NIVEA Body UV Whitening Serum: 14 days to fairer skin!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Some time back, I embarked on a challenge posed by NIVEA to put their 14 days promise to fairer skin to the test.

Honestly, I started out the experience being rather sceptical about the entire thing, because it actually sounded too good to be true. Furthermore, I had this niggling doubt at the back of my mind: "Can this product really do what it supposedly does?"

Curious, I diligently slathered on the lightweight cream every morning. The first few days, I had to go back to the bathroom after dressing up for work because I went through my regular morning ablutions without making time for it! I made an effort to stick to the challenge because I really wanted to see the results, and perhaps even prove my doubts were not unfounded.

I'll let you be the judge of its effectiveness.

22 June 2013
5 July 2013
N.B. All photos are non edited to showcase actual skin condition
The photos are taken at exactly 8.15am, at exactly the same time we leave home to send the boy to school. All lighting conditions remain constant.

I almost couldn't believe it, too. When I asked the husband about it, his reaction was: Yes, brighter! which came too quick and without even a glance at me (pfffft!!) so he's really an unreliable judge of the whitening effect.

On my personal viewpoint, though - apart from the visible results as per the photos above, I realised that this serum is really more than skin deep.

1. Moisturise and protect

I like that this is an 'two-in-one' solution to lazy working individuals like myself. It not only hydrates my skin, but the fact that it's also a sunscreen saves me the hassle of having to apply two different creams daily. With SPF+25 PA++  this serum is effective enough for daily use.

2. Non-greasy application

The light formula ensures that there is no sticky after-feel upon application. I am not a fan of moisturisers which moisturises by clogging the pores so as to not dry skin out, and I don't encounter any similar problems with the NIVEA Body UV Whitening Serum. The lightweight formula ensures easy and even application, and a little does go a long way.

3. Reduces 'scaly' patches

As we age, skin loses a little of its self-hydrating abilities, and this is the main cause of wrinkles and dry areas. I realise that my shin, which is prone to dry patches, is smoother to the touch and the appearance of 'scaly' skin has noticeably been reduced.

4. Whitening effect

I do not have a major problem with pigmentation (fingers crossed) at this current moment, and what this serum does is give my skin an overall sheen while protecting it from the harsh effects of the sun, on top of lightening any mild pigmentation issues that I have.


'Whitening' in cosmetology is often misunderstood as an effort to whiten skin from a dark to a lighter tone. This is a misconception which can cause a lot of unrealistic product expectations. Whitening products merely lightens pigmentation, which in turn results in a fairer and brighter skin appearance.

From a user's point of view, the NIVEA Body UV Whitening Serum definitely packs a punch for something that looks so innocuously simple. I was admittedly surprised at the efficacy of the product, even though I started out this user experience period with an open mind. As I age, I realise that I cannot afford to be lax about taking better care of my skin. The ravages of time causes skin to lose its suppleness and elasticity, and it's never too early to start!

If you have been meaning to try this out, you really should. Don't let it's price fool you into doubting the efficacy of this product. Containing 95% Pure Vitamin C and enriched with natural vitamins from Camu Camu and Acerola, the NIVEA Body UV Whitening Serum is definitely a keeper. 

NIVEA Instagram campaign

Simply upload shots of you and your loved ones having fun in the sun from 21 Jul – 15 Aug 2013 - wherever, whenever you are having fun in the sun. Use these hash tags on your Instagram photos to be eligible: #NiveaSG #UVWhtSerum #Sunnyfun #Sunshine (do note that all 4 hashtags has to be used) and stand to win NIVEA hampers (worth $188 each) weekly!

Stay tuned for updates on their Facebook page here.

Good luck!


Disclaimer: This is the second post of a 14-day product experience trial, sponsored by NIVEA Singapore. All opinions are based on actual user experience and entirely my own.

Time Out to recharge

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Last week, I took a week off work to recharge. Ever so often we get so caught up with routine we lose our focus, and life becomes simply going through the motions.

I took time out to rediscover myself, and spend time with the little person who means the world to me. Being a working mum means that I don't get to spend as much time as I would like to with the boy. I took the opportunity to be with him, just the two of us, and enjoy the time out together. 

On the first day when I picked him up from school, there was an expression of utter disbelief mirrored on his face, before he gave a little yell and hugged me fiercely. His grandparents usually fetch him home from school, and he doesn't have to tell me anything for me to know how happy he was to see me instead. He skipped along next to me, holding my hand tight, and my heart constricted with a measure of love and sadness.

We took the bus to the airport, and counted airplanes on the way there. He chattered non-stop, his excitement palpable. Once in awhile, he leans his head on me, and holds my hand tight, as though he needed to assure himself that I was there with him. 

We had fun in an almost empty playground, and I savoured every smile thrown my way as we played together.

This little boy who makes me scream, go livid at times, and has successfully turned me into a nag, also has the power to make me give the world up for him... with just a smile.

We shared donuts and a fruit freeze after,  all tired out from play. I ignore the fact that it's nearing his dinnertime, and let him finish his banana and strawberry smoothie. After all, it is our special time together.

He fell asleep on my lap, like he always does, in the bus on the way home. At that moment I knew - that I never really had anything in life to call truly my own, until I was blessed with him.

We had breakfast before school the next day, because unlike other days, there was no need to rush to wake up, rush to shower, and rush to school and rush to work. He sat with me, munching on his croissant, and proclaimed that he doesn't 'need' to go to school. I told him that he has to go to school, but I will definitely pick him up right after his afternoon nap.

That was what we did, for 5 days. He went to school with a cheery goodbye, and his happy grin as he runs to me when I pick him up, is what makes my day that much brighter. We laughed, we played, we went to familiar places, and those we've never been.

We took long walks at the beach, stopping every now and then to just breathe. He's at an age where everything holds wonderment, and his excitement is infectious. He made me use my imagination again, and suddenly things take on a different hue.

I realise that while it is inevitable things will settle into a routine and we propel ourselves to constantly keep up so as to not fall behind, it is also important to take time out to recharge and renew our spirits. If we continue to just 'be', we will either burn out, or simply forget who we are, and what matters most to us.

I took the time out to get back on track. I needed to recharge my batteries, because it was hard to see where I was going when the lights are dim.

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Protecting kids against germs at school

When the Mookid started school earlier this year, we were cautioned against him falling sick more often than usual due to the viruses and germs which are more pronounced in school. We totally understand this because it's difficult enough to try to protect the kids from falling sick due to germs at home, more so when they start going to school and are exposed to different kinds of germs and infections which may be present in anyone and just about anywhere.

While we cannot keep the kids totally germ-free short of keeping them in a bubble dome, we can teach them several ways to ensure that they learn to protect themselves from contracting illnesses due to germs as much as possible.

Tips to help minimize the spread of germs

1. Keep hands out of nose, mouth and eyes

Children do not yet understand the dangers which can come about by introducing dirty hands into the system. They are curious, and will not think twice about touching things, especially those that they are not familiar with. Although the flu virus is spread when the droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, it is entirely possible to get it when we come into contact with surface on which these droplets are present.

It is important to inform the children to keep their hands away from their noses, mouths and eyes, and to keep on drilling this knowledge in them by introducing songs or games to make it easier for them to remember and understand. Done intensively (never mind that mummy's a nag!) it becomes a habit and second nature to them.

2. Immunization

We're lax when it comes to imposing the 'do's and don'ts' in parenting by the book, but we make sure that there are certain things that we abide to the letter. The Mookid has never missed a single vaccination from the time he was born up to date, and even if for any reason he was unable to, we will always reschedule. Better be safe than sorry! 

3. The importance of hand washing

Hand washing is such a simple thing to do, but in many cases, it can make the difference between life and death. In many countries, perhaps due to ignorance and lack of information, kids get exposed to many germs and bacteria which attack their immune system and causes them to face life threatening illnesses which can be prevented by the simple act of hand washing. 

Choose a hand wash which is well reputed to kill germs, and teach the children the importance of washing their hands from young. 

Lifebuoy's range of hand washes kills 99.9% of bacteria, and their new 'Hulk of hand washes' product gives kids something fun to look forward to, while giving a clear indication of the time needed to kill germs present. 10 seconds is all it takes, actually the time it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday' once!

4. The importance of fruits and vegetables in their diet 

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins which will strengthen the immune system and help protect them against common illnesses which is prevalent in children, such as flu, coughs and viral infections.

Furthermore, they are the next best alternative to expensive immunity boosters and bottled vitamins!

5. Understanding about the spread of germs

It is our responsibility to teach our  kids about how germs are spread through contact with other kids who are unwell. Educate the children about the importance of covering their noses and mouths when they cough or sneeze, and turning away from other children when they feel the urge to do so. They should also be made aware of the illnesses which can spread to them should other kids sneeze and cough around them, and be taught to stay away as much as possible.

Children should also be taught not to eat anything which has dropped on the table. There are germs present, and it is a good hygiene habit to implement especially when they are exposed to communal eating practices in school.


Never, ever underestimate a child's ability to understand. Even though they may be considered young, good hygiene habits can be taught even from a very early age. Even though they may seem oblivious to your words, children are known to store information and peruse them when they are able to show that they understand.

We don't believe in 'overprotecting' the kid when it comes to exposure. We don't keep him home and disinfect everything in sight, neither do we stop him from going to indoor playgrounds where there are hundreds of kids at play every day. Furthermore, play also expends energy and provides them with the necessary exercise to keep fit. The occurrence of upper respiratory illnesses can be reduced by exercising.

On our part, we do our best to ensure that he is sufficiently protected by ensuring that his hands are washed before and after play, and even as a wee bub, we tell him that he should not put non-food objects in his mouth. We chose to let his body build up its natural immune system, and at the same time, do what we can to minimize the risks. A little dirt is good for them, as long as we find that balance between exposing them to germs which are everywhere, and ensuring that it doesn't affect them in ways that will be detrimental instead.

Drypers Little Day Out 2013

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Back for the 2nd time, Drypers Little Day Out this year promises a whole load of fun, with activities ranging from bouncy castles, rides and story telling sessions to engage the little ones.

We were at the 1st Drypers Little Day Out which was held at Playground @ Big Splash last year, and while we enjoyed the carnival-like atmosphere, the heat was (almost) unbearable. We were so pleased to note that this year's event was to be held in the air-conditioned comforts of the Singapore Expo!

Organised by the wonderful foks at Drypers, Little Day Out celebrates family time, and features activities for kids of all ages.

The Baby Fun Zone is for the little ones, and has mini slides and structures suitable for kids up to 2 years of age. The MooKid gave this a miss, preferring to head on to the 'bigger' boys' stuff.

He had his eyes on the choo choo train, and since we were there pretty early, the queue to ride on was pretty manageable!

There was also a Pirate Ship Swing, a bouncy train, and a little padded labyrinth for toddlers. There were staff stationed at each activity point, and they helped make it a pleasant play time for everyone apart from ensuring safety measures are in place.

Craft and Baking sessions for the little ones who enjoy these activities. Lest you think that this corner would see only girls participating... there were many boys baking too!

There were sessions held by Drypers' participating partners, too, which showcased their parent assisted classes for babies and toddlers. Perfectly in tune with Drypers' theme for Little Day Out this year!

On top of that, it is also a day which sees Drypers doing its part for charity, with proceeds from sales of 'Happy Packs' donated generously to the KKH Health Endowment Fund.

Happy Packs were priced at $15.00 ($10.00 for WeeWee Dry) each. In each carrier bag, there is a pack of Jumbo sized Drypantz (M - XXL), Wet Wipes (40s), Head to Toe Wash (100ml) and a Picnic Mat. I really think it's a great initiative, and since Mookid needs diapers anyway - I was more than happy to support the cause!

We ended the day at the Photobooth, which had many fun props to make the family photos fun. Card sized photo printouts could be collected on the spot. If you were there and had your photo taken at the photobooth too, you can check your images here.

We had a wonderful time at Drypers Little Day Out. Sometimes in our hectic lifestyle, we forget to take time out for things that matter. Thanks to Drypers for the reminder, and for organising a special day out for families!

Disclaimer: This is part of a series of sponsored conversations between Drypers and MummyMoo. All opinions stated are my own. We also purchased many, many Happy Packs on our own account because it is for a worthy cause!

Ngoh Hiang: 5-spice meat rolls made easy!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Ngoh Hiang (Chinese: 五香; pinyin: wǔxiāng; Peh-ōe-jī: ngó-hiong) is originally a Teochew and Hokkien dish. It is basically spiced pork with a choice of vegetables packed into a sausage-like roll and deep-fried. In the olden days, preparation was pretty tedious as it would involve pounding the ingredients with a mortar and pestle till it reaches the right consistency.

Being a working Mum, I don't have the luxury of time (or energy) to be pounding away in the kitchen, so I engaged a kitchen helper to do the hard work for me.

With my trusty Food Processor, I managed to make these rolls in 45 minutes!


Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min (including steaming)
Yields: 6 rolls


500gr lean pork
200gr prawns, shelled and de-veined.
8 nos. water chestnuts, peeled.
2 nos. dried beancurd wrappers
4 nos. shallots
2 large eggs
2 nos. star anise and cinnamon stick (optional)


1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbs corn flour
2 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp dark soya sauce
Dash of sesame oil
1 tbs vegetable oil

2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)


1. Put water chestnut and shallots in a food processor and chop coarsely. Don't overblend, because otherwise the 'crunch' is lost. Set aside. Put the meat in and mince, followed by the prawns.

2. Put all the seasoning in a bowl, and mix thoroughly with the eggs.

3. Using the kneader attachment, mix all ingredients together (including the seasoning).

4. Cut bean curd wrapper into 6" x 7" rectangles (it comes in a huge sheet). Take a clean, damp towel and wipe both surfaces of the wrappers. This is to eliminate traces of salt or preservatives used.

5. Line a cutting board (or any flat surface) with baking or parchment paper, and place a piece of beansurd wrapper on it. Put 4 tablespoons of the meat mix on wrapper, and roll inwards. Dampen the open ends of the wrapper with cornflour (mixed with water) to seal.

6. Place rolls in a steamer and steam on high heat for about 15 minutes.

7. Take rolls out, and allow to cool completely. At this point, you can choose to freeze some of the rolls for future use (they keep up to 3 months frozen).

8. Once cooled, deep fry rolls fort about 5 - 10 minutes on medium to high heat till they turn golden brown. Take care to control the heat as you don't want them burnt, especially at the edges.

9. If you prefer, you can slice them and fry individual bite-sized pieces. If this method is used, coat each piece in a little cornflour to seal in the meat.

10. I prefer mine as is... so that the juicy meat and crunchy water chestnuts can be savoured at its best!

Serve with kicap manis or sweet soya sauce and sambal belachan.

These ubiquitous meat rolls have always been one of the dishes featured at the family's dining table during special occasions and family get togethers, alongside the Nonya specialities which would see my mum-in-law slaving away in the kitchen for as early as 3 days prior to the dinner. 7 days if you count the scrubbing and cleaning of buah keluak for the quintessential ayam buah keluak, a dish which I hope to be able to make one day.

With the Philips Jamie Oliver Food processor - cooking is made so much simpler!


Keep life simple with the PHILIPS | Jamie Oliver range which includes a food processor (S$268), hand blender (S$108) and blender (S$128).

Available at leading electronics and departmental stores.

DISCLAIMER: This review post is part of a series of sponsored conversations between PHILIPS Singapore and MummyMoo.

I have been compensated for this review, and a PHILIPS Jamie Oliver Food Processor has been given to me so that I will be able to present a first hand user experience. All content and opinions are, however, entirely honest, because I will never recommend anything that I will not use myself!

Dengue Prevention: Our Lives, Our Fight.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

"I didn't think it would happen to me!" is a general echo that many dengue sufferers claim when they find out that they have the virus. I'm not sure whether to call it complacency, or ignorance. Perhaps we have been so used to relatively 'clean' environments and high standards of medical care available in Singapore, so much so that many of us are simply indifferent towards the current epidemic we are currently facing.

With a record number of 816 dengue cases reported in a single week of June 2013, Singapore is seeing an outbreak which threatens to escalate even further with the onset of the monsoon season, higher humidity levels and the increase in temperatures.

Dengue is life threatening, and death can occur in certain cases. There is no dengue vaccine yet in Singapore.

I was fortunate to be invited to a workshop jointly organised by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and People's Association (PA) as parts of its efforts to raise awareness about dengue fever and rally the community in preventing its spread. Graced by Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health & Ministry of Transport), the event brings together key personnel and volunteers spearheading the fight against dengue. It culminated in house visits led by the Minister, whereby 'survival' packs were distributed to households.

During the workshop, I had a few of those: 'oh wow I didn't know that!' moments, and made a mental note to ensure that follow up is done at home. I was also made aware that the threat is very real, and understanding more about dengue will tremendously help in ensuring that preventive steps can be effectively carried out.

Babies, pregnant women, children and older people have a weaker immune system and thus susceptible to Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), severe forms of dengue which causes bleeding under the skin and results in shock due to low blood count. These tend to be prevalent in children under the age of ten, with death resulting from circulatory collapse.

As a parent of a young child, I am extremely concerned about the threat of dengue and how it can affect us, especially since the boy goes to school in an area which has been identified as a 'red' zone. He goes to my in-laws' after school, just across the street from school - in a 'yellow' zone.

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is caused by the transmission of a virus by an Aedes mosquito, which acts as a vector when it bites a person who is already infected. There are 4 strains of the virus (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 or DEN-4), and therefore it is entirely possible to contract dengue fever multiple times as you will only be rendered immune to one particular strain at a time.

Dengue is not contagious and does not spread by physical contact.

Life cycle of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus

The thing about dengue is that the symptoms can be mistaken for a normal fever or just a general feeling of being 'unwell'. Many people don't bear the full brunt of a dengue fever, and do not exhibit serious symptoms enough to even warrant a visit to the doctor. I use over the counter medication when I feel unwell, too, and when the demands of life takes over, it's all too easy to simply let the illness run its course.
  • High fever (which can last for 7 days, and does not respond to medication)
  • Severe headache
  • Joints and body ache
  • Nausea
  • Vomitting
  • Rashes
  • Loss of appetite


Should you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms, visit a doctor as soon as possible. Ensuring that you are well rested and drinking plenty of fluids are also first step treatment measures. A hospital stay is recommended when symptoms escalate to include severe stomach pain and persistent vomiting, as these suggest dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Avoid places which may have mosquitoes present, as getting bitten by an Aedes mosquito will then spread the virus. People affected by dengue fever should recover within 2 weeks.

Protection and prevention

The best way to protect yourself against contracting dengue fever is to prevent yourself from getting bitten. The Aedes mosquito only feeds during the day, and breeds in clean stagnant water. This is why their breeding grounds tend to be indoors, specifically in dark, damp areas. It takes only a 'pool' of water the size of a 20c coin for them to take flight. Furthermore, I was really alarmed to find out during the workshop that the eggs which attach themselves to containers or vases can lay dormant for years - and then continue the life cycle when water is introduced again.

To illustrate this point, assuming that you take out that huge vase (which is otherwise stored) to put in fresh flowers for a festive occasion. The vase is then rinsed, dried and kept away. Aedes mosquito eggs present then stay in the vase, and hatch the next time water is reintroduced into the vase! To prevent this from happening, ensure that all vases or containers are scrubbed clean and dried thoroughly before storage.
Get rid of stagnant water in and around your home, and spray insecticide regularly in dark corners of the home.

10-minute 5-step Mozzie Wipeout

In an effort to increase public awareness and ensuring that the community does its part in containing the dengue epidemic, The National Environment Agency has developed a quick routine which can be done by everyone. 10 minutes is all it takes, and these 10 minutes can make a difference between life and death.
  • Change water in vases/bowls on alternate days
  • Turn over all water storage containers
  • Cover bamboo pole holders when not in use
  • Clear blockages and put BTI insecticide in roof gutters monthly
  • Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days

I have friends and family who have suffered through dengue. Fortunately, they have recovered completely, although it was a harrowing experience for everyone involved. Prevention is the only ammunition we have against these silent killers, and the community must do its part to contain the spread.

The danger is that anyone, anywhere, can be infected. The next time you think: "No, it won't happen to me" - think again. There is really no telling who will be the next national statistic.

Don't let it be you.


Join the Stop.Dengue.Now! Facebook page for updates and dengue survivor experiences. For live updates, follow @NEAsg on Twitter. More information here.

Disclaimer: This is a community awareness message brought to you by NEA in collaboration with MummyMoo. All opinions are my own, unless stated.

Childcare ethics: How do you deal with sick kids?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

When I dropped the Mookid off at childcare yesterday morning, I overheard a mum telling a teacher that she has exhausted all her childcare leave, and has no choice but to bring her son to child care. She doesn't have any more annual leave to claim either, and I couldn't help but feel a twinge of sympathy for her and her son.

Honestly, the first thing which came to my mind was how worried she must feel, because as a Mum, there is nothing which I dread more than the boy being ill. For all the times which the little one suffered through blocked noses, high fevers, coughs and colds, I will always wish that I could suffer in his place so that he won't have to go through it.

I admit that there was that niggling thought in my mind - the boy will be exposed to whatever his schoolmate is suffering from, but as a working Mum, I can totally understand her position in this instance. Furthermore, I also saw her produce a letter from a doctor certifying that her son is fit for school, and the running nose was just the tail end of the fever and flu which he had suffered the previous week.

What amused me, however, was the teacher's reaction when she saw me. She knows me as Caden's mum, but we are not familiar with each other because she teaches the Nursery class and the Mookid is in Playgroup. She saw me, smiled, and quickly ushered the other parent into the separate office.

Perhaps she did so because she has had unpleasant encounters with other parents in the light of the situation. Maybe it was an instinctive reaction to prevent any complaints or finger pointings should another child be taken ill. Either way, it got me thinking.

I am guilty of being judgemental in the past. Prior to having a kid, whenever I read stories of outbreaks in schools or hear of a sudden rise in flu or cough cases in preschools, I thought that it was irresponsible for the parents to have sent their sick kids to school. It doesn't seem fair that a whole class of kids is exposed to an illness when it would have made more sense for them to be kept at home till they are fully recovered.

You know the saying that people who have no kids seem to 'know' more about parenting those who do? It's true. They seem to have the 'perfect' solution to everything - but at the end of the day, only when they become parents themselves will they really understand the challenges that come with raising a child. Parenting seems to be so much easier when you don't have the physical child to take care of. Nothing is textbook perfect, and not everything pertaining to the child can be explained by the most comprehensive parenting book. Ever.

We chose to place the kid in a preschool / daycare by choice, because we want him to learn social skills, discipline, and have a good foundation in learning. As my in-laws, his secondary caregivers, are getting on in years, we feel that it's also best to give them a breather instead of having to care for the boy full time.

What about parents who place their kids in daycare because they have no other choice? When both parents work full-time and there are no alternative caregivers, daycare is the only other option, apart from leaving the kid(s) to a helper.

There are approximately 14 days in annual leave, at starting point. Some companies choose to increase this by one or two days with every subsequent year of employment. Add on 6 days of childcare leave. A parent has 20 days in a year to claim leave. Assuming a child comes down with a high fever, which can last from 3 days to a week. Then he contracts HFMD, in 2 months time. That's perhaps (conservatively) another 6 days of leave claimed to take care of him at home. Perhaps the child is sickly, and falls ill easily. How then, does one manage?

Kids fall sick. All of them do, regardless of how healthy they otherwise are, and how much supplements or boosters they are given. Some kids tend to fall sick easier than others - that's just about all the difference there is.

We are very very fortunate that my in laws stay near Caden's childcare, and picks him up at around 3pm, after his naptime in school. He is able to experience 'home' comforts and have dinner at an appropriate time, since we finish work pretty late. When there was one time he came down with a fever halfway through school day, his Grandma picked him up from school to bring him to the doctor. When he is unwell, he stays at his grandparents' home and is well cared for. Even during the recent haze situation, we chose to keep him away from school (as classes are non-air conditioned) for as long as it lasted, because we have the luxury of alternative care.

DaddyMoo and I need not worry about having to take leave to take care of the kid when he's kept home from school in situations whereby deadlines have to be met and taking leave would mean that certain things at work has to be kept on hold. We take leave as and when we are able to, and we are indeed thankful that we are blessed with parents who are more than happy to care for their grandson whenever.

What if we don't have this luxury? What if we have no choice, like the parent whom I mentioned above, who has exhausted all her leave? Perhaps we can take unpaid leave, but will it be prudent to always have other people cover our duties?

For me, my family always comes first. But I do not judge other parents who may have their reasons to prioritise other things. I am not in their situation, and I have no right to judge them. No parent will wish ill of their children, and likewise, I'm sure every working parent would see to it that they try to spend all free time with their kids.

What would have run through your mind had you been in my shoes yesterday morning? When is a child considered well enough after a nasty bout of sickness? If he is certified fit by a physician, yet is still recovering - is it appropriate to send him to school?

Please share your thoughts.

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Bacon & Corn Chowder: A meal on its own

Friday, 12 July 2013

Chinese soups, Peranakan soups, Indonesian soups, Western ones - they all have that element of 'comfort', which always reminds me of rainy days and curling up with a good book at home. There's just something heartwarming about a bowl of good soup, especially if it's made with love.

I have had my share of canned soup. While I appreciate the convenience of canned comfort, it just tastes different when it's home-made. Soup doesn't have to be complicated or take hours to do. It just has to be hearty, flavourful, and chock full of great ingredients.

I love bacon (like many of you do, I'm sure!), and I think anything made with bacon simply can't taste wrong! This is a quick and simple chowder to make at home, without the 'heaviness' of flour or cream usually associated with thick soups. The sweet and salty combination is perfect, and a small portion is a great start to a meal. When eaten with a hunk of crusty bread - it's a meal on its own!


Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

  • 200gr streaky bacon, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 nos large onion
  • 2 nos potatoes, diced
  • 1 corn on the cob, cleaned.
  • 1 pack (500gr) of frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained. I used Watties.
  • 2 cups skimmed or low fat milk
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Bacon bits (optional)
  • Scallion / Spring onions (optional)

1. Cut onion and celery stalks into large pieces, and use a food processor to chop into coarse pieces. Meanwhile, put diced potatoes in boiling water and simmer for about 3 minutes. Potatoes should be half cooked when taken out of the water. Run cold water on the potatoes to stop the cooking process, and drain.

2. Using a sharp knife, cut the corn in half and using the 'flat' side as a base, cut the corn kernels of the cob.

3. Slice bacon, and set aside.

4. Using a blender or a food processor, put the frozen corn (which has been thawed) in with 1 cup of milk. Blend to a smooth consistency.

5. In a flat-bottomed pan, sauté the bacon in olive oil. You can cook these according to your preference, either crispy or just cooked through. Put in the chopped vegetables, and cook until the onions turn translucent. Add in the potatoes and mix well.

6. Add the blended corn mix in, along with the other 1 cup of milk. Cook for 10 minutes, all the while making sure that the soup remains simmering. Don't let it boil. Add salt and pepper (or any other herbs you like) for taste. When random bubbles appear on the surface and 'pop', turn off the heat.

Garnish with spring onions and bacon bits.

7. Serve hot, and be amazed at how the boys, who may not like vegetables much - will love this!



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