Thursday, April 17, 2014

Foodie Friday: Fish&Co Mothers' Day Platter!

Fish&Co is no stranger to Singapore's F&B scene and their iconic glass house branch at Park Mall is almost an institution in itself. We remembered Fish&Co is one of our favourite dining places with friends during our tertiary and courtship days. All of us can testify to its generous and succulent portions of seafood served in a pan.

Cosy Interiors at The Glass House flagship outlet

We all know Moms around the world will only serve the best on the table to the family. This Mothers' Day, as a tribute to all Mothers, Fish & Co is serving a sumptuous Mom’s Platter, featuring a beautiful medley of freshest, delectable seafood.

Seafood in a Pan!

Generous portions of succulent king prawns, juicy scallops, calamari and prawns are grilled to perfection and comes accompanied with Fish & Co.’s very own unique creation of curry butter clams. We celebrated Mother's Day early last night at The Glass House with a bunch of blogging friends and all of us were full of praises for the Mothers' Day Platter. The king prawns and scallops were juicy and tender; the clams plump and flavourful that even Dana helped herself to multiple servings! The raisin butter rice was also a hit with the kids.

Simply sumptuous Mothers' Day Platter!

The Mom’s Platter (priced at S$65)  is available from 4th to 11th May 2014 at all Fish & Co. outlets and is ideal for sharing with the family (suitable for up to 3 pax).

Click to enlarge poster

Mothers' Day Bonus: Fish&Co is offering a complimentary Fish & Co. membership with every purchase of a Mom’s Platter which entitles you to 15% points rebate on spending all year round, 20% points rebate on your birthday month, priority reservations and more! The membership gives you more enticing reasons to dine here!

The tacos and salsa dip in this Snacks Platter is finger-licking good!
Lychee Mojito and Calamari Rings - our choice of appetizers...

The ambiance at Fish&Co is relaxed and unpretentious; many of the menu items are designed for 'communal feasting' (to be shared with our dining companions) - making it the perfect place for celebrations and reunions. So give your wives and Moms a break this weekend, and bring them to Fish&Co for the gastronomic treat they deserve!

From this bunch of wacky Moms to all our Mommy readers: an early Happy Mothers' Day! *Just realised I was holding the sign wrong way up...*sorry*

Do check out other ongoing Fish&Co Promotions on its Website and Facebook page too!

http://www.fish-co.com/



Disclaimer: We were invited to an early Mothers' Day Celebration at Fish&Co. No monetary compensation was received. All photos and opinions, as usual, are ours.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Abrakadoodle Marine Parade - where Art is more than meets the eye...

It was a regular yet irregular weekday afternoon - while I was at work and the wife was held up in office too (it was both our hectic season). When she finally stepped home, she was pleasantly surprised to see Dana quietly drawing at the dining table - she was midway through her personal rendition of Piere Auguste Renoir's 'Auvers sur Oise', tracing the lines which would eventually be the rolling landscape dotted with lush green trees accentuated by white fluffy clouds against the blue sky. The wife promptly equipped her with her paintbrush and water colour and before long...what was once a white piece of drawing paper became a snapshot of a French countryside.

Looking at it when I returned from work that evening, though it was far from the original, for me as a parent, the value of it far exceeds that of an actual Renoir.

Such is the value of these enrichment activities - to empower, to equip, to expose. We will never know when these lessons will eventually be part of your child's psyche, empowering your child to meaningfully engage in a constructive activity to create, offering her an alternative medium of creative expression.

We enrolled Dana in Abrakadoodle programmes since she was 2. It used to be weekly art class but due to scheduling issues, we now could afford to send her during the vacation breaks. Abrakadoodle is one of the few holiday enrichment programmes we have consistently sent her for the past few years. The approaches adopted in Abrakadoodle resonate with our outlook towards an arts enrichment class which are:

1) Benchmarking with the best
2) Age-appropriate and student-centred teaching
3) Collaborative teaching and learning strategies
4) Character building
5) Providing rigour through exhibition
 
Original artwork done entirely by the children on the Wall of Fame...
Our budding artist and her 'Tree of Life'...
Sharing the techniques used to complete this Jackson Pollock art piece...
Gallery Time - a 'Show & Tell' trademark of all Abrakadoodle Camps

Classes at Abrakadoodle are helmed by qualified instructors who understand children and are able to motivate them to express their creativity. Themed lessons offer children the opportunities to be exposed to the works of iconic artists. For this particular 'Kids on Canvas' Art Camp,  Dana and ehr friends were introduced to works by Renoirt, Jackson Pollock, Amelia Pelaez, Katsuhiko Hibino among others. The instructors guided them patiently to replicate simple and achievable works while sharing with them short biographies and special techniques made famous by these artists in the process! Most of all, the lessons are fun and the children always look forward to returning the next day.

What makes Abrakadoodle distinct from other art centers is that students' works would be either painted on actual canvas or mounted in a special die-cut frame for display, giving them a more professional artistic feel.  Children would then have to conduct a gallery walk for their parents on the last session and do a short 'Gallery Time' on their chosen piece - a hallmark of Abrakadoodle that instills confidence and pride in their art pieces - to me, this gives a fitting conclusion to the lessons.

Instructors at the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) Studio uphold the high expectations we have of Abrakadoodle - they were friendly, approachable yet effective in their classroom management and teaching styles (As educators, trust me when I say we have high expectations of these enrichment providers and Abrakadoodles' never fail to deliver).

Another added bonus is that the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) Studio is a convenient location for parents to drop their children and hop on down to Parkway Parade for some retail therapy or just wait around while browsing the few shops at this Laguna Park Condominium. The natural and spacious surroundings offer a tranquil setting for children to learn and adults to relax.  If you feel like 'celebrating' as what we did after the children's gallery walk, you can dine at the famous Diamond Kitchen Seafood Restaurant (two doors away) that serves really tasty Chinese cuisines. Parking is free by the way (another big bonus for us parents who drive!). Meaningful exposure, like these ones provided at Abrakadoodle is important for young children. Though we may not see immediate tangible outcomes, when the time is right, these traits will manifest in a myriad of positive qualities that we can never quantify.

Tree of Life - powered by love in the centre of it all...
Dana's Renoir's 'Auvers sur Oise'
The satisfaction in seeing their artwork displayed on the wall...
Happy Kids on Canvas campers!
We love the cosy studio at Abrakadoodle Marine Parade (Laguna Park)!

Here are some personal testimonies from Dana, her friends Maegan & Meredith and their Mommy Daphne:

"I enjoy the lessons at Abrakadoodle because I get to learn different ways of painting and there's face painting on the last day! My favourite artist is Jackson Pollock because it's fun to splatter and drip paint on white canvas." - Dana Joy Sim, 6

“I really enjoyed learning to draw on canvas and painting the background, foreground and middle ground. I also learnt drawing techniques such as short stroke and broad stroke and using thick and thin paint. My favourite artist is Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a French artist and I drew one of my favourite pieces after learning about him. “ - Maegan Tan Ee Ning, 7+

“I like the Abrakadoodle art camp ‘Kids on Canvas’ because we get to do nice stuff like painting. My favourite artist is Amelia Pelaez from Cuba. I also enjoyed learning about Katsuhiko Hibino and his popular square clock which I made using art decoration and a picture of a rainbow as the face of the clock.” - Meredith Tan Shi Ning, 6

“It is not often that we have the opportunity for the girls to learn about contemporary and master artists from different parts of the world such as Cuba, Japan and France. After the five days, the girls were proud to present their paintings which they used their imagination to create based on the techniques employed in the works of these artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Chuck Close, Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollack.  Each piece was unique and a special peek into the creative window of each child’s mind and how they interpreted the techniques they were taught. It was a perfect combination of artistic creativity and technique discipline, facilitated by two very vibrant teachers at the Abrakadoodle Art Studio at Marine Parade. ” - Daphne Tan, Mom of Maegan and Meredith

Maegan, Meredith with Teacher Pat...
Dana with Teacher Pat...

SPECIAL GIVEAWAY!!

Abrakadoodle is located at Cluny Court, Rochestor Mall and also Marine Parade (Laguna Park).  They conduct art classes, art camps and art parties.  To celebrate the new opening of the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) studio, two lucky PrincessDanaDiaries readers will each win a sponsored Abrakadoodle 3 day Art Camp (worth SGD300) for one child!

The camp will be held at the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) Studio during the upcoming June vacation (You may check the camp schedules here).  Simply follow the steps below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is only open to readers from Singapore and ends 1159 hours on Wednesday, 30 April 2014.  All the best! 
 

Disclaimer: Dana was invited to attend the Kids on Canvas Art Camp for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all photos and opinions, are as usual, ours. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dads and the daughters they love...

I was chatting with my Mommy friends over the weekend and this topic of a father's role in our daughters' lives came up. This article from Focus on the Family sheds more insights on this discussion and gives Dads ideas how to make this relationship count.

Daddy plays with Dana at her level!

 

The facts on Dad

Research confirms, again and again, that a father plays a unique and important role in the development of his children’s self-esteem, behaviour, life choices and relationships.

When it comes to the specific father-daughter relationship, Dad’s involvement is uniquely influential. “Fathers have an incalculable impact on their daughters,” writes Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family.

“Most psychologists believe that all future romantic relationships to occur in a girl's life will be influenced positively or negatively by the way she perceives and interacts with her dad.  Practically speaking, a father has the opportunity to demonstrate to his daughter how a godly man treats a woman, setting the standard for her future relationships with men.

Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Parenting, says, “When my daughters were growing up, I tried to set the bar as high as possible – I wanted to affirm them, encourage them and even spoil them a little, so that a guy would have to do the same to attract her as a potential mate. If a guy ever got rough with them, or put them down, they’d think, That’s not how healthy men treat women.” Ultimately, a young woman’s relationship with her father has a significant impact on her view of men, her view of God and her view of herself.

The demonstrative dad

So what does it look like for a father to be demonstrative in his love for his daughters?

Dads can be practical in demonstrating their love by using words of affirmation, offering prayers of thanksgiving and intercession, giving their time and support, and displaying affection.  In our home, Daddy makes it a point to give Dana a big, tight hug the moment he steps home; he rings her every midday just to tell her he loves her; he reserves his biggest smiles for her; he insists on being the one who helps her brush her teeth at night, prays with her and tugs her into bed with however many requests for bedtime stories.  He is also the disciplinarian at times (though he wishes he doesn't have to).

It’s also important to keep the father-daughter relationship alive with fun things, such as enjoying concerts, movies and games together. “Don’t let the relationship become 100 per cent training. We have to enjoy our daughters. That’s a really fun part of being a father.” says Gary Thomas.

Loving daughters through their stages

At every stage, Dads have an important role to play in their daughters’ lives. Here are some additional ways fathers can display love and acceptance to their daughters:

Infancy & toddlerhood
  • Be regularly involved in your daughter’s day-to-day care, whether it’s bathing her, feeding her or putting her to bed at night.
  • Spend time every day down on the floor at her level. Sing to her, show her pictures and toys, or read to her.
  • Schedule outings for just the two of you. Go to the park, the aquarium, a bookstore or even the grocery store (added bonus: Mom will appreciate the time to herself).
  • Pray over her and bless her each night before bed.

Elementary school
  • Share activities you both enjoy, like bike riding, board games, swimming, sports or exploring nature.
  • Make her laugh – act silly, tease her lovingly and share inside jokes.
  • Take her on regular dates. Treat her to ice cream or a movie of her choice. Show her the kind of gentlemanly treatment she should expect on future dates with males.
  • Share with her your favourite Bible stories, and tell her how you’ve seen God work in your life and in the lives of those around you.
  • Regularly tell your daughter you love her. Tell her why she’s special, how proud she makes you feel and how blessed your life is because of her. Make sure you also tell her how much her heavenly Father loves her (supportive Scripture you might share: 1 John 4:9-10; Romans 8:37-39; 1 John 3:1).

High school and beyond
  • Care about what she cares about. You might not be able to relate to every one of her interests, but don’t make fun of her or judge her. Show that you take her seriously and respect her for who she is.
  • Talk to her. Make sure you put down the newspaper or laptop and really listen to her. You may not always (or ever) be her “go-to” confidante, but let her know you’re available to listen or talk – without judgment or condemnation.
  • Pray for her regularly. On the morning of a big exam, an important game or when she’s feeling particularly stressed or worried, ask if you can pray for her before she leaves for the day. Gently affirm God’s promises and His deep love for her (Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 91:14-15; Deuteronomy 31:8; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 46:3-4).
  • Every so often, bring her flowers.
  • Leave her love notes. Tell her you’re in her corner, no matter what. Remind her that she’s beautiful to you, inside and out, and praise her for the good choices she makes. Gary Thomas says, “I believe [daughters] need to hear specific words of affirmation that directly relate to who they are and their own particular gifting – helping them see not just where they fall short, but the evidences of God’s grace in their lives that need to be celebrated.”

Also available on Amazon, a separate title for sons entitled, 'Bringing up Boys'. 

Even though the article gives tips for father-daughter bonding, many of the tips are gender-neutral and apply to sons too.  For deeper reading, grab a copy of Dr. Dobson’s newest book, Bringing Up Girls. For more ideas on fun, faith-filled activities you can enjoy with your children, check out Focus on the Family's free online resource, Kids of Integrity.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

PappaRich - Rich in Traditions, Values and Flavours

We live in a cosmopolitan, digital age where traditions are eroding at an alarming pace. Ask any youngster on the street for their fav staple food and they'll most likely say pizzas, pastas, fish & chips, burgers etc... In fact, most of us can whip up a pasta meal better than say, a 'Bak Chok Mee' or 'Bak Chang' (Rice Dumpling). What makes us truly Asians and how do these show from the food we eat? Asians are renowned for our work ethics - diligence, adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit. These traits can often be found in the signature dishes of good Asian cuisines and their street food (or more commonly known here as hawker food), is no exception.

Nothing like wood-panelled exterior to symbolise an old Asian homestead inviting you in for a hearty meal

At PappaRich, these Asian traditions and values are preserved and translated into the food they serve. Whilst these 'street food' are now prepared in a different setting – under strict hygiene standards, air-conditioned comfort and served by a team of efficient staff, the PappaRich management takes a dedicated, hands-on approach from restaurant decor, staff training to food quality and sourcing for the freshest ingredients from different parts of Malaysia to preserve the authenticity of the heritage cuisines.

Warm and welcoming interior sets the tone for a nice meal with family and friends

From traditional breakfast fare to delectable dinner dishes, every item from PappaRich’s extensive menu is prepared and served with pride. Take for example its Hainan Steamed Bread with Half Boiled Egg served with Homemade Kaya (coconut jam spread). This seems like an ordinary dish served at any coffee-shop but one taste and you'll soon discover PappaRich's is far more superior.

At PappaRich, only the finest organic rice flour and premium eggs are used to make the bread.  They are then baked according to the traditional recipe and bread making process inherited from the Hainanese forefathers hence retaining its fluffy and soft texture. Served with a generous dollop of the Homemade Kaya, slurp it down with few mouthfuls of the semi-runny half-boiled eggs and you're in breakfast heaven. It's heartening to know that PappaRich pays attention to the littlest details - the ground pepper used to season the eggs are sourced all the way from Sarawak!

Premium omega eggs for the freshest taste
Cooked in a temperature-controlled water-bath...perfect everytime!

For lunch or dinner, diners are truly spoilt for choice.  High on PappaRich’s chef recommendations are their Super Rich Combo and Pappa Curry Laksa. The former is an aromatic rice dish (inspired by Nasi Briyani) served with crispy chicken drumstick, tender braised beef, sambal sotong, potatoes , hard-boiled egg with okra and sambal by the side. A specially created dish for diners (like me) who simply cannot decide what to order so we can enjoy the best of everything. Using only high quality Basmati rice, every mouthful is rich in taste, texture and bursting with aromatic flavours.

Super Rich Combo...for the undecided who wants to have, well, everything!
Succulent, sambal squid...

If noodles are your preferred choice of mains, then try the Pappa Curry Laksa – commonly referred to as just ‘Laksa’ here in Singapore.  This dish tingles your taste-buds with its spice-laden, thick creamy coconut curry gravy that wraps around each strand of noodle (typing this alone has made me hungry!). 10 different spices are used to make the soup base and some of these spices are sourced all the way from UK.  The fish-stuffed 'foo chok' is freshly made and delivered daily.  We've not eaten a Curry Laksa with such generous ingredients. It's spicy, smooth and definitely ‘salivate-worthy’!

Red and Orange never looked so appealing...

For this born and bred Penangite, PappaRich's Assam Laksa transported me home sans the sweat and heat from having to eat at the roadside stalls. No chef worth its salt would dare to put this on their menu unless they are confident of replicating it. At every PappaRich outlet, the chef freshly makes the assam laksa stock from scratch 4-5 hours prior to opening, carefully deboning the Ikan Kembung (a type of Mackerel) for the broth. They are generous with their fish meat, ensuring that diners get some fish in every mouthful.  I am pleased to have finally found a place for my Assam Laksa fix right here!

The one and only...Penang Assam Laksa.

Perhaps the most famous of all Penang street food is the ubiquitous Char Kuay Teow.  The version here at PappaRich is savory with generous portions of fresh prawns and cockles tossed in. The fresh Kuay Teow arrives weekly from Ipoh and the special chilli sauce created exclusively to accompany this dish gives it that extra 'oomph'.

One bite of this and you're in Penang!

Penangnites love a good Chendol and the Chendol strips which goes into Pappa Chendol are freshly made from scratch (with no preservatives) hence the natural green colour.  These soft, silky strips complement the perfect union of shaved ice, coconut milk and Gula Melaka from Malacca.  There is a wide range of beverages to encourage diners to linger on and reminisce over the meal.

Desserts and drinks ends the PappaRich meal on a sweet note.

Overall, dining at PappaRich feels like you've been invited to the home of a close kin or distant relative - where the environment is cosy, food is cooked with love using only the best ingredients; where no efforts are spared to serve a hearty meal that leaves you feeling all fuzzy and satiated.  As Asians, there's nothing like good street food to connect us to our roots. And PappaRich has found the right formula to do just that! 

Hainanese Steamed Bread with 'to-die-for' Homemade Kaya - I would wake up for this!


The strong PappaRich brand has now expanded to 100 outlets since its humble beginnings in Malaysia. The reach is as far as Singapore, Australia, China, Indonesia, with more new markets coming up.

1. The Star Vista 
2. Parkway Parade
3. Suntec City Mall
4. WestGate  
5.  OneKM (Tanjong Katong)* Opening Soon
Connect with PappaRich's Facebook Page for dining promotions!


Disclaimer: We were invited to a food tasting session at PappaRich (Suntec City outlet) for the purposes of this review. All photos and opinions, are as usual, ours.

{Giveaway} It’s a Havaianas World!

People associate Brazil with Passion, Life and Colours: Samba, Bossa Nova, Carnivale, Soccer, World Cup (Pele, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho) and its original and best-selling flip flops - Havaianas. Havaianas is so popular because it embodies the fun, vibrant and spontaneous way of Brazilian life. Many friends I know swear by Havaianas for its style and comfort. Till today, every pair of Havaianas is still lovingly designed and crafted in Brazil.  Ever since Dana was gifted with her first pair last year, there was no turning back. It's one of her favorite footwear and she would even want to wear it to school, to church, and everywhere if we let her.

Dana's 1st Havaianas

Here are Top 10 Facts of Havaianas which are fun to know:

1. 94% of Brazilians own, or have in the past owned, a pair of Havaianas. 
94% of Brazilians own, or have in the past owned, a pair of Havaianas - See more at: http://www.thestylepa.com/2012/06/shoes-10-facts-about-havaianas.html#sthash.pUnizTY5.dpuf
94% of Brazilians own, or have in the past owned, a pair of Havaianas - See more at: http://www.thestylepa.com/2012/06/shoes-10-facts-about-havaianas.html#sthash.pUnizTY5.dpuf
94% of Brazilians own, or have in the past owned, a pair of Havaianas - See more at: http://www.thestylepa.com/2012/06/shoes-10-facts-about-havaianas.html#sthash.pUnizTY5.dpuf
94% of Brazilians own, or have in the past owned, a pair of Havaianas - See more at: http://www.thestylepa.com/2012/06/shoes-10-facts-about-havaianas.html#sthash.pUnizTY5.dpEach Brazilian owns 25 pairs of Havaianas on average in his/her lifetime.
2. 190 million pairs of flip-flops were sold in 2011 alone - that's 6 pairs a second!
3. The main factory in North East Brazil, manufactures over 206 million pairs per year.
4. In 1998, the brand supported Brazil in the World Cup by launching a new line of flip flops with a small Brazilian flag on the strap
5. If someone wants to buy all Havaianas flip-flop models, print and colour combinations available, he/she would need to buy 454 pairs per year.
6. Since its birth in 1962, over 4 billion pairs of Havaianas have already been sold. If lined up all together, they would go around the Earth about 40 times!
7. Each Portuguese owns 4 pairs of Havaianas on average.
8. Each Aussie owns 5 pairs of Havaianas on average.
9. Each Brazilian owns 25 pairs of Havaianas on average. 
10.  Havaianas now retails in 85 countries, with over 454 different styles available!

"It’s a Havaianas World" Promotion for Kids

This Spring, Havaianas invites you and your kids to explore the colourful world with the special-edition Havaianas Colouring Book!

Promo period: 14th April till while stocks last


Receive 2 free Havaianas colouring book sets with any purchase of 2 kids’ pairs from the Havaianas collection at these participating outlets: Motherswork, Mothercare and selected 'H' concept stores (at Raffles City & Takashimaya). Each colouring book comes with a set of colour pencils.  With so many water parks, beaches and playgrounds in Singapore, these Havaianas flip flops make the most practical and presentable gift for kids!
 
The H Babies Range
The H Disney Princess Range for Girls
The H Where's Wally Range for Boys


SPECIAL GIVEAWAY! 

To celebrate Spring and the launch of the "It's a Havaianas World" Promotion, three lucky Princess Dana Diaries readers will win a Havaianas Prize Hampers (consisting of 1 pair of Havaianas Kids flip-flops and 1 Havaianas Colouring Book Set) each!

Simply follow the steps here to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is only open to readers from Singapore and ends 1159 hours on Tuesday, 15 April 2014.  All the best!    


 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Canvas Photo Art with Canon

Crafting buddies with their photo art pieces! Photo credit: A Juggling Mom 

We attended a special #myfamilywcanon event hosted by Canon Singapore at the Eat.Play.Love CafĂ© last Friday. It had been an exceptionally hectic work week and a thunderstorm was looming. I was contemplating on staying home but I know Dana would enjoy the crafts. So we hopped into a cab, made our way to town in the peak hour traffic. I am glad I made the right choice. The warm hospitality from the Canon team and casual conversations with friends soothed my fatigue away. I was pleased to learn how easy it is to use the Canon Selphy CP910 printer to produce a meaningful canvas photo art piece for the home. Besides the quality prints, its advanced 'Apple Airprint' technology allows users to print wirelessly from their mobile devices - big score on convenience since most of us snap precious everyday moments using our mobile phones!  I love how this simple photo canvas art craft allows us to layout the photos creatively and add a personalise message for the occasion or recipients.

Screen grab from my Instagram@mylollipopdays

Don't you agree they make such meaningful gifts? I've made a mental note to make these with Dana for Fathers' Day and Teachers' Day. Thank you Canon Singapore for the inspiration!