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I’ve received a lot of compliments on the Juicy Couture skirt that I posted on Instagram a couple weeks ago. I also talked about it on my March Look Book here. Indeed, this pleated maxi skirt is so pretty. I love how feminine and girly it makes me feel!

Polka dots are timeless and depending on how you dress it up, you can achieve a vintage mod look or a modern chic look. Here I’m sharing with you a few of my favorite polka dot bottoms (pants or skirt).

FashMob: I love this Singapore-based online store for its stylish and very affordable collection of clothes. I’m loving the Hamilton Polka Dot Pants for under $40. They are perfect for wearing to work with a blouse or for a casual weekend look.

Mango: This black and white polka dot skirt gets edgy with a fringe design. I’m totally loving the unexpectedness of the fringe to the whole look. Keep it simple with a plain white or black blouse. This skirt costs $89.90.

Zaful: This blue midi-skirt with white polka dots has a mod-look to it. I love the button-down design and pocket detail on it. I can imagine styling it with espadrilles, a hat, a cropped yellow tee or button down blouse with the front knotted up. You can see one type of styling of the skirt here. Being under $25, you can’t fight this price point! (P.S. – Zaful does free international deliveries, including in Asia, for orders over USD $49).

ASOS Bandeau Bow Front Dress: This online store is my go-to source for my closet essentials and on-trend clothes at prices that don't bust the budget. So this next item isn't a skirt or pants but I just found this bandeau polka dot dress super cute (under $50). So perfect for a summer vacation outfit or for a casual weekend look. For cooler temperatures or for modesty, you can throw on a denim jacket or a colored cardigan (basically using one of the colors of the polka dots - a red or pink cardigan would look great!)

ASOS Wrap Skirt: Go to any store these days and you'll notice a wrap skirt. They're trending right now and are quite flattering on most shapes. I quite liked this mini-wrap skirt with its polka dot design. You can opt to keep it monochromatic with a top that is gray, black, or white in color. Or go with a mustard yellow or red top for a more fun look! 

You'll notice from my picks that I prefer the smaller polka dot designs. It's just a pattern I'm drawn to more so than the large polka dots. Just a personal preference! What about you? Tell me which of these picks you liked best!

Photo credit via websites links provided
I’ve always touted Singapore as an extremely kid-friendly place to live. Indeed, the mere presence of clean and inviting nursing rooms in every mall, the abundance of indoor play areas for children, and the emphasis placed upon providing educational and social learnings for children here is commendable.

Recently, while flipping through the vast collection of photos amassed on my iPhone from the last three years, I realized I’ve done my fair share of exploring places and exposing my kids to different experiences around town. This virtual trip down memory lane inspired me to put these experiences “down on paper” as a blog post – essentially, my own personal list of go-to places around town for my children. If it happens to spark ideas of places to go for my readers or benefits families making plans to visit Singapore, then all the better!

Note: The list I made below is by no means exhaustive and is in no specific order. Do note that it doesn’t include indoor or outdoor playareas, which is a list in and of itself.

So here goes…

1. ArtScience Museum: This is probably amongst my son’s favorite places to visit. “Future World” is a permanent exhibit that provides an immersive high-tech, interactive experience for children. I know that sounds pretty abstract but trust me when I say that it is worth taking your child there for an incredible experience into a world of art-meets-science. A recent exhibit called “Treasures of the Natural World” borrows artifacts from the Natural History Museum in London to take you on a journey back into the era of Charles Darwin and his study of Galapagos turtles and when dodo birds.

2. McRitchie Reservoir: Outdoor exploration is such an important part of play. I have always enjoyed bringing Krishnav here ever since he was 2 years old. The monkeys which roam freely (caution: never bring food in front of these creatures who won’t think twice before snatching your bag of chips), the open green space, and the view of the reservoir are all so refreshing. You can even do short treks with the kids, including the McRitchie Treetop Walk, a well-known freestanding suspension bridge between the two highest points in the Central Catchment.

3. Visit the Central Fire Station on Hill Street: Every Saturday between 9-11am, the Central Fire Station on Hill Street holds an open house for kids to come visit their premises. What a treat for the little ones who get to climb and sit inside fire trucks and ambulances and do pretend play! The friendly firefighters here also give a tour of their facilities and a demo on how they respond to emergencies, including use of their giant fire hose to put out fires!

4. Visit Little India and its temples: Regardless of whether your child is Indian or not, a visit to Little India is sure to provide an immersive cultural experience for your child. On a regular day, you can take your child to one of the temples which are rich in eye-catching works of art and carvings depicting scenes form Hindu mythology. During the Hindu festivals, such as Diwali or Pongal, festive street stalls pop up in certain areas and the entire length of Serangoon Road is decorated with lights and colorful banners.

5. Singapore Flyer: Admittedly, it’s a somewhat costly ride, but I believe everyone should do it at least once during their time in Singapore. After all, it’s an integral part of the skyline. Why not experience it up close? You get an incredible view of the ocean below and the view of downtown Singapore. The kids quite like the experience of it.

6. Gardens by the Bay: This place is a must-visit for any local or tourist. For kids, it’s a gold mine of activities to do! Let’s see…there is the water sprinkler park, the outdoor kids play area in the sand, a mini Cactus Garden and aquarium, the magnificent Super Groves and the Domes (Flower Dome and Cloud Forest). What’s not to love?

7. Marina Barrage: Just a short walk down from Gardens by the Bay is a little hilltop and one of my favorite corners of Singapore. Arguably the southwestern-most point of the island, Marina Barrage provides a view of the sea on one side and a view of the Singapore skyline on the other. We love coming here for picnics and kite-flying. Invariably, there is someone ever willing to help us out as we often fumble and struggle to get our kites up!

8. Biking along the East Coast: Rent a bike from one of the many locations (Greenland Park is one of them) and cruise around with your little one on the back. I love bringing my son (and friends visiting from out-of-town) for a reasonably active and fun outing. Something about the view of the palm trees lining the streets, the beach, and families hanging out here really makes me happy!

9. Murals, anybody?: I’m a huge fan of artist Yip Yew Chong’s murals and have taken Krishnav to see the ones on Everton Road (known as the Everton Murals) and Tiong Bahru. He has a lot more murals in other locations which you can find out about here and I personally have written about them here.  It’s a great way to expose the kids to art that tells stories and to ignite conversation on what they see and think…for free!

10. Kid-friendly animal farms around Singapore? Yes, it actually exists. I’ve actually written a whole article on this topic and you can read all about it here on Sassy Mama!

The remaining 10 items on this list will be continued in part II of this series...Stay tuned!
This month saw me veering towards classic silhouettes with a black jumpsuit to a playful, girly look with polka dots and fringes. Here’s a round-up of my looks from March.

While I’ve never bought apparel from Kate Spade before, I chanced upon a sale going on at the store on a recent work trip to Hong Kong. While the clothes from this brand are typically beyond my budget, the sale prices made them much more affordable. I loved this black jumpsuit with its lace embroidered design on the top and its overall flattering fit. Had to get it! Next time you fall in love with the classic and chic design of a Kate Spade dress, bookmark it to buy it on sale in the future.

Kate Spade Lace Embroidered Jumpsuit | Flats from Urban Revivo | Michael Kors bag

High-waisted pants give a very polished look when paired with a smart top. I had been looking for a pair of pink/blush-colored ones for a while. I found these pants on SheIn and after carefully reading the reviews, which were mostly positive, I decided to buy them. No regrets! They fit really well and the color will go well with almost anything. (Just a tip: While it’s great to shop on SheIn with its super affordable prices for trendy clothes, always read the reviews to ensure that you don’t land up with a piece that is ill-fitting or of poor quality). 

SheIn Blush Pants | Charles & Keith Shoes | Miu Miu Purse | Lace top from Bangkok
This next outfit was almost entirely purchased from SheIn as well. The black crop top and the denim skirt combo give a relaxed yet put-together style which is perfect for the weekend or a summer holiday look. This whole look was US $25! The straw bag was from The Edit Lifestyle, a Singapore store that gives me all the beachy, island style feels. For similar straw bags which have been trending for a while, try these links here (SheIn), here (MANGO), here (ShopBop), and here (ASOS). 

SheIn Denim Skirt | SheIn Crop Tank | Round straw bag from Edit Lifestyle | Sneakers from Rubi 
Yellow is a color I don’t have much of in my closet but I do so love it. When I saw this mustard yellow blazer at Bershka, I was instantly attracted to it. Because the color is so bright, I kept everything else simple with a striped tee and black pants. Wear it to work for a fun, bright look or style it over a day dress. Don’t be afraid of color! 

Bershka blazer | Striped top from ESP Bangkok | Pants from Urban Revivo | Shoes and sunglasses from Charles & Keith | Earrings from Aquamarine Mumbai
Club Monaco is a store I really like but I always keep a lookout for sales. This floral top with its puff sleeves and waist-tie bow (which you can tie front or back) is great for an evening dinner out. The purse from Mango was a perfect match for the outfit.

Club Monaco floral print silk top | Pants from Urban Revivo | Shoes from VNC Bangkok |
Purse from Mango | Tassle earrings from Lovisa
I styled this fringe top from Club Monaco (again, purchased on sale and previously worn here) with this cute polka dot pleated midi-skirt from Juicy Couture. Felt so girly and dainty in this outfit!

Juicy Couture pleated midi-skirt with belt | Club Monaco sleeveless fringe top |
Charles & Keith shoes | Kate Spade flamingo wallet

Which one was your favorite look? 

I’m going to talk about the B word today: breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a very sensitive topic of discussion these days. Now that I've been through it with both my boys, I can say that I've seen both sides of the coin: exclusive breastfeeding vs bottle and formula feeding. I’m going to say that there is no right or wrong to either approach. Okay, now that I’ve sufficiently hedged and appeased both sides of a very polarizing topic, let me explain. Here’s my story and why I believe what I do...

My circumstances were very different between the first and second child. With my older one, I did exclusive breastfeeding for one year. Having taken a break from work, it was an incredibly easy and natural thing to do. Oh, and the convenience of it! I never had to deal with any accouterments related to bottle feeding (ie, breastpump, bottle cleaning equipment, etc). The whole experience was special for me and I was thankful for it.

With my younger one who is now almost 9 months, it has proven to be a totally different scenario. He had a more voracious appetite from the very beginning. I also had to return to work earlier when he was 4 months of age. It was the perfect storm – challenging work circumstances, formula feeds to keep up with my absence and with this boy’s growing appetite, and pumping which gradually replaced natural feeds with the baby. I developed a love-hate relationship with my breastpump in the workplace. This “frenemy” of mine accompanied me on every business travel and found me using it in all kinds of inconvenient places just so that I could maintain my milk supply and provide this so-called “liquid gold” to my baby. From airplane toilets, conference rooms, store changing rooms to public restrooms, no place was out of bounds (Fellow moms who’ve done this, I know your agony!). Despite my best attempts, my supply dipped and it was a downward spiral. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed and also resentful towards my circumstances at work that led to this. The naturalist mama in me wants to continue giving breastmilk to Arjun as long as I can (and I'm still valiantly continuing for now) but the practical mama says I have to do what makes sense for both the baby and me.

Too often healthcare providers, society, and fellow mothers are placing unnecessary pressure on other women to breastfeed, come what may. Heck, we even impose this pressure on ourselves. I’ve seen fellow moms utterly racked with guilt when they have to give up breastfeeding or are unable to provide breastmilk for their baby for reasons beyond their control.

Having experienced the challenges and benefits of the different ways to feed, I know now more than ever before that you should never judge another mother on how she chooses to feed her child. We know that breast milk is the most natural way to go. And, in an ideal world, which mother wouldn't want what's best for her child? But the lesson I’ve learned from my different milkfeeding journeys is that we don't know the circumstances, whether it be biological, physical, or emotional, that lead a mother to the choices she makes.

To the mothers out there who are able to nurse – I’m with you, it’s awesome and special and feels great! But to those who are giving formula and bottle feeds to the baby? It’s totally okay. Really. You will not bond any less with your baby. And your baby will not love you any less. As I always believe, a fed baby is a happy baby. It doesn’t matter which B you used – breast or bottle.

New York City holds a special place in my heart. Among the many reasons is that it’s the city where I had my first baby. There are certain memories of my time there as a new mom which I will never forget. Little moments in time which Krishnav will never remember but are ingrained in my mind. Visits to the Central Park Zoo where I pointed out penguins to him, stroller rides along a crowded Times Square, taking him to our neighborhood café on a cold, blustery November evening…

You can imagine then how I loved the book Big Apple Kid. Written and illustrated by a very talented Kavita Rajput, this children’s book brings back warm nostalgic feelings of my time in NYC with Krishnav before I moved to Singapore. The author, who is now based in Singapore, conceived the book when she herself was a mom living in Manhattan with her baby boy seven years ago. It has been quite an incredible journey for her to bring the book to life but the result is an endearing and loveable children’s book. With its watercolor illustrations capturing familiar and iconic images of Manhattan across different seasons and its sweet rhythmic rhymes, this book is appropriate for any kid up to age 4-5. And if your kid just happens to be a New Yorker, by birth or residence, then it’s a must to add this book to their collection!

If you are in Singapore, do support your locally published books and authors/artists. You can find out more about this book and the author at www.bigcitykidbooks.com. Get a copy for your kid today!