Book Review–“Today I am” & a Worldwide Giveaway!

We received a “fishy” book recently from the Fish Book Co for a book review. Thankfully it’s not “smelly” and lasted through the postman. 🙂

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In fact, I am pleasantly surprised with this 52 pages of brightly illustrated  fishy tale entitled -Today I Am”. There are a total of 20 emotions expressed by vividly drawn fishes. Each doubled page opens out to 1 emotion and 1 fish drawn to express that emotion. The author had definitely thought through and carefully choose the appropriate colors and expressions to bring out each emotion.

For example:

“Sad” is watered down with teary streaky strokes and a “blue” (literally) fish:

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“Today I Am” ‘s target audience is aged 2-7 years old toddlers. At 4 years old, Xi En is learning to spell, recognize words and be in (sometimes out of) tune with his emotions. We read through this book together and he is curious about some of the words which he had never came across – eg, “CURIOUS”. He asked me what is “PROUD”; “CONTENT” and even “JEALOUS”! I found it tough to explain some of these profound emotions with words and thus mimicking the fishes’ expressions helped a lot!

Xi En trying hard with “PROUD”:

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We also have a go with the easier ones such as “HAPPY”; “FURIOUS” and “SHOCKED”. I totally love how the author – Miles Van Hout – managed to bring life into the book through simple one-word per page drawings. These hand-drawn pictorial on black background caught Xi En’s attention too. He enjoyed tracing each word and learn spelling along the way too.

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His favourite of all the pages is (don’t you just love the little one plucking up courage to be in a dark sea of unknown):

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My brave boy; just like your Christian name “Ethen” – be strong, courageous and brave!

This book is a keeper for us. Not one which you can read for ages but definitely one of educational value which parents can expound further with their children.

If you are keen to get hold of one, you can swing by the Rise & Shine Expo 2013 at Suntec City Convention Centre from 27th to 29th Sept 2013 to catch the fishes’ debut public appearance. Retail price (before GST) is S$20.

And now the good news – GIVEAWAY TIME:

Fish Book Co is kindly hosting a worldwide giveaway form 5 readers of this blog! To be eligible for a random draw, just share with us: “Today I Am ___(an emotion)___”. Do remember to put in your name and email address so we can contact the winners!  Fish Book Co will be mailing these colorful books to 5 lucky winners. Giveaway will end on 25th August 2013 2359hrs (Singapore time).

Fish Book Co is also on Facebook. Do like their page for more splashy fishy updates.

“Today I Am” is an award-wining book and was first published in the Netherlands. It has since been translated to many languages. Singapore-based Fish Book Co holds the book’s rights to Southeast Asia and has plans to translate “Today I Am” into Chinese, Bahasa, Thai, Viet and other languages for distribution throughout the region. It’s also available as an eBook app in Apple Store for Ipads.

Disclaimer: We received a complimentary “Today I Am” book as part of a book review. No other monetary compensation had been received. Opinions and photos are author’s own.

Updates:

Announcing the winners for this giveaway! Sorry it’s delayed due to a busy schedule!

And the winners randomly drawn by my son are:

1) Robert Sim

2) Rena Tan

3) Citra

4) Kristie

5) Samantha Ding

Congratulations! Fish Book Co will be in touch to send the books to you! 🙂 Happy reading to your kids!

The Ippudo Dining Experience

Invited Food Review

I have a weakness for Japanese cuisine. Or rather a soft spot for it.

And so when Estelle from Openrice sent an invite for a food tasting at the popular ramen restaurant – Ippudo – I could not resist to accept the invitation!

I arrived and saw this looooooooooooong queue. If there is anything worth queuing in Singapore, it’s good food.

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Ippudo SG opened shop in Singapore on 12th Dec 2009 and is the second overseas venture after Ippudo NY. Its’ history hail from Japan’s ramen capital – Hakata – and is creating a stir all over the world. Besides 65 Ippudo restaurants in Japan, they have international stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Seoul, Sydney, Malaysia and China.

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We were invited to the Mandarin Gallery branch and the ambience is very typical buzzing Japanese restaurant. Loud greetings, semi-see-through kitchen, bowls and bowls of hot steaming ramen.

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Seating is limited to 57 seats with a small private VIP room. Be prepared to come early during lunch and dinner hours or simply come after peak hours.

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Vivien – PR & Marketing lady and our host for the evening – explained that besides ramen, IPPUDO aims to create a wholesome dining experience for its customers. As such, one will notice that it’s menu is more than simple ramen. They have an extensive menu comprising of salads, cold and hot appetizers, ala carte and meat dishes. Do order the appetizers as some were really good!

Ready, get set, Go!

Dining proper:

Beverages

Many of the fellow bloggers started with Choya & San Pellegrino Cocktail. I went with virgin ‘cos alcohol is still out-of-bounds at the moment…

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2nd drink of the night. Japanese’s favourite yogurt-y drink. I had it with soda to neutralise the sweetness. It’s refreshing!

Appetisers & Sides:

Goma Q – Fresh Japanese cucumber with a special sesame sauce. It’s a great cold appetizer to start with. The fragrant sesame sauce added spice to the otherwise plain crunchy cucumber. I like the presentation and the precision in cutting each slice into almost equal sizes. As usual, hats off to the Japanese culture of fine presentation.

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Pork Bun – Perhaps there can be a better name for this dish than what it’s called on the menu ( yes -“Pork Bun”).  This is an all-time favourite steamed bun with braised pork and special Ippudo’s sauce. It’s somewhat similar to our Chinese “Kong Bak Pau”. Taste-wise: it’s weirdly similar too! Honestly, I wouldn’t order this in a typical Japanese restaurant. But if you are curious about the soft bite of the pork and it’s unique sauce, it’s worth a try.

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Crispy Corn – I have no clue how this is done. It seemed deep-fried with a light batter to a crisp and sprinkled with some addictive paprika-herb-alike powder. One is probably not enough. I had two! (or was it three? I lost count).

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Spicy Shrimp Mayo – Big succulent prawns deep fried with a light batter and served exquisitely with a home-made spicy mayonnaise sauce. Home-run type of combination. What is there not to like about such a dish. Yummy!

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Beef Tataki – My favourite of the night. Pan –seared tender beef slices  served with a tangy sauce and special dip. Best eaten with the bed of non-pungent fresh onions. I went home dreaming of going back for this again.

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Finally – the stars of the night – RAMEN!

The founder – Shigemi Kawahara – spent time perfecting the tonkotsu (pork based) broth through the hard work of cooking pork bones for more than 15 hours. This arduous process coupled with blending of the broth resulted in a creamy and delicate soup. Fun trivia of the night – The noodles are actually manufactured in a factory in Singapore and the soup is also prepared by the central kitchen! This is to ensure that what diners get to eat are the freshest and not some imported overnight grub. You also get to choose the degree of the “hardness” of the noodles which you prefer. We choose “hard” as recommended because after our endless photo-taking, “soft” noodles would have become soggy! Vivien mentioned that it’s highly advisable to dig in immediately as the chef prepared each bowl separately and the consistency will change even if a customer visits the loo for 5 minutes!

First up: Shiromaru Motoaji – a white pork-based broth ramen. My preferred choice of the night. I like it straight forward; classic Hakata-style. Light broth without porky taste. Chashu is tender and cabbage is aplenty.

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Next up: Akamaru Shin-aji – a bolder red broth seasoned with garlic oil and Ippudo’s secret paste (Umami-dama). Decent choice if you are in the mood for an enhanced type of ramen.

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Last ramen dish – Karaka-Men. This is the original tonkotsu broth with spicy miso and ground pork. If I go in a group, I will get someone else to order this so I can get a spicy kick while maintaining my loyalty to the classic choice.

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The dining experience cannot be complete with a refreshing yuzu sherbet specially assembled by the chef for the bloggers’ event.

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This is a place that I think you won’t need to break the bank to dine here. Its’ comprehensive menu ensures that there will be something for everyone; even the picky eaters. Swing by to enjoy some oodles of hot noodles and a modern ramen brassière experience.

Thank you to Openrice and Ippudo for their kind invitation!

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Details

Ippudo SG

333A Orchard Road

#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery

Singapore 238897

Open 7 days a week – 11am to 11pm (last order at 10pm)

Website: www.ippudo.com.sg

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ippudosg

Bottoms stay DRY with DRYPERS

With the advancement of times, we are cultivated to “like” efficiency and “dislike” sluggishness/incompetency. For one I cannot take a clumsy diaper.

As a mummy of two young boys, I have probably gone through a few thousands diapers change. My wish list of a solid diaper is very simple; just 2 major points:

1) COST – My “market survey” or rather the “auntie” in me had surveyed major supermarkets and online stores to conclude that Drypers is easy on the purse. It may not be the cheapest; but it’s the most value-for-money diaper I have come across.

2) HOLDS THE STUFF IT’S SUPPOSED TO HOLD! – This is a deal breaker for me. I can understand that there are bound to be accidents from time to time; but 99% of the time I don’t expect the diaper to fail me.

It’s really as simple as that. Other frills are bonuses.

I have experimented with various brands in the market and is happy to conclude our past few years’ favourite:

DRYPERS!

The nice people at Drypers provided us with some of their improved Drypers Wee Wee Dry which promises enhanced features.

I am a user since 2009. Or rather my boys. Thus I can honestly testify that the changes are such great enhancements to the product!

Key pointers are:

1) A new Flexi-Tape (which is talc-resistant to boot!):  Multiple refastening made possible and it’s easy peasy! No more trying to use masking tape to fasten a worn-out tape but not used diaper (some parents would understand why it’s not used but tape is worn out….Answer: a struggling/crying boy).

2) Zip Dry Core: There are more absorbent particles which help to absorb and lock urine inside the diaper to keep the bottoms drier and thus more comfortable. I have witnessed that just 1 piece of Dryper Wee Wee Dry can last Kai En 10 hours of sleep (overnight) without any change in the night. I hate late nights changing because it wakes the little one up and I will have a tough time soothing him back to dreamland again. It definitely helps a lot to have a diaper which holds up urine till the next morning. Beauty sleep..grant me some please.

3) 4 Botanical Extracts: Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Vitamin E and Olive Extracts. Holding up urine is important but I do not want nappy rash either! It’s reassuring to know such properties are in the diaper to keep little bottoms clean too.

Lastly, this is what brightens my older boy’s face:

The super cute and bright graphics! Though some other brands do have little cartoons as well but by far I think Drypers has the brightest and most eye-catching one! We have bought many series before. Once with alphabets (we taught Xi En the ABC during diaper change). The latest one is full of acorns. He named it the “acorn diaper”. It’s helpful that Drypers differentiate sizes by the graphics so you won’t grab the wrong one for the different ones in the family!

Want a sample to try Drypers out? You can request one for free on their Facebook Page under “Request for Sample”.

Dryers is having their Little Day Out again this year! It’s happening this coming Sat, 6th July 2013 at Singapore Expo Hall 4B.

It’s a great family bonding event with rides, bouncy castles, speech and drama performance, baking/art & craft workshops and lots more!

Entry is FREE! Do check out Drypers Singapore Facebook Page for updates and more details. .

With less time spent on changing diapers, there will be “more time for things that matter”!

Little Day Out

Disclaimer: We received products for user experience review purpose. No other monetary compensation has been received.