Friday, July 25, 2014

If the Diaper Fits, Wear It!

When you are a mum of two kids, with lots of things to buy and bills to pay, every little bit of savings count.

My precious, the loves of my life

I don't know about you but as someone who does not like to waste anything, I'd hate to have to give away diapers that are in a size that my kids can no longer wear because they have outgrown them.

So how do you know when to change from size M to L?

Well this comes with experience and keen observation. Case in point, Baby Boy is starting to outgrow his current diaper (if you see his chunky thighs, you'd understand why).

You know a diaper's too small because:
1) There are deep pressure marks on the skin, especially around the leg openings
2) There are redness around the waist and thighs
3) The diaper sits too much below the belly button (ideally, it should sit just slightly below the belly button)

It is definitely time for me to get bigger diaper pants for my boy! Oh how fast he has grown! (*groan*)

In general, the moment we notice that diaper is starting to cause pressure marks, we would buy a bigger size in our next purchase so that we don't waste money (better for your baby to wear a slightly bigger diaper than a diaper that is too small).

With a proper diaper in place, the kids are free to roll about in any way that they like and you won't have to worry =)

Kids rolling around and playing on the bed

And if you have a toddler like me, trust me, life is so much easier when your kid knows how to put on her own diaper.

That's really easy to do (and teach) with Drypers Drypantz, as my girl demonstrates in 3 easy steps:

STEP 1: Stretch It Out
Even before putting on the diaper, ensure that your child stretches it out both at the top and at the bottom of the diaper pant to "loosen" it before putting it on.

Stretching out the bottom (left) and the top (right) of her Drypers Drypantz

This will ensure that the gathers of the diaper will not be folded inwards and "clip" your child's skin. You may need to remind your child repeatedly to stretch out the diaper because there is a high chance that they will not remember (hopefully over time, they will no longer need any reminders =P).

STEP 2: Front Side Up
Teach them to distinguish between the front and the back (and as an OCD mum, I'm very particular that she gets it right! *laughs*).

The back of the diaper has an animal (in this photo, a bee) is showing its backside (left)
while the front of the diaper has an animal facing front (back). It's not rocket science =)

STEP 3: Put it In & Pull it Up
Get your child to sit down when putting on the diaper as it's a lot easier. After they've inserted their legs, all they need to do is pull it up!

Put it in (left) and pull it up (right)!
And viola! =)

Remember to check the fit around the thighs and waist because if the diaper is worn incorrectly, it may leak (it did a couple of times when we forgot to check).

A comfortable and stretchy waistband is also very important to ensure that the diaper fits just right without causing any discomfort which, as we know, is simply a recipe for disaster. Breathability and Softness can be achieved with the cloth-like Comfort Fit™ waistband and softer outer cover of the Drypers Drypantz that provides ultimate comfort for your child.

To illustrate this, meet Dryper's cute mascots, Airy and Softie!

Airy (left) is a colourful pinwheel that reduces pressure and allows your baby's skin to breathe;
Softie (right) is a fluffy little cloud, what the outer cover is made of (sort of)

Your child can now Breathe Easy with Drypers Drypantz! =)

Good Things Must Share!

1) FREE Samples of Drypers Drypantz
If you are keen to try the new Drypers Drypantz, simply visit Dryper's Facebook page and request for them!

2) Special Offer
For the month of July (2014), you can buy a pack of Drypers Drypantz for a special price of $10.95 each at major hypermarts and supermarkets (sizes available: M44, L36, XL32, XXL28)!

3) Win Attractive Prizes
Play the “Breathe Easy Breeze” game on Facebook, where you'll have to control Airy using your mouse to help Softie turn plain diapers into Drypers Drypantz! Convert 12 diapers to Drypers Drypantz in the fastest amount of time and the top scorers each week will stand to win prizes such as $100 cash vouchers or tickets (worth $88 each) to Lunchbox Theatrical Production’s “Bubble Magic” show.

Disclosure: This is Part 4 of a series of sponsored stories on behalf of Drypers Singapore. All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 14, 2014

London Day 2-4: The 9th ICCAP at the University of Roehampton

We woke up really early that morning (still living on Singapore time apparently) and were the first at breakfast.

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Although it was bread, ham, cereal and eggs every morning, the mum and I still went religiously every morning because a) we were really hungry and b) we wanted to save money. We love the croissants and milk though =)

After breakfast, I left my baby in the care of my mum and walked to the Hammersmith Bus Station to take Bus 72 to the University of Roehampton where the conference was held.

Buses from Hammersmith Bus Station to Roehampton
On Bus 72
Crossed the Hammersmith Bridge every morning on my way to Roehampton

I had previously screenshot a map of the college and the nearest bus stop (Bus Stop 72024) so it was easy for me to locate the bus stop to alight. It also helped that the location of every stop is announced and displayed at the front of the bus =)

Left: I looked out for the tip of this church and the Shell station next to it before alighting
Right: Press button and wait before crossing the road

I found my way to the Whitelands College quite easily (reading maps was always my strength *laughs*).

Whitelands College
(Address: Holybourne Avenue, London, SW15 4JD)
This cool building is the home to the Department of Psychology of the University of Roehampton
Registration at the 9th ICCAP

This is the 9th International Conference on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology organised and hosted by the University of Roehampton where psychology researchers from 42 countries gathered to share research and discuss ideas on child and adolescent psychopathology.

It was my first time attending an international psychology conference and I was excited! I attended as many of the presentations as I could over the 3-day conference and enjoyed every session. I thought the research that was shared was very relevant to my work as well as my interests in child and adolescent research.

During lunch of the first day, I met up with the Director of the Center of Sexual Health Research at the University of Southampton and had a very interesting conversation with him on teen pregnancy and sexual abuse in the UK. In the afternoon, I presented a poster that was written by my work buddy and I at the Manresa Hall on behalf of my organisation.

All the posters are presented at the old school Manresa Hall
Definitely a significant milestone for me as a researcher =)

It was a very valuable experience sharing my research and learning from other researchers in the field. I'm very grateful to my organisation for sending me =)

After the conference in the evening, I brought my mum and baby out so that they are not cooped up in the hotel all day. It does not get dark until 9pm here in London during the summer so we have a few hours to explore the city.

We decided to head to somewhere near enough to Hammersmith and yet had to be accessed by train so that we can make full use of our 7-day unlimited travel pass (typical cheapo I know *laughs*). We decided on Paddington and made our way there via the Hammersmith and City line.

Entrance to the Hammersmith Station for the Hammersmith & City (pink) and Circle (yellow) lines
(Note that it is different from the entrance to the Hammersmith Station for the District & Piccadilly lines,
although they are just a short street away from each other)
Tube trains serving both lines
(check the information displayed on the trains to ensure that you are taking the correct line)
Paddington Station, just 7 stops away from Hammersmith Station

We arrived at Paddington and explored the neighbourhood.

Boats parked along the Paddington Basin
Ducks swimming in a line (you don't see this in our Singapore canals, do you?)
A book shop on water! Way cool!
It was a 5-minute walk from the Paddington tube station to the Paddington Railway Station
(we got a little lost initially)

The moment we arrived we knew we had to have dinner as we were famished! Garfunkel's looked kind of cool so it became our choice of restaurant (we're not very complicated people).

Garfunkel's restaurant at Praed Street
Eating at Garfunkel's

I have no pictures of our food because we were so hungry that I forgot to take photos till we had finished eating everything! We had a burger and fish and chips, which were ok (nothing really special).

We spent the rest of the evening walking along the street and buying souvenirs. It was a really nice and cool evening for a walk.

It says St. Mary's Hospital on the outside but it's really a college, the Imperial College London to be exact
The beautiful Hilton London Paddington Hotel

I can't wait to visit more of London after the end of the conference =)

Continue to >> London Day 3: Natural History, Victoria & Albert Museum & Harrods
<< Back to London Day 1: Hammersmith & Transport in London

P.SMany of the recommendations included in this London series were contributed by my colleagues, who had studied there for a number of years (many thanks!). For more of our travel itineraries, please visit my travel page! =)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

London Day 1: Hammersmith & Transport in London

I was going to bring my baby to Bangkok, which would only be a short 2 hour-plus flight, to test if he was ok with travelling on planes. But then I found out, after I had booked the air ticket to Bangkok, that my organisation wanted to send me to London to attend and present at an international conference.

My mum-in-law would not be able to handle two kids on her own so I was asked to bring one kid along with me on the trip. After convincing my mum to go along with me, I decided to bring Baby Boy instead of my girl.

I know it sounds crazy but here's my logic:
1) Infant fare is cheaper than child fare
2) My girl has gone/will be going overseas a lot this year
3) I'm tired of pumping and storing milk so that he is fed while I'm away
4) I'm tired of pumping and storing milk during the trip

I know that meant that we will be travelling with a 6 month old baby for the first time on a plane for 12 plus hours! The first time I travelled with a baby, i.e. my girl, was when she was at least 10 months old on a 4 hour flight. I really don't know what to expect but all I can do is pray. All things are possible to him who believes!

It wasn't easy packing for a long trip with a baby in tow and I didn't have a lot of time to do it. Thankfully, I managed to pack everything we need (even his rocker, without which he won't be able to sleep!) in the afternoon before our flight!

Packing his rocker into our largest luggage

So off we went to the airport, just me, Baby Boy and my mum for the first time. I was understandably excited and extremely nervous at the same time. It was a strange feeling.

We checked in at Changi International Airport, Terminal 1 and it was our first time flying by British Airways (BA). I've been very impressed so far by their service when I had to call to request for my mum to be seated next to me as we booked separately (they responded very quickly).

Using the baby push chairs provided by the airport

Our BA flight departed from Singapore (bound for London) at almost midnight and the journey was a grueling 12.5 hours! I prayed a silent prayer again that my baby will be good on his first ever flight overseas! :S

By the grace of God, other than looking somewhat surprised by the loud noise and sudden acceleration, Baby Boy did not cry during take-off and landing! He also slept really well on the flight, thanks in part I think to the special infant seat provided by British Airways that was very similar to his rocker.

Baby Boy awaking from his nap
Infant seat attached to the large table in front of our seats

We arrived safely at London's Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5 at 5.30am (London time) the next morning. London is 7 hours behind Singapore so it was technically 12.30pm in Singapore.

Arrivals in Heathrow Airport

3 Possible AIRPORT TRANSFERS to the city:

1) Heathrow Express (GBP 30/person, return trip)
Great if you are travelling alone.
We survived the journey!

Buy your tickets and board the Heathrow Express, located conveniently at the Arrival Hall

2) Addison Lee (GBP 50, return trip)
3) BA Transfer (GBP 65, return trip)

I decided to go with the last option as it was the most convenient for families travelling with kids (especially since mine was a baby). All you need to do is pre-book a taxi online and input information such as your flight and destination details, the time and place to pick you up, etc. You are also able to book a car seat in advance so that it will be ready for your child/children when you arrive.

A driver greeted us punctually at 7.30am (the time that I set in the booking) at the Information section of the Arrival Hall with a piece of cardboard with my name written on it. and take us directly to the taxi.

Information section at London Heathrow Airport
The driver helping us with our luggage
The infant car seat that I had requested for Baby Boy so that he will be comfortable during the ride

It was only a short 15-20 minutes journey to our hotel in Hammersmith, which is one of the most well-connected towns in London. Our hotel, Best Western Seraphine Hammersmith, was just a 5 minutes walk to the Hammersmit Bus Station and Hammersmith Tube Station (4 lines go through this station!) and was conveniently located right next to departmental stores, supermarkets and restaurants! =)

Best Western Seraphine Hammersmith
Entrance to the hotel
Reception counter

As it was too early for us to check in, the hotel kindly allowed us to join the other guests for breakfast, which is usually provided for every hotel guest as part of their room package.

Simple English breakfast
Baby Boy was just super excited to be in London!

We were so happy to be able to rest, have tea and eat something after a long flight. Even though we tried to take our time, it was only 9am by the time we finished breakfast and our earliest check-in was 11am (the hotel kindly tried to allow us to check in earlier). Since we still had a lot of time to kill, we left our luggage at the reception before exploring the neighbourhood.

Most shops in London open late (around 11am) and close early (at 5pm) on Sunday so we couldn't do much except explore the neighbouring Kings Mall and other shops.

There was a 2-storey H&M at Kings Mall, and the Summer Sale is ON! Woohoo!
Hammersmith Station: District (green) and Piccadilly (blue) lines

When we were too tired to drag our ass down the street any more, we returned to the hotel and waited at the lounge until a room was ready for us (at around 11.30am).

Left: Small room on the 3rd floor with a nice roof window instead of a window overlooking the street
 Right: Standard queen size bed with a beautiful wall paper
Desk, hair dryer, TV, cupboard, safe and extra beds
Clockwise from left: Comfortable size bathroom with the usual amenities;
Complimentary water, coffee, tea and biscuits everyday; iPhone player/radio

We were expecting that the room would be small as I was told most hotel rooms in London were small but we didn't realise it was going to be that small! There were hardly any space for our luggage but with a bit of creativity, we managed to make it work. The bathroom was bigger than expected though and we loved how clean and modern it was (bathrooms are very important to women!) =)

The bed was calling out to our tired bodies so we crashed for a nap right after we explored our room! We were just too tired! :S

When we woke up later that afternoon, we headed to Primark Hammersmith, which was conveniently located just opposite our hotel!

Primark at Hammersmith
(Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 9am-8.30pm; Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 12-6pm)

Mum and I love Primark! They sold everything from clothes to household items at very affordable prices and you'd get to enjoy tax-free shopping if you spend at least GPB 35 (except for children's clothes).

After spending at least 2 hours in Primark (and almost buying the whole store), we went to Sainsbury’s Supermarket located within King’s Mall for my daily dose of Diet Coke.

Cool personalised Coke bottles (none with my name though unfortunately) seen at Sainsbury's
(Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 8am-8pm; Sun 11am-5pm)

We then bought sushi from Wasabi (a Japanese restaurant scattered all over London) and had it for dinner at our room. After a long day, we were just happy to sleep early as I had a long day of conference the next day.


Before I end this post, I would like to share some tips on getting around London economically (because cabs are not cheap!).


1) Bus

The iconic red London bus!

Travelling by bus is strongly advised by my colleague, who also suggested downloading a transport app to your phone or check Google Maps for the buses to take. I did the latter (more on my experience with taking the bus tomorrow).

2) Tube / Underground

The symbol for the London Underground Tube system
(look out for it when you're trying to find out where the entrance to the stations are)

We took the tube almost everywhere we went so it is definitely one of the most convenient modes of transport in London.

Please note though that most of the tube stations do not have an escalator so we had to carry our stroller up a lot of stairs (my mum was really irritated by that though)! Some of the stations have wheelchair access (as shown on the Tube Map) so check before you travel. In addition, there are no air-conditioning in the tubes and stations so it might get really stuffy in the trains especially during peak hours. Make sure that you dress light and always bring a bottle of water with you when you travel.

(The next time one of us complain about our nicely air-conditioned and fully accessible MRT trains and stations, please be grateful.)

3) National Rail

National Railway train

Trains on the National Rail arrive at stipulated times (generally 20 minute intervals) so you may have to wait if you missed the last train. We were advised to travel by national rail only if we are travelling out of London.

Most importantly, ensure that you are armed with the Tube Map and National Rail Map as well as an Oyster card, which is like our Ez-link.

Oyster card

If you are going to be travelling a lot in London like we did, buy the 1-day and/or 7-day unlimited pass to travel on the bus, tube and trains (within Zone 1 and 2) for just GBP 7 and 31.50 respectively! We really enjoyed using it as it was definitely cheaper and hassle-free (no need to constantly top up the card).

However, I forgot that we didn't need to travel at all on the first day when we bought the card so we actually forfeited one day of travel (lesson learnt, buy the pass on the day that you actually travel and not before)!

I will be sharing more of our experiences on each mode of transport so stay tuned =)

Continue to >> London Day 2-4: The 9th ICCAP at the University of Roehampton

P.SMany of the recommendations included in this London series were contributed by my colleagues, who had studied there for a number of years (many thanks!). For more of our travel itineraries, please visit my travel page! =)
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