Friday, July 22, 2016

Skechers - Great shoes for every lifestyle

When it comes to choosing a footwear, it's never a "grab-and-go" affair for us as there are many factors to consider before deciding on one pair.  Comfort is the top priority for DinoPapa as he is on his feet almost the whole day, nothing too pointy or constricting at the toe box area, the sole must be wooden instead of rubber (you know how our soles break when we squat down too often?  Wooden soles have lesser chance of that happening) and no fanciful designs for him.  Both DinoBoy and myself has broad or wide feet (How do you know that you have broad feet?  If you try on most of the shoes and your toes feels tight, chances are you have broad feet) most of the shoes we see in the mall and stores are on the slim side thus unable to accommodate our feet.  

Like most parents who are concerned with our children's well being.  Knowing that DinoBoy's little feet is on the wider side, we took extra care to choose the best shoes for him.  It was easy when he was a baby and toddler because most of the shoes for that age are made with softer soles and wider toe box.  It gets a little bit challenging when he's older, we have to resort to purchasing his shoes from overseas, where shipping usually cost quite a fair bit, but for his comfort and the development of his feet, we did not think twice about spending that kind of money.

A Good Pair of Shoes Does Matter
Why did we put in so much money and effort in choosing a good shoes for ourselves?  A footwear that probably last us a year the most, and for DinoBoy it will be lesser since his feet will be growing constantly till he's older.

The reason is fairly simply.  A shoe may fit us length wise but if it hurt your feet at your toe, you won't be able to walk with your natural movement or stride.  This can lead to quite a few problems such as ingrown toenails, blisters, corns and calluses or some thing more serious such as crooked toes, inflamed nerves, pain in the ball of the foot and in some serious cases it can lead to arthritis too.

So it pays to treat our feet well by giving it a good pair of comfortable shoes because they carry our entire body's weight most of our life time.

A shoe brand we trust
Even though DinoBoy has limited choices for shoe brands locally, one of the trusty brand we love is Skechers, a brand that constantly have trending shoes that has won many awards for shoea performance and designs.  With their GoRun, GoWalk, Performance, On the Go, Relaxed Fit.,Sports, WorkShoes series, they practically have shoes for every lifestyles and occasions.

Other than added stability, support and comfort, the shoes are light weight too but that does not compromise on the it's performance.  With its Memory Foam technology found on the insole which seems to mould onto your feet, hugging the contours of your feet and provide a perfect fit to your feet.  Do you know that you can throw your Skechers shoes into the washing machine to clean?

DinoBoy owned his first pair of Skechers covered toes sandals when he was about 5 years old. it was both comfy and roomy, great for his growing feet for the next year plus before we have to let it go.  Talk about "durability" and "value for money", Skechers sure meets our top requirements~

Skechers & Us
This year per DinoBoy's request, our goal for 2016 is to take part in as many run and walk as possible.  We went for our first family run in March 2016 and did not stop from there.  In the midst of these healthy activities DinoBoy outgrew his pair of running shoes, we did not think twice and headed off to Skechers store nearby (click here to check store locations) and got him a pair of Skechers GoRun shoes.

Later, we were very lucky to have Skechers sponsoring us a pair of shoes each for the NTUC Fairprice Walks with U in May 2016.  These Skechers GoWalk shoes are so comfortable, the GOmat Technology with high-rebound cushioning and GO Pillars shock absorbing means a lot of weight and pressure are taken off our feet and "transferred" onto the shoes.  We wore them when we are out on weekends, recently we spent a whole day at Pulau Ubin in these shoes and our feet are... well, Happy Feet!


Even though he has 2 new pairs of Skechers shoes, he still hangs on to his Ben10 slipper which kinda just fit his feet nicely, thank goodness he is only wearing it to our weekly trips to the swimming pool for his lesson.  Last week I jumped up with joy when he finally relented and agreed to let us bring him to Skechers to get a new pair of sandals.  Woohoo!


Shape Run 2016 will be happening this Sunday 24 July 2016 at Bayfront Marina, we are taking part in the 1.8km Fun Run Category. Skechers has gracefully sponsored us with their running shoes for this event again, here's what we will be wearing for the run.



And DinoBoy just HAVE TO show off his stylo-milo Skechers Boy's ERUPTERS II Sneakers, watch the video and you will know why.



With these shoes we are ready to take on Shape Run 2016 and add it into our list of run for this year.



If you have not decided what running shoes to get for Shape Run 2016 (if you are taking part) or for you daily jogging/running routine, do consider Skechers GoRun series shoes.


Read about our great shopping experience at Skechers Waterway Point outlet over here.

Disclaimer : We received complimentary shoes from Skechers for the purpose of a couple of blog post; this included, no other compensation was received. All opinion in this post are 100% ours, all photos in this post belongs to the DinoFamily, you may not use them for your own purpose without seeking our permission.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

National Geographic Live! Presents : Chasing Ancient Mysteries With Albert Lin

Photo Credit : Mark Thiessen
Following sell out shows in 2015, National Geographic Live ! will return to the Esplanade Concert Hall this August featuring modern day explorer Albert Lin.

A departure from the previous years’ focus on the animal wildlife, Lin’s forays into ancient histories is grounded in a strong scientific and engineering background. He leverages on cutting edge technology and the crowdsourcing platform in his expeditions – from exploring Genghis Khan’s tomb to digging deeper into the 2014 disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner, MH370.

In his well-known project “Valley of the Khans” to seek out the Holy Grail of archaeology conqueror Genghis Khan’s long-lost tomb -Lin illustrated the role of technology in preserving the ‘collective cultural heritage’. Respecting the Mongolian tradition that forbids the physical excavation of burial sites, he challenged the traditional barriers of archaeological methods to exploration with the use of non-invasive, advanced technology and other cutting-edge tools to survey the remote region in central Asia.

Photo Credit : Mike Hennig


A UCSD-trained materials scientist, engineer and appointed Emerging Explorer for National Geographic in 2010; Lin is a pioneer in utilizing modern tools to test and push the frontiers of exploration and seek answers to long-standing questions in History and Geography. A rare find in his field, Lin is an advocate of the power of the people and the crowdsourcing platform.

Join this boldly imaginative young explorer live on stage, as he reports on his latest findings in Mongolia and elsewhere and discover how technology is opening up new frontiers for exploration.

“Exploration has always been about going where we haven't been able to go before. Today, technology helps us navigate past those old barriers” - Albert Lin

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Let's get to know more about Dr Albert with this simple interview.  Also, click here to know more about Chasing Ancient Mysteries with Albert Lin


1. What was your passion as a child? Did your parents encourage you to pursue your passion/desire?
As a child I wanted to be a park ranger, I have always been fundamentally at home in the mountains. At an early age my parents encouraged that by constantly supporting my path into the wilderness, if not through camping trips then through climbing lessons. Then there was the addition of wonder that was brought into all aspects of the wilderness with the scientific world of my father’s astrophysics carrier. This was a natural recipe to become a lifelong explorer.


2. What is your key lesson and takeaway for you from all your exploration journeys, especially to the remote locations?
Always bring Tabasco sauce... joking. Actually, honestly, I have repeatedly been surprised at how my limitations in imagination have been blown away by reality. The world is much more diverse and beautiful than I could predict, and every single journey has confirmed that.

Photo Credit  ;Ben Horton

3. Which cultures do you have the most interest in?
Simple – all.


4. How has your experience been in sharing the story of the Valley of Khans for years, to different cities and nationalities across the globe?
Having had the honour to travel and share my experiences across Europe, Africa and Asia, I have realized that the story is really about the human experience (both Genghis Khan’s and ours today), and the power of this global tribe that we call – humanity.


5. How has technology changed the idea and concept of exploring and expeditions?
It’s a continuous evolution, but the most exciting things for me is the role that the global community can play in exploration. In the past century, scientific curiosity and exploration was a privilege of the rich. Now we are connected in a way to more information and resources then in any time in human history, I think we are only at the beginning of how we engage our networked connectivity to change the landscape of how science and exploration is conducted.


6. What else can Singaporeans look forward to from your upcoming talk this 30th August 2016?
From all the experiences and adventures, ultimately it boils down to the reminder that we are actually JUST NOW entering into the great age of exploration.

Photo Credit : Erik Jepsen

Chasing Ancient Mysteries with Albert Lin
Date: 30 August 2016, Tuesday
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Concert Hall
Ticketing details: Tickets are priced from $39

“We have to decide why progress is important. Is it to create things that could make us obsolete, or is it to create tools to help us become more human?” - Albert Lin

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Giveaway Details


Prize : A pair of tickets to Chasing Ancient Mysteries With Albert Lin

Contest Ends : 02 August 2016 @ 2359hrs
Open : Singapore
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Connected Learning Online Chinese Tuition - What goes on during the class

Since I shared an intro post about Connected Learning in March 2016 over here, and posting about DinoBoy's Chinese learning journey with this online tuition centre in my facebook page, I have been receiving questions from many interested parents regarding their course fees and structure.

So, let me share with you what went on during the 1.5 hours of P4 tuition class besides laughter, squealing, friendly bickering (also bully the tutor), discussions (constructive and non constructive).  The twice weekly lessons are always so noisy, lively and happy that I tend to lurk around to see what's going on; KPO me lah hahaha~

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Tuition Fees & other charges
Well, Connected Learning provide Chinese tuition for Primary 1 to Secondary 4 students, as stated in their website their fees ranges between SGD210 to SGD260, pretty affordable to me.  Besides the monthly tuition fees, you also need to pay a one time registration fees of SGD53.50 and SGD30 course material fees. *All terms and conditions apply*


The Technical Part
First of all, ensure that you have a working computer, laptop or iPad with camera and of course a stable internet connection.  You will need to download a free videoconferencing software and to login with the password to join the class. 

We are using iPad because our one and only one laptop hooked up in the study room is quite old and not very fast.  And the thing about wifi connection in the house, we only can get strong connection in the living room where the modem is, with iPad DinoBoy can choose to sit on the dining table or at the living area.

The Tutors
Connected Learning tutors are based overseas but the centre will keep them updated on our school syllabus, they can also retrieve important information from our MOE website.  They will then prepare their lesson materials accordingly. 

The tutor will usually teach one or two lesson in advance than the school's lesson progress so as to prepare the kids for it.  I think this is good for those who are really struggling with the language, by learning the words and understanding the lesson first, the kid will be able to concentrate on other things that the teacher may be teaching instead of feeling stressed up trying to do catch up.

I am also glad to know that the tutors are flexible in their teaching too.  They will access the kid during lesson and based on the kid's strength and ability to grasp the language they will decide to teach more or less new words or phrases to the kid.  This means that their aim is to let the kid learn and understand the textbook lessons and to sort of "push" the kid if he show potential in yearning to learn more.

We all know our kids prefer to converse in English, this is not a major problem with the tutors as they understand some basic English or have tools to help them translate English words to Chinese.

The Tuition Lesson Structure
This is DinoBoy's tuition note book, it contains the words and phrases he learned during the tuition classes.  These words may be those found in the school textbook or they could be additional words given by the tutor, in such cases these words will be closely related to the textbook lessons.   The pages looked messy because of his hideous handwriting and its a mishmash of every thing, it actually can be broken down to a few categories which the tutor will go through during the lessons.


#1 识写词/识读词 Writing, Recognizing and Reading
The class usually starts with a lesson in the school textbook where the tutor will request the kids to take turn to read a passage each.  Key words will be taught and further to explained with example of the usage of words or phrase.  Sometimes she uses photos or pictures to reinforce the teaching and for discussions.  For additional words from the tutor, they will be flashed with the hanyupinyin and it's relevant English meaning.  Tutor will also show example of usage of words/phrase and encourage the kids to try to do so too.  

Initially my "jiak kantang" or "eat potato" boy constantly 成了笑柄 or become a laughingstock at almost every lesson when he made funny comments, either by direct translating the English words to Chinese or use the words inappropriately or sentence construction are all messed up.




#2 形似字 Chinese characters in similar shape
As if Chinese characters are not complex enough, some of them look similar but have totally different meaning or even different pronunciation.  The tutor will try to share as many of these similar characters words to the kids, explaining each word and teaching them to differentiate each word by looking at its radical which usually gives a hint of the meaning of it.  

An example for such is 冰 Ice and 泳 Swim, both look almost the same but of course they are not, kids will probably write an extra stroke on 冰 Ice or confuse it with 泳 Swim thus pronouncing it as 泳 Swim.

In case you are not aware, the P4 kids are tested on this in exam paper under 辨字测验 section, its MCQ and usually the question will give words that look similar as choice answers to confuse the kid.


#3 成语 Chinese Idioms
Kids now are not exposed to Chinese idioms as much as before.  Chinese idioms are beautiful, these four characters usually reflect the moral behind the story rather than the story itself or they holds a deeper meaning than the words.

Knowing some Chinese idioms will definitely benefit the kids especially when it comes to composition as they will enhance the feelings towards a situation or person.  When used correctly they will probably help the kids to earn extra mark or two in contents.

Again, in the exam paper under 词语搭配 section, sometimes Chinese idioms will be used as a question to test the kids.


#4 语文运用 Language Usage
After learning all the above, they must be put to use so that things or sentence make sense right?  The tutor will flash a series of questions for the kids to answer, and here is where the friendly competition & bickering comes in.  Practice makes perfect but these friendly competition makes remembering the words easier and of course the class more lively.


What else goes on during the lesson
#1 Spelling
Yes, even though its online tuition there are spelling too which happen I think every other week or once they finish a lesson.  The tutor only give words to learn as the purpose is for the kids to revise the words learnt so no long sentences as seen in the school's spelling list.

Spelling will be conducted where the words are being read out as usual, for those using computer or laptop, the kid will be able to use a digital writing pad to write out the words and the tutor can see the writing immediately.  For DinoBoy since no such device for iPad is available he will write them on the note book and put it in front of the camera to show tutor.  As you can see from the photo below, DinoBoy did his corrections too and show it to the tutor.  And the marks are given by the tutor verbally, he wrote it down for his own knowledge.

In case you wonder, no the boy does not cheat by looking at the words before writing them down.  It is not because I am around (95% of the time I am not, I'm all too happy to be able to do my own stuffs in peace), he is honest in this area, no cheating because he knows there are no short cuts to learning and it will do him more harm than any good.


#2 Composition
DinoBoy started with Connected Learning in March 2016 till the end of SA1, he only did composition twice with the tutor.  Frankly, I have no recollection of what they did as I was away doing my own stuffs *opps*   However, by looking at the photos I managed to snapped it seems to be taught the same as his school.  After he's done I will take a photo of it and emailed to the tutor for marking.

During his time with Connected Learning, composition was done once every one or one and a half month, but I understand that they will be doing it once a month since it is an area where most of the kids are weak in.


#3 Connected Learning tuition materials
Since this is an online tuition, there are rarely any homework as the tutor will try to finish the work given out during the lesson. I remember there was a couple of time DinoBoy's tutor stayed online with him till he finishes the last bit of homework, she even take time to look through and explained to him on his mistakes.

Besides learning through flashcards and textbook, they also uses 2 assessment books to reinforce teaching.  These assessment books are based on current school syllabus and exam format.

Connected Learning also have test paper which is set by the tutor in accordance to our exam paper format and syllabus. The exam papers will be emailed to me and I will have to print them out so that DinoBoy can do it during the class. He will be required to tackle these exam paper as if it is the school's exam. That means the tutor will not give him any help and he will be given the same amount of time as required to finish the paper.  This is good as he will learn to pace his writing and time himself on his progress.  The tutor will use this opportunity to see what are the areas/section that he takes longer then required to finish and give suggestions or solution so that they can work around the bottleneck and enable him to finish the test paper within the time limit.


#4 Progress Report
At the end of the month the tutor will give us a Progress Report where they will point out DinoBoy's weakness and will praise him on the efforts he has put in during the class.  With this report I will be able to work on the area of weakness with some other learning materials so that he can improve on it.


Our Review
As a full time working mum and the primary caregiver of DinoBoy, going with Connected Learning have made me saved much much more than just only monetary, I saved on the one thing that is precious to all working parents - TIME. Both of us need not rush off from school to have our dinner and off to tuition centre. Instead, I could come home to cook a simple healthy dinner for the family, where we could also eat as a family.

DinoBoy even have about 20mins to rest and relax before he start his tuition. Now, who say I can't have the best of ALL world? Ensuring he eats healthy home cooked meals, ample rest time, learning with a stress less mindset in the comfort of our humble cave errm.... I mean home.

Did the tuition help him? Well, we shared the news in our facebook page back in May 2016...


We also noticed that DinoBoy's Chinese language proficiency has improved significantly, he speaks with more confidence, his sentence constructions are better and sound more logical (no more cringing or frowning when I try to understand him), most important of all. his vocab has increased too!

Great Deals for You!
If you and your child are constantly struggling with Chinese and still unable to get the grade up to a satisfying level, we strongly suggest that you let your child try out Connected Learning by signing up for their free trial over here.

If you are happy with it and wish to continue, quote "DinoMama" and get 10% off for the first month fees when you sign up for their regular classes.

Last but not least...
#1 Head over to MummyEd where she share her 6 year old son's P1 Chinese learning with Connected Learning over here.

#2 Have a PSLE going child who will be sitting the paper this year or next?  Read how Connected Learning are geared up for the new Chinese oral format that MOE announced earlier this year in their article Preparing Your Child for the NEW PSLE Chinese Oral Format shared in kiasuparent

Disclaimer : We were given trial Chinese lessons with Connected Learning Pte Ltd for the purpose of a series of posts. No other compensation was received.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Cantonese Style Beef Stew

We love stew and I am more than happy to cook them because it solves my dinner menu planning as we can have the stew for a few days.  And as you know, a pot of stew really tastes better as days goes by and more ingredients are added into it.

Recently I saw a beautiful daikon in the supermarket and bought it without second thought, its not expensive I think about SGD1+ for it.  I scoured the web for some ways to cook that beautiful vegetable, almost wanted to braise it but I know the rest of the gang definitely would not fancy that.  So I decided to make beef stew with it, but with a new recipe, after thinking I made up my mind to do a simple Cantonese style beef stew.

How SIMPLE is simple?  Well, I only need beef and daikon as the main ingredients but it needs a handful of others ingredients where some of them like Hoisin sauce 海鲜酱 and Chu Hou sauce 柱候酱 you probably have to buy it specially for this recipe.

I bought 2 packets of pre-cut beef stew cubes from supermarket, cost me SGD13+ per packet of probably 300g (am not sure coz I did not look at it), since I am feeding younglings (gosh, this word just pop into my brain as I type lol) I cut some of the pieces into smaller size.  I blanch the beef cubes to get rid of any impurities and smell, set aside.  You can use other parts of beef such as brisket if you prefer.


Next heat up some oil in a wok or pan or pot, I used my trusty corning ware, next add in the garlic and ginger to stir fry till aromatic.  Add in the Hoisin sauce, Chu Hou sauce, oyster sauce to stir fry for about 1 - 2 minutes.  The beef and the spices with the Chinese cooking wine are next, stir fry for about 3 - 4 minutes or till beef are browned.  Lastly, add water to cover the beef, turn down the fire to simmer the pot of stew for at least 2.5hours.  The water should have thicken into some sauce by then, add in the cubed daikon and continue to cook for another 30mins or till it is soft.  

The wonderful thing about corning ware besides being able to go from freezer to oven/stove to table, it retains heat so well that it takes shorter time then usual to cook the food.  Yay to ALL THAT!  Having said that, the timing I have indicated in this post is for normal wok or pan, for those using corning ware pot, adjust the timing according.  For this dish I cooked it for 1hr+, add in the daikon and continue to simmer for another 15mins or so, cover the pot, turned off the heat and let it continue to cook by itself.




Look at my beautiful pot of beef stew, the sauce is sweet, diakon is soft and beef are tender.  This big pot only lasted 2 days before we wipe it clean.  It would have been gone on the day I served it but as there are other dishes too so it "survived" till the next day.


Ingredient
* 300-400g stewing beef cube or brisket
* 1 daikon
* 2 tablespoon of cooking oil
* 2 cups of water
* 2 star anise
* 1 dried bay leaf
* 1 tangerine peel
* 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
* 3 slices of ginger
* 1 rock suger, about thumb length
* 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
* 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
* 1 tablespoon Chu Hou sauce
* 2 tablespoon Hua Diao or Shaoxing or Chinese cooking wine.
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* half tablespoon dark soy sauce, more if you want the stew to be darker

Method
1. Blanch the beef and set aside.
2. Peel and slice the garlic, set aside.
3. Heat up oil in wok, add in the ginger and garlic, do a quick stir till they give off a fragrance, about a minute or so.
4. Turn down the fire, add in the Hoisin sauce, Chu Hou sauce, oyster sauce and rock sugar to stir fry till rock sugar has melted.
5. Add in the beef, star anise, tangerine peel, bay leaf and Chinese cooking wine.  Turn the fire to medium and continue to stir fry for 3 - 4 minutes to brown the beef.
6. Add in the water, together with the soy sauce and dark soy sauce, bring to boil and turn the fire down to simmer with wok covered for 2 to 2.5 hours.  Check and turn the beef frequently.
7. In the mean time, peel and cut the daikon into bite size, add into the wok, stir to mix.
8. Turn up the heat to bring the stew to boil and after that turn down the fire to let it simmer, covered for about 30 minutes or till the daikon is soft.
9. Dish and serve.

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You May Also Like These Recipes





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This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ArtScience Museum - Future World : Where Art Meets Science


To mark their 5th Anniversary earlier this year, ArtScience Museum launched their permanent exhibition the FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science, it is co-curated with teamLab, a globally renowned Japanese group of ultra-technologists and multi-award winning art collective. Together with ArtScience Museum, the art collective has built Singapore’s largest digital playground spanning 1,500 square meters, which is approximately a quarter of the museum’s total gallery space. The immersive and interactive exhibition allows audiences to become an intrinsic part of the artworks on display, as the installations dynamically evolve through their presence and participation.

Featuring 15 digital installations specially selected and put together from teamLab’s extensive collection of works, Future World take visitors on a journey of discovery through four key narratives – Nature, Town, Park and Space.  I will be sharing a few of the exhibits in this post.

Nature
100 Years Sea Animation Diorama
Mother Nature is the creator of birth in every living things, from the blooming of flowers to the birth of every creatures big and small.  Its apt that the journey should start with an enchanting stroll through an interactive world of flora and fauna.

I am not sure about others but the minute I entered this room I felt a sense of calmness flowing through me when I saw the waves. The soothing melancholy piano music in the background makes me just want to curl up into a fetal position and... be still, hoping that the world will just past by.

BUT of course it is difficult to do that when there are happy tots running around trying to catch the waves in this almost dark room *phew*

As much as it seems to be a great showcase of nature at work by looking at the mighty sea swallowing the rocks or the visual effects that turns our internal snoozing button on automatically (thus you feel like lying on one of the many beanbags to do just that), it carries much important message.

This larger-than-life installation gives a glimpse into the future, as it illustrates the rising sea levels wrought by climate change, based on scientific data derived from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). The prediction of the world’s rising sea levels over a century is condensed into a ten-minute time frame. As the borders between the screen and the viewer dissolve, it creates the illusion of the viewer eventually being swallowed by the rising sea, encouraging visitors to reflect on the long-term environmental effects of climate change.



Town
Sketch Town Paper Craft
Pry yourself away from the sadness scene and step into a wondrous town, head straight to the giant slide and sends those depressed feelings away.  Time to work those muscles and brains with some coloring, create your own transportation network with the interactive blocks and building some serious colorful furniture.

Let your imagination run wild, as you colour in and draw objects such as cars, buildings, and spaceships. These two-dimensional pictures become animated and move around as they enter a large projected screen. The artwork grows and evolves constantly as different images are added. The objects in town move at different speeds and in different directions, as the audience touch them, bringing the town to life.

And yes, I just got to try this, look at my polka-dokkie spaceship~  After I'm done, I simply go to the scanning machine once you are done, press the small yellow button ONCE, wait like 2-3 seconds and I see it flying out from a corner the big screen.



Park
Light Ball Orchestra
Enter the world of the children where laughter is a MUST and PLAYING is a serious work. Have you heard about the NEW hopscotch? The one that lets you design it and see it appear right in front of you?  Jump on it and trigger off beautiful colors and sounds.

As the central work of ‘Park’, these light balls form an electrifying orchestra of sound and color. Touching one of the large balls changes the color and sound of the balls around it, creating a ripple-like effect. Movements from other areas send ripples in different directions, creating dynamic and playful interactions throughout the space. Participants of all ages
playfully collaborate by pushing, bouncing and rolling the balls, continuously changing the composition, color and sound of the space.


Space
Crystal Universe
Step away from the prosperous world of Nature, Town & Park, and into the outer world, a vast place of mystery and infinity.  Or in this exhibit, be surrounded and get mesmerized by the fairy like lights that seems to be dancing around you, trying to catch your attention.  You will find yourself turning around or looking over your should constantly to catch the fleeting fairies.

When you managed to tear yourself from the fairies and emerge from the lights, don't leave the room yet, stand at the far end of the room and the stars will perform a stunning dance to you.

This monumental, immersive and interactive artwork enables visitors to experience astrophysical phenomena such as planets, stars, galaxies, and even the very recently detected gravitational waves, which Einstein predicted would exist a century ago. This stunning artwork utilizes teamLab’s Interactive 4-D Vision technology, which allows users to control over 170,000 LED lights which together give the illusion of stars moving in space. Thus, visitors experience the Universe from within it, as surrounds them, and enfolds them, and responds to their presence, thus helping visitors understand themselves as part of the vastness of celestial space.




ArtScience Museum
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956

Telephone : +65 6688 8888

Operating Hours
Daily: 10:00am - 7:00pm
Including public holidays
Last admission at 6:00pm

Getting there : Click here

Admission Charges : Click here or for Family Friday Promo, click here. *Terms & conditions apply*

Disclaimer : We received complimentary tickets from ArtScience Museum for the purpose of this blog post, no other compensations were received.  All opinions in this post are 100% based on our fun filled experience in Future World : Where Art Meets Science.  All photographs and videos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not take it for personal use without seeking our permission. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Community Chese Heartstrings Walk 2016



About the Charity Walk
The annual Community Chest Heartstrings Walk is back again after another successful year 2015 where more than 8,500 people walked as one for a charitable cause on the first morning of the Jubilee Weekend on Friday, 7 August. This included 1,800 beneficiaries – comprising of youth, families, seniors and persons with disabilities – and caregivers from over 60 charities supported by Community Chest.

This year, expect the same if not much more excitement at the walk where family and friends can come together for a good cause, create priceless memory to walk in support of an inclusive nation.

All donations, including the SGD10 registration fee, will be channeled to charities supported by the Community Chest.

When
Sunday 31 July 2016

Time
7am to 11.30am

Where
Fun Walk - Marina Bay Sands, Event Plaza, Level 1
Vertical Marathon - Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3

Distance
4km

Categories & Fees

Fun Walk

Photo taken from Community Chest Heartstrings Walk


Gather a few friends and family members, sign up with a donation of SGD10 per pax, receive a goodie bag (while stock lasts) and walk together for a good cause.

Click HERE to view rules and regulations for Fun Walk

Vertical Marathon

Photo taken from Community Chest Heartstrings Walk

1. Pledge an outright donation* as a Diamond, Platinum, Gold or Contributing Partner. Each partner is entitled to send 2 teams of 4 to participate.
2. Donate $2,000 and sign up as a team of 4^.
3. Click HERE to view rules and regulations for the Race to the Sky Vertical Marathon

* Donations will enjoy 250% tax exemption.
^ If you wish to register as a non-corporate team, please email your name and contact number to ncss_comchestheartstrings@ncss.gov.sg to request for a one-time login and password. Payment arrangement will be advised upon online submission of the completed registration form.

Route for Fun Walk



What to Expect


A Family Carnival will be set up at the walk for every one can enjoy and have fun.  There will be inflatables (can hear the kids squeal with delight!) and Experiential booths that are designed for people with and without disabilities to enjoy, this will help to promote deeper understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities on a daily basis

Registration
For Fun Walk please head over here.
For Vertical Marathon please head over here.


Last but not least
If you would like to do more, why not consider joining SHARE as One, a hassle-free monthly giving programme of Community Chest, all donations through SHARE will be a continuous source of funds to provide holistic and comprehensive support to a wide range of charities, especially those who are less visible or relatively unknown.  

Start your journey to provide lasting impact on the lives of the disadvantaged here.




Thursday, June 23, 2016

Van Cleef & Arpels : The Art and Science of Gems 2016

The ArtScience Museum was opened years ago and we only visited it last weekend for the first time due to our schedule, every time I pass by this unique lotus like building I made a mental note to see what's on later and plan a visit.  Well, it did not materialized till now.  


When I received the invitation to the Van Cleef & Arpels : The Art and Science of Gems I was contemplating whether to go or not because it is not a place where the kids will enjoy.  Plus we will be on my own due to timing, that means no guided tour nor workshop to keep the kids busy.  After much thought I went ahead with it because I do want to see the pretty gemstones and exquisite jewellery up close.  I shall turn a blind eyes to their "I'm bored" looks and a deaf ear to their endless "can we go yet" pleas.

A little about this Van Cleef & Arpels : The Art and Science of Gems exhibition, it is to showcase the inter-relationship between the science of mineralogy and the art of crafting the finest jewellery and gems.

For science mineralogy, there are over 250 rare gems and minerals from the renowned Collection of the French National Museum of Natural History highlighting the seven major principles critical to the precious stones' formation, namely Pressure, Temperature, Transport, Water, Oxygen, Life and Metamorphism.

For the art of crafting you'll get an up close look at over 450 pieces of jewellery selected from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection displaying seven themes illustrating the poetry and ingenious craftsmanship of the Maison, which are Couture, Abstractions, Influences, Precious Objects, Nature, Ballerinas & Fairies and Icons.

On that day, we arrived at the museum slightly after their opening hour and was surprised to see a crowd at the lobby, we collected our tickets and off we go exploring!


The minute we stepped out of the lift we were surrounded by darkness and pure quietness, its so solemn that you can hear a pin drop, we looked at each other and have the same "Is it open?" look.  We ventured in quietly and found a handful of MIB or Man In Black huddled around the entrance to the exhibit chatting.  As much as they made us a little bit wary (like are we at the right place or not?), I think we gave them a startle when we suddenly appeared.  I guess they weren't expecting any visitors at such early hour.  They acknowledged us and we proceeded pass them through the door.  From this point onward I sort of feel the tense moments in the air, the inside is not any brighter than the outside, then one of the MIB spoke into his walkie "Sending 4 pax in now" makes it seems like a secrecy adventure to me.  Hahaha! My imagination is running wild again.  Let me bring you for a brief tour around the exhibition, with the pieces that fascinated me.

In case you are wondering, the exhibit area is dimly lit so that the spot lights can bring out the stunning beauty of every piece of gemstones and jewellery.  Do watch where you are going, the dull colored carpeted floor makes it more difficult to see the flooring.  There are tiny slopes around, I almost tripped twice while walking in and out of this particular section.

Without a guide we immediately walked into 1 of the section and was just starting to admire the jewelleries when one nice MIB pointed out to us that we have missed a section, a special section it seems.  We followed his direction and was met with some brightly lit columns, upon close inspection we saw that each column contains a set of beautiful jewellery.

Couture/The Earth
Van Cleef & Arpels uses Couture motifs and materials to a discrete homage to the city of it's origins - Paris, the capital of fashion and elegance, they transformed fabrics into jewellery while ribbons & laces are embellished by gold weave and precious stones.  As you can see from the zipper necklace below.



Since the formation of the Earth billion of years ago, meteorite impacts, tectonic shifts, volcanic activity, erosion and biology have modified our planet extensively, it is due to these tremendous activities that unique crystals were formed.


Influences/Temperature
In this section I see many pieces with oriental designs, these are the 4 pieces that caught my attention.  I read that due to the fascination for Far Eastern culture in 1920s along with the discovery of ceramics, silks, bronzes etc, these has inspired Van Cleef & Arpels to come out with so many magnificent pieces.


Our Mother Earth has such powerful force that makes every thing evolves non stop. Her high temperature inside her crust enables minerals to crystallize from molten rocks. Tourmaline is a crystalline boron silicate mineral compounded and occures with a variety of amazing colors that illustrate subtle changes in its chemical composition during crystalisation. Just look at the stunning large rubellite crystal on the bottom right of the 2nd photo below.



Nature/Life
Ah~ Nature~ it is around us, those that are visible to us in our every day life or deep down under some where.  Who can resist the beauty of nature?  Not even the great VanCleef & Arpels who also draws inspirations from it to create pieces of glamorous flowers & blossoms and not to cutesy animals - both mystical and real life.


I am forever enthralled by the the wonders and beauty of nature.

Living creatures goes through the cycle of biodiversity - birth, live, death, and the phrase after that is geodiversity which is the natural range geological features such as rocks, minerals, fossils and soil, these constitute and shape the Earth, either the whole or a specific part of it.

There are many parallels between biodiversity and geodiversity, fossilization is an example of biodiversity becoming geodiversity.

That is not pieces of your favourite chocolate or roast pork you see below, they are polished slabs of fossilized wood.  And yes, wood can be fossilized or in this case petrified, it will then form anamzing gems after years of petrification.



As if the exhibition surrounding is not mysterious enough, a large showcase with the signage The Mystery Setting caught my attention and intrigued me to know more about it.  It turns out that it is a unique technique associated with Van Cleef & Arpels since the Maison patented this dazzling invention in 1933.  It consists of setting stones in such a way that no prongs are visible. The level of expertise required makes Mystery Set the exclusive realm of a very small number of master jewelers.

The technique is so intricate that producing a single brooch takes no less than 300 hours work. Each faceted stone is delicately inserted onto thin gold rails less than two-tenths of a millimeter thick. Once complete, the gems appear to be entirely free-standing. Because of the complexity of the process, Mystery Set pieces are extremely rare: the Maison produces no more than a few of them each year. At first, Mystery Set was reserved for flat pieces such as the Minaudière® precious case but as the technique developed, Van Cleef & Arpels began using it on more complex shapes and with varying degrees of thickness.  




If I have to pick a favourite item out of a million pieces inside there, I'd pick this, the Lion Ebouriffe Brooch, a cute little gold lion with it's emerald eyes, diamond muzzle and onyx nose.  I like its innocent look with the sort of ruffled mane, plus its my zodiac sign too.


Lucky for us there are a couple of activities around the exhibition area to occupy the kids.  They can either learn how Van Cleef & Arpels uses geometrical shapes and patterns to create beautiful pieces of jewellery in their own distinctive style or create their own gems with the Die Cut templates and materials provided. One word of caution though, its so dimly lite that the kids probably will have problem fixing the gems and stringing them together, there is also a pair of scissors though tied to a string onto the table so adult assistance/supervision is required.





Its the last weekend of June holiday, if you prefer something not as tiring or exciting for your kids, why not pay a visit to Van Cleef & Arpels : The Art and Science of Gems at ArtScience Museum?  And if you decide to head out tomorrow, which is a Friday, ArtScience Museum have a Family Friday promo till end of June, check out the details here.  Also, do sign up for Ven Cleef & Arpels workshop - A Day in the Life of a Mineralogist which incidentally is the last workshop tomorrow too.

Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems.
Exhibition period : 23 April to 14 August 2016
Venue : ArtScience Museum, Level 3
Opening time : Mon-Sun 10am to 7pm
(last entry at 6pm)
Ticketing :

WORKSHOP – A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MINERALOGIST
Explore, discover and learn more about the world of minerology in this hands-on demonstration revealing the working methods and collection of a mineralogist. Try your hand at using tools to examine minerals and their physical properties.
For Who: Complimentary to ticket-holders of Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems, this workshop is recommended for children aged 6 and up. The workshop has a capacity of up to 20 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register 15 minutes before workshop begins.
When: 3, 10, 17, 24 June (4.30pm – 5.30pm)
Where: Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems, Workshop Space

WORKSHOP – MAKE YOUR OWN SOAP GEMS
Make and bring home your very own soap gem in this hands-on workshop. Through a tactile experience, learn to identify the different cuts of gemstones used to make Van Cleef & Arpels creations.
For Who: Complimentary to ticket-holders of Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems, this workshop is recommended for children aged 6 and up.
The workshop has a capacity of up to 20 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register 15 minutes before workshop begins.
When: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 July (4.30pm – 5.30pm)
Where: Van Cleef & Arpels: The Art and Science of Gems, Workshop space

About Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in 1906, at 22 Place Vendôme in Paris. Over the decades, the High Jewellery Maison established its reputation throughout the world. Its emblematic signatures – such as the Alhambra® motif, the Zip necklace or the Mystery Set™ technique – its selection of Pierres de Caractère™, exceptional gems that instill an emotion, and the savoir-faire of its Mains d’Or™, the craftsmen of Van Cleef & Arpels' workshops, have given birth to enchanting jewellery and watchmaking collections. Since 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has been combining virtuoso craftsmanship, technical prowess and refinement in its collections of High Jewelry, Jewelry and Timepieces, to evoke a timeless world of harmony and beauty.

About French National Museum of Natural History
Founded by King Louis XIII of France in 1626, the French National Muséum of National History is among the world’s foremost institutions investigating the Earth’s treasures and the impact of human activities on geo- and biodiversity. Its collections are still some of the richest in the world: over 60 million specimens are contained in an outstanding research environment that aims to promote an innovative way of understanding nature and its mechanisms. The mineral and gem collections in particular reflect the beauty of the natural world, along with the creativity of artists who have been inspired by it.

Disclaimer : We were invited to visit the Van Cleef & Arpels : The Art and Science of Gems Exhibition. No other compensation was received. We were not required to write about experience but since we had such an educational time we wanted to share them with others. All opinions in this post are 100% ours, all photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may take it for personal use without our permission.

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