Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Getting on the Terrarium Craze

Honestly when people started making terrariums around me, I wasn't at all interested. It looked cute but that was it. Even when my colleague/ friend asked me to join her in an MSF organised workshop on lamp and terrarium making, to be absolutely honest, I only signed up because of the lamp and the class was cheap (yes, I'm a cheapo at heart!! *laughs*). The terrarium was just a good side dish but not the main course, if you know what I mean.

Making the lamp from scratch out of copper materials
My finished lamp! So proud of myself!

And then I was introduced to the world of terrariums. I liked that the workshop focused more on caring for the plants rather than the decoration. That resounded with the gardener in me and made me pay more attention.

Making my first terrarium

There are basically two types of terrariums: open and closed.

The contents and care that you need to provide for them are slightly different so for the sake of this post, I will cover mainly closed terrariums because open terrariums are similar to most indoor plants.

I preferred to keep my terrariums in office where there is no chance that my kids can break them. And since the other colleagues were interested in making some as well, we held a mini workshop at one of the conference rooms.

Laying out all the materials that we need

The steps to making a terrarium, whether open or closed, are the same. The only difference is the type of soil you use.

The first step is adding Small Rocks or Stones that serve as  drainage for your terrarium. Ensure that there are little gaps between the rocks for water to filter through.
The second step is adding Sphagnum Moss and Activated Charcoal.
Sphagnum moss is required for separating the soil from the rocks while the activated charcoal helps to deodorise and prevent mold from growing in your terrarium.
The third step is adding the Soil.
The soil should be loose and easy water drainage for closed terrariums.

Once you're done, you can add your preferred indoor plants (we chose fittonias because they do really well in terrariums) and decorate with adorable figurines!

The end result of my super cute, Chinese-garden themed, closed terrarium
Closed terrariums of different shape and size

My little office garden keeps on growing!! =D

  • Clean regularly to ensure that there are NO WATER DROPLETS or condensation above the soil in your terrarium -- excess moisture will cause mold and the leaves of the plant to rot
  • Closed terrariums can maintain its own ecosystem; water them once a month or when needed -- if water droplets observed, do not water
  • Touch the leaves -- if paper-like, your plant is receiving adequate moisture
  • Check that your decoration pieces are suitable in a moist environment -- metal and certain clay are not suitable as they will rust or grow mold

As long as you continually monitor your terrarium and ensure that it does not have too much moisture, your closed terrarium will maintain itself with minimal effort.

OPEN terrariums, however, are like all indoor plants who require watering at least once a week. Take note not to over water, especially if they are in an air-conditioned environment where the air is maintained at a constant humidity and temperature.

Succulents are awesome for open terrariums as they look good and are super easy to maintain.

I have FIVE terrariums now and counting! Hahaha (^_^)

Why don't you give it a try? Who knows, you might get addicted like I did! =P


If you are thinking of starting your own garden, do check out my series on BC & Mad's HDB Garden where I share our journey in becoming gardeners in our own home! =)

You can also read more about my green journey before I blog about it on Instagram via the hashtag #bcmadgarden and #madofficegarden! =)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Our Little Kitchen Helper

As you know, although we have a beautifully renovated kitchen, I'm hardly in it except to organise the cupboards/pantry or grab my favourite food from the fridge. Instead, the Mum-in-law is the Head Chef in our house and she calls most of the shots in the kitchen, much to our relief!

Recently, she has been getting my girl to help out in the kitchen a lot more, probably because she didn't want my girl to end up as clueless in the kitchen as her mother.

My girl was doing such a good job that I decided to get her the TOPPKLOCKA Children's Apron and Chef's Hat from IKEA to look even more professional!

Left: She looks so good in her chef's apron and hat!;
Right: Getting right to work sitting on the MASTERBY Light Blue Step Stool. I really love this stool because it is of the right height and sturdy enough to be used for both standing and sitting. Very useful for little kitchen helpers! =)

The girl was helping the Mum-in-law make fried wantons today, something that was easy enough to do.

My girl demonstrating how to lay out the wanton skin
The Mum-in-law got her to mix the filling in the plastic KALAS bowl so that there's no chance that she'll break them =)
Putting just enough filling on the wanton skin using her KALAS spoon, before folding the wanton skin in two to wrap the filling.

The challenge for kids (and even adults!) is knowing the right amount to put in thr wanton! Too much filling and the wanton will burst, too little and well, let's just say you're eating the skin more than you're eating the wanton! *laughs*

Laying out all the finished wanton on our FARGRIK plate
She really enjoys making wantons to fry!

The Mum-in-law will fry all the wantons once she is done. Although I don't have a picture of the final product because we finished them so quickly (we were too hungry), I can assure you that they were so delicious!

The girl was also bugging me to buy popsicles for her but instead of buying them, the cheapo me decided to get her to make her own!

Very excited that she will get to make and eat her own popsicles!

I am so lazy that we decided to use whatever sweet liquid I can find in the fridge, which turned out to be a can of Fanta Orange that we got for free from one of our hotel stays in Malaysia.

All we needed was a can of Fanta Orange and the Popsicle Maker from IKEA
Training her hand-eye coordination by pouring the drink into the Popsicle Maker
Putting her Popsicle Maker into the freezer

A few hours later, her popsicles were ready!

She absolutely loved them!

She wants me to teach her baking next and I have decided to learn just for her sake! Will update the blog, wish me luck! =D


Disclosure: An IKEA Gift Card was received from IKEA Singapore for the purposes of this post. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Our HDB Garden (2): Sustainable Source of Vegetables

We have always wanted to grow our own organic vegetables to eat and now that we have our own urban garden in our balcony, we finally can!

We grew our vegetables from seeds we bought at Far East Flora as well as Aeon and Tesco in Malaysia.

Before we share with you our experiences growing the different vegetables in our garden, here are some things you need to know that applies to all our vegetables:

  • Ensure that your plants either get enough sunlight to make food or get enough food from fertilisers
  • Watch out that you don't wet the leaves when watering. Otherwise, the leaves will rot.
  • Do NOT over water the plants. If you're unsure, dig your finger into the soil to test if it's dry or damp.
  • Spray insecticide but use it sparingly
  • When harvesting, cut only the outer leaves. Keep the ones in the middle as vegetables usually grow new leaves from the middle. This way your plant can keep growing and generating an endless supply of vegetables for you =)
Now that you've got the basics, here we go!

10 Types of Vegetables We Grow at #BCMadGarden

[1] Curly Dwarf Pak Choy

Covering the seeds with a plastic wrap helps it germinate faster
Baby Curly Dwarf Pak Choy
Little seedlings growing in a row
Curly Dwarf Pak Choy maturing into full grown vegetables

Cut them when they are about a palm size otherwise they might grow too big and wither (or get attacked by insects). They are called dwarfs for a reason =)

[2] Dwarf Pak Choy
*Recommended for beginners

This is basically the cousin of the Curly Dwarf Pak Choy, except that the leaves do not curl up
With enough sunlight, it's pretty easy to grow!
We recently harvested our Dwarf Pak Choy for our mini hot pot. So delicious!!!

We've harvested our Dwarf Pak Choy more than once and they're still growing. My personal favourite =)

[3] Broccoli

Our pot of Broccoli is growing slowly but happily

We've yet to harvest our broccoli but it is growing healthily. Slow and steady wins the race I suppose =)

[4] Cabbage

Tiny cabbage seedling
Our grown up cabbage!

Cabbage requires a lot of space to grow so one pot typically can only hold one plant. They also need time to grow into the cabbage that we see in the supermarkets so be patient!

[5] Califlower

Our califlower

Like the cabbage, califlower also requires space to grow, though less space than the cabbage. We've not had any luck harvesting yet, mainly because we did not place it at a prominent spot with more sunlight. It's not doing too badly though.

[6] Choy Sum / Cai Xin

Our HK Choy Sum
Cai Xin

For some reason our choy sum / cai xin don't seem to grow bigger than the palm of my hand before wilting. Not sure if it is because we put it in a spot with not a lot of sunlight. If you're growing vegetables for the first time, I suggest not choosing this as your first plant.

I've since moved our Cai Xin to a better spot so hopefully that would help.

[7] Long Leaf Amaranth

Seedlings of our Long Leaf Amaranth
Full grown Long Leaf Amaranth

The seeds of the Long Leaf Amaranth germinate very easily but it's not easy for them to grow into a full plant. It took us quite a while before it grew to become a full plant and to be honest, we nearly gave up on them.

Sadly, they were later attacked by insects and were wiped out except for one sole survivor that I managed to save by spraying insecticide regularly. It's now growing again, hopefully with no more attacks!

[8] Chinese Kale
*Recommended for beginners

Our baby Chinese Kale
Chinese Kale youngsters and still growing

Chinese Kale is pretty easy to grow as long as you provide it with adequate sunlight. The hubby loves to eat it while I'm less enthusiastic. I much rather have dwarf choy sum or kang kong.

Our Chinese Kale plants provides us with regular supply of leaves (though not a lot) for dinner every few weeks

Definitely recommend for you to try this at home!

[9] Kang Kong
*Recommended for beginners

Young Kang Kong plants
I love Kang Kong so we're growing as much of them as we can in big pots as well as smaller pots

Kang Kong loves water so don't worry about over-watering! The more the merrier! I found Kang Kong the easiest and fastest to grow so I highly recommend growing this at home. We have a steady source of Kang Kong for dinner every two weeks and now hope to grow enough to be able to harvest once a week.

Our yummy harvest of Kang Kong on a good week

I absolutely love our Kang Kong! Yummy!

[10] Kai Lan

Kai Lan

Kai Lan was not as easy to grow as Kang Kong and Chinese Kale but we finally managed to grow them till they reached adulthood. We recently harvested our first batch of Kai Lan! It was not a lot but it's a really good start! =)

Recent harvest of Chinese Kale, Dwarf Pak Choy, Curly Dwarf Pak Choy and Kai Lan
Assorted vegetables including my favourite kang kong. Our kang kong was recently attacked by insects, which explained the smaller than usual yield.
Mum-in-law cooks them altogether.
Truly urban garden directly to table!

The mum-in-law is of the opinion that all the effort for one small plate of organic vegetables does not seem to be worth it. However, to the hubby and I, there is really no greater joy and satisfaction when you're able to harvest your own vegetables and enjoy them!

Take note though that all plants especially vegetables require a lot of time and effort to prune, irrigate, fertilise and protect from pests. Hence, be prepared to set aside some time everyday to tend to them.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post! Do watch this space for the next post on growing Capsicums.

Continue to >> Our HDB Garden (3): Capsicums
<< Back to Our HDB Garden (1): Getting Started


This post is part of my series on BC & Mad's HDB Garden and Our First HomeJoin us as we share our journey in becoming urban gardeners in our own HDB home! =)

You can also read about the progress of our garden before I blog about it on Instagram via the hashtag #bcmadgarden! =)

Friday, 21 July 2017

Amazonia at Great World City

For some reason, I never had a chance to bring my kids to Amazonia at Great World City when we were staying at Tiong Bahru even though it looked so cool from the outside.

Amazonia at Great World City

We finally had the opportunity to bring the kids to check it recently and they were thrilled!

The 3 huge slides was probably the biggest highlight of the playground
The play structure is more than meets the eye. It's pretty deep and high up so kids can have a ball of time playing.
The huge hippo was part of the forest theme
Exploring the play structure
Sliding down the huge slide with my boy, who was terrified! He did not like it at all!
My girl, on the other hand, loved it!
The boy would much rather play in the "safe" toddlers area
Pretty decent size and perfect for little ones
My boy having fun and refused to leave

While the kids had fun playing, the hubby and I relaxed at the forest cafe.

It's quite a nice, well decorated dining area

Although the kids had already eaten lunch, they were more than happy to finish the kids meal.

Kids meal with drink

The unique thing about Amazonia is that they also had other fun activities such as Space Ball, Crazy Bounce and even a 3D Glow Golf!

Space Ball is a dark room with glow in the dark guns and balls. It is best played with 4-6 players in my opinion.
My girl thought it was ok but my boy didn't like it at all! The room was simply too dark for his liking!
A small corridor on the left that led to the party rooms and Glow Golf room
3D Glow Golf Putters
Super eerie room which creeped out the kids a lot initially until I reassured them that everything was fake! I think I was assuring myself more than anything because it was indeed pretty spooky.
My girl showing us how it is done!
Everything glows in the dark, hence the name
To add to the spookiness of it all, some parts such as the shark's mouth actually move when it detects motion (i.e. via motion sensors), which scared the hell out of my kids!
I swear if one of the skeletons jumped out and scared us, I would have been the first to scream and run away in shock! *laughs*
The scariest of all to the kids was this super realistic looking dinosaur who roared when you approached. Very fun for dinosaur lovers but not for my kids *laughs*
The kids then tried out Crazy Bounce, which was a large trampoline outside the indoor playground
The kids having fun jumping to their hearts content
Each kid gets only 15 minutes, which is very short but more than enough for my kids

Do note that there's a fee for Space BallCrazy Bounce and 3D Glow Golf. Hence, try to get the package if possible or if you can only pay for one activity, I'd suggest 3D Glow Golf. That was my favourite so far! =)


If you'd like to visit Amazonia, here's your chance! We're giving away Amazonia admission tickets of 2 adults and 2 children to 3 lucky readers each!

Proudly sponsored by Amazonia

Simply follow ALL these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on your family's favourite weekend activity!

(2) Enter your entry into the Rafflecopter widget below
(Don't forget to do this as we'll be using the widget to pick the winner!).

(3) Include your email address so that we can contact you

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The other entries are optional but you may enter them for higher chances of winning! Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this Giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 13th August 2017 (Sunday) and is only open to readers living in Singapore.
b) Participants who do not fulfill the conditions of this giveaway will be disqualified without notice.
c) Winners will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter and contacted by me.
d) The winner must respond within 3 days otherwise another winner will be drawn.
e) Participants are also bounded by other terms and conditions set by the sponsor.


This post is part of my MadPsychMum Fun in Singapore Guide to all things exciting for kids! 
Check out other fun playgrounds and attractions in Singapore! =)

You can also follow us on Instagram or join us by using our hashtag #mpmfuninsg


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