Category Archives: health

A family that runs together….

Last year, B took part in his first race at the Cold Storage Kids Run 2015. It was quite an experience for both of us – especially as mama didn’t realize the race was actually 800m till the day of!

This year, we’re excited to be part of the  Cold Storage Kids Run again – this time, with a special appearance by grandpa – 公公 – who is gamely joining in the 3Gen Family Fun Run (also 800m). After all, a family that runs together, stays healthier and happier together too 🙂 Come run with us at the Meadows @ Gardens By The Bay on Sunday, May 22, 2016!  On top of that, get a special discount for early bird sign ups with this code: WEMISSYOU16

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Three gen musketeers

About the run

Singapore’s Cold Storage Kids Run is Asia’s first kids focused run. Back for its 9th consecutive year, the event theme for 2016 is “Eat Healthy. Get Active”, promoting a healthy lifestyle and family bonding through exercise and a healthy diet. Early bird rates are now available up till 23 March followed by the normal registration period from 24 March to 3 April. This year also features the 3Gen Family Fun Run (which we’ll be participating in), Fancy Dress Family Fun Run, and two child celebrity ambassadors – football protégé Iryan Fandi and running enthusiast Abbie Rose Humphreys. Avid footballer and 10-year-old Iryan is the youngest son of illustrious local football legend Fandi Ahmad while 7-year-old Abbie Rose is the daughter of popular local columnist and author, Neil Humphreys. Visit http://www.kidsrun.com.sg for more info.

For updates, reviews and more, follow Finally Mama on Facebook or on Instagram.

Run to live and give great at the Great Eastern Women’s Run

Although there were moments of doubt, all things worked out in the end for me to race in this year’s Great Eastern Women’s Run!  We had cool and cloudy weather, amazing running buddies that encouraged me on when I was too tired or lazy to train, and … a timely (albeit too short) break between work trips this weekend.

GEWR2015_Participants donning a tutu for a good cause_Credit to Great Eastern Women's Run 2015-2
Fellow mom bloggers donning our tutus for a good cause

This year was the race’s 10th anniversary.  A total of 17,000 women participated today, setting a new record as the largest number of participants in an all-women run in Asia.

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It was bigger, better and more colourful this year, with increased participation in all race categories — the 5km Fun Run, 10km and 21.1km

What I love about the Great Eastern Women’s Run is that the event celebrates women and encourages us to live a more active lifestyle, while acknowledging the many facets of our lives – from healthy living, social causes, group activities … even, children!  The fringe activities include training runs, Piloxing and Kpop X dance fitness classes. Though I’m rather choreographically challenged, I had a fun time following along in the spirit of looking good (I mean, aerobic and body toning). For the first time, participants could donate and donned colourful tutus in a myriad of hues of pink, blue, yellow and purple, in support of three women and children-related charities — Breast Cancer Foundation, Community Chest (Children with Special Needs) and the SingHealth Duke-NUS OBGYN Academic Clinical Program.  Furthermore, the race featured its inaugural Princess Dash as 500 girls aged three to nine years, clad in pink princess-like tutus participated in a 100-metre dash, and were rewarded with a “finishers tiara.”  What a nice opportunity for moms with girls – making me wish I had a girl too, even though I love my little guy to bits!

So thank you, Great Eastern Women’s Run, for inviting me again this year and making it so hassle free, including delivering our race packs right to our home, sending us useful training tips and timely updates given the perpetual haze.  It was a wonderfully organised and meaningful event. I’ll definitely be back next year and maybe, improve my time 🙂

Stay tuned for the next race so you can run to live great and give great too!

For more updates and reviews, follow Finally Mama on Facebook and Instagram.  I was sponsored to run in the race. Photo credits to Great Eastern Women’s Run.   

No time to get fit unless we make the time for it

Since becoming a mom, exercise for the sake of exercise has been relegated to the bottom of my sea of priorities. I had all sorts of ideas about how I would be staying fit while bonding with my little one:

Mom running with babe
Like this – But B always wanted OUT of the stroller when we went out!
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Or this – We tried this at home. Nice bonding, not much exercising though

After a lot of false starts, here’s how I finally got going:

FIND A MOTIVATION: I joined fellow Singapore Mom Bloggers (Angelia, Christy, Dee, Liz and Meiling) to sign up for the Great Eastern Women’s Run at year end. Running seemed to be the most accessible, effective and efficient form of cardio, indoors or outside, with limited to no equipment needed. The shortest race option of 5K seemed do-able as I’d covered this distance before … back then.  Lastly, November seemed far enough away to not panic. Yet.

SCHEDULE IT IN: “We won’t find time to get fit unless we make the time for it!” I realised I needed a set exercise routine as “something else” would always get in the way every time. So one Sunday night, I searched for “5K training plans for rusty out of shape beginners,” adapted them accordingly and came up with a simple, progressive plan which can hopefully be sustained beyond November.  This also helped me get right down to actually exercise rather than figure out “what” and “how” to do beforehand.

STAY REALISTIC AND CONSISTENT:  I’ve affectionately dubbed my weekly fitness efforts as the “Get in shape to survive a 5K race” plan.  It currently looks like this, with target frequency and duration:

1) Interval training (3x/week for 30 mins): Beginning with more jogging than running, evolving into more running than jogging, and eventually fartleks i.e. steady run, jog, then stride (short burst sprints) intervals. For starters, run at an easy pace for 1 min, jog to catch your breath for 4 mins, repeat until you hit your target distance or time.  The first time I tried this, I clocked in (cough) 2 km in 23 minutes at around 150-155 bpm. OK, I was distracted by the machine, fiddling with the cardio and interval options before deciding to just adjust the speed manually.  But obviously, it’s been a long time since I did much cardio, let alone “training” runs 🙂  As the weeks go by and intervals get more intensive, strength and endurance, speed and aerobic metabolism should improve. I hope!

Night at the gym
Nights at the gym – after I put the lil one to bed and before I continue any work at home

2) Strength training (2x/week for 45 mins):  Doing weight bearing activities and/or attending a weekly reformer pilates class enables me to balance cardio for aerobic health and metabolism with strength training for muscle building and bone density.

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It may look easy but ….
Finding Humor in Fitness Terms
… it BURNS baby!

3) Cross training (1x/week for 30-45 mins): I’ve read that if we’re training to run, we should include other cardio activities (like swimming, elliptical, bike, climbing) to break the monotony of running, exercise new muscles and prevent injury.  Since those beginners plans listed this as optional, this pretty much only happens when I accompany my kid while he’s swimming or take the stairs instead of the lift 🙂

Swimming together

EXERCISE SMART:  Some tips for novice runners:
1) EAT a meal or healthy snack with sufficient water 2 hours before.  Drink 100 Plus (or sports drink) one hour after to hydrate. Get enough calcium (800-1000 ML per day) with magnesium, vitamins D and K for absorption.  Avoid access salt, alcohol and tobacco.
2) SUN is good, but too much isn’t. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a visor or cap.  It’s ironic how many folks are vitamin D deficient despite living in sunny Singapore so run in the early morning or late evening to catch some healthy rays if you can.
3) REST after your hardest workouts to reduce risk of injury. Rest at least 1 day prior to the race.  Warm up and cool down by walking ~5 mins before and after each run.  Don’t do major stretches before running, do it after or on non-running days.

Done reading this post? Time to get up, get out, get movin’!

getting ahead

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook. Linking up to share our journey to be fitter and healthier moms:

Next up is Toddly Mummy, a born-again drama-mama and creative extraordinaire, at least in EV’s and AA’s opinions. She has learnt that motherhood makes one discover talents one never expects one to have, all for the singular purpose of keeping the kids happy. A full-time-working mum, she spends evenings home learning and reading with her kids. On her blog, Toddly Mummy shares her thoughts on parenting, fun moments of home learning sessions and outdoor adventures.

Fit and Fab - Winnie

Fun For Free SG: Gardens By The Bay Children’s Garden

Singapore is blessed with many clean and safe public parks, and we usually frequent the green connectors linking the exercise and playground areas near school and home.  When we heard about the latest and largest children’s garden in Singapore, we couldn’t wait to go although it’s a little far out from where we live.  We liked it so much, we actually made it back THREE times this month (ok, one of those was for the Singapore Garden Festival). Here’s our experience for our next Fun For Free SG contribution.

WP_20140822_030The Far East Organization Children’s Garden offers a delightful blend of obstacle trails, water and sand playgrounds, all integrated with nature, and designed to be interactive for kids from 1 to 12 years old (and the young-at-heart adults).  Staff and signboards are placed strategically to ensure both safe and fun play.  For parents of very young kids, you’ll appreciate the efforts made to separate the rowdy youngsters from the rowdy toddlers 🙂

Toddler zone
For under 5 year olds, there’s the Toddler Play Zone with a mini obstacle course
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The Toddler Fish Fountain features warmer water and tamer play with gentle interactive jets
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B having a good splash together with a friend while mama lounges by the (covered) deck chairs
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The main Water Play area is linked to a multitude of movement sensors which are incredibly fun and wet! The view is pretty cool too
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Although more suited for older kids as the many moving sprinklers can thoroughly drench you, B plopped down to enjoy himself after we walked/ran around the main water area together
Sandpit
Head over to the Adventure Zone for sand play and obstacle courses before getting wet again
Treehouse
The 7.5 metre-tall tree house is designed for 6 year olds and up. Younger kids can still climb with some assistance and supervision but may have a tough time coming down! Thankfully there are alternate routes via bridges and wooden stairs
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Wibble, wobble on the linked suspension rope bridges
Obstacles
The Adventure Trail overlooking the water play areas consists of 14 different obstacles, mainly on sand (with gentle slopes and dips) such as balance beams, bars, rock climbing, roped tunnels and suspension bridges
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If you can’t go over it, go under it!
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Slide these broad covered water tunnels for the fastest (and wettest) way to go back down

Important Info:

How to get there: See detailed directions here.

Closest carpark is at Satay By the Bay (open air) or Main Visitors.  Conversely, if you take public transport, there is a free shuttle bus on weekdays that stops over at the Marina Bay, Downtown and Raffles Place MRTs.

Closed on Mondays for maintenance (same day as Jacob Ballas)
Tuesdays* to Fridays: 10 AM – 7 PM. Last admission at 6:30 PM. *Closed on Tuesday if a public holiday falls on the preceding Monday.
Weekends & Public Holidays 9 AM – 9 PM. Last admission at 8:30 PM

Low energy?  Dying of thirst? Cranky kid?  No fear. These are near:
1) Large covered amphitheatre overlooking both water play areas where you can bring your own food and drinks
2) Children’s Garden Cafe which has alfresco seating by the Toddler Play Zone (playground and water), open at the same hours as the park, serves drinks, snacks or a light meal (Asian and Western)
3) Satay By The Bay, a short scoot or walk away.  Also, the place to park your car if driving.  Stalls are  open from 8a – 11p

This is part of a blog train on Singapore’s Fun For Free places dedicated to anyone who’s ever needed to think about “where to bring the kids today?” Next up is Elizabeth, a mother to three rambunctious kids. She wifes, moms and writes at motherkao.com. Her family of five can be found at Terminal 3 almost every weekend because apart from not needing to have to queue for long to get dinner there, her kids get to do fun things for free while she indulges in GST-free shopping.

Liz

Visit all 31 Fun for Free train stops here:
1 Aug: Tiong Bahru Park by Gingerbreadmum
2 Aug: Queenstown Heritage Trail by Princess Dana Diaries
3 Aug: Jurong Regional Library by Finally Mama
4 Aug: Singapore Maritime Gallery by Peipei Haohao
5 Aug: Singapore Philatelic Museum by Kids R Simple
6 Aug: Sculptures of Singapore by Gingerbreadmum
7 Aug: Fire Station by The Js Arena
8 Aug: Esplanade + Merlion by Prayerfull Mum
9 Aug: Bukit Batok Nature Park by Meeningfully
10 Aug: Lower Pierce Reservoir Park by The Kam Family
11 Aug: I12 Katong – water playground by Universal Scribbles
12 Aug: IMM by Mad Psych Mum
13 Aug: Tampines 1 Water Playground by Amazingly Still
14 Aug: Sengkang Riverside Park by Itchy Finger Snap
15 Aug: East Coast Park by Toddly Mummy
16 Aug: Sembawang Shopping Centre Playground by Joey Craftworkz
17 Aug: Animal resort by Raising Faith
18 Aug: Botanic Gardens by Mum’s The Word
19 Aug: Police Heritage Centre by Mummy Ed
20 Aug: Venus Loop, MacRitchie by Scrap Mum Loft
21 Aug: Road Safety Park by Miracule
22 Aug: Marina Barrage by J Babies
23 Aug: Gardens By The Bay, Children’s Garden by Finally Mama
24 Aug: Changi Airport T3 by Mother Kao
25 Aug: Pockets of Nature by Mum in the Making
26 Aug: Changi Airport T1 by Growing with the Tans
27 Aug: Pasir Ris Park by Ingspirations
28 Aug: Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove by My Lil Bookworm
29 Aug: Vivocity Play Area by Amazingly Still
30 Aug: Punggol Promenade by Chubby Anecdotes
31 Aug: Westgate Wonderland by Xavvylicious

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Special Review and Offer: Pure Beginnings by Vines and Roots (15% off)

Hubby and I have fond memories of Africa. Beyond its immense beauty, nature, culture and history, it also has personal significance for us as we conceived naturally – after years of trying – upon returning from our South Africa roadtrip.  So it’s with much delight that I can share a little bit about Vines and Roots on this blog, with a special offer for our blog readers (details below).

Vines and Roots was founded by a mom who wanted to bring a touch of Africa to Singapore through organic body and skincare products. Made from natural ingredients with proven effectiveness, these products involve no animal testing, no preservatives, are biodegradable and sourced ethically to support fair trade in Africa. They recently launched a new line – Pure Beginnings – which is specially developed for little ones (safe from newborn on).

We had a chance to use and review five Pure Beginnings products:

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B lining up our Pure Beginnings samples

1. Insect Repellent:  Raining almost every day? Dengue fears again?  We’ve tried almost every (organic and normal) mozzie patch and spray. Sadly, most are rather ineffective for my bug magnet boy.  Worse, some of the cheaper brands smell terrible and leave a nasty, chemical or oily feel. Not this one! The Pure Beginnings repellent is 100% natural, DEET FREE, lightly scented with citronella, lemon eucalyptus, neem and lemon bush. It’s also thoughtfully designed as a roll-on tube so you don’t get your fingers dirty yet can still concentrate which area of skin to apply on for maximum effect.

2. Baby Berry Toothpaste: Featured in the Parents World 2014 Best Organic and Natural Products Awards, this Pure Beginnings toothpaste is excellent!  It’s fluoride-free with xylitol, safe to swallow and tastes great too – errm, yes I’ve tried it (I try anything that my son consumes, intentionally or accidentally).  B basically brushes his teeth 3x a day – when he wakes or after breakfast, before mid-day nap, and before bedtime.  He had no trouble switching from his regular off-the-counter toothpaste to this, and while he now knows how to gargle and spit, he’s also “tasted” Baby Berry and told me that he likes the raspberry flavour!

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3. Baby Bum Cream: I usually carry several creams in my bag for sensitive skin, occasional rashes, cuts and bites. With Pure Beginnings, I’ve found a multi-purpose cream that can treat diaper rash, insect bites and stings – saving money AND space! The Baby Bum Cream contains baobab, olive, lavender and tea tree oil, which give it natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The use of baobab is a nod to its unique African roots whose trees are associated with longevity, oil from its seeds used as moisturisers, and extract of the fruit delivers pre-biotics and antioxidants.

4. Baby Wash and Shampoo: Mild, rosemary and geranium scented, this all-in-one baby wash and shampoo also contains baobab extract, a common ingredient in the Pure Beginnings line. After using this for 2 weeks, we’ve yet to see any dry, rough patches on B’s skin – which he’d normally get with regular soap as he inherited my sensitive skin.

Ready?

5. Bamboo Baby Wipes: Most wipes are alcohol-based which dry or aggravate sensitive skin. In contrast, these Pure Beginnings wipes are quite gentle due to their organic aloe and baobab extract content. There’s also a slight soapy quality to it too – handy in a mess, especially with younger babies who still drool a fair bit, can’t reach or use regular sinks or aren’t potty trained yet.

Given my own history with ezcema, I was very keen to find affordable yet natural products for B in his early years.  I’ve scoured the net and malls comparing and testing most bath and body brands in Singapore. If you look beyond the marketing, many of them contain chemicals, synthetic fragrances, dairy, soy, nuts and gluten which may trigger allergies or aggravate rashes.  As such, I appreciate Vines & Roots efforts to be pure and transparent, with clear labels and active use of ingredients such as baobab extract,  lemon, citronella, lavender and tea tree. The Pure Beginnings line is a wonderful addition with its natural range of kid-friendly, effective and appealing products.

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Thumbs up to Pure Beginnings!

Just for our readers:  Vines & Roots is offering an exclusive 15% discount for all  purchases using our blog code “FINALLYMAMA”.  Keen to try but don’t know where to start?  Check out the various gift combinations available such as this sample travel set below.

A 100ml baby wash and shampoo, 100ml baby body lotion, a 50ml baby bum cream, and an embroidered cotton facecloth, lovingly selected in this lovely compact pack

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Special Review and Offer: PowerMoves Pilates Free Mat Trial (Worth S$55)

I’ve lived with lower back pain since my university days, when I had two bad falls – one on a mountain bike, and another while skiing.  For almost two decades, the pain would come and go, and at its most intense, I could be bedridden for a few hours as numbness sets in.  I tried all sorts of treatment: physiotherapy, painkillers, muscle relaxants, therapeutic massage, acupuncture and chiropractors.  However, years later, the occasional back pain would still be triggered by activities such as: Lugging my work laptop around client sites in Australia and Indonesia, vacationing in Southern Italy and South Africa where we constantly walked, trekked and biked around, and of course, during my third trimester and the newborn months.

I started attending PowerMoves Pilates In The Park four years ago because of their convenient location (Dempsey was near home), timing (beginners class right after work, before dinner) and ambience (beautiful, peaceful, natural surroundings). I moved to the pre-natal class from 17 to 37 weeks pregnant, and then rejoined regular classes about a month after delivering. I’m currently going for a blend of mat and reformer classes. Pilates has proven to be an effective, enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle solution for me. Over time, I find that I’ve developed (or post-pregnancy, regained) a smaller waistline, flatter abs and a stronger core which has helped protect my back and spine.  I can honestly say, it’s been a “me” activity I look forward to every week!

Pilates exercises emphasise control and resistance training – with moves that focus on core muscles in the “powerhouse” (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath.  Working with mat comprises a series of floor exercises,  complemented with equipment like the magic circle, fit ball and free weights. Reformer involves the use of a resistance-based machine with springs and ropes for assistance. Exercises can be performed lying down on your back, side or front, sitting, kneeling or standing. On the surface, it might seem that not much is going on, but when you truly activate the powerhouse muscles, you will definitely break out in sweat as you feel your body lengthening and vibrating!

It’s also good to understand what PILATES IS NOT:
1) Pilates isn’t cardio.  Over time, pilates exercises will increase your lean muscle mass which helps your body burn more calories, even while you are at rest. In fact, “Cardio is great; but the second you hop off the bike or the treadmill, you stop burning calories. With Pilates, the second you’re done, you start burning calories.” However, if your primary goal is weight loss, then you still need to continue activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming or dance, as well as any necessary diet adjustments.

2) Pilates isn’t yoga. Although both connect mind and body exercises, pilates is non-spiritual and takes a scientific approach. “The breathing is different – in Pilates, you pull your stomach in to build abdominal strength, while in Yoga you allow it to expand as you breathe. Pilates is about the body in motion, while Yoga entails holding the body in a variety of poses.”

PowerMoves Pilates today has 3 lovely garden studios –  Dempsey Hill, Rochester Park and Bishan Park, and has won accolades such as the 2014 SHAPE awards for Most Challenging Pilates Class & Most Mummy Friendly Pre-Natal Class, as well as Singapore Tatler’s 2014 Best of Singapore’s Pilates Studios, and Expat Living’s Most Beautiful and Beginner Friendly Pilates StudioThey like to say: In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference; in 20, you’ll see the difference; in 30, you’ll have a whole new body.  Want a leaner, firmer, fitter you? Take time out from the daily grind to take care of yourself!

For all of July, blog readers get a special complimentary trial mat class (worth S$55). Just contact them via phone or the online form HERE. State your preferred studio, day and time, and give them the code FINALLYMAMA to redeem.

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Traipsing around Tiong Bahru

May hasn’t been a merry month so far 😦 Once again, the flu bug hit and everyone got sick – at least once. As B and I are still recovering, I decided some fresh air and a little exploring would do us good. So we headed to Tiong Bahru: B liked the tilting train though the slides and flying foxes were challenging for a 2.5 year old – thankfully it was cloudy, the park looks like it could get real hot! Later on, we strolled through the neighbourhood, stopping by Wu Hu Aquarium (oddly, B wanted to eat fish after this!), Woods in the Books and Tiong Bahru Bakery. Will be back next time to visit Ah Chiang’s Porridge, Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, Flock or PoTeaTo (with or without B, haha)

Tiong Bahru Park Adventure Playground
Tiong Bahru Park Adventure Playground
Looking down at the mini maze and old school merry-go-round
Looking down at the mini maze and old school merry-go-round
Happy (but now skinny) boy

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

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