, it looked right and proper again!

Eva and I tested it out once she got back and I tried front as well as back carry. Found back carry to be a little strange and I suspect I still need time to adjust to the weight on my back instead of in the front like how I’ve been carrying Eva all this while. But hey, I wore her with this when my parents were around and found it surprisingly airy despite the hot and humid conditions here. It’d be perfect for European weather though as drill cotton is quite thick. I would sew it better the next time and am even tempted to make the Japanese version called the Onbuhimo which has two rings at the waist instead of a waist strap. One annoying thing about mei tais though – storing them with those long straps! Still, at least now, we’ve got a back-front carry carrier that works for Nil and myself! w00t!

Eva in her new mei tai! :)

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Spinning nightmares!

Grape Galore waiting to be plied up!

A couple of days ago, I finished spinning up some very yummy superwash merino and tencel mix. I was aware that it was ultra smooth when I first started working on this batch of fibre but the colours were just to irresistible for me to stop. And this also flowed onto the plying process.

That was when all my nightmares started. The beginning few meters were fine and then the single ply broke. Okay, never mind. That happens if the single was spun too thinly and tightly. But as I continued on plying after joining the broken single, another break happens and another and another. In total, the single broke over 10 times in a period of half an hour. I was getting frustrated by my fifth break and the resulting plied yarn wasn’t looking at that great (cheap insurance or not wasn’t going to help it either!). It was getting late as well and I was close to my milk feed/pump time. I don’t need the stress!!!!

So I did the unthinkable. I stopped, wound up the single, set it aside and proceeded to “ripping” out the plied yarn from the flyer. I ended up with large blob of mess sitting in the bin – a good 40 gms or so of yarn. *sobbles* What a waste of perfectly wonderful dyed fibre!

Now I have to think about what to do with the resulting 60gms of singles which I have already plied into yarn successfully! Gah!

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What a big girl now!

Wondering why Mummy is snapping a pic instead of feeding her yummy food!

My how she has grown!

She’s starting to take lumpier foods and today’s dinner is a perfect example – brown rice pasta with carrot-potato puree & grated cheese. On top of that, she’s also more vocal and shows a lot of preference in terms of who should carry her, what she would like to do and so forth. Instead of just crying and such, she knows how to gestures for things, even nursing! And she’s starting to crawl for real too (I may just need a playyard and some mbt shoes soon)!!!

While part of me is glad that she’s growing well and happy despite all the crazy changes of lately, I wish she would stay young forever…

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Hello office!

Soon, that is.

If you hadn’t been following my journey here in Singapore, let me update you. After Chinese New Year, we decided that it would best for the family financially if I went back to work and although I was reluctant (an understatement as I fought tooth and nail), I caved at the end of it all and did what was best for ALL of us in the long run. I hired a great babysitter, spent a while training Eva to drink milk from a straw cup (no mean feat as the girl has never drank milk from anywhere else other than me), and well, just helping her to adjust to being with someone other than Nil and myself.

I managed to secure a job sometime in late March – about the same time I hired a babysitter and all that. I had been hoping to start on 5 April but because they were concerned about me starting before actually getting my pass, my start date was pushed back. On Friday, I went by to drop off my medical report and the letter stating that my DP (Dependent Pass) has been cancelled. After about 30 minutes or so, I walked out with a couple of letters (more paperwork) for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to collect my new EP (Employment Pass) (don’t they just love abbreviations here in Singapore?).

To a degree, I’ve been having a hard time adjusting as Eva has become more sticky, vocal – she screams more often these days – and well, just being more needy than usual. Many of my mummy friends who have to go through this tell me that it’s normal coz she just misses me. I just find the whole situation bizarre, seeing my daughter go from being this sweet angel to a little devil in disguise in less than a week! I may even have to resort to babywearing her when I’m at home with her just to comfort her! (Thankgoodness I managed to finish up my mei tai – will showcase pics soon!).

I still find it hard to believe that I’m going back to work soon. At times, I wish I didn’t have to and at times, I tell myself that it’s a good thing – at least we’ll be able to afford a place of our own and not have to pay rent plus be able to splurge on some luxuries (but no playstation 3 for us, please) or save. Have been in touch with friends and a couple of property agents, so yes, we’re serious about this part. Even if we don’t stay here for long, it’s good for future investment.

I just hope that in time to come, Eva, myself and Nil will adjust to me going back to work; me more than her, I suspect but who knows…

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New hairstyle! Yay!

My new hairstyle - the Concave Bob!

Since Eva is with the babysitter during the day, I now have ample time for my own stuff, mainly spinning, blogging, housechores and so forth. I might even be able to squeeze in more cooking too!

Anyway, I thought I’d take the opportunity to get rid of my semi-short/long hair that has outgrown its original style. The fringe is a little shorter than usual but otherwise, I love how this looks. At least I don’t have to put up with longish back hair which often gets drenched whenever I take a shower. Plus less stray hairs for Eva to tug. Yes, although she loves to tug my hair, she only does it to me. Gah.

I even managed to sneak in a treatment although according to the stylist, I didn’t really need one as I have an oily scalp. The total damage for treatment + cut + blow + wash? SGD15.80. Super no?

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