Trip.com X Nirwana Gardens Hotel Bintan *GIVEAWAY + PROMO CODE*

Trip.com

Trip.com is a one-stop travel solutions provider offering hotel, flight, train and car bookings. Part of the CTrip Group (which acquired Skyscanner), a NASDAQ-listed company since 2003, Trip.com has over 30,000 employees and over 300 million members with worldwide coverage of over 1.2 million hotels in more than 200 countries and flights to over 5,000 cities. 

One of the largest online travel agencies in the world, it ranked in the Top 30 of Forbes World’s Most Innovative Companies. It has 9 global offices with one in Singapore.

Bookings can be made via Trip.com or on its mobile app (Apple and Android versions available). The app is fuss-free and straightforward. Plan your trip in-app using My Trips to monitor your flight status and hotel confirmations. There’s a Rewards Program called PointsPLUS where you can accumulate points to redeem airline miles and other services. 


Nirwana Gardens

Nirwana Gardens is a resort located at the northern part of Bintan with various accommodation types to suit all sorts of travellers – from families with children to honeymooners, employees on corporate retreats and solo backpackers. Spanning across 330 hectares, there is a wide range of facilities such as the infinity pool, fitness studio, dive centre, jumbo elephant park, recreational activities, water sports and kids club. Food and beverages are available in the resort’s 14 restaurants, bars and pubs.

There are a total of 5 unique properties in Nirwana Gardens:

  • Nirwana Resort Hotel, where we stayed at, is the largest accommodation with 242 rooms, all facing either the pool, garden or sea. All the standard facilities of a hotel room are included. 
  • Indra Maya Pool Villa, 8 exclusive and beautiful pool villas with individual courtyards and private pools facing the South China Sea. Indra Maya Pool Villas come with Personalised Villa Host Services. 
  • Banyu Biru Villa, newly refurbished double-storey 2 or 3 bedroom villas fully equipped with all the comforts of home that are perfect for group gatherings or large families. 
  • Mayang Sari Beach Resort includes 51 air-conditioned chalets with attached bathrooms and private verandahs. Choose between the Sea View chalet, Garden View chalet or Family Loft. 
  • Nirwana Beach Club is for water sports lovers. 42 decorated cabanas situated near the dive centre provides easy access to the sea. Sundecks are available for those who suntan.

The latest addition to the group is Grand Lagoi Hotel by Nirwana Gardens. It is approximately 10 minutes away by car from its sister resort.

You might not be aware, but Nirwana Gardens has a Newborn Turtle Release project as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. They operate a turtle conservatory and hatchery to protect turtles and hatchlings from predators and poachers. Established since 2005 to increase awareness of marine conservation and increase the declining number of turtles in the region, the successful programme has seen 431 green turtles and 916 hawksbill turtles released into the ocean in 2017 alone. Resort guests are welcome to view the release of turtle hatchlings into the ocean which occurs between June to September each year.



The resort is well paved with roads but of a distance to travel via foot. With the convenient travel options like the complimentary shuttle bus, buggy or car, we didn’t see anyone walking from point to point!

Nirwana Resort Hotel

From Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, it takes a comfortable 55-min ferry ride via Bintan Resort Ferries and a 10-min land transfer to reach the hotel lobby. Upon arrival, we were treated to a traditional Indonesian dance with live percussion music. Only Indonesian Rupiah is accepted in Bintan, and there is a money changer located at the hotel lobby for convenience. Indonesian timing is GMT+7, an hour behind Singapore.

We checked in on a Monday and the process was smooth. The resort is rather full on weekends. Singaporeans make up the bulk of visitors, followed by tourists from China.

The resort provided an extra bed for the kids, but look at those monkeys on the big bed. Standard amenities were provided – a TV, study desk, armchair, bar fridge, closet, rain shower and hair dryer. Our room overlooked a water fountain and there were lots of greenery. The room was clean with no visible traces of the previous occupant. 

Facilities/Activities

I was surprised to find out that there was a dive centre in Nirwana Gardens! It’s been more than five years since I last dived but I couldn’t due to time and kid constraints. For those who live for water sports, there’s a whole host of activities ranging from diving, snorkeling, banana boating, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing and more. Here’s the full list of activities and corresponding prices.

We were brought on a tour around the resort and stopped by the D’Ranch Oasis, a herb garden and mini-zoo. There were rabbits, a resident parrot, monitor lizards and guinea fowl waddling to the small stream beside for water. How cute!

Traditional fishing can be done here at this small lake with the most basic type of rod with no reel. My husband gave it a go and hauled in a bountiful catch of zero fishes. The fishes were too smart for him that day. 

For a fee, you can ride around the compound in a horse carriage or on horseback. 

The Jumbo Elephant Park houses seven Sumatran elephants. The elephant in this photo is a grand dame of 28 years old. I’d never been up close to an elephant in my life, and we got to touch its trunk and watch them drink water from their trunks. The park provides an opportunity for visitors to get up close and personal with the gentle giants and watch a show where they can observe the elephants’ individual characteristics, living habits and group behaviours. 

 

The camping ground at the resort has many outdoor adventure equipment and is suitable for school groups and company team bonding activities. There’s a four-storey Flying Fox zipline, paintball park, Air Rifle, archery corner and indoor AirSoft gun shooting.   

A two storey complex houses the 14-lane bowling centre, cafe, meeting rooms, fitness centre and NABLEZ Kids Club. 

The NABLEZ Kids Club is suitable for children aged four years and up and you can choose to pay per session or per day. Parents can sign their children for the day course if they want to sneak off for some golf or a spa session.

The indoor playground has full length glass windows to let in natural light and is decorated with familiar cartoon characters. A messy creative corner for painting lets your child unleash their inner artistic talent. The cosy beanbag and TV area is perfect for lounging and relaxing. Younger babies are not left out, as the fully padded play area stocked with toys protects against injuries.

Our time was tight and we chose to forego the indoor kids’ playground for THIS.

The four ‘S’s of any perfect outdoor holiday – Sun. Sand. Sea. Sky. The weather happened to be perfect throughout our stay and we were blessed with this view. As it was a weekday, the beach was practically empty! We actually couldn’t resist it when we were taken there in our day clothes and ended up with sandy and wet kids. We made sure to go again after lunch in proper swimwear, and again the next day.  

I let the kids play in the sand. Didi put some sand into his mouth, but that boy eats just about anything. The kids touched seaweed, flung sand around and dug holes. There was sand everywhere. 

The outdoor pool was where we spent most of our time. Overlooking the sea, the pool is a nice place to read a book, suntan or sip a drink at the pool bar. The infinity pool is not suitable for small children because it’s where the deep end is, demarcated with floats, but the rest of the pool is huge. 

The 0.5M wading pool where Elise fulfilled her sisterly duties of pushing her little brother in his inflatable whale throne around the pool. 

My Prince of W(h)ales.

What we loved about the pool was that the temperature of the water was perfect for swimming. Not bone-chillingly cold where you have to say a prayer before dipping yourself in, but toasty warm. 

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Peekaboo! . . @tripcom.sg @nirwanabintan

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Food

Spice Restaurant

Located at the main lobby of Mayang Sari Beach Resort, this restaurant with a view of the beach and sea serves authentic traditional Indonesian and Indian cuisine. We had the Nasi Goreng that my husband couldn’t stop raving about, butter chicken with naan and fish masala. The kids had chicken noodle soup and Mac’N’Cheese.    

The Kelong Seafood Restaurant

The Kelong Seafood Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant situated on top of the sea. The restaurant is naturally ventilated with a balmy sea breeze from the South China Sea and has a laid-back atmosphere. We were pleasantly surprised with a small cake before dinner as part of Elise’s belated birthday celebration. 

The walls were adorned with messages scrawled on crab shells, typical of seafood places serving crabs. There’s a small kelong below the bridge where the fishes are reared.

Dinner was a scrumptious spread of cereal prawns, seafood soup, kailan in oyster sauce and their signature dishes, black pepper crab and sea snails (gong gong). Part of a set menu, it was sufficient for two adults. The crab meat was piquant, sweet and easily separated from its shell, a sign of freshness.

The fresh seafood, service and sea breeze made for a pleasant evening. 

The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop is where daily breakfast buffet is served at. Check out the view. 

The food stations are modelled after traditional food push carts, giving it a rustic feel. 

The generous buffet spread included the standard egg station, salad and fruits bar, bread counter, cereal station and cooked food from International (ham, baked beans, potato wedges), Chinese (stir-fried noodles, fried rice, congee) and Indonesian (nasi lemak, soto ayam) cuisine. 

Poolside Restaurant

Our last meal in Nirwana Resort Hotel before checking out was at Poolside Restaurant. As the name implies, the restaurant mainly serves visitors who want a quick meal near the pool. 

We had two set meals with seafood pizza and grilled chicken leg as mains. The kimchi beef soup as a starter was a winner and gone so fast, we didn’t manage to take a photo. There was a good variety of kids’ meals and we ordered the mini pizza with french fries and steamed fish with mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables.  

Conclusion

Our 2D1N stay at Nirwana Gardens was on a packed schedule and we only wish we had more time to explore the more thrilling ATV, water sports and dive spots. With children, there’s still plenty to do at the beach, pool, bowling centre, elephant park and planned activities like the mangrove swamp tour and elephant experience. 

It was a brief respite from our daily routine and we enjoyed the large pool and the beach view. It’s an option worth considering if you only have a few days to spare, due to its easy accessibility from mainland Singapore.

Promo Code

Use code JAMIEK18 for S$18 OFF hotel bookings through the Trip.com App!
Valid till 31st Jan 2019!

Giveaway

Hop on over to Facebook for giveaway details! 

*** This is a sponsored review. We were invited to review Nirwana Resort Hotel by Trip.com.  

Silicone Colouring Mats Comparison – #ohmymats vs DrawnBy:

#ohmymats vs. DrawnBy: Jessica

About

DrawnBy: Jessica and #ohmymats by Audrey of thelittleonesinmylife sell reusable silicone drawing and colouring mats. Reusable silicone mats have been around for quite a while but these two brands are local brands with their own designs.

DrawnBy: Jessica was started by Jessica who turned her doodles into colouring mats. DrawnBy: Jessica mats are customised from a China supplier.

#ohmymats is described as Audrey’s personal give back project with a focus on struggling artists and persons with special needs. Two of the artists in the team are children with autism. According to Audrey, #ohmymats took four years from conceptualisation to launch, as she sought out reputable suppliers, designed and created the mats from scratch and ensured that the necessary safety tests were conducted and legal documentation were in order. #ohmymats are made in Korea and the mat has unique features exclusive to them.

DrawnBy: Jessica has an imperfect sale where $5 from the sale of mats with slight defects are donated to charity. 

Purchase Experience

A few months ago, I ordered a DrawnBy: Jessica mat but as it was a gift, I didn’t have the opportunity to use it. I also ordered #ohmymats during the preorder sale and did a review. Afterwards, I received a DM from Jessica asking if I was aware of DrawnBy: Jessica mats. 

For the purpose of this review, I ordered two mats with a set of markers from each brand, one large and one small from #ohmymats and two standard mats from DrawnBy: Jessica.

The total amount after including $7 Qxpress shipping for DrawnBy: Jessica ($49.80) was comparable to #ohmymats ($51.45). Shipping for #ohmymats is free but for $5, you can opt to have your #ohmymats order sent in a carton box as fragile courier and in a carton box via express courier for $10. 

Both sites use Shopify to process orders and payments. 

 

Shipping was efficient. I received my orders via Qxpress for DrawnBy: Jessica and Ninjavan for #ohmymats. It’s a bit unrelated, but I have to compliment the Ninjavan courier. I wasn’t home and the courier helped to hide it “in a secure location” and took a photo for me. It was indeed well hidden out of sight. Qxpress couriers don’t inform before they arrive, but my regular delivery woman will call if she finds that nobody is home.

Packaging

Both DrawnBy: Jessica and #ohmymats pack their standard orders in poly mailers. #ohmymats has other packaging options for an extra fee. 

DrawnBy: Jessica mats come in plastic PVC drawstring bags which can be used to bring the mats and markers around. The markers were packaged simply in disposable plastic.

#ohmymats are packaged in plastic see through boxes with product information clearly listed at the back. Included in the box is a printout with usage instructions and the sticker in front shows the design of the mat. 

#ohmymats come in two sizes – small and large and each design comes in either small or large.

Size comparison of the mats.

Logo

DrawnBy: Jessica has an embossed logo on the bottom left of each mat, whereas the placement of #ohmymats’s logo with the artist’s unique signature forms part of the printed design.  

Product

Printing

DrawnBy: Jessica has a imperfect sale where products which have failed QC are sold at a discount and $5 from each mat donated to charity. Imperfect sales are only held at her pop-up stores for buyers to inspect the quality first hand.

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When I received my very first shipment of #drawnbymats, we QC-ed every single mat by hand. There were a few with little marks and tarnishes that I thought would not be good enough to sell to my customers. Swipe to see some of the issues. . The thing is, it would be such a waste to dump them – the mats are already paid for, and a good portion of them are still quite usable, just that they may not be perfect. It's only the printing and 80% of the mat is still ok for colouring; quality and durability of the mats ARE NOT compromised. . They’re not great, but they are definitely still good! <3 . That said, I will be putting these out there at a special price of $16.90/SET in the old Cylinders. Sales for the Imperfect Mats will be at the below Pop-ups so that you can see the imperfect mats in person 🙂 . $5 from the sale of EACH MAT will be donated to the Children’s Aid Society. The society aims to protect and care for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and youth between the 6 to 18 years old. I can’t imagine anything better than being able to help kids who could really use a helping hand in life. You can read more here – http://childrensaidsociety.org.sg/cas . There is only a small quantity of Imperfect mats at this price so if you’ve been waiting for a sale, THIS would be the time to get your hands on the DrawnBy:Mats at a never-before-seen price, and help kids from Children’s Aid Society and Melrose Home too 🙂 . If there are any left after Kidzania, I will open orders online 🙂 If by Christmas there are still imperfect mats, I will bless them on the Sincere Blessings Channel to families with 3 or more kids to bring happiness and cheer over these holidays <3 If there are a lot of left over Imperfect mats, I will pick a couple of other charities or hospitals for the mats to go to too. . See you at the Pop-ups and spread the love guys 🙂 . 1) Distrii Event Hall, Level 2, Republic Plaza, 29&30 Nov, 11am – 3pm 2) Kidzania, 8-14 Dec (excl 11 Dec), 10am-5.30pm (open only to patrons of Kidzania) . #drawnby #drawnbyfaithhopelove #drawnbysale #drawnbypopup #imperfectbutperfect #notgreatbutgood #charity #giveback #bless

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The mats in this review were purchased online. The edge of my Space Adventures mat was not neatly rounded off, but that’s a small matter to me. 

There were two other obvious blemishes on my mat. One was a blurred outline and the other, a faded spot on the outline. My expectations are not high but paying full price for an imperfect mat doesn’t feel good. The mat is no longer eligible for a refund as I noticed the blemishes after colouring on it. DrawnBy: Jessica’s refund policy states that “For DrawnBy: Washable Silicone Drawing and Colouring Mats to be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging.” To be safe, please check your mats in their original packaging on the day you receive them.

UPDATE 24/11/2018 
Jessica contacted me to do a partial refund of $8 to make this an imperfect mat sale, which I accepted. 

This is neither a marker stain or dirt, but a faded ink spot.

The corners on #ohmymats are cut out smoothly. This review was focused on the two designs I ordered. There are some misalignments on certain #ohmymats designs and these can be seen from the stock photos. If you notice other defects with your mats, please email #ohmymats for after sales service.

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{Clarifications} Dear Customers, the following has been highlighted to our team. We take all feedback seriously. 1. Some misalignments in the lines on Dino Land 2. Cut off of the design at the rounded corners & a missing downward stroke (dotted line) for "Q" for Trace & Colour We would like to apologise that we didn't spot this during our sample checks for all 14 designs as we were too excited in running the production to ensure that stocks will reach Singapore as soon as possible. We have no intentions to hide these from customers and as per our actual product photos on our website, these prints can be seen clearly on our product photos. We have also placed a disclaimer in our product description. This does not affect the colouring experience. At current moment, these 2 designs are bring reprinted in the exact same way (with the cut off and misalignment). We will look into retiring these 2 designs after the current reprint. We will also take extra care in checking future new designs before production. Should you have any questions regarding this, please email in to hello@ohmymats.com.sg with your order number/receipt and we will be happy to assist you.

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Thickness

#ohmymats appears to be thicker after folding and is more opaque than DrawnBy: Jessica, which makes it more suitable as a blank sheet for doodling or colouring when flipped. I don’t have calipers so I am unable to measure the exact thickness due to #ohmymats’s raised border. DrawnBy: Jessica is on the left and #ohmymats, on the right. 

The mat can be folded or rolled up and stored in a pouch. This shows the mats folded into eighths. 

L: #ohmymats R: DrawnBy: Jessica
Top: #ohmymats Bottom: DrawnBy: Jessica

#ohmymats has a raised edge along the mat to aid children in colouring within the mat.

Experience

When colouring on the DrawnBy: Jessica using their markers, I noticed a pungent smell that was not noticeable with #ohmymats. All mats were used after removal from their respective packaging. I realised the smell came from the markers (see below) and unwashed mat. I tried again on a washed mat and the smell was slightly reduced. 

There are a lot of details on DrawnBy: Jessica’s mats and this may take a younger child more time to finish colouring the entire mat. Case in point: We brought it out for dinner. Elise started off colouring seriously with different colours but gave up halfway and scribbled the remaining characters and background brown. 

#ohmymats are drawn by various artists and every artist has their own artistic style and interpretation of the theme. Overall, the details of the characters are kept simpler with more white space in between them. 

After colouring, I left out both mats for about three days before wiping the colours off with wet wipes. Both wiped off cleanly with wet wipes. However, do note that DrawnBy: Jessica advises customers not to leave colours in overnight as the colours may stick to the silicone. If this happens, you may need isopropyl alcohol to deep clean the mat.

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I found out somethng AMAZING today! I found out that you can use Isopropyl Alcohol (from your nearest pharmacy) to clean out stubborn DrawnBy: Marker stains! It will not compromise the integrity of the silicone . Our DrawnBy: Washable Silicone Drawing and Colouring mats are clean to the naked eye but sometimes you may see a hint of some colour residue, especially if you have left ink on overnight. Don't do it folks! . Just a little bit of Rubbing Alcohol on a cotton pad and a quick swipe will do the trick! . PS – you can also use this trick on ink stains on clothes! Who woulda thunk! . Hope this helps you guys who are wondering about how best to clean your DrawnBy: Wasahable Silicone Drawing and Colouring mats! For more info visit the FAQ on www.drawnbysg.com . #drawnby #drawnbyfaithhopelove #drawnbymats #drawnbymarkers #deepclean #rubbingalcohol #cleaninghacks #getclean #bestpractice #alwaysimproving #givemybest #faq #questionandanswer

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#ohmymats has previously left their mat coloured with different brands for over a week. 

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Common Question.. What markers can I use on #ohmymats? Whiteboard markers! While we have sourced for a trusted Korean-made brand of whiteboard markers, we understand some customers prefer to find their own markers. We've searched around and tried out various brands we could find locally that had enough colour options to ensure a fun colouring experience. And they all work well. Of course as you can see, some brands seem a little faint, but they still work fine. We're leaving them on for as long as we can before we wipe off to check for stains. And the good news is… All do not stain the mats even after leaving them coloured for a week. So the option is yours! Select our sets for better pricing compared to purchasing markers separately, or buy your own whiteboard markers. (I know some of you have free flow of markers from your office!) Reuseable!!! So easy to wipe off with wet wipe! You can also wash it with soap and water. Once it is dry, Colour again! 10% off already discounted price now on!!!! Till 31 Oct 2018 only! Don't miss it! Shipment arriving mid Nov. We will ship out once stock arrives! Order here: www.ohmymats.com.sg/discount/PREORDER #ohmymats #colouringmats #reuseablecolouringmats #reusablecoloringmats #siliconemats #siliconmats #diningplacemat #diningmat

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Markers

DrawnBy: Jessica markers are OEM markers that are assembled in China while #ohmymats’s bundled Java markers are made in Korea. Java markers are also available on RedMart, brought in by Toppingskids.

DrawnBy: Jessica #ohmymats
Safety OEM markers
Lab test on plastic grains for marker body
Lab test on marker ink only (red, blue, green, black) done in 2013
Java markers are produced by JAVAPEN.
Products are required to be safe before being retailed. JAVAPEN has passed Korea product safety tests.
Antimicrobial PP body, marker caps are EN-71 certified to prevent choking
Tip Standard nib Fine tip, more suitable for older children or adults
Origin Marker ink from Korea, marker body assembled in China Marker ink and marker made in Korea. 

DrawnBy: Jessica markers are more watery, making it easy to colour and the colours come out stronger, but the smell of solvent makes me wary to let Elise handle it. It was the strongest smelling compared to Daiso and Java markers. Following this review, I’ve had feedback from other parents that their DrawnBy: markers don’t smell, so please don’t take my word for it. Mine could be a bad batch.

For #ohmymats, the fine tipped Java markers glided on smoothly, but fine tip markers are more suitable for older children or adults as younger children who cannot control their strength may break the nibs. #ohmymats stocks Unicorn markers with thicker nibs for younger children.

Any brand of whiteboard markers can be used on both brands, but DrawnBy: Jessica recommends that customers use DrawnBy: markers for the best experience. #ohmymats has tried out a few brands of whiteboard markers with their mats and suggests only whiteboard markers be used.

IKEA and Daiso sell affordable whiteboard markers. Regardless of brand, keep all dry erase markers away from fabric, as it is close to impossible to wash out.

Summary

#ohmymats DrawnBy:
Material Platinum Premium Silicone, food grade
Food grade silicone
Price
Small: S$28.50, Large: S$31.50 (Mat & 12pc markers)
Small: S$19.95, Large: S$22.95 (Mat only)
S$24.90 (Mat & 12pc markers)
S$17.90 (Mat only)
Shipping Details
Above $20: Free courier
Below $20: Free normal mail
International orders above $200: Free courier 
Details
Above $120: Free courier
Between $20 and $120: $7 courier
Below $20: $2 normal mail

International orders: Shipping to be advised
Markers Java (Korea) and Unicorn (Malaysia) DrawnBy: (Korea: marker ink, China: assembly)
Size Small: 38cm x 24cm, Large: 48cm x 28cm One size: 40cm x 30cm
Artists Various local artists, including a 7 year old with autism Jessica
Designs 14 (as of Nov 2018) 6 (as of Nov 2018)
Country of Manufacture South Korea  China
Lab Tested Raw silicone: Tested in Korea (SGS, FDA)
Black printing ink: Tested in Korea (SGS)
Completed mat with printed design: Tested in Singapore**
*Markers: Refer to Markers
** Why test reports are not published
Raw silicone: Tested in China (SGS, REACH, FDA & others)
*Markers: Refer to Markers
Care Instructions Details
Wipe with wet wipes or wash with water and soap
Details
Wipe with wet wipes or wash with water and soap.
Do not leave colours in overnight or colours may stick to silicone.
U
se Isopropyl alcohol for stubborn stains.

Conclusion

Though silicone colouring mats can be easily customised and ordered from online suppliers in China, DrawnBy: Jessica took the extra step to brand their markers and use PVC drawstring bags to improve on the overall outlook. While it is reassuring to know that the raw materials have been lab tested in China to be safe, the completed printed mat has yet to be sent for lab testing. This is because the composition may change during the manufacturing process. The marker ink colours (red, blue, green and black inks) were tested in 2013. The marker ink smelled bad enough for me to stop Elise from using them. 

#ohmymats have passed lab tests in Korea for the raw silicone and printing ink and are confirmed to be food grade. The completed mat has been tested in Singapore to comply with European Toy standards. Silicone has many grades. The material of #ohmymats is platinum premium silicone which has more tensile strength, more expensive as a raw material and most importantly, the platinum curing process does not produce peroxide residues. JAVA markers are produced by an established Korean company and has passed strict safety tests.

Nevertheless, if you are not too concerned about toy safety (my kids play with cheap figurines from China), both mats function as they should as reusable colouring mats. 

* I paid for both DrawnBy: and #ohmymats and was not compensated by any party. This review is based on my own experience. You are welcome to make your own comparison between the two brands. If you are the owner of either brand and would like to make clarifications or updates, please contact me. 

Emmett’s Birth Story

This post is so last year. It was in my drafts, unfinished until now.

Having heard about how second babies arrive earlier than their older siblings, I had my hospital bag packed and ready to go when I hit 36 weeks. On a Sunday at 39 weeks, I was out for breakfast when I was hit by crippling contractions, so bad it hurt to walk. I staggered home and took a shower, thinking that THIS WAS IT. Turns out it was a false alarm and I spent the entire day on standby. 

At the next checkup, the doctor said that the baby’s head was already engaged and the contractions helped the baby move down further but I had no signs of labour. I was a green-eyed monster, commanding the baby to come out whilst being taunted by birth notifications, one by one, in the WhatsApp group chats. WHY WASN’T THIS BABY COMING OUT?! BEING SO PREGNANT IS NOT FUN!

Two days before the baby came out, my mucus plug did. It was a lot of transparent discharge. 

D-Day

40 weeks, 1 day. I was out to get lunch when I felt my insides cramp up. My tolerance for pain is moderately high, so I waited for it to subside before going home for a shower and making sure everything I needed was in my hospital bag. After that, I latched Elise to sleep. Before leaving, I kissed her cheek and felt a huge pang of sadness because I knew that the next time I saw her, she would no longer be my only baby. I called my husband who was at work to meet me at the hospital. 

I took a cab down to the hospital and realised that my husband was NOWHERE to be seen. Strange, considering his workplace was nearer to the hospital than our house. I decided on a regular Ultimate from Coffee Bean as The Last Drink to sip on while waiting for him. On hindsight, the caffeine helped in ramping up my energy to push. The contractions were about 15 minutes apart. He arrived at the hospital 30 minutes later and made me help him with a phone call for work.  -_- 

At 4:30pm, we went up to the delivery suite where we met the most obtuse patient service associate ever. 

PSA: When is your EDD?
Me: My EDD was yesterday.
PSA: So what’re you here for today?
Me: (I have) Contractions? 

Duh, what else would a pregnant woman go to the Delivery Suite for?!

I got ushered into the delivery suite (by the way, private and subsidised patients at NUH use the same delivery suite) and the midwives hooked me up to the CTG, inserted the IV line and checked for dilation. I was already 5 to 6cm dilated. HA! Take that, Miss “What’re you here for?”! I opted for laughing gas like before and whenever the contractions came, I grabbed the mask and breathed in the gas like a druggie. The short lived effect even with constant inhalation means that the pain is felt. Perhaps I didn’t do it right. 

6pm
“This baby is going to be out by 7pm”. I predict.
The pain starts to get unbearable. I tell the nurse to stop putting her fingers in to check for dilation and she tells me that it’s not her fingers stretching my cervix but the baby’s head.

640pm (!? Can’t remember the exact timing, but it was indeed before 7pm)

Pop. The baby is eerily silent in contrast to Elise who came out wailing her lungs out.   

It wasn’t until I heard the baby give a soft cry that my husband told me that Emmett was born with nuchal cord x2. This means that the umbilical cord was looped around his neck not once, but twice. My husband was shell shocked, but the midwives told him that it’s a common occurrence.

The gynae on duty stitched me up. It was a minor first degree tear and I could walk the moment I reached the ward. I rejected Panadol because the pain was non-existent. It did hurt when he latched and the lochia gushed out.

That’s the story of how Emmett came out. Natural without epidural. 

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Hiiiiiiiiiii everyone!

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