Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jumpboard at Pilates Fitness

We really enjoyed attending the prenatal Pilates classes when I was pregnant with Baby Boy, so it was natural for me to continue with Pilates after I've given birth. Although I've already lost 16 of the 23kg I gained during pregnancy (that is another story), I still had more to lose!

So off I went to Pilates Fitness and tried out Pilates Reformer for "normal" folks for the first time! =)

"Where.. did.. my.. muscles.. go..??" I grunted, as I pulled the strap on the Reformer. My abs (or the semblance of it) must have magically disappeared as soon as baby ballooned in my tummy.

"Not the same as Prenatal huh?" my instructor smiled. I nodded. "Yes.. tougher!"

Nevertheless I started to get better at the exercises after a few classes of Core & Body Aches and Weight Loss. Just to note that the former is less intense than the latter so Pilates Fitness recommends going for a few classes of the former before joining the latter.

Pilates Fitness encouraged me to try out their Jumpboard and AbsBurn classes next, which you can join after completing at least 5 classes of Core & Body Aches and/or Weight Loss.

The word AbsBurn really scared the hell out of me (still do!) as I really don't think I have any left after the pregnancies and deliveries so I decided to try Jumpboard even though I had absolutely no idea how you could "jump" on the Reformer.

Just in case you are clueless (like I was), I have indicated what Jumpboard and Reformer are in the photo=)

We did some basic warm ups before lying down on the carriage of the Reformer and placing our feet on the Jumpboard. I had no idea what to expect except that we were supposed to "jump" in this position.

Our legs in Table-top Position
(I'm using Pilates-talk so that you don't get alarmed like I did by all the new terms never heard of before till now!)
Jumpboard class

In case you still can't picture how it is done, here's a video of me (don't laugh!) taken by one of the Pilates Fitness staff.


I love how you can get a full body workout without harming your knees like running (and even real jumping) does. Although Pilates really pushes your body physically, it does not cause you to go breathless like how running does to me (if you're a long time reader of my blog, you would know how much I hate running*laughs*). It also helps that your trainers are there to motivate you to keep at it (unlike running.. did I mention I hate running?)!

Of course we do more than just jump during the class. We also work on our arms and abs with various props like poles and rings (officially called the Fitness Circle).

Working on our arms

I'm really happy that I finally found an exercise besides swimming and cycling that I actually enjoy doing (albeit more expensive)! You can try it too =)

Pilates Fitness Packages:
1) 6 Days Trial 
Validity: 6 days
Cost: S$59

2) 25 classes + 4 FREE AbsBurn classes
Validity: 6 months
Cost: S$1075

(Note: You are able to share selected packages with your friends if you find that some of the packages are out of your budget; there is no limit to the number of people sharing the package but each person has to pay a Joining Fee of $40 each.)

Pilates Fitness Locations:
1) 434, Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 098854
2) 85A, Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555981

I usually go to the former. You may check out the class schedules at both locations for a better idea of how it fits into your schedule.


GIVEAWAY!

Pilates Fitness will be giving away 1 FREE Pilates class worth S$49 to ALL my readers!

All you need to do is quote "MadPsychMum" when you call Pilates Fitness at +65 9184 7622 or email them at enquiry@pilatesfitness.com.sg when you make your booking. Don't worry, Pilates Fitness does not believe in hard selling and I can testify to that as I've never seen it in all the times that I was there =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 30th June 2014 (Mon) and is only for first time customers of Pilates Fitness.
b) The free Pilates class consists of 30 minutes reformer introduction + 55 minutes of Weight Loss OR Core & Body Aches class only


Check out Pilates Fitness and Pilates Fitness Facebook Page for more information on the types of Pilates classes and packages that they offer =)

Disclosure: Complimentary Pilates classes were received from Pilates Fitness for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all text and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SidePlus All Mesh Carrier

Originating from Japan, the SidePlus All Mesh Carrier was a mix of both my Baby Bjorn and Ergobaby carriers (see my detailed review of my Baby Bjorn & Ergobaby). It had the safety support seat like a Bjorn but the soft material of the Ergobaby.

Photo Credit: Suppori

To test it out, I carried the Baby Boy in the SidePlus All Mesh Carrier when we were shopping for about 2 hours.

Baby boy in the front face-to-face position
Close up of the waist belt

The padded shoulder straps and waist belt were very comfortable and I had no pain in my back even after carrying my baby for quite a while. I had expected the boy to feel a little strange in it (as it wasn't his usual carrier) but he didn't and even fell fast asleep.

The carrier allows you to carry your baby in 3 positions: Underarm, Front face-to-face and Back.


Photo CreditSuppori

I couldn't test out the back-carrying position as Baby Boy is not big enough and my girl is too heavy for it. However, I did try out the underarm position, which is the most unique aspect of this carrier, as it was suitable for babies under 4 months.

Adjusting the straps can be quite complicated though if you're doing it for the first time (or are not in the habit of reading instruction manuals!). There are two rings for the two different carrying positions as seen in the illustration below:

Photo CreditSuppori

Make sure you've got the shoulder straps hooked to the right ring otherwise it will not be secure!

Next, the Head and Back Support Board is inserted into the carrier to ensure the weak heads of newborn babies would be adequately supported. The board can also be inserted for the back-carrying position so that the back of the child is supported. I thought this was very useful as I remembered that my girl's back was arched when being carried in the Ergobaby (back-carrying position).

Photo CreditSuppori
All Mesh Head and Back Support Board
Place the board into the big pocket of the carrier and secure it in place

Both the board and carrier are made of the All Mesh material, which is stretchy and allowed for better airflow so that both the baby and the wearer would be comfortable in our hot climate. I also liked that the carrier had pockets for storing the ring and waist belt when not in used.

Left: Pocket to store ring when not used for front- and back-carrying positions
Right: Pockets to store the waist belt when not used for the underarm position

After inserting the board, place the baby on the carrier inside the safety support and straddle both shoulder straps over your head.

My baby is getting too big for this position! *gasp*
Carrying my 3.5 month old Baby Boy in the Underarm position

I think this position is great for tiny, fragile babies with very little neck support. Not so much for my giant Baby Boy who was causing my neck to ache a little in the 15 minutes that I carried him in this position! *laughs* As you can probably guess, this is not a suitable carrier for heavier babies or toddlers as the maximum weight is only 15kg.

To give you an idea on how the SidePlus All Mesh carrier measures up to my two other carriers, here's my summary table:

My Comparison Summary Table

Overall, I liked that this carrier is versatile, affordable and value for money. Although the designs are simple, there are a few colours that you can choose from.

Available in the above colours

And now for the GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away one SidePlus All Mesh Carrier to ONE lucky reader!

Simply follow all of these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on where you will bring your child in a carrier

(2) Like both MadPsychMum and MummyToon on Facebook

(3) Enter all THREE of the above entries into the Rafflecopter widget below
(Don't forget to do this as we'll be using the widget to pick the winner!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The other entries are optional but you may enter them for more chances of winning! Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 25th April 2014 (Fri) and is only open to readers living in Singapore.
b) Participants must enter all 3 entries into Rafflecopter in order to qualify.
c) The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter and must respond within 3 days after being contacted by me otherwise another winner will be drawn.


Disclosure: Complimentary carrier was received from MummyToon for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

P.S: Follow My Baby Carrier Reviews as I personally put various baby carriers to the ultimate test!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Carrier Match Up: Baby Bjorn vs Ergobaby

One and a half years ago, the hubby and I stumbled onto a good deal and bought the Baby Bjorn Comfort Carrier. It was made of organic material so the price was really expensive. But we still bought it anyway as the hubby was not interested in any of the other designs. He really liked the slick black look that is the trademark of the Bjorn carrier (obviously targeted at dads).

My girl was almost hitting the weight limit of the carrier but I tested the carrier out anyway by carrying her while shopping with my family. Managed to carry my then 13.5kg baby girl for about 1-2 hours before I felt too tired to continue.

Dominique then encouraged me to try her Ergobaby Standard Carrier, which could carry toddlers up to 20kg, and kindly passed hers to me when her third child no longer required it.

Out of curiosity, I have used both for my boy to compare the differences between the two, which then led to this first hand review so that you can make an informed decision =)

Baby Bjorn Comfort Carrier vs Ergobaby Standard Carrier

I started carrying my baby boy in the Baby Bjorn since he was 1-1.5 months old (he was 5.8-6kg). I found that the Bjorn was sturdy enough to support his small and delicate frame and his head was well-supported. A newborn infant like mine could be carried without the need for an infant insert. I don't recommend that you use it for your baby as early as I did though because my boy's head "stabilised" earlier than most babies (I had a fair amount of confidence that it would be ok for him).

Front Face-to-Face & Front Forward-Facing positions

The Baby Bjorn is one of the few carriers that offer the forward-facing position, which can be useful when you want to allow your child to be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the environment rather than staring at your boobs chest all the time. However, do note that this position does not provide much support so I personally recommend not carrying your baby in this position for more than 1-2 hours.

My boy loves our Baby Bjorn carrier and can sleep in it for hours when I am out window shopping or running errands. I even walked 5km while carrying him in it at this year's Terry Fox Run!

I've been visiting several stores and noticed that they no longer sold our Baby Bjorn Comfort Carrier. Instead, they were selling an upgraded version of it, the Baby Bjorn One, which has an additional back-carrying position that is lacking in ours.

The downside of Baby Bjorn carriers is that they don't allow you to carry heavier babies and toddlers. As my boy grew heavier, I can literally feel the strain on my back the longer I carried him.

On the other hand, the Ergobaby offers great support for your back and allows you to carry toddlers as heavy as 20kg! I carried my 17kg girl in the Ergobaby carrier both on the back on the first day and in the front on the third day (because she didn't like to be carried at the back) when we were in Hong Kong.

Front Face-to-Face & Back carrying positions
Sturdy waist belt

The key to the Ergobaby design is the thick and sturdy waist belt that transferred the weight of your baby to your waist and hips rather than your back and shoulders. However, this meant that you will feel the ache in your legs when carrying a really heavy child like I did and not your back. This does not make it any easier or less painful! I'll know.. I carried my girl twice for just 1 hour each time and my legs couldn't walk after that!! =(

Unlike the Bjorn, which has it the other way around, the waist belt of the Ergobaby has to be buckled first before fastening the shoulder straps. The waist belt forms the foundation of the carrier, which therefore meant that you must keep the waist belt securely fastened at all times when your baby is in the carrier otherwise he/she could fall out (this is not so for the Baby Bjorn).

Hence, because the waist strap has to be secured first, I found it difficult to secure the back buckle without help (not sure if it's because I'm doing it wrong or simply not flexible enough). This was quite inconvenient as I was used to securing the baby in my Bjorn by myself.

Nevertheless, I really liked that the Ergobaby had a hood which can double as a rain/sun cover and a pocket for me to store my handphone and other stuff. It is also relatively cheaper and less bulky to store =)

In case you didn't get all that, here's a nice little summary table for you =)

Summary Table

Before you decide which carrier to buy, read up on the best practices for carrying a baby as doing it wrongly could significantly harm your baby.

Don't let having a baby stop you from enjoying the great outdoors! Having a carrier can make a world of difference in giving you the independence and freedom you need to bring your baby out on your own. Enjoy! =)


P.S: Follow My Baby Carrier Reviews as I personally put various baby carriers to the ultimate test!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Good Old School Days as a Saint

I was a Saint for 12 years.

No, don't look at me like that. I meant when I was in school. I was in Saint Margaret's for 10 years and Saint Andrew's for two.

Photo Credit: St. Margaret's Primary School

We were often reminded that St. Margaret's is the oldest school in Singapore so as her students, we are to uphold her honour and integrity.

My Primary 1 class!
Can you guess which one is me? ;P
Most of us are still Facebook friends, even with our teacher, more than 20 years later! =)
(P.S: I am the blur-looking one 5th from the right, last row)

Our primary school is set on a hill, Mount Sophia to be exact, and had army patrol vehicles driving pass every now and then because we were right next to the Istana. Our school building was so old and dark that we often heard (and told) stories of how so-and-so classroom/corridor/toilet was haunted! It was a blast =)

As we progressed to almost-teens (Primary 5-6), the Boy Band revolution started and all of us picked a group that we liked and started following them. I remembered that we especially loved the Backstreet Boys (I still do *laughs*) and Spice Girls; we would sing and dance to their songs in the classroom after our exams!

This is damn embarrassing but one day my mum dug out this old file of mine where I kept cut-outs of my favourite celebrities!
I used to love Thomas Ong! The fellow never aged a bit.. it's not freaking fair.
My Primary 6 class
Our teacher, coincidentally, is in the same church as me and  she still recognizes me after all these years! =)
(It's amazing because I look nothing like how I looked then and if you must know, I'm 2nd from the left, last row)

We then moved on to Secondary School where our Principal and teachers tried to instill some grace in us. Twenty years later, this is still how the school wanted everyone to view its students (nice to know that nothing has changed since my time)..

Photo credit: St Margaret's Secondary School

But the truth is, 80% of us were nothing like this at all! We wore shorts under our skirts, walked and sat like gangsters, talked trash and spoke our minds like there ain't any boys to judge us because.. they ain't any boys to judge us! We could be our true selves, discover who we really are and not have to worry about impressing the male species.
My Secondary 4 class
(About 8 of us are moms now! How fast time flies!)

We were the batch that started off in the original campus at Farrer Road and then got shifted to the holding school at Commonwealth (as seen in the picture above). We spent more than two years raising funds for the new school (at Farrer Road) but we never had a chance to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We only returned to the new school to collect our 'O' level results!

The only good thing I remembered of the holding school was that each class could paint the walls of our classroom in any way that we liked because the school would eventually be renovated anyway. So paint we did. We even painted the corridor black like the road, complete with double yellow lines! =)

Even though I wore the same green polka dotted uniform for 10 years, I loved it! It was the easiest uniform to wear as there was a zip just underneath the fake tie (yes it is fake, thank God!). Getting dressed in the morning meant "zip and go"! The material was also quick to dry so if you had an "accident", you could wash it off in the toilet and wait for like 15 minutes before it is completely dry and no one will know (if you must know, yes, that happened to me).

Which is why I got quite a shock when I proceeded on to St. Andrew's Junior College and had to actually tie a real tie! *horrors*

Getting dressed in the morning no longer took the usual one minute. I had to tuck in my shirt, adjust my skirt, tie my tie! Thankfully there was a straight bus from my house to the original school campus at Malan Road so that I don't have to wake up too early in the morning.

The old SAJC premise
My JC class at our school's track

I fondly remember training hard for my Physical Fitness and even managed to get a bronze award for the first time! I think I was the fittest then. The sister and I often ran or cycled along the river near our house and I even climbed 19 floors everyday!

I don't think I can even climb 4 floors to my house now.. *sigh*

Our class as well as the class next to us (which were the few classes who took literature as a subject) were heavily involved in the Drama Club's play production. I was part of the backstage crew and was the lighting person as well. It was the first time that I have ever controlled a bunch of switches that can influence whether a character gets light on their face or not.

One of the scripts where I scribbled notes on when to turn on the lights

Although I really hated studying for the 'A' levels (torture I tell you), the experience was somewhat made better by having really great classmates to chiong (rush forward) with!

School was fun but I doubt I would ever want to go back and relive those days of spectacles, ugly hair and acne skin (skinnier body aside)!

I'm happy where I am as a mother of two =)


Linking up with:

P.S.: Yes, if you must know, I was the one who forced suggested to the Gingerbreadmum to add that girl in the middle to the button. Cute what.. ;P

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kid-Friendly Cupcake Baking

I totally suck at creating food that people can eat so I had this grand idea of training my girl to cook so that she can be the chef of our family (*laughs*).

Anyway, I was thinking of ways to occupy her during the weekends when I remembered that I had promised her to bake cupcakes. Following the recipe from one of our Dora Magazines, I went to the nearby supermarket and got the ingredients.

Mixing the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl
She needed a little help with this so I jumped in to help mix it more evenly
Sieving the flour

This girl got so impatient with sieving the flour, she poured about 30% of it into the bowl without sieving it! *gasp* 

Next we added Milo powder (replaced cacao powder) and vanilla essence and stirred them all evenly together.

Helping to scope the mixture into the cupcake holders (have no idea what they are called)
All ready to put in our Philips Air-fryer to bake!
The girl with her finished product!
(Note: Frosting was supposed to top the cupcake together with the strawberries but I omitted it. Too sweet.)

The cupcakes were a little hard (I think due to the flour that was not sieved properly!) and we may have over-baked it a little. Even though no one wanted to eat them (including the girl!), I ate most of them because 1) I'm her Mummy, showing support is part of my job; and 2) Some tasted not too bad actually (probably those with properly sieved flour..).

We're thinking of doing mini cakes next.. wish us luck! =)
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