Review: Philips Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cleaning the car has always been an arduous task for me. Mostly, I'll simply drive through one of those washing bays to get the car sprayed. That often doesn't last and things only look good on the outside but not the inside. I hesitate each time the hub cajole me to pay a whopping $12 for vacuuming services. So when Philips kindly sent me their Minivac Handheld vacuum cleaner for home and car, I was balled!

I have amassed a great number of vacuum cleaners in the past and this one certainly impresses me with it's lighweight and comfortable grip. The hub recently bought a ginormous vacuum cleaner which requires such effort in setting up it irks me. In fact, he's the only one using it. Men and their machines. 

This powerful 12V cleaner is in fact, it's so portable and light that lil bub was having fun walking around with it, attempting to help out with some chores. Training starts young and what better way with this home and car, bagless cyclonic airflow and aerodynamic nozzle cleaner! Such jargon! Basically, the airflow keeps the dirt inside rotating to ensure optimal, high suction power and lasting clening performance. Its 2-stage filtration system ensures that, once inside, the dirt cannot escape. The first filter blocks most dirt, while the second filter traps the finer dust particles. The aerodynamic nozzle design of the Philips MiniVac is created to ensure an optimum dust pick-up of even the most fine dust particles. the ergonomic shape of the nozzle helps you to clean even the most hard-to-reach areas. That's great stuff for a family where hygiene is pertinent.

I was pretty impressed with the wide array of accessories which came with this gadget. This includes a small and large brush tool, small and large crevice tool (very useful for those hard to reach corners!) and a long hose tube. I think they have outdone themselves with their attentiveness. All these knick knacks can then be kept in a storage bag and placed in the car boot to ensure that I have all I need to clean my car at any time! Now i have no excuse to have the interiors spic and span! 

No more cumbersome vacuum cleaners! this car vacuum is a dream with its unlimited electrical supply and intricate accessories. Now, I don't have to spend a bomb to have the car vacuumed. Keeping the car interior clean isn't that arduous anymore

With the GSS round the corner, Philips will be having a special promotion. Instead of the usual retail price of $119, it'd be going at $89!

Do follow Philips Twitter page at and participate in the Twitter games to win up to $100 shopping vouchers!

You can find out more here -

Happy Birthday to the man who means the world to me!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I've nothing much to say today, but am truly thankful that I have lil K and the hubs with me. Today is the hub's birthday and though he isn't reading this space, I'll still like to wish him a happy birthday! I've lost count on the number of years we've spent celebrating birthdays together, but it's approximately 14 years and counting. I thank God for his inexpressible gift! 

DIY confinement

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Just because time has passed doesn't mean that all is fine. My sadness, and my grief hasn’t diminished with time.However, life still goes on and I have to put on a happy face for those close to me. With that said, nourishment during this period is as important as when one gives birth. It's no excuse to torment my health just because of external factors. I'm able-bodied and fully capable of doing my own confinement and I'd like to share:

First and foremost, the star of the show:
 I made a trip down the medical hall and got a whole lot of stuff: 
  • Wolfberries; 
  • Nan Dates (supposedly not that heaty as black dates and it's to invigorate the spleen, nourish the blood and calm the mind -- HOPEFULLY!); 
  • Red dates; Chinese Yam; 
  • Chinese Angelica Root (Dang gui which is heaty in nature and is used in most confinement recipes due to it's qualities as a uterine and blood tonic); 
  • Dried Longan (used to boil my daily dose of confinement tea); 
  • Cordyceps sinensis (dong Chong Cao which is so freaking expensive --one tiny bunch cost SGD500, thus I had to go for the lower grade ones. It is used as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. It is an excellent strengthening tonic for women after childbirth to strengthen the body which is susceptible to cold and flu; 
  • Rehmannia (Shou Di, which is a nourishing tonic and generally used to nourish the blood and hormonal system); 
  • Eucommia ulmoides (Du Zhong, which is a kidney-tonifying herbal medicine. Best used to treat postpartum backache which i'm having and chronic knee pain); 
  • Ligusticum wallichii (Chuan Xiong, which promotes qi and blood circulation. Relieves headaches, abdominal ache and muscle age, regulates menses, treats amenorrhea and get rid of blood stasis
My trusty double-boiler which I used two years ago when I had lil K. 
The off-the-shelf stuff which includes Huiji Waist Tonic that my MIL said was good (yup, she told me to get it myself); essence of chicken -- loads left over from my last confinement namely because i hate its taste and Yomeishu which I used to take and alternate with Huiji Tonic.
Decided to whip myself a mean bowl of mee suah for breakfast. Here are the ingredients:
  • A bunch of mee suah
  • 80 g lean meat (sliced and I marinated it with a bit of soy sauce and corn starch to tenderize it)
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 10g ginger (juliennes)
  • 1 bowl of rice wine or in my case i used Wincarins
  • 1/2 bowl of water (but i probably added a bit more coz I'm not quite a wine person)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Tip: Do not overcook the mee suah otherwise it will turn too soft and does not taste nice. This breakfast meal is said to rid the body of the early morning "wind".

Heat sesame oil, saute the ginger till golden brown, add meat and stir-fry then pour in the seasoning and bring to boil. Meanwhile blanch mee suah in boiling water, drain and add to the soup. toss in an egg and the dish is ready to be served.

TA DAH! The hubs said it was delicious! In fact, he helped me finish half a bowl coz it was too much for me.

That day, I cooked dried scallop chicken porridge (with ginger of coz) and steamed a fish (with ginger slices again) for lunch and dinner respectively. It's really challenging to have to cook all three meals by myself, thus I had foresight and ordered catered food whilst in the hospital. Talk about efficiency! I had to. Everything came oh-so-fast 
After some research, I decided to give Chilli Padi a shot. Namely because it's near where I stay thus I'm quite sure the food will be delivered warm.
 Some of the dishes I had thus far: Papaya with fish soup (which is more to stimulate breastmilk which in my case isn't applicable); Black bean pork soup (which was a tad too oily); broccoli with mushroom (I was told by my TCM that mushroom is a fungi thus we shouldn't be eating too much); Spinach with carrots (I was again, told by the TCM physician that carrots will neutralise other vitamins and medication); Liver with red and green bell pepper and some preserved veg sesame chicken (which is terribly oily and so bony! I had a hard time searching for the meats!)

But, beggars cannot be choosers. At least these are more nutritious than the economical rice at the kopitiam right? 

Amazingly Still

In loving memory

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"The world may never notice if a rosebud doesn't bloom
or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon
but every life that ever forms
or ever comes to be
touches the world
in some small way for all eternity
the little one we longed for
was swiftly here and gone
but the love that was then planted
is a light that still shines on
and though our arms are empty
our hearts know what to do
every beating of our heart says
We will remember you."

mother's day will never be the same again

While many others were busy blogging about how wonderful a Mother's day they had, i was in a different realm. It started off a happy day despite being a lil disgruntled that the hubs was in a different timezone. I was beaming with pride and euphoria as the thought of having two wonderful children to celebrate every Mother's Day from now on flooded into my mind. I wasn't in denial or hallucinating. I was really pregnant. Unbeknownst, God had other plans that would shatter it all. On 15.05.2013, Dr Ho announced that Bb B's (a name my daughter affectionately given to her sibling) heart has stopped. My heart fell upon hearing the news. I was in disbelief! How could such a thing be happening to me? I was distraught, devastated and alone. The hub was miles away n when i broke the news to him, he was speechless but picked up the pieces really quickly and consoled me. I called my family and Empress Dowager's first words were "don't you dare cry!" She didn't come to stand by me coz she was more concern about her small puny business, if u can even call that a business. I was shivering in cold. I put on a brave front when facing Dr Ho. I wanted to ask him all i could in my controlled state of sanity. WHY? Chromosonal abnormality was most probably the cause he said. It apparently affects many modern day women and most will not get past 10wks. I was 9. The lil one already had a heartbeat but it was called home to be with the Lord. N dr believed it happened a few days back thus i conclude it was Mother's Day when i caved into temptation by eating my favourite crabs. 

U see, I was a very staunch believer of TCM during my first pregnancy. My physician is extremely strict and I followed his orders. No seafood (poisonous), no meats except pork and occasionally chicken coz the rest are either poisonous or like duck is known to be "cooling". He's basically against meats coz it decays the fastest according to him. Veg -- to avoid melons and kangkong. Oh goodness, these are my favourite, but i listened during my first pregnancy. This time, i decided to go with the western thoughts and that is to take everything in moderation, afterall, as long as it's not raw, it can't kill right? And the sil, has to buy my favourite on this day. initially i said no. The mil asked y n casted me a look that hinted that i'm ridiculous. I replied it's poisonous according to the Chinese dr coz crabs eat decay stuff...her response: poisonous so? Cannot eat ah? Speechless. That was when i took a small claw. Though that wasn't the cause from a scientific perspective, but it has amounted to lots of guilt on my part. Right from the start it hasn't been an easy pregnancy. 

First Trimester: Morning sickness rendered me lethargic and was in no mood to work. Yet i had to push myself. My hormone levels were probably low according to the gynae as i spotted a couple of times. I had to go for jabs twice weekly on top of the Duphaston (taken orally) and crimson (injected vaginally daily). It was exhausting but i was determined to make it work. The tcm dr assured me my body was good and there's nothing to worry about. 3 days later, the bad news dawned.

Empathy from family was not at it's peak but I am thankful for friends. The hub managed to get a flight n departed within 2 hours of receiving my call. After over 20hours of flight, he was finally here. It's strange but i felt more at peace when he is around. I bawled out but regained composure quickly with him by my side. Though deep down i was still bleeding, i was glad that this husband of mine did not fail me and sat through with me for the procedure. Don't forget he is probably still jet lagging. So yes, a loud shoutout to you my dear even though u don't read this space of mine: thank u, i appreciate u! 

The Dilation (or dilatation) and curettage (D&C)  procedure was really fast. It refers to the dilation (widening/opening) of the cervix and surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus and/or contents of the uterus by scraping and scooping (curettage). It's a blind procedure, meaning, the gynae does not have a screen to see what's happening in there and it's all base on gut feeling! If the evacuation is not done well, several things can happen:
  • Risks associated with anesthesia such as adverse reaction to medication and breathing problems
  • Hemorrhage or heavy bleeding
  • Infection in the uterus or other pelvic organs
  • Perforation or puncture to the uterus
  • Laceration or weakening of the cervix
  • Scarring of the uterus or cervix, which may require further treatment
  • Incomplete procedure which requires another procedure to be performed
Imagine the fear that was instilled in me prior to the operation!! But it was the professional's duty to warn me. I prayed hard that all would go well and it did. Within 45 minutes and i was wheeled back to the ward. It was pretty painless too, probably because many friends kept me in prayers. I was told to expect some bearable cramping and bleeding from a few days to up to 3 weeks.

After the procedure, mum called to say she boiled some soup for me and even though i just had an op, we drove to her place to collect straight after discharge. I told you empathy was lacking right? Over at the in-laws, things weren't any better. Perhaps they are not very conversant people but yet i'd say their way of consolation is much to my liking. In particular, the mil drew a parallel with a relative with a similar experience recently. Was there such a need? Other ppl's loss doesn't justify own loss! She went on to tell me about some friend who gave birth to an autistic child and has painstakingly raised her for years. I really don't think such cases were apt in such a state of emotional distress. Blame it on the lack of EQ or empathy perhaps? I was hoping for more empathy from those two women in my life, afterall, they both went through such a procedure for different reasons. But I was wrong. Upset is such an understatement.

48 hours passed since the op and still no nourishing soup from the mil. What a joke. The hubs insisted i focus on nursing myself to health and was confident his mum would help in every aspect especially cooking, but thankfully i had foresight. I've catered my own confinement food ( whilst waiting for the procedure to be done!) which unfortunately starts only on Tuesday. He instructed the mil to cook nourishing stuff for me and assumed i'll get it everyday. He was wrong. A call back home on Sunday and mil said she was going out thus not cooking. Hub's reply: means Janice has nothing to eat? Surprise Surprise? It seemed that the Mil had plans to head out. I ended up having to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for myself and my daughter. Everyone says Rest! How i ask, with such support system? It's no wonder the sil often tells me it's best to depend on no one but yrself.

A week has passed since the news of my loss. I'm pretty fine physically but work has to come to a standstill for this and next mth. NO work = no money thus I've gotto be frugal. I'm doing my own confinement by cooking soups and boiling herbs for my bath (yes, that icky herbal bath, else I was instructed by my mom not to bathe, just like during confinement). So there, how again can I rest? In the day, I still have my adorable Baby K to look after. A joy in fact. All my efforts, energy and focus is on her. So much so, sweetie says I'm probably overzealous. I have to keep my mind occupied. I’ve been busy churning out new materials, trying to complete the projects that have been gaining dust. I've been following up on the mountain of chores which I was unable to complete during the past 9wks when I was absolutely lethargic. It felt good that the house is clean once more but once that is done, I'm lost again. 

You never said you're leaving
You never said goodbye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knows why.

A million times I needed you
A million times I cried
If love alone could have saved you
You never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place
That nobody could ever fill.

It broke my heart to lose you
But you didn't go alone
For part of me went with you
The day God took you home.

Milestone -- sentences!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Another milestone had been achieved! ! The lil one pieced together a short sentence when she saw the light on her new shoes going off : light no more! though it isn't grammatically correct,  I think it's so smart of her to piece the few words on her own!  She's been very chatty of late and instead of one word,  she's able to string two together. eg Baby B -- one of her favourites.

I believe girls have a natural ability to master language at a faster pace than boys but giving the lil one the right environment to excel is important too. I speak to her mostly in English while the rest of the family speaks in Mandarin. clearly i m outnumbered thus letting her socialize at English speaking playgroups is also a must! At times when I don't feel like talking (Trust me it is very tiring to talk so much at work n to come home having to talk to a toddler.  breathless!), I switch on the radio.
apart from these,  one of my homeschooling efforts are flashcards.  something which not all will agree but well it makes me feel that at least something is done.  I've been making those cards since she was an infant.  Not an easy task considering there's so many to Flash in a week. My recent efforts have in fact been BLAH,  namely due to work and health reasons.  Hopefully i m able to gain momentum again. lil k on the other hand has been looking forward to these sessions.  She sometimes brings me the cards and instructs me to Flash it to her.  How cute.

It's really quite easy to make those flashcards. I simply print pictures off the net according to themes and stick 'em onto A5 blank cards which I ordered in bulk. The following are themes which I've done:
  • Domestic Animals
  • Wild Animals
  • Sea animals
  • Things at home
  • Things in the kitchen
  • Things in the bedroom
  • fruits
  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Parts of the body
  • Family members
  • Meals
  • Beverages
  • Sports
  • Vegetables
  • Musical Instruments
Gotto get my lazy bones untangled and get my act together again. Haven't been up to things when it comes to educating the lil one. guilty much.